Searching for: "Colin Fluxman"

  • Charles River Editors

    The modern history of Africa was, until very recently, written on behalf of the indigenous races by the white man, who had forcefully entered the continent during a particularly hubristic and dynamic phase of European history. In 1884, Prince Otto von Bismarck, the German chancellor, brought the plenipotentiaries of all major powers of Europe together, to deal with Africa's colonization in such a manner as to avoid provocation of war. This event—known as the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885—galvanized a phenomenon that came to be known as the Scramble for Africa. The conference established two fundamental rules for European seizure of Africa. The first of these was that no recognition of...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The modern history of Africa was, until very recently, written on behalf of the indigenous races by the white man, who had forcefully entered the continent during a particularly hubristic and dynamic phase of European history. In 1884, Prince Otto von Bismark, the German chancellor, brought the plenipotentiaries of all major powers of Europe together, to deal with Africa's colonization in such a manner as to avoid provocation of war. This event—known as the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885—galvanized a phenomenon that came to be known as the Scramble for Africa. The conference established two fundamental rules for European seizure of Africa. The first of these was that no recognition of...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    In August 2017, Turkey’s President Recip Tayyip Erdogan gave a directive to the Foreign Ministry to go into ravaged Syria and rescue an 87-year-old Turkish man stranded in Damascus by the civil war. The elderly gentleman lived his life simply and quietly. He disliked drawing attention to himself, and he was grieving for his wife who had just died. The man called himself Dundar Abdulkerim Osmanoglu, but many affixed the title Sehzade (“Prince”) to his name, for he was Head of the imperial House of Osman and heir to the defunct throne of the Ottoman Empire. His ancestors had created an Empire that had lasted for over 600 years and caused the greatest rulers of both the Muslim East and...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    April 7 is World Health Organization Day, in honor of the day that the World Health Organization held the first World Health Assembly in 1948. International health conferences had been held nearly a century before this date, and international health organizations had been established in the half-century prior to the creation of the World Health Organization, but 1948 marked the year that a formal institution was created to direct and implement a concerted and truly global effort to investigate, prevent, control, and cure disease. As the world recovered from the Second World War, which included the reconstruction of Europe, the emergence of the United States as a world superpower, the spread...read more

