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). ------------->