Thursday, December 31, 2015

History Documentary: William Penn, the Religious Revolutionary; "The American Birthright" Documentary, History of Pennsylvania



William Penn, the Religious Revolutionary; from "The American Birthright Part I" Documentary

 

Portrait of William Penn

William Penn (24 October 1644  (O.S. 14 October 1644) – 30 July 1718) was an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, early Quaker and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was an early advocate of democracy and religious freedom, notable for his good relations and successful treaties with the Lenape Native Americans. Under his direction, the city of Philadelphia was planned and developed.

In 1681, King Charles II handed over a large piece of his American land holdings to William Penn to satisfy a debt the king owed to Penn's father. This land included present-day Pennsylvania and Delaware. Penn immediately set sail and took his first step on American soil in New Castle in 1682. On this occasion, the colonists pledged allegiance to Penn as their new proprietor, and the first general assembly was held in the colony. Afterwards, Penn journeyed up river and founded Philadelphia. However, Penn's Quaker government was not viewed favourably by the Dutch, Swedish, and English settlers in what is now Delaware. They had no 'historical' allegiance to Pennsylvania, so they almost immediately began petitioning for their own assembly. In 1704 they achieved their goal when the three southernmost counties of Pennsylvania were permitted to split off and become the new semi-autonomous colony of Lower Delaware. As the most prominent, prosperous and influential "city" in the new colony, New Castle became the capital.

As one of the earlier supporters of colonial unification, Penn wrote and urged for a union of all the English colonies in what was to become the United States of America. The democratic principles that he set forth in the Pennsylvania Frame of Government served as an inspiration for the United States Constitution. As a pacifist Quaker, Penn considered the problems of war and peace deeply. He developed a forward-looking project for a United States of Europe through the creation of a European Assembly made of deputies that could discuss and adjudicate controversies peacefully.
Credits: Wikipedia

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Historian Channel: Medieval Apocalypse, The Black Death, The Middle Ages or Medieval period, the Plague outburst, Full Documentary



In European history, the Middle Ages or Medieval period lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: Antiquity, Medieval period, and Modern period. The Medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, the High, and the Late Middle Ages.

Depopulation, deurbanisation, invasion, and movement of peoples, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages. The barbarian invaders, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Eastern Roman Empire—came under the rule of the Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with Antiquity was not complete. The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire survived in the east and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Code of Justinian, was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became widely admired later in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded as campaigns to Christianise pagan Europe continued. The Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty, briefly established the Carolingian Empire during the later 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe, but later succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions—Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, and Saracens from the south.

During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased greatly as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, and feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages. The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from the Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, and by the founding of universities. The theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, and the architecture of Gothic cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period, and into the Late Middle Ages.

The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine, plague, and war, which significantly diminished the population of Europe; between 1347 and 1350, the Black Death killed about a third of Europeans. Controversy, heresy, and schism within the Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, and peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.

Credits: Wikipedia


Map of the approximate political boundaries in Europe around 450

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

History Documentary: The Story of the Second South African Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902, History Documentary, the Boer War, the Anglo-Boer Wars




First Anglo-Boer War,  First Boer War

Long-standing Boer resentment turned into full-blown rebellion in the Transvaal (under British control from 1877), and the first Anglo-Boer War, known to Afrikaners as the "War of Independence", broke out in 1880. The conflict ended almost as soon as it began with a crushing Boer victory at Battle of Majuba Hill (27 February 1881). The republic regained its independence as the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek ("South African Republic"), or ZAR. Paul Kruger, one of the leaders of the uprising, became President of the ZAR in 1883. Meanwhile, the British, who viewed their defeat at Majuba as an aberration, forged ahead with their desire to federate the Southern African colonies and republics. They saw this as the best way to come to terms with the fact of a white Afrikaner majority, as well as to promote their larger strategic interests in the area.
Inter-war period

In 1879, Zululand came under British control. Then in 1886, an Australian prospector discovered gold in the Witwatersrand, accelerating the federation process and dealing the Boers yet another blow. Johannesburg's population exploded to about 100,000 by the mid-1890s, and the ZAR suddenly found itself hosting thousands of uitlanders, both black and white, with the Boers squeezed to the sidelines. The influx of English labour in particular worried the Boers, many of whom resented the English miners.

The enormous wealth of the mines, soon became irresistible for British imperialists. In 1895, a group of renegades led by Captain Leander Starr Jameson entered the ZAR with the intention of sparking an uprising on the Witwatersrand and installing a British administration. This incursion became known as the Jameson Raid. The scheme ended in fiasco, but it seemed obvious to Kruger that it had at least the tacit approval of the Cape Colony government, and that his republic faced danger. He reacted by forming an alliance with Orange Free State.

