Saturday, August 27, 2005

History of Tibet

History of Tibet. This is an essay which covers the history of the Asian nation of Tibet.

Many claim that Tibet is currently under Chinese occupation. However, international law is clear on the point that the sovereignty and legitimacy of a government is based on international recognition. As such, China legally owns Tibet right now as not a single nation recognizes an independent Tibetan government. Whether this is moral is another story...

Unlike many areas which have active (and perhaps misguided) independence movements such as Hawaii, Texas, Scotland, Chechnya, Alaska, Okinawa, Nevis, Wake Island, etc., Tibet actually has a good claim for being a nation under occupation. There has never been a valid transfer of sovereignty from Tibet to China and it is possible that an independent Tibet may be able to get some international recognition in the future. But probably not as China is growing in power and I doubt any nation is going to want to annoy China on the behalf of the Dalai Lama.

From the site:

Little is known of the ancient history of Tibet, the first dynasty having been founded by the Indian prince Rupati; but the historical period begins at the end of the sixth century A.D., when the first king, Luntsang, made inroads to India. Luntsang's son is the celebrated Srong-tsang Gam-po, one of the great champions of Buddhism; in 639 he married Bribtsun, daughter of Ançuvarman, sovereign of Nepal, and in 641 the princess of Wen ch'eng, daughter of the Chinese emperor T'ai- tsung. Under their influence, the Tibetan prince gave a great extension to Buddhism in his empire; he founded in 639 Lhasa, formerly Lha-Idam where for centuries his heirs governed the country with the title of gialbo in Tibetan, and of tsanp'o in Chinese. The Tibetans were the allies of the Khalif of Bagdad and they invaded the Chinese provinces of Yun-nan, Sze-ch'wan and Kan-su, as far as Ch'ang ngan, capital of the T'ang emperors. The two most ancient historical edicts have been found by Dr. L.A. Waddell upon a lofty pillar of victory which stands at the foot of Potala Hill, under the castles of the ancient kings, now incorporated in the palace of the dalai lama; they date between A.D. 730 and 763, are the earliest historical Tibetan documents hitherto discovered, and throw a sidelight on the ancient history and geography of China. The eighth century is the culminating point of Tibetan power, which was destroyed when the Uighurs became the masters of the whole country between Peit'ing and Aksu.

During the eleventh century the priests of the Sakya Monastery began to be predominant in Tibet; they were called Hung Kiao, Red Church, on account of the colour of their garments and of their headgear. The laxness of their morals, the marriage of monks, and sorcery were the chief causes of the reform undertaken by Tsong K'apa or Je Rinpoch'e (b. at Amdo near Kuku-nor in 1358), founder of the Gelupa Sect, who adopted a yellow dress (hwang kiao), and obliged his followers to return to the religion of Buddha; he founded the monasteries of Gadan and of Sera, and died in 1418, having established the lamaist hierarchy. His successor, Gedundub, built the Monastery of Tashilumbo, which became in the seventeenth century the residence of the second lama, the panch'en rinpoch'é, which the first lama or Dalai Lama settled in 1641 to the west of Lhasa. The panch'en lama, Paldan-yeshes, died at Peking on the 27 Nov., 1780, during a visit to the Emperor of China. During the eighteenth century the Chinese Emperor, K'ien-lung, began to establish his supremacy over Tibet; already in 1725 two high Chinese commissioners had been appointed to control the temporal affairs of the country, and in the first moon of 1793 an imperial edict ordered that future Dalai Lamas were to be chosen from the names of children drawn from a "golden urn".

Friday, August 26, 2005

Sea Bed Mission Stirs Falklands Ghosts

Sea Bed Mission Stirs Falklands Ghosts. This is an article from the Guardian that recounts a 2003 National Geographic Society mission to visit the wreck of the General Belgrano. This ship had been sunk by the British in the Falklands Islands War of 1982.

During the attack, 323 Argentine sailors died. It was the heaviest loss of life for either side from any single engagement during the war. (It is worth noting that the General Belgrano had previously been the USS Phoenix and it had survived the Pearl harbor attack in 1941.)

What really caught my attention was this paragraph from the article. It reads, "According to the Argentinean navy, the Belgrano was steaming out of the 200-mile maritime exclusion zone fixed by Britain, and therefore there was no reason to attack it...But in July 2000 two Argentinean families filed a lawsuit against Britain for sinking the Belgrano outside the 200-mile exclusion zone, on the grounds that it violated their sons' "right to life", protected under the European convention on human rights."

What? If I remember this correctly, Argentina and the United Kingdom were at war. As such, it seems perfectly reasonable and legal to sink a ship from the other side regardless where it is at. Argentina also sank a few ships including the HMS Sheffield and the HMS Antelope. I do not suppose any British families sued Argentina for the wrongful loss of life.

Fortunately, the case brought by the Argentinean families was dismissed. But you have to wonder what the families were thinking when they brought this frivolous case to court. Did they really think they could win?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Word Verification on Comments from Blogger

Word Verification on Comments from Blogger. I am very pleased that Blogger is now allowing the option of requiring word verification on comment posts. Since I have turned the comments back on at the World History Blog, I have had to manually remove about a dozen obvious spam comments relating to stock tips, viagra, mortgage loan rates, and an advertisement for a bookstore in Canada. I believe most (if not all) of these were automated spam created by spambots who took the time to create a Blogger account first.

Not anymore! The spambots should be unable to get past the word verification trap. This is a great tool. Thanks Blogger. If you have a blog on Blogger, you can do this as well but you have to manually turn this feature on first to use it.

