Saturday, June 11, 2005

John Batchelor

John Batchelor - Life story of John Batchelor (1854-1944), an English missionary who became the first westerner to learn the Ainu language, record its grammar in English, and make the Ainu (who live in Japan) known to the western world.

From the site:

John Batchelor made his mind to work for the Ainu as follows. The first was to teach Ainu Christianity, the second was to make them know the generosity, mercy and light of the God, the third was to inform Japanese people of Ainu religion and language because they did not now know them.

Batchelor came to Hakodate from Hongkong when he was 23. One day when he had a chat with the students he had taught English at the Catholic Church, he happened to hear their insisting that Ainu were not human. He got angry and had a quarrel with them.

Immediately soon after that, he saw Ainus with bows and arrows on the street of Hakodate. The Ainus looked so obedient and kind that on the contrary he did not feel any fear. They made a bow politely, touching their heavy beards with their hands. Though Batchelor did not wear beard, he also did similar thing to what they had done before. Then they were talking of something smilingly one another. He determined to work for Ainu more and more.

Friday, June 10, 2005

History of Zimbabwe

History of Zimbabwe. This is a brief overview to the history of the African nation of Zimbabwe.

From the site:

Archaeologists have found Stone-Age implements and pebble tools in several areas of Zimbabwe, a suggestion of human habitation for many centuries, and the ruins of stone buildings provide evidence of early civilization. The most impressive of these sites is the "Great Zimbabwe" ruins, after which the country is named, located near Masvingo. Evidence suggests that these stone structures were built between the 9th and 13th centuries A.D. by indigenous Africans who had established trading contacts with commercial centers on Africa's southeastern coast.

In the 16th century, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to attempt colonization of south-central Africa, but the hinterland lay virtually untouched by Europeans until the arrival of explorers, missionaries, ivory hunters, and traders some 300 years later. Meanwhile, mass migrations of indigenous peoples took place. Successive waves of more highly developed Bantu peoples from equatorial regions supplanted the original inhabitants and are the ancestors of the region's Africans today.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Ataturk and Turkey

Ataturk and Turkey. Kemal Ataturk was a Turkish leader who unified his nation, forced colonial powers to leave, and modernized Turkish society. Information on the "father of the Turks".

From the site:

Ottoman sultans ruled Turkey until the end of World War I. A charismatic general named Mustafa Kemal wrestled control of the last remnant of the empire. Greece attacked Turkey in 1921 and 1922, but Kemal led the Turks to victory.

Kemal was convinced that Turkey needed to become a modern nation. He believed that if the Turkish people continued to follow their traditions, they would again be attacked by another western power. By the mid 1920s, the Turkish leader began a modernization program in Turkey.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

King Leopold's Soliloquy

King Leopold's Soliloquy - Mark Twain's pamphlet condemning King Leopold of Belgium for his brutal rule of the Congo, published in 1905 by the American Congo Reform Association.

From the site:

Mark Twain wrote King Leopold's Soliloquy soon after Edmund Dene Morel of the English Congo Reform Association visited him in New York in October of 1904 to ask for his help in mobilizing support for an American branch of the organization. The essay was completed by February of 1905 and submitted to Harper & Brothers for publication.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

"Renowned Queen Mother Mathilda:" Ideals and Realities of Ottonian Queenship in the Vitae Mathildis reginae (Mathilda of Saxony, 895?-968)

"Renowned Queen Mother Mathilda:" Ideals and Realities of Ottonian Queenship in the Vitae Mathildis reginae (Mathilda of Saxony, 895?-968). Essay on the ideals and realities of Ottonian queenship in the Vitae Mathildis Reginae. It was written by Anne C. Stinehart.

From the site:

In 919, the German dukes elected as king one of their number, Henry I, "the Fowler," of Saxony. A member of the powerful noble family the Liudolfings, Henry had been duke of Saxony for seven years when he succeeded Conrad I of Franconia as king. At Henry's side was his wife Mathilda, herself a woman of high rank, whom he had married in 909. From 919 through 936, Henry and Mathilda ruled their new kingdom, expanding and consolidating their territory as well as their power. Their first-born son, Otto, elected king after his father's death in 936, became emperor in 962, cementing his family's rule and giving it his name. The Ottonians dominated Europe during the tenth century, reviving the traditions of their Carolingian predecessors and establishing themselves as a dynasty in their own right.

Henry and Mathilda were the first royal rulers from Saxony. Mathilda herself was the object of much veneration, revered as the patron saint of the Ottonians and commemorated in numerous historiographical writings of the time, including two works about her life, the Vita Mathildis reginae antiquior (the earlier Life of Queen Mathilda), and the Vita Mathildis reginae posterior (the later Life of Queen Mathilda). The Vita antiquior, dedicated to Emperor Otto II, was written in 974, six years after Mathilda's death, and the Vita posterior, addressed to Henry II, in 1002/1003. 1 Although both were probably produced at the convent of Nordhausen in Saxony, neither work's author is known. Blending biography, hagiography, and dynastic history, these vitae reveal issues central to both tenth century Germany in general, and to the Ottonian family in particular, including control of land and wealth, issues of status, and gender roles for men and women. They also paint a portrait of the first queen of Germany, revealing how Mathilda's image was constructed by others and how she constructed her own image.

Monday, June 06, 2005

History of Wallis and Futuna

History of Wallis and Futuna. This is a brief history of this Oceania island territory. No, I had never heard of it either...

From the site:

Although discovered by the Dutch and the British in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was the French who declared a protectorate over the islands in 1842.

The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica wrote, "It was placed under the French protectorate on the 5th of April 1887, and connected for administrative purposes with New Caledonia by decree of the 27th of November 1888. There is a French Resident in the islands, which are connected by a regular service with Noumea, New Caledonia. The principalislands are Uvea, of volcanic formation and surrounded with coral, and Nukuatea. The islands were discovered by Samuel Wallis in 1767, and it was a missionary, Father Bataillon; who in 1837 first brought the influence of France to bear on the natives. These, about 4500 in number, are of Polynesian race, gentle and industrious. The tradeof the islands is mainly with Samoa, whence cottons and iron goods are imported, and to which copra and roots are exported. The Horne Islands (Fotuna and Alofa), S.W. of the Wallis Islands, were discovered by Jacob Lemaire and Willem Cornelis Schouten in 1616, and placed under the French protectorate by decree of the 16th of February."

Sunday, June 05, 2005

What If Gordon Banks had Played?

What If Gordon Banks had Played? - A British alternate history timeline, resulting from a different result in a 1970 football match, but leading to totalitarianism and war.

From the site:

England entered the 1970 World Cup as defending champions and, if anything, with a stronger squad than in 1966. After meeting Brazil in the first round Pele famously said to Bobby Moore that he would see him again in the final. It was not to be. In the event England's goalkeeper Gordon Banks was taken ill on the coach journey to their quarter-final match against West Germany. Banks was replaced by Peter Bonetti - but to no avail. Bonetti dived over a lacklustre shot from Franz Beckenbauer and Seeler headed in a second goal while Bonetti was off his line.

Germany scored a third goal in extra time and England were out of the World Cup. Three days later Labour lost the general election. There have been various explanations for Labour's defeat. Wilson blamed the BBC, others blamed unexpectedly low balance of trade figures, others the knock-on effect of England's defeat - in the words of one cabinet minster "the bug in Gordon Banks' tummy".

It could have been so different...