The Second Boer War (Dutch: Tweede Boerenoorlog, Afrikaans: Tweede Vryheidsoorlog, literally "Second Freedom War") otherwise known as the Second Anglo-Boer War, was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on the one hand, and the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) and the Orange Free State on the other. The British war effort was supported by troops from several regions of the British Empire, including Southern Africa, the Australian colonies, Canada, Newfoundland, British India, and New Zealand. The war ended in victory for the British and the annexation of both republics. Both would eventually be incorporated into the Union of South Africa in 1910.
Credits: Wikipedia

Boer militiamen at Spioenkop

Sunday, December 6, 2015

History Documentary: The Mongol invasion of Europe (1222-1242,) Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire, Full Documentary: the Mongol Invasion into Eastern and Central Europe (1241-1242)

The route of the first Mongol expedition in Russia - 1223. The Mongol invasion of Europe





The Mongol invasion of Europe in the 13th century was the military effort by the Mongols to invade and conquer Europe. It involved the severe and rampant destruction of East Slavic principalities and major cities, such as Kiev and Vladimir. Mongol invasions also affected Central Europe, warring with the Kingdom of Hungary (in the Battle of Mohi) and causing the fragmentation of Poland (in the Battle of Legnica).

The operations were masterminded by General Subutai and commanded by Batu Khan and Kadan, both grandsons of Genghis Khan. As a result of the successful invasions, many of the conquered territories would become part of the Golden Horde empire.

Historians regard the Mongol raids and invasions as some of the deadliest conflicts in human history up through that period. Brian Landers argues that, "One empire in particular exceeded any that had gone before, and crossed from Asia into Europe in an orgy of violence and destruction. The Mongols brought terror to Europe on a scale not seen again until the twentieth century." Diana Lary contends that the Mongol invasions induced population displacement "on a scale never seen before," particularly in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. She adds, "the impending arrival of the Mongol hordes spread terror and panic."

Warring European princes realized they had to cooperate in the face of a threatened Mongol invasion, so local wars and conflicts were suspended in parts of central Europe, only to be resumed after the Mongols had withdrawn.
Credits: Wikipedia

Saturday, November 28, 2015

History Documentary: The Mongol invasion of ancient Rus (1237 - 1240), Mongols and Russia, the Mongol Empire and invasions, Full Documentary, the Battle of the Kalka River (1223)


Genghis Khan, Mongol Empire, 13th century


The Mongol Empire invaded Kievan Rus' in the 13th century, destroying numerous cities, including Ryazan, Kolomna, Moscow, Vladimir, and Kiev, part of the Mongol invasion of Europe.

The campaign was heralded by the Battle of the Kalka River in 1223, which resulted in a Mongol victory over the forces of several Rus' principalities. The Mongols nevertheless retreated. A full-scale invasion of Rus' by Batu Khan followed, from 1237 to 1240. The invasion was ended by the Mongol succession process upon the death of Ögedei Khan. All Rus' principalities were forced to submit to Mongol rule and became part of the Golden Horde empire, some of which lasted until 1480.

The invasion, facilitated by the beginning breakup of Kievan Rus' in the 13th century, had incalculable ramifications for the history of Eastern Europe, including the division of the East Slavic people into three separate nations, modern-day Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, and in the rise of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.
Credits: Wikipedia

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Viking Deception - History Documentary Vinland Map; NOVA's program, Vikings Discovery of America, Full Documentary: Viking and the Americas




The Viking Deception - History Documentary; Vinland Map, NOVA's program, Vikings Discovery of America, Full Documentary: Viking and the Americas

ea-faring Danes depicted invading England. Illuminated illustration from the 12th century Miscellany on the Life of St. Edmund. Pierpont Morgan Library.


Ever since its sensational unveiling by Yale University scholars in October 1965, the Vinland Map has been a lightning rod for passionate debate. Most reviews of the arguments, including NOVA's program, have focused on scientific tests designed to gauge the authenticity of the map's ink. The opinions of experts in cartography and historical manuscripts have commanded much less attention, yet from the outset scholars in these disciplines pointed out glaring anomalies in the case for the Vinland Map's authenticity. (To inspect the map, see The Map in Question.)

Most striking of all, the coasts of Greenland and Iceland are suspiciously close to their outlines in a modern atlas. Yet none of the Icelandic sagas identifies Greenland as an island, and archeological discoveries indicate that Viking colonists, hunters, and traders explored Greenland's west coast perhaps as far north as Thule and Cape York, but no farther. Even a century or two after the supposed date of the Vinland Map, European mapmakers were still divided about how to draw Greenland—as an island, part of an arctic landmass, or a peninsula dangling down from northern Europe. The precision of the outlines of Greenland and Iceland is all the more surprising when compared to the Vinland Map's depiction of the Viking homelands in Scandinavia, which are barely recognizable: Sweden has migrated to the wrong side of the Baltic while Norway has been flipped to match the map's overall egg-shaped design.

Did the Vikings make maps?

