Saturday, February 19, 2005

Carausius and Allectus

Carausius and Allectus. Essay describing the reigns of these two Roman rulers. Also includes annotated pictures of coins issued during their tenure as emperor.

From the site:

In AD 286 Maximian, newly appointed as his co-emperor by Diocletian, was in Gaul (modern day France) suppressing a revolt by runaway slaves and peasants known as the Bacaudae. At this time the south-eastern coast of Britain and northern Gaul were being subjected to raids by Saxon pirates and it was thought necessary to create a naval force to deal with them.

Command of this fleet was given to one of Maximian's lieutenants called Carausius, who had already demonstrated his skill and valour. Soon after his appointment, however, complaints were made that instead of returning any recaptured booty, Carausius was expropriating it for his own use. Maximian ordered his arrest and execution but Carausius forestalled this by sailing off to Britain and declaring himself emperor. How this was accomplished is unknown and the literary evidence for the chronology and events of this rebellion are extremely scanty. The main sources are two panegyrics, one in honour of Maximian, delivered by Claudius Mamertinus in AD 289, and the other by Eumenius in AD 297 for Constantius I. There are also sketchy accounts by Aurelius Victor and Eutropius over half a century later, the ramblings of Geoffrey of Monmouth written circa AD 1136, reputedly based on Welsh folklore, and the medieval Scottish Chronicles of John of Fordun and Hector Boethius. Although writing a thousand years after the event, the Chroniclers add many details not found elsewhere, such as a supposed alliance with the Picts and Scots which enabled Carausius to defeat the Roman garrison and take control of the island.

In general they are in agreement, that Carausius first sailed round Britain and then, after landing in the north, defeated the Roman governor, Quintus Bassianus, in a battle fought near York. So little is known about Carausius that were it not for the famous Carlisle milestone we would not even be aware of his full name. This stone, discovered in 1875, bears the legend IMP C M AVR MAVS CARAVSIO INVICTO AVG. It had been reversed in the ground and re-used in the time of Constantius I. His name and titles were therefore Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Mausaeus Carausius the Invincible (unconquered) Augustus (emperor). According to the historians he was a citizen of Menapia, part of modern Belgium, and stress that he was "vilissime natus" - of the most humble birth.

Friday, February 18, 2005

History of East Timor

History of East Timor. This is a brief overview to the history of the newly independent nation of East Timor.

From the site:

Portuguese and Dutch traders made the first western contact with East Timor in the early 16th century. Sandalwood and spice traders, as well as missionaries, maintained sporadic contact with the island until 1642, when the Portuguese moved into Timor in strength. The Portuguese and the Dutch, based at the western end of the island in Kupang, battled for influence until the present-day borders were agreed to by the colonial powers in 1915. Imperial Japan occupied East Timor from 1942-45. The territory of the Dutch East Indies, including West Timor, gained independence as the Republic of Indonesia in 1949.

Following a military coup in Lisbon in April 1974, Portugal began a rapid and disorganized decolonization process in most of its overseas territories, including East Timor. Political tensions--exacerbated by Indonesian involvement--heated up, and on August 11, 1975, the Timorese Democratic Union Party (UDT) launched a coup d'état in Dili. The putsch was followed by a brief but bloody civil war in which the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) pushed UDT forces into Indonesian West Timor. Shortly after the FRETILIN victory in late September, Indonesian forces began incursions into East Timor. On October 16, five journalists from Australia, Britain, and New Zealand were murdered in the East Timorese town of Balibo shortly after they had filmed regular Indonesian army troops invading East Timorese territory. On November 28, FRETILIN declared East Timor an independent state, and Indonesia responded by launching a fullscale military invasion on December 7. On December 22, 1975 the UN Security Council called on Indonesia to withdraw its troops from East Timor.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Conversations with History

Conversations with History - Instructors of modern world history will find good primary source material in this site’s 300+ interviews with newsmakers, historians, journalists, scientists, and others who created and observed that history. This site is maintained by the Institute of International Studies at the UC Berkeley.

From the site:

In these lively and unedited video interviews, distinguished men and women from all over the world talk about their lives and their work. Guests include diplomats, statesmen, and soldiers; economists and political analysts; scientists and historians; writers and foreign correspondents; activists and artists. The interviews span the globe and include discussion of political, economic, military, legal, cultural, and social issues shaping our world. At the heart of each interview is a focus on individuals and ideas that make a difference.

Harry Kreisler is executive producer and moderator of the series, which is produced at the Institute of International Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. Conceived in 1982 by Mr. Kreisler as a way to capture and preserve through conversation and technology the intellectual ferment of our times, Conversations with History includes over 300 interviews.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Fashion in Weimar Germany

Fashion in Weimar Germany. An essay discussing images of the 'New Woman' with short bobbed hair and masculine clothes in relation to their roots in the sociological background of Germany in the 1920s.

From the site:

It is Germany, 1928. Raucous laughter from the cabaret seeps outside as Lotte passes in the shadows of the cold Berlin night. The streets are sexually charged, lined with a heady concoction of prostitution, homosexuality, transvestism and drugs. Still spinning from the collective lust roaring unashamedly through the theatre that evening, Lotte heads now for the café bar at the Eden Hotel where she lives. Jostling with leggy glamour girls as she takes her drink, Lotte pushes a straying strand of short hair behind her ear, settles her slender trouser-suited body into the deep folds of an armchair and smiles provocatively as she lights a cigarette.

