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 EspaƱola, 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.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Duke of Argyll

The Duke of Argyll - A biography of Lord Lorne, the fourth Governor General of Canada. It is brief and to the point and it taught me a lot about a personality I previously knew nothing.

From the site:

When Lord Lorne's appointment was announced, there was great excitement throughout Canada. For the first time, Rideau Hall would have a royal resident – Queen Victoria's fourth daughter, Princess Louise, had married Lord Lorne on March 21, 1871. The Canadian Prime Minister relaxed his busy campaign schedule to prepare for her arrival and to organize a special carriage and corps of guards to protect the princess.

During Lord Lorne's term of office, the recession plaguing the Canadian economy ended and Sir John A. MacDonald returned as Prime Minister. Canada was experiencing a renewal of optimism and an upswing of nationalism.

At age 33, the Lord Lorne was Canada's youngest Governor General, but he was not too young to handle the many demands of his post. He and Princess Louise made many lasting contributions to Canadian society especially in the arts and sciences. They encouraged the establishment of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the National Gallery of Canada, even selecting some of its first paintings. In addition to acting as a patron of arts and letters in Canada, Lord Lorne was the author of many books of prose and poetry. His writings show a deep appreciation of Canada's physical beauty.