Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Captivity of Jonathan Alder

The Captivity of Jonathan Alder - Read this book about his life with the Indians as dictated by him and transcribed by his son Henry.

From the site:

Jonathan Alder, son of Bartholomew and Hannah Alder, was born in the state of Maryland, September 17, 1773. In 1775 his father removed to Wythe County, Virginia. He purchased a small tract of land, erected a plain log cabin and began to make improvements. In 1779, Mr. Alder died, leaving his wife and five sons. He had been twice married, having one son John, by his first wife, and four, David, Jonathan, Mark, and Paul by his second wife. At his decease, he was possessed of several head of horses, cattle and swine, which fed upon the wild grass, herbage and nuts of the forest, and frequently strayed along the mountain valleys.

On a pleasant morning in May, 1781, Mrs. Alder awakened David and Jonathan, somewhat earlier than usual, stating that they must rise, eat their breakfast and go in search of a mare and colt that had strayed a few days before. When breakfast was ready, David seemed very despondent and did not eat much. Procuring a bridle and halter, they started in quest of the missing animals. By paths they passed into the deep woods and wandered about for several hours, without finding the horses. They finally came to a little mountain stream upon the banks of which grew several bunches of wild willows. David gave his knife to Jonathan and requested him to cut a bundle of willows, and when they returned he would make a basket. Jonathan commenced to cut willows, while David continued the search for the missing horses. He had been gone but a short time, when Jonathan began to have fears of their safety, ceased work, and seated himself upon a log a few paces from the willows and waited the return of his brother. He had been there but a short time when David called to him. He followed, exchanging helloes several times, before he came up to his brother. David had found the mare and colt, but the colt was unable to rise. It had probably eaten of the "stagger weed" which grew abundantly in that part of the country, and seemed paralyzed in its limbs. David told him to take hold of the colt by the tail, while he would lift it up by the neck, and see if they could get it upon its feet. They lifted it up several times, but it was so stiff it could not stand. They concluded to try it again, and if it did not help itself to abandon it to its fate. While in the act of stooping, David looked into the forest, and exclaimed, "See, there are Indians." He was very active and fleet of foot, and darted away like an arrow into the forest, while two Indians gave pursuit. There were five Indians and one white man in the gang. The word "Indians" so alarmed Jonathan, that he was unable to move. By the time he had raised up, an Indian stood by him, and extended his hand, which Jonathan trembling, grasped. He was greatly terrified, fearing an Indian more than the wild beasts of the forest. His captor held him tightly by the hand, while he trembled in the momentary expectation of being tomahawked or scalped.

Friday, June 03, 2005

History of US Virgin Islands

History of US Virgin Islands. This is a short but decent history of the American portion of the Virgin Islands.

From the site:

The Virgin Islands were originally settled by the Ciboney, Carib, and Arawaks. The islands were named by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493. Over the next three hundred years, the islands were held by many European powers, including Spain, England, Holland, France, the Knights of Malta, and Denmark.

The Danish West India Company settled on Saint Thomas in 1672, on Saint John in 1694, and purchased Saint Croix from the French in 1733. The islands became royal Danish colonies in 1754. Sugarcane, produced by slave labor, drove the islands' economy during the 18th and early 19th centuries, until the abolition of slavery by Governor Peter von Scholten on July 3, 1848.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Nineteenth-Century American Children and What They Read

Nineteenth-Century American Children and What They Read - A site devoted to the magazines and books read by 19th-century American children, especially works published before 1870. Includes timeline, books and authors, papers and analyses, and images.

From the site:

When most people think of nineteenth-century American children's books, they think of works like Louisa May Alcott's Little Women (1868), or Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer (1876). Or maybe they think of Horatio Alger's books, like Ragged Dick (1867). But there were other, earlier books that were equally popular -- so popular that one author was mobbed by excited children when he made a tour in the 1840s.

I've collected and studied early American children's books and magazines for almost two decades. My main interest is works by Samuel Griswold Goodrich (1793-1860), the man mobbed by children when he toured the South in 1846. He created Peter Parley, one of the most popular characters in American children's books, and Robert Merry's Museum, a popular children's magazine that ran for 32 years. No, you probably haven't heard of them, but they were important in their time.

I've also been interested in the children themselves. Most of us have an idealized vision of 19th-century American children and their families. But children have been children from the beginning of time: endearing, irritating, beautiful, frustrating. And family life has never been ideal.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Constitutionalism and the Cloister: Matthew Paris and the Crisis of Royal Monastic Patronage in Thirteenth Century England

Constitutionalism and the Cloister: Matthew Paris and the Crisis of Royal Monastic Patronage in Thirteenth Century England. This is from the Winter 2005 Michigan Journal of History. It was written by Jason Colman.

From the site:

On May 14, 1264, the armies of King Henry III of England lined up near a castle named Lewes to face the forces of the Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort. On the high ground were Simon and other English barons, who were in open rebellion against King Henry. Henry III was the fourth Plantagenet king of England , a line begun by his grandfather, Henry II (r.1154-1189), who had established a great empire on the Continent. Henry III's barons took arms against him because of the King's refusal to uphold Magna Carta and the Provisions of Oxford, two agreements reached between the Crown and the barons to place limits on royal power. Led by the Crown Prince, Edward Longshanks, the royal forces outnumbered the barons significantly. On the side of the rebellious magnates – at least in spirit – were the monks of the abbey of St Albans , a heretofore royal establishment. In a matter of two decades, the monastery had gone from total identification with the monarchy to supporting a rebellion against the Crown. How could such a change have come about? What could have led the monks to oppose the King? Before attempting to answer these questions, it is first necessary to understand something of the history of the Benedictine monastic tradition to which St Albans belonged.

