Saturday, February 03, 2007

History of Morocco

History of Morocco. This is a brief history of the northern African nation of Morocco. The emphasis is on more modern history.

The Encyclop√¶dia Britannica notes, "Mountainous country of western North Africa that lies directly across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain. The traditional domain of indigenous nomadic peoples—now collectively known as Berbers, but more correctly referred to as Imazighen (singular, Amazigh)—Morocco has been subject to extensive migration and has long been the location of sedentary, urban communities that were originally settled by peoples from outside the region. Controlled by Carthage from an early date, the region was later the westernmost province of the Roman Empire. Following the Arab conquest of the late 7th century CE, the broader area of North Africa came to be known as the Maghrib (Arabic: “the West”), and the majority of its people accepted Islam. Subsequent Moroccan kingdoms enjoyed political influence that extended beyond the coastal regions, and in the 11th century the first native Amazigh dynasty of North Africa, the Almoravids, gained control of an empire stretching from Andalusian (southern) Spain to parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Attempts by Europeans to establish permanent footholds in Morocco beginning in the late 15th century were largely repulsed, but the country later became the subject of Great Power politics in the 19th century. Morocco was made a French protectorate in 1912 but regained independence in 1956. Today it is the only monarchy in North Africa."

From the site:

Morocco's strategic location has shaped its history. Beginning with the Phoenicians, many foreigners were drawn to this area. Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, and Byzantine Greeks successively ruled the area. Arab forces began occupying Morocco in the seventh century A.D., bringing their civilization and Islam. The Alaouite dynasty, which has ruled Morocco since 1649, claims descent from the Prophet Muhammad.

Morocco's location and resources led to early competition among European powers in Africa, beginning with successful Portuguese efforts to control the Atlantic coast in the 15th century. France showed a strong interest in Morocco as early as 1830. Following recognition by the United Kingdom in 1904 of France's "sphere of influence" in Morocco, the Algeciras Conference (1906) formalized France's "special position" and entrusted policing of Morocco to France and Spain jointly. The Treaty of Fez (1912) made Morocco a protectorate of France. By the same treaty, Spain assumed the role of protecting power over the northern and southern (Saharan) zones.

Nationalist political parties, which subsequently arose under the French protectorate, based their arguments for Moroccan independence on such World War II declarations as the Atlantic Charter (a joint U.S.-British statement that set forth, among other things, the right of all people to choose the form of government under which they live). A manifesto of the Istiqlal (Independence) Party in 1944 was one of the earliest public demands for independence. That party subsequently provided most of the leadership for the nationalist movement.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Ancient and Medieval Libraries

I found this great history page Ancient and Medieval Libraries. It was created by Christopher Brown-Syed of the State University of New York at Buffalo. I am a big fan of libraries and found this essay very interesting.

From the site:

What do librarians do? What principles lie behind the profession? Librarians have traditionally gathered, organized, and disseminated information. In some ways, Aristotle can be said to be the father of librarianship in the West. His categories were a scheme for deciding what something was about. They survive today in the rules of journalism. Who, what, when, where, why, by what means, and to what end? This scheme for organizing thought is still viable. Aristotle did not run a library in the modern sense, but he was one of the recorded collectors of books.

Many other philosophers have served as librarians over the centuries. They include Hypatia, Librarian of the Great Library of Alexandria, one of the profession's most interesting early proponents. She was certainly not the only member of her circle concerned with recorded knowledge. Her friend, Synesius of Cyrene, wrote "my life has been one of books." However, Hypatia's professionalism and her untimely demise are of interest to the present day. The former was characterized by what we now call "advocacy skills", and the latter revolved around what we might call a "challenge to intellectual freedom". I quote Parsons:

"Hypatia, daughter of Theon, last fellow of the Museum, who was a famed mathematician and philosopher, and who had succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, was a woman of great learning and highest character. Socrates, the Church historian describes her: 'The daughter of the philosopher Theon, who was so learned that she surpassed all contemporary philosophers. She carried on the Platonic tradition derived from Plotinus, and instructed those who desired to learn in all philosophic discipline. Wherefore all those wishing to work at philosophy streamed in from all parts of the world, collecting around her on account of her learned and courageous character. She maintained a dignified intercourse with the chief people of the city. She was not ashamed to spend time in the society of men, for all esteemed her highly, and admired her for her purity'. Damascius, the last of the Neo-Platonic teachers, praises her beauty and chastity, and Philostorgius the Arian says she was superior to her father in astronomy. She was called the August Mistress and like many a world teacher, none of her writings survive."

