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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

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World History

A group about World History so that I do not end up spamming my USA and Non USA News Group

Location: #culture
Members: 17
Latest Activity: yesterday

Discussion Forum

How the British Divided Up the Arab World

Started by Hope. Last reply by Chris Oct 15, 2016. 7 Replies

How the British Divided Up the Arab WorldThe development of the modern nation states throughout the Arab world is a fascinating and heartbreaking process. 100 years ago, most Arabs were part of the…Continue

Tags: Arab, World, Up, Divided, the

History Snippets

Started by Doone. Last reply by Tom Sarbeck Oct 12, 2016. 3 Replies

AN AMERICAN CREATION STORYby Akim ReinhardtThere is scientific evidence indicating that Asiatic peoples migrated…Continue

Tags: Snippets, History

Old Time Religion and Buildings

Started by Doone. Last reply by Onyango Makagutu Nov 30, 2012. 1 Reply

Tatev Monastery - Tatev, ArmeniaThe Tatev monastery once played a notable role in the advancement of medieval Armenian culture when it housed the University of Tatev in the 14th and 15th…Continue

Tags: Buildings, and, Religion, Time, Old

THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND THE RISE OF ISLAM

Started by Doone. Last reply by Doone Jul 11, 2012. 2 Replies

THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND THE RISE OF ISLAMTom Holland in The Guardian:Whenever modern civilisations…Continue

Tags: AND, RISE, ISLAM, EMPIRE, ROMAN

Comment Wall

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Comment by Doone on July 30, 2012 at 9:32am

Why Does The Week Exist?

William Deresiewicz rails against the 7-day period, the only measure of time "that’s not connected to the movements of the sun or moon":

Just consider the feelings the words arouse. Day: nothing much, except a little bit of hopefulness, maybe. Week: dread, languor, tedium, woe. Yes, we sometimes speak about making it through the day, if we’re having a bad one, but as Erma Bombeck knew, we always speak about making it through the week. Despite the etymology of the word, it is the week, and not the day, that has become the repository of the quotidian: of triviality, of drudgery, of routine. Days differ; weeks are always the same. Days begin with dawn; weeks begin with Monday.

Comment by Doone on July 29, 2012 at 9:36pm

THE RUINS OF EMPIRE: ASIA'S EMERGENCE FROM WESTERN IMPERIALISM

Pankaj Mishra in The Guardian:

EmpireThe unctuous belief that British imperialists, compared to their Belgian and French counterparts, were exponents of fair play has been dented most recently by revelations about mass murder and torture during the British suppression of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in the 1950s. Nevertheless, in one of the weirdest episodes of recent history, a Kipling-esque rhetoric about bringing free trade and humane governance to "lesser breeds outside the law" has resonated again in the Anglo-American public sphere. Even before 9/11, Tony Blair was ready to tend, with military means if necessary, to, as he put it, "the starving, the wretched, the dispossessed, the ignorant" around the world. His apparently more intellectual rival Gordon Brown urged his compatriots to be "proud" of their imperial past. Sensing a sharper rightward shift after 9/11, many pith-helmet-and-jodhpurs fetishists boisterously outed themselves, exhorting politicians to recreate a new western imperium through old-style military conquest and occupation of native lands.

Embracing such fantasies of "full-spectrum dominance", American and European policymakers failed to ask themselves a simple question: whether, as Jonathan Schell put it, "the people of the world, having overthrown the territorial empires, are ready to bend the knee to an American overlord in the 21st"? After two unwinnable wars and horribly botched nation-building efforts, and many unconscionable human losses (between 600,000 and one million in Iraq alone), the "neo-imperialists" offering seductive fantasies of the west's potency look as reliable as the peddlers of fake Viagra. Yet, armour-plated against actuality by think tanks, academic sinecures and TV gigs, they continue to find eager customers. Of course, as the historian Richard Drayton points out, the writing of British imperial history, has long been a "patriotic enterprise". Wishing to "celebrate" empire, Michael Gove plans to entrust the task of rewriting the history syllabus to Niall Ferguson, one of the "neo-imperialist" cheerleaders of the assault on Iraq, who now craves "creative destruction" in Iran and whose "skilful revision of history" the Guardian's Jeevan Vasagar asserted last month, "will reverberate for years to come".

Read the rest here.

