Friday, February 17, 2006

Researching Historic Buildings in the British Isles

I recently enjoyed reading the ERIC Digest by Marilyn Harper from 1997 titled Including Historic Places in the Social Studies Curriculum. However, that wetted my appetite for more information on historic buildings. I found it! There is a great site on Researching Historic Buildings in the British Isles. Although I do not live in the British Isles, I still found this resource interesting and fun to explore.

The site author is Jean Manco. It covers archives, maps, images, building types, ecclesiastical sources, bibliographies and styles. Also gives an introduction to the development of villages and towns.

The site will not do all of the work in researching buildings. It will just get you started despite the wealth of information here. This is even noted, "Some information could be just a few clicks away, but to get the full story you will need to visit libraries and archives." Indeed. Despite the libraryphobia of the newer generation, a lot of historical research is going to continue happening where it has been for thousands of years which is in libraries and archives.

From the site:

This site began life not on the web, but in the classroom. I had created a handout for my students called Sources for Building History. It was utterly boring in those days - about 20 pages of lists. Because bibliographies and suchlike are too tedious to dictate to students in class, teachers will often produce reference sheets instead. They may be as exciting as the telephone directory, but they are just as useful.

So I found that there was a small but steady demand for copies of Sources for Building History from people I wasn't teaching. I made a small charge for them to cover the cost of desk-top printing and binding. Then when I hooked up to the Internet, I realised that I could email digital copies free. From there it was a short step to someone suggesting a web version. Sources for Building History first appeared online in December 1998 thanks to the Internet-savvy David Bailey, who took the trouble to put it on a site he was then maintaining. When I gained my own web-space I used it for SBH in February 1999.

Within days SBH had been listed in a (now defunct) directory. I was startled to see the description. It proclaimed to the world that my site covered buildings in the UK. In fact it was much more limited. Since I was teaching in Southwest England, there was almost nothing related to the Celtic fringe. Picturing the complaints that would come pouring in from irate Welsh, Scots and Irish at yet another Englishwoman who imagines that England is the whole UK, I worked feverishly on SBH. Extra pages were added. Extra works went into bibliographies. In a week or so SBH had expanded its horizons even beyond the UK to the whole British Isles. I didn't quite manage to stave off a complaint or two, but I learned a lot.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Revolution Rejected: Canada and the American Revolution

Revolution Rejected: Canada and the American Revolution. This has details on a new permanent exhibit in the Canadian War museum dealing with the Canadian reaction to the American Revolution.

The site contains both exhibit highlights and an essay on the historical background and subsequent events that occurred including the movement of a large number of American loyalists to New Brunswick. There is also a short reading list in both French and English.

Interestingly, the First Continental Congress openly tried to tempt Quebec to join the American Revolution. In 1774, Quebec was invited to send delegates to join the Continental Congress. Pamphlets were distributed in French carrying the rebel message. However, the invitation failed to prompt Quebec to rebellion.

In particular, the exhibit concentrates on the failed American invasion of Quebec in 1775-76. Peter Macleod notes, "The American invasion of 1775-76 was one of the most important campaigns in Canadian history. Had the invaders succeeded, Canada would now in all likelihood be part of the United States. Instead, Canada remained British and eventually evolved into a self-governing Dominion and independent nation."

From the site:

Revolution Rejected: Canada and the American Revolution, curated by staff historian Peter MacLeod, uses artifacts, a scale-model diorama, audio-visual material, maps, images and personal accounts to tell the story of the American invasion of Canada in 1775-1776 and the migration of American Loyalists to Canada after 1783.

When the American Revolution broke out in 1775, George Washington sent two armies north to besiege Quebec City and conquer Canada. In the early morning of December 31, American generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold launched a desperate assault on Quebec.

In Revolution Rejected, a detailed diorama freezes the action at a crucial moment in Canadian history. Montgomery has been killed and Arnold wounded, but Arnold's troops have fought their way into Quebec's Lower Town. They begin to scale the barricade that forms Lower Town's last line of defence.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Call for Contributions: History Carnival #26


I am pleased to announce that the World History Blog will host History Carnival #26 on March 1st, 2006.

If you are not familiar with the History Carnival, please check out the official History Carnival site or the latest History Carnival at Philobiblion.

You can submit contributions in two ways:

1. Send the following information to me at miland AT usa2014 DOT com. If you’re not sure whether a post qualifies, send it anyway and I will decide whether to include it. (Please only use this address for History Carnival submissions. If you want to communicate with me on other matters, please post a comment on any entry. I will receive an e-mail asking me to approve the comment and I can contact you then.)

- The title and permalink URL of the blog post you wish to nominate and the author’s name or pseudonym.

- The title of the blog on which it appears (please note if it is a group blog).

- Also, please put ‘History Carnival’ clearly in the title of your email to help me spot it easily in my inbox!

2. Use the handy submission form provided by Blog Carnival. (This is probably the easier option if you only have one nomination.)

I will post a reminder here a few days before History Carnival #26 is posted.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The History of Valentine's Day

The History of Valentine's Day - Detailed information from the History Channel on the origins of this romantic holiday including speculation on the real St. Valentine.

Other articles focus on three great romances from history (Trumans, Robinsons, and Brownings), dating through the ages, and a Valentine love match game.

