Saturday, December 31, 2016

Immigration Top Story 2016

In the United States it drove the election of the otherwise unlikely Donald Trump and the Republican domination of government. In Europe, it drove Brexit and the destabilization of the rest of the European Union. It’s related opposite Emigration drove the societies of Latin America and the Middle East.

Was terrorism a related topic? While hotly debated, would Muslim terrorists had so many opportunities had not wide-scale immigrants been available to hide among? Terrorists struck not just in the cities of Europe and America but in the skies as airliners crashed. After such wide-scale Muslim migrations, is Radical-Muslim terrorism going to be the new norm for the future? Just asking.

While such a huge story, why was important parts of it barely reported on at all?

1) What of the root causes of these migrations? Have they changed over the last few years? If Radical Islam is not such a problem then why is ISIS been so very hard to defeat?

2) Why should destinations be limited to the United States, Australia, and Western Europe? There are lots of other destinations. For example, South America, Central Asia, and Siberia. Granted such migrations may take on more aspects like the pioneers of the American Old West but that is still a viable alternative and in many cases, a preferable one.

Apart from terrorism, what impact will migrations, particularly Muslim migrations have on Western societies? During 2016 Muslim immigrants voted with leftwing parties based on those parties’ greater acceptance of immigration. As things settle down in the future, will devout Muslims continue to support (via party support) abortion, homosexuality, and indeed, the whole LGBQT agenda?

Here's History Moments New Year Eve Round-ups in years past.  How I miss Jibb-Jab!


Download The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Friday, December 30, 2016

Will Dumbing Down Make History Degrees More Popular?

Will more college students enroll in history courses if they are easier to pass and on topics of current interest?  -- History of Football, for instance?

Sports history, and suchlike are fine with me but when they are Instead Of core history courses, then that's a problem.  Making history easier for the students by eliminating core requirements actually make the History Departments less popular -- by devaluing the discipline and the degree.

Here is an article, titled, "University of Washington Drops U.S. History Requirement -- For History Majors!" that also refers to the disturbing trend in other colleges.

Quote: "One of the major reasons the humanities in general are in decline is the widespread (and entirely incorrect) assumption that history, literature, and classical disciplines teach nothing valuable and are a joke. By no longer requiring history majors to study the past of their own country, schools like GW seem determined to double down on making the humanities seem pointless, and therefore even more unpopular."

If "nothing valuable" means nothing that will advance a career path, then this may be how it is perceived.  The answer is to explain relevancy not to dumb down the discipline and hence, this major for a college degree  

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sweden Liberated

Today we begin our selection from History of the Swedes down to Charles X by Eric Gustave Geijer published in 1845. The selection is serialized in five installments for daily reading.

Denmark conquered Sweden in 1520. After taking Stockholm the king of Denmark massacred the Swedish nobility. A very young Gustavas Vasa (also known as “Gustavas Erickson”), a noble descended from the Vasa royal line of Sweden had been a hostage in Denmark. He had escaped and was at large in the Swedish countryside. When the massacre took place, outrage filled the land, and Gustavus made his move.

Eric Gustave Geijer, the famous Swedish historian, writer, composer, and advocate of Swedish culture takes up the story from here.

Many more stories here:

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas, 1620

From   "Every Day Life in the Colonies" by G.L. Stone and M.G. Fickett.

It was a warm and pleasant Saturday — that twenty-third of December, 1620. The winter wind had blown itself away in the storm of the day before, and the air was clear and balmy. The people on board the Mayflower were glad of the pleasant day. It was three long months since they had started from Plymouth, in England, to seek a home across the ocean. Now they had come into a harbor that they named New Plymouth, in the country of New England.

Other people called these voyagers Pilgrims, which means wanderers. A long while before, the Pilgrims had lived in England; later they made their home with the Dutch in Holland; finally they had said goodbye to their friends in Holland and in England, and had sailed away to America.

There were only one hundred and two of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, but they were brave and strong and full of hope. Now the Mayflower was the only home they had; yet if this weather lasted they might soon have warm log-cabins to live in. This very afternoon the men had gone ashore to cut down the large trees.

