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:


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

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:


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

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:


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

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:


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

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:

Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

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:

Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->

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:


Don't forget The Basic History Library (free). ------------->