Could the accuracy of the Vinland Map be testimony to the Vikings' extraordinary seamanship and mapmaking skills? Did the alleged medieval author of the map use an earlier Viking map as a source of information? Unquestionably, the Vikings were the most audacious and accomplished voyagers of the medieval world. Their sleek, clinker-built longships and bulkier cargo boats had reached Iceland during the 9th century A.D. and Greenland during the 10th, leading to permanent colonies and regular trade with the Scandinavian homelands. Beginning in 1961, the excavation of longhouses and typical Norse artifacts at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland proved that Greenland settlers had reached North America, ju

Such far-flung voyages of discovery demanded special navigation skills. An Icelandic codex known as Hauksbok details signs such as the appearance of whales, seabirds, and distant mountain peaks that voyagers would watch for as they crossed the open ocean. Viking sailors may also have developed simple astronomical aids, such as steering by the sun or the Pole Star, although there is no firm evidence for these practices. But however accomplished their seamanship, the Vikings never seem to have charted the coastlines they explored. Despite the detailed navigational texts and abundant geographical references in the sagas, no Norse cartographic drawing or engraving has survived. They don't appear to have been mapmakers at all.

The colorful Icelandic tales of Leif Eriksson and his followers did inspire European mapmakers to create North American charts identifying features mentioned in the stories, such as Markland, Helluland, and Vinland. But this interest in the sagas only took off during the 16th and 17th centuries—long after the purported mid-15th-century date of the Vinland Map. Beginning around 1570, Protestant mapmakers began incorporating new knowledge of the Americas based on pioneering Portuguese and English voyages of discovery. A strong motive for documenting the earlier Norse traditions of settlement was to repudiate Catholic maps and territorial claims defined by papal treaties. But even the most detailed of these maps, such as the Resen Map of 1605, appears to have been mainly an exercise in fantasy.
Credits:
The Forger's Inspiration
by Evan Hadingham
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/vinland/inspiration.html

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

History of Canada, History Documentary: Canada, A Peoples History, Canada's Inuit History




History of Canada, History Documentary: Canada, A Peoples History, Canada's Inuit History


The First Nations (French: Premières Nations) are the various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently 634 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The total population is more than 850,000 people. Under the Employment Equity Act, First Nations are a "designated group", along with women, visible minorities, and people with physical or mental disabilities. First Nations are not defined as a visible minority under the Act or by the criteria of Statistics Canada.

Within Canada, "First Nations" (most often used in the plural) has come into general use—replacing the deprecated term "Indians"—for the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Individuals using the term outside Canada include supporters of the Cascadian independence movement as well as American tribes within the Pacific Northwest. The singular, commonly used on culturally politicized reserves, is the term First Nations person (when gender-specific, First Nations man or First Nations woman). A more recent trend is for members of various nations to refer to themselves by their tribal or national identity only, e.g., "I'm Haida," or "We're Kwantlens," in recognition of the distinctiveness of First Nations ethnicities.

North American indigenous peoples have cultures spanning thousands of years. Some of their oral traditions accurately describe historical events, such as the Cascadia Earthquake of 1700 and the 18th century Tseax Cone eruption. Written records began with the arrival of European explorers and colonists during the Age of Discovery, beginning in the late 15th century. European accounts by trappers, traders, explorers, and missionaries give important evidence of early contact culture. In addition, archeological and anthropological research, as well as linguistics, have helped scholars piece together understanding of ancient cultures and historic peoples.

Although not without conflict or slavery, Euro-Canadians' early interactions with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations were less combative compared to the often violent battles between colonists and native peoples in the United States. Combined with later economic development, this relatively non-combative history has allowed First Nations peoples to have an influence on the national culture, while preserving their own identities.
Credits: Wikipedia 
 
Monument to aboriginal war veterans in Confederation Park, Ottawa, Canada.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

History Documentary: the Germanic Tribes - Pax Romana, the Barbarians and the Roman Empire



History Documentary: the Germanic Tribes - Pax Romana, the Barbarians and the Roman Empire.

Imperium Romanum Germania, Roman map of Germania in the early 2nd century


Friday, October 30, 2015

The Historian Channel, National Geographic documentary, The Empire of Japan, History Documentary. History of Japan




The Empire of Japan, History Documentary. History of Japan.



Samurai warriors face Mongols, during the Mongol invasions of Japan. The Kamikaze, two storms, are said to have saved Japan from Mongol fleets.


A Paleolithic culture around 30,000 BC constitutes the first known habitation of the Japanese archipelago. This was followed from around 14,000 BC (the start of the Jōmon period) by a Mesolithic to Neolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherer culture, who include ancestors of both the contemporary Ainu people and Yamato people, characterized by pit dwelling and rudimentary agriculture. Decorated clay vessels from this period are some of the oldest surviving examples of pottery in the world. Around 300 BC, the Yayoi people began to enter the Japanese islands, intermingling with the Jōmon. The Yayoi period, starting around 500 BC, saw the introduction of practices like wet-rice farming, a new style of pottery, and metallurgy, introduced from China and Korea.

Japan first appears in written history in the Chinese Book of Han. According to the Records of the Three Kingdoms, the most powerful kingdom on the archipelago during the 3rd century was called Yamataikoku. Buddhism was first introduced to Japan from Baekje of Korea, but the subsequent development of Japanese Buddhism was primarily influenced by China. Despite early resistance, Buddhism was promoted by the ruling class and gained widespread acceptance beginning in the Asuka period (592–710).