The women of the Mayflower were busy, too. Some were spinning, some knitting, some sewing. It was so bright and pleasant that Mistress Rose Standish had taken out her knitting and had gone to sit a little while on deck. She was too weak to face rough weather, and she wanted to enjoy the warm sunshine and the clear salt air. By her side was Mistress Brewster, the minister's wife. Everybody loved Mistress Standish and Mistress Brewster, for neither of them ever spoke unkindly.

The air on deck would have been warm even on a colder day, for in one corner a bright fire was burning. It would seem strange now, would it not, to see a fire on the deck of a vessel? But in those days, when the weather was pleasant, people on shipboard did their cooking on deck.

More of this story here:

Many more stories here:

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Why Climb the Mountain?

View of Mont Ventoux from Mirabel-aux-Baronnies
Public domain image from Wikipedia.

Because it is there.  The people from the Ancient and Medieval periods of history would have been astonished at such an answer.  Petrarch (1304 - 1374) may not have been the first naturalist in history but his poetry added an appreciation of nature and a love of scenic beauty to human culture more significantly than ever before.  In a way, he was to appreciation of nature as Columbus (a century later) was to America.  Neither man was the first but both men made their discoveries matter. Jacob Burkhardt, that great progenitor of cultural history wrote of the journey that became the subject of the poet's major work:

"The ascent of a mountain for its own sake was unheard of, and there could be no thought of the companionship of friends or acquaintances. Petrarch took with him only his younger brother and two country people from the last place where he halted. At the foot of the mountain an old herdsman besought him to turn back, saying that he himself had attempted to climb it fifty years before, and had brought home nothing but repentance, broken bones, and torn clothes, and that neither before nor after had anyone ventured to do the same. Nevertheless, they struggled forward and upward, till the clouds lay beneath their feet, and at last they reached the top. A description of the view from the summit would be looked for in vain, not because the poet was insensible to it, but, on the contrary, because the impression was too overwhelming. His whole past life, with all its follies, rose before his mind; he remembered that ten years ago that day he had quitted Bologna a young man, and turned a longing gaze toward his native country; he opened a book which then was his constant companion, the Confessions of St. Augustine, and his eye fell on the passage in the tenth chapter, “and men go forth, and admire lofty mountains and broad seas and roaring torrents and the ocean and the course of the stars, and forget their own selves while doing so.” His brother, to whom he read these words, could not understand why he closed the book and said no more."

More of Burkhardt' piece on Petrarch here.

and don't forget The Basic History Library (free): ------------->

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Founders of Rome

It was perhaps the most important of ancient cities.  It's legacy is vital to our world today.  Yet it's beginnings are murky.  But can we get any idea at all of how it all began, really?  Barthold Georg Niebuhr wrote,

"According to an important statement of Cato preserved in Dionysius, the ancient towns of the Aborigines were small places scattered over the mountains. One town of this kind was situated on the Palatine hill, and bore the name of Roma, which is most certainly Greek."

So what really happened?  Niebuhr and others have laboriously fished history out of the murk.  But no critic can ever destroy the beauty and charm of the old Latin chronicles or diminish the glory of the day that saw the first walls rise about the seven hills of the most important of ancient European cities.

More information here.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Oliver Cromwell: Tyrant or Something Else?

It seems to me that he was created the template of the modern revolutionary/tyrant.  The late Fidel Castro comes to mind.  The thing for me is that the people of his own time demonstrated their dislike for his rule.

