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.