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


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: 18
Latest Activity: on Sunday

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 has Fremdschämen. Last reply by May the Big Bang RIP 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 has Fremdschämen. 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


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

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


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Comment by Doone has Fremdschämen 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 has Fremdschämen 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.

Comment by Doone has Fremdschämen on May 15, 2012 at 1:35pm

Time Line of European History

Comment by Doone has Fremdschämen on May 15, 2012 at 8:56am

The Origin Of The Taco

According to Jeffrey Pilcher, author Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food, it's pretty recent:

My theory is that it dates from the 18th century and the silver mines in Mexico, because in those mines the word “taco” referred to the little charges they would use to excavate the ore. These were pieces of paper that they would wrap around gunpowder and insert into the holes they carved in the rock face. When you think about it, a chicken taquito with a good hot sauce is really a lot like a stick of dynamite. The first references [to the taco] in any sort of archive or dictionary come from the end of the 19th century. And one of the first types of tacos described is called tacos de minero—miner’s tacos. So the taco is not necessarily this age-old cultural expression; it’s not a food that goes back to time immemorial.

Comment by Doone has Fremdschämen on May 10, 2012 at 10:59am



When the ancient geographer Strabo described the native inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula, he listed – with a predictable combination of relish, horror and exaggeration – all kinds of aspects of their weird barbarity. Some of the Spanish tribesmen, he insisted, stored vintage urine in cisterns and then bathed in it, or used it to clean their teeth. Others dressed their women up with iron rods around their necks rather than jewellery. Others, still stranger, appeared to have no gods. No less remarkable, for Strabo, was the bafflement some of these poor Spaniards felt at the day-to-day habits of their new Roman allies or conquerors. One group of tribesmen, he explained, visiting a Roman camp and seeing some generals taking a stroll, “walking up and down the road”, thought they were “mad and tried to take them back into their tents”, either to sit down and rest, or get up and fight. Despite Strabo’s patronizing tone, it’s one of those rare occasions where we can catch a glimpse of the barbarian point of view on the Romans. The Spaniards presumably thought that walking was something that got a person from A to B (or from tent to battleground). What on earth then were these Roman generals doing as they ambled around, chatting, but not actually going anywhere?

more from Mary Beard at the TLS here.

Posted by Morgan Meis at 09:34 AM | Permalink

Comment by Doone has Fremdschämen on May 8, 2012 at 8:29am


by Akim Reinhardt

Slave saleSince the Civil War, the American South has mostly been a one-party region.  However, by the turn of the 21st century, its political affiliation had actually swung from the Democrats to the Republicans.  Here’s how it happened.

It is not an oversimplification to say that slavery was the single most important issue leading to the Civil War.  For not only was slavery the most important on its own merits, but none of the other relevant issues, such as expansion into the western territories or states’ rights, would have mattered much at all if not for their indelible connection to slavery.

Initially, Northerners rallied around the issue of Free Soil: opposition to slavery on economic grounds.  Small farmers and new industrial workers did not want to compete with large slave plantations and unpaid slave labor.  This was the philosophy that bound together the new  Republican Party.  

No friends of African Americans, most Free Soilers were openly racist, as were the vast majority of white Americans at the time.  Abolitionists, who were fired by religion and opposed human bondage on moral grounds, were actually a small minority of the population  However, as the bloody war raged on, Northerners began to seek moral assurance in their cause.  For more and more people, the mere political goal of saving the union did not seem to justify the unholy slaughter of men by the tens of thousand.  Though preserving the union was always Abraham Lincoln’s primary goal, he astutely played to this concern by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation and establishing abolition as the war’s moral compass.  It worked.  The North persisted, won the war, abolished slavery, and forced the South to return.

Continue reading "The Birth, Decline, and Re-Emergence of the Solid...

Posted by Akim Reinhardt at 12:05 AM | Permalink

Comment by Doone has Fremdschämen on May 3, 2012 at 7:04pm


An exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

Peter Brown in the New York Review of Books:

ScreenHunter_07 May. 03 22.23In the century between 630 and 730 a considerable portion of the Old World took on its modern face. Through a series of astonishing campaigns, Arab Muslim armies created a single empire that, for a time, would reach from southern Spain to northern India and the western borders of China. From the “big bang” of these conquests a new galaxy emerged. From then onward, a closely interconnected chain of Muslim regions (one part of which, from modern Morocco to the borders of Iran, came to speak Arabic) stretched across Africa and Eurasia, joining the Atlantic to western China. A new civilization came into being, one that has lasted, with many permutations, into our own days. In the words of Finbarr Flood, a major contributor to the catalog of the Metropolitan Museum’s somewhat modestly titled exhibition “Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century),” the foundation of the Arab empire was “one of the most remarkable achievements in human history.”

The exhibition takes us to the heart of this great detonation. It embraces the last century of the pre-Islamic Middle East and the first two centuries of Islam. To our surprise, we do not find ourselves in a world swept by a mighty wind. Instead, we enter a series of quiet rooms where time seems to stand still. Like a perfect late fall day, only the occasional rustle of a falling leaf startles us into realizing that the seasons are about to change. The few clear signs that Islam had, indeed, become politically dominant in the Middle East by the end of the seventh century strike us with almost ominous intensity. For there are so few of them.