The English Civil War’s aftermath resulted in the death of the King, Charles I and the rule of Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell’s regime was unable to survive long after his death. The English substituted the son of Charles for the son of Cromwell. This was “The Restoration”.
I got a series on this in History Moments.
The series shows three different points of view of Cromwell’s record and of the Restoration — very different points of view. Carlyle shows us in Cromwell one of his most admired heroes; Green gives us the modern historian’s dispassionate conclusions; while the contemporary narrative of the old diarist, Pepys, preserves the personal observations of a participator in the scenes which he describes. Charles II had spent years in exile on the Continent. He was finally proclaimed King of England at Westminster, May 8, 1660. Pepys describes his convoy from Holland to Dover, and his reception by the people who had invited him to return to his country and his throne.
The first installment of my series: Of Cromwell’s Rule In England and the Restoration begins here:

Many more stories here:

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Revolution in China

In 1911 and 1912 the Imperial Government was overthrown and China was proclaimed a republic.  Western people interpreted the Revolution through the perspective of the European and American experience.  The Emperor's advisor wrote:

"It can not be denied, however, that the social system under which the Chinese people have lived for untold ages has in some ways made them more fit for self-government than any other people in the world. It would be well if Europeans — and especially Englishmen — would try to rid themselves of the obsolete notion that every Oriental race, as such, is only fit for a despotic form of government. Perhaps only those who have lived in the interior of China and know something of the organization of family and village, township and clan, are able to realize to how great an extent the Chinese have already learned the arts of self-government. It was not without reason that a Western authority (writing before the outbreak of the revolution) described China as “the greatest republic the world has ever seen.”

While China's present government would have the world believe that the thousands of years of experience and thought have no further relevance for today's behavior, I suggest this may not be so.  China's history may be more relevant to the unfolding decades of the 21st. century than most people think.

This series on the Revolution comes from three different authors with three different perspectives.


The Civilization of China by Herbert A. Giles is in The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Lack of Change in Antarctic Ice Caps Over Last Century

Scott and Shackleton logbooks show Antarctic sea ice is not shrinking 100 years after expeditions.  What does this mean for climate change?  The British newspaper "The Telegraph" reported:

"Experts were concerned that ice at the South Pole had declined significantly since the 1950s, which they feared was driven by man-made climate change."

"But new analysis suggests that conditions are now virtually identical to when the Terra Nova and Endurance sailed to the continent in the early 1900s, indicating that declines are part of a natural cycle and not the result of global warming."

The newspaper's use of the word "proven" may be a bit strong but this story does have one lesson for us all.  Science and history should go where ever the path towards the truth may go.  We -- and the scientists themselves -- should stop encumbering academic research with all sorts of political baggage.

Here is the full story:

Friday, December 9, 2016

Historical Accounts of the Beginning of Christianity

More than five hundred persons were already devoted to the memory of Jesus. In default of the lost master they obeyed the disciples, the most authoritative — Peter — in particular.

The activity of these ardent souls had already turned in another direction. What they believed to have heard from the lips of the dear risen One was the order to go forth and preach, and to convert the world. But where should they commence? Naturally, at Jerusalem. The return to Jerusalem was then resolved upon by those who at that time had the direction of the sect. As these journeys were ordinarily made by caravan at the time of the feasts, we now suppose, with all manner of likelihood, that the return in question took place at the Feast of Tabernacles at the close of the year 33, or the Paschal Feast of the year 34. 

Maybe the most controversial topics in all history, how and when did this religion begin and why did it expand so much when contemporary religions did not?  Three historians tackle this topic, a Protestant, a Catholic, and a Jew. The series begins here:

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Abd-el-Kader and France’s Conquest of Algeria

Today, Arabs fighting the West brings images of terrorists blowing up women and children so this story of the Algerian Sultan who fought and beat back the French in the long war of the 1830's and 1840's brings a needed balance.  Pitched battles were fought; the Arab side won; and treaties were signed.  In the end it took treachery, a 110 thousand+ army, and tribal disloyalty to bring Abd-el-Dader down.  Had the Algerian tribes stayed on the opposition, the French would not have won in the end.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

How Reliable Is Marco Polo's Book?

After returning to Italy, Marco Polo wrote a book about his travels.  Today's historians have considerable doubts about this book.  Access to Chinese sources allows historians to compare MP to them.  There are a lot of divergences.  To the degree that some think that the book is a fake or even that MP himself is a fake, too.

On the other hand, there's stuff in MP's book that cause historians to wonder, "how did he know that?"  Even, "how could he have known that."  He must have been in or near China to have written some of the things that are in that book.