The poet Palladas called her "Adorable Hypatia, Unsullied Star of True Philosophy". She had the misfortune to be an adherent of the philosophy of Plato at a time during which it was (temporarily) out of favour. She was murdered by an angry mob. Competing theories suggest that Hypatia was murdered either because she promoted the classical writers a bit too vigorously, or because she ascribed to the Arian heresy.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The 47th History Carnival

The 47th History Carnival is up at ProgressiveHistorians. As always, there is a lot of good links to excellent history blogging here. The actual carnival as set up by author Nonpartisan as a conversation between US Senators at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting. It actually works well...

Obviously, I have yet to read all of the posts. However, I found a real gem in Was Hawaii Queen Liliuokalani Really Like Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi? by Ken Conklin. It shows the flaws in the warped Hawaiian separatist revisionists views of 1893 and the Hawaiian Revolution and shows clearly that the Hawaiian Queen was not in the same class as Gandhi or Martin Luther King. She may have been a good person but she was not a pacifist as she supported a counter-revolution attempt and also stated she was going to execute those who betrayed her. This may have all been understandable behavior but it is not a non-violent response to problems...

The next History Carnival will be hosted by Martin Rundkvist at Aardvarchaeology. Please submit your recommendations to him using the submission form.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

YouTube Video - The Six-Day War

Many of you may have noticed how popular YouTube has become. There is a ton of content on it allowing just about anyone the ability to put up video clips on just about any topic. A quick search on the word history brought up hundreds of video clips. Many had nothing to do with historical topics but most did.

I only watched a few videos. The quality was good in two cases and poor in another. I noted there were many History Channel clips here (copyright cleared?) as well. I liked this video which shows the history of the Six-Day War from 1967. I am going to go ahead and throw it up as an example of the new ways many are accessing history. Mind you, there is no real peer review on YouTube. I imagine there is a lot of junk and propaganda at online at this site.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Four Stone Hearth

While perusing the excellent Cliopatria History Blogroll, I found another good history related carnival. It is Four Stone Hearth, an anthropology blog carnival.

Here is a description from the site:

The Four Stone Hearth is a blog carnival that specializes in anthropology. Anthropology is the study of humankind, throughout all times and places. This discourse focuses primarily on four lines of research: socio-cultural anthropology, bio-physical anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology. Each one of these subfields represent a stone in our hearth, a blog carnival aims to publish content from all aspects of the blogosphere.

As this blog often edges into anthropology, I will be following this carnival. It is still relatively new as the first Four Stone Hearth Carnival was in October 2006. The next edition should be coming out tomorrow at Northstate Science.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Father Gabriel Richard, First Catholic Priest in Congress

Father Robert Frederick Drinan died yesterday. He had served five terms as a member of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress from Massachusetts. He was the first voting member of Congress to be a Catholic priest. However, Father Drinan was not the first Catholic priest to be a member of Congress. That honor goes to Father Gabriel Richard of Michigan who served as a non-voting territorial delegate from Michigan in the 19th century.

Father Richard was born in La Ville de Saintes, France and was ordained a priest in 1790. In 1792, he emigrated to Baltimore, Maryland. He taught at St. Mary's College in Maryland and then was to do missionary work to the Native Americans in the Northwest Territory. He first ministered in what is now Kaskaskia, Illinois, and later in Detroit.

Kay Houston of The Detroit News wrote an article on Richard titled Father Gabriel Richard: Detroit's pioneer priest. She credits Richard with:

* He was considered the "second founder" of Detroit.

* He was the first priest to serve in the U.S. Congress.

* He gave Detroit its first library.

* He brought first printing press west of the Alleghenies to Detroit.

* He published Detroit's first newspaper.

* He co-founded the forerunner of the University of Michigan.

* He helped Michigan get its first good road from Detroit to Chicago.

* He co-founded the Michigan Historical Society.

This is quite the resume! Father Richard was an extraordinary individual who accomplished a lot. However, it is that first Catholic priest in Congress piece which seems to be his biggest claim to fame.

Father Richard was elected as a delegate to the House of Representatives for the 18th Congress. He served a single term, 1823-1825. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1824 and he returned home to Detroit. Although as a one term non-voting member of Congress he probably had little impact, he nonetheless did something else no other Catholic priest had done before by serving in Congress.