The Nara period (710–784) of the 8th century marked the emergence of a strong Japanese state, centered on an imperial court in Heijō-kyō (modern Nara). The Nara period is characterized by the appearance of a nascent literature as well as the development of Buddhist-inspired art and architecture. The smallpox epidemic of 735–737 is believed to have killed as much as one-third of Japan's population. In 784, Emperor Kammu moved the capital from Nara to Nagaoka-kyō before relocating it to Heian-kyō (modern Kyoto) in 794.
Samurai warriors face Mongols, during the Mongol invasions of Japan. The Kamikaze, two storms, are said to have saved Japan from Mongol fleets.

This marked the beginning of the Heian period (794–1185), during which a distinctly indigenous Japanese culture emerged, noted for its art, poetry and prose. Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji and the lyrics of Japan's national anthem Kimigayo were written during this time.

Buddhism began to spread during the Heian era chiefly through two major sects, Tendai by Saichō, and Shingon by Kūkai. Pure Land Buddhism (Jōdo-shū, Jōdo Shinshū) greatly becomes popular in the latter half of the 11th century.
Feudal era

Japan's feudal era was characterized by the emergence and dominance of a ruling class of warriors, the samurai. In 1185, following the defeat of the Taira clan in the Genpei War, sung in the epic Tale of Heike, samurai Minamoto no Yoritomo was appointed shogun and established a base of power in Kamakura. After his death, the Hōjō clan came to power as regents for the shoguns. The Zen school of Buddhism was introduced from China in the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and became popular among the samurai class. The Kamakura shogunate repelled Mongol invasions in 1274 and 1281, but was eventually overthrown by Emperor Go-Daigo. Go-Daigo was himself defeated by Ashikaga Takauji in 1336.
Samurai could kill a commoner for the slightest insult and were widely feared by the Japanese population. Edo period, 1798

Ashikaga Takauji established the shogunate in Muromachi, Kyoto. This was the start of the Muromachi Period (1336–1573). The Ashikaga shogunate achieved glory in the age of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and the culture based on Zen Buddhism (art of Miyabi) prospered. This evolved to Higashiyama Culture, and prospered until the 16th century. On the other hand, the succeeding Ashikaga shogunate failed to control the feudal warlords (daimyo), and a civil war (the Ōnin War) began in 1467, opening the century-long Sengoku period ("Warring States").

During the 16th century, traders and Jesuit missionaries from Portugal reached Japan for the first time, initiating direct commercial and cultural exchange between Japan and the West. This allowed Oda Nobunaga to obtain European technology and firearms, which he used to conquer many other daimyo. His consolidation of power began what was known as the Azuchi–Momoyama period (1573–1603). After he was assassinated in 1582, his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi unified the nation in 1590 and launched two unsuccessful invasions of Korea in 1592 and 1597.
Re-engraved map of Japan

Tokugawa Ieyasu served as regent for Hideyoshi's son and used his position to gain political and military support. When open war broke out, he defeated rival clans in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Ieyasu was appointed shogun in 1603 and established the Tokugawa shogunate at Edo (modern Tokyo). The Tokugawa shogunate enacted measures including buke shohatto, as a code of conduct to control the autonomous daimyo; and in 1639, the isolationist sakoku ("closed country") policy that spanned the two and a half centuries of tenuous political unity known as the Edo period (1603–1868). The study of Western sciences, known as rangaku, continued through contact with the Dutch enclave at Dejima in Nagasaki. The Edo period also gave rise to kokugaku ("national studies"), the study of Japan by the Japanese.
Modern era

On March 31, 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry and the "Black Ships" of the United States Navy forced the opening of Japan to the outside world with the Convention of Kanagawa. Subsequent similar treaties with Western countries in the Bakumatsu period brought economic and political crises. The resignation of the shogun led to the Boshin War and the establishment of a centralized state nominally unified under the Emperor (the Meiji Restoration).
Emperor Meiji (1868–1912), in whose name imperial rule was restored at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate

Adopting Western political, judicial and military institutions, the Cabinet organized the Privy Council, introduced the Meiji Constitution, and assembled the Imperial Diet. The Meiji Restoration transformed the Empire of Japan into an industrialized world power that pursued military conflict to expand its sphere of influence. After victories in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), Japan gained control of Taiwan, Korea, and the southern half of Sakhalin. Japan's population grew from 35 million in 1873 to 70 million in 1935.
Chinese generals surrendering to the Japanese in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895

The early 20th century saw a brief period of "Taishō democracy" overshadowed by increasing expansionism and militarization. World War I enabled Japan, on the side of the victorious Allies, to widen its influence and territorial holdings. It continued its expansionist policy by occupying Manchuria in 1931; as a result of international condemnation of this occupation, Japan resigned from the League of Nations two years later. In 1936, Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Nazi Germany, and the 1940 Tripartite Pact made it one of the Axis Powers. In 1941, Japan negotiated the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact.
Japanese officials surrendering to the Allies on September 2, 1945 in Tokyo Bay, ending World War II