Here's my theory.  While the old boy was writing his book he probably exaggerated. -- By a lot.  After all, in that day in age who would have been in a position to compare notes with the Chinese?

Here is one scholar's summary of "The Marco Polo Problem" by  Jonathan Dresner:

The Civilization of China by Cambridge University Professor Herbert A.  Giles

 is in The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Friday, December 2, 2016

How Much Traffic Do History Sites Get?

I'm dismayed at the low levels that are reported.  History is an important subject.  Books on historical topics generate lots of sales.  One would think that history delivered via the internet would generate lots of hits.  The members shown on this group is small while I am sure the daily view are much less. 

Another indicator of low engagement on the internet is the aggregator sites.  Just google history blogs and you see on the first page "Best of" links.  These link to pages that were last updated years ago and/or else themselves award "best" status to blogs/sites that had not been updated for years.

Another way of finding history sites is through the History Carnival.  Sadly that site has deteriorated to a click of insiders.

My modest suggestion:  through social media sites such as this one, we should agree on criteria for sites which are recognized for excellence.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

England Expels Jews

In 1260 the Jews of England were told to leave.  During the Medieval Age there were many expulsions of Jews by many of the kingdoms of Europe.  Sad.  The plight of the Jews throughout history cannot help but command our sympathy.

Today I begin my series on England's actions in the 13th. century.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Russia Invades Iran

In 1911 the Russian Empire followed up its ultimatum to the democratic government of Iran with armed invasion.  A revolution in Iran had changed the government to a democratically elected one.  The Iranians appointed an American diplomat, W. Morgan Shuster as the Administrator.  (Amazing fact for both Americans and Iranians to digest today.)  As the Administrator for the Iranian government, Shuster was in the middle of the crisis.  A selection of his account of the crisis is here.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Worst Election in History

Is there any election in history that was worse than the 1948 election in the Union of South Africa?  The party that had been in power had a vague program of eventual racial equality while the National Party wanted strict racial segregation with White supremacy.  The National Party won and commenced their policy of Apartheid in all areas of life.

Here is a look at the state of affairs in The Union of  South Africa, here is  "S African Racial Perspective in 1910" an installment from "Union of South Africa Formed" by Stephen Leacock:

Saturday, November 26, 2016

What were the Best 6 World Series Baseball?

Calling the championship of a sport that was called "the national pastime" the "The World Series" seems like American ballyhoo.  The National League was formed in 1876.  The first World Series was in 1903.   

Back to the question.  Here's the answer from the History News Network:

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Pilgrims Journey to Massachusetts

When one thinks of Thanksgiving, one thinks of the Pilgrims.  They are as unfashionable today as they were then -- How history circles back!  Here is the first installment of my selection from  John S. Barry about The Pilgrims Settle Plymouth, Massachussets:


Heroes and Heroines Every Child Should Know is in The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Back in the Day

The quintessential story of the old New England Thanksgiving was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe.  Yes, she did write more than just Uncle Tom's Cabin.  This selection from her stories about Oldtown Folks is a Thanksgiving classic.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

First Republican Presidential Campaign

It was 160 years ago, 1856.  They nominated John C. Fremont.  The detailed story is told by John Hay and John Nicolay.  This duo were Abraham Lincoln's White House staff.  John Hay later was Secretary of State under Presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.  This is what they wrote:

This begins our selection Republicans' First National Campaign, serialized into 5 minute stories, one per day for easy reading.  Today's installment: Republican Party Forms


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Kennedy's Murder 11/22/1963

The Warren Commission summarized their report here.

Hard to realize it was 53 years ago today.  I remember first hearing about it on the playground.  Before a teacher stopped our playing and told us, another kid already knew.  I've always wondered how he knew.  Never thought to ask at the time.

The link is to a series where I broke down the Commission's Summary into 5 minute pieces for easy reading.

Monday, November 21, 2016

How Valuable Is a College History Degree?

This links to an essay in the Los Angeles Times last May.  The author, who is the Executive Director of the American Historical Association wrote that history majors begin their careers earning less than business majors but pass them up mid-career and earn more, on average.  I add that too many history professors seem unable to think outside of the left-wing box and that inability constitutes a drag on career performance and hence, success.