From the seventh century to the twelfth, the Black Monks of Saint Benedict (so called because of the dark color of their robes) and their offshoots were undoubtedly the dominant force in Western Christian monasticism and also one of the central influences behind the spiritual and intellectual development of society. Across the Continent and the British Isles , the Benedictines founded abbeys and lived together – at least theoretically – under the guidance of the famous Rule of Saint Benedict . Their great houses were home to hundreds of religious men and women, and their wealth was exceeded only by the wealthiest of barons. Naturally, the Benedictines did not simply arise from a vacuum. They evolved out of what began as an Eastern way of holiness in the third century of the Common Era.


History. This is a copy of this classic article from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. I thought it would be worth pointing to as it is well written. I tried to find a link to this article from a complete copy of the 1911 Britannica. There are dozens of these sites now (that is the wonder of this set being in the public domain and Project Gutenberg having placed a copy online) but all of the sites have annoying copyright notes on them. You can't copyright the 1911 Britannica as it is clearly in the public domain and I won't help people who try to confuse Web searchers with false copyright notes.

From the site:

The word history is used in two senses. It may mean either the record of events, or events themselves. Originally (see below) limited to inquiry and statement, it was only in comparatively modern times that the meaning of the word was extended to include the phenomena which form or might form their subject. It was perhaps by a somewhat careless transference of ideas that this extension was brought about. Now indeed it is the commoner meaning. We speak of the history of England without reference to any literary narrative. We term kings and statesmen the makers of history, and sometimes say that the historian only records the history which they make. History in this connection is obviotisly not the record, but the thing to be recorded. It is unfortunate that such a double meaning of the word should have grown up, for it is productive of not a little confusion of thought.

History in the wider sense is all that has happened, not merely all the phenomena of human life, but those of the natural world as well. It includes everything that undergoes change; and as modern science has shown that there is nothing absolutely static, therefore the whole universe, and every part of it, has its history. The discovery of ether brought with it a reconstruction of our ideas of the physical universe, transferring the emphasis from the mathematical expression of static relationships to a dynamic conception of a universe in constant transformation; matter in equipoise became energy in gradual readjustment. Solids are solids no longer. The universe is in motion in every particle of every part; rock and metal merely a transition stagc between crystallization and dissolution. This idea of universal activity has in a sense made physics itself a branch of history. It is the same with the other sciencesespecially the biological division, where the doctrine of evolution has induced an atttudc of mind which is distinctly historical.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Theban Mapping Project

Theban Mapping Project. A continually evolving comprehensive archaeological database of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes. Presents many useful site photos and diagrams.

From the site:

Since its inception in 1978, the Theban Mapping Project (TMP, now based at the American University in Cairo) has been working to prepare a comprehensive archaeological database of Thebes. With its thousands of tombs and temples, Thebes is one of the world's most important archaeological zones. Sadly, however, it has not fared well over the years. Treasure-hunters and curio-seekers plundered it in the past; pollution, rising ground water, and mass-tourism threaten it in the present. Even early archaeologists destroyed valuable information in their search for museum-quality pieces.

Today, however, we realize that the monuments of Thebes are a finite resource. If we fail to protect and monitor them, they will vanish, and we and our descendants will all be the poorer. The TMP believes that the first and most essential step in preserving this heritage is a detailed map and database of every archaeological, geological, and ethnographic feature in Thebes. Only when these are available can sensible plans be made for tourism, conservation, and further study.

During the last decade, the TMP has concentrated on the Valley of the Kings. Modern surveying techniques were used to measure its tombs. From the data collected, the TMP is preparing 3-D computer models of the tombs. And of course, the TMP is continuing its excavation of KV 5. For the TMP staff, sharing their work with the interested public is just as important as what they do in the field. This has been done through a series of publications and this growing website.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day Special - Pacific Battle Islands of World War Two

Memorial Day Special - Pacific Battle Islands of World War Two. Today is Memorial Day in the United States of America. The World History Blog salutes the soldiers who are defending America by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and solemly remembers those who gave their lives for the USA over the last 230 years. Here is a collection of histories of a few Pacific islands that saw major battles during World War Two.

History of the Northern Mariana Islands - "World War II came to the Marianas in 1941. Major American battles occurred in the Northern Marianas in 1944, including the pivotal Marianas campaign which signaled the end of the War in the Pacific. The Emperor of Japan surrendered to the Allied Forces on August 15, 1945, ending World War II, and a U.S. military government was instituted in the Northern Mariana Islands."

History of Midway Islands - "At the end of the Battle of Midway, all four Japanese carriers involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor had been sunk, while the United States lost the carrier Yorktown. The Japanese lost 256 of their finest aircraft, and more than 200 of their most experienced pilots and several thousand sailors perished. The Japanese Navy never fully recovered and its expansion into the Pacific had been stopped. American naval power in the Pacific was restored. The American victory at Midway was the turning point of the Pacific campaign of World War II. "

History of Wake Island - "With the aviation element now disposed of, the Japanese felt confident that they could land. Accordingly, at 0200 on 23 December 1941, the enemy managed to establish a beachhead, running two old destroyer-transports ashore in the process under heavy gunfire. After bitter fighting, the men of the Japanese Special Naval Landing Force managed to overcome the defending marines but not without sustaining heavy casualties. Wilkes was the last island to surrender, on the afternoon of the 23d. "

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Life in the Middle Ages

Life in the Middle Ages - Series of short essays by gifted resource students from Kyerene de las Brisas Elementary School. Many of the essays are illustrated by the children, and contain short summaries of aspects of everyday life in the Middle Ages.

This is a great way to teach history!

From the site:

Join us as we step back in time to the days of imposing castles high on the bluffs, knights in armor defending the kingdom, and noblemen ruling over the serfs. This was life in the Middle Ages.

Read all about the various aspects of life during these exciting times!