Saturday, September 10, 2005

History of Tanzania

History of Tanzania. This is a short but useful essay on the history of the African nation of Tanzania.

Wikipedia notes, "The United Republic of Tanzania (Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania in Swahili), or Tanzania, is a country on the east coast of east Africa. It is bordered by Kenya and Uganda on the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique on the south. To the east it borders the Indian Ocean. The country is named after Lake Tanganyika, which forms its western border."

From the site:

Northern Tanganyika's famed Olduvai Gorge has provided rich evidence of the area's prehistory, including fossil remains of some of humanity's earliest ancestors. Discoveries suggest that East Africa may have been the site of human origin.

Little is known of the history of Tanganyika's interior during the early centuries of the Christian era. The area is believed to have been inhabited originally by ethnic groups using a click-tongue language similar to that of Southern Africa's Bushmen and Hottentots. Although remnants of these early tribes still exist, most were gradually displaced by Bantu farmers migrating from the west and south and by Nilotes and related northern peoples. Some of these groups had well-organized societies and controlled extensive areas by the time the Arab slavers, European explorers, and missionaries penetrated the interior in the first half of the 19th century.

The coastal area first felt the impact of foreign influence as early as the 8th century, when Arab traders arrived. By the 12th century, traders and immigrants came from as far away as Persia (now Iran) and India. They built a series of highly developed city and trading states along the coast, the principal one being Kibaha, a settlement of Persian origin that held ascendancy until the Portuguese destroyed it in the early 1500s.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Main Causes of the Great Depression

Main Causes of the Great Depression - A short paper on the origins of the Great Depression. Discusses economic problems and policies that led to the American economic collapse in the 1930s. It includes a bibliography.

This paper was originally published in Gusmorino World (May 13, 1996).

One interesting quote from the paper, "The large and growing disparity of wealth between the well-to-do and the middle-income citizens made the U.S. economy unstable. For an economy to function properly, total demand must equal total supply. In an economy with such disparate distribution of income it is not assured that demand will always equal supply. Essentially what happened in the 1920's was that there was an oversupply of goods. It was not that the surplus products of industrialized society were not wanted, but rather that those whose needs were not satiated could not afford more, whereas the wealthy were satiated by spending only a small portion of their income."

Does a disparity of wealth cause an economic depression? If so, does this only occur when the majority of those on the lower end are poor? Does this apply if there is a large disparity but most of those on the lower end are middle class? These are interesting questions and we may see some answers in the near future in the United States if the concentration of wealth becomes more and more uneven. Yet, early 20th Century America is far different than early 21st Century America. I don't think the poor are as poor now as they were in the last century. And it has been argued credibly that the distribution of income in the USA is not as uneven as it is being portrayed.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Battle of Moscow

Battle of Moscow - Discusses the German attack and Russian defence of Moscow and counteroffensive during the 1941-1942 campaign on the Eastern Front. It is also available in Russian. (And it probably reads better in Russian as the English at the site is a bit strange and choppy.)

The German decision to invade the Soviet Union was a poor one and it probably cost the Germans the war. However, the Germans had high hopes. The site notes, "The operations named Typhoon, believing, that group of armies 'Centre', similarly typhoon, sweep the Soviet defence and approach at Moscow. By the German plans, the war should be finished before winter."

From the site:

THE MOSCOW BATTLE 1941-42, defence and offensive operations of the Soviet armies during WW2 with purposes to defence of Moscow and rout of German grouping armies. By the plan of "Typhoon" the German armies take the offensive in September 30, on Bryansk and October 2, on Viazma directions. Despite of fierce resistance of the Soviet armies their front was broken. By huge losses in the end of November - beginning of December Germans was possible managed to the channel Volga-Moscow, to force the river Nara, to approach to city Kashira from the south. The further attempts Germans break to Moscow was broken. The enemy stop. In a course counter-offensive on December 5-6, Soviet armies have released from Germans over 11 thousand occupied towns and villages and to the beginning of January, 1942 have rejected Wermacht about 100-250 kms, have put a heavy defeat 38 enemy divisions. In result counter-offensive and general offensive the enemy was rejected on the west about 150-400 kms.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Maya Calendar

The Maya Calendar - Information about the civilization from the Maya World Studies Center in Mérida, Yucatán. Describes the calendar, mathematical system, language, religion, and other aspects of Maya culture. Information is presented in both English and Spanish.

For a more sinister look at the Mayan Calendar, check out Mayan Doomsday Prophecy. The Mayan Calendar ends on Dec. 21st, 2012 and many believe the world will end on that day. If so, I plan on blogging through the apocalypse! I am a bit skeptical...

