Of Lands and Seas, A Prehistoric Age of Exploration

I know, I have been away from this blog for nearly two months.  A lot has happened here in the real world:  two days when the snowfall exceeded ten inches, the coldest day in my lifetime (-18 on February 20!), doing my taxes, another post-season where the University of Kentucky Wildcats made it to the Final Four in the basketball playoffs (the fourth time this has happened in the past five years), and three guests staying in my house over the past week.

Also, I have been composing a new history paper since the rewrite of Japan and Korea was finished, exactly two months ago.  This time it is Chapter 1 of my new South Pacific history series.  You remember how I once said it is my job to fill in the gaps other historians leave in our knowledge of the past?  Well, now I am filling in one of my own gaps; I gave you Chapter 2 last December, without giving you Chapter 1.  Since then I have remembered a funny bit Bill Murray did on Saturday Night Live many years ago.  He was supposed to review the movie “Chapter Two” and he said, “What happened to Chapter One?  I think anyone who sees Chapter Two without first seeing Chapter One has to be a jerk.”  Which naturally led to the next movie he was going to talk about, “The Jerk.”

Now I have corrected that omission by finishing Chapter 1.  Called “Of Lands and Seas, A Prehistoric Age of Exploration,” it covers the history, or should I say pre-history, of the South Pacific, from whenever the ancestors of the Australian Aborigines showed up, until 1500 A.D.  The topics covered are named as follows:

Chapter 1: Of Lands and Seas, A Prehistoric Age of Exploration

Pacific Geography

From Sunda-Land to Sahul-Land

The Melanesians

Early Austronesian Migrations

The Polynesian Expeditions

Polynesian Cultures

The Micronesians

The Tu’i Tongan "Empire"

Nan Madol

The Easter Island Mystery — Solved

Aotearoa

Epilogue

 

Or if you missed Chapter 2 and want another chance to read it, click on the link below:

Chapter 2:  Terra Australis Incognita (1500 to 1780)

As with my other history papers, I hope you enjoy reading my latest one as much as I enjoyed composing it!

Published in: on April 12, 2015 at 8:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Brooks-Baxter War

Earlier this week I read about an armed conflict fought in Arkansas during the Reconstruction era.  Of course I had to add it to Chapter 4 of my North American history project, and since it took more than a paragraph to explain, that meant creating a new section.  Here is how it reads:

The Brooks-Baxter War

While Reconstruction ended peacefully in most states, Arkansas briefly saw a second civil war, now called the “Brooks-Baxter War.” The state’s Reconstruction-era constitution, passed in 1868, did not allow former Confederates to serve in the government, so for the gubernatorial election of 1872, no Democrat ran. However, the Republicans split into two factions. The “Brindle Tails,” the local group that supported Horace Greeley and the Liberal Republicans in the presidential race, nominated Joseph Brooks, a carpetbagger, for governor; Democrats and black voters tended to back him as well. Meanwhile the establishment Republicans, now nicknamed the “Minstrels,” ran Elisha Baxter, a scalawag. We don’t know who won on Election Day because there were so many predictions and reports of fraud that one historian, Michael B. Dougan, called the election a “masterpiece of confusion.” It was decided in Baxter’s favor because those controlling the voting process favored Baxter, and they announced Baxter had won by just 3,000 votes; Brooks refused to accept this result and proclaimed himself the winner as well.

Baxter was sworn in as governor; Brooks petitioned the state legislature for a recount, and filed suits with the state courts. But the politicians and judges he approached were largely Minstrels, and thus refused to hear his case. After a year it looked like Brooks had run out of ways to overturn the election legally, when Baxter’s method of governing gave him a second chance. Baxter alienated Republicans both inside and outside Arkansas by being too friendly to Democrats (he allowed the passage of a bill re-enfranchising ex-Confederates), and by vetoing bills that would have allowed government funding for railroads; we saw earlier that most Republicans favored railroad building. The backers of Baxter began switching to Brooks, and one day in April 1874, a judge looked at an appeal Brooks had filed the previous June and suddenly ruled in his favor, awarding him $2,000 in damages and the office of governor of Arkansas.

