Saturday, March 31, 2007

World War II Websites of Note

The World at War, History of WW 1939-1945
Well crafted timeline. List of Global World War II Museums.

World War-2 Net
Very Rich timelines. Great film biography.

Avalon Project of Yale Law School
If its documents you are after this is the place.

BBC World War History Site
Proof that parts of the BBC are still functioning well.

WW2 People's War
More from the BBC but this time from a people's history perspective.

Eyewitness to - World War II
Lots of personal histories to view.

US War Veteran's site
First rate on the American perspective

Friday, March 30, 2007

Early 1980s Quiz

The 1980s

1. In which Country was a report released linking 962 people to a secret Masonic lodge known as P2?
2. This man tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981. Who was he?
3. Senegal and Gambia united to form a Confederation known by which name?
4. Who led the PASOK Party to power in Greece?
5. Argentina invaded but failed to hold onto the Falkland Islands which by June 14, 1982 and were back in British hands. What is the Aregentinian name for these Islands?
6. Israel returned this Territory to Egypt in accordance with The Camp David Agreement. Which area was this?
7. Who replaced Alexander Haig as Secretary of State?
8. President Reagan extended Soviet Sanctions to West European companies associated with this project in the Soviet Union. What was this project?
9. Israel occupied these two important cities in Southern Lebanon in 1982. Which two cities were they?
10. He became Polish Prime Minister in 1981. Who was he?
11. This man became King of Saudi Arabia in 1982. Who was he?
12. Which Party did Felipe Gonzalez lead to power in Spain in 1982?
13. In which City was Harold Washington elected Mayor in 1983?
14. This Party gained its first seats in the German Parliament in 1983 despite a victory by Hemut Kohl and the Christian Democrats. Which Party was this?
15. How many U.S. Marines were killed in a single suicide Shiite attack during October 1983 (to the nearest 20)?

Answers to The 1980s

1. Italy. It forced the resignation of Italian Premier Arnoldo Forlani.
2. Mehmet Ali Agca.
3. Senegambia
4. Andreas Papandreou.
5. The Malvinas.
6. The Sinai Peninsula.
7. George Shultz.
8. The Siberian Oil Pipeline.
9. Tyre and Sidon.
10. General Wojciech Jaruzelski. His introduction of Martial Law in Poland in response to Solidarity activity most likely saved the country from a Russian invasion.
11. Prince Fahd.
12. The Socialists.
13. Chicago
14. The Green Party.
15. 242

Thursday, March 29, 2007

25 Most Important Events in Canadian History

More about my adopted country...

1. John Cabot lands in Newfoundland.
2. Native Canadians cross Bering straits to settle Canada.
3. Jacques Cartier explores Eastern Canada.
4. French colonies set up in Montreal and Quebec. Acadians colonize the Maritimes.
5. Wolfe's British forces defeat Montacalm's French forces on the Plain's of Abraham.
6. Birth of Confederation in 1867 (British North American Act).
7. Canada becomes a Dominion after the Statute of Westminster is signed into law.
8. Women win the right to vote.
9. Completion of Trans-Canadian Railways.
10.Louis Riel's unsuccessful rebellion against the British authorities and his subsequent trial.
11. Canadian forces take Vimy Ridge during the First World War.
12. The Great Depression.
13. Events of World War II (includes the disaster at Dieppe and the success at D-Day).
14. Royal Canadian Mounted Police is formed.
15. Homesteaders settle Western Provinces of Canada.
16. Charter of Rights and Freedoms becomes law in 1982.
17. Establishment of Official Billingualism in Canada during the Trudeau years.
18. The Maritimes fall into English hands after Queen Anne's War. Expulsion of French populace from Nova Scotia To the United States.
19. Formation of the PQ and the resurgence of Quebecois Nationalism.
20. War of 1812. The US is repelled in their invasion of Canada.
21. The Prime Ministership of Wilfred Laurier. In my opinion Canada's greatest Prime Minister.
22. Newfoundland agrees to join the Canadian Federation in 1949.
23. The Winnipeg General Strike.
24. Discovery of Gold in the Yukon.
25. Signing of the NAFTA agreement with the US and Mexico.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

80 Milestones in Roman History

More from the list afficianado

Romulus and Remus found the Eternal City or was Rome built by the survivors of Troy?
Rome’s war with the Etruscans
End of Monarchy in Rome. Last King Tarquin Superbus.
Rome sacked by Gauls in 4th century BC.
War against the Sabines, Samnites and Greek colonists in Southern Italy. Rome becomes dominant power in Italian peninsula.
The Punic Wars (1st to 3rd)
Rome – masters of the West Mediterranean.
Victory over the Macedonians. Romans take Greece.
Formation of the Council of Plebs.
The Rise of the Senate.
Fall of Patrician Power.
The Reforms of the Gracchi brothers
Marius and the Growth of the Army.
Sulla’s dictatorship.
The Servile Wars
The Mithdratic Wars.
War in North Africa – Jugurthian Campaigns.
The First Triumvirate.
Pompey’s conquest in the Middle East.
Caesar’s Gallic Wars. Battle of Alesia.
Caesar invades Britain (twice) but cannot complete full conquest.
The Parthian campaigns.
Caesar’s victory over Pompey. End of Civil War. Famous Rubicon issue.
Caesar as a near dictator – Caesar’s reforms.
Death of Caesar.
The Second Triumvirate.
Defeat of Brutus and Cassius.
Octavian defeats Mark Anthony at Actium. Fall of Egypt.
Birth of the Empire.
The Roman Golden Age – Virgil, Ovid etc.
Formation of the Praetorian Guard.
Roman expansion halted by Goths.
Death of Augustus – Corrupt administration of Tiberius.
Death of Christ – Birth of Christianity.
Rule of Mad Emperor Caligula
Claudius – Uncle of Caligula comes to power. Romans finally conqueror Britain.
Death of Claudius. Rise of Nero.
Year of the Three Emperors
Great fire of Rome. Persecution of Christians.
Vespasian – a General comes to power
Destruction of Second Temple in Jerusalem
Eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Destruction of Pompey and Herculaneum.
Rule of Titus
Domitian the new Emperor – harsh rule.
Reforms of Nerva.
Empire reaches largest size under Trajan. Dacian campaigns.
Hadrian withdraws Roman forces from remote part of Empire.
Enlightened rule of Marcus Aurelius (philosopher Emperor), Antonius Pius and Septimus Severus – Part of the Five Good Emperors.
Empire under the control of Gladiator Emperor – Commodus.
Caracella’s building projects.
Caracella extends Roman citizenship.
Power in Rome under the manipulation of the Praetorian Guard.
Rule of Diocletian.
Period of Moral decay.
Splitting of Empire into East and West Division.
Constantine defeats Maxentius (Battle of Milvernian Bridge) to become most powerful figure in the Empire.
Building of the City of Constantinople.
Christian no longer forbidden.
Constantine becomes Christian on death bed.
Theodosius converts Empire to Christianity.
Empire under attack from Vandals and Visigoths.
Forces of Empire defeated at Adrianople.
War with the Persians/Parthians in the East.
Julian the Apostate tries to roll back the clock on Christianity.
Empire beset by inflation.
Practice of using Barbarians to defend Empire becomes more prevalent.
Romans defeat Huns – delaying fall of Empire in the West.
Ostrogoths overrun Italian Peninsula.
Fall of Western Roman Empire in 476 AD. Last Emperor Romulus Augustulus.
Eastern Roman Empire survives as Byzantine Empire.
Eastern Empire under siege loses territory.
Rule of Justinian. Byzantine Empire bounces back. Defeats Vandals in North Africa.
Justinian implements code of law.
Death of Justinian. Arab advances against Byzantine.
Victory over Arab forces in 717 AD saves Eastern Europe temporarily from Arab advance.
Resurgence of East under Basil II.
Seljuk Turks encroach on Byzantine territory.
Latin kingdom formed in Constantinople by 4th Crusade.
Macedonians replace Latin dynasty as power in Constantinople.
Fall of Constantinople in 1453 to Turks under Mehmet II. End of Eastern Roman Empire.

FDR Quiz

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

How much do you know about FDR? Beware these are not easy!

1. Where was Franklin Delano Roosevelt born? Give the City and the State.
2. Which Law School did he attend?
3. Which position did he hold between 1913 and 1920?
4. In which year did he become stricken with polio?
5. Who did Roosevelt support for Governor of New York in 1924?
6. Who nominated FDR as his running mate in 1920?
7. Which State was his defeated 1936 presidential opponent Alfred Landon from?
8. Who did FDR defeat for the presidency in 1940?
9. Who was FDR’s Secretary of the Interior?
10. Who was his Secretary of the Treasury from 1934 onward?
11. What was FDR’s wife’s maiden name?
12. What did Roosevelt shelve in 1942 in an effort to win the cooperation of business in the war effort?
13. Who was FDR’s running mate in 1932?
14. What did FDR die of?
15. Where did he die?

Answers to Franklin Delano Roosevelt

1. Hyde Park, New York.
2. Columbia Law School.
3. Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
4. 1921
5. Alfred E. Smith.
6. James M. Cox.
7. Kansas
8. Wendell Wilkie.
9. Harold Ickes.
10. Henry Morgenthau Jr.
11. Roosevelt (as well).
12. The New Deal.
13. John N.Garner.
14. A cerebral hemorrhage.
15. Warm Springs, Georgia.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Some History Books Worth Reading

As a frequent reader of History - I can vouch for the following as excellent reads:
(I am one of those few nutcases who gets lost in a reference book).

British History

A Brief History of British Sea Power - David Howarth
Dictionary of British History - J.P. Kenyon
Scotland's Story - Tommy Steel
The Saxon and Norman Knights - Christopher Brooke
The Plantagenets - John Harvey
The Tudors - Chrisopher Morris
The Stuarts - J.P. Kenyon
The First Four Georges - J.H. Plumb
Hanover to Windsor - Roger Fulford
Winston Churchill's - Four Volume Series on the History of the English Speaking Peoples
The Three Edwards - Thomas Costain
Kings and Queens - Paul Cheshire
English Social History - G. M. Trevelyan

European History

The Folio Societies - 5 Part Series on the Middle Ages - The Making of the Middle Ages, The Birth of the Middle Ages, The Crucible of the Middle Ages, The High Middle Ages, The Waning of the Middle Ages.

The Spanish Inquisition - Henry Kamen
The Black Death - Philip Ziegler
Europe - A History - Norman Davies
Ilustrated History of Europe - Frederic Delouche
Chronicle of the French Revolution - Chronicle Publications
Napoleon - Felix Markham
A Brief History of the Crusades - Geoffery Hindley
Galileo Galilei - Michael White
A History of the Middle Ages - Sidney Painter
East and Central Europe between the Wars - Joseph Rothchild
Modern Times - Paul Johnson
Russian Studies - Leonard Schapiro
Da Vinci Code Decoded - Martin Lunn
Dictionary of History - R.J. Unstead

Coming soon - Some reads on World History.......

Friday, March 23, 2007

Some Useful World War II History Reads

General Groves speaking to Robert Oppenheimer on the Nuclear Bomb Test
The site has other links to documents regarding the decision to use Nuclear Weapons at the end of World War II.

The History Place - The Rise of Adolph Hitler
Very informative and extremely well organized.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

50 Most Important Events in Jewish History

In my Opinion:

1. Abraham develops belief in one God.
2. Hebrews receive the Torah and the Ten Commandments.
3. The Hebrews make their Exodus from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.
4. The conquest of Canaan by Joshua.
5. The birth of Christianity.
6. The Holocaust.
7. Division of the Holy Land after Solomon into Israel and Judea.
8. Destruction of the Second Temple and the beginning of the Diaspora Period.
9. Completion of the writings of the Mishna and Talmud.
10. The Dreyfuss Case and the Rise of the Modern Zionist Movement.
11. Fall of the Israelite Kingdom to the Assyrians.
12. Destruction of the First Temple and Exile in Babylon.
13. David captures Jerusalem from the Jebusites.
14. The State of Israel is born in 1948.
15. The mass conversion of the Khazars to Judaism.
16. Jews are forced into money lending by the Christian authorities.
17. The Spanish Inquisition and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and later Portugal.
18. Moses Maimonides writes the Guide to the Perplexed a leading work in modern Jewish thought.
19. Martin Luther's anti-Semitic statements ensure that 'Jew hating' continued in the Protestant World as it had in the Catholic sphere of influence.
20. Jews win religious and political freedom in Western Europe in the late 19th century.
21. The rise of Islam as a religion.
22. Solomon builds the First temple.
23. Cyrus the Great allows the Jews to return from exile in Babylon.
24. Growth of liberalism and nationalism in 19th century Europe.
25. Jews are expelled from England and France in the late 13th and early14th centuries.
26.The Hellenistic influence on Judaism in the post Alexander the Great period.
27. The Pogroms in Eastern Europe especially those of the 19th century.
28. The Growth of the Assimilation Movement in 18th and 19th century Europe.
29. Esther and Mordechai prevent the destruction of the Jews in Persia by Haman.
30. The Syrian-Greeks are driven from the Holy Land by the Macabees.
31. Formation of the Lovers of Zion Movement in Eastern Europe.
32. The US opens its doors to immigration. Growth of the American Jewish community.
33. The growth of Marxism/Communism and its role as a 'liberating' force for Jews.
34. Birth of the Reform Movement in Germany.
35. Britain issues the Balfour Declaration.
36. The discovery of oil in the Middle East and its role in the politics of the Middle East.
37. Jews are forced to settle on the Pale in Russia.
38. Oliver Cromwell allows the Jews to return to Britain.
39. Israel wins the Six Day War capturing East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Sinai Peninsula. Western Wall falls under Jewish Control.
40. Growth of Cultural Zionism.
41. Development of the Kibbutz/Moshav system of settlements in Palestine in the early 20th century.
42. The Russian Revolution and the later Stalinist Era.
43. The rebellion of Bar-Kochba against the Romans.
44. Saul becomes the first Hebrew King.
45. The Growth of Conservative Judaism.
46. State of Israel survives the Yom Kippur war.
47. Baal Shem Tov forms the Hassidic Movement.
48. The Camp David Agreement and the Peace Settlement with Egypt.
49. Israel and the PLO enter into negotiations in the early 1990's to resolve Mid East conflict.
50. The First and Second Palestinian Intifadahs.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

St Patrick's Day Ireland Quiz

Irish History

1. What was the name of the people who settled Ireland between 600 and 150 BC?
2. What was the tuatha?
3. Which people attacked Ireland between 800-850 AD?
4. Which English Monarch encouraged settlement of Ireland in the 1550s?
5. Why did many Irish chieftains flee the country in 1607?
6. Which immigrants bought land in the 17th Century at six pence per acre?
7. To which British colonies did Cromwell order many Irishmen and women to be transported to as labour?
8. What did the Treaty of Limerick signed in 1691 penalize?
9. A decline in which material trade spurred Irish immigration to the U.S. between 1772 and 1777?
10. True or False: The Irish formed between a third to a half of all patriots in the American Revolutionary War?
11. Which Irish Society uprising was destroyed by the British in 1798?
12. What hit Ireland between 1840-1850?
13. Which organization was founded in 1850 to fight for fair rent, fixity of tenure and free sale?
14. Who was deprived of property and authority by The Disestablishment Act of 1869?
15. In which year did Ireland become a free country independent of Britain?

Answers to Irish History

1. A Celtic people known as ‘The Gaels’.
2. Petty kingdoms which dominated Ireland between the 7th Century BC and the 5th Century AD.
3. The Vikings.
4. Mary Tudor.
5. They were nor prepared to live under an administration where they were largely nobles as opposed to petty kings.
6. Scottish Immigrants.
7. The West Indies.
8. Public worship for Catholics and Presbyterians. It was reversed by the Emancipation Act of 1829.
9. The Linen Trade.
10. True. Including 1492 officers and 26 generals.
11. Society of United Irishmen.
12. The Great Famine. 1,000,000 Irish left Ireland, of which 80% came to the U.S.
13. The Tenant-Right League.
14. The Irish Church.
15. 1948

Friday, March 16, 2007

All -Time most influential Human Beings in History

(More of my opinion)

1. Mother Eve - First Human Being. Mother of Humanity according to genetics.
2. Socrates - Philosopher. Taught western society to question and think.
3. Johannes Gutenberg - Inventor of the Printing Press.
4. Abraham - Father of Western Monotheism.
5. Isaac Newton - Physicist. Discovered laws of Motion and Law of Gravity.
6. Alexander Graham Bell - Inventor. Built first telephone.
7. Confucius - Philosopher. Dominant influence on Chinese society.
8. Jesus Christ - The Raison d’etre for Christianity.
9. Muhammad - Founded Islam. Wrote the Koran.
10. Aristotle - Philosopher and Scientist. Set up guidelines for knowledge.
11. Moses - Religious leader. Receiver of the Ten Commandments and the Torah.
12. Siddhartha Gautama - The Last Buddha. Religious Leader.
13. Martin Luther - Leader of Protestant Reformation.
14. Virgin Mary - Mother of Jesus Christ. Object of worship.
15. Hammurabi - Babylonian ruler. Set up first set of known Codified Law.
16. St. Paul - Religious figure who helped greatly to spread Christianity to the masses.
17. Anton von Leeuwenhoek - Microscopist. First to identify Germs.
18. Nicolas Copernicus - Scientist. Champion of the Solar centered universe theory.
19. Johannes Kepler - Mathematician and Astronomer
20. Hippocrates - Medical Doctor. Father of Medicine and Diagnosis.
21. Charles Darwin - Biologist. Proponent of Evolution by Natural Selection.
22. Plato - Philosopher. Built on the Socratic foundation to search for knowledge.
23. Democritus - Scientist and Philosopher. Gave name to ‘democracy’
24. Joseph Lister - Medical Doctor. Introduced antiseptics conditions in surgery.
25. Leonardo Da Vinci - Artist, Inventor and Anatomist.
26. Albert Einstein - Physicist. Pioneer in Relativity and Nuclear Physics.
27. William Shakespeare - Playwright. The Greatest in his field.
28. Gregor Mendel - Austrian monk. Father of Genetics
29. Galileo Galilei - Astronomer. Inventor of the Refracting Telescope
30. Henry Ford - Inventor. Developer of the Production Line
31. Edward Jenner - Medical Doctor. Developed immunization technique against Smallpox.
32. Louis Pasteur - Scientists. Discovered cure for rabies. Developed Bacterial sterilization procedures. Defeated age old Theory of Spontaneous Generation.
33. Alexander Fleming - Discoverer of Penicillin
34. James Simpson - Medical Doctor. Developed First Real Anesthetic - Chloroform
35. Gottlieb Daimler - Built first Motor Vehicle
36. Mahatma Gandhi - Political Activist. Won independence for India. Father of non-violent philosophy.
37. Guglielmo Marconi - Sent first Radio transmission. Built first wireless radio.
38. Wright Brothers - Brothers Orville and Wilbur. Built and flew first airplane
39. Adolph Hitler - German dictator whose actions were responsible for World War II and the Holocaust
40. Mao Zedong - Chinese Leader. Communist Revolutionary.
41. John Logie Baird/Vladimir Zworkyin - Joint Inventors of Television.
42. Vladimir Lenin - Russian Revolutionary.
43. Genghis Khan - Mongol Warlord. Conquered most of Asia and parts of Europe.
44. Constantine - Roman Emperor. Conversion to Christianity on his death bed helped spread Christianity across Europe.
45. Elizabeth I - Queen responsible for the future growth of English Power.
46. Julius Caesar - General and Politician who played a significant role in the expansion of Roman Power.
47. George Washington - American Revolutionary War General and First President
48. Otto van Bismarck - Prussian statesman and Unifier of Germany.
49. Napoleon Bonaparte - French Emperor. Conquered vast portions of Europe in the late 18th and early 19th century.
50. Marie Curie - Two time Nobel Prize Winner. Discoverer of Radium.
51. Alexander the Great - Macedonian General. Created vast Empire during 12 year span.
52. Thomas Jefferson - US Statesman. 3rd President. Took prominent role in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.
53. Karl Marx - Philosopher. Author of the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital.
54. Christopher Columbus - Explorer.
55. Kublai Khan - Enlightened Monarch of China
56. Henri Dunant - Founder of the Red Cross
57. Sigmund Freud - Father of Psychoanalysis
58. James Watt - Scottish Engineer . Involved in the development of the Steam Engine.
59. Jonas Salk - Scientist. Developed Polio vaccine
60. Thomas Edison - Inventor. Most noted for the Electric Light Bulb.
61. George Stephenson - Inventor and Railway pioneer. Built the Rocket Steam Engine.
62. Homer - Greek Bard. Author of the Iliad and the Odyssey
63. Carl Jung - Psychologist. Father of Analytical Psychology
64. St. Augustine - Philosopher. Father of Church doctrine,
65. Peter the Great - Russian Tsar. Modernizer of the country.
66. Kublai Khan - Chinese -Mongol Emperor.
67. Pope Urban II - Champion and main driving force behind the First Crusade.
68. Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain - Financiers of the Voyage of Columbus and the Spanish Inquisition.
69. Jozef Stalin - Soviet dictator
70. Archimedes - Greek Scientist and Mathematician
71. Michelangelo - Italian Painter and Sculptor
72. Charles Babbage - English Computer pioneer
73. Marco Polo - Middle Ages Italian explorer
74. Lao Tzu - Chinese Philosopher and writer. Founder of Taoism.
75. Nikolai Tesla - Yugoslav Physicist. Father of Alternating Current.
76. St Paul - Leading figure in the spread of Christianity
77. Charlemagne - French King and Religious leader.
78. James Watson and Francis Crick - Co-discovers of DNA Double helix structure.
79. Michael Faraday - English Scientist. Great figure in the field of Electromagnetism.
80. Menes - Egyptian pharaoh. Unifier of Upper and Lower Egypt.
81. Abraham Lincoln - American President. Freed the Slaves of America and saved the Union.
82. Sulamein the Magnificent - Turkish (Ottoman) Empire Builder
83. Robert Oppenheimer - Nuclear Physicist. Father of the Manhattan Project.
84. Hernando Cortes - Spanish Conquistador.
85. Ramses II - Egyptian Pharaoh
86. Samuel Colt - Inventor of the revolver.
87. Euclid - Greek Geometrician. Author of The Elements.
88. Voltaire - French ‘Age of Reason’ Philosopher.
89. Winston Churchill - British Politician and Writer.
90. Werner von Braun - German Rocket Pioneer.
91. Georg Hegel - German Philosopher. Father of Dialectics.
92. Tamerlane - Muslim Conqueror and warlord.
93. Simon Bolivar - South American Liberator
94. Andreas Vesalius - Leading figure in the birth of Modern Anatomy.
95. John Bardeen - Co-inventor of the transistor. Superconductor pioneer.
96. Joan of Arc - French saint, soldier and motivator.
97. Martin Luther King - American Civil Rights Leader.
98. Justinian I - Byzantine Emperor.
99. Chi Huangdi - Chinese Emperor. Builder of the Great Wall of China.
100. King David - King of the Jews.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Key Events in the History of Geography

1. Final Proof of the Heliocentric Nature of our solar system.
2. Final Proof of the spherical nature of Earth
3. Invention of the Compass
4. The European voyages of exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries.
5. Invention of a machine to calculate Longitude
6. Birth of Climatology as a Discipline. Includes the birth of the sub-disciplines of meteor
7. Birth of Geomorphology as a Discipline. Two most important developments: unveiling of the phenomenon of erosion and the identification of the three rock types (igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary)
8. Mapping of the constellations by the ancients.
9. Detailing of the Phases of the Moon and the understanding of the working of the tides
10. Development of the Mercator Projection for Mapping
11. Invention of SONAR and RADAR
12. Division of the Earth into 24 time zones
13. Calculation of the Circumference/Diameter of the Earth
14. Discovery and mapping of the Ocean’s important underwater currents
15. Understanding of the dynamics the Solar and Lunar Eclipses
16. Discovery of the Various Atmospheric levels: Troposphere, Stratosphere, Ionosphere and later such structures as the Van Allen’s Belt and the Ozone layer
17. Invention of the first meaningful device to calculate longitude.
18. Invention of the Bathyscape.
19. Development of the Theory of Continental Drift
20. Setting up of the Global Position Satellite System
21. Invention of the High Altitude Balloon
22. Creation of the Beaufort scale for Wind velocity
23. Development of the Richter Scale for Earthquake measurement
24. Birth of the science of vulcanology
25. Determination of the effect of the Earth’s Precession on celestial star position

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Movie '300'

Saw 300 last night - the story is loosely based around the Battle of Thermopylae fought in 480 BC. The movie was adapted from the Frank Miller (of Sin City fame) graphic novel of the same name.

While I partook with zest in the movie's escapism I couldn't help but notice the numerous historical inaccuracies and oversights.

Here are a few:

1. In the film the Spartans are shown fighting without armour. They certainly were brave but not reckless. Armour was critical to the Spartan success.

2. Xerxes is portrayed as a loin clothed narcisist who would be more comfortable in a gay pride parade than anything else. This does not agree with the historical Xerxes who although imbued with power was very much a conventional Persian ruler.

3. King Leonidas injures Xerxes with his well thrust spear. A great touch (no pun) but more again for the imagination.

4. The Spartans are depicted as the principal Greek combatants at the battle. Not true. While the 300 Spartans were the elite force amongst the Greeks. They were joined by over 6000 other Greek forces who are believed to have fought valiantly as well. (See Herodotus the Histories as well as Pausanius 10,20,2).

5. Ephialtes the betrayer is shown as a hunchback. Great for the special effects crew but again more historical creativity than fact.

6. The bus load of ogres and monsters attacking the Spartans - Another metaphor personified.

7. The Spartans are shown abhoring homosexuallity and charging the Athenians with such behaviour. This runs contrary to historical records where the Spartans were renowned for their love and tolerance of male-on-male sexuality.

This is what should have been added to the movie

1. A bit more on the Persian Wars - how did it begin? The rebellion of the Ionian Greeks. The Athenian victory at Marathon etc.

2. The significance of Thermopylae - it bought the Greeks (mainly Athens) valuable time to assemble a fleet that defeated the Persians at Salamis (the real turning point in the war)

3. The fact that only a small fraction of Spartan society was free. I have read of estimates that 90% of those living in Sparta were helots. So representing Sparta as a symbol freedom (as the movie did) was another stretch.

Nevertheless Thermopylae represents one of the great battles of the Ancient War and Miller's attempt at describing the events should be commended. I thoroughly enjoyed the sound track and the battle scenes (which seemed to contain an unusual amount of decapitations) were first rate.

