Saturday, December 03, 2005

First Lady Julia Tyler

Julia Tyler - Biography about Julia Gardiner Tyler (1820-1889) from the National First Ladies' Library.

Julia Tyler was the youngest First Lady of the United States. She was only 24 when she married President Tyler during his presidency. She started the tradition of having "Hail to the Chief" played at state occasions. Julia married the President after her parents were tragically killed in an accident. President Tyler married Julia after his wife (and first First Lady) died and made him a widower in the White House.

Mrs. Tyler would go on to bear the President 7 children. (He already had 8 from his first marriage!) John Tyler has the record for the fertility of an American President.

During the American Civil War, she was put in an awkward position. She was a New Yorker but her husband was from Virginia. He swore allegiance to the Confederacy when Virginia illegally seceded from the Union. When President Tyler died in 1862, she was left in a tough spot. She had trouble living in both New York and Virginia and frequently moved between them during the conflict.

All in all, I have to say that Julia Tyler is one of the more interesting First Ladies in American history.

From the site:

By 1841, Senator Gardiner’s two daughters had taken Washington by storm, so much so that, by 1843, he had to take a few extra rooms in their boarding house to entertain the gentlemen callers. Sometimes Julia entertained her guests by playing the guitar and singing. In 1842, she met her future husband at a White House reception. Between 1841 and 1844, Julia received proposals from no less than 2 Congressmen, one Supreme Court Justice and one from President Tyler, now a widower. Christmas Eve 1843 the Gardiner’s were invited to the White House. By February 1844, the gossips were making much of the friendship between President Tyler and Julia. Tragedy interrupted the talk. Dolley Madison had arranged a trip up the Potomac on the gunboat, The Princeton, on February 28, 1844. Among the guests were President Tyler, most of his cabinet, and the Gardiners. One of the guns that was fired while passing Mount Vernon exploded, killing the Secretary of State and Senator Daniel Gardiner, among others. Julia, hearing the explosion, fainted into the arms of the President. She said later that, after her father’s death, the President seemed to fill the void that no younger man ever could. Amidst great secrecy, John Tyler married Julia Gardiner on Gardiner’s Island on June 26, 1844. Dolley Madison prided herself on the role she played in helping the romance along.

Friday, December 02, 2005

History Carnival XXI

History Carnival XXI. The 21st edition of the History Carnival is up. I am happy to say this blog got a mention. If you are looking for a variety of good posts made at history blogs recently, this is a good place to start.

The concept of the History Carnival is described on its homepage at It notes, "The goal of these carnivals is to provide a regular showcase of the best blogs - well-known and not so well-known - in their fields. If you follow the links above you can get a feel of how they work, but essentially a carnival consists of a list, with editorial comments, of a range of recently-published blog posts (numbering anywhere from 12 to 40+ entries), and most carnivals rotate around a number of hosts, bringing diversity of presentation and different perspectives within the subject theme. Frequencies vary depending on the topic; the History Carnival is published on the 1st and 15th (approximately) of each month."

The host for this edition of the History Carnival is CLEWS The Historic True Crime Blog. It looks like a fine blog. It is described as, "WELCOME to my study of historic true crime. Take a seat, please. They're high-backed and cushioned, as cozy as a first-class Pullman. My chair rests at the intersection of history, journalism, law, and murder, and true crime connoisseur that you are, you'll recognize familiar tales. But I want to tell you some stories you haven't heard before... "

Maybe I should volunteer to be a future host? I'll give this some thought.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

History of Sierra Leone

History of Sierra Leone. This is a brief history to the very troubled African nation of Sierra Leone.

Wikipedia notes, "The Republic of Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea on the north and Liberia on the southeast, with the Atlantic Ocean on the southwest. The name Sierra Leone was adapted from the Spanish version: Sierra León, and in turn, from the Portuguese Serra-Leão [or Serra Leoa] which stands for 'lioness mountains.' It was an important centre of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Much like neighbouring Liberia, it was founded by freed slaves, who in 1791 founded the capital, Freetown. In 1806, Freetown became a British Protectorate (as did the remainder of the country in 1896), reaching independence in 1961. From 1991 to 2002, the country suffered greatly under a devastating series of civil and political violence."

Some other good history related Sierra Leone links include:

Civil War in Sierra Leone - Focus on Human Rights - News, campaign and advocacy documents on Civil War in Sierra Leone with a special focus on Human Rights concerns during conflict situation.

Diamond In the Rough: Ahmad Tejan Kabbah - Short profile and interview with Sierra Leone's President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah by Time Magazine in 2002.

History of Sierra Leone before 1990 - Offers a timeline of history.

From the site:

European contacts with Sierra Leone were among the first in West Africa. In 1652, the first slaves in North America were brought from Sierra Leone to the Sea Islands off the coast of the southern United States. During the 1700s there was a thriving trade bringing slaves from Sierra Leone to the plantations of South Carolina and Georgia where their rice-farming skills made them particularly valuable.

In 1787 the British helped 400 freed slaves from the United States, Nova Scotia, and Great Britain return to Sierra Leone to settle in what they called the "Province of Freedom." Disease and hostility from the indigenous people nearly eliminated the first group of returnees. This settlement was joined by other groups of freed slaves and soon became known as Freetown. In 1792, Freetown became one of Britain's first colonies in West Africa.