The link is to my blog where I explain my opinion on this.  From there links are to the LA Times article.

U.S. History from Crash Course

These are a series of 10 minute videos that cover all of U.S. history.  The host talks really fast because a lot of information is crammed into the 10 minute episode.  I notice that a lot of time is spent "debunking" traditional views while sometimes the "traditional view" is really a straw man tactic.

Here is  Spain in America
the first installment from Crash Course U.S. History:


The Frontier in American History by Frederick Jackson Turner is in The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Before the Big Bang Began the Universe

How can we know?  Noted science writer on what cosmic background radiation tells us before the Big Bang.

Pre-Big Bang inflation is important to historians because we want to know before, during, and after past events. That's how our minds work. Yes, Einstein theory is that time cannot exist outside of universe.  No space-time continuum.  The present knowledge of pre-Big Bang inflation is vital to history and a game-changer to science.

Also, here's my Herodotus page, the first universal historian. The Landmark edition is the best Herodotus available imo.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Why Trump Won

In a phrase it was political correctness.  Revulsion against the left's pc cancelled out revulsion against Trump's bad statements.  Folks on the left do not realize how their pc has reached a critical mass in the country.  Millions are touched by it.

Outside the phrase, there was more.  Trump's errors could have lost it for him.  Clinton's scandals compounded by campaigning mistakes did her in.

My essay in History Moments expands on these thoughts.  In addition there are links to the best articles on the election in the web.


Plutarch's Lives is in The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Thursday, November 17, 2016

As Obamanation Slips Into History

This video from the first term talks about the Great Recession and Obama's early years as President.  Crash Course has produced over a hundred history videos.  They are extensive although somewhat flawed.  For example, it takes the left-wing perspective on the Republicans' reluctance to compromise while passing the Democrats' record on compromising is passed over in silence.


Don't forget the The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Australia Discovered

Who discovered Australia? As with the natives of the Americas, distant ancestors “discovered” the lands in distant times but here we speak of discoveries that made this continent known not to just local islands but to the rest of the world.

Today we began our series on the discovery of Australia by writers and historians Louis Becke and Walter Jeffrey.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Francis Parkman (1823 - 1893)

One of America's greatest historians, he wrote The Oregon Trail and his magnum opus the 7 volume "France and England in North America".  The Parkman Prize for best history book is named for him.

Here's a sample of his work.


 Francis Parkman's books are in The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Saint Bartholomew Day Massacre Horrifies Europe

It began the night of August 23-24, 1572.  The Protestant lords had been invited to Paris for the wedding of Prince Henry of Navarre to Princess Margaret of Valois.  The Protestants were granted safe passage for the event.  For 7 days the Protestants were hunted down and killed.

We of the 21st. century can get a feel of how the sheer treachery and the sacrilege of the use of a royal wedding to lure the victims to their doom shocked and appalled Europe be reference to how the fictional Red Wedding from the Game of Thrones affected our emotions.
For more information here is France's King and Queen Ponder
an installment from The Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre by Henry White:


History of the Popes by Leopold von Ranke is in The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Saturday, November 12, 2016

How Colt Revolver Won the West

The six-shooter made the individual more powerful than ever before. The pistol, being carried on the hip, was more portable than the rifle while leaving the arms and hands free. That meant that the weapon could be carried as a permanent part of the individual's wardrobe without regard as to location or task. Quickly accessible, the individual could get six quick shots off with enough caliber and range to inflict significant if not fatal damage.
This is why the colt revolver was so significant in the history of the old west.
Here's an article from Popular Mechanics by Matthew Moss:


Frederick Jackson Turner's book on the Frontier in American History in The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why Byzantine Law Matters

Emperor Justinian in 6th. century reformed Roman Empire code of laws.  The laws tell us much of daily life in those days.  That system became the basis of law throughout Europe.  Justinian Code can even be traced to our own system of laws in America.

