January 5, 1502: A deal is a deal, with Columbus’s most prized possession

January 5, 2016

Who can you trust, if not the king and queen?

Columbus feared that King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella would not honor pledges they had made to him as recompense and honor for his great work of discovery on their behalf.  Before his final voyage, he assembled a legal document showing those promises made to him, and his work for Spain.

This illustrates, once again, the human dimension of the great drama of the age of exploration, of Columbus’s stumbling on to the America’s in his efforts to get to China.

The Library of Congress and the History Channel team up again to show off these grand snippets of history:

On January 5, 1502, prior to his fourth and final voyage to America, Columbus gathered several judges and notaries in his home in Seville. The purpose? To have them authorize copies of his archival collection of original documents through which Isabel and Fernando had granted titles, revenues, powers and privileges to Columbus and his descendants. These 36 documents are popularly called “Columbus’ Book of Privileges.” Four copies of his “Book” existed in 1502, three written on vellum and one on paper. The Library’s copy, one of the three on vellum, has a unique paper copy of the Papal Bull Dudum siquidem of September 26, 1493, which extended the Spanish claim for future explorations.

513 years ago today.

Parts of Christopher Columbus’s journals parked for a visit to Dallas, through January 3, at the Meadows Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University. When we visited, the exhibits were not crowded. Who cares about ancient history today? Not enough.

Borrowed with permission from Mr. Darrell’s Wayback Machine. This has also appeared at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub before.


Unintentional bogus history: Archduke Ferdinand assassinated! British lead assault on Damascus!

June 30, 2014

Santayana said it:  Those who don’t remember history, yada, yada, yada.

It almost turned Dada-esque over the weekend, when a Syrian television editor mistook a “history-as-it-happened” Twitter feed for actual events.

One reason to learn history, I tell students, is so that you cannot be jived by politicians and others who wish to persuade you falsely.  Add to that:  So you won’t be suckered by false news reports when you’re at the editor’s desk.

I wonder how many hoaxes get started this way?

Is that today's newspaper? Toronto Daily Star, June 29, 1914. Not today's edition.

Is that today’s newspaper? Toronto Daily Star, June 29, 1914. Not today’s edition.


January 5, 1502: A deal is a deal, with Columbus’s most prized possession

January 5, 2014

Who can you trust, if not the king and queen?

Columbus feared that King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella would not honor pledges they had made to him as recompense and honor for his great work of discovery on their behalf.  Before his final voyage, he assembled a legal document showing those promises made to him, and his work for Spain.

This illustrates, once again, the human dimension of the great drama of the age of exploration, of Columbus’s stumbling on to the America’s in his efforts to get to China.

The Library of Congress and the History Channel team up again to show off these grand snippets of history:

On January 5, 1502, prior to his fourth and final voyage to America, Columbus gathered several judges and notaries in his home in Seville. The purpose? To have them authorize copies of his archival collection of original documents through which Isabel and Fernando had granted titles, revenues, powers and privileges to Columbus and his descendants. These 36 documents are popularly called “Columbus’ Book of Privileges.” Four copies of his “Book” existed in 1502, three written on vellum and one on paper. The Library’s copy, one of the three on vellum, has a unique paper copy of the Papal Bull Dudum siquidem of September 26, 1493, which extended the Spanish claim for future explorations.

512 years ago today.

Borrowed with permission from Mr. Darrell’s Wayback Machine. This has also appeared at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub before.


Bering land bridge in autumn

September 23, 2013

World and U.S. history classes should be long past this point, but the photo just recently surfaced:

Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Department of Interior

From America’s Outdoors: Bering Land Bridge National Preserve – Gone are the shockingly bright pinks, yellows and purples of summer, replaced by deeper and darker reds, yellows, greens and the beginnings of brown, all of equal vibrancy and beauty. And soon, as the 34 degree weather and diminishing daylight would lead us to believe, a blanket of white will fall upon the landscape. Enjoy the change of seasons wherever you may be!

Bering Land Bridge National Preserve? Did you even know there was such a thing?  Part of our public lands, your tax dollars at work.

Not a place for a Sunday drive.  There are no roads to get to the place.  For students, this site offers a lot of photos and interesting stuff for projects in history (human migrations) and geography (land forms, lava flows, migration routes, wilderness).

More:

Tors of Serpentine, in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Alaska - NPS photo

Tors of Serpentine, in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Alaska – NPS photo


Remembering VJ Day, the end of World War II – August 15, 1945

August 15, 2013

August 15, the Ides of August, hosted several significant events through the years. In 1945, the Emperor of Japan put his voice on radio to announce Japan would unconditionally surrender to the Allies, ending World War II in the Pacific.  Here is an update of an earlier post I wrote on the day, with a few additions and updates.