Berlin's interwar reputation of hedonistic decadence and debauchery is familiar through scenes from Metropolis by Fritz Lang, images of Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel by Josef von Sternberg and stage productions of The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht. A ferment of artistic and sexual experimentation, the Weimar Republic (1918-1933) privileged an outpouring of cultural creativity in the Bauhaus movement of modern art and the development of the International Style in modern architecture. Against a background of inflation and depression, Berlin drew the talent and energies of the rest of Germany towards its glittering cabaret performances and burgeoning sex tourism industry. From within this hotbed of frenzied immorality, supposedly constitutional sexual equality worked to create the myth of the sexually liberated and financially independent 'New Woman' in Weimar German society.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

History at Library Reference Search

History at Library Reference Search. I found an excellent Web directory that I like. Library Reference Search is well done and has tons of quality sites listed. The history categories are vast. Here are a few example categories:

United States History
Maritime History
Wars and Conflicts
Prehistory
Middle Ages
Twentieth Century History

And many more...I'll be visiting this site often to find good sites to blog.

Monday, February 14, 2005

History of Comoros

History of Comoros. This is an overview to the history of the African island nation of Comoros.

From the site:

Over the centuries, the islands were invaded by a succession of diverse groups from the coast of Africa, the Persian Gulf, Indonesia, and Madagascar. Portuguese explorers visited the archipelago in 1505. "Shirazi" Arab migrants introduced Islam at about the same time. Between 1841 and 1912, France established colonial rule over Grande Comore, Anjouan, Mayotte, and Moheli and placed the islands under the administration of the governor general of Madagascar. Later, French settlers, French-owned companies, and wealthy Arab merchants established a plantation-based economy that now uses about one-third of the land for export crops. After World War II, the islands became a French overseas territory and were represented in France's National Assembly. Internal political autonomy was granted in 1961. Agreement was reached with France in 1973 for Comoros to become independent in 1978. On July 6, 1975, however, the Comorian Parliament passed a resolution declaring unilateral independence. The deputies of Mayotte abstained. As a result, the Comorian Government has effective control over only Grande Comore, Anjouan, and Moheli. Mayotte remains under French administration.

The Union of Comoros is ruled by former Army Col. President Azali Assoumani. The political situation in Comoros has been extremely fluid since the country's independence in 1975, subject to the volatility of coups and political insurrection. Colonel Azali seized power in a bloodless coup in April 1999, overthrowing Interim President Tadjiddine Ben Said Massounde, who himself had held the office since the death of democratically elected President Mohamed Taki Abdoulkarim in November 1998. In May 1999, Azali decreed a Constitution that gave him both executive and legislative powers. Bowing somewhat to international criticism, Azali appointed a civilian prime minister, Bainrifi Tarmidi, in December 1999; however, Azali retained the mantle of head of state and army commander. In December 2000, Azali named a new civilian Prime Minister, Hamada Madi, and formed a new civilian Cabinet. When Azali took power he also pledged to step down in 2000 and relinquish control to a democratically elected president. Instead, in 2001, Azali resigned from the military and ran as a civilian candidate for the national president. He was elected in flawed but fair elections.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Walker's Expeditions

Walker's Expeditions - Describes William Walker's military campaigns, 1855-60, with overview of US and British interests in Nicaragua at that time. Be sure to turn on your pop up blocker for this site!

From the site:

British and United States interests in Nicaragua grew during the mid-1800s because of the country's strategic importance as a transit route across the isthmus. British settlers seized the port of San Juan del Norte--at the mouth of the Río San Juan on the southern Caribbean coast--and expelled all Nicaraguan officials on January 1, 1848. The following year, Britain forced Nicaragua to sign a treaty recognizing British rights over the Miskito on the Caribbean coast. Britain's control over much of the Caribbean lowlands, which the British called the Mosquito Coast (present-day Costa de Mosquitos), from 1678 until 1894 was a constant irritant to Nicaraguan nationalists. The start of the gold rush in California in 1849 increased United States interests in Central America as a transoceanic route, and Nicaragua at first encouraged a United States presence to counterbalance the British.

The possibility of economic riches in Nicaragua attracted international business development. Afraid of Britain's colonial intentions, Nicaragua held discussions with the United States in 1849, leading to a treaty that gave the United States exclusive rights to a transit route across Nicaragua. In return, the United States promised protection of Nicaragua from other foreign intervention. On June 22, 1849, the first official United States representative, Ephraim George Squier, arrived in Nicaragua. Both liberals and conservatives welcomed the United States diplomat. A contract between Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, a United States businessman, and the Nicaraguan government was signed on August 26, 1849, granting Vanderbilt's company--the Accessory Transit Company--exclusive rights to build a transisthmian canal within twelve years. The contract also gave Vanderbilt exclusive rights, while the canal was being completed, to use a land-and-water transit route across Nicaragua, part of a larger scheme to move passengers from the eastern United States to California. The westbound journey across Nicaragua began by small boat from San Juan del Norte on the Caribbean coast, traveled up the Río San Juan to San Carlos on Lago de Nicaragua, crossed Lago de Nicaragua to La Virgen on the west shore, and then continued by railroad or stagecoach to San Juan del Sur on the Pacific coast. In September 1849, the United States-Nicaragua treaty, along with Vanderbilt's contract, was approved by the Nicaraguan Congress.