Posted by Zujaja Tauqeer at 09:56 AM | Permalink 

Comment by Doone on July 19, 2012 at 10:51am

FROM THE RUINS OF EMPIRE

From The Guardian:

From-the-Ruins-of-Empire-TheDebates about the rise of the modern west (and corresponding decline of the east) remain a fertile source of historical polemic. Such oppositional historiography – the idea of a head-on clash of civilisations, with a clear winner and loser – seems to hold a perennial appeal in terms of both its simplicity and its drama of antagonism. Last year, Niall Ferguson – in his pugnaciously titledCivilization: The Six Ways the West Beat the Rest – brought the subject back into sharp media focus. "The rise of the west," he argued, "is the pre-eminent historical phenomenon of the second half of the second millennium after Christ. It is the story at the very heart of modernhistory. It is perhaps the most challenging riddle historians have to solve." To condense two extremes of a now venerable argument, the old school contended that somewhere in the early modern period a progressive and free-trading Europe surged ahead through innate superiority of character and government, while ancient superpowers such as China turned complacently in on themselves. A newer, postcolonial school places the "great divergence" rather later, arguing that until 1800, the Chinese empire largely kept up with Britain, the most prosperous and vigorous of the European economies. Early in the 19th century, however, Britain began to nose ahead, through sheer good fortune. Easy access to coal and Caribbean sugar fuelled the steam-power and workforces of the industrial revolution. New World calories, timber and silver (paying for tea, coffee, textiles) in turn liberated millions of European arable acres for other productive purposes, permitting the industrial revolution to generate firepower that, by the 1840s, was trouncing the great non-European conquest empires.

In From the Ruins of Empire, Pankaj Mishra turns his attention to the other side of the story: to attempts by Asian thinkers (in Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Turkey) to rebuild their cultural and political identities after collisions with the imperialist west. His account begins in the first half of the 19th century with the west already approaching ascendancy in east Asia, India and the Muslim world. It spans Asia's steady disillusionment with western modernity through two world wars, then ends with the rise of China, India and global Islam, and the much-rumoured decline of the west.

More here.

Posted by Azra Raza at 07:28 AM | Permalink 

Comment by Doone on June 24, 2012 at 9:32pm

Stonehenge was monument marking unification of Britain

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120622163722.htm

June 24, 2012

ScienceDaily (June 22, 2012) — After 10 years of archaeological investigations, researchers have concluded that Stonehenge was built as a monument to unify the peoples of Britain, after a long period of conflict and regional difference between eastern and western Britain.

Its stones are thought to have symbolized the ancestors of different groups of earliest farming communities in Britain, with some stones coming from southern England and others from west Wales.

The teams, from the universities of Sheffield, Manchester, Southampton, Bournemouth and University College London, all working on the Stonehenge Riverside Project (SRP), explored not just Stonehenge and its landscape but also the wider social and economic context of the monument's main stages of construction around 3,000 BC and 2,500 BC.

"When Stonehenge was built," said Professor Mike Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield, "there was a growing island-wide culture -- the same styles of houses, pottery and other material forms were used from Orkney to the south coast. This was very different to the regionalism of previous centuries. Stonehenge itself was a massive undertaking, requiring the labour of thousands to move stones from as far away as west Wales, shaping them and erecting them. Just the work itself, requiring everyone literally to pull together, would have been an act of unification."

Stonehenge may have been built in a place that already had special significance for prehistoric Britons. The SRP team have found that its solstice-aligned Avenue sits upon a series of natural landforms that, by chance, form an axis between the directions of midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset.

Professor Parker Pearson continued: "When we stumbled across this extraordinary natural arrangement of the sun's path being marked in the land, we realized that prehistoric people selected this place to build Stonehenge because of its pre-ordained significance. This might explain why there are eight monuments in the Stonehenge area with solstitial alignments, a number unmatched anywhere else. Perhaps they saw this place as the centre of the world."

Although many people flocked to Stonehenge June 21 for the summer solstice, it seems that the winter solstice was the more significant time of the year when Stonehenge was built 5,000-4,500 years ago.

Professor Parker Pearson said: "We can tell from aging of the pig teeth that higher quantities of pork were eaten during midwinter at the nearby settlement of Durrington Walls, and most of the monuments in the Stonehenge area are aligned on sunrise and sunset at midwinter rather than midsummer. At Stonehenge itself, the principal axis appears to be in the opposite direction to midsummer sunrise, towards midsummer sunset, framed by the monument's largest stone setting, the great trilithon."

Comment by Doone on June 22, 2012 at 7:06pm

A NUN'S STORY — LESSONS FROM HISTORY

Via Elizabeth A. Lehfeldt at Wonders & Marvels:

It is not often that my research is topical.Nun's storyMost people feign polite interest when I tell them I study sixteenth-century Spanish convents. But with the recent controversy over the Catholic Church’s scrutiny of the behavior and activities of American nuns, the subject of female monasticism has enjoyed an unprecedented timeliness.