For more information on Necessary Legal Reform here is an installment from Justinian Code Published by Edward Gibbon:


The Civilization of China is one of the books in The Basic History Library (free): ------------->

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

History and God

If the universe originated with a Big Bang, what was going on before that?  Latest estimates is that the Big Bang occurred 13.8 billion years ago.  This was an actual historical event.  What was going on 13.9 billion years ago?

Latest theoretical physics says that there was a pre-universe something that was inflating (growing bigger) until it reached some critical mass that caused the massive explosion that began our universe.

If this something was inflating then as we go backwards in time it was deflating.  How long ago was it too small?

In short, what we know and what we can surmise on the origin of the universe is incomplete.


Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Before Election 2016 Goes Into History

First election in my life where I did not know who to vote for until I actually had the ballot in front of me.  I ended up voting for the one who was less dishonest and generally bad.  But who was that?  I just had to pick.

Here's my thinking:


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Monday, November 7, 2016

1912 Nobel Prize for First Organ Transplants

Alexis Carrel won the Noble Prize his work on vascular suture and the transplantation of blood vessels and organs in 1912. He achieved the first transplants in history. He also was able to remove organs and keep them alive for extended periods of time.

For more information on Permanent Life of Tissues
here is an installment from Alexis Carrel Transplants Blood Vessels and Organs by Genevieve Grandcourt:


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Cold War TV Series

Despite flaws this is still one of the best history series yet.  It is on YouTube.  On History Moments we improved navigation of the YouTube episodes to make them easier to watch.


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Suez Conflict 60 Years Later

Was it a missed opportunity for America?  In 1956 Nassar of Egypt nationalized the Suez CanalGreat Britain and France began joint operations against Egypt to return the Canal to international control.  Israel invaded Egypt.  The US under Eisenhower objected to the operations and compelled the British and French to withdraw.

This article from The National (a newspaper from Abu Dubai, United Arab Emirates) opines that after these events America could have got the Arab Middle East on its side by collaborating with the Arab governments on policies.  It is silent on moderating Arab anti-Israeli policy.

Here is the essay:

My own view is that for the US this was a short term triumph but it was a long term disaster.  After this debacle, the western European powers would never again engage in major foreign operations independent of the US.  From this point on the US would be stuck policing major international crisis, mostly alone, or with allies, still having to contribute the bulk of blood and treasure.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Earliest American Battleships

In 1886 Congress authorized the first modern warships.  They were cruisers.  A battlecruiser is a warship with the guns of a battleship but without the armor.  Not until 1895 did the first “Battleships” join the fleet. These were the Texas and the Maine.  

For more information on U.S. Navy's Earliest Battleships
here is an installment from series on early battleships by myself:


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Smithsonian: Anita Hill In; Clarence Thomas Out

The Smithsonian Institution last month opened a wing devoted to African-American history.  African-Americans who leaned conservative were excluded.  No where was the exclusion of conservatives more revealing than in the Anita Hill Exhibit .  Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his Senate confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court.  Hill got her own exhibit while Thomas was censored right out.

While sexual harassment charges might be used as the excuse to censor out a conservative African-American, what about all of the others in history who were censored out, too?

Here is an an article Clarence Thomas Is Conspicuously Absent In The New Black History Smithsonian by Kevin Daley

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Top Image Plugins for History Bloggers

Images such as portraits, maps, and infographics are especially important for presenting history.  Online history has tools available for the historian who is not a graphic designer.  Here are my favorite plugins for sites powered by Wordpress.

Getty Images:  This plugin accesses the vast Getty library.  As with images from Wikipedia, they are free to use.

ClickAnimate:  This gives movement to both graphics and texts.  I use it sparingly as too much movement on the screen becomes distracting.

CanvaKala:  This is a mini-photoshop for images and text.

Enhanced Media Library:  Allows you to organize your images.  They can get out of hand really fast.

I am not an artist so using plugins are a real help for me.  Moreover at the rate of a new post each day, I don't have a lot of time to spend on graphics.  See the end results on History Moments:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

All Saints Day Today

This is the other half of Halloween.  The first day is for the bad; today is for the good.  Think angels instead of demons.  Of the 5,000 odd saints in the Catholic Online Database 784 are women.  The list goes back 2,000 years.


