Friday, December 31, 2004

History of Paraguay

History of Paraguay. This is a short but interesting overview to the history of the South American nation of Paraguay.

From the site:

Pre-Columbian civilization in the fertile, wooded region that is now Paraguay consisted of numerous seminomadic, Guarani-speaking tribes, who were recognized for their fierce warrior traditions. They practiced a mythical polytheistic religion, which later blended with Christianity. Spanish explorer Juan de Salazar founded Asuncion on the Feast Day of the Assumption, August 15, 1537. The city eventually became the center of a Spanish colonial province. Paraguay declared its independence by overthrowing the local Spanish authorities in May 1811.

The country's formative years saw three strong leaders who established the tradition of personal rule that lasted until 1989: Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia, Carlos Antonio Lopez, and his son, Francisco Solano Lopez. The younger Lopez waged a war against Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil (War of the Triple Alliance, 1864-70) in which Paraguay lost half its population; afterwards, Brazilian troops occupied the country until 1874. A succession of presidents governed Paraguay under the banner of the Colorado Party from 1880 until 1904, when the Liberal party seized control, ruling with only a brief interruption until 1940.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Paraguayan politics were defined by the Chaco war against Bolivia, a civil war, dictatorships, and periods of extreme political instability. Gen. Alfredo Stroessner took power in May 1954. Elected to complete the unexpired term of his predecessor, he was re-elected president seven times, ruling almost continuously under the state-of-siege provision of the constitution with support from the military and the Colorado Party. During Stroessner's 34-year reign, political freedoms were severely limited, and opponents of the regime were systematically harassed and persecuted in the name of national security and anticommunism. Though a 1967 constitution gave dubious legitimacy to Stroessner's control, Paraguay became progressively isolated from the world community.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Twenty-Five Lectures on Modern Balkans History

Twenty-Five Lectures on Modern Balkans History. This site has a large number of essays dealing with the most problematic region of Europe. These were all written by Steven Sowards of Michigan State University.

From the site:

One can't understand the Balkans without understanding its ethnic groups, and one can't understand the ethnic groups and their history without knowing the influence of the region's geography.

Even the geographic extent of the "Balkan" region is a matter of controversy. Many scholars, especially those writing in the Cold War era, have included only the Communist states and linked them with Czechoslovakia, Poland and East Germany, while omitting Greece and ignoring Turkey and the Ottoman era. Other historians exclude Hungary, Croatia and other Habsburg lands, because of their "central" European character, supposedly contrary to Balkan themes. But the presence of contradictory themes is itself characteristically Balkan.

For the purposes of this course of lectures, the Balkan area includes Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania, Albania and Hungary. Most of this area was once under Ottoman Turkish rule; the rest under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The lectures will not deal with all of the Ottoman Empire, which extended into Asia and Africa, or other former Habsburg lands such as Czechoslovakia and parts of Poland.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Capture of a Slaver

The Capture of a Slaver - Full text of an article which appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in 1900 regarding the capture of a slave trading vessel in 1850.

From the site:

FROM 1830 to 1850 both Great Britain and the United States, by joint convention, kept on the coast of Africa at least eighty guns afloat for the suppression of the slave trade. Most of the vessels so employed were small corvettes, brigs, or schooners; steam at that time was just being introduced into the navies of the world.

Nearly fifty years ago I was midshipman on the United States brig Porpoise, of ten guns. Some of my readers may remember these little ten-gun coffins, as many of them proved to be to their crews. The Porpoise was a fair sample of the type; a full-rigged brig of one hundred and thirty tons, heavily sparred, deep waisted, and carrying a battery of eight twenty-four-pound carronades and two long chasers; so wet that even in a moderate breeze or sea it was necessary to batten down; and so tender that she required careful watching; only five feet between decks, her quarters were necessarily cramped and uncomfortable, and, as far as possible, we lived on deck. With a crew of eighty all told, Lieutenant Thompson was in command, Lieutenant Bukett executive officer, and two midshipmen were the line officers. She was so slow that we could hardly hope for a prize except by a fluke. Repeatedly we had chased suspicious craft only to be out-sailed.

At this time the traffic in slaves was very brisk; the demand in the Brazils, in Cuba, and in other Spanish West Indies was urgent, and the profit of the business so great that two or three successful ventures would enrich any one. The slavers were generally small, handy craft; fast, of course; usually schooner-rigged, and carrying flying topsails and forecourse. Many were built in England or elsewhere purposely for the business, without, of course, the knowledge of the builders, ostensibly as yachts or traders. The Spaniards and Portuguese were the principal offenders, with occasionally an English-speaking renegade.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

John Adams

John Adams. This is a brief but informative biography of the 2nd American President. He was the first President to have a son who also became President. George H.W. Bush is the second.

From the site:

John Adams (October 30, 1735 - July 4, 1826) was the first (1789 - 1797) Vice President of the United States, and the second (1797 - 1801) President of the United States.

Adams was born on October 30, 1735 in what is now the town of Quincy, Massachusetts . His father, a farmer, also named John, was a fourth generation descendant of Henry Adams, who emigrated from Devon, England, to Massachusetts about 1636; his mother was Susanna Boylston Adams.

Young Adams graduated from Harvard College in 1755, and for a time taught school at Worcester and studied law in the office of Rufus Putnam. In 1758, he was admitted to the bar. From an early age he developed the habit of writing descriptions of events and impressions of men. The earliest of these is his report of the argument of James Otis in the superior court of Massachusetts as to the constitutionality of writs of assistance. This was in 1761, and the argument inspired him with zeal for the cause of the American colonies.

Monday, December 27, 2004

History of American Samoa

History of American Samoa. This is a small but intersting look at the history of American Samoa.

From the site:

Migrants from Southeast Asia arrived in the Samoan islands more than 2,000 years ago and from there settled the rest of Polynesia further to the east. Contact with Europeans began in the early 1700s but did not intensify until the arrival of English missionaries and traders in the 1830s. At the turn of the 20th century, the Samoan islands were split into two sections. The eastern islands became territories of the United States in 1904 and today are known as American Samoa. The western islands became known as Western Samoa (now just Samoa), passing from German control to New Zealand in 1914.

The 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia wote of Samoa, "A group of islands situated in latitude 13§30' and 14§30' south and longitude 168§ and 173§ west, and composed principally of fertile mountainous islands, such as Savai'i, Upolu, Tutuila, Manu'a, of volcanic and coral formations. The natives are tall, muscular, hardy, and fearless seafarers, but ferociously cruel (formerly cannibalistic) in war; hospitable, but indolent in peace; of dignified and courteous bearing, and skilled in debate. The aboriginal government was an aristocratic federation of chiefs, chosen from certain families, controlling the royal succession."

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Norway 1940

Norway 1940 - Describes the German invasion, with Orders of Battle, battle descriptions, historical background, and politics, concentrating on the Norwegian side of the conflict.

From the site:

After the swift German capture of Poland the war more or less died down, as neither side, for several reasons, wanted to get involved in a major combat along the Germany-France border. In this situation the interest in operations in secondary fronts raised. Both the Allied and the German high commands came to look at Norway as an interesting area for operations. To the Allied because control of Norway would be a way to gain control of the iron ore fields in northern Sweden. To the Germans as a base for the German fleet. During the winter 39-40 advanced planning aimed at getting control of Norway was done in both German and Allied high commands.

The increased interest in the Scandinavian theatre led to an increasing number of incidents along the Norwegian coast. The aggressive stance of especially Britain toward Norway, and the apparent weakness of the Norwegian defense and unwillingness of Norway to take fight to defend its neutrality convinced Hitler that there was a real threat toward the Iron ore supply from Sweden, which was very important to Germany at this stage of the war. Thus Hitler decided that Germany would invade Norway - operation Weserübung.

The allied planning toward Norway was hampered by political considerations and an unclear goal of the operation. Finally an operation was launched. It had an unclear goal and relied on a number of questionable premises. As it turned out the Allied and German operations were launched virtually simultaneously. On the 8th of April British destroyers mined the sea approach to Narvik, while the landing troops were waiting in port, loaded on their transports. At that time the German invasion fleet were on their way already.

In Norway there was an increasing uneasiness over the situation, and the days before the 9th of April a number of disturbing news and rumors came, that in retrospect pointed clearly at the upcoming invasion. The government failed to see that clearly though, and though the coastal defense, naval and many army units were put on highest alert at the evening of the 8th, no further mobilization was ordered until long after midnight, when the invasion force targeted at Oslo already had passed the outer defenses of Oslofjord.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Secrets of the Norman Invasion

Secrets of the Norman Invasion - Nick Austin examines the primary sources. He is particularly interested in trying to determine exactly where the Normans landed prior to the Battle of Hastings.

From the site:

The following work arose out of my insatiable desire to know exactly where the Normans landed prior to the Battle of Hastings. This interest was awakened shortly after moving to the village of Crowhurst (one of Harold's personal manors) where I was able to hear at first hand some of the local accounts of the Norman landing and search for Norman remains in the village.

Over the last six years I have tried to read everything important associated with Norman landings and the battle and have spent many months carrying out detailed searches of the documents contemporary with the battle. I have become increasingly alarmed at the discrepancies between the texts and the lie of the land where the landings were supposed to have taken place. In this work I attempt to explain how all these discrepancies can be reconciled only if the contextual references are applied to a landing site different from Pevensey.

The text that follows is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the clues to the landing site contained in the contemporary source documents, whilst the second part looks at the physical evidence thrown up by surveys, aerial photographs, field walking and archaeological work.

