The Métis & the Red River Rebellion

The Grave of Louis Riel,one of the founders of Manitoba / tourismerial.com

The Grave of Louis Riel,one of the founders of Manitoba / tourismerial.com

Among the first Canadians were the oddly named Métis – having a mixture of pure Native American blood with white, mostly French and Scottish. It was a robust race of independent mien, believing themselves a separate and special people, which they were. Their culture was also a mixture of aboriginal skills and manners and customs inherited from the French.

   They lived an almost nomadic life which depended greatly on buffalo hunting and the uncomplicated industries that go with it, such as the curing and selling of skins as clothing for the Canadian winter. Newly arrived settlers were put off the métis by their semi-military organisation. Immigrants learned to leave them alone. Continue reading

After devastation, the Reconstruction of the United States

/ history.martinez.com

/ history.martinez.com

The American Civil War had left most states, especially in the South, in chaos and sad decline. American boys from North and South had killed each other, most of them not knowing exactly why – except that they knew, as all soldiers do, that politicians must be held responsible for the insane slaughter. The South was punchdrunk and reeling from physical and economic devastation, but those southerners left were moving, by the early Seventies of the 19th century towards recovery, by dint of hard work and guts. The North, except for her sons, had lost little in comparison, as few incursions into northern states during the war had occurred. In the South the ranches and adjacent lands had been burned, the cattle herds decimated or worse, towns had been destroyed wholesale by soldiers hardly controlled by senior officers who often turned a blind eye. Continue reading

More about THE BOOK

The first (and second) volume of General History in print – some news

With a book presentation on September 13 at midday, held in the famous Orchid Gardens of Sitio Litre, a beautiful old house in Puerto de la Cruz on the island of Tenerife, the first volume of articles taken from the General-History website is launched. Copies can be bought directly online by going to www.amazon.co.uk , opening ‘All’, clicking on ‘Books’, keying General History Jeremy Taylor, and up will come an illustration of the book’s cover and details of how to order it. Becoming a subscriber with Amazon is easy and does not require a computer wizard. Even I could do it! The second volume will probably be on sale at Amazon within a very short time. The third volume will have to wait for publishing until Christmas this year, or maybe a little later. Don’t forget that ‘Dean Swift’ is one of Jeremy Taylor’s pen-names. Happy learning! Happy reading!

Once upon a time . . .the Law of Fratricide

Mehmed III rid himself of 19 brothers / crowland.uw.hu

Mehmed III rid himself of 19 brothers / crowland.uw.hu

For those of you who are not entirely confident (very few indeed I should judge) in the English language there are a number of useful words that end in -cide. Parricide, patricide, matricide, fratricide and genocide are a few of them. These mean respectively the killing of one’s parents, father, mother, brother and the attempt made to kill a nation’s whole population. You can probably think of nasty examples of each. In a recent post mention is made of one of the Ottoman Sultans – Mehmed I, a.k.a. The Conquerer. This charmer made a Law which said, “To whichever of my sons the Sultunate may be granted, it is proper for him to put to death his brothers, to preserve the order of the world”. Continue reading

Hohenstaufen (1138 – 1254) and Hohenzollern (1417 – 1918)

Brandenberg - old and new / en-wikipedia.org

Brandenberg – old and new / en-wikipedia.org

The Hohenstaufen dynasty was named after the castle of Staufen (long ruined) in north-eastern Swabia. From 1338 to 1254 its leader were crowned as Holy Roman Emperor, beginning with Conrad III and finishing with Conrad IV, but the dynasty reached its apogee with Frederick I known as Barbarossa (12th century) and Frederick II (13th century). They were kings of a small region then called Germany, and of Sicily as well. Their period is best known for developing courtly culture and some chivalry. Continue reading

The Ottoman Dynasty (and a warning about names)

Suleyman I the Magnificent / bbc.co.uk

Suleyman I the Magnificent / bbc.co.uk

History students must not confuse the word ‘Ottoman’ with ‘Ottonian’, though it is easy to do so. The latter is another name for an ancient German royal dynasty – the Liudolfinger – founded in the 9th century This family ruled Germany from roughly 920 A.D. To 1024. The kings were Henry I, Otto I, Otto II, Otto III, (this is where the generic name ‘Ottonian’ comes from), and Henry II known as ‘The Holy’. They organised the eastern Frankish kingdom into ‘the German kingdom’ – though this of course did not signify the whole of Germany as we know it. The Ottonians followed the policy of support for churchmen, as an antidote to the pretensions of the nobles. Above all they established the principle that the country could and should not be divided merely by aristocratic inheritance. The Ottonians, though they did not last long, were a Good Thing, as their support to the Church encouraged great achievement in art/architecture and literature; so much so that this improvement was known as ‘The Ottonian Renaissance’.

The Ottoman Dynasty:- Continue reading

The Anglo-Dutch Wars, Maarten & Cornelis Tromp, Michiel de Ruyter & Robert Blake

Ruyter causing havoc in the river Thames / badassoftheweek.com

Ruyter causing havoc in the river Thames / badassoftheweek.com

In the seventeenth century two dominating naval powers emerged, following the reduction of the great Spanish Empire and her navy. They were Holland and Britain: commercial and colonial rivalries caused a lot of trouble at sea between these two. Four naval wars were fought at intervals between the Dutch Republic and Britain from 1652 to 1784.

   Historians mostly agree that the first three of these, fought in the second half of the seventeenth century had little positive result. Certainly they did nothing to give supremacy to either nation, but the fourth, fought towards the end of the eighteenth century (1780 – 84), just before ‘curtain up’ in the French Revolution, was badly lost by the Dutch, ending their claim to commercial domination. All these wars did however give a major chance to certain men to behave heroically. Four stand out – one English, the other three Dutch. Continue reading

Nine kings at Buckingham Palace

Nine kings - an historic photograph made in 1910

Nine kings – an historic photograph made in 1910

The photograph, still in pristine condition, obviously made by a master photographer, is historic in that it shows no less than nine holders of European thrones, some stable, some shaky. The date is May, 1910, and the shattering Great War is but four years off. Standing in the back row (from left to right) are Haakon VII of Norway, Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, Manoel II of Portugal, Wilhelm II of Germany (The Kaiser), George I of Greece and Albert I of Belgium; seated in the front row are Alfonso XIII of Spain and Frederick VIII of Denmark with their host, in whose palace the photograph was taken in the central position – George V of Great Britain. Continue reading

The Two Koreas

Distracting the traffic in Pyongyang / koryogroup.com

Distracting the traffic in Pyongyang / koryogroup.com

The Korean Peninsula is divided into two, the northern part is officially called The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, while the southern part is simply The Republic of Korea. Unofficially, the world knows these two respectively as North and South Korea.

   North Korea is a ‘socialist’ state, with borders to the north with China, to the north-east with Russia; to the west is Korea Bay and the Yellow Sea; to the east is the Sea of Japan. Very asiatic. Separation from South Korea is provided by a demilitarized zone of 1,262 kilometres. Continue reading