Saturday, January 06, 2007

Cliopatria Awards 2006

The Cliopatria Awards 2006 were awarded yesterday at the American Historical Association Conference in Atlanta. The Cliopatria Awards recognize the best history writing in the blogosphere.

The winners are:

Best Individual Blog: David Noon's Axis of Evel Knievel

Best Group Blog: Mark Grimsley, Brooks Simpson, and others at Civil Warriors

Best New Blog: William J. Turkel's Digital History Hacks

Best Post: John Jordan, "For a Canadian Wikipedia," Participant Historian, 7 November 2006

Best Series of Posts, Chris Bray, "The Historian as Soldier: Shadows and Fog," Introduction and Parts One, Two, and Three, Cliopatria, 12, 13, 16, and __ January 2006.

Best Writer: Alan Baumler at Frog in a Well

Congratulations to the winners. I hope 2007 is a good year for the history blogosphere.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Laying in Honor

My recent post on Non-Presidents Laying in State has provoked a small amount of controversy amongst some of my colleagues at the university where I am employed. I noted that 18 men have been given this honor in the United States. However, it has been pointed out to me that Rosa Parks and two others have also been given this honor who I did not include on the list.

Why did I not include these additional three people on the list? The reason is that these three people did not lay in state. They received a similar but different recognition which is know as laying in honor.

(Rosa Parks laying in honor in 2005.)

Wikipedia has the story. It notes, "The United States Congress has recently created a similar -- though not identical -- privilege for distinguished Americans who don't quite qualify for a "lying in state" designation. Congress may permit an individual to lie in honor in the Rotunda and has done so for three individuals to date. In 1998, a mentally unstable man named Russell Eugene Weston Jr. stormed the U.S. Capitol building and shot and killed two members of the United States Capitol Police, Officer Jacob Chestnut and Detective John Gibson. In response, the U.S. Congress provided for their remains to lie in honor at the Rotunda. In 2005, upon the death of civil rights activist Rosa Parks, Congress permitted her remains to lie in honor at the Rotunda, too."

Indeed, Rosa Park, Jacob Chestnut, and John Gibson did lay in honor at the US Capitol. But they did not lay in state as they did not qualify for that honor. At least I hope this settles this debate in my department anyway.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

History of Mozambique

History of Mozambique. This is a brief essay on the history of the African nation of Mozambique. As with most essays from the History of Nations site, the emphasis is on 20th century political history.

The Encyclopædia Britannica notes, "Officially Republic of Mozambique, Portuguese República de Moçambique, country located on the southeastern coast of Africa. It stretches along the Indian Ocean coast from Cape Delgado at latitude 10°27¢ S to latitude 26°52¢ S. Its westernmost border at the Aruângua (Luangwa) River reaches longitude 30°31¢ E, and the easternmost point, 110 miles (175 kilometres) east of Nampula on the Indian Ocean coast, is at longitude 40°51¢ E, but most of the country's 313,661 square miles (812,379 square kilometres) lies between longitudes 32° and 40° E. It is bordered to the south and southwest by South Africa and Swaziland, to the west by Zimbabwe, to the northwest by Zambia, Lake Nyasa (Niassa), and Malawi, and to the north by Tanzania. The Mozambique Channel separates it from Madagascar to the east. The capital city of Maputo (formerly Lourenço Marques) is in the nation's southernmost province."

From the site:

Mozambique's first inhabitants were San hunter and gatherers, ancestors of the Khoisani peoples. Between the first and fourth centuries AD, waves of Bantu-speaking peoples migrated from the north through the Zambezi River valley and then gradually into the plateau and coastal areas. The Bantu were farmers and ironworkers.

When Portuguese explorers reached Mozambique in 1498, Arab-trading settlements had existed along the coast and outlying islands for several centuries. From about 1500, Portuguese trading posts and forts became regular ports of call on the new route to the east. Later, traders and prospectors penetrated the interior regions seeking gold and slaves. Although Portuguese influence gradually expanded, its power was limited and exercised through individual settlers who were granted extensive autonomy. As a result, investment lagged while Lisbon devoted itself to the more lucrative trade with India and the Far East and to the colonization of Brazil.

By the early 20th century the Portuguese had shifted the administration of much of the country to large private companies, controlled and financed mostly by the British, which established railroad lines to neighboring countries and supplied cheap--often forced--African labor to the mines and plantations of the nearby British colonies and South Africa. Because policies were designed to benefit white settlers and the Portuguese homeland, little attention was paid to Mozambique's national integration, its economic infrastructure, or the skills of its population.

After World War II, while many European nations were granting independence to their colonies, Portugal clung to the concept that Mozambique and other Portuguese possessions were overseas provinces of the mother country, and emigration to the colonies soared. Mozambique's Portuguese population at the time of independence was about 250,000. The drive for Mozambican independence developed apace, and in 1962 several anti-colonial political groups formed the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), which initiated an armed campaign against Portuguese colonial rule in September 1964. After 10 years of sporadic warfare and major political changes in Portugal, Mozambique became independent on June 25, 1975.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Death of Bishop Patteson

The Death of Bishop Patteson. While browsing Project Canterbury, an excellent collection of primary resources on Anglicanism in Oceania, I found this account of the murder of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson in 1871. He was killed by natives on the island of Nukapu. The account was written by C. H. Brooke and it appeared in Mission Life: An Illustrated Magazine of Home and Foreign Church Work from 1872.