Friday, December 24, 2004

History of Cayman Islands

History of Cayman Islands. This is a brief essay on the history of this beautiful Caribbean tax haven.

From the site:

The Cayman Islands remained largely uninhabited until the 17th century. A variety of people settled on the islands, including pirates, refugees from the Spanish Inquisition, shipwrecked sailors, deserters from Oliver Cromwell's army in Jamaica, and slaves. The majority of Caymanians are of African and British descent, with considerable interracial mixing.

Great Britain took formal control of the Caymans, along with Jamaica, under the Treaty of Madrid in 1670. Following several unsuccessful attempts, permanent settlement of the islands began in the 1730s. The Cayman Islands historically have been popular as a tax haven. Legend has it that Caymanians in 1788 rescued the crews of a Jamaican merchant ship convoy which had struck a reef at Gun Bay and that the Caymanians were rewarded with King George III's promise to never again impose any tax.

The Cayman Islands, initially administered as a dependency of Jamaica, became an independent colony in 1959; they now are a self-governing British Overseas Territory.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Voyage of Exploration: Discovering New Horizons

Voyage of Exploration: Discovering New Horizons - Leads visitors on a journey through the past centuries looking at the explorers, the dangers they faced, where they went, and their motivations for exploration. It is available in both English and Dutch.

From the site:

For countless centuries, people have ventured forth into areas they have known little about. The desire to explore has been prompted by many different reasons- from necessity and curiosity to the desire to find riches.

"Voyages of Exploration: Discovering New Horizons" follows in the footsteps of some of the world's greatest explorers, reliving their adventurous expeditions into the unknown. Our aim is to take the users on a journey through past centuries looking at these adventurers, the dangers they faced, where they went and their motivation for exploration. This fits into the curriculum of many areas in many countries, where for example, students may be required to explain the political and economic motives for European exploration, trace the routes of the major Spanish and Portuguese explorers and map the empires established or chart the sea journeys of explorers to Australia.

"Voyages of Exploration" is no ordinary textbook though. This site utilizes the latest Internet technologies to promote Internet learning by allowing students to interact with fellow students around the world and allowing teacher's to track their student's progress. Users can submit an explorer to our database and read other people's submitted entries. They can also vote for their favorite explorer, create quizzes, and monitor the student results.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Chaco War

The Chaco War - Background information and a description of the dispute between Bolivia and Paraguay. Both landlocked countries sought an expansion of territory in an effort to gain better access to the Paraguay river.

From the site:

The Chaco War (1932-1935) was the result of a territory dispute between Bolivia and Paraguay. Both landlocked countries sought an expansion of territory in an effort to gain better access to the River Paraguay. This river runs through a stretch of territory between Bolivia and Paraguay known as the Chaco Boreal. In 1932, Bolivia attempted to break out of its landlocked situation and gain access to the Atlantic ocean through capture of the River Paraguay; athwart that route lay the Chaco Boreal, which the Bolivians thought had large oil preserves. Paraguay, in a move instigated by national unity, heavily armed their borders and fought viciously to defend itself against Bolivia's advances. The resultant war was disastrous for both sides: Bolivia and Paraguay lost more than 100,000 soldiers. In 1935, Paraguay would eventually claim victory over Bolivia, thus firmly establishing the Chaco Boreal as a part of Paraguay.


The Chaco Boreal is a region of land occupying approximately 100,000 square miles in Northwestern Paraguay, Southeastern Bolivia, and Northern Argentina. The land is divided into two regions: to the West of the River Paraguay, the land is flat and marked by scrub, woodlands and forests; to the East of the River Paraguay, savanna grass, brush, and forests are mostly found with grasslands suitable for raising cattle. At the time of the Chaco War, neither Paraguay nor Bolivia actively attempted to colonize this region, due in large part to its isolation and lack of potable water. A small number of Guarani Indians settled in the region, establishing the largest town, Mayor Pablo Lagerenza. Agriculture was the main source of subsistence for these Indians, as well as farming of the quebracho tree, sold for its wood and minerals.

Hostile incidents between Bolivia and Paraguay began in the late 1920's over the Chaco Boreal. Since both countries are landlocked, access to a waterway that would lead to the ocean was vital for commerce and economic success. Paraguay, controlling the Chaco region and its waterways, had much better access to the Atlantic Ocean (through Argentina) than did Bolivia to the north. In 1883 in the War of the Pacific, Bolivia lost its entire coastline to Chile, leaving it severely isolated from its neighbors and the world. This factor was compounded with the notion that the Chaco Boreal was supposedly rich in oil reserves. International oil companies, such as Standard Oil from the U.K., already exploring the southern half of Bolivia, actively sought exploration of the Chaco region lying within Paraguay's borders. Bolivian politicians, at the urgence and demand from these international companies,as well as their need for a waterway, declared war in 1932 and ordered the first shots fired at a Paraguayan border town called Vangaurdia.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson. This is a short biography of the great American president Thomas Jefferson.

From the site:

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 - July 4, 1826) was the third (1801 - 1809) President of the United States.

This powerful advocate of liberty was born in 1743 in Albermarle County, Virginia, inheriting from his father, a planter and surveyor, some 5,000 acres of land, and from his mother, a Randolph, high social standing. He studied at the College of William and Mary, then read law. In 1772 he married Martha Wayles Skelton, a widow, and took her to live in his partly constructed mountaintop home, Monticello.

Freckled and sandy-haired, rather tall and awkward, Jefferson was eloquent as a correspondent, but he was no public speaker. In the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress, he contributed his pen rather than his voice to the patriot cause. As the "silent member" of the Congress, Jefferson, at 33, drafted the Declaration of Independence. In years following he labored to make its words a reality in Virginia. Most notably, he wrote a bill establishing religious freedom, enacted in 1786.

Jefferson succeeded Benjamin Franklin as minister to France in 1785. His sympathy for the French Revolution led him into conflict with Alexander Hamilton when Jefferson was Secretary of State in President Washington's Cabinet. He resigned in 1793.

Monday, December 20, 2004

History of Croatia

History of Croatia. This is a brief but information essay which looks at the history of this European nation.

From the site:

The Croats are believed to be a purely Slavic people who migrated from Ukraine and settled in present-day Croatia during the 6th century. After a period of self-rule, Croatians agreed to the Pacta Conventa in 1091, submitting themselves to Hungarian authority. By the mid-1400s, concerns over Ottoman expansion led the Croatian Assembly to invite the Habsburgs, under Archduke Ferdinand, to assume control over Croatia. Habsburg rule proved successful in thwarting the Ottomans, and by the 18th century, much of Croatia was free of Turkish control.

In 1868, Croatia gained domestic autonomy while remaining under Hungarian authority. Following World War I and the demise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Croatia joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes became Yugoslavia in 1929). Yugoslavia changed its name once again after World War II. The new state became the Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia and united Croatia and several other states together under the communistic leadership of Marshall Tito.

After the death of Tito and with the fall of communism throughout eastern Europe, the Yugoslav federation began to crumple. Croatia held its first multi-party elections since World War II in 1990. Long-time Croatian nationalist Franjo Tudjman was elected President, and one year later, Croatians declared independence from Yugoslavia. Conflict between Serbs and Croats in Croatia escalated, and one month after Croatia declared independence, civil war erupted.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Siege of Constantinople in 1453

The Siege of Constantinople in 1453 - The fall of Constantinople marked the end of the Byzantine Empire and the beginning of the Ottoman; an online collection of primary sources and articles.

From the site:

One of the most important events in world history, the fall of Constantinople marked the end of the Byzantine Empire and the beginning of the Ottoman. In 1453, Mehmed II (1451-1481), the Ottoman Sultan historically known as Mehmed the Conqueror, led an army of 150,000 Turks which besieged Constantinople from April 5th to May 29th, 1453. In the final assault the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX was killed, and the city fell. Several accounts of this battle exist and we will attempt to republish as many different accounts as possible.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

The Village Labourer 1760-1832

The Village Labourer 1760-1832 - First published in 1911, this study in the government of England before the Reform Bill takes a detailed look at the consequences of the acts of enclosure, which dramatically changed life in the countryside.

From the site:

This edition differs from previous editions of The Village Labourer in two respects. The original Chapter One has been omitted: this chapter described the concentration of power in the hands of a small class, which was the leading feature of our political development in the eighteenth century. Secondly, the Appendices have been reduced, but the student who wishes to pursue the subject of enclosure further will find, at the end of this volume, full details of four important and representative enclosures.

In their preface to the edition published in 1913 the authors discussed some of the controversies that had arisen on the topic of the enclosures. It seems worth while to reproduce here the substance of that preface. Two main criticisms have been passed on the treatment of enclosures in these pages: the first, that the writers have drawn an unjust picture, because they deliberately excluded the importance of enclosure in increasing the food supplies of the nation; the second, that the hardships of the poor have been exaggerated, and that, though the system of enclosure lent itself to abuses, there was no evidence that wrong was done in the mass of enclosures.

Friday, December 17, 2004

History of Burma

History of Burma. This is a good general overview to the history of the Asian nation of Burma. I realize that the legal name of the country is now Myanmar but who the heck calls it that?

From the site:

Burma was unified by Burman dynasties three times during the past millennium. The first such unification came with the foundation of the Pagan Dynasty in 1044 AD, which is considered the "Golden Age" in Burmese history. It is during this period that Theravada Buddhism first made its appearance in Burma, and the Pagan kings built a massive city with thousands of pagodas and monasteries along the Irrawaddy River. The Pagan Dynasty lasted until 1287 when a Mongol invasion destroyed the city. Ethnic Shan rulers, who established a political center at Ava, filled the ensuing political vacuum for a short time.

