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.
The Forger's Inspiration
by Evan Hadingham

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