Bringing the county sheriff and about twenty armed men, Brooks marched to the State House (the old state capitol building) and kicked Baxter out. Baxter escaped to a nearby hotel, made it his new headquarters, declared martial law over Pulaski County, called in the militia from the nearest military academy, and sent President Grant a telegram requesting military assistance in taking back the state government. Brooks in turn barricaded the doors and windows of the State House, made his own call for the militia to support him, and sent a general on his side to break into the state armory. The general brought back not only small arms and ammunition, but also two six-pounder cannon, which were aimed in the general direction of Baxter’s hotel. Baster’s men soon one-upped this by digging up a buried twenty-six-pounder left over from the previous war; they repaired the cannon so it could be used again, named it the “Lady Baxter,” and aimed it at the State House. Meanwhile, men showed up to support one governor or the other, until Brooks had an army of 600 troops on his side, and Baxter had 2,000. Skirmishes occurred around Little Rock for a month–estimates of the number of casualties range from 40 to 200–but there wasn’t an all-out battle because both forces expected Grant to send in the US Army on their side.

Grant did intervene in mid-May, first using federal troops to separate the armies of the governors, and then proclaiming that Baxter was the rightful governor. With no chance of winning left, Brooks abandoned the State House and dispersed his force. Since Baxter wasn’t on good terms with the Republican Party, it is not clear why Grant chose him; he may have simply picked the faction with the most soldiers and the biggest gun. Incidentally, the Lady Baxter was only fired once, to celebrate Baxter’s return to the State House; it is still parked on the State House Lawn.

Baxter did not celebrate his victory for long; before 1874 ended another constitution was written for Arkansas, and new elections were held. With Democrats able to participate again, and the Republicans gravely weakened, Baxter was replaced by a Democratic governor, after he had held the office for less than two years. Then in the 1876 elections for Arkansas, the Democrats won every race that mattered.

In the rest of the South, white Democrats also regained control of state governments. Sometimes they did it by forming coalitions with Republicans, emphasizing the need to build railroads and do other things to modernize the Southern economy.  Other times they did it by frightening blacks to keep them away from the polls at election time, depriving the carpetbagger governments of the votes they needed to stay in power. Still other times the Democrats persuaded scalawags and even black Republicans to switch parties and join them. Those Democrats who wanted to put the Civil War behind them were called “Redeemers,” and thus when they took over, the Southern states they ran were “redeemed.” By 1876, only Louisiana, Florida and South Carolina were still under Republican leadership.

 

Published in: on February 21, 2015 at 9:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Concise History of Korea and Japan, Revisited

Japan North Korea South Korea

The last time I completed a big webpage project, I didn’t know what I would be doing next.  It looked like I would write either a history of Central Asia or one of the South Pacific.  Indeed, in late November I realized that my notes on the South Pacific were almost complete enough to make a history paper in that series, so I completed and released that chapter.

Likewise, when my office closed for the Christmas-New Year’s break and I had plenty of time on my hands, I began working on updates to several papers, and before I knew it, I was concentrating on one area – Northeast Asia, specifically Korea and Japan.  Therefore I spent the next six weeks doing a complete rewrite of those papers.  Those papers certainly needed it.  I originally wrote the history of Korea and Japan in 1988, and look how much has happened since then; Japan got a new emperor, to start with.  Some updates were made later, but they were mostly minor, and I think the most recent one was made in 2001.  In addition, South Korea introduced a new way of spelling Korean words in English, called Revised Romanization.  For example, the South Korean city that American soldiers fought to defend in August 1950 was called Pusan back then, but it is spelled Busan now.

Another big change is that Korea and Japan are no longer in separate papers, but in separate sections of the same papers.  This way you can compare the two countries side by side and see what is happening in each.  If you’re like me, you’ll notice that their histories ran parallel, almost matching one another, in much of the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries (see Chapter 3).  Finally, quite a few new pictures were added, many of them scanned from my books, and instead of one chapter/paper for each country, there are five papers now, organized as follows:


Chapter 1: The Formation of Korean and Japanese Civilizations

Korea Before 668, Japan Before 710

Introduction to Korea

Dangun

Later Gojoseon and Jin

Japan: How It All Began

Korea: The Samhan (Proto-Three Kingdoms) Period

Japan: The Yayoi Culture

Japan: The Kofun Period

Korea: The Three Kingdoms

Japan: The Asuka Period


Chapter 2: Medieval Korea and Japan

Korea from 668 to 1637, Japan from 710 to 1603

Balhae

Japan: The Nara Period

Silla & Sinicization

Ultracivilization: The Heian Era

Goryeo: Civilization For the Few

Japan: The Kamakura Shogunate

Korea: The Joseon Dynasty

Japan: The Ashikaga Shogunate

European Contact

The Reunification of Japan


Chapter 3: Closed and Opened Societies

Korea from 1637 to 1910, Japan from 1603 to 1912

Japan: The Tokugawa Shogunate

Korea: The Hermit Kingdom

Perry Opens Japan

The Meiji Restoration

The First Sino-Japanese War

The Russo-Japanese War

The End of the Korean Empire


Chapter 4: The War-Ravaged Years

Korea from 1910 to 1953, Japan from 1912 to 1945

Korea: Pax Japonica

Japan: The Militants Take Over

World War II

   China

   Siberia or the Pacific?