More here.

Posted by Abbas Raza at 04:24 PM | Permalink

Comment by Doone has Fremdschämen on April 15, 2012 at 8:11pm
The Missoula Floods

Via Lynn Suckow

Imagine a huge lake, one that's about half the size of Lake Michigan, but held back on one end with ice. Now imagine that the ice dam holding back all 500 cubic miles of water burst, and the water had to find somewhere to go.

One more thing -- imagine that the water was angry.

Now imagine it happening on 40 separate occasions. Beginning around 15,000 years ago, angry, rushing, ice-filled water stormed across Montana, Idaho, Was... at 80 miles per hour, mutilating the land like God's rototiller as it went. The rage started at glacial Lake Missoula in Montana, which no longer exists today, then went crashing across the northwestern United States, rushing all the way to the Columbia River before its thirst for destruction was quenched.

Along the way, the water got up to 400 feet deep and released more energy than 4,500 megatons of TNT. In case you were counting, that is 22.5 Krakatoas. Here's what 4,500 roving megatons of TNT does to the land, by the way:



It scarred up the earth so badly that there is a part of Washington now cruelly referred to as the "Scablands."


Let's put it another way. Look at these boulders:



Those rocks were tossed across the landscape by the floods, either rolled along by giant walls of water or carried on giant aircraft carrier sized ice rafts and deposited on the ground when the waters finally subsided, no doubt covering the remains of woolly mammoths that were flattened like bugs.

The most insane part is that scientists estimate that this happened every 40 to 55 years, for 2,000 years.

Read more: 5 Acts of Nature That Rearranged the Face of the Planet |

Comment by Doone has Fremdschämen on April 15, 2012 at 8:09pm
Alexander the Great Turns an Island Into a Peninsula

You need a lot of impressive things on your resume to earn a title like "The Great," but Alexander the Great's most awesome accomplishment has to be when he conquered the unconquerable city of Tyre.

Minas Tirith can suck it.

Located off the Mediterranean coast of present-day Lebanon, Tyre was pretty much an ancient Phoenician Azkaban Prison. The city was an island whose walls extended directly into the water, which meant that even if Alexander had a navy with him (which he didn't), his entire army would splash as helplessly against Tyre's defenses as piss off a flagpole.

Alexander's solution to this dilemma: Simply change the map forever by making the island not be an island any more.

It sounds like something that would only work in a cartoon, since it would require them to spontaneously construct a kilometer-long land bridge to link Tyre back up with Eurasia, by hand. They did it anyway.

Slowly, and while being pelted with arrows and bombarded by Tyre's navy, Alexander's men built their new land mass, one stone at a time.

It's still there.

Once the new land mass was in place, he was able to wheel his siege towers right up to the fortress. Ships belonging to his allies eventually came to help out, possibly because they heard what they thought was a ridiculous rumor and wanted to come see if it was true.

With Tyre now checkmated, Alexander personally led the final charge against the city from the top of his tallest siege-tower. The city fell to Alexander, and with it its status as an island. You might be asking the obvious question, which is why he didn't have his men keep throwing down rocks until they'd formed a huge "ALEXANDER WAS HERE" in the Mediterranean sea--and of course the answer is that he could not have known that aerial photography would one day be invented.

Read more: 5 Ancient Acts of War That Changed the Face of the Earth |

Comment by Doone has Fremdschämen on April 15, 2012 at 8:08pm
The Mongols Erase Baghdad

We have previously mentioned how one heart attack stopped the Mongols from taking over the Western world. If you would like to know what that would have looked like, let's take a look at what happened to Baghdad.

The city of Baghdad was once a pretty big deal. Like, the biggest deal on the planet for at least 500 years. This is because it was situated at the crossroads of three continents; an intellectual cantina for most of the planet's merchants, smugglers and wookiee co-pilots. It was home to some of history's oldest buildings and civilizations dating back to Babylon. Naturally, this all sounded really "Chinese" to the Mongols, which is why the Mongols resolved to destroy it. (The Mongols really didn't like the Chinese.)

Under the command of Genghis Khan's grandson Hulagu, the Mongols went to war with the Persians and the first stop was Baghdad. They captured the city in less than two weeks, looted its mosques and massacred anywhere between 100,000 and 1,000,000 civilians.

Tragic, yes, but it does make for excellent paintings.

Sounds like a dime-a-dozen Mongolian conquest, right? Well, this was just the pregame, since Hulagu Khan didn't schlep all the way to a city like Baghdad just to kill people.

All of its prized schools and libraries like the Grand Library of Baghdad? The contents dumped into the Tigris until the river ran black. Its magnificent works of architecture, some of them taking generations to build? Leveled. Its prized irrigation system, the breadbasket of Mesopotamia for thousands of years? Filled in.

What used to be fertile farmland dried up and turned to desert. The city sat as an abandoned ruin for centuries. Baghdad wasn't just destroyed. The Mongols hit the reset button on everything that made it possible.

To get a sense of the sheer scale of the destruction, realize that to this day, Baghdad has yet to recover these losses from--checking our calendar--760 years ago.

Read more: 5 Ancient Acts of War That Changed the Face of the Earth |


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