In the 15th century, the Toungoo Dynasty succeeded again in unifying under Burman rule a large, multi-ethnic kingdom. This dynasty, which lasted from 1486 until 1752, left little cultural legacy, but expanded the kingdom through conquest of the Shans. Internal power struggles, and the cost of protracted warfare, led to the eventual decline of the Toungoo.

The final Burman royal dynasty, the Konbaung, was established in 1752 under the rule of King Alaungpaya. Like the Toungoo Kings, the Konbaung rulers focused on warfare and conquest. Wars were fought with the ethnic Mons and Arkanese, and with the Siamese. The Burmese sacked the Siamese capital of Ayuthaya in 1767. This period also saw four invasions by the Chinese and three devastating wars with the British.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

History & Culture of Turkmenistan

History & Culture of Turkmenistan - Information on this countries history starting from early rulers in the 4th Century B.C, arrival of Oguz, Soviet regime and ending with independence on October 27, 1991. Created and hosted by the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Washington, DC.

From the site:

Tools from the Stone-Age have been discovered along the Caspian Seashore and near the modern port of Turkmenbashi, establishing thepre-historic presence of humans in the area that is today known asTurkmenistan. The remains of farming settlements in the Kopet-DagMountains date back 8,000 years. The ancient cultivators in this regionused the mountain streams to irrigate their crops. They also survived byherding livestock and by hunting wild game.

As early societies learned to make pottery and metal tools, they began totrade with other peoples of central Asia. This profitable trade however,also attracted foreign invaders. By the 6th century B.C., the powerfulPersian Empire had established the provinces of Parthia and Margiana, inwhat is now Turkmenistan. From their base south of the Kopet-Dagrange, the Persians controlled trade through central Asia and subdued themany nomadic peoples who lived on Turkmenistan's arid plains.

Early Rulers

In the 4th century B.C., the Persian Empire was defeated by the army ofAlexander the Great. In 330 B.C., Alexander marched northward intocentral Asia and founded the city of Alexandria near the Murgab River.Located on an important trade route, Alexandria later became the city ofMerv (modern Mary). The ruins of Alexander's ancient city are still visiblealong the banks of the Murgab River.

After Alexander's death in 323 B.C., his generals fought for control of hisempire, which quickly fell apart. The Scythians—fierce, nomadic warriorsfrom the north—then established the kingdom of Parthia, which coveredpresent-day Turkmenistan and Iran. The Parthian kings ruled their domainfrom the ancient city of Nisa. At its height, Parthia extended south andwest as far as the Indus River in modern India.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Earthquake History of Hawaii

Earthquake History of Hawaii - Much of the early record of Hawaiian earthquakes comes from the diary of Mrs. Sarah J. Lyman, a missionary's wife at Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii. She began her account in 1833 and continued it until her death in 1885. This record was then continued for eleven more years by her descendants.

From the site:

On February 19, 1834, a strong shock threw down stone walls, stopped clocks, upset bottles, and sloshed milk out of half-full pans. Standing and walking were rendered difficult. A similar earthquake occurred on December 12, 1838. No volcanic activity was noted for either event.

On March 27, 1868, whaling ships at Kawaihae on the west coast of Hawaii observed dense clouds of smoke rising from Mauna Loa's crater, Mokuaweoweo, to a height of several miles and reflecting the bright light from the lava pit. Slight shocks were felt at Kona on the west coast and Kau on the flanks of the volcano. On the 28th, lava broke out on the southwest flank and created a 15-mile flow to the sea. Over 300 strong shocks were felt at Kau and 50 to 60 were felt at Kona. At Kilauea the surface of the ground quivered for days with frequent vigorous shocks that caused lamps, crockery, and chairs to spin around as if animated. One shock resembled that of a cannon projectile striking the ground under the proprietor's bed, causing him to flee, according to the narrative published by C. H. Hitchcock in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America in 1912. Between March 28, 1868, and April 11, over 2000 distinct shocks were felt at Kona.

The main shocks struck on April 2, at 4:00 p.m., and again on April 4 at 12:30 a.m. A magnitude of 7 3/4 was estimated for this earthquake (by Augustine Furumoto in his February 1966 article on the Seismicity of Hawaii in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America) based on the extent of intensity reports. Instrumental recordings, the usual basis for computing magnitudes, were not available at this early date. The shock was felt throughout the islands as far as Niihau some 350 miles away. The ground rolled like a ship at sea and many walls tumbled down. A landslide three miles long and thirty feet thick swept down the hill carrying trees, animals, and men. Thirty-one people and thousands of cattle, sheep, horses, and goats were killed in the one slide. A seawave struck the coast from Hilo to South Cape, being most destructive at Keauhou, Puna, and Honuapo; 180 houses were washed away, and 62 lives were lost to the wave alone. A 10-foot-high wave carried wreckage inland 800 feet. Not a house survived at Honuapo. A stone church and other buildings were destroyed at Punaluu. Maximum wave heights were 65 feet, the highest observed on Hawaii to date.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

James Madison

James Madison. This is a decent biography of American President James Monroe. He is known for his work with the Federalist Papers and his presidency during the War of 1812.

From the site:

James Madison (March 16, 1751 - June 28, 1836) was the fourth (1809 - 1817) President of the United States. He was co-author, with John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, of the Federalist Papers, and is viewed by some as the "Father of the United States Constitution."

Born in 1751, Madison was brought up in Orange County, Virginia, and attended Princeton (then called the College of New Jersey). A student of history and government, well-read in law, he participated in the framing of the Virginia Constitution in 1776, served in the Continental Congress, and was a leader in the Virginia Assembly.

When delegates to the Constitutional Convention assembled at Philadelphia, the 36-year-old
Madison took frequent and emphatic part in the debates.

Madison made a major contribution to the ratification of the Constitution by writing, with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the Federalist essays. In later years, when he was referred to as the "Father of the Constitution," Madison protested that the document was not "the off-spring of a single brain," but "the work of many heads and many hands."

In Congress, he helped frame the Bill of Rights and enact the first revenue legislation. Out of his leadership in opposition to Hamilton's financial proposals, which he felt would unduly bestow wealth and power upon northern financiers, came the development of the Republican, or Jeffersonian, Party.

Monday, December 13, 2004

History of Cape Verde

History of Cape Verde. This is a short but good look at the history of this island nation off of the coast of Africa.

From the site:

In 1462, Portuguese settlers arrived at Santiago and founded Ribeira Grande (now Cidade Velha)--the first permanent European settlement city in the tropics. In the 16th century, the archipelago prospered from the transatlantic slave trade. Pirates occasionally attacked the Portuguese settlements. Sir Francis Drake sacked Ribeira Grande in 1585. After a French attack in 1712, the city declined in importance relative to Praia, which became the capital in 1770.

With the decline in the slave trade, Cape Verde's early prosperity slowly vanished. However, the islands' position astride mid-Atlantic shipping lanes made Cape Verde an ideal location for resupplying ships. Because of its excellent harbor, Mindelo (on the island of São Vicente) became an important commercial center during the 19th century.

Portugal changed Cape Verde's status from a colony to an overseas province in 1951 in an attempt to blunt growing nationalism. Nevertheless, in 1956, Amilcar Cabral, a Cape Verdean, and a group of Cape Verdeans and Guinea-Bissauans organized (in Guinea-Bissau) the clandestine African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which demanded improvement in economic, social, and political conditions in Cape Verde and Portuguese Guinea and formed the basis of the two nations' independence movement. Moving its headquarters to Conakry, Guinea in 1960, the PAIGC began an armed rebellion against Portugal in 1961. Acts of sabotage eventually grew into a war in Portuguese Guinea that pitted 10,000 Soviet bloc-supported PAIGC soldiers against 35,000 Portuguese and African troops.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

World History Blog Getting Recognition

World History Blog Getting Recognition. I thought I would post a note about the positive recognition that this blog has recently been receiving.

This includes being featured in USAToday.Com as a Hot Site. The brief commentary read, "World history’s a pretty broad topic, even for a Web journal. Miland Brown therefore has his work cut out for him, but as a historian and fellow at the World History Research Institute, he’s pretty clearly the person for the job. Mr. Brown’s blog is edging toward its first anniversary, and visitors will find a rich and varied collection of links and thoughtful commentary."

The WHB also was noted as a good resource by the Scout Report in a recent In the News report on the popularity of the word blog.

I have made several changes to the Blog as a result. First, I have changed the descriptive information at the top from "features all aspects of world history" to "features different aspects of world history." That sounds a little less ambitious and more humble I think. Second, I have turned off the option for posting comments. Unfortunately, as this blog has gotten more popular, I have been receiving numerous spam postings. It is easier just to turn it off.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Bright Star Sound

Bright Star Sound - The story of Stanislav Petrov, a Russian officer whose refusal to launch a nuclear strike, in response to a false report of a US attack, averted a nuclear war in 1983.

From the site:

In 1983 in Russia, there was a man who would have been considered an enemy by the people of America. But as it turned out, he would become for them and for the world an unknown hero — perhaps the greatest hero of all time. Because of military secrecy, and political and international differences, most of the world has not heard of this man. He is Stanislav Petrov.

The extraordinary incident leading to his heroism occurred near Moscow, in the former Soviet Union, just past midnight, Sept. 26, 1983. Because of time-zone differences, it was still Sept. 25 in America, a Sunday afternoon.

