Saturday, July 08, 2006

Asian History Carnival #5

Welcome to the Asian History Carnival #5. In this, I am highlighting notable recent posts from the history blogosphere. My thanks to the many who have offered advice or submitted posts including Jonathan Dresner, Jennie Weber, Otto Pohl, Jon Swift, Joe Bartlett, Dan Harris, and an anonymous submitter who sent me several good recommendations.

Korea on my Mind

The recent North Korean missile tests have been commented on all over the blogosphere. As such, it is not surprising that two history blogs covered it as well. Andrew Meyer's discussion of the Korean Missile Crisis has some good historical background and clearly relies on historical trends. MajorDad1984 in Sorry, Kim. This One Just Doesn't Have the Distance.... compares North Korea’s obsession with missile testing to the Soviet Union which spent itself into oblivion spending too much money on weapons and predicts a similar result.

Konrad Lawson visited a historical recreation village in Korea and included some pictures with his observations.

Owen Miller noted an ongoing dispute about the return of Korean documents taken by the French in 1866.

Want to smoke a joint in South Korea? Don’t! Owen Miller also looked at the history of Marijuana prohibition in Korea.

Hanikyoreh has photographs of life going on during the Korean War. (I will have to trust the submitter on this one as I can not read Korean.)

Thinking about China as Well

Andrew Meyer remembered the 17th Anniversary of Tiananmen incident. This brought back memories to me as well. I remember taking some newly arrived Chinese students to the library at my American campus the next summer and showing them the newsmagazine photos of the massacre when they asked me about rumors that something had happened.

Alan Baumler looked at the celebration (or lack thereof) of Father's Day in China.

Jennie Weber wrote about an American presidential visit which may have been the week that changed the world. Who would have guessed that the Nixon trip to China would have been so significant?

I noted a letter of advice to Queen Victoria written by Lin Zexu. 19th century China was fighting drug abuse long before the western world was.

Dan Harris asked Why China Stagnated? and used economic history to try and answer.

Japan too…

Mutantfrog cites two articles on a whale-lunch experiment. While not history related, I will include this submission anyway as I find the idea of eating whale meat shocking. Is there not a world wide ban on whaling right now? Or is the tradition of eating whale meat anyway based on tradition what makes this post of note to history bloggers?

Mutantfrog also discusses race and racism in Tezuka comics and browses the National Diet Library. This library is similar to the Library of Congress but not nearly as old.

Should Japanese students be taught to love their country? That sounds rather obvious to me but it is controversial as some believe it could lead to militarism. Nick Kapur looks at the Japanese Diet which has been debating several competing bills to revise the Fundamental Education Law of 1947 which addresses this.

Jonathan Dresner discussed some amateur hypotheses on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

And More

There was some excitement over Sino-Japanese War Art at MIT. While Alan Baumler (1, 2) and Jonathan Dresner tended to side strongly with Dower/Miyagawa, Winnie Wong made a case that ­ from her perspective as an art historian ­that the exhibit was indeed flawed.

Alan Baumler has a great discussion of a new tri-national textbook on East Asia.He also discusses the role of memorization in Asian (and Western) history and writing before the advent of Google.

Ahistoricality believes that a blogger is misusing Gandhi historically.

Abdusalaam Al-Hindi reports on a 1930 conversation between Tagore and Einstein. Or was this a joke? Brian Ulrich looks at the life of the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik.

Shash o Panj finds the stinky other around the Round Table in the form of Sir Palomides, the Saracen knight of King Arthur's world.Cutting the Chai has nine installments of vintage Indian ads which are fun, often colorful, and probably will bring back memories for those who saw them when they were first published.

Jon Swift writes Let's Not Nuke Iran-Yet. However, if the times comes, the war planners would do well to learn from the Vietnam War and do it right this time.

J. Otto Pohl asks What Happened to the Ethnic Chinese in the Soviet Far East?


Thank you for stopping by! When I find out who is hosting the next Asian History Carnival, I will note it here.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Nigerian Civil War: Causes, Strategies, And Lessons Learnt

The Nigerian Civil War: Causes, Strategies, And Lessons Learnt. This is a case study by Major Abubakar A. Atofarati of the Nigerian Army, examining the causes of the war, the strategies employed by the belligerents, and the lessons subsequently learned. It was written when Major Abubakar was a student at the US Marine Command and Staff College in 1991/92.