From the site:

What this does is to prevent automated systems from adding comments to your blog, since it takes a human being to read the word and pass this step. If you've ever received a comment that looked like an advertisement or a random link to an unrelated site, then you've encountered comment spam. A lot of this is done automatically by software which can't pass the word verification, so enabling this option is a good way to prevent many such unwanted comments.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Spanish Church and the Papacy in the Thirteenth Century

The Spanish Church and the Papacy in the Thirteenth Century - A full-text online book by Peter Linehan which was originally published in 1971 by Cambridge University Press.

I really like the idea of publishing out-of-print history related books on the Web. Why not give this information away to Web seekers if there is no longer any financial gain to keeping the book off line? It will in many cases bring the book to the attention of researchers and allow it to be used to advance our understanding of the past.

From the site:

It is high time that a history of the medieval Spanish Church was written, to replace Lafuente's Historia eclesiástica, which is now a century old and has aged badly. But this book is not meant to fill that gap. The materials for a work of synthesis simply do not yet exist. Hence the absence of, for example, any sustained discussion of the monastic Orders which had contributed so much to Spanish life since the eleventh century, or of the rise and fall of the Mendicants -- and particularly of the Dominicans in St Dominic's own country. Nor is it a history of the Reconquista, although I am not unaware of the part played by churchmen in that operation. Indeed, in view of the consequences for the Spanish Church of that unique movement, some such sub-title as The Infra-structure of the Reconquest might well have been appropriate.

For all this, however, it has proved impossible to exclude these topics and others from what was originally conceived as an investigation into the workings of the reform programme, pure and simple, in Spain -- the kingdoms of Leon, Castile and Aragon, that is -- in the period after the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. It soon became clear that the subject posed questions of an economic nature regarding the Church's place in society. Nor could such an investigation be limited to Spain, thus defined. The political and ecclesiastical boundaries did not coincide, and so I have not hesitated to wander across the frontier into Portugal, as occasion demanded and as churchmen did then, and to accept the old-fashioned geographical interpretation of Hispania which the statutes of the Spanish College at Bologna employed in the late fourteenth century.(1) It is to be hoped that the conclusions reached will now be subjected to criticism based on the documentary resources of particular dioceses. If they merely serve as a set of Aunt Sallies to be shied at, the book will at least have caused students to defend the old assumptions by engaging in the battle of the archives. And that activity had the blessing of Jaime Vicens [x] Vives -- the highest accolade any historian of Spain could desire.(2)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

History of Togo

History of Togo. This is a brief essay which covers the history of the African nation of Togo.

Wikiedpia notes, "The Togolese Republic is a country in West Africa, bordering Ghana in the west, Benin in the east and Burkina Faso in the north. In the south, it has a short Gulf of Guinea coast, on which the capital Lomé is located."

From the site:

The Ewes moved into the area which is now Togo from the Niger River valley between the 12th and 14th centuries. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese explorers and traders visited the coast. For the next 200 years, the coastal region was a major raiding center for Europeans in search of slaves, earning Togo and the surrounding region the name "The Slave Coast." In an 1884 treaty signed at Togoville, Germany declared a protectorate over a stretch of territory along the coast and gradually extended its control inland. Because it became Germany's only self-supporting colony, Togoland was known as its model possession. In 1914, Togoland was invaded by French and British forces and fell after brief resistance. Following the war, Togoland became a League of Nations mandate divided for administrative purposes between France and the United Kingdom.

After World War II, the mandate became a UN trust territory administered by the United Kingdom and France. During the mandate and trusteeship periods, western Togo was administered as part of the British Gold Coast. In 1957, the residents of British Togoland voted to join the Gold Coast as part of the new independent nation of Ghana.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Central Asia After the Mongol Invasion - Islam and Sedentary Life as a Consequence

Central Asia After the Mongol Invasion - Islam and Sedentary Life as a Consequence - Academic paper by Dr. Ozkan Izgi discusses the impact of the Mongolian conquest on nomadic life in the region. This inlcudes a look at the spread of Islam, the Turkish language, and sedentarization.

This paper is not too hard to read and I was able to finish it in a single sitting. As can be expected in a scholarly paper, it is well documented with over 62 references.

From the site:

In the period after the Mongolian conquest of Central Asia we see not only a change in the political situation but also a change in the ethnic composition of the population and a change in the way of life which is later evidenced by a sedentary population.

In this paper, I want to deal with the situation before and after the Mongolian conquest. Here, we encounter the following questions: 1. What happened to the Turkish peoples and tribes who occupied this area during the time of the Karakhanids and the Khorezmshahs? We do not find most of them later. 2. How did the Mongolian tribes who came with the conquest become Turkicized in language and in culture? This is obvious at Timur's time. 3. How did these nomadic peoples become sedentary?

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Neanderthal - This is an illustrated overview of Neanderthal living. It was created to accompany a TV show that followed the story of a small clan of Neanderthals living in Southwest France 35,000 years ago.

In addition to notes on how the show was made, there is a Neanderthal Fact File which examines the history of Neanderthal research and debunks many myths. There are also notes on how they lived including fire lighting and tool making.

From the site:

Neanderthal was the story of the rise and fall of one of the most successful human species that ever lived. A species that survived for over a quarter of a million years, living through and adapting to the most violent extremes of climate. A species that thrived - until modern man came along.

This revealing two-part drama documentary combined the latest scientific research with a stunning mixture of drama and cutting edge 3D animation to reconstruct the lives of these remarkable early humans. In the second part, the advanced Cro-Magnons arrive and a new Ice Age is dawning.