Saturday, June 18, 2005

Lesson Plan: Cinco de Mayo

Lesson Plan: Cinco de Mayo - Teaching plan for teachers 3rd-4th grades. Gives historical background, objectives, time alloted, resources required, procedures, questions for discussion, and a list of Spanish words.

From the site:

"After Mexico gained it's independence from Spain in 1821, it faced internal power struggles that left it in a volatile state of rebellion and instability for years." (Internet: Pasmanick, 1992) In 1846, the Mexican government, under the dictator Santa Anna, went to war with the United States. As an outcome of that war, Mexico lost a large amount of land--the land we now know as Texas. In 1854, Juan Alvarez and his troops led a successful revolt to drive Santa Anna out of power. One of Alvarez's strongest supporters was a man by the name of Benito Juarez, a Zapotec Indian leader.

In 1855, Juarez became the minister of Justice under the new regime and issued two new controversial laws. One denied the right of the church and military courts to try civilian cases and the other made the sale and distribution of church lands legal. Many people disagreed with these laws and for three years a civil war raged between the two sides.

In 1861 Juarez took control of the capital, Mexico City, and put his new Constitution into effect. Not only had Juarez's laws split the country, they had caused the civil war that left Juarez in debt to Spain, England, and France. The three countries were concerned about the debt, so they held a meeting in London, at which Spain and Britain decided to waive the debt in exchange for military control of the Custom House in Vera Cruz. France did not agree to these terms and invaded Mexico in 1861 in hopes of defeating the country and disposing of Juarez.

Friday, June 17, 2005

History of the United Kingdom

History of the United Kingdom. This is an essay covering the UK. It is inadequate to the task. The United Kingdom is the home of several nations and this essay does not do it justice. However, it does give a basic overview and some may find it of interest.

From the site:

A group of islands close to continental Europe, the British Isles have been subject to many invasions and migrations, especially from Scandinavia and the continent, including Roman occupation for several centuries. Contemporary Britons are descended mainly from the varied ethnic stocks that settled there before the 11th century. The pre-Celtic, Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and Norse influences were blended in Britain under the Normans, Scandinavian Vikings who had lived in Northern France. Although Celtic languages persist in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, the predominant language is English, which is primarily a blend of Anglo-Saxon and Norman French.

The Roman invasion of Britain in 55 BC and most of Britain's subsequent incorporation into the Roman Empire stimulated development and brought more active contacts with the rest of Europe. As Rome's strength declined, the country again was exposed to invasion--including the pivotal incursions of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes in the fifth and sixth centuries AD--up to the Norman conquest in 1066. Norman rule effectively ensured Britain's safety from further intrusions; certain institutions, which remain characteristic of Britain, could develop. Among these are a political, administrative, cultural, and economic center in London; a separate but established church; a system of common law; distinctive and distinguished university education; and representative government.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Puzzling Story of NATO's Secret Armies During the Cold War: Just What Were They Up to?

The Puzzling Story of NATO's Secret Armies During the Cold War: Just What Were They Up to? This essay is by Daniele Ganser and it appears at the History News Network.

From the site:

After the Cold War had ended, then Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti confirmed to the Italian Senate in August 1990 that Italy had had a secret stay-behind army, codenamed Gladio – the sword. A document dated 1 June 1959 from the Italian military secret service, SIFAR, revealed that SIFAR had been running the secret army with the support of NATO and in close collaboration with the US secret service, the CIA. Suggesting that the secret army might have linked up with right-wing organizations such as Ordine Nuovo and Avanguardia Nazionale to engage in domestic terror, the Italian Senate, amid public protests, decided in 1990 that Gladio was beyond democratic control and therefore had to be closed down.

During the 1990s, research into stay-behind armies progressed only very slowly, due to very limited access to primary documents. It was revealed, however, that stay-behind armies covered all of Western Europe and operated under different code names, such as Gladio in Italy, Absalon in Denmark, P26 in Switzerland, ROC in Norway, I&O in the Netherlands, and SDRA8 in Belgium. The so-called Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) and the Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC), linked to NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), coordinated the stay-behind networks on an international level. The last confirmed ACC meeting took place on 24 October 1990 in Brussels, chaired by the Belgian military secret service, the SGR.

According to the SIFAR documen of 1959 the secret stay-behind armies served a dual purpose during the Cold War: They were to prepare for a communist Soviet invasion and occupation of Western Europe, and – also in the absence of an invasion – for an “emergency situation.” The first purpose was clear: If there had been a Soviet invasion, the secret anti-communist armies would have operated behind enemy lines, strengthening and setting up local resistance movements in enemy held territory, evacuating pilots who had been shot down, and sabotaging supply lines and production centers of the occupation forces.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Project Leif 2000 Greenland

Project Leif 2000 Greenland - Lists events, maps, history, settlements as well as World Heritage Site status for 1,000 year anniversary of the Viking discovery of North America.