Unfortunately, the chapters are not hyperlinked so it is hard to skip around from the Table of Contents to chapters or maps. However, the writing seems solid and well thought out. In particular, I found the chapter on the History of the Nigerian Army before 1966 interesting.

Wikipedia notes, "The Nigerian Civil War, July 6, 1967 – January 13, 1970, was a political conflict caused by the attempted secession of the southeastern provinces of Nigeria as the self-proclaimed republic of Biafra. The war became notorious for the starvation in some of the besieged war-bound regions, and the consequent claims of genocide made by the largely Igbo people of those regions. The NGO Doctors Without Borders was created in 1971 as an aftermath of the war by Bernard Kouchner and other French doctors who had worked in besieged Biafra."

From the site:

The Federation of Nigeria, as it is known today, has never really been one homogeneous country, for it's widely differing peoples and tribes. This obvious fact notwithstanding, the former colonial master decided to keep the country one in order to effectively control her vital resources for their economic interests. Thus, for administrative convenience the Northern and Southern Nigeria were amalgamated in 1914. Thereafter the only thing this people had in common was the name of their country since each side had different administrative set - up. This alone was an insufficient basis for true unity. Under normal circumstances the amagalmation ought to have brought the various peoples together and provided a firm basis for the arduous task of establishing closer cultural, social, religious, and linguistic ties vital for true unity among the people. There was division, hatred, unhealthy rivalry, and pronounced disparity in development.

The growth of nationalism in the society and the subsequent emergence of political parties were based on ethnic/tribal rather than national interests, and therefore had no unifying effect on the peoples against the colonial master. Rather, it was the people themselves who were the victims of the political struggles which were supposed to be aimed at removing foreign domination. At independence Nigeria became a Federation and remained one country. Soon afterwards the battle to consolidate the legacy of political and military dominance of a section of Nigeria over the rest of the Federation began with increased intensity. It is this struggle that eventually degenerated into coup, counter coup and a bloody civil war.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Final Call for Asian History Carnival

I have been working diligently on the Asian History Carnival. I have made progress in my mind even if it has not all been organized in a draft post yet. If you have a post you would like considered, please nominate posts here or send them directly to miland[at]usa2014[dot]com. Time is running out...

For full details, see my original announcement at

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


PERSEPOLIS AND ANCIENT IRAN. I found this website the other day and really enjoyed browsing it. As such, I thought I would blog about it today. It is a catalog of photographs of the ruins of the ancient capitol of the Persian Empire. It is presented by the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.

Persepolis and Ancient Iran was originally published as a text/microfiche publication by the University of Chicago Press in 1977. Now the whole collection can be browsed for free! I love the Web and how it can make content more available.

Here are a few images. These are copyrighted and my copy of just a few for non-profit purposes is allowed as fair use under American copyright law:

( Tall-i-Bakun. Contour Map, Showing the Prehistoric Mound and the Extent of the Excavations.)

( Valley of Alamut, View of the "Valley of the Assassins", From an Altitude of 1,200 M on July 21, 1937.)

(Susa, The Achaemenian Palaces.)

From the site:

This document is a catalog of 999 photographs contained in an Oriental Institute text/microfiche publication entitled PERSEPOLIS AND ANCIENT IRAN. With an introduction by Ursula Schneider, former Oriental Institute photographer, it presents a comprehensive survey of archaeological sites in the environs of Persepolis.

The catalog is divided into four sections, summarizing the major areas of investigation: the architecture, reliefs, and finds of the Palaces at Persepolis; the prehistoric mound of Tall-i-Bakun; Istakhr, the Islamic city mound; and the aerial survey flights conducted between 1935 and 1937.

Each section describes the vast accumulation of artifacts uncovered and the buildings reconstructed out of the ruins of this ancient Persian capital. In addition, the expedition's aerial survey explorations are detailed, which constituted an important contribution to archaeological research techniques.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

History of Reunion

History of Reunion. This is a short essay of the French island of Reunion which is in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.

The Encyclopædia Britannica notes, "Island (pop., 2005 est.: 780,000) and French overseas department, Mascarene Islands, western Indian Ocean. Located 425 mi (684 km) east of Madagascar, Réunion is about 40 mi (65 km) long and 30 mi (50 km) wide and has an area of 968 sq mi (2,507 sq km). Its capital is Saint-Denis. It consists mainly of rugged mountains dissected by torrential rivers. "

From the site:

Reunion is usually said to have been first discovered in April 1513 by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas, and his name, or that of Mascarene Islands, is still applied to the archipelago of which it forms a part; but it seems probable that it must be identified with the island of Santa Apollonia discovered by Diego Fernandes Pereira on the 9th of February 1507. It was visited by the Dutch towards the close of the 16th century, and by the English early in the 17th century.