During the Cold War at this time, the United States and the Soviet Union were bitter adversaries. These two world powers did not trust each other, and this distrust led to a dangerous consequence: They built thousands of nuclear weapons to be used against each other if a war should ever break out between them. If there ever were such a war, these nations would very likely devastate each other and much of the world many times over, resulting in the deaths of perhaps hundreds of millions of people.

It was Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov’s duty to use computers and satellites to warn the Soviet Union if there were ever a nuclear missile attack by the United States. In the event of such an attack, the Soviet Union’s strategy was to launch an immediate all-out nuclear weapons counterattack against the United States.

Friday, December 10, 2004

History of Guyana

History of Guyana. This is a good but short overview to the history of the South American nation of Guyana.

From the site:

Before the arrival of Europeans, the region was inhabited by both Carib and Arawak tribes, who named it Guiana, which means land of many waters. The Dutch settled in Guyana in the late 16th century, but their control ended when the British became the de facto rulers in 1796. In 1815, the colonies of Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice were officially ceded to Great Britain at the Congress of Vienna and, in 1831, were consolidated as British Guiana. Following the abolition of slavery in 1834, thousands of indentured laborers were brought to Guyana to replace the slaves on the sugarcane plantations, primarily from India but also from Portugal and China. The British stopped the practice in 1917. Many of the Afro-Guyanese former slaves moved to the towns and became the majority urban population, whereas the Indo-Guyanese remained predominantly rural. A scheme in 1862 to bring black workers from the United States was unsuccessful. The small Amerindian population lives in the country's interior.

The people drawn from these diverse origins have coexisted peacefully for the most part. Slave revolts, such as the one in 1763 led by Guyana's national hero, Cuffy, demonstrated the desire for basic rights but also a willingness to compromise. Politically inspired racial disturbances between Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese erupted in 1962-64, and again following elections in 1997 and 2001. The basically conservative and cooperative nature of Guyanese society has usually contributed to a cooling of racial tensions. Racial tensions, however, do constitute Guyana’s greatest ongoing social stress point.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Mongolia in the 1990s: from Commissars to Capitalists?

Mongolia in the 1990s: from Commissars to Capitalists? - Detailed analysis of recent Mongolian history (from the overthrow of the Communist government in 1991) to the present.

From the site:

T he Mongols' natural environment has shaped their history. Their location in North Asia, with its extremes in temperature and resultant short growing season, precludes intensive agriculture. Grasslands in the central part of the country have traditionally sustained most of the Mongol population, who tended sheep, goats, yaks, horses, and camels. Mongol herdsmen traveled to seek water and grass for their animals. They migrated from two to as many as ten times a year to find sufficient pasturelands, and such frequent migrations dictated that the groups be relatively small and readily mobile. Similarly, the Mongols eking out their livelihood in the Gobi desert, south of the steppelands, or in the forest and lakes region, north of the steppes, journeyed around the countryside and were organized into small units.

Influence of the Past

Lack of UnityA country three times as large as France with a population of a few hundred thousand in early days, Mongolia encountered great difficulties in fostering a country-wide identity and in accepting unified rule. The enormous size of Mongolia contributed to localism and local identity, as individual herders naturally identified with their own groups and not with a larger Mongol entity. Unity under these economic and political circumstances offered few benefits. Organization centered around specific tribes, with leadership provided by a chieftain and occasionally a shaman. Defense against bellicose neighbors, the Turkic rulers of Central Asia or the more expansionist Chinese dynasties, would prompt the inhabitants of Mongolia to join together to safeguard their pasturelands or their commercial interests. A belligerent Mongol tribe facing threats posed by ambitious rival chiefs would also cause other tribes to form a confederation for self-protection. Finally, a charismatic leader could persuade tribes to band together for forays designed to obtain booty. These alliances were temporary; once they achieved their immediate objectives, they disbanded. Unity proved elusive because no overarching ethnic or national loyalty to one leader and his descendants existed. Loyalty to one specific individual did not translate into support for any dynasty or hereditary principle he might seek to establish.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

José de San Martín, Knight of the Andes

José de San Martín, Knight of the Andes - Revolutionary fighter against royalist forces and national hero in many South American countries, particularly in Argentina.

From the site:

One of the principal liberators of South America from Spanish rule was Jose de San Martin. He is also known as Argentina's liberator, and was one of the principal revolutionary fighters against royalist forces in South America. He was a master of military strategy, a skill which led him to success. San Martin became a national hero in many South American countries, particularly in Argentina, where he also had strong personal ties, as he was born there, and enforced his ties by later marrying an Argentine. In this paper, I will discuss the biography of San Martin, a person who made important history in colonial America.

Jose de San Martin was born on February 25, 1778 in Yapey'u, located in the viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata', which is now known as eastern Argentina. His mother was Gregoria Matorras, and his father was Juan de San Martin, a professional soldier and government administrator of Yapey'u. In 1784, when San Martin was six years old, the family returned to Spain, where he was educated at the "Seminario de Nobles" from 1785 until 1789. He started his military career early in the Murcia infantry regiment (South Eastern Spain). He served as an army officer against the forces of Napoleon between 1808 and 1811.

Even though San Martin was loyal towards his mother country (Spain) when he fought against Napoleon, he disliked the traditional absolute monarchy and the existing colonial system. In 1811, he decided to resign from Spanish service. After meeting revolutionary Spanish Americans in London, England, he sailed for Buenos Aires, and was almost immediately taken into service in the revolutionary regime. As a very experienced soldier, he was a great asset in the revolutionary movement in South America.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

James Monroe

James Monroe. This is a good and brief biography of American President James Monroe. He is famous for many things including formulating the Monroe Doctrine.

From the site:

James Monroe (April 28 , 1758 - July 4 , 1831) was the fifth (1817 - 1825) President of the United States . He is credited with the development of the Monroe Doctrine .

Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, in 1758, Monroe attended the College of William and Mary, fought with distinction in the Continental Army, and practiced law in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

As a youthful politician, he joined the anti-Federalists in the Virginia Convention which ratified the Constitution, and in 1790, an advocate of Jeffersonian policies, was elected United States Senator. As Minister to France in 1794-1796, he displayed strong sympathies for the French cause; later, with Robert R. Livingston, he helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase.

His ambition and energy, together with the backing of President Madison, made him the Republican choice for the Presidency in 1816. With little Federalist opposition, he easily won re-election in 1820.

Monroe made unusually strong Cabinet choices, naming a Southerner, John C. Calhoun, as Secretary of War, and a northerner, John Quincy Adams, as Secretary of State. Only Henry Clay's refusal kept Monroe from adding an outstanding Westerner.

Monday, December 06, 2004

History of New Zealand

History of New Zealand. This is a small overview to the history of New Zealand. (Now known as Middle Earth to us Tolkien fans...)

From the site:

Archaeological evidence indicates that New Zealand was populated by fishing and hunting people of East Polynesian ancestry perhaps 1,000 years before Europeans arrived. Known to some scholars as the Moa-hunters, they may have merged with later waves of Polynesians who, according to Maori tradition, arrived between 952 and 1150. Some of the Maoris called their new homeland "Aotearoa," usually translated as "land of the long white cloud."

In 1642, Abel Tasman, a Dutch navigator, made the first recorded European sighting of New Zealand and sketched sections of the two main islands' west coasts. English Captain James Cook thoroughly explored the coastline during three South Pacific voyages beginning in 1769. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries lumbering, seal hunting, and whaling attracted a few European settlers to New Zealand. In 1840, the United Kingdom established British sovereignty through the Treaty of Waitangi signed that year with Maori chiefs.

In the same year, selected groups from the United Kingdom began the colonization process. Expanding European settlement led to conflict with Maori, most notably in the Maori land wars of the 1860s. British and colonial forces eventually overcame determined Maori resistance. During this period, many Maori died from disease and warfare, much of it intertribal.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

The "Axe Murder Incident"

The "Axe Murder Incident"18 August 1976 at Panmunjom. Describes a 1976 confrontation at Panmunjom in which North Korean forces killed three US soldiers.

From the site:

On Wednesday 18 August 1976 at 1040 hours in the morning, a United Nations Command (UNC) work force of five Korean Service Corps (KSC) personnel accompanied by and UNC security force, including the Joint Security Force (JSF) Commander, Captain (P) Arthur G. Bonifas of Newburgh, New York, First Lieutenant Mark T. Barrett of Columbia, South Carolina, and one Republic of (South) Korean Army (ROKA) officer started to prune a large tree in the vicinity of UNC Check Point #3. This tree partially obscured the view between UNC Check Point #3 and UNC Check Point #5. In addition the unpruned tree was also blocking the view of the "Bridge of No Return" from "Freedom House." Shortly after the KSC work force arrived at the tree and began to cut it back, (North) Korean People's Army (KPA) personnel appeared at the work site. For a short time, the KPA security force observed the pruning without apparent concern. Suddenly, the KPA security force commander demanded that the JSF commander cease pruning or there would be trouble. Captain Bonifas did not order the operation stopped. Senior Lieutenant Pak Chul of the KPA, seeing that he was losing control, took off his wristwatch, wrapped it in his handkerchief and put it in his pocket. Another North Korean rolled up his sleeves. Lieutenant Pak then shouted "MI KUN UL CHU KI GI CHA." Translated, it means, "Kill the U.S. Aggressors."; the UNC security force was attacked by a superior force of 30 KPA guards wielding pick handles, knives, clubs, and axes. Senior Lieutenant Pak jumped on Captain Bonifas from the back forcing him to the ground where Bonifas was beaten to death. 1LT Barrett was also attacked. The KPA soldiers used the mattox and axes the tree trimming detail was using prune the tree as weapons. The North Korean attack was broken up when a UNC soldier drove his 2 1/2 ton truck into the fight and over Captain Bonifas to protect him. The UNC Security Force then withdrew but not before two American Army Officers were murdered and, a ROKA officer, three Korean Augmentees to the US Army (KATUSA) and four US enlisted men were wounded.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Story of Southern Rhodesia

The Story of Southern Rhodesia - Four chapters about British colonization of Rhodesia from E. D. Morel's history of European imperialism in Africa, The Black Man's Burden. Turn your popup blocker on. This site has good content but lousy advertising techniques!