The Empire of Japan invaded other parts of China in 1937, precipitating the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945). The Imperial Japanese Army swiftly captured the capital Nanjing and conducted the Nanking Massacre. In 1940, the Empire then invaded French Indochina, after which the United States placed an oil embargo on Japan. On December 7–8, 1941, Japanese forces carried out surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor, attacks on British forces in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong and declared war, bringing the US and the UK into World War II in the Pacific. After the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender on August 15. The war cost Japan and the rest of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere millions of lives and left much of the nation's industry and infrastructure destroyed. The Allies (led by the US) repatriated millions of ethnic Japanese from colonies and military camps throughout Asia, largely eliminating the Japanese empire and restoring the independence of its conquered territories. The Allies also convened the International Military Tribunal for the Far East on May 3, 1946 to prosecute some Japanese leaders for war crimes. However, the bacteriological research units and members of the imperial family involved in the war were exonerated from criminal prosecutions by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers despite calls for trials for both groups.

In 1947, Japan adopted a new constitution emphasizing liberal democratic practices. The Allied occupation ended with the Treaty of San Francisco in 1952 and Japan was granted membership in the United Nations in 1956. Japan later achieved rapid growth to become the second-largest economy in the world, until surpassed by China in 2010. This ended in the mid-1990s when Japan suffered a major recession. In the beginning of the 21st century, positive growth has signaled a gradual economic recovery. On March 11, 2011, Japan suffered the strongest earthquake in its recorded history; this triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, one of the worst disasters in the history of nuclear power.
Credits: Wikipedia

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Engineering An Empire: Russia History Documentary, The Russian Emire, History Documentary




The Russian Empire (Pre-reform Russian orthography: Россійская Имперія, Modern Russian: Российская империя, translit: Rossiyskaya Imperiya) was a state that existed from 1721 until overthrown by the short-lived liberal February Revolution in 1917. One of the largest empires in world history, stretching over three continents, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires. It played a major role in 1812–14 in defeating Napoleon's ambitions to control Europe, and expanded to the west and south. It was often in conflict with the Ottoman Empire (which in turn was usually protected by the British).

Peter the Great officially renamed the Tsardom of Russia the Russian Empire in 1721, and himself its first emperor. He instituted the sweeping reforms and oversaw the transformation of Russia into a major European power.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea on the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean, and (until 1867) into Alaska in North America on the east.[3] With 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and the British Empire. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics, ethnicity, and religion. There were numerous dissident elements, who launched numerous rebellions and assassination attempts; they were closely watched by the secret police, with thousands exiled to Siberia.

Economically, the empire was heavily rural, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs, until they were freed in 1861. The economy slowly industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways and factories. The land was ruled by a nobility called Boyars from the 10th through the 17th centuries, and then was ruled by an emperor called the "Tsar". Tsar Ivan III (1462–1505) laid the groundwork for the empire that later emerged. He tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, and laid the foundations of the Russian state. Tsar Peter the Great (1682–1725) fought numerous wars and built a huge empire that became a major European power. He moved the capital from Moscow to the new model city of St. Petersburg, and led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political system with a modern, scientific, Europe-oriented, and rationalist system.

Catherine the Great (1761–1796) presided over a golden age. She expanded the nation rapidly by conquest, colonization and diplomacy. She continued Peter the Great's policy of modernisation along West European lines. Tsar Alexander II (1855–1881) promoted numerous reforms, most dramatically the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861. His policy in Eastern Europe was to protect the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. That involvement by 1914 led to Russia's entry into the First World War on the side of France, Britain, and Serbia, against the German, Austrian and Ottoman empires. Russia was an absolute monarchy until the Revolution of 1905 and then became a constitutional monarchy. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917, largely the result of massive failures in its participation in the First World War.
Credits: Wikipedia

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Normans, History Documentary - Men from the North (2010) Full Documentary, The Normans



The Normans (French: Normands; Latin: Nortmanni) were the people who in the 10th and 11th centuries gave their name to Normandy, a region in France. They were originally Viking raiders and pirates from Denmark, Norway and Iceland, who under their leader Rollo agreed to swear fealty to King Charles III of West Francia. Through generations of assimilation and mixing with the native Frankish and Roman-Gaulish populations, the Northmen's descendants ("Norman" comes from "Norseman") would gradually merge with the Carolingian-based cultures of West Francia. The distinct cultural and ethnic identity of the Normans emerged initially in the first half of the 10th century, and it continued to evolve over the succeeding centuries.

Victorian interpretation of the Normans' national dress, 1000–1100


The Norman dynasty had a major political, cultural and military impact on medieval Europe and even the Near East. The Normans were famed for their martial spirit and eventually for their Christian piety, becoming exponents of the Catholic orthodoxy into which they assimilated.
They adopted the Gallo-Romance language of the Frankish land they settled, their dialect becoming known as Norman, Normaund or Norman French, an important literary language. The Duchy of Normandy, which they formed by treaty with the French crown, was a great fief of medieval France, and under Richard I of Normandy was forged into a cohesive and formidable principality in feudal tenure. The Normans are noted both for their culture, such as their unique Romanesque architecture and musical traditions, and for their significant military accomplishments and innovations. Norman adventurers founded the Kingdom of Sicily under Roger II after conquering southern Italy on the Saracens and Byzantines, and an expedition on behalf of their duke, William the Conqueror, led to the Norman conquest of England at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Norman cultural and military influence spread from these new European centres to the Crusader states of the Near East, where their prince Bohemond I founded the Principality of Antioch in the Levant, to Ireland, Scotland and Wales in Great Britain, to the coasts of north Africa and the Canary Islands.

The legacy of the Normans persists today through the regional dialects of France, England and Sicily, as well as the various cultural, judicial and political arrangements they introduced in their conquered territories, the long endurance of which contrasts with the developments in many continental areas of Europe.



Friday, October 9, 2015

Iran - People of the Flames Zoroastrians - Zarathustra. History Documentary: Zoroastrianism or Mazdaism, Ahura Mazda and prophet Zoroaster, full documentary






In search of the Zoroastrians an ancient people who have tended a holy flame for the last 2500 years.

Zoroastrianism or Mazdaism is the religion ascribed to the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster, whose Supreme Being was Ahura Mazda. It is one of the world's oldest religions, "combining a cosmogonic dualism and eschatological monotheism in a manner unique... among the major religions of the world." For a thousand years, forms of Zoroastrianism (including a Mithraic Median prototype and Zurvanist Sassanid successor) were the world's most powerful religion, serving as the state religion of the pre-Islamic Iranian empires from around 600 BCE to 650 CE. Zoroastrianism was suppressed or otherwise integrated into Islam from the 7th century onwards following the Muslim conquest of Persia. Recent estimates place the current number of Zoroastrians at around 2.6 million, with most living in India and Iran. The change over the last decade is attributed to a greater level of reporting and open self-identification more so than to an actual increase in population; however, precise numbers remain difficult to obtain in part due to high levels of historic persecution in Islamic regions.

Leading characteristics, such as messianism, the Golden Rule, heaven and hell, and free will influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, and Islam.[4] Liberality is emphasized in the scripture, and—like the Roman religion—the religion generally showed tolerance to conquered peoples, with Cyrus the Great, who is though to have been a Zoroastrian, annexing Babylonia in the name of its God Marduk. In Zoroastrianism, the purpose in life is to "be among those who renew the world...to make the world progress towards perfection". Its basic maxims include:

    Humata, Hukhta, Huvarshta, which mean: Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.
    There is only one path and that is the path of Truth.
    Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, and then all beneficial rewards will come to you also.

The most important texts of the religion are those of the Avesta, which includes the writings of Zoroaster known as the Gathas, enigmatic poems that define the religion's precepts, and the Yasna, the scripture. The full name by which Zoroaster addressed the deity is: Ahura, The Lord Creator, and Mazda, Supremely Wise. He proclaimed that there is only one God, the singularly creative and sustaining force of the Universe. He also stated that human beings are given a right of choice, and because of cause and effect are also responsible for the consequences of their choices. Zoroaster's teachings focused on responsibility, and did not introduce a devil, per se. The contesting force to Ahura Mazda was called Angra Mainyu, or angry spirit. Post-Zoroastrian scripture introduced the concept of Ahriman, the Devil, which was effectively a personification of Angra Mainyu.

By the 3rd century, Zoroastrianism and Zoroaster's ideas had spread throughout the Middle East. Zoroaster pointing to the sky.
 Zoroaster (/ˌzɒrˈæstər/ or /ˈzɒrˌæstər/, from Greek Ζωροάστρης Zōroastrēs), also known as Zarathustra (/ˌzɑrəˈθstrə/ Zaraθuštra); Persian: زرتشت‎‎ Zartosht, زردشت Zardosht),

Friday, October 2, 2015

King Hammurabi and the Babylonian Empire, History Documentary. The Kings: From Babylon to Baghdad. The ancient cities of Uruk and Ur, The Sumer, History Documentary.




Babylon (Akkadian: Bābili or Babilim; Arabic: بابل‎, Bābil) was a significant city in ancient Mesopotamia, in the fertile plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The city was built upon the Euphrates and divided in equal parts along its left and right banks, with steep embankments to contain the river's seasonal floods.

Babylon was originally a small Semitic Akkadian city dating from the period of the Akkadian Empire c. 2300 BC. The town attained independence as part of a small city state with the rise of the First Amorite Babylonian Dynasty in 1894 BC. Claiming to be the successor of the more ancient Sumero-Akkadian city of Eridu, Babylon eclipsed Nippur as the "holy city" of Mesopotamia around the time Amorite king Hammurabi created the first short lived Babylonian Empire in the 18th century BC. Babylon grew and South Mesopotamia came to be known as Babylonia.

The empire quickly dissolved after Hammurabi's death and Babylon spent long periods under Assyrian, Kassite and Elamite domination. After being destroyed and then rebuilt by the Assyrians, Babylon became the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 609 to 539 BC. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. After the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the city came under the rules of the Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, Roman and Sassanid empires.

It has been estimated that Babylon was the largest city in the world from c. 1770 to 1670 BC, and again between c. 612 and 320 BC. It was perhaps the first city to reach a population above 200,000. Estimates for the maximum extent of its area range from 890 to 900 hectares (2,200 acres).