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Is Today

Here is the first stanza of Robert Burns' poem Halloween published in 1785.

Upon that night, when fairies light,
On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the rout is ta’en,
Beneath the moon’s pale beams;
There, up the Cove,to stray an’ rove,
Amang the rocks and streams
To sport that night;
Here's the rest of the poem:

Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sir Francis Drake Attacks Cartegena

In 1586 Cartegena was the richest and the most fortified port on the Spanish Main.

Located in today's country of Columbia, the city was encircled by a broad creek, which ran round it from the inner harbor to the sea in such a way as to form a wide natural moat, rendering the city unapproachable from the mainland except by a bridge. This bridge was also commanded by the harbor fort, nor were land operations possible at any other point except from that part of the spit which lay between the city and the Bocca Grande. So finely, however, did this narrow down before the city could be reached, that between the inner harbor and the sea it was but fifty paces wide, and here the Spaniards had had time to prepare defenses that looked impregnable. From shore to shore a formidable entrenchment completely barred the way; and not only was its front so staked and encumbered as to render a night attack impossible, but its approaches were swept by the guns and small-arms of a great galeas and two galleys which lay in the inner harbor.

 For more on Drake's opening moves here is an installment from Drake Captures Cartegena; Raids Cadiz by Julian Corbett:


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Sunday, October 9, 2016

History Moments Crosses 1,000 Pages

A good history blog is more like a library than a diary.  It is a collection of short passages.  Entries made in prior years are just as important as the latest ones.


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Cold War Series

Did you see the series on CNN or on the BBC? While it had its problems, at 24 episodes it is the most comprehensive history of the "war" yet seen. Its major omission in my opinion is a summary of the chief beliefs of communism. One cannot really understand the Cold War Era without understanding how communism differs from socialism and from the other major isms of the era.

 For more information: 


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Friday, October 7, 2016

Past Quotes from Trump and Clinton

While these are contemporary people, I believe that a look back at statements they have made in past years gives an historical perspective. Since the news emphasizes their bad statements, this series looks at positive ones. Moreover, both people have said wise thing that we can put to use in our own lives. and Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Native Americans Before French Canada

We call of the various communities speaking dialects of the generic tongue of the Iroquois the Huron-Iroquois Family of Indian nations. Through most of North America the structure of the clan formed the basis of their societies. The Iroquois separated into five distinct nations, cantoned from east to west along the centre of New York, in the following order: Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas to form the Iroquois Confederation. For more information on Natives in Eastern Canada and Northeastern United Stated before contact with settlers from Europe here is an installment from France in North America by Francis Parkman: and Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Joan of Arc Captured

on May 24, 1430.  She was 19 years old.  After being transferred to the English in November, trial began on February 21, 1431.  For part of that she was kept in an iron cage.  On May 30, she was condemned.  Then she was burned at the stake.

Today we're beginning a new series Joan of Arc’s Trial and Execution by Jules Michelet:


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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Series on The Cold War Begins

This is the CNN/BBC television series that was aired years ago. The complete series is no YouTube. It is pretty overwhelming. History Moments blog breaks it down episode by episode, day by day. Episode 1 covers Communism until 1945.


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

Friday, July 8, 2016

Henry VIII and His Bid for Absolute Monarchy

I have been watching The Tudors television series on Netflix.  It reminds me of how bad Henry was.  Isn't it something that the 16th. century brought one of the worst rulers in history (Henry) and then one of the best (Elizabeth).

For more information here is Cromwell Takes Charge an installment from Henry Makes Himself Head of the Church of England by John R. Green


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Thursday, July 7, 2016

What Happened to the Star Chamber?

The ancient role of the Star Chamber to try special cases circumvented the jury trial process.  In the lead up to the English Civil War this became controversial.  It became a means of securing convictions rather than justice.

For moreinformation on The Star Chamber’s Power in Past Reigns here is an installment from The End of the Star Chamber by Henry Hallam: 


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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What Country Has Been in the Middle of Almost Every Major War Since Caesar?