   The Rise and Fall of Tojo

   Iwo Jima and Okinawa

   The Grim Endgame

The Creation of North and South Korea

The Korean War


Chapter 5: Northeast Asia Today

Korea since 1953, Japan since 1945

Japan, Incorporated

South Korea: Growing Pains

Japan’s Lost Decades

South Korea: The Sixth Time is the Charm

The Bizarre Land of North Korea

Click here for a map of Northeast Asia (160 KB, will open in a separate window).

© Copyright 2015 Charles Kimball

 

Enjoy the updates!

Published in: on February 13, 2015 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

An Encore Performance

I told you last week about a new documentary, “Patterns of Evidence:  Exodus,” which made the case that if you alter ancient Egyptian and Middle Eastern chronologies by 200-300 years, archaeological discoveries fall into place in a way that shows the Old Testament stories of Joseph, Moses and Joshua really happened.  It only showed once in the theaters; here in Lexington, KY the cinema was not quite half full, so I had no trouble getting a ticket.  I greatly enjoyed the movie; you got to hear what all the archaeologists, both pro and con, had to say about the subject.  A thirty=minute panel discussion followed the movie, hosted by Gretchen Carlson of Fox News.

Anyway, the movie did well enough that there is going to be a second show, tomorrow, January 29, at 7 PM, in more or less the same theaters.  If you missed it the first time, now’s your chance to see it.  Mark your calendar and book your tickets now!

Again, here is the movie website:

http://www.patternsofevidence.com/en/

Watch the trailer here:

http://fathom.patternsofevidence.com

And you can find our show information and buy tickets online here:

http://www.fathomevents.com/event/patterns-of-evidence-second-showing

Published in: on January 28, 2015 at 5:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Patterns of Evidence: Exodus

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Over the years I have posted updates here regarding David Rohl’s “New Chronology,” which promises to rewrite what we know about ancient history.  The latest is a new movie, called “Patterns of Evidence:  Exodus,” which puts forth the case that the Biblical stories of Joseph, Moses and Joshua really happened, but archaeologists did not find evidence for them because they were looking in the wrong place.  Or to be more exact, the evidence was in the right place, but they were looking in the wrong time; it is centuries earlier than when they expected.  Now watch David Rohl and others make the case that evidence has been found for these stories, but it wasn’t recognized as such, until recently.

Here is the movie’s official website:

http://www.patternsofevidence.com/en/

And here you can watch the trailer and buy tickets online:

http://fathom.patternsofevidence.com

 

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Unfortunately there will only be one showing of the movie in theaters, at 7 PM on Monday, January 19.  That’s tomorrow as I write this.  David Rohl is a friend of mine on Facebook, and he told me personally that although this is a quality production, it was not made by a big-name Hollywood studio, so they couldn’t get many places to show it.  Here in central Kentucky, for example, it is only appearing in three cinemas, one of which is three miles from my house, fortunately.  Now the producers are hoping it will be popular enough for them to make a DVD out of it.  I’m plugging the movie here because I have friends and relatives who can’t go tomorrow, so the DVD will be the next best thing for them.  Maybe I’ll see you in the theater tomorrow!

Published in: on January 18, 2015 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Patton’s Abandoned Rear

I just read a funny World War I story, which I just have to include in my European history papers.  It’s about a future American war hero, General George “Blood and Guts” Patton.  I just added it as a footnote to Chapter 14.  Here it is:

9. The United States established its first tank corps in 1917, and the first American soldier to join was an officer we’ll be hearing a lot from in the next war, then-Captain George S. Patton. Patton guessed that he would be seeing more action with the newly invented armored vehicles than he would if he stayed with the infantry. Before the year was over, Patton, now a colonel, was sent to find a good location in France for a tank training school; he decided a village named Bourg would do, because it had lots of mud to practice driving in. While there, the mayor of Bourg came to him with tears in his eyes, because he had failed to tell Patton of the American soldier who had died in Bourg. Patton quickly checked, and found that no one in his unit was dead, but the mayor insisted that he at least visit the soldier’s grave.

The mayor proceeded to take Patton to a mound of dirt with a stick posted in the ground at one end. Nailed crosswise on that stick was another piece of wood with the words “Abandoned Rear”; evidently the French had mistaken the sign for a cross. It wasn’t a grave but a recently closed latrine; the dirt and the sign had been left by the last person using it!