When in 1638 the island was taken possession of by Captain Gaubert, or Gobert, of Dieppe, it was still uninhabited; a more formal annexation in the name of Louis XIII. was effected in 1643 by Jacques Pronis, agent of the Compagnie des Indes in Madagascar; and in 1649 Etienne de Flacourt, Pronis's more eminent successor, repeated the ceremony at a spot which he named La Possession. He also changed the name of the island from Mascarenhas to Bourbon. By decree of the Convention in 1793, Bourbon in turn gave place to Reunion, and, though during the empire this was discarded in favour of Ile Bonaparte, and at the Restoration people naturally went back to Bourbon, Reunion has been the official designation since 1848. The first inhabitants were a dozen mutineers deported from Madagascar by Pronis, but they remained only three years (1646-49). Other colonists went thither of their own will in 1654 and 1662.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Resources for American Independence Day

July 4th will be Independence Day in the USA. It will be the 230th anniversary of the official birth of the country. To encourage research on this topic, I have compiled (with help from the DMOZ) a list of websites which are useful for finding information (including history) on American Independence Day:

American Independence Day - History of 4th of July and the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence and national anthem, quotes, biographies of presidents, crafts, recipes, humor, fireworks information, and desktop themes.

A Capitol Fourth - Features a history of the fourth of July from PBS.

Fourth of July Celebrations Database - From American University, selected examples of Independence Day celebrations throughout US history.

Happy 4th of July! Celebrate America's Birthday - Provides brief historical articles for children and adults, as well as links to historical documents.

Protesting the Independence Day Colony - Fourth of July speeches, poems, and proclamations by anti-imperialists that used Independence Day symbolism to oppose U.S. imperialism in the Philippines.

War and Empire in Fourth of July Cartoons - Political cartoons incorporating Fourth of July and Independence Day symbolism in portrayals of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American wars, 1898 to 1902. (This site has horrible pop up ads but good content.)

What Presidents Did on the Fourth of July - Chronology gives information on what the presidents were doing on the Fourth of July during their tenures.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Coming Micro-States

The Coming Micro-States. I want to point at this post at Coming Anarchy. With the addition of Montenegro to the international community, and the likely addition soon of Kosovo, the question is starting to arise about whether there are more nations now than are really needed. The collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia have added more than a dozen nations alone to the world stage.

Chirol writes, "The effects of Montenegro’s recent independence and Kosovo’s predicted independence are already rippling far beyond the Balkans. If Montenegro, a geographically small country of some 600,000 people, can achieve independence, why too shouldn’t others such as South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karbagh or Transdniestria?"

Indeed. And why shouldn't every other separatist group in the world try for this too? There is a lot of recent inspiration. But is this good for the world at large? Do we need more balkanization? Many aspirant states based on ethnicity have no chance such as Hawaii and the Lakota nation which will probably fail as the local populations which are overwhelmingly not made up of the local ethnic separatists groups have no interest in independence. The international community will not force this undemocratically. However, ethnic groups in Spain, Italy, the UK, etc. who actually make up the majority of a population of a separatist area may be successful.

Although most separatist attempts at world balkanization will fail, we almost surely will see many new nations in the near future. History has shown that many of these new states will have a limited duration and will eventually be absorbed by larger entities. It should be interesting...

Additional note: Separatists groups hate being called separatists. They almost always claim that their "nations" were never legally acquired in the first place and hence they are asking to be restored to their proper and correct status. Secession is a dirty term to them. My apologies to these groups but that is not the way the international community views it so I will continue to use the "S" word.

History Carnival XXXIV

History Carnival XXXIV. The newest edition of the History Carnival is up at Chapati Mystery. As is the norm for this carnival, there are lots of good posts to explore. In particular, I like how the author (Sepoy) used a photo collage hosted at flickr to share additional worthy posts. Very creative!

The host also complains about Brazil losing in the World Cup. Hey, cheer up! Brazil won four games and finished in the top eight. Poor me, I actually rooted for the American side again who managed one tie and two losses. I know soccer (football) is not and never will be a popular sport in the USA but we do have some world class caliber athletes in the sport now. I was hoping for a better performance.

The host for the next History Carnival is Andrew Ross at Air Pollution. Get your submissions in early and often!