From the site:

The portion of the Continent south of the Zambesi is -- with some exceptions -- suitable for settlement by white races, so far as the climate is concerned. The exceptions are the vicinity of the Zambesi itself, the desert and waterless coast regions of Damaraland, and a fairly wide belt of Portuguese territory on the East Coast. The whites are, however, incapable, save in a very limited degree, of performing the more arduous forms of manual labour. The actual development of the country, both agricultural and mineral must depend, therefore, either upon African labour or upon imported Asiatic labour -- to which the whites are opposed for various reasons, which need not here be discussed.

For a century the healthy tablelands and plateaux of this region have been the scene of the kind of racial conflict which occurs when an invading race, of a higher culture than the aboriginal population and possessed of superior offensive and defensive weapons, disputes with the latter for the occupation of the land. Natural man presently finds himself threatened in his liberties. Civilised man is filled with the terror which comes from the knowledge of overwhelming odds. Mutual fears inspire reciprocal cruelties.

An unusual amount of light has been thrown upon the incidents of this racial strife in South Africa, because of the contest and rivalry between various sections of the invading whites: between the Dutch and French Huguenot element on the one hand -- known to us as "Boers" -- and the British on the other, and between British and German. This rivalry has engendered a natural desire on the part of the warring sections to advertise and accentuate the shortcomings of the other, thus adding to the sum of general knowledge. Other causes have also contributed. Before Southern Africa became a political and international storm-centre, and the Mecca of large financial interests, when the troubles between colonists and aborigines were looked upon by the Home Government as a nuisance, British Secretaries of State were disposed to display a sense of impartiality in judging of such troubles and a freedom of expression in commenting upon them to which the present generation is quite unaccustomed. The older British Blue Books dealing with these native wars and the part played by the colonists in provoking them, are marked by a vigorous candour inconceivable in these days, except when it is a matter of State policy to paint the black records of an opponent even blacker than they are.

Friday, December 03, 2004

History of Canada

History of Canada. This is a good overview to the history of the North American nation of Canada.

From the site:

Canada, which has been inhabited by aboriginal peoples, known in Canada as the First Nations, for about 10,000 years, was first visited by Europeans around 1000, when the Vikings briefly settled at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. More permanent European visits came in the 16th and 17th century, as the French settled there.

In 1763, at the end of the Seven Years' War, France chose to keep its Caribbean Islands and to leave its North American colony, New France, to Britain.

After the American Revolution, many British Loyalists settled in Canada.

On July 1, 1867, with the passing of the British North America Act, the British government granted local self-government to a federation of four provinces formed from three of its North American colonies, Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The former Province (colony) of Canada formed two provinces of the new Dominion of Canada, being partitioned into Quebec and Ontario along the old boundary between Lower and Upper Canada. The term Confederation refers to this act of union and is often used for the resulting federation.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Vikings on Greenland

Vikings on Greenland - Presents a brief essay about the history of the Vikings in Greenland, and their explorations further afield, with a map to show their travels.

From the site:

Around the year 960 the boy Erik and his father got a problem with a murder, and they had to leave their home in "Jæren" in Southern Norway.

Erik had inherited his fathers militant mind, and he did not act better on Iceland, than his father has acted in Norway, and soon, that was in the year 985, he was outlawed for 3 years because of two murders. In other words: People were alloved to kill him, if they wanted to! Erik, who later on got the sur-name "the Red", had heard about a man, called Gunbjørn: He had during a storm lost his direction and seen land far to the west.

Why not try to find this unknown land, now when he had to escape from Iceland, anyway?

He put his boat to the sea. He had problems with drift-ice, but was obstinately sailing towards the south to the place today called "Kap Farvel" (Cape Farewell), and then sailed north. Here he found fertile valleys with green grass for cattle, rivers with good fishing - grounds, and in the ocean there were walruses and and seals.

He wintered on the island which he called "Eriks Island" south of Greenland, and during the following years he saw rather a great part of south-eastern Greenland.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Major Events in Dutch History

Major Events in Dutch History - Covers some major events in Dutch history, such as the Anglo-Dutch Wars, colonial history and the World Wars. With pictures.

From the site:

The Dutch had always depended upon sea trade to keep their economy stable. The Netherlands was a limited resource country whose strength lay in their dominance of the seas. The economy of the Netherlands depended on their maintaining this dominance and remaining the strongest sea force in Europe. England had a very strong navy and was a source of much competition for the Dutch. England wanted the sea routes for themselves. The Anglo-Dutch Wars were fought over the possession of the seas and trade routes. They were fought between 1652 and 1684. At the end of the four Anglo-Dutch Wars, England ended up with sea control, and the Dutch were completely defeated.

The first Anglo-Dutch War lasted from 1652 until 1654. It was fought between the "Stadtholderless Dutch Republic" and "the Commonwealth of England." England gained control of the seas for the summer of 1653. This severely damaged Dutch business confidence and alarmed ship holders. The Dutch had always been very much in control of the waters, and were the center of trade for Europe. When it seemed as thought they were losing, their economy began to weaken as a result of Europe's sudden lack of business confidence. Luckily, for the Dutch and for Europe's businesses, the Stadtholderless Dutch Republic managed to retain control of the seas.

The second Anglo-Dutch War began in 1665, and lasted until 1667. Charles the II of England declared war on March 4th, 1665. At the start of the war, the English came on so strong that European states were once again faced with the prospect of total English domination of the seas. All through the summer of 1665, the English held the seas under their control. This damaged the business confidence of the Dutch severely once again. However, by 1667, the Dutch managed to regain control, and England had lost control of even their coastal waters to the Dutch. If England had controlled the North Sea any longer between 1665 and 1667, the Dutch economy would have been completely destroyed. One of the reasons that the Dutch managed to regain control of the waters was that in 1667, the plague broke out in England, greatly weakening the country. England was forced to surrender. The third Anglo-Dutch War began in 1672, and ended in 1674. All through the summer of 1672, the English controlled the seas. Once again, Dutch business confidence was greatly damaged. The Dutch were in danger of immense economic defeat, until they preformed an amazing naval campaign in 1672. This is what ensured their survival against the English. It forced Charles II by his own subjects, to quit the war in 1674.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams. This is a biography of American President John Quincy Adams. He is also well know for being the successful lawyer for the famous Amistad Supreme Court case.

From the site:

John Quincy Adams ( July 11 , 1767 - February 23 , 1848 ) was the sixth ( 1825 - 1829 ) President of the United States . He was the son of President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams . He is the first President whose father was also President. The second one is George W. Bush .

The first President who was the son of a President, John Quincy Adams in many respects paralleled the career as well as the temperament and viewpoints of his illustrious father. Born in Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1767, he watched the Battle of Bunker Hill from the top of Penn's Hill above the family farm. As secretary to his father in Europe, he became an accomplished linguist and assiduous diarist.

After graduating from Harvard College, he became a lawyer. At age 26 he was appointed Minister to the Netherlands, then promoted to the Berlin Legation. In 1802 he was elected to the United States Senate. Six years later President Madison appointed him Minister to Russia.
Serving under President Monroe, Adams was one of America's great Secretaries of State, arranging with England for the joint occupation of the Oregon country, obtaining from Spain the purchase of the Floridas, and formulating with the President the Monroe Doctrine.

Monday, November 29, 2004

History of Bulgaria

History of Bulgaria. This is brief overview to the history of Bulgaria.

From the site:

The first Bulgarian state was recognized in 681 A.D. and was a mixture of Slavs and Bulgars. Several years later, the First Bulgarian Kingdom or the "Golden Age" emerged under Tsar Simeon I in 893-927. During this time, Bulgarian art and literature flourished. Also during the ninth century, Orthodox Christianity became the primary religion in Bulgaria and the Cyrillic alphabet was established.

In 1018, Bulgaria fell under the authority of the Byzantine Empire. Byzantine rule was short-lived, however. By 1185 Bulgarians had broken free of Byzantine rule and, in 1202, they established the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. Ottoman domination of the Balkan Peninsula eventually affected Bulgaria in the late 14th century, and by 1396, Bulgaria had become part of the Ottoman Empire. Following the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78) and the Treaty of Berlin (1885), Bulgaria gained some autonomy under the Ottoman Empire, but complete independence was not recognized until 1908.

During the first half of the 20th century, Bulgaria was marred by social and political unrest. Bulgaria participated in the First and Second Balkan Wars (1912 and 1913) and sided with the Central Powers, and later the Axis Powers, during the two World Wars. Although allied with Germany during World War II, Bulgaria never declared war on Russia.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Camp David Accords -- Framework for Peace

Camp David Accords -- Framework for Peace - A survey of the 1978 Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, with sections: Prelude, Preparations, Negotiations, and Legacy; from the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.

From the site:

The history of Arab-Israeli relations is one of bitter conflict. A history with roots deep into the past and whose progeny have entangled the entire modern world. Every generation since World War II has witnessed the violence and terrible suffering endemic to this region. And often the region's suffering has spilled over. Recent history, however, has promised hope. The beginning of that promise, the framework for peace, was built at Camp David in 1978.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Discover Jamaica-Travel and History.

