21 posts tagged with history by languagehat.
Displaying 1 through 21 of 21.
September 22, 1939: In the Polish city of Brest-Litovsk (now Brest, in Belarus), "a monumental military parade took place.... What is unusual is that the parade was held not by the Polish army, but by the soviet Red Army and the Nazi German Wehrmacht – together." The excellent blog Poemas del río Wang (which usually features gorgeous illustrations from books) provides historical context, many photos, posters, and cartoons, even a five-minute official German newsreel (the parade takes up the first half). The event itself is a historical footnote, but in Russia, with the "cult of the victory of Soviet people and of the Soviet state in WWII," the very idea of it was anathema and it was denied until last year. [more inside]
Debt: The first five thousand years. Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber (previously) writes about "debt and debt money in human history" in Eurozine. Lots of thought-provoking stuff here; I'll put a sample in the extended description. (Via wood s lot.) [more inside]
"Mr. Everyman is stronger than we are, and sooner or later we must adapt our knowledge to his necessities."
"Everyman His Own Historian" is the annual address Carl Becker, President of the American Historical Association, delivered on December 29, 1931. It's probably the best thing I've ever read about history, and I thought I'd share it. It's long, but full of lively examples; I'll never forget the image of twenty tons of coal sliding dustily through Mr. Everyman's cellar window. (Via Slawkenbergius's Tales, the brilliant blog of MeFi's own nasreddin.)
Georgia and Russia: This is the most balanced and informative discussion I've seen since the invasion over three months ago (MeFi thread). If you've been wanting to catch up, this essay and its many useful links are the way to go. The author, Donald Rayfield, is professor of Russian and Georgian and knows both countries well. (Via wood s lot.)
Every issue of The Times published between 1785-1985, digitally scanned and fully searchable. (Via Wordorigins.org.)
Philosophy of History is what the page is called; it's by a philosophy professor, Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D., who's a libertarian and obsessed with Leonard Nelson and the Friesian School, whatever the hell that is. Never mind all that. If you scroll down past the essays and the Military History section and the calendars and the book reviews, you get to the Reference Resources. As he says, "Not all of history may be covered here, but a very extensive fragment of it certainly is." Take, as one tiny example, Margraves & Counts of Flanders. There's a longish introduction and a colored map, then there are lists of rulers and detailed genealogies accompanied by more text, then similarly for the Counts of Artois, the Kings & Dukes of Brittany, the Counts of Anjou, the Dukes of Normandy, the Counts of Blois & Champagne, the Counts of Toulouse, the Dukes of Aquitaine and Dukes of Gascony, the Lords & Counts of Foix, the Kings and Lords of Man, the Dukes of Marlborough and Earls of Spencer (including a detailed list of the Vanderbilts), the Dukes of Buccleuch, Grafton, & St. Albans, and the Dukes of Berwick & Fitzjames. That's one page. There are dozens and dozens of them. The Prime Ministers of the Dominions, the Kings of Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland, the Islâmic Rulers of North Africa, the Emperors of India, China, & Japan, all the way down to the Mangïts of Bukhara, 1747-1920. If you have any interest in history, This Site's For You.
Horton's Historical Articles. "Gerald (Jerry) Horton has always been interested in American History, particularly the era from 1750 to 1820. Upon his retirement in 2000, he found more time for reading and research. It was through this research Jerry became intrigued with the Mohawk Valley during the Revolutionary War." It's a narrow focus, but if you're interested in the American Revolution the articles on this site provide incredibly detailed timelines, with impartial attention to all sides. What Happened to 7,000 People?, for example, explains just how the population of the Mohawk Valley dropped from 10,000 to 3,000 people in a few years in a "civil war that pitted neighbor against neighbor."
