Saturday, July 30, 2005

History of Tonga

History of Tonga. This is a good essay which covers the history of the Oceania island nation of Tonga.

Wikipedia notes that, "The Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago in the southern Pacific Ocean, about a third of the way between New Zealand and Hawaii. It lies south of Samoa and east of Fiji."

One fact I learned from this essay is that Tonga was active in World War Two. In addition to hosting allied troops, over 2000 Tongan troops saw action in the Solomon Islands. Considering the size of Tonga, this represents a huge investment in the war!

From the site:

The word Tonga means "south" in numerous Polynesian languages. Some scholars believe the inhabitants originally came from the islands now known as Samoa. Archaeological evidence indicates that the Tonga islands have been settled since at least 500 B.C., and local traditions have carefully preserved the names of the Tongan sovereign for about 1,000 years. The power of the Tongan monarchy reached its height in the 13th century. At the time, chieftains exercised political influence as far away as Samoa.

During the 14th century, the King of Tonga delegated much of his temporal power to a brother while retaining the spiritual authority. Sometime later, this process was repeated by the second royal line, thus resulting in three distinct lines: the Tu'i Tonga with spiritual authority, which is believed to have extended over much of Polynesia; the Tu'i Ha'atakalaua; and the Tu'i Kanokupolu. The latter two had temporal authority for carrying out much of the day-to-day administration of the kingdom.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Glory That Was Greece

The Glory That Was Greece - An online resource for students of the history and culture of ancient Athens; features sections on drama, history, mythology, and philosophy. Includes annotated link directory, bibliography, and index of illustrations. The emphasis is on the city of Athens.

From the site:

Athens was the most beautiful city in Greece. It grew up at the foot of the high rock known as the Acropolis, which in the earliest times was the citadel that defended the city. The Acropolis had very strong walls, and the main entrance was guarded by nine gates, which must have made it almost impossible for an enemy to take, and there was a well within the fortress, so that there was always water for those who defended it. But history has told us almost nothing about the mighty lords who built this fortress or about the life of the people over whom they ruled.

But if history is silent, legend has much to say. The earliest rulers of Athens were Kings, and of these one of the first was Cecrops. All kinds of stories gathered round his name, and it was believed that he was not altogether human, but a being who had grown out of the earth and was half-man and half-serpent. It was when he was King that the contest took place as to whether Athena, the grey-eyed Goddess of Wisdom, or Poseidon, Lord of the Sea, should be the special guardians of the city. The victory was awarded to Athena, who, taking her spear, thrust it into the ground, whereupon an olive tree marvellously appeared. Poseidon gave the horse as his gift to Athens, and legend adds that, striking the rock with his trident, he brought forth clear salt water, which he also gave to the Athenians. For all time the olive was associated not only with Athena, but with Attica and Athens her city, and to the Athenians, the sea became almost like a second home.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Medieval Castle Siege Weapons

Medieval Castle Siege Weapons - Site focused on medieval castles, siege engines, knights and other aspects of medieval warfare.

Of particular interest are several special sections relating to Dungeons & Dragons and The Lord of the Rings. Many people have noted the medieval feel of D&D and Rings and this site has a variety of articles connecting them together. Notes the site, "While D&D does not directly fall under Medieval Warfare, or even Medieval History, the game certainly appears to have been inspired by the Middle Ages, and indeed it also appears to take place in some Medieval Realm."

From the site:

If you are as interested in medieval times as I am then you are sure to find this website very interesting.

To learn more about me and why I created this site be sure to check out the Why Did I Do It? and About Me pages.

This website focuses on medieval castles (pictures & floor plans) and the ingenious siege engines (particularly the catapult & trebuchet) that were used to attack medieval castles.

This site also provides a great middle age pictures resource which includes pictures of medieval knights, medieval weapons and more!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

ECHO: Exploring and Collecting History Online

ECHO: Exploring and Collecting History Online - Dedicated to using the internet to collect and assemble (for the historical record) personal recollections of recent developments in science and technology, and to encouraging others to undertake similar projects. Includes a directory of history of science and technology websites.

From the site:

Since 2001 the Echo project has used the Internet to collect and present the recent history of science, technology, and industry. As a laboratory for experimentation in this new and unperfected field, we have, among other objectives, worked to foster communication and dialogue among historians, scientists, engineers, doctors, and technologists. We also host free workshops and offer free consultation services to assist other historical practitioners in launching their own websites. In addition, Echo provides a centralized guide and portal for those seeking websites on the history of science and technology. This guide helps researchers find the exact information they need while also granting curious browsers a forum for exploration.

At the broadest level, our goal is to fulfill the potential of digital media and networks to create a more democratic history. That means including multiple voices and diverse perspectives in the historical record; making the historical record accessible to multiple audiences; and developing historical practices that many different people, not just “certified” professionals, can conduct. Democratization, however, does not mean compromising the quality of our historical work: We strive to foster a democratic historical practice that draws upon the most exacting standards and approaches of professional historians and archivists.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

History of Trinidad and Tobago

History of Trinidad and Tobago. This is a short and not entirely satisfying history of the Carribean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. The emphasis of the essay is on recent political history rather than on the earlier days.