From the site:

In the year 1000 A.D., the legendary Greenlander Leif Eriksson, son of Eric the Red, set his course westward from his parental home at Brattahlid in Southgreenland and discovered Vinland - today better known as Newfoundland, North America.

In the year 1000 A.D., the norse Greenland and Iceland became christianized. In this year the very first christian church on the north-american continent was founded - Thjódhildur's Church in Brattahlid, Southgreenland.

The Home Rule Government of Greenland wished to highlight these major historic events through celebrations in year 2000. Part of the preparations took place in close cooperation with the Icelandic Government and the Celebrational Commitees of Canada and USA.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

History Quotes

History Quotes. There is a good collection of history quotes up at Uncover the Net. I might add that I am surprised that I have been quoted!

Here are a few sample quotes:

There is properly no history; only biography. By Ralph Waldo Emerson on Biography

Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory. By Benjamin Disraeli on Biography

Anyone who believes you can't change history has never tried to write his memoirs. By David Ben Gurion on Biography

History is something I blog. It is impossible to ever capture any moment and get another person to truly understand it any more than I do. But I hope to at least get them to notice historical moments. By Miland Brown on Blogging History

History . . . is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind. By Edward Gibbon on Crimes

HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools. By Ambrose Bierce on Definition of History

Monday, June 13, 2005

History of Yemen

History of Yemen. This is a short but well written overview to the history of this Asian nation in the Middle East.

From the site:

Yemen was one of the oldest centers of civilization in the Near East. Between the 12th century BC and the 6th century AD, it was part of the Minaean, Sabaean, and Himyarite kingdoms, which controlled the lucrative spice trade, and later came under Ethiopian and Persian rule. In the 7th century, Islamic caliphs began to exert control over the area. After this caliphate broke up, the former north Yemen came under control of Imams of various dynasties usually of the Zaidi sect, who established a theocratic political structure that survived until modern times. (Imam is a religious term. The Shiites apply it to the prophet Muhammad's son-in-law Ali, his sons Hasan and Hussein, and subsequent lineal descendants, whom they consider to have been divinely ordained unclassified successors of the prophet.)

Egyptian Sunni caliphs occupied much of north Yemen throughout the 11th century. By the 16th century and again in the 19th century, north Yemen was part of the Ottoman empire, and in some periods its Imams exerted suzerainty over south Yemen.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Sacred Cosmology: Precolumbian Mesoamerican Symbolism

Sacred Cosmology: Precolumbian Mesoamerican Symbolism - Online book about the ancient peoples of Mexico and their belief system, including timekeeping, symbols, and the Popol Vuh.

From the site:

The society to which we belong, our contemporary society, has conceived the notion that God–the original unity–is man's invention, although some of its members think rather that the deity is a human discovery produced at a certain stage of history. In both cases, it is man who creates God, in absolute contradiction of the unanimous assertion of all traditions and civilizations on record, which declare and establish the correct hierarchical relation between creator and creature.

This flagrant inversion is a logical consequence of our current ignorance where the sacred is concerned, an ignorance that obliges us unconsciously to "humanize" the concept of God, to anthropomorphize it–which is tantamount to reducing the deity to the categories of human thought and conception. We are obliged to minimize the concept of God to the scale of today's men and the narrowness of their vision. Hence the latter find nothing better to do than to put the gods to death, to "believe" no longer in them but rather in the "human"–which, alas, is taken for progress–as if it were possible for the cosmic and harmonic energies whose principles the deities express to cease to be or exist by virtue of the simple expedient of denying them.

We are accustomed to regard the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Chaldean, or Mayan pantheons–or even those of the Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, or Buddhists–as if their gods were the private property of those peoples and religions, and furthermore, as if these gods were altogether different from one another, having perfectly particular identities in a classified imaginary system. Thus, the reality of the sacred is reduced to mans' "speculative" capacity–or to a memo in a file cabinet. Yet it passes unobserved that these same men have acknowledged the deity by way of "numbers," or harmonic measures as patterns or modules of universal thought and the expression of the archetypal ideas. These archetypal ideas are always present–as constitutive parts of the cosmos, as these peoples' calendars reflect–and the symbols represent them. Their energy-force has never ceased to manifest itself, nor ever will, as long as time and space exist.