After the Romans left Britain was divided into a number of Celtic kingdoms that fought with each other and, increasingly, with the Germanic invaders we know as "Anglo-Saxons." The most famous alleged defender of Celtic Britain, of course, is King Arthur, but he's more myth than history. What catches my imagination is The Gododdin (Welsh original, by Aneurin), an epic lament for the band of men who gathered at Eiddyn (Edinburgh, main town of Gododdin) around the year 600 and headed south for a last-ditch battle against the Saxons at Catraeth (probably Catterick in northern Yorkshire), where they were wiped out. One contingent was from Elmet (Elfed in the poem), a kingdom that had been holding the line against the invaders in what's now Yorkshire; once Elmet was conquered, there was no stopping them. And all of this history was basic to the poetry of David Jones, one of the best unknown poets of the previous century, and important to one of the best known, Ted Hughes (book with photos). "Men went to Catraeth, familiar with laughter. The old, the young, the strong, the weak."
What’s "Sacred" about Violence in Early America? Susan Juster discusses the "oversized colonial martyr complex" with its attendant paradox: "colonial martyrs were everywhere, religious violence... in short supply." She begins:
One of the most chilling images in early American history is the deliberate firing of Fort Mystic during the Pequot War of 1637. Five hundred Indian men, women, and children died that day, burned alive along with their homes and possessions by a vengeful Puritan militia intent on doing God’s will. "We must burn them!" the militia captain famously insisted to his troops on the eve of the massacre, in words that echo the classic early modern response to heretics. Just five months before, the Puritan minister at Salem had exhorted his congregation in strikingly similar terms to destroy a more familiar enemy, Satan; "We must burne him," John Wheelwright told his parishioners. Indians and devils may have been scarcely distinguishable to many a Puritan, but their rhetorical conflation in these two calls to arms raises a question: Was the burning of Fort Mystic a racial or a religious killing?She avoids easy answers and makes some interesting connections. If you want to find out more about the Pequot War, there's good material in the History section of this site. (Main link via wood s lot.)
Explorion is a goldmine of travel accounts, from Hakluyt's Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of The English Nation and Bartram's Travels Through North &South Carolina, Georgia, East &West Florida,the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws to the Journals of Lewis and Clark and Washinton Irving's Astoria; Or, Anecdotes Of An Enterprise Beyond The Rocky Mountains and Dickens's Pictures from Italy and Lafcadio Hearn's Glimpses of an Unfamiliar Japan (from which I took the post title) to... well, find your own favorites. There's an astonishing amount of stuff there. "Of course you will act according to your own plans, and do what you think best—but FIND LIVINGSTONE!"
In the First Person "provides in-depth indexing of more than 2,500 collections of oral history in English from around the world. With future releases, the index will broaden to identify other first-person content, including letters, diaries, memoirs, and autobiographies, and other personal narratives... It allows for keyword searching of more than 260,000 pages of full-text by more than 9,000 individuals from all walks of life." You could start with the places or Historical Events listings, or just pick a keyword and dive in. (The post title is from the first interview in the collection, from July 1930, with He Dog, who was born in the same year as Crazy Horse: "We grew up together in the same band, played together, courted the girls together and fought together.") Via wood s lot.
After the Day of Infamy: "Man-on-the-Street" Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor
presents approximately twelve hours of opinions recorded in the days and months following the bombing of Pearl Harbor from more than two hundred individuals in cities and towns across the United States. On December 8, 1941..., Alan Lomax... sent a telegram to fieldworkers in ten different localities across the United States, asking them to collect "man-on-the-street" reactions of ordinary Americans to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declaration of war by the United States. A second series of interviews, called "Dear Mr. President," was recorded in January and February 1942. Both collections are included in this presentation. They feature a wide diversity of opinion concerning the war and other social and political issues of the day, such as racial prejudice and labor disputes. The result is a portrait of everyday life in America as the United States entered World War II.Try the Subject index as a point of entry; there are transcripts as well as audio. (Via Plep.)
