Friday, September 30, 2011

German New Guinea - How Germany lost its territory in Pacific

In August 1914 the British called on the Australian and New Zealand governments to capture Germany's colonial possessions in the Pacific. Among the most important was German New Guinea, annexed in 1884. Comprising the north-east of the island (Kaiser-Wilhelmsland) and several nearby islands (the Bismarck Archipelago), German New Guinea boasted Germany's largest force in the Pacific, with more than 600 natives led by German officers and reservists.

The postcard from German New Guinea
Australian troops sailed to New Pomerania (now New Britain) to seize Rabaul, the administrative capital of German Oceania. Two parties struggled to pick their way through dense jungle. Then they encountered fierce resistance, coming under heavy fire from German and native gunmen hidden in trees and hastily built trenches.

The Pirates Were Never Say That

Brace yourself for a barrage of "salty dogs," "scallywags," and "swabbies." Monday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a parody holiday and general nerdfest ginned up on an Oregon racquetball court in 1995 to honor buccaneer speech of the 17th and 18th centuries.

But did pirates really "arr" and "avast" all the time? Probably not, experts say, though it's tough to say exactly how most so-called "Golden Age pirates really talked.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Samurai: A Short History

Japan has a history that dates back thousands of years. Scientists believe the Japanese people descended from many groups that migrated to the islands from other parts of Asia, including China and Korea. As early as 4500 B.C., the Japanese islands were inhabited by fishermen, hunters and farmers. The early culture was known as "Jomon," which meant "cord pattern."


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Queen Elizabeth I's Fashions

In theory what one may wear is governed by “Acts of Apparel”, detailed regulations with the force of law. Thus only Knights of the garter and persons of the rank of Earl and above, for example, are supposed to wear cloth of gold or silver or purple silk. There are exemptions for gentlemen actually in attendance on the Queen or serving on a foreign embassy or having a disposable income of at least 200 pounds a year. In practice, outside a royal court, these rules are widely ignored.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Jewish Diaspora from AD 70 to 1800

For over 2000 years the history of the Jews has combined external dispersal with internal cohesion. The decisive dispersal of the Jewish people took place under Rome. Although the Jewish revolts of AD 66 – 73 and 132 – 5 and their vigorous supression by the Romans, as well as Hadrian’s measures to de –Judaize Jerusalem, caused rapid deterioration in the position of the Jews in Judaea, elsewhere in the Roman world their legal and economical status and the viability of their communities remained unaffected.

This stimulated a constant flow of migration from Palestine, Mesopotamia and Alexandria to the western and northern shores of Mediterranean. Consequently, widely scattered by internally cohesive Jewish communities developed all over the west and north of the Roman empire: in Italy, in Spain and as far north as Cologne. The Cairo community was a major element in Mediterranean commerce and has left its detailed records (the Cairo ‘Genizah’) of life there during the Middle Ages.

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