Patton didn’t tell the French the truth about that spot. In 1944, during World War II, General Patton returned to Bourg and was given a hero’s welcome by those who remembered the last time he was there. He relived memories by visiting his old office and living quarters, and noted that the village was still respectfully maintaining the “grave” of “Abandoned Rear.”

George S. Patton with his FT-17 tank, summer of 1918.

Published in: on January 2, 2015 at 12:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Holiday Recap

Since this is my first blog message for 2015, Happy New Year to everyone!

I’ve been off work since December 24; the office is closed from then until January 5, so I’m three-fourths of the way through an eleven-day vacation.  The office I worked at in Connecticut three years ago ran on the same schedule, but this time it’s a paid vacation, thank goodness, and I don’t have to drive more than 800 miles to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve with my family.

From 12/23 to 12/30 my sister and her husband were in town visiting.  The main event was Christmas dinner; Leive outdid herself again by cooking a bunch of dishes (Philippine as well as traditional American), and we brought it all to the retirement home where my Dad is staying so he could participate.  Besides the five of us, our in-laws Gene and Rezia also showed up, and we had enough left over for Leive to give plates to three or four nurses who otherwise wouldn’t have enjoyed Christmas, because they were working that evening.  So overall the party was a success.

After that I came down with a mild cold; probably picked up from the retirement home, inasmuch as many of the residents had colds or flu.  It stayed with me for nearly a week; today is the first day I didn’t feel congested, so I should be all right when I go back to work.

Not that we went out much anyway, because it has been so cold.  For the last week of the year, the weather has been below freezing almost every night.  Still no snow yet for this winter, aside from short-lived flurries, but the temperature has gotten as low as 16 degrees.  When the New Year began, scarcely a sound was heard outside here in Kentucky; obviously it was too cold for anyone to play with fireworks.  How different it was from the 4th of July, or from New Year’s Eve when we lived in Florida!

That’s the way it is as 2015 begins here; now let’s see what 2015 will bring.

Published in: on January 2, 2015 at 12:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Terra Australis Incognita

I have a holiday surprise for my readers!  You may consider it my Hanukkah/Christmas gift to you.  While going through my notes over the past week, it occurred to me that because I had written about the exploration of the Pacific, on and off over the years, it wouldn’t take too much effort to turn it into a full-fledged history chapter.  So here it is, covering the South Pacific during its age of exploration:

Chapter 2: Terra Australis Incognita

1500 to 1780 A.D.

Demographics at the Time of the European Arrival

The Mysterious Southern Continent

Did Spain Discover Hawaii First?

The Spanish Lake

Early Expeditions to Australia

The Discovery of Easter Island

The Discovery of Tahiti

Captain Cook

I know, Chapter 1 hasn’t been written yet, so II ‘d better compose something soon for the years before 1500.  It reminds me of when Neil Simon produced a movie called “Chapter 2,” and people wondered, “Where’s Chapter 1?”  Currently I estimate it will take four chapters to tell the complete story of Oceania, since there are not a whole lot of people in the region, or many records before the last few centuries.  In that sense, Chapter 1 will be prehistory more than written history.

Because I have started a new subject on The Xenophile Historian, I will also have to post links to it from all the other folders.  That will take a few days, but the most important links, from this blog and the home page, are up already.

http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/pacific/pacific2.html

Perhaps Melikaliki Maka (Merry Christmas in Hawaiian) is the most appropriate thing to say here!

Published in: on December 21, 2014 at 10:26 pm  Comments (1)  

Just a Menorah for the First Night

Happy Hanukkah and Chag Sameach!

Published in: on December 16, 2014 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Don’t Environmentalists Have Respect for Native American Achievements?

You certainly think they would, since they are leftists.  Apparently Greenpeace doesn’t, because they set up one of their messages next to one of the more famous Nazca drawings in Peru, and it looks like the footprints and tire tracks they left getting to the site have damaged the monument.  If you want to discredit the cause you’re supporting, here’s how to do it!

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And here is the article:

This Greenpeace Stunt May Hare Irreparably Damaged Peru’s Nazca Site

For me, this struck home because three years ago, I wrote about the Nazca civilization, for Chapter 1 of my Latin American history project.  Of course I wanted to put in a picture showing an example of the Nazca lines, so I went to my books and scanned a picture of the very same formation, the “hummingbird geoglyph”:

Considering that the lines are more than a thousand years old, I didn’t think the picture would go out of date this quickly!

Published in: on December 14, 2014 at 2:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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