Saturday, October 29, 2005

History of Saint Pierre and Miquelon

History of Saint Pierre and Miquelon. This is a short account of the history of this last remaining French territory in North America. While obscure today, the islands were important during the rum running days of American Prohibition as well a source of conflict between the USA and Vichy France in World War II.

Wikipedia notes, "Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (French Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon) 46°47′ N 56°12′ W is a French overseas collectivity consisting of several small islands off the eastern coast of Canada near Newfoundland. It is the only remainder of the former colonial territory of New France."

From the site:

First settled by the French in the early 17th century, the islands represent the sole remaining vestige of France's once vast North American possessions.

The 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia wrote, "Known to the earliest Breton and Basque fishermen, this group already bore its present name when Jacques Cartier identified it in 1535, The first settlement dates from 1604. In 1689 Bishop St-Vallier visited it from Placentia, blessed a chapel, and left a priest in charge. The Recollects sent to Placentia (1691) attended this mission. The islands were successively ceded to England (Treaty of Utrecht, 1712), restored to France (Treaty of Paris, 1763), thrice captured by the English (1778, 1793, and 1808), and thrice retroceded to France (Treaties of Versailles, 1783, of Amiens, 1802, and of Ghent, 1814). Many Acadians fled thither after the dispersion of Grand Pré (1755) and the fall of Louisbourg (1757)."

"The first missionaries who came after the Treaty of Paris were the Jesuits Bonnecamp and Ardilliers, with dubious jurisdiction from the Bishop of La Rochelle (1765). The islands now separated from the jurisdiction of Quebec were erected by Propaganda into a prefecture Apostolic, and formed the first mission confided by Rome to the Seminary of the Holy Ghost. MM. Girard, prefect, and de Manach, who sailed the same year, were driven by a storm to Martinique. They were replaced (1766) by MM. Becquet and Paradis, likewise of the Holy Ghost Seminary, or Spiritains, as well as several of the following. In 1775 the prefect, M. Paradis, with his companion and 300 families were expelled by the English. M. de Longueville succeeded him in 1788. In 1792 M. Allain, vice-prefect, and his companion, M. Le Jamtel, were forced by the French Revolution to leave for the Magdalen Islands, with a number of Acadians who, remaining faithful to the King of France, refused to take the oath of the Constitution. The former inhabitants returning in 1816, M. Ollivier, who accompanied them, applied for jurisdiction to the Bishop of Quebec. He was appointed vice-prefect in 1820. His successors, with the same title, were MM. Charlot (1841), Le Helloco (1854), Le Tournoux (1864), Tiberi (1893); the two last named belonged to the newly-restored Congregation of the Holy Ghost."

Friday, October 28, 2005

Fighting Comment Spam at the World History Blog

They will not go away.

Despite adding word verification (and required ID's) to stop automated spambots, I am still getting spam in my comments.

Apparently the spammers are now creating accounts just to spam. They manually enter the word verification and post their crap.

Further, many of the spammers are targetting my old posts. I guess they are hoping that old blog postings will be unmonitored and hence ripe for spamming.

The spam comments usually look like this:

"I just found this great blog and I love it. Keep up the good work! I was looking for information (add spam keywords with link here) and did not find it here but I still found this blog of value."

There are multiple variations of this as well and some spammers do a better job of using words from that specific blog post to further mask the spam.

Unknown to the spammers, they will always fail when spamming the World History Blog. First, every comment made on this blog gets e-mailed to me. If I see spam, I immediately go and delete the spam comment. No spam lasts more than 24 hours on this blog. Second, Blogger uses the ref=no follow tag in comment fields. This tells search engine spiders from Google, MSN, and Yahoo to ignore the link. Hence, the spammer derives no benefit in the search engine rankings for a link from a Blogger blog. (Many spammers are too stupid to realize this and they post spam comments at Blogger anyway.)

Still, I am getting sick of this. I am removing spam comments almost everyday. On one occasion, I had to manually remove nine posts from one determined spammer trying to hawk a stainless steel cookware affiliate site! Is there no new help coming Blogger?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Civil rights icon Rosa Parks dies at 92

Civil rights icon Rosa Parks dies at 92. Sadly, the WHB notes the passing of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks. She refused to give up her seat and go to the back of the bus. As a consequence, the world is a better place today.

Here are a few good Rosa Parks site:

Academy of Achievement: Rosa Parks - Biography and 1995 interview with audio and video.
Scholastic: Rosa Parks: How I Fought for Civil Rights - An online activity for grades 7 and 8 about Parks' arrest, the boycott, nonviolence, and the court ruling, with an interview.
Time 100: Heroes and Icons: Rosa Parks - Article by Rita Dove honoring Ms. Parks as one of the twenty most influential heroes and icons of the 20th century.
State News: Parks Recognized for Role in Struggle - Michigan, Parks' home state, designates the first Monday after February 4 as Mrs. Rosa L. Parks Day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

History of Serbia and Montenegro

History of Serbia and Montenegro. Or that which remains of the former Yugoslavia. This is a brief history of the ever shrinking nation in Europe. I wonder when Monegro will reclaim it's rghtful place as a soveriegn nation?