From the site:

The Maya Calendar was the center of Maya life and their greatest cultural achievement. The Maya Calendar's ancestral knowledge guided the Maya's existence from the moment of their birth and there was little that escaped its influence. The Maya Calendar made by the Maya World Studies Center in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico follows a centuries old tradition.

This Maya Calendar website is developing with the intent of providing a complete view of Maya culture; being that the Maya world was centered on the calendar, this name is more than appropriate for the Maya World Studies Center website.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

History of Palmyra Atoll

History of Palmyra Atoll. This is a history of the small American island group known as Palmyra Atoll.

Wikipedia notes that, "Palmyra Atoll is an uninhabited, 12 km2 (4.6 mi2) atoll in the Northern Pacific Ocean at 5°52′ N 162°6′ W. Palmyra is one of the Northern Line Islands (southeast of Kingman Reef and north of Kiribati Line Islands), located almost due south of the Hawaiian Islands, roughly halfway between Hawai‘i and American Samoa. Its 14.5 km (9 mi) of coastline has one anchorage known as West Lagoon. It consists of an extensive reef, two shallow lagoons, and some 50 sand and reef-rock islets and bars covered with vegetation—mostly coconut trees, Scaevola, and tall Pisonia trees."

From the site:

The atoll received its name from the American vessel Palmyra under the command of Captain Sawle, who sought shelter there on November 7, 1802. On February 26, 1862, His Majesty, Kamehameha IV (1834-1863), Fourth King of Hawaii (1854-1863), issued a commission to Captain Zenas Bent and Mr. Johnson B. Wilkinson, both Hawaiian citizens, to sail to Palmyra and to take possession of the atoll in the king's name.

On April 15, 1862, Captain Bent and Mr. Wilkinson landed in Palmyra and took formal possession of the atoll in accordance with the royal commission. Captain Bent sold his rights to Palmyra to Mr. Wilkinson on December 24, 1862. This deed was recorded in 1885 in the Royal Registry of Conveyances in Honolulu.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labor History

Labor History. Today is the Labor Day Holiday in the United States. I don't have to go to work today and I hope you do not have to either. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the day!

Clearly, labor has been an important part of world history. Every society that has ever existed has had a labor force. From hunting and foraging, building pyramids, or producing tanks on assembly lines, labor has always been crucial for success.

Here are a few links for exploring labor history:

Labor History - This is a collection of links from Library Reference Search dealing with the history of labor.

American History Sweatshop Exhibition - A pictorial tour of sweatshops from 1820 to the present provided by the National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution.

An Eclectic List of Events in U.S. Labor History - Chronology of labor struggles in the U.S. starting with the Philadelphia Journeymen Cordwainers conviction in 1806, and subsequent battles with the government, through 1989.

Samuel Gompers Papers - Project to make primary sources in American labor history available to students and researchers. Includes extensive biographical information about Gompers, plus information, photos, and images of primary documents related to other leaders and historical events.

British Labour History - Information on a wide range of British labour movement history and trade union leaders from the Chelmsford Trades Union Council.

The Labour Movement In Leicester 1883-2003 - An illustrated history of the labour movement in Leicester covering the last 120 years. Contains photographs and other visual material from this period.

Winnipeg General Strike - The Winnipeg General Strike, 15 May-25 June 1919, was Canada's best-known general strike. This article is from the Canadian Encyclopedia.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Victorian Medicine

Victorian Medicine - A comprehensive study by Henry Hattemer of professional and traditional medicinal practices, practitioners, scientific theory, and health trends in England between the years 1830 and 1910.

I realize medical science made a huge jump during this era. The doctors got better and better as they figured things out. However, I am glad I am dealing with modern medical care. The site notes, "After chloroform became widespread, surgery increased, as did doctors understanding of the need for cleanliness. Even when doctors were cleaning their hands and the instruments, however, bacteria was rampant, and it led to cases of 'hospital fever'." No thanks...

I have no doubt that a 22nd Century patient would look back and consider early 21st Century American medical care to be less than desireable as well.

From the site:

The beginning of the Victorian Era was a time of population growth coupled with primitive medicine and of obsolete science. By the end, comparatively advanced scientific theories had been confirmed; treatment had been improved through the introduction of antiseptic and anesthetic; and the life span of the average human had been increased. In order to understand this transformation, four primary areas of study are examined in detail. The multitude of professions in medicine are detailed, from the prestigious physician to the lowly apothecary, and the arenas in which each works. Current scientific theory prevalent at the time is also described and analyzed in order to understand the treatment practices. Treatment, though very primitive in nature, vastly improved during the Victorian era. Lastly, an analysis of the general health trends that result from the practice, the predominant theories, and the treatment is offered.