Discover Jamaica-Travel and History. - A presentation of the History of Jamaica divided into time periods. A place to start learning about all aspects of Jamaica.

From the site:

The recorded history of Jamaica may be roughly divided into six periods:

The first period may be said to date from Columbus’ arrival in the island in 1494 to the destruction of Port Royal in 1692. This covers nearly 200 years. But very little is known about the days when the Spaniards were masters of Jamaica. On the other hand, a good deal is known about the first fifty years of Jamaica as a British colony.

The second period of our history extends from.the destruction of Port Royal to the abolition of the slave trade in 1807. During this time Jamaica flourished as an agricultural colony and became very rich. It reached the height of its prosperity just before the slave trade was abolished; that is, just before the British Government decided that no more slaves were to be brought from Africa and sold as private property

The third period of Jamaican history covers the years between the abolition of the slave trade and the Morant Bay rebellion in 1865. During the 46 years between the abolition of the slave trade and the rebellion, the country passed through many misfortunes and there was a great deal of misery and ill-feeling among the different classes of people in the island.

The fourth period dates from 1865 to the end of July, 1914.

The fifth period began with the outbreak of the First World War on August 1, 1914 and ended on August 1962.

The sixth period began on August 6, 1962, and records the history of Jamaica as an independent country.

Friday, November 26, 2004

History of Brunei Darussalam

History of Brunei Darussalam. This is a good historical overview of the sultanate of Brunei. It is no longer a powerful nation but it has a long history.

From the site:

Historians believe there was a forerunner to the present Brunei Sultanate, which the Chinese called Po-ni. Chinese and Arabic records indicate that this ancient trading kingdom existed at the mouth of the Brunei River as early as the seventh or eighth century A.D. This early kingdom was apparently conquered by the Sumatran Hindu Empire of Srivijaya in the early ninth century, which later controlled northern Borneo and the Philippines. It was subjugated briefly by the Java-based Majapahit Empire but soon regained its independence and once again rose to prominence.

The Brunei Empire had its golden age from the 15th to the 17th centuries, when its control extended over the entire island of Borneo and north into the Philippines. Brunei was particularly powerful under the fifth sultan, Bolkiah (1473-1521), who was famed for his sea exploits and even briefly captured Manila; and under the ninth sultan, Hassan (1605-19), who fully developed an elaborate Royal Court structure, elements of which remain today.

After Sultan Hassan, Brunei entered a period of decline due to internal battles over royal succession as well as the rising influences of European colonial powers in the region that, among other things, disrupted traditional trading patterns, destroying the economic base of Brunei and many other Southeast Asian sultanates. In 1839, the English adventurer James Brooke arrived in Borneo and helped the Sultan put down a rebellion. As a reward, he became governor and later "Rajah" of Sarawak in northwest Borneo and gradually expanded the territory under his control.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Norfolk Island's Fascinating History

Norfolk Island's Fascinating History - A detailed account of Norfolk Island's fascinating and very colourful history. It is interesting and I think I would like to visit this spot in Oceania.

From the site:

The day after the First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay, Lieutenant Philip Gidley King began selecting the handful of men and women whose fate it would be to colonise Norfolk Island. Britain was then engaged in the American War of Independence and her supplies of timber for ship-building and flax for sails were almost exhausted.

When Captain Cook discovered Norfolk Island, he enthusiastically reported that flax and giant pines grew abundantly there. His Majesty's Government had a further reason for colonising Norfolk - if the British didn't, the French would. Lord Sydney's instructions to King were " to send a small establishment thither to secure the same to us and prevent it being occupied by subjects of any other European Power". Six women convicts were chosen as those 'whose characters stood fairest' and they were joined by nine male convicts and eight free men, their ages ranging from 16 to 72.

The oldest, Richard Widdicombe, had been a farmer. He was convicted for `stealing one wooden winch and other goods, value four guineas', and was sentenced to seven years transportation. The youngest, Charles McLennan, was convicted when he was only 14 years of age and given seven years for `stealing a bladder purse, value one penny, one gold half-guinea, one half-crown, and six pennies'. Of the motley 759 persons who arrived with the First Fleet, these 23 were selected as `the best of a bad lot'.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The Aztecs

The Aztecs - A Spanish and English presentation about the Aztec Empire and its fall, and the everyday life and culture of its people. Also provides a selection of games and quizzes, images, and maps.

From the site:

Around 700 years ago ........ the Aztec peoples for some reason or other left their homes in Atzlan ... somewhere in North West Mexico.(1)

They came to the Valley of Mexico named Anahuac, (2) led by their chieftain Tenoch. They were a poor, ragged people who ate rats, snakes, and stole food.

They were just too wild and nasty. So they were driven from one place to another.

Then Tenoch had a vision ... Huitzilopochtli told him to lead his people to a swampy island in the middle of Lake Texcoco. He was told to look for an eagle perched on a cactus, growing from a rock or cave surrounded by water. They were to build their city there and thank Huitzilopochtli for his brilliant idea with human sacrifices. The city they built was called Tenochtitlán, the city of Tenoch in around 1325.

It was very hard to build Tenochtitlan because the Aztecs only had a small piece of land in the surrounding marshes.

The Aztecs made the swampy, shallow lake into chinampas. They made islands by piling up mud from the lake bottom. They used them as their city foundations. To start with they built a few thatched, mud huts, and some small temples.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson. This is a biography of American President Andrew Jackson. This is a good write up about "Old Hickory."

From the site:

Andrew Jackson ( March 15 , 1767 - June 8 , 1845 ) was the seventh ( 1829 - 1837 ) President of the United States , sometimes called "Old Hickory".

Andrew Jackson's parents Andrew Jackson, Sr (c. 1730 - February , 1767 ) and Elizabeth "Betty" Hutchinson (c. 1740 - November , 1781 ) emigrated to the US from Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland in 1765 . The Andrew Jackson Centre at Carrickfergus has information about the family.

Wounded in a duel as a young man, Jackson was a frequent dueler.

Jackson was regarded as a national hero after defeating the British in the 1815 Battle of New Orleans .

In the Presidential Election of 1824 Jackson won both more popular and electoral votes than any other candidate, but did not receive an overall majority so the election went to the House of Representatives, where John Quincy Adams was chosen as President. Jackson beat Adams with a substantial majority four years later, and took office as President in 1829 .

Monday, November 22, 2004

History of Cameroon

History of Cameroon. This is an overview to the history of the African nation of Cameroon.

From the site:

The earliest inhabitants of Cameroon were probably the Bakas (Pygmies). They still inhabit the forests of the south and east provinces. Bantu speakers originating in the Cameroonian highlands were among the first groups to move out before other invaders. During the late 1770s and early 1800s, the Fulani, a pastoral Islamic people of the western Sahel, conquered most of what is now northern Cameroon, subjugating or displacing its largely non-Muslim inhabitants.

Although the Portuguese arrived on Cameroon's coast in the 1500s, malaria prevented significant European settlement and conquest of the interior until the late 1870s, when large supplies of the malaria suppressant, quinine, became available. The early European presence in Cameroon was primarily devoted to coastal trade and the acquisition of slaves. The northern part of Cameroon was an important part of the Muslim slave trade network. The slave trade was largely suppressed by the mid-l9th century. Christian missions established a presence in the late 19th century and continue to play a role in Cameroonian life.

Beginning in 1884, all of present-day Cameroon and parts of several of its neighbors became the German colony of Kamerun, with a capital first at Buea and later at Yaounde. After World War I, this colony was partitioned between Britain and France under a June 28, 1919 League of Nations mandate. France gained the larger geographical share, transferred outlying regions to neighboring French colonies, and ruled the rest from Yaounde. Britain's territory -- a strip bordering Nigeria from the sea to Lake Chad, with an equal population -- was ruled from Lagos.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Ottoman Khilafa

The Ottoman Khilafa - An account of the Ottoman Caliphate, from its founding in 1281, through the glories of empire, decline in the 19th century, and collapse after World War I.

From the site:

The founder of the Ottoman Empire, Osman Gazi (or, as he is known, Osman Khan or Osman Bey) was descended from a line of great leaders who had, in turn, led the Kayi Tribe, the most famous of all the 24 Turkish tribes.

Osman Khan's father, Ertoghrul Gazi, had been appointed Uchbey on the Byzantine Frontier by the Seljukian Sultan, Alauddin. The land was given to him to control and lay along the boundaries of Brusa, Kutahya and Biledjik. Ertoghrul Gazi captured the town of Saegut from the Byzantine Empire and made it the capital city of the region. The duties of the Uchbey were to defend the frontiers of the Empire and to fight against the attacks of the Crusader Knights.

On the death of Ertoghrul Gazi in 1281, his son Osman Gazi, despite being the youngest member of his family, was elected Uchbey to succeed his father.

Osman Gazi, through a clever mixture of diplomacy and warfare, gained large tracts of land from the neighboring Byzantine Emperors. Faced by an alliance of the Byzantine Emperors of Brusa and Nice on the one hand, and Yarhisar and Karadjahisar on the other, Osman Gazi declared war. He attacked Nice and in 1291 captured Karadjahisar. He changed the Castle Church into a mosque and assigned a judge to rule the area.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Edward Bransfield RN

Edward Bransfield RN - Provides information about this man and his connection with Antartica. Also includes information on other key people involved in both the 'Voyage of Discovery and Exploration' and Bransfield's life.