I was unaware that St. Valentine is a bit of a mystery to history. Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. Several legends deal with St. Valentine defying the Romans in some way in the 3rd Century AD and paying the price for it with his life.

The article on the history notes, "According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France."

Monday, February 13, 2006

History of Poland

History of Poland. This is a brief overview to the history of the European nation of Poland.

Wikipedia notes, "The Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska) is a country located in Central Europe, between Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine and Belarus to the east, and the Baltic Sea, Lithuania, and Russia (in the form of the Kaliningrad Oblast exclave) to the north."

From the site:

Poland's written history begins with the reign of Mieszko I, who accepted Christianity for himself and his kingdom in AD 966. Poland had hardly begun to play a part in history when it acquired extraordinary power. This was in the reign of the famous Boleslaw Chrobry (992-1025), the eldest son of the first Polish ruler. His dominions included all the lands from the Baltic to the country beyond the Carpathians, and from the River Oder to the provinces beyond the Vistula. He had at his command, ready for instant service, a well-equipped army of 20,000 men. In spite of his great power, Boleslaw continued to pay the customary tribute to Germany. By his discreet diplomacy he was successful in obtaining the consent of the pope, as well as of the German emperor, to the erection of an archiepiscopal see at Gnesen, and thus the Polish Church was relieved of its dependence upon German archbishops. To emphasize Poland's independence of Germany, Boleslaw assumed the title of king, being crowned by the newly created archbishop of Gnesen in 1024. The clergy in Poland were at that time exclusively of foreign birth; intimate relations between them and the people were therefore impossible. The latter did not become enthusiastic about the new religion, nor yet did they return to paganism, for severe penalties, such as knocking out the teeth for violating the precept of fasting, maintained obedience to the clergy among the people.

After the death of Chrobry disaster befell the Poles. Their neighbours attacked them on all sides. The son of Boleslaw, Mieczyslaw II (1025-34), unable to cope with his enemies, yielded allegiance to the emperor and lost the title of king. After his death there was an interregnum (1034-40) marked by a series of violent revolutions. Hosts of rebellious peasants traversed the country from end to end, furiously attacked castles, churches, and convents, and murdered noblemen and ecclesiastics. In Masovia paganism was re-established. Casimir, a son of Mieczyslaw II, surnamed the Restorer, recovered the reins of government, with the aid of Henry VIII, restored law and order, and rooted out idolatry. At his death the sovereignty devolved upon his son, Boleslaw II, Smialy (1058-79). This ruler was favoured by fortune in his warlike undertakings. His success at last led him to enter upon a conflict with the emperor. Conditions at the time were favourable to his securing political independence. The Emperor Henry IV was engaged in a struggle for supremacy with Pope Gregory VII, who allied himself with the vassal princes hostile to the emperor, among them Boleslaw Smialy, to whom he sent the kingly crown. Poland revolted from the empire, and the Polish Church began a reform in accordance with Gregory's decrees. By the leading nobles Boleslaw was thoroughly hated as a despot; the masses of the people murmured under the burden of incessant wars; the clergy opposed the energetic reformation of the Church, which the king was carrying on, their opposition being particularly directed against Gregory's decree enforcing the celibacy of the clergy. The dissatisfied elements rose and placed themselves under the protection of Bohemia, Bishop Stanislaw even placed the king under the ban of the Church, while the king declared the bishop guilty of high treason for allying himself with Bohemia and the emperor. The king's sentence was terribly executed at Cracow, where the bishop was done to death and hewn in pieces. In the civil war which ensued Boleslaw was worsted and compelled to take refuge in Hungary.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Hohokam Ballplayers Made The Bleachers At Yankee Stadium Seem Tame By Comparison

Hohokam Ballplayers Made The Bleachers At Yankee Stadium Seem Tame By Comparison - An article from the Tucson Weekly on ancient Hohokam sports. The Hohokam were a Native American culture that existed in Arizona from 250 AD to about 1450 AD.

They left behind a lot of evidence about their culture. The evidence shows that they were big sports fans. All the communities had at least one ball court. Beyond the religious significance of the games, the community actively watched the games for fun. Athletes were given special treatment and did not have to participate in some work projects. At least one player was buried with his shoulder and hip pads.

It is research like this that shows again and again that people remain basically the same despite time period or geography. The love of sports appears to be inherent in humanity.

From the site:

PAMPERED PLAYERS, worshipping fans and a high-stakes mentality. It sounds like life in professional sports in the 1990s. But it's actually a description of the sports culture that existed among the Hohokam people of prehistoric Arizona.

Archaeologists have located about 220 amphitheater-like structures that researchers believe were used by the Hohokam primarily as ball courts. It's impossible to know with certainty the kind of game played inside these arenas, built between 750-1200 AD. But based on evidence excavated at the sites, and documents describing a similar game played in ancient Mexico, archaeologists say it's easy to imagine a game-day climate that makes the bleachers at Yankee Stadium seem tame by comparison.

"Spanish explorers observed the game in Mexico and left behind quite a bit of information on it. Columbus even brought a rubber ball back to Spain with him," says Todd Bostwick, an archaeologist at the Pueblo Grande Ruins in Phoenix, the best preserved Hohokam ball court in Arizona. "We can assume the Arizona game was similar to the Mexican one."