The islands lay off the coast of Venezuela. Many consider them to be part of South America. For world cup soccer (football) qualifying though the islands assert that they are part of the Carribean. This helps them avoid having to play Argentina and Brazil!

Of the earliest history of the islands, Wikipedia notes, "Human settlement in Trinidad dates back at least 7000 years. The earliest settlers, termed Archaic or Ortoiroid, are believed to have settled Trinidad from northeastern South America around 5000 BC. Twenty-nine Archaic sites have been identified, mostly in south Trinidad; this includes the 7000-year-old Banwari Trace site which is the oldest human settlement in the eastern Caribbean. Archaic populations were pre-ceramic, and dominated the area until about 200 BC."

From the site:

Columbus landed in Trinidad in 1498, and the island was settled by the Spanish a century later The original inhabitants--Arawak and Carib Indians--were largely wiped out by the Spanish colonizers, and the survivors were gradually assimilated. Although it attracted French, free Black, and other non-Spanish settlers, Trinidad remained under Spanish rule until the British captured it in 1797. During the colonial period, Trinidad's economy relied on large sugar and cocoa plantations. Tobago's development was similar to other plantation islands in the Lesser Antilles and quite different from Trinidad's. During the colonial period, French, Dutch, and British forces fought over possession of Tobago, and the island changed hands 22 times--more often than any other West Indian island. Tobago was finally ceded to Great Britain in 1814. Trinidad and Tobago were incorporated into a single colony in 1888.

Monday, July 25, 2005

H-Africa: African History and Culture

H-Africa: African History and Culture - H-Net discussion group dedicated to the history and culture of Africa. Features subject overview, thesis abstracts, reviews, bibliographies, essays, links to related resources, and subscription information.

From the site:

Welcome to H-Africa, the international scholarly online discussion list on African culture and the African past. H-Africa encourages discussions of research interests, teaching methods, and historiography. H-Africa is especially interested in the teaching of history to graduate and undergraduate students in diverse settings. In addition, H-Africa publishes course materials, announcements of conferences and fellowships, book reviews, and the H-Net jobguide. H-Africa is also non-partisan and will not publish calls for political action. H-Africa is an affiliate organization of the (U.S.) African Studies Association.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sanford B. Dole's 160th Birthday April 23, 2004

Dole's 160th Birthday April 23, 2004. This is an essay which examines the Hawaiian media coverage of Sanford B. Dole's 160th birthday. Dole was the first and only President of the Republic of Hawaii and under his leadership the Hawaiian people overthrew a corrupt monarchy and eventually voluntarily joined the United States of America. (This was done by treaty and a joint resolution of Congress in 1898 but the Hawaiian people themselves did this by vote many times in the 20th Century including the binding one in 1959.)

From the site:

Sanford B. Dole was native-born at Punahou School, April 23, 1844. He spent eleven of his most formative years (ages 11-22) growing up Hawaiian-style, at Koloa, Kauai, where he became expert at konane (similar to checkers) and pahia (a special form of diving). After attending Williams College (Massachusetts) he became a lawyer, and included plantation laborers among his pro bono clients. He adopted a native girl (perhaps his biological child), whose descendants are Hawaiian community leaders today. His ties to Koloa remained strong, and he was elected to the Kingdom Legislature 1884-86 from Koloa. In 1887 he led the protest group that forced King Kalakaua to sign a new Constitution. Later Kalakaua appointed him to be a Justice of the Kingdom's Supreme Court.

In 1893 he honorably resigned his judgeship before the revolution; and then led the Provisional Government afterward. U.S. President Grover Cleveland "ordered" him to undo the revolution and reinstate the Queen. Hawaii President Dole wrote a lengthy and strongly-worded letter of refusal, confirming that Hawaii desired annexation but was not a puppet regime. Dole then helped create the Republic of Hawaii and was its only President through four more years as an independent nation, recognized by all the nations who had previously recognized the Kingdom. His strong leadership allowed the Republic of Hawaii not only to defy President Cleveland but also to crush the attempted counter-revolution which made use of rifles and bombs the U.S. Navy permitted to be smuggled in to Robert Wilcox.

When U.S. President McKinley came into office, President Dole renewed the negotiations for annexation. Dole drove a hard bargain. The U.S. paid off the accumulated national debt of the Kingdom and Republic (paying more than the market value of the ceded lands at that time). Dole also required the U.S. to hold the ceded lands not as U.S. property but as a public trust for the benefit of all the residents of Hawaii. In 1900, he became Hawaii's first Territorial governor. In 1903 he was appointed judge of the U.S. District Court (Honolulu). Following many years of charitable works, he died in 1926.