Saturday, July 23, 2005

History of Turkey

History of Turkey. This is a short history of the European and Asian nation of Turkey.

Although the modern nation of Turkey is recent, the area has had a rich history under the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ottoman Turks. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 is one of the most tragic events in the history of the Western World.

From the site:

Mustafa Kemal, celebrated by the Turkish State as a Turkish World War I hero and later known as "Ataturk" or "father of the Turks," led the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 after the collapse of the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire and a three-year war of independence. The empire, which at its peak controlled vast stretches of northern Africa, southeastern Europe, and western Asia, had failed to keep pace with European social and technological developments. The rise of national consciousness impelled several captive nations to seek to regain lost independence, leading to the empire's fragmentation. This process culminated in the disastrous Ottoman participation in World War I as a German ally. Defeated, shorn of much of its former territory, and partly occupied by forces of the victorious European states, the Ottoman structure was repudiated by Turkish nationalists whom Mustafa Kemal brought together under his tight leadership. The nationalists expelled invading Greek forces from Anatolia after a bitter war. After the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey the temporal and religious ruling institutions of the old empire (the sultanate and caliphate) were abolished.

Friday, July 22, 2005

First Maryland Cavalry

First Maryland Cavalry - Information on the First Maryland Cavalry Battalion which was a volunteer unit that served the Confederacy during the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865.

Maryland was a border state that never left the Union. However, as this site shows, there were plenty of volunteers from Maryland who joined the rebel forces.

From the site:

What was eventually to become the First Maryland Cavalry Regiment, C.S.A., was originally organized sometime in 1860 in Howard County Maryland as a cavalry company of approximately 75-100 men (including 17 members of the Dorsey family), called the Howard County Dragoons. Commanded by Capt. George R. Gaither, they were said to be "handsomely uniformed according to United States army regulations and equipped with the best cavalry sabers and Colt's Revolvers." When the Sixth Massachusetts marched through Baltimore on 19 April 1861 resulting in serious rioting and civil disturbance (as well as the deaths of 4 soldiers and 12 citizens), the Howard County Dragoons assembled at Ellicott's Mills and on 20 April 1861 marched into Baltimore to help restore order. Afterwards, due to the unionist sympathies of Maryland politicians, the company was forced to either disband or march South of the Potomac and join the Confederate forces.

On 14 May 1861, 75 men, most from the Dragoons, organized under Capt. Gaither at Leesburg, calling themselves the "Maryland Cavalry". The company then marched on 15 June 1861 to Winchester and on 17 June 1861 joined the 7th Virginia Cavalry under Col. Angus McDonald. The 7th Virginia was ordered to Romney Virginia on 18 June 1861, where the Maryland Company performed picket duty until 18 July 1861 at which time the company withdrew from Col. McDonald's command (it is said due to dissatisfaction with the idle life they were leading) and placed itself under the command of J.E.B. Stuart and became Company K of the First Virginia Cavalry, which had been organized two days earlier (16 July 1861) .

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Topcastles

Topcastles - Robert Rongen presents images and brief details of hundreds of medieval castles, sorted by country, region and castle type. Includes a quick guide to castle types with plans, and a list of the top 100 castles, as rated by surfers.

Most of the castles listed are in Europe. However, there is a small collection of oriental castles featured if you look hard enough. I also like that the site has a link to the official Web address of castle sites.

From the site:

This site is about "real" medieval castles, synonym for strongholds, in german Burg, in french château médiéval and in dutch burcht. To be able to make out the real castles we need a good definition.

The book "1000 jaar kastelen in Nederland" [1] gives a useful definition of a castle:"A castle is a medieval building that combines defensive with domestic functions by providing a living space and a defence to a limited group of persons differing of a noble family with a few servants to a small court and a military garrison up to a maximum of approximately fifty persons. Essential hereby is that this group depends on a relation to one person or institution." Summarised, a real castle meets these criteria:

- it is build in the middle ages (appr. 500-1500)
- it provides a living space to a limited group of persons
- it provides a defence to a limited group of persons
- the group depends on a relation to one person or institution

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Heart of Change: Julius Caesar and the End of the Roman Republic

The Heart of Change: Julius Caesar and the End of the Roman Republic. This is an essay that looks at the organizational change theory of Kotter and Cohen (2002) and applies it to the actions of Julius Caesar as he brought about the end of the Roman Republic.

Most of the essay is based on Caesar Against Rome: The Great Roman Civil War by R. L. Jimenez and Rubicon by T. Holland. Both are recent works on the subject which have gotten good reviews.

Most of the examples used to illustrate the points made come from the Great Roman Civil War between Caesar and Pompey. This was truly a World War. There was fighting in Asia, Africa, and in multiple fronts in Europe including Spain, Italy, and Macedonia. The conflict engulfed the entire Western world.

From the site:

Change is a fact of history. It has occurred repeatedly throughout time and it will invariably be a constant for the future. Taking this into account, it is reasonable to assume that the change models proposed by various theorists should be applicable to the study of past events. One of the most important events in ancient history was the transformation of the democratic Roman Republic into the Emperor ruled Roman Empire. This event altered human history. As such, analysis of it using a change model should be possible.

Kotter and Cohen wrote the book Heart of Change in 2002. In it, they describe an eight step model for change. A look at this model shows that it is a good one for describing the actions of Julius Caesar as he took charge of the Roman Republic and ended the democratic rule of the Roman Senate and replaced it with a system that would result in the rule of Caesar’s for centuries to come. While it is not a perfect fit, the Kotter and Cohen model is still helpful in understanding how Caesar was able to accomplish what he did and it allows for the analysis of his actions.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

History of Uzbekistan

History of Uzbekistan. This is a brief but easy to read history of the Soviet successor state of Uzbekistan. The emphasis is on the 20th Century history.