Thousands of slaves were returned to or liberated in Freetown. Most chose to remain in Sierra Leone. These returned Africans--or Krio as they came to be called--were from all areas of Africa. Cut off from their homes and traditions by the experience of slavery, they assimilated some aspects of British styles of life and built a flourishing trade on the West African coast.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

European Association of Mayanists (Wayeb)

European Association of Mayanists (Wayeb) - Interdisciplinary organization of European scholars, students, and amateurs developing and promoting research on the ancient civilization of the Maya. Site includes conference and event announcements; links, bibliography, and other research resources as well as a staff directory.

From the site:

The European Association of Mayanists, Wayeb, is an academically oriented non-profit association that promotes Maya Studies in Europe. It was created in 1996 by a group of young scholars seeking to build academic contacts.

Maya Studies in Europe

Maya Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that relies on research results from various academic disciplines such as anthropology, archaeology, history, linguistics or art history. Important sub-fields of research are epigraphy, iconography, ethnography and ethnohistory. There are very few academic institutions in the world that investigate ancient and modern Maya Culture by interconnecting these disciplines and research fields. Mayanists, therefore, depend on the opportunity to attend international research symposia, organise themselves within academic associations and form research networks.Although the study of Ancient Maya Culture has a long European tradition, such networks have for the most part remained within the national borders.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Corinth Computer Project

The Corinth Computer Project - A computerized architectural and topographical survey of the Roman era colony of Corinth, by the University of Pennsylvania.

It includes a city plan (circa 150 AD), a historical background, and a glossary. There is also a short movie clip available for downloading which describes the project.

From the site:

Since 1988 a research team from the Mediterranean Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania has been involved in making a computerized archit ectural and topographical survey of the Roman colony of Corinth. Known as the Corinth Computer Project, the field work has been carried out under the auspices of the Corinth Excavations of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Dr. Charles K. Williams II, Director. Although the excavations at Corinth by the American School have been underway for more than a century, aspects of the study of the layout of the Roman colony have remained incomplete due to the size and complexity of the site as well as its complicated history. A great deal of information about the Roman city, as well as many accurate plans, existed before the wor k of the Corinth Computer Project began. The original objectives were to study the nature of the city planning process during the Roman period at Corinth; to gain a more precise idea of the order of accuracy of the Roman surveyor; and to create a highly accurate computer generated map of the ancient city whereby one could discriminate between and study the successive chronological phases of the city's development.

It is important to acknowledge that during the course of the fifteen years of the project to date, the nature of the research has evolved from a fairly straightforward consideration of the location and orientation of the excavated roadways of the Roman colony, to a more complex topographical and architectural consideration of various elements of the colony, including the rural as well as the urban aspects of planning and settlement. The project now utilizes a number of methodologies, simultaneously, in the overall study of the ancient city. One aspect of the project is a regional landscape study of a portion of the Corinthia, with the city of Roman Corinth as the focus. Another aspect of the project is the effort to include information from the city of Corinth from chronological periods other than Roman, specifically Archaic and Classical Greek, Hellenistic, Late Roman, Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian, seventeenth through twentieth centuries. By means of low level and high altitude air photography, as well as satellite images and some balloon photographs, the limits of the project have been greatly expanded into areas that had not been considered in the original research design. A brief history of the Corinth Computer Project is included to further illustrate the evolution of research and laboratory techniques. In the fall of 1998 a graduate level seminar, City and Landscape of Roman Corinth, was taught at the University of Pennsylvania. Students were assigned individual buildings and structures of the forum as their research projects.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

350th Anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia

350th Anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia - Prepared in connection with the 1998 celebrations of the anniversary at Munster, this site contains a year-by-year time-line and short essays on the war and the peace. It is hard to believe that Sweden and Germany were once at war. This site is in reference to the Thirty Years War.

Unfortunately, the site is in frames which may make it difficult for some Web browsers to access. What is wrong with straight html code with the actual url visible?

Most of the articles are available in Dutch, Swedish, Spanish and French. Some material is in German only.

From the site:

The signing of the final treaties of the Peace of Westphalia on 24 October 1648 in Münster and Osnabrück marked the first time in the history of Europe that peace had been reached by negotiation. Life in the two cities had been dictated for five years by the negotiations conducted in the envoys' quarters. The population of Münster, totalling 12,000 at the time, was boosted by an additional 10,000 due to the 34 diplomats with a retinue of up to 200 persons and the baggage-train which ministered to their needs. The police are anticipating an even larger number of onlookers wishing to be part of the events when 20 European heads of state visit Münster on 24 October 1998.

The pointers to the peace negotiations of 350 years ago in the current cityscape of Münster create a strong impression. Direct testimony is provided by the buildings reconstructed post-1945 with the help of historical models: the fully preserved Friedenssaal (Peace Hall) of the Rathaus, in which the Peace of Münster was sworn on 15 May 1648, and the Krameramtshaus, which was home to the Netherlands envoys from 1644 to 1648.

Further evidence of the anniversary of the Peace are visibly preserved for posterity in the city. In the cobbles of the inner courtyard of the Rathaus, the observant passer-by will see a scroll under a glass panel. The document is a message of peace composed by young people from Germany and Holland, which was presented to the Mayoress Marion Tüns when Crown Prince Willem Alexander of Holland visited Münster on 15 May 1998. The chestnut tree planted by the Dalai Lama on land formerly used by the military during his visit to the city on 6 June 1998 will also grow into a symbol of peace.