The Truth About Muslims. William Dalrymple, one of those rare historians who can really write (his books From the Holy Mountain and White Mughals have gotten rave reviews), takes on Bernard Lewis and gives some fascinating information about the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims through the centuries:
Fletcher also stresses the degree to which the Muslim armies were welcomed as liberators by the Syriac and Coptic Christians, who had suffered discrimination under the strictly Orthodox Byzantines: "To the persecuted Monophysite Christians of Syria and Egypt, Muslims could be presented as deliverers. The same could be said of the persecuted Jews.... Released from the bondage of Constantinopolitan persecution they flourished as never before, generating in the process a rich spiritual literature in hymns, prayers, sermons and devotional work."
Old Istanbul Postcards. If you have any fondness for old city views, this is irresistible. Here's a look at the Old City of Istanbul a hundred years ago (Hagia Sophia is just left of center), and here's the gate of the Ottoman War Ministry, now Istanbul University (map). There's lots more where those came from. (Via Desultory Turgescence.)
The story of "St. James Infirmary." You thought it was a piece of old New Orleans? Turns out St. James Hospital was in London (and treated lepers), and the song goes back at least to the 18th century (though it used to be sung to the tune of "Streets of Laredo"). Rob Walker's Letter From New Orleans #13 describes the results of his obsessive researches. If you have more info, he wants to hear from you! (Via Wordorigins, a site any word lover should know.)
America's First POWs. The Department of Defense says there were 4,435 battle deaths during the Revolutionary War. More than twice as many Americans died in British prison ships in New York Harbor. You can get an idea of their suffering from the news stories I've linked, or read a more detailed account written in the 1860s from Henry R. Stiles's A History of the City of Brooklyn (scroll down a bit and keep hitting Next). There are more links at this site, which focuses on the long-neglected Monument for the Prison Ship Martyrs in Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park. A remembrance for Memorial Day.
CELT, the Corpus of Electronic Texts, "brings the wealth of Irish literary and historical culture to the Internet, for the use and benefit of everyone worldwide. It has a searchable online database consisting of contemporary and historical texts from many areas, including literature and the other arts." It has texts in Irish, Latin, Anglo-Norman French, and English, ranging from the annals of the fifth century to the Agreement reached in the Multi-Party Negotiations in Northern Ireland of 1998. "Great my glory/ I that bore Cuchulainn the valiant..."
Peekskill, 1949. "The mob was rolling toward us for the second attack. This was, in a way, the worst of that night. For one thing, it was still daylight; later, when night fell, our own sense of organization helped us much more, but this was daylight and they poured down the road and into us, swinging broken fenceposts, billies, bottles, and wielding knives..." Howard Fast's account of a terrifying evening that was supposed to be an outdoor concert near Peekskill, NY. You can think about the political implications ("...it illustrates how easily, when terror is unleashed in a nation, it can take hold, and how thin the line is that separates constitutional government from tyranny and dictatorship...") or just enjoy the riveting tale. (Related song and picture here.)
Travels in America. Another amazing resource from the Library of Congress, this contains "253 published narratives by Americans and foreign visitors recounting their travels in the colonies and the United States and their observations and opinions about American peoples, places, and society from about 1750 to 1920... The narratives in American Notes range from the unjustly neglected to the justly famous, and from classics of the genre to undiscovered gems." Go to "Search by keyword," put the name of a city into "Search Full Text," and enjoy. (The quote in the post title is about Santa Barbara, from First impressions in America by John Ayscough [pronounced "ascue"].) Via MeFi's own plep.
In the long stretch of culinary history, the creation of the menu was a notable development. In the U.S., New York is the restaurant capital, and the New York Public Library has an enormous collection of menus, many of which they are currently displaying in a third-floor gallery. If you're in NYC (or will be visiting this winter) and are interested in such things, don't miss it; it's showing until March 1.
Eight hundred years ago, the Empire of Mali was the West African equivalent of Byzantium (succeeding Ghana's Rome), and its legendary founder was Sundiata. [more]