My goal in this essay is not to enter the twenty-first century polemic; I’m much more comfortable in the sixteenth century. I would offer, however, the following observation: that certain assumptions and even stereotypes undergird the remarks of some of the participants in the current debate.  And here is where history can be so useful. Arguably, we root some of our modern interpretations of nuns in what we think convents were like in the premodern period.

Read more here.

Posted by Zujaja Tauqeer at 02:49 PM | Permalink

Comment by Doone on June 14, 2012 at 6:56am

Jun. 13, 2012

funny pictures history - Refreshing Oppression
When you’re russian for a drink there’s no time for stalin.

Comment by Doone on May 19, 2012 at 6:12pm

NOTES FROM ICELAND

Justin Erik Halldór Smith in his blog:

ScreenHunter_10 May. 19 23.16I am in Iceland for the first time in many years, for no better reason than that Icelandair offers extended stopovers on transatlantic flights at no additional cost. I cross the Atlantic as casually as one might take the subway from borough to borough, but now that I am here, again, in Reykjavik, it seems to me that, if we have to fly at all, stopovers in Iceland should not just be possible, but mandatory. They make it all make sense.

This basalt island, really only a side-effect of the volcanic eruptions of only one segment of the vast Mid-Atlantic Range (which also includes something called the 'Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone', where by contrast I hope never to find myself): this island, I say, is not all that far from the Faeroes, which are in turn a short hop to the Hebrides, and from there another shorter one to mainland Scotland. In the other direction, there is really only a channel, and not open ocean, separating Iceland from Greenland, and again a smaller one separating Greenland from Baffin, and Baffin from Labrador.

A series of small hops then, brings one from Europe to North America, and even in the absence of archaeological evidence it is not hard to understand why, when Jacques Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence in the 1530s, local Iroquois ran out to greet the ship with furs in hand, ready, to all appearances, to resume a well established trade.

More here.

Posted by Abbas Raza at 05:17 PM | Permalink 

Comment by Doone on May 19, 2012 at 12:27am

WHAT MAKES COUNTRIES RICH OR POOR?

Diamond_1-060712_jpg_470x420_q85Jared Diamond reviews Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, in the NYRB:

There is no doubt that good institutions are important in determining a country’s wealth. But why have some countries ended up with good institutions, while others haven’t? The most important factor behind their emergence is the historical duration of centralized government. Until the rise of the world’s first states, beginning around 3400 BC, all human societies were bands or tribes or chiefdoms, without any of the complex economic institutions of governments. A long history of government doesn’t guarantee good institutions but at least permits them; a short history makes them very unlikely. One can’t just suddenly introduce government institutions and expect people to adopt them and to unlearn their long history of tribal organization.

That cruel reality underlies the tragedy of modern nations, such as Papua New Guinea, whose societies were until recently tribal. Oil and mining companies there pay royalties intended for local landowners through village leaders, but the leaders often keep the royalties for themselves. That’s because they have internalized their society’s practice by which clan leaders pursue their personal interests and their own clan’s interests, rather than representing everyone’s interests.

The various durations of government around the world are linked to the various durations and productivities of farming that was the prerequisite for the rise of governments. For example, Europe began to acquire highly productive agriculture 9,000 years ago and state government by at least 4,000 years ago, but subequatorial Africa acquired less productive agriculture only between 2,000 and 1,800 years ago and state government even more recently. Those historical differences prove to have huge effects on the modern distribution of wealth.

Posted by Robin Varghese at 07:24 PM | Permalink 

Comment by Doone on May 17, 2012 at 8:34pm

Ramree Island, Burma

Ramree Island, Burma

Ramree Island may be in the beautiful Burma, but nothing about this place is beautiful. It's actually just a giant swamp full of thousands of saltwater crocodiles—which are the deadliest in the world—plus mosquitos loaded with malaria, oh, and venomous scorpions. Also, there was a six-week long battle here during WWII, in which only twenty Japanese soliders survived... out of 1000. And most were killed by the wildlife.

Comment by Doone on May 17, 2012 at 8:34pm

St. Helena

St. Helena

If you somehow end up in the same place where Napoleon was imprisoned and spent his final days, things are probably going wrong. Oh yeah, and there's no functioning airport, either. The only way you can get on or off the island is via container ships from South Africa. Which only come every few months.

 

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