Wikipedia notes, "Serbia and Montenegro (Serbian: Србија и Црна Гора, Srbija i Crna Gora, often abbreviated as "SCG") is the name of the union of Serbia and Montenegro, two former Yugoslav republics united since 2003 in a loose confederation. It is located on the west-central Balkan Peninsula. Serbia and Montenegro cooperate in only some political fields (e.g. through a defense union). The states have separate economic policies and currencies. The country does not have a unified capital anymore, dividing its common institutions between Belgrade in Serbia and Podgorica in Montenegro. Each of the two states may seek full independence via a referendum, which can be held in 2006 at the earliest."

From the site:

The Serbian state as known today was created in 1170 A.D. by Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the Nemanjic dynasty. Serbia's religious foundation came several years later when Stefan's son, canonized as St. Sava, became the first archbishop of a newly autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church (1219). Thus, at this time, the Serbs enjoyed both temporal and religious independence. After a series of successions, Serbia fell under the rule of King Milutin, who improved Serbia's position among other European countries. Milutin also was responsible for many of the brightest examples of Medieval Serbian architecture. Moreover, Serbia began to expand under Milutin's reign, seizing territory in nearby Macedonia from the Byzantines. Under Milutin's son, Stefan Dusan (1331-55), the Nemanjic dynasty reached its peak, ruling from the Danube to central Greece. However, Serbian power waned after Stefan's death in 1355, and in the Battle of Kosovo (June 15, 1389) the Serbs were catastrophically defeated by the Turks. By 1459, the Turks exerted complete control over all Serb lands.

For more than 3 centuries--nearly 370 years--the Serbs lived as virtual slaves of the Ottoman sultans. As a result of this oppression, Serbs began to migrate out of their native and (present-day Kosovo and southern Serbia) into other areas within the Balkan Peninsula, including what is now Vojvodina and Croatia. When the Austrian Hapsburg armies pushed the Ottoman Turks south of the Danube in 699, many Serbs were "liberated," but their native land was still under Ottoman rule.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Heeding Sun or Mao?

Heeding Sun or Mao? - Essay about China's military thinking discussing ideas of Mao and Sun Tzu. The article is a bit dated (from 1998) but it still brings up good examples from Chinese history and how that might impact the thinking of Chinese leaders today.

Sun Tzu cautioned leaders not to underestimate the will and the ability of a potential opponent to fight. However, some believe this is what is happening in China as some leaders may be underestimating the ability of the United States to win a war against China.

What is certain is that the Chinese are taking notes on how the USA engaged in war in Kosovo, how the USA dismantled the Irqui war machine during the 2003 invasion, and the difficulty the USA has with a long term occupation (militarily and politically) in the face of a guerrilla war.

From the site:

Ancient China's famed strategist, Sun Tzu cautioned leaders of his day to take pains to avoid miscalculating the capabilities or intentions of potential adversaries lest disaster strike: "If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle." In contrast, modern China's revolutionary leader, Mao Zedong, brushed aside that warning: "All reactionaries are paper tigers. In appearance, the reactionaries are terrifying, but in reality they are not so powerful."

Today, American defense officials are debating whether their Chinese counterparts will, in effect, heed Sun or Mao. Underlying the deliberations is a fear that the Chinese might miscalculate in thinking they could prevail over the armed forces of the United States in a regional conflict in Asia.

Leading one school is Admiral Joseph W. Prueher, who commands U.S. forces in the Pacific; he says Chinese military leaders are "smart, pragmatic" officers who understand that the Peoples Liberation Army does not compare with U.S. forces "in any way." Influential Pentagon analysts, however, assert that Chinese leaders hold "dangerous misperceptions that may well cause serious political friction or even military conflict with the United States."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A Flavius Josephus Page

A Flavius Josephus Page - Site on the famous Jewish historian including his biography, works, and extracts with commentary. Includes additional articles about Josephus, Judaism, and Jewish history and practices.

Josephus fought in the revolt against Rome that was crushed by the future Emperor Vespasian. He survived a suicide pact, was captured and spared by the Romans, and eventually became one of the most influential men in the Roman Empire.

From the site:

Taken prisoner by Vespasian, Josephus presented himself as a prophet. Noting that the war had been propelled by an ancient oracle that foretold a world ruler would arise from Judaea, Josephus asserted that this referred to Vespasian, who was destined to become Emperor of Rome. Intrigued, Vespasian spared his life. When this prophecy came true, and Vespasian became Emperor, he rewarded Josephus handsomely, freeing him from his chains and eventually adopting him into his family, the Flavians. Josephus thus became Flavius Josephus.

During the remainder of the war, Josephus assisted the Roman commander Titus, Vespasian's son, with understanding the Jewish nation and in negotiating with the revolutionaries. Called a traitor, he was unable to persuade the defenders of Jerusalem to surrender to the Roman siege, and instead became a witness to the destruction of the city and the Holy Temple.