Thursday, January 10, 2019

China's Awakening

1905: Print industry and education revolutionized Chinese society. Series told from the Chinese point of view by contemporary Chinese authors. Series ended yesterday.

Sun Yat-sen Pictured. More Oriental History

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Discovery of Gravity

1666: Legend is that Isaac Newton was inspired to study falling objects by an apple falling from a tree and hitting him. The significance was an overall theory of gravity and the relationship of mass and force. His big book was the Principia Mathematics.

Pictured is a tree from seed that descended from the legendary tree of the dropped apple.

Series on Discovery of Gravity ended a couple of days ago.
More Science History.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas, 2018

Washington Irving first published this essay on “old time Christmas” in England. Then he collected it in his famous Sketchbook.

"There is nothing in England that exercises a more delightful spell over my imagination than the lingerings of the holiday customs and rural games of former times. [Snip] The traditionary customs of golden-hearted antiquity, its feudal hospitalities, and lordly wassailings, have passed away with the baronial castles and stately manor-houses in which they were celebrated. They comported with the shadowy hall, the great oaken gallery, and the tapestried parlor, but are unfitted to the light showy saloons and gay drawing-rooms of the modern villa."

Monday, December 24, 2018

First Transcontinental Railroad Completed

1869: ’69 has been a great year for technology. In 1869, the first railroad across the North American continent (north of Mexico) was completed. So was the Suez Canal. In 1969 the first manned spacecraft landed on the Moon.

As for the railroad story, writers and public speakers of every class have well-nigh exhausted their resources of expression in detailing the attributes of the project, its promotion, accomplishment, and effects.

From the series at History Moments

More Economic History

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Bismarck Consolidates German Empire

Berlin in 1890
1881-1890: On the map Germany was unified after centuries division but under the surface divisions of the people remained. How to unify the German people in their hearts and minds? Military/police methods would not solve the problem alone.

This series tells the story of how Otto von Bismarck addressed the problem.  It ended just a couple days ago.

More German History at

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Britain Tightens Control of Egypt

1885: In this time two of the most ancient and glorious civilizations had come under the control of Great Britain: India and Egypt. Like those ancient natives of those storied lands, expansion beckoned. This is the story not only of British Empire but how Egypt led to expansion up the Nile.

Nominally, the government was stilled headed by legitimate monarchs. The British exercised control through them.

Read more:

More Mideast History at

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Canadian Front in the War of 1812

1812: The USA began the war chiefly to conquer Canada.  The US army performed below the bar set by the Revolution while the British/Canadians performed better. Even though the victories of the last year of the war, the US did not have the strength to offset the reverses of the first year. Moreover, by 1814, the British navy had blockaded the US coastlines. When the peace treaty was received in Washington, President Madison was relieved that the USA did not need to make territorial concessions.

From Canada Versus USA series at History Moments
More Canadian History at the Canadian History website

Monday, December 17, 2018

Japan Repels Mongols Podcast

1281: After conquering most of Asia, the Middle East, and China, the Mongols, under their greatest leader, Kublai Khan, turned east to the island nation of Japan. This podcast says how the Horde faced the seas and islands beyond.

Listen to the Podcast:

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Major Wars of My 7 Decades Course

1806-1875: What major wars occurred during these years? January begins my class. Among topics will be military history.

Napoleonic Wars, War of 1812, Greek Independence, Latin-American Independence Wars, Texas Independence, Mexican-American War, Chinese Opium Wars, Crimean War, Indian Sepoy Mutiny, American Civil War, Franco-Prussian War, American Indian Wars. Anything I left out?

More Military History at

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Dante Composes The Divine Comedy

1300-1318: The reason his tour of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven is so interesting to read, even now, is that Dante himself led such an interesting life. He was immersed in the life of his Italy and he used that in his poems.

I wonder what a contemporary American would write in his version of the divine afterlife. Where would you place today's celebrities? --Donald Trump? Meghan Marckle? or …?

Series on Dante Composes The Divine Comedy ended this week.

The Cultural History website here.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Democratic Candidates Ranked by Age

Have you seen this chart of the ages of the Democratic Presidents through history compared to today’s potential candidates? They are color coded by their tier in the polls. Biden and Saunders are in the top tier.

As for the old ages, I do not believe that this is such a bad factor. I remember them from the 1980’s. They were just as dumb then as they are now (and just as smart, too.) I rather want to see new ideas than new people.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Herodotus the “Father of History”.

During the 5th. century BC few people could read, so Herodotus made his living by going from town to town telling stories. Either he took stories from his book to perform or he incorporated his performances into his book or he did both. This is why his book is episodic – it could be presented in a television series. In fact, I used that for my website History Moments.

The best edition of his book is here.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

China's Decisive Loss to Britain in Opium War

1840: In light of the narcotics problem around the world, Britain’s causus belli in this war was despicable. Two things stand out in this war. (1) How little the narcotics problem was viewed in those days and (2) how small detachments of Britain’s army and navy was able to defeat (and to decisively defeat) huge armies and navies China. China and the Ottoman Empire were the top two non-western civilizations on the planet at that time. The West enjoyed decisive military superiority and global dominance.

From The Opium War of 1840:

Oriental History at

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Last Kingdom

871-901: Binge Watching the series on Netflix about the conflict between the Viking invaders and the Saxon natives. Alfred of Wessex won but the later conquest of William the Conqueror meant that the Vikings won, too. What Alfred’s victory won was time and time meant assimilation. A westernized Scandinavian invaders together with the natives made medieval and modern Britain.

The benefit of historical fiction is that it can convey the mood of the times more than factual narrative can. Watching shows like this immerses the audience in those times and places.

For the true story of King Alfred’s reign:

Friday, December 7, 2018

Obama’s Re-election, 2012

Worked my new Current History landing page today and came across an old article I wrote back in 2011 on why President Obama would not win re-election. Shows what a great political analyst I was.

Current History: