Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Joan of Arc Captured

on May 24, 1430.  She was 19 years old.  After being transferred to the English in November, trial began on February 21, 1431.  For part of that she was kept in an iron cage.  On May 30, she was condemned.  Then she was burned at the stake.

Today we're beginning a new series Joan of Arc’s Trial and Execution by Jules Michelet:


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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Series on The Cold War Begins

This is the CNN/BBC television series that was aired years ago.  The complete series is no YouTube.  It is pretty overwhelming.  History Moments blog breaks it down episode by episode, day by day.  Episode 1 covers Communism until 1945. 


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Friday, July 8, 2016

Henry VIII and His Bid for Absolute Monarchy

I have been watching The Tudors television series on Netflix.  It reminds me of how bad Henry was.  Isn't it something that the 16th. century brought one of the worst rulers in history (Henry) and then one of the best (Elizabeth).

For more information here is <i>Cromwell Takes Charge</i> an installment from Henry Makes Himself Head of the Church of England by John R. Green


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Thursday, July 7, 2016

What Happened to the Star Chamber?

The ancient role of the Star Chamber to try special cases circumvented the jury trial process.  In the lead up to the English Civil War this became controversial.  It became a means of securing convictions rather than justice.

For more information on <i>The Star Chamber’s Power in Past Reigns</i> here is an installment from The End of the Star Chamber by Henry Hallam:


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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What Country Has Been in the Middle of Almost Every Major War Since Caesar?

The land now occupied by France was invaded by Julius Caesar.  Since then barbarians invaded, Charlemagne ruled, Vikings raided, Crusades were launched - and that's only to the early Medieval Age.  This is a work in progress.

Here's a list of some major wars France fought:   


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Monday, July 4, 2016

Fourth of July and Slavery

Seemingly every time one wants to say something good about America, someone pushes back with, "What about slavery?"

Slavery was America's original sin.  On July Fourth the United States of America not only declared its independence but based its independence on basic principles of universal freedom.  Civil rights for all was not achieved after the Revolution; it was not achieved after the Civil War; indeed it was not even achieved in the 1960's but it was implicitly made a goal in the Declaration of Independence.

The goal was set.  We are still striving towards that goal.  That is why we should continue to celebrate July 4th. despite slavery.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

First Hot Air Balloon Flight

Time: 5 pm, August 27, 1783; Place: Paris
In the morning the Champ-de-Mars was lined with troops, every house to its very top, and every avenue, was crowded with anxious spectators. The discharge of a cannon at 5 P.M. was the signal for ascent, and the globe rose, to the great surprise of the spectators, to a height of three thousand one hundred twenty-three feet in two minutes, where it entered the clouds. 

For more information on <i> Going up in the Hot Air Balloon First Time Ever</i> here is an installment from First Balloon Ascension by Hatton Turner:

The series began today.


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Saturday, July 2, 2016

After the American Revolution, Where Did the Loyalists Go?

Between 40,000 and 50,000 people reached British North America by 1786.  The peace negotiators spent a lot of time on this topic. American histories tend to ignore the fate of these people.  Great suffering and deprivation was part of one the great migrations in history.

For moreinformation on <i>Loyalists Move to Canada</i> here is an installment from Where Did the Loyalists Go by Sir John George Bourinot. 


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Friday, July 1, 2016

From History Moments Semi-Annual Report

In the first half 2016 these topics were published in the blog.

Justinian Code Established in the Byzantine Empire
The Marines at Guadalcanal
The Peasants' War in Germany in the time of Martin Luther
The Reformation in Scotland
Life Sciences Discovery of Immortality of Tissues
John Knox Biography
Militarism Before World War I
Jimmu Becomes First Emperor of Japan
Frederick II Negotiates Treaty Ending Sixth Crusade
Last Days of the Confederacy (US Civil War)
Flight of the Irish Earls
Saint Bartholomew Day Massacre

These topics were covered at length in series of posts. Link to blog:


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Thursday, June 30, 2016

What Platforms to Use for History Blogs

The two major platforms are Blogger and Wordpress.

Blogger is owned by Google.  It is easy to use but is limited.  I observe that the majority of history blogs use the Blogger platform.  Ease of use seems to be historians' major consideration.

Wordpress is the heavy favorite of successful bloggers in business and other subjects.  It has a variety of features that enhance the blog posts.  For that reason as well as superior appearance, it is what my blog uses.

Here is an example of what a post looks like on blogger.

And this is the same post on Wordpress.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How to Divide History into Eras

Though a bit Eurocentric, this scheme is easy to remember.

Classical Era 500 BC to 1 BC:  From Herodotus and Confucious to Caesar.

Roman Era 1 AD to 499 AD: And wasn't the RE the most interesting empire of the time?

Dark Age 500 to 999: In Europe yes, but the barbarian invasions affected civilizations from China to the Middle East to North Africa.

Medieval Age 1000 to 1499: why call them "Middle Ages" plural?  Ditto for "Dark Ages".

European Age 1500 to 1999: when Europe affected every society on the planet.

Present Age 2000 - : Wonder what the future will call this.

For more information on <i>The Great Ages of History</i> here is a wider treatment from my main history blog:


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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

England Conquers French Canada for First Time

Did you know that England took Canada away from the French twice?  The first time was in 1632.  They also captured Samuel de Champlain and took him back to England.  Charles I sold Canada back to France for around $240,000.  How different would history have been had England kept it?

For more information on <i>France Gets Canada Back</i> here is an installment from Pioneers of France in the New World by Francis Parkman:


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Monday, June 27, 2016

Titanic Sinking

It was the iconic tragedy of an iconic ship.  The Titanic was 882 feet long, more length than most skyscrapers had height.  Maximum width was 92 feet while from keel to top deck was 94 feet.  Total passengers and crew when she left in 1912 was over 2,200.

For more information on <i>The SS Titanic</i> here is an installment from The Sinking of the Titanic by William Inglis:


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Sunday, June 26, 2016

SEO Tactics: Yes, No, and Maybe

Search Engine Optimization can get in the way of good history writing.  I ran passages from the works of the world's greatest historians and they failed SEO stress tests.  I used Youst SEO as the evaluator.  Francis Parkman and Edward Gibbon were the historians I used.  So what  SEO tactics should history bloggers use?    

Yes: Key words (and key phrases) in URL of post and alt tag in images.

No: Using key words in body that undermines quality of writing.  Dumbing down writing to pass Fleishman Tests.

Maybe:  Key word in title.  Key word in first paragraph.

Even though SEO presents special problems for history writers, SEO does not need to be ignored entirely.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Cossacks Conquer Siberia

What story has been more dramatic in history than how a small army under Yermak Timofief conquered the last redoubt of the barbarians in 1581?  Unlike Cortez's conquest of Mexico or Pizzarro's conquest of Peru, the Siberia/Mongolia region had launched barbarian invasions of civilizations from China to Europe and Africa since the beginning of civilization.  Sometimes the inhabitants of the region had expanded and pressured neighbors to migrate outward and thereby pressure their neighbors and so on until barbarians inhabiting remote regions bordering on civilizations in turn had to migrate and invade. 

One looking at history from the vantage point of the Roman Empire would have thought the homeland of the barbarians to be so strong that only the largest and most determined army could have conquered it.  That Yermak's men did it on a Cortez-style invasion, makes this story both so remarkable and important.
For more information on <i>Prelude to the Siberian Conquest</i> here is an installment from Cossaks Conquer Siberia by Nickolay M. Karamzin:


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Friday, June 24, 2016

Make Your History Content More Accessible

Whether it be a blog or a social media group, how can you find the information you want?  Face it, history blogs produce great treasuries of content but not so great pathways of accessing it.  We over-rely on that old search box.  Key word searches cannot be the end of content management.

We history bloggers can do better.  We must better index our content. 

History blogs need both the equivalent of a front-of-the-book Table of Contents and a back-of-the-book Index.  Major pathways for the history blog should be: (1) geographical by region, (2) chronological by era, and (3) categorical.  Major categories of history include political history, military history, social, cultural, economic, and religious history. 

How much more likely would you want to use a blog that allows you to drill into the content through gateways such as those suggested above?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Akbar Solidifies India

His grandfather established the Mughal Empire. Akbar conquered the great highway into the Decan -- Malwa, Khandesh, Berar, Ahmadnagar. He raised Abul Fazl to the command of the four thousand. He revitalized India's culture while promoting tolerance for all religeons.

For more information on Akbar and India here is an installment from Akbar Establishes the Moghul Empire In India by James Wheeler:

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Beware of "Top History Blogs"

Google "History Blog" or anything similar and links to "Top 100 History Blogs" or something similar will show high up in the search rankings.  Investigate a top blog in such a listing and find that their latest post was done months and years ago.  Not always but too often.  Is it too much to ask that one of the criteria for judging a blog to be "top" is that it is still active?

Two suggestions to improve "top history blog" listings:  (1) disclose selection criteria and (2) set an "as of" date, such as "Top History Blogs of 2015".

These top lists reflect badly on history blogging in general as well as history groups in social media.  Contrary to the impression given by those top sites, there are many fine history blogs going on.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Champlain Surrenders Quebec

During the 30 Years War, the English captured Quebec for the first time. The French in Canada had not yet made their colony self-sufficient. It still relied on supplies from France. In 1629 those supplies were intercepted, the colony starved, and their leader surrendered.

For more information on English Attack Quebec here is an installment from The History of France in Canada by Francis Parkman:

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Saint Bartholomew Day Massacre Gets Out of Control

1572, Paris. The massacre of the Protestants by the Catholics led by the Prince of Conde was out of control.  The occasion was the marriage of the Prince of Navarre to the Princess Margaret.  One man entered Margaret's private chambers, begging for her protection.  Elsewhere in the palace, King Charles gave Henry, the bridegroom an ultimatum:  convert in three days or loose his head.  Outside the palace, Paris began to burn.
For more information on <i>The Massacre Gets Out of Control</i> here is an installment from The St. Bartholomew Day Massacre by Henry White:


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Monday, May 23, 2016

Confederate Government's Last Days: Series End

This series begins with Confederate President Jefferson Davis in church getting handed a note.  The note was from Robert E. Lee.  It said that the army could no longer defend the capital and was retreating.  He and his government evacuated Richmond and headed south.

The series ends with Jefferson Davis, virtually alone, being surrounded by Federal cavalry and captured.  It is written by Jefferson Davis himself.
For more information:


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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Collapse of Remaining Confederate Armies

Both major armies, that commanded by Robert E. Lee and that by Joseph Johnston, have surrendered.  In the last weeks of May, the armies in Alabama and Mississippi and the Trans-Mississippi Departments surrendered.  During these calamities, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, his administration now reduced to a last remnant of escorts, left Washington, Georgia, hoping to reach whatever forces remained west of the Mississippi River.

For more information on Last Battles of the Civil War here is an installment from Confederate Government’s Last Days by Jefferson Davis:


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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Dynamic Mapping Shows Both Space and Time

Important to historians because it shows how the map changes as years goes by.  This technique shows how political boundaries move; it shows how location of economic resources and outputs; and population shifts.  Dynamic mapping shows changes, but more importantly, the length of time of changes and how suddenly or gradually the changes took place.  What does World War II like in a dynamic map?:


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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Champlain Attacks Iroquois

If you're going to Pearl Harbor someone, finish the job. The year is 1610. Francis Parkman wrote, "Judged by the standard of Indian war, a heavy blow had been struck on the common enemy. Here were hundreds of assembled warriors; yet none thought of following up their success. Elated with unexpected fortune, they danced and sang; then loaded their canoes, hung their scalps on poles, broke up their camps, and set out triumphant for their homes."

The Iroquois were to dog French Canada for the next century and a half and to the Plain of Abraham.

For more information on Champlain Dominates Canadahere is an installment from France in Canada by Francis Parkman:

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Japan's Very First Emperor

Jimmu lived around 660 BC.  This was before Japanese civilization could write so his origins and reign are half buried in legends.  Like King David of Israel, he is alleged to have composed poems or songs (psalms).

For more information on Psalms of the Emperor here is an installment from Jimmu Becomes Japan’s First Emperor by Sir Edward Reed:


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