August 15, 2013, is the 68th anniversary of “Victory Japan” Day, or VJ Day. On that day Japan announced it would surrender unconditionally.

President Harry Truman warned Japan to surrender, unconditionally, from the Potsdam Conference, in July. Truman warned that the U.S. had a new, horrible weapon. Japan did not accept the invitation to surrender. The announced surrender came nine days after the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and six days after a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The actual surrender occurred on September 2, 1945, aboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Harbor.

Celebrations broke out around the world, wherever U.S. military people were, and especially across the U.S., which had been hunkered down in fighting mode for the previous four years, since the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941.

I posted some of the key images of the day, earlier (go see), and repost one of my favorites here.

An unnamed U.S. sailor boldly celebrates Japans surrender with an unnamed, passing nurse, in Times Square, New York, August 15, 1945 - Alfred Eisenstadt, Life Magazine

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic photo of the Kiss in Times Square, V-J Day 1945.

More and Resources:


“The War Prayer” of Mark Twain (encore post)

September 21, 2012

(Updating dead links, especially from the late and lamented (here at least) VodPod, I found myself back in 2008, with this post on Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer.”  Fortunately, I found the film migrated to YouTube, though split in two parts.  Some information that should have caught our attention in 2008 deserves noting now, and we can update and add new links.)

It’s largely forgotten now, especially in history texts in high schools.  After the Spanish-American War, when the U.S. wrested several territories from Spain, including Guam, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, the U.S. quickly got mired in one of the original guerrilla wars in the Philippines.  It took 15 years, but the U.S. finally put down the rebellion — 15 brutal, bloody years.  The conduct of that war shocked many people, including Mark Twain.

This piece was written partly in response to that war.

Many Americans, like Twain, who questioned the war, in turn had their patriotism questioned.  Why wouldn’t they get on board with the war, and kill off those Filipino rebels? the critics asked.

Here’s a film in two parts, a stunning production, produced and directed by Markos Kounalakis (who uploaded the thing); go to the film’s website for a copy of the text.

Part I:

Part II:

Why didn’t I notice this in 2008?  The film is narrated by Peter Coyote.  Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti plays the minister.  Erik Bauersfeld plays the Stranger.

Another short film of The War Prayer came out in 2007, from Lyceum Productions.  Neither version appears to be available on DVD or Blu-Ray.  Too bad.


Stunning photo: What happened here, 795 years ago?

December 5, 2010

Runnymede, Magna Carta Isle, photo by Wyrdlight, Antony McCallum, 2008 (Wikimedia)

What event critical to western history and the development of the democratic republic in the U.S. happened here in 1215?

A teacher might use some of these photos explaining the steps to the Constitution, in English law and the heritage of U.S. laws.  Other than the Magna Carta, all the events of Runnymede get overlooked in American studies of history. Antony McCallum, working under the name Wyrdlight, took these stunning shots of this historic meadow.  (He photographs stuff for studies of history, it appears.)

Maybe it’s a geography story.

View of Runnymede Meadow from Engham Village -- Wyrdlight photo through Wikimedia

View of Runnymede Meadow from Engham Village -- Wyrdlight photo through Wikimedia

Several monuments to different events of the past millennium populate the site.  The American Bar Association dedicated a memorial to the Magna Carta there — a small thing open to the air, but with a beautiful ceiling that is probably worth the trip to see it once you get to England.

Wikipedia explains briefly, with a note that the ABA plans to meet there again in 2015, the 800th anniversary of the Great Charter:

Magna Carta Memorial


The Magna Carta Memorial & view towards the ‘medes’


Engraved stone recalling the 1985 ABA visit

Situated in a grassed enclosure on the lower slopes of Cooper’s Hill, this memorial is of a domed classical style, containing a pillar of English granite on which is inscribed “To commemorate Magna Carta, symbol of Freedom Under Law”. The memorial was created by the American Bar Association to a design by Sir Edward Maufe R.A., and was unveiled on 18 July 1957 at a ceremony attended by American and English lawyers.[5]

Since 1957 representatives of the ABA have visited and rededicated the Memorial renewing pledges to the Great Charter. In 1971 and 1985 commemorative stones were placed on the Memorial plinth. In July 2000 the ABA came:

to celebrate Magna Carta, foundation of the rule of law for ages past and for the new millennium.

In 2007 on its 50th anniversary the ABA again visited Runnymede and during the convention installed as President Charles Rhyne who devised Law Day which seeks in the USA an annual reaffirmation of faith in the forces of law for peace.

