Saturday, June 19, 2004

"The Age of Discovery"

"The Age of Discovery" Chapter-length article written in 1966 reviewing the literature on exploration. Includes references, by Wilcomb E. Washburn. This is a little dated but it is fun.

From the site:

"The Age of Discovery!" What visions the phrase conjures
up! Yet what confusion! The discovery of America by Columbus
reverently learned by schoolboys as one of the great and clearcut
accomplishments of history, is, when subjected to examination,
filled with uncertainty. What do we mean by "America"?
Columbus, until his dying day, believed that he had reached Asia.
Did he then discover "America" in the sense that we think of it?
Moreover, what do we mean by "discover"? Why do we honor
Columbus since the Norsemen reached the Western Hemisphere five
hundred years earlier? The number of plausible questions that
can be raised suggests the variety of possible interpretations
for every step of the process by which Europe expanded, not only
into the New World that we are accustomed to think of as its
particular concern, but into the old world of Asia that was, in
fact, its principal goal.

The expansion took place largely in the period of the
fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries, although it cannot be
bound strictly at either end of the time scale. Movement outward
from the western European peninsula took varied forms and shapes
as it proceeded by land and by sea throughout Europe, Asia, and
America. The result was a vast increase in power, wealth, and
knowledge for the tiny nation states of western Europe. As a
process, European expansion must be studied as a single
phenomenon, however difficult it may be for one man to comprehend
the myriad events, languages, motives, and consequences which
characterize it. Its origins in classical and medieval times,
its remarkable achievements in the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, and its impact during the more scientific and rational
eras of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries must all be
assessed in order to understand its significance. European
expansion was at once medieval and scientific, commercial and
spiritual, concerned with both East and West. This pamphlet,
therefore, will treat all the continents, oceans, and eras
involved in this Age of Discovery.

Friday, June 18, 2004
Book by William McGaughey about world history as emerging in five civilizations. Provides some brief descriptions and timelines, relating four of them to changes in communication technologies.

From the site:

Five Epochs of Civilization offers a comprehensive theory that links world history to the apearance of new communication technologies. Alternatively, this theory shows how human societies have become progressively more complex and pluralistic as new institutions of power were formed in successive historical epochs. This is a worldwide process. The time line is roughly:

Civilization I - 3000 B.C. to 550 B.C.
Civilization II - 550 B.C. to 1450 A.D.
Civilization III - 1450 A.D. to 1920 A.D.
Civilization IV - 1920 A.D. to 1990 A.D.
Civilization V - 1990 A.D. to present

But, in fact, the different societies on earth enter these civilizations at different times. Civilizations are a cultural complex whose development is not set chronologically but by an organic growth process.

World history is a creation story. It is the story of how human societies developed from small-scale tribal communities to what we have today. This should be a story suitable for all the world's people, having no nationalistic, religious, or demographic ax to grind.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge This is a biography of American President Calvin Coolidge.

From the site:

John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. ( July 4 , 1872 – January 5 , 1933 ) was the twenty-ninth ( 1921 - 1923 ) Vice President and the thirtieth ( 1923 - 1929 ) President of the United States , succeeding to that office upon the death of Warren Harding .

He was born in Plymouth , Windsor County , Vermont on July 4, 1872 , but dropped John from his name upon graduating from college. He attended Amherst College , Massachusetts , graduating in 1895 . He practiced law in Northampton, Massachusetts, and was a member of the city council in 1899 , city solicitor from 1900 - 1902 , clerk of courts in 1904 , and a member of the State house of representatives 1907 - 1908 .

Coolidge was elected mayor of Northampton in 1910 and 1911, was a member of the State senate 1912 - 1915, serving as president of that body in 1914 and 1915 . He was lieutenant governor of the state 1916 - 1918 , and Governor 1919 - 1920. He was elected Vice President of the United States on the Republican ticket headed by Warren G. Harding in 1920 . He was inaugurated on March 4 , 1921 , and served until August 3, 1923 . Upon the death of President Harding, Coolidge became President of the United States on August 3, 1923. Coolidge was visiting at the family home, still without electricity or telephone, when he got word of Harding's death. His father, a notary public, administered the oath of office in the family's parlor by the light of a kerosene lamp; Coolidge was resworn by a federal official upon his return to Washington.

Unusually for a prominent politician, Coolidge was a man of few words, earning him the nickname "Silent Cal."

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The Puerto Rican Soldier - video documentary on 65th Infantry Regiment.