According to Wikipedia, "The Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south."

It has most recently been in the news for supporting the American lead war against terrorism and helping with operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also has suffered several major terrorist attacks in the last year.

From the site:

Located in the heart of Central Asia between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya Rivers, Uzbekistan has a long and interesting heritage. The leading cities of the famous Silk Road--Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva--are located in Uzbekistan, and many well-known conquerors passed through the land. Alexander the Great stopped near Samarkand on his way to India in 327 B.C. and married Roxanna, daughter of a local chieftain. Conquered by Muslim Arabs in the eight century A.D., the indigenous Samanid dynasty established an empire in the 9th century. Genghis Khan and his Mongols overran its territory in 1220. In the 1300s, Timur, known in the west as Tamerlane, built an empire with its capital at Samarkand. Uzbekistan's most noted tourist sites date from the Timurid dynasty. Later, separate Muslim city-states emerged with strong ties to Persia. In 1865, Russia occupied Tashkent and by the end of the 19th century, Russia had conquered all of Central Asia. In 1876, the Russians dissolved the Khanate of Kokand, while allowing the Khanates of Khiva and Bukhara to remain as direct protectorates. Russia placed the rest of Central Asia under colonial administration, and invested in the development of Central Asia's infrastructure, promoting cotton growing and encouraging settlement by Russian colonists.

In 1924, following the establishment of Soviet power, the Soviet Socialist Republic of Uzbekistan was founded from the territories including the Khanates of Bukhara and Khiva and portions of the Fergana Valley that had constituted the Khanate of Kokand. During the Soviet era, Moscow used Uzbekistan for its tremendous cotton growing and natural resource potential. The extensive and inefficient irrigation used to support the former has been the main cause of shrinkage of the Aral Sea to less than a third of its original volume, making this one of the world's worst environmental disasters. Uzbekistan declared independence on September 1, 1991. Islam Karimov, former First Secretary of the Communist Party, was elected President in December 1991 with 88% of the vote; however, the election was not viewed as free or fair by foreign observers.

Monday, July 18, 2005

South-Pole.com

South-Pole.com. This site offers history, biographies, and memorabilia of explorers of the "great white continent". This is probably the best history of Antartica site on the Web. Not that there are many of them out there...

I like the quote on the index page. "Great God, this is an awful place." This is from Captain Robert Falcon Scott's diary. These were some of the last words he wrote before he died. It kind of makes you want to visit doesn't it?

From the site:

Welcome to the home page of South-Pole.com. This site is dedicated to the heroic explorers of our polar regions and the surrounding islands. The tales of these brave souls were often related in expedition mail sent home to anxious loved ones and beneficiaries. As you browse through this site, you will witness an extensive mix of reference material that will be useful to philatelists and students of polar history alike. For example, to the left you will notice a letter addressed to Capt. Nathaniel B. Palmer (1799-1877), who went to sea at the age of 14. At the age of 20, he played a major role as captain and part-owner of the HERO on the Fanning-Pendleton Sealing Expedition. The following season, as commander of the JAMES MONROE, he and British sealer George Powell together discovered the South Orkney Islands.

While the history of Arctic adventure essentially begins with the nineteenth century quest for the Northwest Passage and North Pole, the early explorers to Antarctic seas made sojourns solely for commercial reasons, some of which, incidentally, made new discoveries. The majority of these voyages, along with the highest development of the whaling and sealing industry, came in the nineteenth century when operations took place in every ocean of the world. Many of the peri-Antarctic islands were discovered by sealers or whalers and the first landings on half of them were made by men engaged in the whale and penguin oil industry. A particular problem with many sealing voyages was the secrecy with which the industry was conducted; should a captain and crew discover a new sealing area, they normally concealed its location in the hope of having no competition when exploiting it on subsequent voyages. The early sealing industry declined as the population of Fur seals and Elephant seals were reduced to such an extent that the industry became virtually unprofitable.

Cool Site of the Day

Cool Site of the Day. I am pleased to see that the World History Blog is the Cool Site of the day for July 18th, 2005. Thanks! If you would like to vote on the "coolness" of this site, visit
http://www.coolsiteoftheday.com/frmindex.html. This will work today but as of tomorrow there will be new site selected.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Germany's High Sea Fleet in the World War

Germany's High Sea Fleet in the World War - Online edition of Admiral Reinhard Scheer's 1920 memoirs about the naval aspects of World War I from the perspective of the Germans.

The aggressive German U-boat campaign of unrestricted warfare helped to bring the USA into the First World War. The addition of American troops in the European theatre in 1917/1918 turned the war into an allied victory.

An example of the flawed German strategy was the sinking of the Lusitania in 1916. Over 1,198 lives were lost including one hundred thirty-eight Americans. The negative press from this one event almost assured American entry into the war.

From the site:

This on-line edition of Admiral Reinhard Scheer's World War One memoirs is based directly on the original, published in 1920. Admiral Scheer, who assumed command of the entire German High Seas Fleet in 1916, was in favor of both an aggressive surface fleet policy and unrestricted submarine warfare. On May 31, 1916, he led the German fleet into the battle of Jutland, one of the great naval battles of this century. In the battle, the German fleet performed admirably against the Royal Navy, but it was unable to change the strategic realities of the naval blockade which continued to strangle Germany. The Germans referred to Jutland as The Battle of the Skagerrak.