Saturday, November 05, 2005

History of Sri Lanka

History of Sri Lanka. This is a hisory of the Asian nation of Sri Lanka. This is an ancient land. However, this essay focuses the most on the current conflict between the Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan government.

Wikipedia notes, "The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (known as Ceylon before 1972) is a tropical island nation off the southeast coast of the Indian subcontinent. The island was known in ancient times as Sinhale, Lanka, Lankadeepa (Sanskrit for "resplendent land"), Simoundou, Taprobane (from the Sanskrit Tāmaraparnī), Serendib (from the Sanskrit Sinhala-dweepa), and Selan. During colonization, the island became known as Ceylon (from Selon through the Portuguese Ceilão), a name still used on occasion. Its unique shape and proximity to the Indian mainland have led some to refer to the island as India's Teardrop."

From the site:

The actual origins of the Sinhalese are shrouded in myth. Most believe they came to Sri Lanka from northern India during the 6th century BC. Buddhism arrived from the subcontinent 300 years later and spread rapidly. Buddhism and a sophisticated system of irrigation became the pillars of classical Sinhalese civilization (200 BC-1200 AD) that flourished in the north-central part of the island. Invasions from southern India, combined with internecine strife, pushed Sinhalese kingdoms southward.

The island's contact with the outside world began early. Roman sailors called the island Taprobane. Arab traders knew it as "Serendip," the root of the word "serendipity." Beginning in 1505, Portuguese traders, in search of cinnamon and other spices, seized the island's coastal areas and spread Catholicism. The Dutch supplanted the Portuguese in 1658. Although the British ejected the Dutch in 1796, Dutch law remains an important part of Sri Lankan jurisprudence. In 1815, the British defeated the king of Kandy, last of the native rulers, and created the Crown Colony of Ceylon. They established a plantation economy based on tea, rubber, and coconuts. In 1931, the British granted Ceylon limited self-rule and a universal franchise. Ceylon became independent on February 4, 1948.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Architectural Marvels of Ancient Mesopotamia

Architectural Marvels of Ancient Mesopotamia - Offers various maps and timelines of the growth of civilization in Mesopotamia, as well as illustrations and photographs of major architectural features of the successive empires.

This is a good resource. However, I do wish the page creator had made a file structure with links to content. Putting this much content on a single page is not a good idea. It is hard on the eyes, it is difficult to find what you want, and it does the site no favors when search engine spiders visit.

From the site:

The land between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers, it is said, hosted the legendary Garden of Eden - if it existed anywhere. To emphasize this the ancient village of Al-Qurna singled out a tree ("Adam's tree") with a sign - in Arabic and English. On this holy spot where the Tigris meets the Euphrates this holy tree of our father Adam grew symbolizing the Garden of Eden. Abraham prayed here 2,000 years B.C. Throughout Iraq loom ziggurat temples dating from 3,000 B.C. which recall the story of the Tower of Babel. One such ziggurat is Aqar-Quf (a suburb of present day Baghdad) marking the capital of the Cassites. In the south lie the ruins of Sumer where were found tens of thousands of stone tablets from the incredible Sumerian culture which flourished 5,000 years ago. On some of these tablets, which were used for teaching children, are found fascinating descriptions of everyday life, including the first organized and detailed set of instructions on when to plant and when to harvest. Also in the south lie the ruins of Ur from which at God's prodding Abraham set out for the promised land. Here the Akkadians introduced chariots to warfare. Nearby on the west bank of the Shatt-el-Arab lies Basra which later became the home port of Sindbad the Sailor. The Marsh Arabs (Ma'dan) are found at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates in the south. In the north of Iraq the gates of Ninevah the Assyrian capital with their imaginative stone winged-bulls mark the place where the prophet Jonah is said to have preached penance to the wicked inhabitants, all of whom repented, much to Jonah's chagrin. Later neighboring Mosul became the crossroads of the great caravan routes. Kirkuk is the oil center of the north and boasts of the tomb of the Old Testament prophet Daniel. The city of Mosul has given us the cloth that bears its name "muslin" as well as building materials, alabaster and gypsum cement with its remarkable strength and rapid-drying properties.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Krste Misirkov

Krste Misirkov - Biography of the prominent publicist, philologist and linguist (1874-1926) and text of his 1903 paper "On the Macedonian Matters," which discussed the country's complex situation and proposed ways to resolve the Macedonian question and establish a Macedonian state.

There are also several others papers and news accounts here as well. Some of the content is in Macedonian but there is a lot in English as well.

From the site:

These pages are made with the intention to gather as much as possible of the available information regarding Krste Petkov Misirkov, the prominent Macedonian publicist, philologist and linguist who set the principles of the Macedonian literary language at the beggining of the 20th century.

His oppinions on the political and national issues of the time carry the proof of the struggle of the Macedonian intellectuals and their contribution to the fight for the liberation of the Macedonians and the creation of an independent Macedonian state.