The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica wrote of Patterson, "English missionary, bishop of Melanesia, was born in London on the 1st of April 1827, the eldest son of Sir John Patteson, justice of the King's Bench, and Frances Duke Coleridge, a near relative of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He was educated at Ottery St Mary and at Eton, where he distinguished himself on the cricket-field. He entered Balliol College, Oxford, in 1845, graduated B.A. in 1848, and in 1852 became a fellow of Merton College. In 1853 he became curate of Alfington, Devon, and in the following year he was ordained priest. He then joined George Augustus Selwyn, bishop of New Zealand, in a mission to the Melanesian islands. There he laboured with great success, visiting the different islands of the group in the mission ship the "Southern Cross," and by his good sense and devotion winning the esteem and affection of the natives. He spoke 23 languages with ease. In 1861 he was consecrated bishop of Melanesia, and fixed his headquarters at Mota. He was killed by natives at Nukapu, in the Santa Cruz group, on the 10th of September 1871, the victim of a tragic error. The traders engaged in the nefarious traffic in Kanaka labour for Fiji and Queensland had taken to personating missionaries in order to facilitate their kidnapping; Patteson was mistaken for one of these and killed. His murderers evidently found out their mistake and repented of it, for the bishop's body was found at sea floating in a canoe, covered with a palm fibre matting, and a palm-branch in his hand. He is thus represented in the bas-relief erected in Merton College to his memory."

His death caused Bishop Patterson to become famous in the United Kingdom. His life increased interest in missionary work. It also drew attention to the mistreatment of natives in Melanesia. The Church of England celebrates a feast day for him on September 20th every year.

Here are some additional sources for information on Bishop Patterson:

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography - Entry for Patterson.
Bishop Patteson the First Bishop of Melanesia - Annoying music but some good details.
Life of John Coleridge Patteson:Missionary Bishop of the Melanesian Islands - By Charlotte Mary Yonge from 1875.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Three Years of the World History Blog

Happy New Year! Last week, this blog successfully passed the three year birthday date. As blogs tend to have short lives, I am very happy to still be around and blogging on a regular basis.

Let me thank some people:

1. I appreciate all the readers who have bookmarked this blog and read it on a regular basis. My statistics for this blog have recorded many of you. Thanks!

2. I am thankful for all of the blogs out there (more than a hundred at this point) who have added the World History Blog to their blogrolls. Much appreciated!

3. My thanks to the many people in the history blogosphere who have allowed me to host three history carnivals in the last year and also submitted suggestions.

4. My deepest appreciation to Google which sends tons of queries here every day. Google giveth and Google taketh away but I am thankful for what I receive.

I am not thankful for stupid spammers who waste my time by submitting comments with the intent of only getting links to their sites. I still delete more comments than I approve. Many spammers are now attempting to actually write a good comment but then ruin it by including a link in the post (usually disguised behind a name or written to blend in with the Blogger comment admin options) which annoys me to no end.

Here are my three favorite posts from the last several years:

1. Hawaiian Independence? - This post seriously annoyed many separatists in the Hawaiian community based on the comments I received. I was the first (and only time!) time I rejected a comment based on a death threat. I have followed this up with several others posts on American separatists causes (Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, West Florida) which further develop the historical (and legal) reasons for rejecting bizarre claims of illegal American occupation of these quite legally, internationally recognized, and citizen supported American states.

2. The Dominion of British West Florida and Tips for Creating an American Separatist Cause - This post dealt with the strange claims of a microstate that exists only online which also is using bad history to claim illegal American ownership of a parts of the USA. In it, I introduced my Eight Tips for American Separatists which I have seen referenced on many sites on the Web.

3. John Titor, Fake Time Traveller - This fraud has been pretty convincingly debunked due to at least two predictions he has already missed. But many submitted comments which argue he has not been debunked. In essence, these arguments all argue new meanings for English language words to redefine ex post de facto failed prophecies. I am still not buying it.

I hope for a productive year four. Thanks again to all that have helped make this blog successful!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

HBO Rome (Season Two) Coming Soon

I leave 2006 with happy news. HBO Rome, the awesome TV series about the last days of the Roman Republic and the birth of the Roman Empire, will have season two debut on January 14th.

Sadly, this may be the final season. Wikipedia notes, "Subsequently in a news conference HBO Chairman Chris Albrecht confirmed that Rome season two would air on HBO in January 2007, but would not return for a third season."

I hope this is not the end. This is a well done series that is clearly delighting TV viewers beyond those few of us who spend tons of time studying Roman history. There is a lot that can be covered in future seasons.

How about having season three take place before, during, and after the Year of Four Emperors in AD 69? The writers could start with the end of Nero and run through the intrigues of Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespaspian. Good episodes could center around Otho's heroic suicide to spare the Roman people further civil war and the backdrop of the Great Jewish Revolt and Titus's sack of Jerusalem. Season Four could concentrate on the Flavian Dynasty founded by Vespaspian.

I could go on with many future season ideas. HBO, post a comment if you need a historical advisor who also likes good TV. Regardless, I look forward to season two.