Overall Ranking: 7.5/10

Sunday, March 11, 2007

My Opinion: Top 100 Englishmen/women

1. Isaac Newton - Physicist and Mathematician.
2. Charles Darwin - Biologist.
3. Joseph Lister - Medical Doctor. Father of antiseptics.
4. William Shakespeare - Playwright and Poet.
5. Edward Jenner - Doctor. Father of Immunology.
6. Elizabeth I - English Virgin queen.
7. George Stephenson - Inventor/Railway Engineer. Built the Rocket.
8. Charles Babbage - Early Computer pioneer.
9. Francis Crick - Physicist. Co-responsible for unraveling double helix structure of DNA.
10. Michael Faraday - Physicist/Inventor responsible for understanding of Electromagnetic Induction.
11. Winston Churchill - British Prime Minister, War Time leader, orator and historian.
12. John Locke - Empiricist Philosopher.
13. Alfred the Great - Saxon king who defeated the Vikings.
14. Francis Bacon - Philosopher, lawyer and writer.
15. William Wilberforce - Anti-slavery crusader.
16. Geoffery Chaucer - Diplomat and author.
17. William Harvey - Doctor. Analyzed the circulation system.
18. Anthony Ashley Cooper 7th Earl of Shaftesbury - Anti-child labour crusader.
19. Henry VIII - English King. Initiated the founding of the Church of England.
20. Queen Victoria - Queen during the height of British power.
21. John Stuart Mill - Philosopher and champion of liberty.
22. John I - English king who signed the Magna Carta.
23. Mary Wollstonecraft - Philosopher/writer. Champion of women's rights.
24. John Wycliffe - Early church reformer. Translated the bible in to English.
25. Thomas Hobbes - Philosopher and critic of society.
26. Edward Coke - Prominent figure in the development of English Common Law.
27. Walter Raleigh - Explorer/Historian. Helped set up Early colonies in North America.
28. James Cook - Explorer and long term voyager.
29. Charles Dickens - Author.
30. Emmeline Pankhurst - Suffragette.
31. Thomas More - Religious figure, writer and philosopher.
32. Elizabeth Fry - Prison reformer.
33. Horatio Nelson - Navy Admiral. Battle Hero.
34. William Caxton - First English Printer.
35. John Maynard Keynes - Economist - championed government intervention.
36. William the Conqueror - King, military leader and administrator. Last person to conqueror England (Really French Norman)
37. Duke of Marlborough - General.
38. Oliver Cromwell - Military leader and Politician.
39. Francis Drake - Naval leader and pirate.
40. Thomas Paine - Philosopher and writer.
41. The Beatles - Greatest Pop Group ever.
42. John Harrison - Inventor. Built device to calculate longitude.
43. Alexander Pope - Philosopher/writer.
44. Bertrand Russell - Philosopher/mathematician and pacifist.
45. Henry Cavendish - Physicist/Chemist. Measured Universal Gravitation Constant (G)
46. Jeremy Bentham - Utilitarian philosopher.
47. Roger Bacon - Early scientist.
48. Alan Turing - Code breaker and Thinking Machine designer.
49. John Dalton - Chemist.
50. Edward I - English king/Military figure.
51. Robert Walpole - First English Prime Minister.
52. Richard the Lionheart - King and Crusader.
53. William Gladstone - Four time Prime Minister.
54. Frank Whittle - Jet Engine inventor.
55. Boadicea - Ancient Queen. Led rebellion against Romans.
56. Christopher Wren - Architect. Rebuilt London after Great Fire.
57. Paul Dirac - Physicist. Renowned for work in Quantum Mechanics.
58. Richard Trevithick - Engineer/Inventor. Built steam carriage.
59. Wat Tyler - Peasant rebellion leader.
60. Benjamin Disraeli - Prime Minister. Bought the Suez Canal for Britain.
61. Thomas a Becket - Archbishop of Canterbury. Opponent of Henry II..
62. James Brindley - Blind Industrial Revolution road engineer and canal builder.
63. Frederick Sanger - Chemist, Two time Nobel Prize winner.
64. Thomas Young - Physicist. Known for work in Optics (Interference/Diffraction)
65. William Gilbert - Physicist/Physician. Spoke about the magnetic nature of the Earth.
66. Isambard Kingdom Brunel - Engineer and ship builder.
67. Florence Nightingale - Mother of the Nursing Profession.
68. Robert Clive - English soldier. Conqueror of India.
69. Ronald Ross - Physician. Discovered malaria parasite.
70. Thomas Malthus - Philosopher/Population Scientist.
71. Stephen Hawking - Physicist/popular chronicler of cosmology.
72. George III - English King ruled for 60 years. Including the periods of the American and French Revolutions.
73. James Hargreaves - Inventor of the Spinning Jenny. Revolutionized textile industry.
74. Jane Austen - Author.
75. John Speke - Explorer. Famous for discoveries in Africa.
76. Edward Gibbon - Historian of the Roman Empire.
77. Francis Walsingham - Politician and Elizabethan back room figure. Founder of Secret Service.
78. Thomas Cranmer - Protestant martyr. Archbishop of Canterbury.
79. Hugh Latimer/Nicholas Ridley - Protestant martyrs.
80. Robert Blake - English Naval leader.
81. Thomas Newcomen - Steam Engine developer.
82. Robert Hooke - Physicist/Chemist. Known for work on elasticity.
83. Henry II - English king whose powers extended extensively into France.
84. John Ray - Naturalist.
85. Henry Hudson - Explorer of North America.
86. Neville Barnes Wallis - Inventor of Bouncing bomb used in Dambuster raid.
87.Margaret Thatcher - British Prime Minister and Privatization advocate.
88. Mary I - Catholic Queen. Bloody Mary.
89. Henry V - English king. Victor at the Battle of Agincourt.
90. Howard Carter - Discoverer of 'Tut's' tomb.
91. Alfred Hitchcock - Movie Director/writer.
92. Edmond Halley - Astronomer. Influenced Newton to write Principia.
93. William Dampier - Explorer of Oceanic region.
94. Henry I - English king in Early Norman occupation. A literate monarch.
95. Jethro Tull - Agricultural Inventor.
96. James Jeans - Astronomer/Cosmologist.
97. Ernest Shackleton - Antarctica explorer.
98. Joseph John Thomson - Physicist. Known for his work with electrons.
99. Arthur Evans - Archaeologist.
100. William Blake - Poet and Artist.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

40 Greatest Western Explorers

1. Lief Ericson - discovered North America
2. Christopher Columbus - discovered West Indies
3. Vasco da Gama - visited India after rounding Africa
4. Marco Polo - reached China
5. James Cook - Crossed Antarctic circle. Visited New Zealand
6. Ferdinand Magellan/Juan Sebastian del Cano - first to Circumnavigate the globe
7. Walter Raleigh - Visited North America. Drew up plans for 13 colonies
8. Abel Tasmin - Visited Australia
9. David Livingstone - Discovered Victoria Falls and Zambezi River
10. John Cabot - reached Newfoundland
11. Robert Peary - First to reach North Pole
12. Vasco Balboa - discovered Pacific Ocean
13. John Speke - discovered Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria
14. Roald Amundsen - First to reach South Pole
15. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark - Explored American Interior
16. Bartholmew Diaz - Sailed around Cape of Good Hope
17. Eric the Red - Viking explorer who visited Greenland
18. Jacques Cartier - explored St Lawrence River
19. Robert Burke and William Wills - explored Australian Interior
20. Ernest Shackleton - explored Antarctica
21. Henry Stanley - traced the Congo River
22. Richard Burton - discovered Lake Tanganyika
23. Francis Younghusband - Explorer. Opened up Tibet to the Western World.
24. Henry Hudson - discovered Hudson's Bay
25. Simon Champlain - explored Canadian interior
26. Vitus Bering - discovered Alaska
27. Fabian von Bellinghausen - circumnavigated Antarctica
28. Mungo Park - explored the Niger River
29. Hernando de Soto - discovered the Mississippi River
30. Ponce De Leon - discovered Florida
31. Alexander Mackenzie - discovered Mackenzie River
32. Nathaniel Palmer - sighted Antarctica
33. Amerigo Verspucci - explored Venezuela.
34. Edmund Hillary - Together with the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay was the first to climb Mount Everest. Was involved as well in expedition that crossed Antarctica for the first time.
35. Robert Falcon Scott - explored the Antarctic
36.Heinrich Barth - explored Sudan
37. John Fremont - Crossed Rocky Mountains to California
38. William Baffin - Explorer. Penetrated to within 800 miles of the North Pole. Closest for 250 years.
39. Semyon Dezhnev - Cossack Explorer. Sailed around eastern part of Asia in 17th century.
40. St Francis Xavier - visited Japan