From the site:

Nothing, so far, is known with any certainty about his pre-naval life, which until investigated thoroughly by a dedicated historian, will remain a mystery.

There has been speculation by some writers (e.g. A.G.E. Jones 1966) that both Edward, and his brother William, were in fact English. This however does not 'tie-in' with the likely origin of the Bransfield surname. [Follow Bransfield Surname link at the top of the page]

The only certainty is that Edward was 'prest' on 2nd June 1803 and then drafted to the 'Ville de Paris' as an Ordinary Seaman.

Given the existing vagueness of Edward's life between 1783-1803 the Site Editor can only offer the following, a 'family folk history' for this period - alongside the usual caution with folk histories, that there is no evidence.

The 'family folk history' suggests that Edward was 'prest' while sailing in a small boat with his brother William off the coast of Co. Cork. The 'folk history' further suggests that Edward's father was a flour merchant / owner of a bakery, of some sort, that counted among its customers, the Royal Navy with regard the provision of 'Ships' Biscuits'.

Such a background suggests that Edward would have come from a family of adequate means with regard his education and it is quite likely that he must have been engaged in some employment before his enforced employment with His Majesty's Navy. This employment could have been with the 'family firm' or outside. Either way some trace is likely to exist of perhaps schooling and employment. He was, after all, 20yrs of age or thereabouts at the time of his 'pressing' and able to 'afford' a little recreational sailing [if the family folk history has any validity]. In support of the 'adequate family means' theory is that Edward's Education must have been sufficient to equip him to advance in his Naval career; from the lowliest rank, to being given immense responsibilty at the highest rank available to him.

Friday, November 19, 2004

History of Ecuador

History of Ecuador. This is a short overview to the history of the South American nation of Ecuador.

From the site:

Advanced indigenous cultures flourished in Ecuador long before the area was conquered by the Inca empire in the 15th century. In 1534, the Spanish arrived and defeated the Inca armies, and Spanish colonists became the new elite. The indigenous population was decimated by disease in the first decades of Spanish rule--a time when the natives also were forced into the "encomienda" labor system for Spanish landlords. In 1563, Quito became the seat of a royal "audiencia" (administrative district) of Spain.

After independence forces defeated the royalist army in 1822, Ecuador joined Simon Bolivar's Republic of Gran Colombia, only to become a separate republic in 1830. The 19th century was marked by instability, with a rapid succession of rulers. The conservative Gabriel Garcia Moreno unified the country in the 1860s with the support of the Catholic Church. In the late 1800s, world demand for cocoa tied the economy to commodity exports and led to migrations from the highlands to the agricultural frontier on the coast.

A coastal-based liberal revolution in 1895 under Eloy Alfaro reduced the power of the clergy and opened the way for capitalist development. The end of the cocoa boom produced renewed political instability and a military coup in 1925. The 1930s and 1940s were marked by populist politicians such as five-time president Jose Velasco Ibarra. In January 1942, Ecuador signed the Rio Protocol to end a brief war with Peru the year before. Ecuador agreed to a border that conceded to Peru much territory Ecuador previously had claimed in the Amazon. After World War II, a recovery in the market for agricultural commodities and the growth of the banana industry helped restore prosperity and political peace. From 1948-60, three presidents--beginning with Galo Plaza--were freely elected and completed their terms.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

A Crimean Diary

A Crimean Diary - Details of the memorial and diary of sergreant William Jowett of Beeston, Nottinghamshire, who died as a result of wounds sustained in the Crimean conflict.

From the site:

William Jowett was born in 1830 in Breaston, Derbyshire, the second child and only son of Enoch Jowett and his wife Jane. After the death of his mother in June 1842, his father remarried and a further five sisters and two brothers were born. One of his sisters, Emma married my great great grandfather, Edward Bywater at Beeston Parish Church on Christmas day 1859.

In 1836 the family moved to Beeston, then a town of less than 3000 inhabitants, situated five miles west of Nottingham. William's father, a self employed lace maker by trade had experienced a downturn in fortune and moved his family to Villa Street, in the centre of the town.

Villa Street still exists today, but at that time seems to have been at the centre of the local lace making trade. There were a number of small lace manufacturers operating in the area, some with only one machine and renting space within the premises of other companies.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Collecting Herman Melville

Collecting Herman Melville - An essay detailing the difficulty and allure in collecting works by Melville. Contains biographical information as well as information on his works and their popularity through the last century.

From the site:

Nineteen-ninety-one marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Herman Melville. Numerous observances were held to commemorate the work of that remarkable American writer, so widely forgotten a century ago and so widely celebrated today. The centenary was another step in the evolving attitude toward the man and his work. The re-evaluation of Melville's literary career began even before his death, and has grown in ever-widening circles ever since. Today it is a healthy small industry, especially in the academic arena, where biographers, critics and interpreters, as well as biographers of critics and critics of biographers, assiduously work away. In this whole imposing edifice of Melville studies, booksellers and book collectors have played a role, sometimes aiding scholarship and sometimes paralleling it. And, at the same time, intentionally or not, they have shaped some part of the way Melville is read today.

I came to be a collector of Melville, and hence a participant in the modern Melville world, purely as an amateur. Hearing Robert Penn Warren read from Battle-Pieces inspired me to read further than Moby-Dick, and I worked my way through the works from Typee to the late poems before beginning to accumulate seriously. My reading was made easier by having acquired, for starters, the scholarly Melville material from the library of the Yale professor, Norman Holmes Pearson. This gave me a wealth of secondary material, including all of the standard biographies and early criticism. My own reference library provided many of the sources for the activities of my predecessors in Melville collecting. These aided greatly both in pursuing Melville material and in looking at the history of collecting him. In the case of Melville, there is a strong parallel between the revival of general scholarly interest in him and interest in Melville collecting. In both instances, the modern "Melville revival" dates from 1919, both the centenary of his birth and beginning of a more disillusioned, deterministic, post-war age.

Melville was never completely ignored by intelligent readers during his decades of eclipse. In England, especially, Moby-Dick found numerous readers in the late nineteenth century and first decade of the twentieth century, most notably among the Pre-Raphaelites and such writers as W.H. Hudson and Virginia Woolf. It is safe to say that his general literary stock was far higher among English readers than among Americans during this period. At home, Arthur Stedman made a valiant effort to revive Melville around the time of his death in 1891, republishing Typee, Omoo, White Jacket, and Moby-Dick, but the publisher went bankrupt, and the remaining sheets were sold to an English publisher. Typee seems to have never gone out of print at Harper's during Melville's lifetime, even if its sales were minimal. Moby-Dick saw further republication in England, including in Everyman's Library, before the First World War.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren. This is a decent biography of President Van Buren. He was also know as Old Kinderhook and rumor has it that the expression "OK" originated from him.

From the site:

Martin Van Buren ( December 5 , 1782 - July 24 , 1862 ) was the eighth ( 1833 - 1837 ) Vice President , the eighth ( 1837 - 1841 ) President of the United States and the first President born after the Declaration of Independence.

He was born in Kinderhook , New York of Dutch descent. His father Abraham Van Buren ( February 17 , 1737 - April 8 , 1817 ) was a farmer and tavern-keeper. His mother Maria Hoes ( February 27 , 1747 - February 16 , 1817 ) also had children from a previous marriage.
Martin's education was limited to that which could be obtained in the common schools and at Kinderhook Academy. In 1796 he began the study of law , completing his preparation in 1802 at New York , where he studied under William Peter Van Ness ( 1778 - 1826 ), an eminent lawyer and later Aaron Burr 's second in the duel with Alexander Hamilton . Van Buren made the acquaintance of Burr, but did not fall under his influence. In 1803 he was admitted to the bar and continued in active and successful practice for twenty-five years.

Monday, November 15, 2004

History of Nauru

History of Nauru. This is an overview to the history of the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru.

From the site:

Nauru had little contact with Europeans until whaling ships and other traders began to visit in the 1830s. The introduction of firearms and alcohol destroyed the peaceful coexistence of the 12 tribes living on the island. A 10-year internal war began in 1878 and resulted in a reduction of the population from 1,400 (1843) to around 900 (1888).

The island was allocated to Germany under the 1886 Anglo-German Convention. Phosphate was discovered a decade later and the Pacific Phosphate Company started to exploit the reserves in 1906, by agreement with Germany. Following the outbreak of World War I, the island was captured by Australian forces in 1914. After the war the League of Nations gave Britain, Australia, and New Zealand a trustee mandate over the territory. The three governments established the British Phosphate Commissioners, who took over the rights to phosphate mining.

During World War II Japan occupied Nauru in August 1942 and deported 1,200 Nauruans to work as laborers in the Caroline Islands, where 463 died. The survivors returned to Nauru in January 1946.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Systematics in Prehistory ebook

Systematics in Prehistory ebook - Robert C. Dunnell questions the validity of the concepts and assumptions of scientific classification of prehistoric societies based upon artifacts. A hypertext companion to the book with the same title that features chapter summaries and a glossary.

From the site:

Man has probably had an interest in his past as long as he has been man. Depending upon which authorities one reads and which criteria he uses, this interest has been expressed as archaeology in Western Civilization variously since the birth of that civilization in the Near East, since the time of classical Greece and Rome in the Mediterranean, or since the European Renaissance. Over this period of time--be it five thousand or five hundred years--there naturally have been radical changes in the approach and nature of archaeology.