The land now occupied by France was invaded by Julius Caesar.  Since then barbarians invaded, Charlemagne ruled, Vikings raided, Crusades were launched - and that's only to the early Medieval Age.  This is a work in progress.

Here's a list of some major wars France fought:   


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Monday, July 4, 2016

Fourth of July and Slavery

Seemingly every time one wants to say something good about America, someone pushes back with, "What about slavery?"

Slavery was America's original sin.  On July Fourth the United States of America not only declared its independence but based its independence on basic principles of universal freedom.  Civil rights for all was not achieved after the Revolution; it was not achieved after the Civil War; indeed it was not even achieved in the 1960's but it was implicitly made a goal in the Declaration of Independence.

The goal was set.  We are still striving towards that goal.  That is why we should continue to celebrate July 4th. despite slavery.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

First Hot Air Balloon Flight

Time: 5 pm, August 27, 1783; Place: Paris
In the morning the Champ-de-Mars was lined with troops, every house to its very top, and every avenue, was crowded with anxious spectators. The discharge of a cannon at 5 P.M. was the signal for ascent, and the globe rose, to the great surprise of the spectators, to a height of three thousand one hundred twenty-three feet in two minutes, where it entered the clouds. 

For more information on Going up in the Hot Air Balloon First Time Ever here is an installment from First Balloon Ascension by Hatton Turner:

The series began today.


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Saturday, July 2, 2016

After the American Revolution, Where Did the Loyalists Go?

Between 40,000 and 50,000 people reached British North America by 1786. The peace negotiators spent a lot of time on this topic. American histories tend to ignore the fate of these people. Great suffering and deprivation was part of one the great migrations in history.

For more information on Loyalists Move to here is an installment from Where Did the Loyalists Go? by Sir John George Bourinot.

Friday, July 1, 2016

From History Moments Semi-Annual Report

In the first half 2016 these topics were published in the blog.

Justinian Code Established in the Byzantine Empire
The Marines at Guadalcanal
The Peasants' War in Germany in the time of Martin Luther
The Reformation in Scotland
Life Sciences Discovery of Immortality of Tissues
John Knox Biography
Militarism Before World War I
Jimmu Becomes First Emperor of Japan
Frederick II Negotiates Treaty Ending Sixth Crusade
Last Days of the Confederacy (US Civil War)
Flight of the Irish Earls
Saint Bartholomew Day Massacre

These topics were covered at length in series of posts. Link to blog:


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Thursday, June 30, 2016

What Platforms to Use for History Blogs

The two major platforms are Blogger and Wordpress.

Blogger is owned by Google.  It is easy to use but is limited.  I observe that the majority of history blogs use the Blogger platform.  Ease of use seems to be historians' major consideration.

Wordpress is the heavy favorite of successful bloggers in business and other subjects.  It has a variety of features that enhance the blog posts.  For that reason as well as superior appearance, it is what my blog uses.

Here is an example of what a post looks like on blogger.

And this is the same post on Wordpress.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How to Divide History into Eras

Though a bit Eurocentric, this scheme is easy to remember.

Classical Era 500 BC to 1 BC:  From Herodotus and Confucious to Caesar.

Roman Era 1 AD to 499 AD: And wasn't the RE the most interesting empire of the time?

Dark Age 500 to 999: In Europe yes, but the barbarian invasions affected civilizations from China to the Middle East to North Africa.

Medieval Age 1000 to 1499: why call them "Middle Ages" plural?  Ditto for "Dark Ages".

European Age 1500 to 1999: when Europe affected every society on the planet.

Present Age 2000 - : Wonder what the future will call this.

For more information on The Great Ages of History
here is a wider treatment from my blog:

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

England Conquers French Canada for First Time

Did you know that England took Canada away from the French twice?  The first time was in 1632.  They also captured Samuel de Champlain and took him back to England.  Charles I sold Canada back to France for around $240,000.  How different would history have been had England kept it?

For more information on France Gets Canada Back
here is an installment from Pioneers of France in the New World by Francis Parkman:


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