  • Charles River Editors

     On the morning of June 22, 1948, the HMT Empire Windrush, a repurposed German troopship, drew up alongside the Tilbury docks, lowering its gangplanks onto the wide, cobbled quays. To the casual interest of the dockworkers, a small army of well-dressed, luggage laden blacks stepped onto the shores of England, looking around for the first time at their new home. Most originated from Kingston, the capital of the British island colony of Jamaica, with a few others from Trinidad and a handful of other British Caribbean dependencies. These were the men and women who led the vanguard of what would come to be known as the Windrush Generation, the first substantial wave of non-white immigration to...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    However diverse Sicily might be, it is also paradoxically considered to be an emblem of Italy itself, a paradox it shares with Naples. In fact, Frederick II was the last ruler of a fully autonomous Sicily, and his son, Manfred (r. 1254-1258), was the final Norman ruler in Sicily. Manfred met his death heroically on the battlefield, fighting the army of Charles of Anjou after Charles was made King of Rome by the Vatican in 1266. Charles chose Naples as the capital of his lands, and this created tensions between his people and the Sicilians, culminating with a rebellion known as the Sicilian Vespers of 1282. According to legend, the rebellion started after a French soldier harassed a Sicilian...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The Byzantine Empire was the heir to two great cultures that cradled and nurtured European civilization: Greece and Rome. Constantinople, now called Istanbul, became a center of power, culture, trade, and technology poised on the edges of Europe and Asia, and its influence was felt not only throughout Europe but the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, and the Far East. Coins dating from the reign of Emperor Justinian I (r.527-565) have been found in southern India, and Chinese records show that the “Fulin,” as the Chinese named the Byzantines, were received at court as early as 643 CE. For a thousand years, the Byzantine Empire protected Europe from the Islamic Arab Empire, allowing it...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Today, most people are familiar with the term “vandalism”, but are ignorant as to the word’s etymology. Yes, vandalism refers to the wanton destruction of property in the modern world, but the word’s origin is much more complex, as it was originally the name of an important Germanic tribe that flourished in Europe and North Africa in the fifth and sixth centuries AD. As the Vandals rampaged throughout Western Europe and later into North Africa, they left a swath of destruction in their wake, which is how the term 'vandalism' became associated with destruction.. The Vandals were a truly ferocious band of people who used the art of war to achieve its goals in ways that seem cruel and...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Africa may have given rise to the first humans, and Egypt probably gave rise to the first great civilizations, which continue to fascinate modern societies across the globe nearly 5,000 years later. From the Library and Lighthouse of Alexandria to the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Ancient Egyptians produced several wonders of the world, revolutionized architecture and construction, created some of the world’s first systems of mathematics and medicine, and established language and art that spread across the known world. With world-famous leaders like King Tut and Cleopatra, it’s no wonder that today’s world has so many Egyptologists. Given the abundance of funerary artifacts that have...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    When American archaeologists discovered a collection of cuneiform tablets in Iraq in the late 19th century, they were confronted with a language and a people who were at the time only scarcely known to even the most knowledgeable scholars of ancient Mesopotamia: the Sumerians. The exploits and achievements of other Mesopotamian peoples, such as the Assyrians and Babylonians, were already known to a large segment of the population through the Old Testament and the nascent field of Near Eastern studies had unraveled the enigma of the Akkadian language that was widely used throughout the region in ancient times, but the discovery of the Sumerian tablets brought to light the existence of the...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    In the 18th century, Italy was still divided into smaller states, but differently than during medieval times when the political entities were independent and were flourishing economic and cultural centers almost unrivaled in Europe. During the 18th century, all of them were submitted, in one way or another, to one of the greater hegemonic powers. This process of conquest and submission began during the early 16th century, when France was called on by the Duke Milan to intervene in his favor and from there never stopped. Starting from the northwest, the kingdom of Sardinia was controlling the alpine western area and the island from which it took its name and ruled by the Savoy family. The...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The concept of death can be viewed from different perspectives. In general terms, it can be defined as the end of life, but a more spiritual interpretation would describe it as the separation of the soul from the body. Regardless of the definition, death implies change and transformation, even if only on a physical level. The idea of transcendence has served as a source of comfort for humanity that is usually represented in the belief of an afterlife which takes place in another realm. Since the beginning of history, understanding and explaining it has been a large concern for people all over the world. Death is both a daily occurrence and an irreversible condition, and countless...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    “The Christian life, then, is a battle, so sharp and full of danger that effort can nowhere be relaxed without loss. I beseech Christ for this one thing only, that He will enable me to endure all things courageously, and that He break me as a potter's vessel or make me strong, as it pleases Him.” – Ulrich Zwingli On March 9, 1522, the first Sunday of Lent, Catholics across Europe ushered in a 40-day period of solemn penitence, self-imposed moderation, and spiritual discipline by marking crosses onto their foreheads with ash-coated fingers. They dutifully adhered to the Lenten laws, immersing themselves in prayer, modulating their consumption of booze, and avoiding meat in...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    For the most part, the Uighurs are based in East Turkestan, more commonly referred to as the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. This prodigious plot of land boasts a total land area of over 1.665 million km², or 640,000 mi², and is, as China puts it, the largest administrative division in the country. The pro-independence inhabitants of East Turkestan, on the other hand, have been fighting for decades to regain sole control of their motherland – as of now, to no avail. The Uighurs' active pursuit for independence is not an isolated phenomenon. It is reminiscent of the ongoing friction between Taiwan and China, as well as Hong Kong and China, the...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    As settlers continued to encroach further west, the Shawnee, who were attempting to put together a confederacy of Native Americans to resist, stood firm and ready to fight them. Before America fought Britain in the War of 1812, they were engaged in Tecumseh’s War around the Great Lakes. The fighting made him famous and made a military hero (and eventually a president) out of William Henry Harrison, whose victory at Tippecanoe is considered the end of that war. Despite being one of their most tenacious opponents, Tecumseh almost immediately became a celebrated folk hero and respected leader in American history, all while continuing to be one of the most poignant symbols of resistance...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Although the school of philosophy started by Socrates and championed by Plato and Aristotle continues to be the most famous, other schools of thought began to branch, including the Epicureans and Cynics. In the 3rd century B.C., Stoicism arose in response to and under the influence of these older schools, combining many of the best theories from each into a more cohesive whole. With a greater flexibility and more practical application to everyday life, Stoicism quickly became a very popular school of thought, a growth made exponential by its introduction to the Romans. Unlike other philosophies, Stoicism could and did appeal to all classes, and two of its most famous practitioners...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Leonid Brezhnev became First Secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union in late 1964 after a plot to oust Khrushchev. Little is remembered in the public imagination about Brezhnev in comparison to Mikhail Gorbachev, Vladimir Lenin, or Joseph Stalin, despite the fact Brezhnev ruled the USSR from 1964-1982, longer than any Soviet leader other than Stalin. In fact, he held power during a tumultuous era that changed the world in remarkable ways, and that era has been favorably remembered by many former Soviet citizens. It marked a period of relative calm and even prosperity after the destruction of World War II and the tensions brought about by Khrushchev. Foremost amongst...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The Boer War was the defining conflict of South African history and one of the most important conflicts in the history of the British Empire. Naturally, complicated geopolitics underscored it, going back centuries. In fact, the European history of South Africa began with the 1652 arrival of a small Dutch flotilla in Table Bay, at the southern extremity of the African continent, which made landfall with a view to establishing a victualing station to service passing Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) ships. The Dutch at that point largely dominated the East Indian Trade, and it was their establishment of the settlement of Kaapstad, or Cape Town, that set in motion...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    “The Boers were hostile toward indigenous African peoples, with whom they fought frequent range wars, and toward the government of the Cape, which was attempting to control Boer movements and commerce. They overtly compared their way of life to that of the Israel patriarchs of the Bible, developing independent patriarchal communities based upon a mobile pastoralist economy. Staunch Calvinists, they saw themselves as the children of God in the wilderness, a Christian elect divinely ordained to rule the land and the backward natives therein. By the end of the 18th century the cultural links between the Boers and their urban counterparts were diminishing, although both groups continued to...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    some historians have aligned the term Slav as deriving from descriptions of slaves: “The word “slave” and its cognates in most modern European languages is itself derived from “sclavus,” meaning “slav,” the ethnic name for the inhabitants of this region.” Some historians have outlined how they believe that Slavic slaves were used intensively in the ninth and tenth centuries and acted as a driver of Western European economic growth and allowed them to “emerge from the Dark Ages.” It is only fair to note that this assertion has been disputed. Separately, other scholars have asserted that Constantinople’s rapid rise to become one of Europe’s largest cities was fueled...read more