The remains of the city are in present-day Hillah, Babil Governorate, Iraq, about 85 kilometers (53 mi) south of Baghdad, comprising a large tell of broken mud-brick buildings and debris.
Credits: Wikipedia 

The first farmers from Samarra migrated to Sumer, and built shrines and settlements at Eridu.
 

Friday, September 25, 2015

History Documentary: The Persian Empire. Cyrus the Great of Persia, History documentary



The Persian Empire is any of a series of imperial dynasties centered in Persia (now Iran). The first of these was established by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC, with the Persian conquest of Media, Lydia and Babylonia. Persian dynastic history was interrupted by the Islamic conquest (651 AD) and later by the Mongol invasion. The main religion of ancient Persia was Zoroastrianism, but after the 7th century this was replaced by Islam. In the modern era, a series of Islamic dynasties ruled Persia independently of the universal caliphate. Since 1979 Persia (Iran) has been an Islamic republic.
Credits: Wikipedia

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Hittites of Hattusha: History Documentary, the Hittites




The Hittites (/ˈhɪtaɪts/) were an Ancient Anatolian people who established an empire centred on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1600 BC. This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC under Suppiluliuma I, when it encompassed an area that included most of Asia Minor as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia. After c. 1180 BC, the empire came to an end during the Bronze Age collapse, splintering into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some of which survived until the 8th century BC.

The Hittite language was a distinct member of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family. They referred to their native land as Hatti. The conventional name "Hittites" is due to their initial identification with the Biblical Hittites in 19th century archaeology.

Despite the use of Hatti for their core territory, the Hittites should be distinguished from the Hattians, an earlier people who inhabited the same region (until the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC) and spoke a language possibly in the Northwest Caucasian languages group known as Hattic.

The Hittite military made successful use of chariots. Although belonging to the Bronze Age, they were the forerunners of the Iron Age, developing the manufacture of iron artifacts from as early as the 18th century BC, when the "man of Burushanda"'s gift of an iron throne and iron sceptre to the Kaneshite king Anitta was recorded in the Anitta text inscription.

After 1180 BC, amid general turmoil in the Levant conjectured to have been associated with the sudden arrival of the Sea Peoples, the kingdom disintegrated into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some of which survived until as late as the 8th century BC. The history of the Hittite civilization is known mostly from cuneiform texts found in the area of their kingdom, and from diplomatic and commercial correspondence found in various archives in Egypt and the Middle East.
Credits: Wikipedia
The Hittite Empire, ca. 1400 BC (shown in Blue).

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Pannonian Avars: History Documentary. The Avar Khaganate, full documentary: The Avars





Europeans destroyed Avaria in AD 807, but Hungarians in Pressburg total destroyed the paneuropeans in AD 907, and gave back the hunnic dominance to the basin...

Warrior with captive, from a golden ewer of the Treasure of Nagyszentmiklós. There is no agreement as to whether he represents an Avar, a Bulgar or a Khazar warrior.

The Pannonian Avars /ˈævɑrz/ were a group of Eurasian nomads of the early Middle Ages of uncertain origins, who established the Avar Khaganate, which spanned the Pannonian Basin and considerable areas of Central and Eastern Europe from the late 6th to the early 9th century. They were ruled by a khagan, who led a tight-knit entourage of professional warriors.

Although the name Avar first appeared in the mid-5th century, the Pannonian Avars entered the historical scene in the mid-6th century, having formed as a mixed band of warriors in the Pontic-Caspian steppe who wished to escape the rule of the Göktürks who called them "Pseudo-Avars" and Varchonites.

Avar linguistic affiliation is uncertain and may be tentatively deduced from a variety of sources, betraying a variety of languages spoken by ruling and subject clans. Proposals by scholars include Oghur Turkic, Tungusic, Caucasian, Mongolic and Iranian.However, over time, Proto-Slavic became the lingua franca of the Avar Khaganate.
Credits: Wikipedia

Friday, September 4, 2015

Kievan Rus: Old Russia, Rus History. The Varangians and Rus' princes, Rurik (Old Norse: Hrörekr). History Documentary: The Varangians and the Rus.




Kievan Rus: Old Russia, Rus History. The Varangians and  Rus' princes, Rurik (Old Norse: Hrörekr). History Documentary: The Varangian and the Rus.

Map showing the major Varangian trade routes: the Volga trade route (in red) and the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks (in purple). Other trade routes of the 8th–11th centuries shown in orange.
Generally speaking, the Norwegians expanded to the north and west to places such as Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Greenland; the Danes to England and France, settling in the Danelaw (northern/eastern England) and Normandy; and the Swedes to the east, founding the Kievan Rus, the original Russia. However, among the Swedish runestones which mention expeditions over seas, almost half tell of raids and travels to western Europe. And in todays Sweden it has been found more Arabic coins from the Viking age then the Arabs has found themself from this era plus there has been found tonnes of viking treasures in todays Sweden which made the areas in todays Sweden to among the most riches places on earth during the viking age. So its easy due archeology to track the Varangian Rus til todays Sweden. But also, according to the Icelandic sagas, many Norwegian Vikings went to eastern Europe.  The names of Scandinavian kings are known only for the later part of the Viking Age. Only after the end of the Viking Age did the separate kingdoms acquire distinct identities as nations, which went
hand in hand with their Christianization. Thus the end of the Viking Age for the Scandinavians also marks the start of their relatively brief Middle Ages.