The Puerto Rican Soldier - video documentary on 65th Infantry Regiment. A documentary about Puerto Rico's 65th Infantry Regiment, the only Hispanic-segregated unit in Army history. Produced by El Pozo Productions, using extensive interviews and archival footage.

From the site:

Although thousands of Puerto Ricans have served courageously in the armed forces since World War I, their presence and sacrifices have gone unnoticed in America. Many Americans are not familiar with the political and socio-economic relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico which makes Puerto Ricans U.S. citizens and requires them to serve in the U.S. armed forces during wartime drafts, even though they are not allowed to vote for President of the United States. Puerto Ricans resisting the draft were sent to U.S. penitentiaries. Thousands of other Puerto Ricans volunteered freely to help further the cause of democracy.

This is the story of the 65th Infantry Regiment, the only Hispanic-segregated unit in U.S. military history. This unique regiment with a long and honored tradition has been the source of pride to many Puerto Ricans for more than 100 years. From its inception as a volunteer regiment in 1899 through its participation in World War I, World War II and the Korean Conflict, the men of 65th Infantry Regiment served with distinction. Mandated by Congress to be a segregated unit comprised primarily of Puerto Ricans with mostly continental officers, the 65th went on to demonstrate their military prowess in Korea and earned the respect and admiration of their fellow soldiers and the military authorities, including General Douglas MacArthur. During the Korean War, the 65th was sent to battle on the front lines and participated in nine major campaigns. In spite of the overwhelming number of Chinese forces and harsh climate conditions, the 65th proved themselves to be fierce warriors. They were nicknamed "The Borinqueneers" from the word Borinquen, the name the native Taino Indians called Puerto Rico. As U.S. soldiers, the Puerto Ricans were thrown into a foreign culture and language that many times responded with prejudice and discrimination. Some barely spoke English. Despite these impediments, many Puerto Ricans met the challenge and persevered. They served with distinction, made valuable contributions to the war effort, and earned well-deserved praise and commendation for their struggles and sacrifices. The 65th received a Presidential Unit Citation, a Meritorious Unit Commendation, and two Republic of Korea Unit Citations. Although still under research, to date, individual members of the unit have been awarded 9 Distinguished Service Crosses, 163 Silver Stars, 562 Bronze Stars and 1,014 Purple Hearts. For a small island, it also suffered tremendous casualties disproportionate to its population.

As the regiment's stay lengthened in Korea, their military performance was affected by various factors. At a particularly difficult battle at Outpost Kelly, the 65th suffers more than 400 casualties, almost 10% of its total Korean War casualties. In October of 1952, there were numerous casualties again in a battle at Jackson Heights. This time, various troops of the 65th refused to continue attacking what they regarded as a suicide post. As a result, almost 100 men were court-martialed and the Puerto Ricans were incorporated into various American units. The 65th Infantry Regiment ceased to exist as an all-Puerto Rican unit, but continued as an integrated unit even participating at the famous Outpost Harry battle. Eventually, most of the sentences were remitted and many of the soldiers were reinstated. The alarming events that took place at Outpost Kelly and Jackson Heights have not been adequately explained to the public and are shrouded in mystery and controversy. This film will try to explain what really happened there.

This is a story of men wrestling with the conflict between their personal and two distinct national identities, caught between their obligation to fulfill their military duties and trying to survive in the midst of the harshest combat conditions. The story of the forgotten men of the 65th will shed light on their remarkable contributions, accomplishments and struggles.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Hawaii's Royalty on Stamps

Hawaii's Royalty on Stamps Brief information about the Kingdom of Hawaii, the Kamehameha kings, and their portrayal on stamps between 1853 and 1892.

From the site:

The Kingdom of Hawaii issued stamps from 1851 to 1892. Then after a coup, Hawaii's stamps bore the title "Republic of Hawaii." At first they were overprints (1893), then a new issue in '94.

A small set of color changes for three issues came in 1899 when the United States annexed Hawaii, and after 1900 American stamp issues were used throughoug the postal system.

The first stamps of Hawaii are a small set of four called the "Missionaries," only because Christian missionaries used them on their letters back to their home offices in the United States. Though the designs are just numerals with fancy borders, these are the gems of philately, prices for which are in six-digits. Copies on cover can run into the millions.

Starting in 1853 the stamps of the Kingdom of Hawaii portray the kings and royal family of Hawaii, which traces its formation back to a young man from the northern end of the Big Island of Hawaii whose name meant "the very lonely one."