The ABA will be meeting at Runnymede in 2015 on the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the original charter.

The Magna Carta Memorial is administered by the Magna Carta Trust, which is chaired by the Master of the Rolls.[10]

In 2008, flood lights were installed to light the memorial at night, but due to vandalism they now lie smashed.

I’ll wager the lights get fixed before 2015.

Detail of ceiling of the Magna Carta Memorial, Runnymede - Wikimedia image

Detail of ceiling of the Magna Carta Memorial detailing play of light, and star pattern, Runnymede - Wikimedia image

More, resources:


Columbus’s most prized possession

September 28, 2010

Columbus feared that King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella would not honor pledges they had made to him as recompense and honor for his great work of discovery on their behalf.  Before his final voyage, he assembled a legal document showing those promises made to him, and his work for Spain.

This illustrates, once again, the human dimension of the great drama of the age of exploration, of Columbus’s stumbling on to the America’s in his efforts to get to China.

The Library of Congress and the History Channel team up again to show off these grand snippets of history:

On January 5, 1502, prior to his fourth and final voyage to America, Columbus gathered several judges and notaries in his home in Seville. The purpose? To have them authorize copies of his archival collection of original documents through which Isabel and Fernando had granted titles, revenues, powers and privileges to Columbus and his descendants. These 36 documents are popularly called “Columbus’ Book of Privileges.” Four copies of his “Book” existed in 1502, three written on vellum and one on paper. The Library’s copy, one of the three on vellum, has a unique paper copy of the Papal Bull Dudum siquidem of September 26, 1493, which extended the Spanish claim for future explorations.

Borrowed with permission from Mr. Darrell’s Wayback Machine.


World history teachers, take quick note! Paleolithic sources

September 7, 2010

More accurately, sources on the paleolithic.

K. Kris Hirst at About.com blogs about archaeology at least weekly — I just subscribe to her stuff and get it when it comes.  So, file this under “I get e-mail.”

This week, she’s got stuff world history teachers could use on the old stone age.  See if this doesn’t pique your interest:

From K. Kris Hirst, your Guide to Archaeology

It’s the beginning of a new school year, and as every one knows, World History begins with the Paleolithic period–the Old Stone Age, the evolutionary moment from which all of our amazing human culture derives. Keep that trowel sharp!

Guide to the Stone Age
The Stone Age (known to scholars as the Paleolithic era) in human prehistory is the name given to the period between about 2.5 million and 20,000 years ago. It begins with the earliest human-like behaviors of crude stone tool manufacture, and ends with fully modern human hunting and gathering societies…. Read more

Control of Fire
The discovery of fire, or, more precisely, the controlled use of fire was, of necessity, one of the earliest of human discoveries. Fire’s purposes are multiple, some of which are to add light and heat, to cook plants and animals, to clear forests for planting, to heat-treat stone for making stone tools, to burn clay for ceramic objects…Read more

The Invention of Footwear
Believe it or not, we humans have worn shoes of one sort or another for some 40,000 years! Read more

The Ileret Footprints
Not as well known and much younger than the Laetoli footprints are the Ileret footprints, two sets of fossilized footprints of a possible Homo erectus or Homo ergaster discovered at the FwJj14E site, near the modern town of Ileret in Kenya. Read more

See what I mean? Go see what else she’s got.  Some of us are going into the third week, and are already past that lecture . . .


Newseum’s interactive map of today’s headlines

June 2, 2010

This is cool.

Pam Harlow, an old friend from American Airlines, and a map and travel buff, e-mailed me with a link to the Newseum’s interactive headline map.  I can’t get a good screen shot to show you — so you gotta go to their site and see it for yourself.

When it comes up in your browser, it features a map of the continental 48 states, with dots marking major daily newspapers across the nation.  Put your pointer on any of those dots and you see the front page of the newspaper for today from that city.

Using the buttons at the top of the map, you can check newspapers on every continent except Antarctica.

How can I use this in class?

Update:  Here’s a screen shot of the Newseum feature:

Newseum's interactive front-page feature - showing the front page of the Idaho Statesman-Journal of Pocatello, Idaho, on December 15, 2013

Newseum’s interactive front-page feature –  on December 15, 2013


Free, detailed maps of Germany

March 3, 2010

Need maps of Germany for geography or world history?

Germany’s geodetic and cartography agency, Bundesamt für Kartographie und Geodäsie, in Frankfurt,  has three detailed maps available in .pdf form at it’s website.

These .pdfs are suitable for papers sizes roughtly 8.5 by 11 inches in the U.S. — but they probably would scale up nicely for poster-size maps, too.  The maps are in color, and in German.


