Saturday, September 03, 2005

History of St. Lucia

History of St. Lucia - This is a brief essay which covers the history of this small island nation. Nothing real exciting here but if you want a quick overview to the history of St. Lucia, this will do.

From the site:

St. Lucia's first known inhabitants were Arawaks, believed to have come from northern South America 200-400 A.D. Numerous archaeological sites on the island have produced specimens of the Arawaks' well-developed pottery. Caribs gradually replaced Arawaks during the period 800-1000 A.D.

Europeans first landed on the island in either 1492 or 1502 during Spain's early exploration of the Caribbean. The Dutch, English, and French all tried to establish trading outposts on St. Lucia in the 17th century but faced opposition from hostile Caribs.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Crusades

The Crusades - The basis for a virtual course on the crusades from Dr. Skip Knox at Boise State University. Includes a visitor center offering a virtual pilgrimage as well as extensive information on each of the Crusades.

Although all the lectures are online, I note that the class discussion board requires a log-in. That makes sense but it would be nice if visitors could read class postings even if they can not make posts.

There is also a collection of maps and an in-depth timeline. This is a nice resource and I am pleased that the faculty member has opened his course up to the world.

From the site:

This site is a fully virtual course offered for college credit through Boise State University. We have no physical classroom and the course is entirely asynchronous.

The course materials are open to the general public and to other educators. Please see the Visitor Center for details.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Convicts to Australia

Convicts to Australia. This is a neat site which includes information for Australians (and others) who are researching convict ancestors. It includes a chronological list of all the convict transports sent from England to Australia, convict tales, timeline, and a research guide to the entire subject.

I found this quote from the index page funny, "Most family historians in Australia regard a convict in their ancestry as enormously desirable." My family has a convict ancestor but it is not something we are proud about. However, he was not a pioneer of America in the same way that the convicts sent to Australia were among the pioneers there.

You can also visit the Clayton's Convicts page of the site and create your own convict ancestor if you lack one. I typed in my name, claimed I live in New South Wales (I am in the USA), and got the following story, "My ggg-grandfather George Brown was a historian, who lived in London, England, in the early 1800s. Life was extremely difficult back then and the Brown family was very poor. In 1820 the unfortunate George was caught with two accomplices, Arthur Dodger and Oliver Twirl, stealing a hat from the home of Mr and Mrs Babcock, who resided at 17 Struggle Street, London. George was tried and convicted at London Quarter Sessions and in 1822 was transported to Australia on the convict ship Sterling, for a term of 7 years. There are now many fine, upstanding descendants of George Brown living in Australia, the most upstanding of all being Miland Brown, who currently resides in New South Wales."

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Camille Photos

Hurricane Camille Photos - As we watch the continued horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it is sobering to remember that this has happened before. Katrina may be worse but Camille was also destructive.

These photos were taken by Chauncey Hinman of Gulfport, Mississippi. The storm hit the USA in 1969.

From the site:

Hurricane Camille is said to be the worst storm ever to hit mainland United States. With winds in excess of 200 mph and tides over 20 feet, Hurricane Camille smashed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Sunday night, the 17th of August and continued its devastating path until the early hours of Monday, the 18th.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

History of Spain

History of Spain. This is a short article which gives a summary of the history of Spain. The emphasis is on 20th Century events.

I found the concluding paragraph of note, "Unfortunately, the defeat of the Aznar government and the subsequent removal of Spanish troops from Iraq, gave the terrorists exactly what the wanted and rewarded them for the Madrid train attack. It is probable that as a result, other nations will probably suffer terror attacks during their electoral processes as Al Qaeda and other groups try to influence international politics through violence. "

This may be true but it I feel it is inappropriate to add political comments like this to a general history article. Particularly when it is at the end and the reader has no warning.

From the site:

Spain’s Iberian Peninsula has been settled for millennia. In fact, some of Europe's most impressive Paleolithic cultural sites are located in Spain, including the famous caves at Altamira that contain spectacular paintings dating from about 15,000 to 25,000 years ago. The Basques, Europe’s oldest surviving group, are also the first identifiable people of the peninsula.

Beginning in the ninth century BC, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, and Celts entered the Iberian Peninsula. The Romans followed in the second century BC and laid the groundwork for Spain's present language, religion, and laws. Although the Visigoths arrived in the fifth century AD, the last Roman strongholds along the southern coast did not fall until the seventh century AD. In 711, North African Moors sailed across the straits, swept into Andalusia, and within a few years, pushed the Visigoths up the peninsula to the Cantabrian Mountains. The Reconquest—efforts to drive out the Moors—lasted until 1492. By 1512, the unification of present-day Spain was complete.

Monday, August 29, 2005

HBO: Rome

HBO: Rome. I watched the first episode of this show on HBO tonight. As a whole, I liked it and I do look forward to seeing more episodes.

Here are a few thoughts:

This series is beginning with the start of the great Roman civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompey. Most of the people in the world know that eventually Caesar is going to win. Most will know that the boy Octavian will eventually rule the world as August Caesar. However, the state of history education in the USA may mean that many Americans will be surprised by how this series ends. (However many seasons that takes...)

I also note that most of the actors appear to be British. This is the same as the BBC 1970s TV series I, Claudius. Why are Brits hired to portray Romans most of the time? The Romans considered Brittania at the time of Caesar to be one of the most barbaric places in the world. What irony that British actors are presented as Romans. For obvious reasons, English is used for this TV series rather than Latin. So why does it matter what accent the English has?

I was a bit disturbed by how Caesar was portrayed when he learned his daughter Julia had died. In the HBO series, he is indifferent and promptly seeks to find political gain. In contrast, Pompey mourns the death of Caesar's daughter who is also his wife. My readings of history on this topic (which include Jimenez, R. L. (2000) in Caesar Against Rome: The Great Roman Civil War and Holland, T. (2003) in Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic) lead me to conclude that Caesar was not indifferent to the death of his daughter. Very few fathers would not have some grief at the death of one of their children. Why should Caesar be presented differently? This must be forshadowing of how Caesar is going to be presented in this series...

I eagerly await to see how this series is played out.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Capital and the Bay: Narratives of Washington and the Chesapeake Bay Region, ca. 1600-1925

The Capital and the Bay: Narratives of Washington and the Chesapeake Bay Region, ca. 1600-1925 - A digital library of 139 books from the collections of the Library of Congress dealing with the history of Washington and the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland and Virginia in the United States of America. Search by keyword or browse by subject, author, or title. Documents are displayed in text-only or page image form.

From the site:

The Capital and the Bay: Narratives of Washington and the Chesapeake Bay Region, ca. 1600-1925 comprises 139 books selected from the Library of Congress's General Collections and two books from its Rare Book and Special Collections Division. The collection includes first-person narratives, early histories, historical biographies, promotional brochures, and books of photographs that capture in words and pictures a distinctive region as it developed between the onset of European settlement and the first quarter of the twentieth century.