Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Genocide of the Moriori on the Chatham Islands

I am currently reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It is an excellent book. I have learned a lot already.

One new set of facts I have discovered is the fate of the Moriori who lived on the Chatham Islands. They were subjected to one of the worst genocides of the 19th century. The aggressors in this tragedy were Maori from New Zealand.

The archipelago of the Chatham Islands consists of about 10 islands. The islands are located at about roughly 800 km east of Christchurch, New Zealand. The islands have politically been a part of New Zealand since 1842.

Wikipedia has an account of the Maori invasion of the Chatham Islands. It notes, "On November 19, 1835, a British ship carrying 500 Māori armed with guns, clubs and axes arrived, followed by another ship on December 5, 1835 with a further 400 Māori. They proceeded to massacre the Moriori and enslave the survivors...After the invasion, Moriori were forbidden to marry Moriori, nor to have children with each other. All became slaves of the Ngati Tama and Ngati Mutunga invaders. Many died from despair. Many Moriori women had children to their Maori masters. A small amount of Moriori women eventually married either Maori or European men. Some were taken from the Chathams and never returned."

Diamond wrote, ""[The Māori] commenced to kill us like sheep.... [We] were terrified, fled to the bush, concealed ourselves in holes underground, and in any place to escape our enemies. It was of no avail; we were discovered and killed - men, women and children indiscriminately". A Māori conqueror justified their actions as follows: "We took possession... in accordance with our customs and we caught all the people. Not one escaped....." (p. 54).

Diamond explained some of the success of the Maori on the fact that they were a society with an agricultural base which could produce luxuries like warriors while the Moriori were a hunter-gatherer society which did not have wars. In addition, the Moriori were pacifists and they were trying to negotiate a settlement with the Maori as they were slaughtered. They did not understand the nature of their enemy.

I am sorry to learn of this tragedy. However, I am still glad I am aware of it now. I am sure I will learn more from this Diamond book.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Information on Benazir Bhutto

I had a very stressful holiday season. I traveled a lot and had to deal with a funeral for an eight year old boy as well. During this time, I was not online a lot and watched little TV. I was slow to discover that Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated in Pakistan. This has to be one of the greatest tragic blows in the history of Pakistan.

My sympathies to her family and the people of Pakistan. Here are a few sites which can provide more information on her life:

Pakistan People's Party: Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto - Biography of the late Benazir Bhutto, as well as an archive of speeches, interviews, videos, and photographs.

TIME: Benazir Bhutto Killed - Article on the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on December 26, 2007.

Asia Times: Benazir Bhutto's Answer to al-Qaeda - 2004 interview with Benazir Bhutto about fighting extremism in the Islamic world.

Famous Muslims: Benazir Bhutto - Biography of Benazir Bhutto. Includes a list of awards and honorary degrees received by the former Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Monday, December 31, 2007

4th Birthday of the World History Blog

On this day in 2003, I first fired up this blog. When I made my first post, I had no idea I would still be at this four years later. This blog has changed a great deal during that time. My posts are a lot different and usually more substantial. I have a ton more readers. The search engines like the blog. And people leave comments.

And I owe all of this to those of you who read this blog everyday or just occasionally. Thank you very much. Your comments and links are much appreciated. It is a struggle to keep posting sometimes but I will stay at it as long as it is clear that people are reading this blog and I am still having a good time doing it.

Will I do this another four years? Time will tell. This blog has changed a great deal in the last four years. I wonder what it will be like in 2011?