Why more kids should study world history, harder

November 20, 2009

Jon Taplin explains why knowing world history is valuable. The sad thing is that, of course, the story that makes his reason doesn’t appear in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills list for world history, nor in any other social studies course.

Now that the Texas State Board of Education has taken off the cloak of education and made it clear that social studies in Texas is considered a political free-fire zone, and that they plan to vitiate anything but the propaganda value for the Republican Party, Taplin’s piece has all the more poignance.

The Renaissance, and Florence, were more than just a minor question on the TAKS test.  Santayana’s Ghost weeps bitterly.

Why isn’t Jon Taplin’s blog required reading in more places, by more people in government and politics?  We know why the Texas State School Board doesn’t want anyone to read it — that alone should make people fight to see what Taplin says.

Promote this idea in your own study group:

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World history sources and images from the Library of Congress

July 19, 2009

World Treasures of the Library of Congress looks like a good source of images and information for world history classes and student projects.

Magna charta cum statutis angliae, (Great Charter with English Statutes). Library of Congress

Magna charta cum statutis angliae, (Great Charter with English Statutes). Library of Congress

These links are to exhibits that are closed, but whose images are still maintained on line.  The Library promises to update exhibits, and on line collections will grow, too.

There really is some remarkable stuff, most of it obscure enough to be really cool, still.

A 16th century miniature pictures Rustam, the hero of the Persian national epic, The Shah Namah, tossed into the sea by the demon Akwan. (Library of Congress, Near East Section).

A 16th century miniature pictures Rustam, the hero of the Persian national epic, The Shah Namah, tossed into the sea by the demon Akwan. (Library of Congress, Near East Section).


D-Day, remembered by the men who fought there

June 7, 2009

Before we move past remembrances of D-Day, let’s take a moment to think about and memorialize the soldiers who fought there, so many of whom died there.

From the National Guards feature, This Day in National Guard History:  Circular written by General Dwight D. Eisenhower explaining the importance of the Normandy invasion on winning the war. These were distributed to every member of the attacking force the night prior to the D-Day landings. Sergeant J. Robert Bob Slaughter, a Guard member of Virginias Company D, 116th Infantry, passed his copy around among the members of Company D to get their signatures (front and back) as they waited to load aboard the landing craft that would take them to Omaha Beach. By nightfall of June 6, about half of these men were dead or wounded. Courtesy John R. Slaughter

From the National Guard's feature, This Day in National Guard History: "Circular written by General Dwight D. Eisenhower explaining the importance of the Normandy invasion on winning the war. These were distributed to every member of the attacking force the night prior to the D-Day landings. Sergeant J. Robert "Bob" Slaughter, a Guard member of Virginia's Company D, 116th Infantry, passed his copy around among the members of Company D to get their signatures (front and back) as they waited to load aboard the landing craft that would take them to Omaha Beach. By nightfall of June 6, about half of these men were dead or wounded. Courtesy John R. Slaughter"

National Guard’s “Today in History” explains the story for June 6, 1944:

Normandy, France — The Allied invasion of France, commonly known as “D-Day” begins as Guardsmen from the 29th Infantry Division (DC, MD, VA) storm onto what will forever after be known as “bloody Omaha” Beach. The lead element, Virginia’s 116th Infantry, suffers nearly 80% casualties but gains the foothold needed for the invasion to succeed. The 116’s artillery support, the 111th Field Artillery Battalion, also from Virginia, loses all 12 of its guns in high surf trying to get on the beach. Its men take up arms from the dead and fight as infantrymen. Engineer support came from the District of Columbia’s 121st Engineer Battalion. Despite high loses too, its men succeed in blowing holes in several obstacles clearing paths for the men to get inland off the beach. In the early afternoon, Maryland’s 115th Infantry lands behind the 116th and moves through its shattered remnants to start the movement in off the beach. Supporting the invasion was the largest air fleet known to history. Among the units flying missions were the Guards’ 107th (MI) and 109th (MN) Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons The Normandy campaign lasted until the end of July with four Guard infantry divisions; the 28th (PA), 29th, 30th (NC, SC, TN) and the 35th (KS, MO, NE) taking part along with dozens of non-divisional units all earning the “Normandy” streamer.

Be sure to read the other posts in this series about Eisenhower’s Order of the Day:D-Day, 65 years ago today,” and “Quote of the moment:  Eisenhower, duty and accountability.


Quote of the moment: Eisenhower on D-Day (encore post)

June 5, 2009

Eisenhower talks to troops of invasion force, June 5 -- before D-Day[Encore post from 2007.]

Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you.

Order of the Day, 6 June, 1944 (some sources list this as issued 2 June)


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