Saturday, October 23, 2004

Teaching about the Built Environment

Teaching about the Built Environment. This is an article which shows how the concept of the built environment can be used to teach students about social studies. This includes the study of history.

From the site:

Built environment education fits easily into the standard subjects of the social studies such as history, geography, civics, and economics. Consider, for example, the relevancy of using a nearby and familiar building or site as a "learning hook" and a "visual history book" for students in a high school United States history course. Historic buildings can be used as primary sources in the study of persons and events associated with a place. And studies of architecture in different places and periods of history provide insights about continuity and change in various civilizations. Examination of architecture in different civilizations is a useful exercise in comparative historical studies.

The five main themes of geography education can easily be connected to objects in the built environment. These five themes are (1) location, (2) place, (3) human-environment interactions, (4) movement of people, ideas, goods, and (5) formation and change of regions. It is impossible to teach these themes without reference to the built environment. Teachers should be urged to emphasize these connections through field trips and video programs that provide direct and vivid instruction about architecture and other aspects of the built environment.

Issues in city planning and community development can be treated in civics and economics courses. So can lessons in responsible citizenship that pertain to the ethics of environmental stewardship and historic preservation.

Friday, October 22, 2004

History of Belize

History of Belize. This is an essay which gives an overview of the history of Belize. It is an easy and informative read.

From the site:

The Mayan civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 BC and AD 300 and flourished until about AD 1200. Several major archeological sites--notably Caracol, Lamanai, Lubaantun, Altun Ha, and Xunantunich--reflect the advanced civilization and much denser population of that period. European contact began in 1502 when Christopher Columbus sailed along the coast. The first recorded European settlement was begun by shipwrecked English seamen in 1638. Over the next 150 years, more English settlements were established. This period also was marked by piracy, indiscriminate logging, and sporadic attacks by Indians and neighboring Spanish settlements.

Great Britain first sent an official representative to the area in the late 18th century, but Belize was not formally termed the "Colony of British Honduras" until 1840. It became a crown colony in 1862. Subsequently, several constitutional changes were enacted to expand representative government. Full internal self-government under a ministerial system was granted in January 1964. The official name of the territory was changed from British Honduras to Belize in June 1973, and full independence was granted on September 21, 1981.

Belize's principal external concern has been the dispute involving the Guatemalan claim to Belizean territory. This dispute originated in Imperial Spain's claim to all "New World" territories west of the line established in the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. Nineteenth-century efforts to resolve the problems led to later differences over interpretation and implementation of an 1859 treaty intended to establish the boundaries between Guatemala and Belize, then named British Honduras. Guatemala contends that the 1859 treaty is void because the British failed to comply with all its economic assistance clauses. Neither Spain nor Guatemala ever exercised effective sovereignty over the area.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Uncover the Net Web Directory

Uncover the Net Web Directory - There is a new Web directory that is worthy of attention. It is only a few weeks old but it looks like it has real potential. Please note the history category. Do you have a history web site? This would be a good place to submit it. You can be listed for free if you will give Uncover the Net a link on your site. You can also pay a small fee ($9.95) to get listed which is probably worth it. Both Google and Yahoo! weigh links listed in directories highly when formulating the search algorithm.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor. This is a brief biography of American President Zachary Taylor. He was the hero of the Mexican War and the second President to die in office.

From the site:

Zachary Taylor ( November 24 , 1784 - July 9 , 1850 ), also known as "Old Rough and Ready", was the 12th ( 1849 - 1850 ) President of the United States , and the second President to die in office.

Taylor was a career soldier . Starting with a commission as a first lieutenant, in 1808 , he fought in the War of 1812 , the Black Hawk War , and the Second Seminole War . President Polk sent an army under his command to the Rio Grande in 1846 . When the Mexicans attacked Taylor's troops, Taylor defeated the Mexicans, despite being outnumbered 4-to-1, and Polk declared war.

In the Mexican-American War that followed, Taylor won additional important victories at Monterrey and Buena Vista and became a national hero. President Polk, disturbed by General Taylor's informal habits of command and perhaps his Whig status as well, kept him in northern Mexico and sent an expedition under General Winfield Scott to capture Mexico City. Taylor, incensed, thought that "the battle of Buena Vista opened the road to the city of Mexico and the halls of Montezuma, that others might revel in them."