The documents presented here are given in their original form, without any comments or suggestions.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

History of South Africa

History of South Africa. This is an essay which covers the history of the nation of South Africa. Needless to say, South Africa has had an interesting history including Shaka and the Zulus, the Boers, apartheid, and high crime rates.

Wikipedia notes, "The Republic of South Africa is a country located at the southern tip of the African continent. It borders the countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. Lesotho is an enclave entirely surrounded by South African territory."

"South Africa has the largest population of people of European descent in Africa, the largest Indian population in Africa, the largest mixed white, Malay, and black population (formerly known as "Coloured"; people of mixed Bantu, Khoisan, and European descent; or pure Khoisan descent) community in Africa, making it one of the most ethnically diverse countries on the continent. Racial and ethnic strife between the white minority and the black majority have played a large part in the country's history and politics. The National Party began introducing the racist policy of apartheid after winning the general election of 1948; however, it was the same party under the leadership of F.W. de Klerk who under pressure started to dismantle it in 1990 after a long struggle by the oppressed black majority, as well as many white, coloured and Indian South Africans."

From the site:

People have inhabited southern Africa for thousands of years. Members of the Khoisan language groups are the oldest surviving inhabitants of the land, but only a few are left in South Africa today--and they are located in the western sections. Most of today's black South Africans belong to the Bantu language group, which migrated south from central Africa, settling in the Transvaal region sometime before AD 100. The Nguni, ancestors of the Zulu and Xhosa, occupied most of the eastern coast by 1500.

The Portugese were the first Europeans to reach the Cape of Good Hope, arriving in 1488. However, permanent white settlement did not begin until 1652 when the Dutch East India Company established a provisioning station on the Cape. In subsequent decades, French Huguenot refugees, the Dutch, and Germans began to settle in the Cape. Collectively, they form the Afrikaner segment of today's population. The establishment of these settlements had far-reaching social and political effects on the groups already settled in the area, leading to upheaval in these societies and the subjugation of their people.

By 1779, European settlements extended throughout the southern part of the Cape and east toward the Great Fish River. It was here that Dutch authorities and the Xhosa fought the first frontier war. The British gained control of the Cape of Good Hope at the end of the 18th century. Subsequent British settlement and rule marked the beginning of a long conflict between the Afrikaners and the English.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

History's Happening

History's Happening. Links to some of the best sites for junior high and high school students who are studying US and World History.

I like this site for several reasons. To begin with, it is organized by category. Hence, it is easy to find sites dealing with different historical themes and time periods. Further, all of the sites have a short description which is always helpful when dealing with a links page. A failure to annotate properly makes several sites similar to this one inferior. And of course, all the sites listed are kid safe which is nice for parents and teachers.

From the site:

My name is Pete Loeser. I live in the small town of Laytonville, which is located in Northern California, about 150 miles north of the city of San Francisco. From there I run an educational consulting business called Loeser Consulting. I retired as a high school teacher after 32 years in the classroom. I taught history at Laytonville High School and later at Willits High School in nearby Willits, California.

I created this page for the use of my history students. I wanted a place for them to do historical research on the web in a controlled atmosphere. Creating it also gave me a chance to learn HTML. I first used a program called HomeSite to create it. I hope you enjoy using it.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The History of Halloween

The History of Halloween. Happy Halloween! This has always been my favorite holiday. I thought this year I would find a good Halloween history site. I found one and it is at the History Channel site.

This site was created to help support a TV program of the same name. It includes information on the origins of Halloween, spooky recipes, facts about pumpkins, and some creepy video clips.

From the site:

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Third Battle of 1066

The Third Battle of 1066. This is an article by Guy Schofield that was published in the October 1966 issue of History Today. It deals with the Battle of Fulford and how it may have impacted other events during the Norman Conquest in 1066.

This article has been reprinted at a larger site dealing with the battle. It includes information about the battlefield near York and the 20 September 1066 battle of Fulford, which preceded Hastings. Includes maps, photographs, and accounts, as well as a description of efforts to preserve the area from development.

From the site:

A few days before King Harold reached the north to win the battle of Stamford Bridge in September 1066, the invading Vikings defeated the English at Fulford, near York.

Historians have emphasized that the losses sustained by King Harold’s army in defeating Harald Hardrada of Norway at Stamford Bridge must have weakened the force with which he had to oppose William of Normandy at Hastings shortly afterwards. This, and the exhausting marches of the King’s levies between London and York, contributed to William’s victory. Less attention has been paid to what was probably a more decisive factor – the disaster that befell English arms at the other battle of 1066, the Battle of Fulford. It has been unduly neglected, sometimes dismissed as little more than a curtain-raiser for what was to follow; yet a study of the facts suggests that it was of bitter consequence for Harold Godwinson.