I just sent it out. Here it is, if you’re not on my e-mail list.
The Xenophile Historian Newsletter, #25
( http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/ )
Greetings once again to all my loyal readers! This is Charles Kimball, here to give you the latest news on my world history website. If you are a long-time reader you may notice I’m here early. A few times in the past I have let more than twelve months go by between newsletters, but this time it has only been five months since the previous one. Well, I have a lot to report, starting with not one, not two, but SEVEN new history papers on the site! How did I do it while working full-time? Well, let’s get into the details and find out.
When I sent out the last newsletter, there were two parts of the world I hadn’t written history papers on yet: Central Asia and the South Pacific. Well, for years I had been collecting notes about the exploration of the Pacific, and that decided the matter, when I realized it would not take much effort to combines those notes into one history paper. So I did that and in record time (it was done in a month and a half), I had a chapter for a history series on Oceania (Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, and all the little islands of the Pacific). However, it covered the years from 1500 to 1780, so it could not be the first chapter in the series; I called it Chapter 2, Terra Australis Incognita.
Later, after rewriting the papers on the site about Japan and Korea (more about that below), it occurred to me that if Chapter 2 is already up, I’d better not wait too long before writing Chapter 1. You may remember how I once said it is my job to fill in the gaps other historians leave in our knowledge of the past, and now I had to fill in one of my own gaps! I was reminded of a funny bit Bill Murray did on Saturday Night Live, back around 1980. 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.”
Therefore I 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. It also did not take long to put together, because I had no written records to look up and read. All I had to do was mention what archaeologists have found so far, include a few native legends about how their tribes got started, and make sure I did not overlook any of the two dozen or so archipelagoes in the region. Thus, Chapter 1 was a two-month job, which was finished by mid-April. Here is the link to Chapter 1, and the list of topics covered:
Chapter 1: Of Lands and Seas, A Prehistoric Age of Exploration
Before 1500 A.D.
From Sunda-Land to Sahul-Land
Early Austronesian Migrations
The Polynesian Expeditions
The Tu’i Tongan “Empire”
The Easter Island Mystery — Solved
And here (now in the right order) is Chapter 2:
Chapter 2: Terra Australis Incognita
1500 to 1780
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
The First Voyage
The Second Voyage
The Third Voyage
And the homepage for the new folder on the site is http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/pacific/index.html .
At the same time, I realized the pages on Japanese and Korean history needed to be updated, because I had not done much with them in at least a dozen years, and a lot has happened in Northeast Asia since 2002. For one thing, South Korea has introduced a new way to write Korean words in the Latin (Western) alphabet, called Revised Romanization, and that alone rendered the Korean page out of date. I also decided to combine the two histories into one, because on more than one occasion the same event affected both countries, like the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95. Thus, with much of the narrative you will have one section about Japan, the next about Korea, and so on; I hope readers won’t find it too disconnected, compared with previous versions. Between that, adding recent events, expanding older material, and putting in new pictures, by the time I was done in February, I had five chapters where there used to be two! Here is how they are organized now:
Chapter 1: The Formation of Korean and Japanese Civilizations
Korea Before 668, Japan Before 710
Introduction to Korea
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
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
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
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
South Korea: Growing Pains
Japan’s Lost Decades
South Korea: The Sixth Time is the Charm
The Bizarre Land of North Korea
Of course, after announcing seven new papers on the site, anything else happening will seem anticlimatic, by comparison. In fact, there are only two other things I find big enough to be worth mentioning, so this newsletter will finish in a hurry.
For the European history, I read a hilarious World War I story about George S. Patton, the future American general and war hero. The story covered what happened when the French discovered what they thought was the grave of an American soldier, and showed it to Patton. Naturally it deserved to be repeated, so I gave it a footnote here:
And in US history, I learned that Arkansas had a mini-civil war a few years after the big civil war you’ve heard of, over the issue of who would be the state’s next governor. You can read about this conflict, the Brooks-Baxter War, in a new section added to Chapter 4 of the North American history:
What’s next on the agenda? I will continue writing about the South Pacific, now that I have started that project. The way things are going, I may be able to finish with just two more chapters. And I will probably update another existing project before I write the next newsletter; most likely I will update the Chinese history, because it got its last major revision in the 1990s. And then there is Central Asia, which I must get done in order to make good my claim to have written the history of just about everybody. That is a project I have been putting off since 1992, and I’d better not put it off much longer. May you have a great 2015, and keep on reading!
If you missed older issues of this newsletter and want to see them, they can be downloaded in a zip file from http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/download/index.html . And the links below go to topics I mentioned in previous issues, that are still valid. Please visit them, if you haven’t already:
The Xenohistorian Weblog, this site’s official blog.
My world history textbook, “A Biblical Interpretation of World History.”
And my business website:
Take Care and God Bless,
Charles Scott Kimball
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