Saturday, June 12, 2004

The Falkland Islands Conflict 1982

The Falkland Islands Conflict 1982 Information on ships, aircraft, major weapon systems and people that participated in the war. Also includes QuickTime videos.

From the site:

On the 5th April 1982, a large British task force set out on a 7500 mile journey to liberate a group of tiny windswept islands in the South Atlantic. On 1st May began the biggest naval action to take place since the Second World War - more than 1000 men lost their lives.

These pages are not only a resource of information (contributed to by people from all round the world, some of whom were actually involved) but also a tribute to those who served in the forces of both sides during the conflict.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Süleyman the Magnificent

Süleyman the Magnificent A biography of the sultan who raised the Ottoman Empire to its height by Tulay Kavalcioglu from the Office of the Prime Minister.

From the site:

Suleyman the Magnificent is a figure that left his mark on Ottoman history. His enigmatic personality, the splendid monuments set up during his reign, and the records of his contemporary historians and observers have always arousen the curiosity of people.

During the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire experienced its golden age and ranked foremost among world powers in cultural and social fields as well as militarily and politically. A look into that period helps us appreciate the historical heritage and the multi-dimensional cultural riches of the Ottomans that to a great extent determined also the outlook of modern Turkey.

A rich collection of precious manuscripts, pictures, jewellery, kilims, ceramics, maps, documents and poems from Suleyman's reign exhibited in the US ten years ago was met with great interest and showed that the world can gain a lot from sharing the historical heritage and multidimensional riches of the Ottomans. This was only one of the initiatives undertaken by the Turkish government to promote the valuable Ottoman heritage abroad. Suleyman the Magnificient, Sultan of Sultans, conqueror of three continents, who shook the world of the 16th century as he raised the Ottoman Empire to the height of its glory is a personality attracting worldwide interest.

Many articles and books on Suleyman the Magnificent have been published worldwide. In fact, Suleyman's popularity and international interest in his success is not something new.

"I know no State which is happier than this one," reported the Venetian ambassador in 1525; "it is furnished with all God's gifts. It controls war and peace; it is rich in gold, in people, in ships, and in obedience; no State can be compared with it. May God long preserve the most just of all Emperors."

Suleyman ruled for a remarkably long reign of 46 years. His life was filled with triumphs, but also darkened with tragedy. Known to Europeans as the Magnificent and to his subjects as the "Lawgiver", he was a brilliant military strategist and an acclaimed legislator. It is said that the laws made by him form the basis for many western ones. Aptly named after the biblical Solomon, Suleyman showed wisdom as a lawgiver - not in the sense of an innovator, but as a regulator and restorer of balance.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Rewriting Indian History

Rewriting Indian History This site is the text of a book which criticisms of established mainstream histories and historians of India. Concentrates particularly on the period of Muslim domination, and accepted views of the Muslim conquests.

From the site:

This book does not pretend to be a historical treaty, neither on India, nor on other civilisations; it only fleetingly uses events and people, in an attempt to go beyond the superficial views that have usually been held on India by many historians.

Many historical books have been written about the greatness of India's past. One of these books is of course A.L. Basham's classic, "The Wonder that WAS India". While there is no doubt that Mr Basham's book is a scholarly treatise, beautifully written, which casts a sympathetic and benevolent look at what he feels WERE some of the wonders of a bygone India, my book differs totally from his for many reasons.

Firstly, he erroneously takes as final the biased theory of an Aryan invasion, subjugating the Good Harappan (Dravidian) civilisation, a theory which I propose to dismantle in the next chapter. Then, like the majority of Western historians, he also post-dates most of the Vedic events - for then, their theory of, say Mohajan-daro being overrun by the Barbarian Aryans, would stand no more. Thirdly, although Mr Basham is full of praise for Indian (pre-Muslim) culture, art, language, sciences, village life, his views of Hinduism seem to be a little warped and reflect a strong Western bias. He appears to have absolutely no understanding of the greatness and importance of the Vedas, in which he sees only "a culture that bears a generic likeness to that of 'Beowulf', the earlier Icelandic sagas'...(nobody ever thought about that one)... 'and was somehow less advanced than that depicted in the Iliad"...! (page 34, Wonder That was India). To flout such an ignorance and contempt for India's culture and compare the visions of great sages who lived at least 5000 years ago, with the tales of the semi-barbarian Beowulf, is quite an achievement! Mr Basham also puts forward the eternal clichés propagated by Christian missionaries and "enlightened secularists" on the Indian caste system. "The Aryans anointed themselves the ruling class (= Brahmins and Kshatriyas), while the poor conquered Dravidians (Harappans), became the slaves, (= Vaishyas and Shudras)". Or: "As they settled among darker aboriginals, the Aryans seem to have laid greater stress than before on purity of blood - and thus class divisions hardened..." (36, Wonder that was India). Or else this monstrosity: "...In the Vedic period, a situation arose rather like that prevailing in South Africa today, with a dominant fair minority, striving to maintain its purity and its supremacy over a darker majority"... (138, Wonder). Poor India, being granted the honour by Mr Basham, of being the founding father of racism! But it is thus that Mr Basham lays the ground for his later theories on what he calls 'Hindu imperialism'.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Hwasong Fortress in Suwon

Hwasong Fortress in Suwon Henny Savenije describes the construction of this fortress built (1794-1796) in Suwon, Korea by King Jeongjo. He includes the original drawings for it from the manuscript book Hwasong Seongyeok Uigwe.

From the site:

The book, which contains the construction process of Hwasong castle, is a book, which is as famous as The Law of Shi Huangdi, First Emperor of China. This book called the Hwasong Seongyeok Uigwe (ü¤àòàòæµëðÏù), or the Archives of the Construction of Hwasong Fortress, shows the construction of Hwasong castle (1794-1796) during the reign of Jeongjo (reigned 1777-1800). The book is now stored in Kyujangha (the cultural library of Seoul National University). Hwasong is also known as Suwonsong or the fortress of Suwon town.

Originally Suwon was located at the foot of the Hwasan mountain range. It's near Osan, about 8 km. away from Suwon some 30 km. south of Seoul. Hwasong castle was built by Jeongjo, the 22nd king of the Choseon Dynasty, for his late father. King Jeongjo's father, Sado Seja, the second son of the 21st king, King Yeongjo, had been installed as crown prince but was condemned by his father to be imprisoned in a rice chest where he died. King Jeongjo moved the tomb of his father from Beabongsan to Hwasong in Suwon and moved Suwon-bu to the vicinity of Padalsan mountain.

Jeongjo innovated domestic administration, enhanced learning to establish a library called Kyujanggak and encouraged industry and mechanics. Building the walled city, Hwasong, was one of his political deeds.

Hwasong was derived from Hwasan, the name of both the old town and the mountain were the tomb was located. The hwa in Hwasong and Hwasan were believed to have a phonetic resemblance. Hwasan was also called the 800 peaks surrounding a peak, therefore looking like a flower bud (Hwa) and the Hwa of Hwasong (Fortress of grass?)

The construction is an example of how Korean and Chinese construction could go together. The total length of the walls of Hwasong is 5,520 mtr. It is a flat type of mountain fortress build alongside the Paldal mountain in the west and on low hills and level ground in the east. It has various defensive facilities such as; four gates, a secret gate, a flood gate, a watch tower, an empty watchtower, empty signal fire towers, fortress tower, commander's pavilion. Until then the castles of Choson were divided into a castle to live in and a mountain fortress wall to protect refugees in times of war. Hwasong however stands out, since it has both functions.