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The American Civil War

25 Most Important Events of the American Civil War and its Lead up (not in chronological order but in order of Importance - most to least)

1. The Slave trade in the American Colonies
2. Emancipation Proclamation
3. Establishment of the Mason-Dixon Line
4. Dredd-Scott Decision
5. Creation of the Underground Railroad
6. Abraham Lincoln becomes President
7. Publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe's 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'
8. Battle of Gettysburg and the subsequent Gettysburg Address
9. The Missouri Compromise
10. The Fighting in Bloody Kansas
11. Abraham Lincoln versus Frederick Douglas Debates
12. The Wilmot Proviso
13. Secession of South Carolina
14. Formation of the Confederacy (11 states)
15. Attack on Fort Sumter by Confederate Troops
16.Bloody Battle of Antietam ends in stalemate
17. Robert E. Lee is placed in command of Virginian Army
18. Sherman's march to the coast. Includes the Burning of Atlanta
19. Union boycott of Southern shipping
20. Grant is appointed Union Army chief
21. Victory for the Union at Vicksburg
22. Southern Victories at the Battles of Bull Run, Chancellorville and Fredericksburg
23. Surrender of Robert E. Lee's forces at Appomattox
24. Anti-slavery activist Jim Brown attacks Harper's Ferry
25. Death of Southern general Stonewall Jackson

Monday, March 5, 2007

The European Dark Ages Quiz

1. When was Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor?
2. What is the common name for Charlemagne’s Dynasty?
3. Which city was Charlemagne’s capital?
4. Which of the following people were not an enemy of Charlemagne: Muslims (in Spain), Lombards, Saxons or the Vandals?
5. Who was Charlemagne’s father?
6. In which battle did his ancestor Charles Martel defeat the Muslims?
7. Who was Charlemagne’s successor?
8. Which treaty ended the war between his grandsons?
9. What developed at Cluny?
10. Which grandson of Charlemagne would become King of France proper?
11. Which two other grandsons were his chief rivals?
12. What was the name of the First Norse leader to set up a colony in Normandy?
13. Who was the first Saxon King of Rome?
14. Into what four regions was England divided into c.850 AD?
15. Which English King set up the Royal Navy?

Answers to European Dark Ages

1. 800 AD.
2. Carolingian
3. Aachen (Aix-La Chapelle).
4. Vandals
5. Pepin the Short.
6. Poitiers (Tours).
7. Louis I the Pious.
8. The Treaty of Verdun.
9. A monestery that would eventually give rise to the Clunician order.
10. Charles the Bald.
11. Lothair and Louis the German.
12. Rollo
13. Egbert
14. Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia and Wessex.
15. Alfred the Great.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

24 Topics on Ancient Egypt

For Teachers - These are 24 topics that should be looked at when facilitating student learning in this area.

The Unification of Upper and Lower Egypt by Menes
The Development of Egyptian mythology and its relationship to Egyptian history.
The Birth of the Old Kingdom with the 3rd Dynasty
The Step Pyramids
The Fourth Dynasty and the Great Pyramids
The Development of Hieroglyphics
The Collapse of the Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate Period
The Middle Kingdom
The Hyksos Invasion Wars. The Second Intermediate Period.
The Birth of the New Kingdom and Egyptian Science
The Concept of the Ma’at and the Nomarch substructure
The Reign of Akhenaton and Nefertiti
The Restoration of the Old Order and the defeat of Monotheism
The Reign of Hatshepsut
Ramses II and the Expansion of Empire
Battles of Medigo and Kadesh
The Fall of the New Kingdom and the Libyan Invasions
The Nubian Invasions
The Conquest by Assyria and Babylon
The Conquest by Persia
The Arrival of Alexander the Great and the building of Alexandria
The Ptolemaic Dynasty
Cleopatra and the Rise of Rome

Leadership Nationalities Quiz

Which countries were the following individuals leaders of ?

1. Begum Khaleda Zia.
2. Sitiveni Rabuka.
3. Vincent Auriol.
4. Urho Kaleva Kekkonen.
5. Jelle Ziljasta.
6. Canaan Sodindo Banana.
7. Antonio Agostinho Neto.
8. Wilfried Martens.
9. Joe Clark.
10. Albert Reynolds.
11. Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd.
12. Milan Kucan.
13. Michael Norman Manley.
14. Todor Zhivkov.
15. Abdus Salaam Mohammed Arif.


1. Bangladesh
2. Fiji
3. France
4. Finland
5. The Nertherlands
6. Zimbabwe
7. Angola
8. Belgium
9. Canada
10. Ireland
11. South Africa
12. Slovenia
13. Jamaica
14. Bulgaria
15. Iraq