Friday, June 12, 2009

Biography of José de San Martín

A well done history site is Biography of José de San Martín. It is by Pablo A Chami and it is on his personal site. That might mean this site vanishes shortly after I link to it here but as it has been around a few years I trust it may remain in place for some time.

The site has a brief summary of San Martin's life with a time line. It also is liberally illustrated with paintings of San Martin. Chami subititles the page, "Short history of the liberator of Argentina, Chile, and Peru."

From the site:

In January of 1814, San Martin takes control of the North Army, from the hands of its former general, Belgrano, that had returned defeated from the Alto Peru -today the republic of Bolivia-, and since then, they establish a long friendship.

Soon after being San Martin in Tucuman, he realized that it was impossible to conquer Lima city, the capital of Peru, that was the center of the Spanish power, by the terrestrial way of the highs of the Andes. He conceived the idea of crossing the mountain range to Chile and to attack the city of Lima by sea way.

A disease forces him to request license and obtains from the government the nomination of Governor of the Cuyo province. He leaves Tucuman for Mendoza, capital of Cuyo, a city that stands at the foot of the mountain range of the Andes. There he recovers and begins to prepare an army to cross the Andes.

In the year 1816 he sends, representing the province of Cuyo, a delegation to the congress that met in Tucuman, with express orders to insist on the declaration of independence. Because of his insistence, the declaration of the independence from the rule of Spain of the Provincias Unidas del Rio de la Plata -that was the primitive name of what now is the Argentine Republic- was acclaimed in that congress the 9 of July of that year.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Founding of St. Augustine, 1565

While browsing the Modern History Sourcebook, I found an interesting account titled The Founding of St. Augustine, 1565. It was written by Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales.

Here is the beginning of the text:

I. THE LORD having granted us favorable weather from the first, five days' sailing brought us in sight of the Lanzarote Islands and Fuerte Ventura. The following Wednesday, July 5, 1565, we reached the Canary Islands, which are two hundred and fifty leagues from Cadiz, where we stopped three days to lay in a supply of wood and water.

The following Sunday, July 8, our fleet, composed of eight ships, under the direction of our general, left the Canary Islands, and proceeded to the Island of Dominica, which was to be conquered from the Caribbee Indians. Unfortunately, the very evening we set sail, our first galley and a patache became separated from us. For two days we coasted up and down, hoping to rejoin them, but without any success; and our admiral, seeing that we should not be able to accomplish it, gave the order for us to sail directly to Dominica, where we were to await them in case they had not arrived before us. During this voyage a shallop, or boat, commanded by Capt. Francesco Sanchez sprung a leak, and, as it got beyond the control of the crew, he asked assistance from us, but it was impossible to give him any. The pilot wishing to continue to sail with the other vessels until they should arrive at their destination, and have the leak repaired there, the captain and a soldier had recourse to their swords to oblige the pilot to return to port, being fearful lest they should be all drowned. The pilot declared himself unable to do this on account of the rough weather, so they decided to make for the cape on the south-west in order to reach the land as soon as possible.

Thus it happened that we were obliged to leave them, which we did with deep regret and great anxiety as to what would become of them. The five vessels which remained of our fleet had a prosperous voyage the rest of the way, thanks to our Lord and His Blessed Mother. Up to Friday, the 20th, we had very fine weather, but at ten o'clock that day a violent wind arose, which by two in the afternoon had become the most frightful hurricane one could imagine. The sea, which rose to the very clouds, seemed about to swallow us up alive, and such was the fear and apprehension of the pilot and other sailors that I exerted myself to exhort my brethren and companions to repentance. I represented to them the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, His justice and His mercy, and with so much success that I passed the night in confessing them.

You can read the entire account at the link above if this is of interest to you.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Free African History Courses

Several universities are putting complete courses online for free now. Visitors can peruse course materials and watch lectures even if they do not get any academic credit for it. MIT is probably the best known for this but some other schools are as well including Notre Dame and the University of Washington.

Here are three example courses dealing with African history:

AIDS and Poverty in Africa - This MIT course was loaded in the Spring of 2005. The course description reads, "This is a discussion-based interactive seminar on the two major issues that affect Sub-Saharan Africa: HIV/AIDS and Poverty. AIDS and Poverty, seemingly different concepts, are more inter-related to each other in Africa than in any other continent. As MIT students, we feel it is important to engage ourselves in a dynamic discussion on the relation between the two - how to fight one and how to solve the other."

Exploring a Romano-African City: Thugga - This is a course from the Open University in the UK. The course introduction notes, "This unit focuses on a detailed investigation into the archaelogy and history of a Roman North African city. You will watch the video sequence ‘Exploring Thugga’ and undertake activities identifying Roman and indigenous elements in the city. You then investigate Roman and indigenous cultural elements in the archaeology of Africa; here you will watch two brief video sequences on mosaics, continue your study of the ‘Exploring Thugga’ video, and view ‘Culture and identity in the houses of the Roman élite’."

Medicine, Religion and Politics in Africa and the African Diaspora - This course is also from MIT and is from 1995. The course description reads, "This course provides an exploration of colonial and postcolonial clashes between theories of healing and embodiment in the African world and those of western bio-medicine. It examines how Afro-Atlantic religious traditions have challenged western conceptions of illness, healing, and the body and have also offered alternative notions of morality, rationality, kinship, gender, and sexuality. It also analyzes whether contemporary western bio-medical interventions reinforce colonial or imperial power in the effort to promote global health in Africa and the African diaspora."

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum

Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum - Gloucester's museum portraying the history of regiments, the Glorious Glosters Regiment and theirs antecedents. Also features an online shop selling military books, and regimental souvenirs as well as genealogy search to find military ancestors.

From the site:

We portray the history of our famous regiments, The Gloucestershire Regiment (The Glorious Glosters), their antecedents The 28th & 61st Regiments of Foot & The Royal Gloucestershire Hussars.

Traditionally both have recruited from the County and the surrounding areas including Cheltenham, Cirencester, Stroud, Tewkesbury, The Forest of Dean and from Bristol. Indeed, there are few local families who over the generations have not been associated with either of these regiments.

The Museum does not seek to glorify war. It does, however, show how both regiments have faced up to the challenges and strains that soldiering around the world, both in peace and war can bring. It is a tribute not only to their traditions and achievements but also to their centuries long links with the County.