According to the Primary Chronicle, compiled in Kiev about 1100-1200 Ad, one group of Varangians was Rus' people. Their name became that of the land of Rus' this happened because one of Rus' princes, Rurik (Old Norse: Hrörekr) had been recognized by several East Slavic and Finno-Ugric peoples as their ruler, founding the Rurikid Dynasty, which later would rule over Rus' and after its fall over Russia for many centuries. Rurik first came to Staraya Ladoga in
862 and then moved his capital to Novgorod in 864, while his relative Oleg (Old Norse: Helgi) conquered Kiev in 882 and established the state of Kievan Rus', later inherited by Rurik's son Igor (Old Norse: Ingvarr).
Sviatoslav was the first ruler of Rus' who is recorded in the Primary Chronicle with a name of Slavic origin (as opposed to his predecessors, whose names are ultimately derived from Old Norse). This name is however not recorded in other medieval Slavic countries. Even in Rus', it was attested only among the members of the house of Rurik, as were the names of Sviatoslav's immediate successors: Vladimir, Yaroslav, Mstislav). Some scholars speculate that the
name of Sviatoslav, composed of the Slavic roots for "holy" and "glory", was an artificial derivation combining those of his predecessors Oleg and Rurik
(they mean "holy" and "glorious" in Old Norse, respectively).

Engaging in trade, piracy and mercenary activities, Varangians roamed the river systems and portages of Gardariki, as Rus' lands were known in Norse sagas. They controlled the Volga trade route (Route from the Varangians to the Arabs), connecting Baltic to the Caspian Sea, and the Dnieper trade route (Route from the Varangians to the Greeks) leading to the Black Sea and Constantinople. Those were the critically important trade links at that time, connecting Europe with wealthy and developed Arab Caliphates and the Byzantine Empire;via those routes most of the
silver coinage came from the East to the West. Attracted by the riches of Constantinople, Rus' Varangians initiated a number of Rus'-Byzantine Wars, some of which resulted in advantageous trade treaties. At least from the early 10th century many Varangians served as mercenaries in the Byzantine Army,
comprising the so-called Varangian Guard (the personal bodyguards of Byzantine Emperors). Eventually most of them, both in Byzantium and in Eastern Europe, were converted from paganism into Orthodox Christianity, culminating in the 988 Christianization of Kievan Rus'. Coinciding with the general decline of the Viking Age, the influx of Norsemen to Rus' stopped, and Varangians were eventually assimilated by East Slavs by the late
11th century.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

History Documentary: Byzantine Empire, Byzantium, Full documentary by John Romer, The Lost Empire, History Documentary, Eastern Roman Empire, Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων



History Documentary: Byzantine Empire, Byzantium, Full documentary by John Romer, The Lost Empire, History Documentary, Eastern Roman Empire, Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων

Tremissis with the image of Justinian the Great
(r. 527–565)


The Byzantine Empire, or Eastern Roman Empire, was the predominantly Greek- speaking continuation of the eastern part of the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), originally founded as Byzantium. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 under the reign of Mehmed the Conqueror. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire as the Roman Empire (Ancient Greek: Βασιλείαωμαίων, tr. Basileia Rhōmaiōn; Latin: Imperium Romanum), or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".

Several events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the transitional period during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West divided. In 285, the Emperor Diocletian (r. 284–305) partitioned the Roman Empire's administration into eastern and western halves. Between 324 and 330, Constantine the Great (r. 306–337) transferred the main capital from Rome to Byzantium, later known as Constantinople ("City of Constantine") and Nova Roma ("New Rome").[n 1] Under Theodosius I (r. 379–395), Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and others such as Roman polytheism were proscribed. And finally, under the reign of Heraclius (r. 610–641), the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use instead of Latin. Thus, although it continued the Roman state and maintained Roman state traditions, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, and characterised by Orthodox Christianity rather than Roman polytheism.

The borders of the Empire evolved significantly over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I (r. 527–565), the Empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the historically Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa, Italy, and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries. During the reign of Maurice (r. 582–602), the Empire's eastern frontier was expanded and the north stabilised. However, his assassination caused the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628, which exhausted the Empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Muslim conquests of the seventh century. In a matter of years the Empire lost its richest provinces, Egypt and Syria, to the Arabs.

During the Macedonian dynasty (10th–11th centuries), the Empire again expanded and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia as a homeland.

The final centuries of the Empire exhibited a general trend of decline. It struggled to recover during the 12th century, but was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked and the Empire dissolved and divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople and re-establishment of the Empire in 1261, Byzantium remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence. Its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 finally ended the Byzantine Empire.
Credits: Wikipedia