Today, judging by the meager perspective that can be gained contemporarily, we seem to be entering such a period of change. Often this change is phrased in terms of different approaches or competing schools called the "new archaeology" and the "old archaeology." The "new archaeology" has a different view of the relevance of man's past to his present; its goals appear to be aimed at explanation of man's past, not just at its recitation With new aims have come, at least to some degree, new means for accomplishing them. The newly envisioned goals provide a clarity of purpose, and the people practicing the "new archaeology" are more systematic and articulate about what they are doing, how they are doing it, and, most importantly, why they are doing it. In looking back, or rather across, to the "old" the complaints of the new are not so much that the old is wrong--indeed, the old has produced nearly all that we now have of man's past--but that its goals are too narrow, when it has goals at all. An interest in the past is no longer deemed a justification for a discipline in terms of "current relevance."

In particular, the new has criticized the old as being "an art." This criticism has been drawn for nearly twenty years, usually by pointing out that there is no means within archaeology to rationally evaluate its conclusions. One has to be content with "believing" or with assessing the merits of a set of conclusions by a knowledge of the professional status of the individual who did the work.

There is no denying that this was true and continues to be true of much that is done in archaeology and that this is not a healthy state of affairs. Because of these rather obvious faults, there is a strong tendency to reject the "old archaeology" and to replace it, or attempt to, with the "new archaeology." This, however, it to deny the results of the old and, indeed, the "new archaeology" itself which is born of the old and covertly contains much of it.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Year 1000

The Year 1000 - Discusses medieval attitudes to the end of the previous millennium and argues for an apocalyptic viewpoint. From the Center for Millennial Studies.

From the site:

It is a common for anyone contemplating the year 2000 to ask about what happened in the year 1000. The answer is complex (as it will be for 2000) and complicated by the fact that so few documents from that time survive, only a fraction of which are originals and not later copies. Moreover, depending on the medievalist you consult, you will get radically different answers. Most will tell you that there were few apocalyptic expectations and that it was a year like any other; some (like Johannes Fried, Benjamin Arnold, Daniel Callahan, Guy Lobrichon, and Richard Landes) will tell you that a great deal happened in the way of apocalyptic expectations. The debate, after having been "settled" for over a century in favor of those who feel that an apocalytpic year 1000 is a Romantic myth, has just recently been re-opened, and it is hard to tell where the next generation of medievalists will find their consensus. The Center has recently sponsored a conference on the subject, and plans to edit a book of essays that examine the apocalyptic elements of European culture around 1000. In the meantime, while the experts wrangle, we present the following material as a guide to a wide range of readers -- from the curious layman to the most highly trained scriptorium rat.

Friday, November 12, 2004

History of Bermuda

History of Bermuda. This is a short overview to the history of the vacation isalnd of Bermuda.

From the site:

Bermuda is an archipelago consisting of seven main islands and many smaller islands and islets lying about 1,050 kilometers (650 mi.) east of North Carolina. The main islands--with hilly terrain and subtropical climate--are clustered together and connected by bridges and are considered to be a geographic unit, referred to as the Island of Bermuda.

Bermuda was discovered in 1503 by a Spanish explorer, Juan de Bermudez, who made no attempt to land because of the treacherous reef surrounding the uninhabited islands.

In 1609, a group of British colonists led by Sir George Somers was shipwrecked and stranded on the islands for 10 months. Their reports aroused great interest about the islands in England, and in 1612 King James extended the Charter of the Virginia Company to include them. Later that year, about 60 British colonists arrived and founded the town of St. George, the oldest continuously inhabited English-speaking settlement in the Western Hemisphere. When representative government was introduced to Bermuda in 1620, it became a self-governing colony.

Due to the islands' isolation, for many years Bermuda remained an outpost of 17th-century British civilization, with an economy based on the use of the islands' endemic cedar trees for shipbuilding and the salt trade. Hamilton, a centrally located port founded in 1790, became the seat of government in 1815.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

World History

World History - A narrative on trends, successes and failures across the ages in power conflicts, religion, philosophy, and political institutions. Also, monthly commentaries with a historical perspective.

From the site:

Since this site went online in 1997 it has benefited from much scrutiny, including from a few professional historians. Errors have been found and errors have been corrected. The struggle for accuracy and new content continues. The benefits of rewriting are infinite. And your help is welcome.

I have drawn from primary sources where that has been possible, but as do others who write great sweeps of history I have taken much from those who have devoted their professional lives to a more narrow focus of study. I have tried to avoid myths that are common among non-professional historians and to avoid distortion through omission, which is not easy given the limits of time and length of text.

The writing of history is not a science the same way that biology is a science, but, in my opinion, works called history should be limited to that for which there is empirical evidence. I write about religion because religion is a large part of human history. I do not claim to know whom God favors or what God thinks. I leave the writing of religion with gloss or as a tract to others.

I do have opinions, which I express in a section separate from my historical narrative, a section that includes comments by readers and the beginning of Questions & Answers.

Whatever your perspective you are welcome to challenge me on any point. The more detail you give me the better I will be able to understand you. And giving me your sources would help.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The Taino Indian Culture in the Caribbean

The Taino Indian Culture in the Caribbean - Text article depicts the cultural History of the Taino Indians both before and after the invasion from Spain and the eventual demise of their dominance of the islands.

From the site:

Christopher Columbus, whose name literally means "Christ-bearing colonizer," wrote in his diary shortly after the landfall that he and his sailors saw "naked men" (there were also women), whom they found "very healthy-looking." Landing at Guanahani, in the Bahamas, and sailing on to Cuba and Bohio (Haiti/Santo Domingo), renamed Española, Columbus soon noted a widespread language and system of beliefs and lifeways. Conferring with various caciques (chiefs), he heard them call themselves "Taino." (Tyler 1988)

Taino culture was dominant throughout the Caribbean, a sea and island world that was in turn cradle of Taino civilization. In agriculture, seafaring and cosmology, Ciboney and Guanahatabey (western Cuba), Macorix and/or Ciguayo (Bohio) and even Carib (Lesser Antilles) all followed the material and much of the psycho-spiritual framework of the Taino. The original Caribbeans spoke Arawak. The people of the Arawak language family still comprise one of the more widespread American Indigenous cultures, with relatively large kinship nations in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins of South America. Throughout the Caribbean, usually in remote mountain ranges and coastal promontories, remnant groups and communities of Taino-Arawak and Carib descendants survive to the present. Aspects of the animistic and material culture of the Taino-Arawak have been adopted by the mestizo populations of the Caribbean and are interwoven into the Euro-African fabric of the islands' folk universe.

The word Taino meant "men of the good," and from most indications the Tainos were good. Coupled to the lush and hospitable islands over millennium, and a half, the indigenous people of "La Taina" developed a culture where the human personality was gentle. Among the Taino at the time of contact, by all accounts, generosity and kindness were dominant values. Among the Taino peoples, as with most indigenous lifeways, the physical culture was geared toward a sustainable interaction with the natural surroundings. The Taino's culture has been designated as "primitive" by western scholarship, yet it prescribed a lifeway that strove to feed all the people, and a spirituality that respected, in ceremony most of their main animal and food sources, as well as the natural forces like climate, season and weather. The Taino lived respectfully in a bountiful place and so their nature was bountiful. (Jane 1930)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison. This is a biography of the man who was President of the United States for only a month. Even though his presideny was short, he lived a long and interesting life.

From the site:

William Henry Harrison ( February 9 , 1773 - April 4 , 1841 ) was the ninth ( 1841 ) President of the United States . He was born at the family estate, Berkeley Plantation in Virginia.

Harrison, like many other early presidents, was a Virginia plantation owner. His father, Benjamin Harrison V , was a signatory to the Declaration of Independence , and his brother a member of the United States House of Representatives .

When he was 18, Harrison enlisted in the army, and he quickly rose through the ranks to become the first military governor of the Indiana territory. It was in this capacity that he defeated a rebellion of Native Americans under the leadership of Tecumseh . At the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811 ; Harrison was promoted to general and fought with distinction in the War of 1812 , in which Tecumseh was killed fighting as an ally of the British.

After the war, he was elected to various political offices, including the House of Representatives and the United States Senate . He was the Northern Whig candidate for President in 1836 , but lost the election to Martin Van Buren . He was a candidate again in 1840 , when he won largely because of his heroic military record and the fact that the United States had suffered a severe economic downturn. His vice president was John Tyler . Their campaign slogans of "Log Cabins and Hard Cider" and "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" are among the most famous in American politics.

Monday, November 08, 2004

History of Bosnia and Herzegovina

History of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This site offers an overview to the history of the troubled European nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

From the site:

For the first centuries of the Christian era, Bosnia was part of the Roman Empire. After the fall of Rome, Bosnia was contested by Byzantium and Rome's successors in the west. Slavs settled the region in the 7th century, and the kingdoms of Serbia and Croatia split control of Bosnia in the 9th century. The 11th and 12th centuries saw the rule of the region by the kingdom of Hungary. The medieval kingdom of Bosnia gained its independence around 1200 A.D. Bosnia remained independent until 1463, when Ottoman Turks conquered the region.

During Ottoman rule, many Bosnians converted from Christianity in favor of Islam. Bosnia was under Ottoman rule until 1878, when it was given to Austria-Hungary as a colony. While those living in Bosnia came under rule by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, South Slavs in Serbia and elsewhere were calling for a South Slav state. World War I began when Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Following the Great War, Bosnia became part of the South Slav state of Yugoslavia, only to be given to Nazi-puppet Croatia in World War II. During this period, many atrocities were committed against Jews, Serbs, and others who resisted the occupation. The Cold War saw the establishment of the Communist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito, and the reestablishment of Bosnia as a republic with its medieval borders within the federation of Yugoslavia.