He received the Whig nomination for President in 1848 , although he had never even bothered to vote before. His homespun ways were political assets, his long military record would appeal to northerners, and his ownership of slaves would attract southern votes. He also had not previously committed himself on troublesome issues. He ran against the Democratic candidate, Lewis Cass , who favored letting the residents of territories decide for themselves whether they wanted slavery. In protest against Taylor, a slaveholder, and Cass, an advocate of "squatter sovereignty", northerners who opposed extension of slavery into territories formed the Free Soil Party and nominated Martin Van Buren . In a close election, the Free Soilers pulled enough votes away from Cass to elect Taylor.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Wikinfo - Soviet Union

Wikinfo - Soviet Union. This is an article on the former Soviet Union for the Web encyclopedia Wikinfo. It has a synopsis of Soviet history.

From the site:

Unhappiness with the Russian involvement in World War I led to the Russian Revolution in 1917 and a resultant civil war, ending in the establishing of the Soviet Union, the first communist state, on December 30, 1922.

The Soviet Union was the successor state of the Russian Empire but was smaller as a result of the independence of Poland, Finland and the Baltic States.

The territory of the Soviet Union increased during its period of hostility with Nazi Germany. Under Premier Joseph Stalin, the Soviet Union emerged from the World War II as a major world power with a territory including the Baltic States and a significant portion of the territory of pre-war Poland together with a substantial sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. For more details see the article on the Soviet Empire. Political confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States persisted for many years and is termed the Cold War.

In 1991, the Soviet Union fell apart after a failed coup attempt by military leaders.

Monday, October 18, 2004

History of Belgium

History of Belgium. This is a short piece which looks at the history of Belgium.

From the site:

Belgium derives its name from a Celtic tribe, the Belgae, whom Caesar described as the most courageous tribe of Gaul. However, the Belgae were forced to yield to Roman legions during the first century B.C. For some 300 years thereafter, what is now Belgium flourished as a province of Rome. But Rome's power gradually lessened. In about A.D. 300, Attila the Hun invaded what is now Germany and pushed Germanic tribes into northern Belgium. About 100 years later, the Germanic tribe of the Franks invaded and took possession of Belgium. The northern part of present-day Belgium became an overwhelmingly Germanized and Germanic-Frankish-speaking area, whereas in the southern part people continued to be Roman and spoke derivatives of Latin. After coming under the rule of the Dukes of Burgundy and, through marriage, passing into the possession of the Hapsburgs, Belgium was occupied by the Spanish (1519-1713) and the Austrians (1713-1794).

Under these various rulers, and especially during the 500 years from the 12th to the 17th century, the great cities of Ghent, Bruges, Brussels, and Antwerp took turns at being major European centers for commerce, industry (especially textiles) and art. Flemish painting--from Van Eyck and Breugel to Rubens and Van Dyck--became the most prized in Europe. Flemish tapestries hung on castle walls throughout Europe.

Following the French Revolution, Belgium was invaded and annexed by Napoleonic France in 1795. Yet with the defeat of Napoleon's army at the Battle of Waterloo, fought just a few miles south of Brussels, Belgium was separated from France and made part of the Netherlands by the Congress of Vienna in 1815.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies

Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies - Furthers study of the history, culture, language and literature of the Byzantine Empire. Events and exhibitions, funding opportunities, publications and theses, fieldwork and courses.

From the site:

The Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies (SPBS) was established in 1983, with the object of furthering study and knowledge of the history and culture, language and literature of the Byzantine Empire and its neighbours.

The Executive of the SPBS also serves as the British National Committee of the Association Internationale des Etudes Byzantines (AIEB), which was founded in 1948, and, among its other functions, sponsors and International Congress every five years. Among other activities the Society sponsors an annual Symposium, which is held every spring at different locations in the British isles; the Symposium normally incorporates the Annual General Meeting of the Society.

The Society also compiles the annual Bulletin of British Byzantine Studies which is circulated to all members. The Bulletin includes reports on recent publications and work in progress by all members of the society; news of fieldwork; abstracts of newly completed theses; a bibliography of books in the field published during the year; reports on recent conferences, including a regular feature on the annual Spring Symposium of the Society; and a calendar of events of interest to members.

There are also special features on a variety of topics. As a result, it is an indispensable tool for anyone with a serious interest in Byzantine Studies. The Society also publishes the main papers delivered at its annual Symposia; these volumes always deal with a particular theme or topic in Byzantine Studies. Special Byzantine tours and cruises organised by the British Museum Tours and Swan Hellenic Cruises are often available for SPBS members to improve their acquaintance with Byzantine geography and monuments. The society plans to organise more special events, including museum openings, study days and lectures by eminent Byzantinists in the future.