Category Archives: History

Native Peoples Contribution to Modern America: More Than Warriors

Chief Big Eagle of the Sioux Indians
Chief Big Eagle of the Sioux Indians circa 1862

Native Americans are a proud, fascinating and diverse group of people.

Though there are hundreds of stories told of their proficiency in battle, unforgivable treatment at the hands of white settlers and fables of their nature-based spiritualism, there aren’t nearly enough shared that comment on their contributions to Americans’ modern experience.

Mostly lost to time, the origins of thousands of products, techniques and skills are nonetheless attributable to Native acumen. It’s important for all Americans to recognize the amazing gifts the Chickasaw, Sioux, Apache, Cherokee and other tribes gave in the form of food, tools, medicine and ideas.
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Mandela: 15 Pearls of Wisdom

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela – Photo: Carlo Allegri/Staff/Getty Images

Mr. Mandela is one of the most politically gifted individuals of all time and one of the most admired men in history.

Together with other brave South Africans, he helped engineer the first peaceful, non-violent revolution in the history of the world.

In Africa there is a concept known as ubuntu – the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievements of others.
-— Nelson Mandela, 2008

As an anti-apartheid activist, he was tried for treason and imprisoned for 27 years. Mr. Mandela was the first South African President to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. He served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

The great man’s leadership style is embodied in a stunning new book by Time editor Richard Stengel: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love and Courage (Crown). Here are Madiba’s 15 life lessons, from the book:
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Neil Armstrong Standing On The Moon

Neil Armstrong standing on the surface of the moon
Astronaut Neil Armstrong standing on the surface of the moon – Credit: NASA/AFP/Getty Images (click to enlarge)

Astronaut Neil Armstrong (1930 — 2012) died on Saturday at the age of 82.

He will be remembered as the first human to set foot on the moon, landing on July 20 1969.

“I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine.”
– Neil Armstrong

The Apollo 11 mission came at the height of America’s Cold War with the Soviet Union.

While the bloody Vietnam war was in full swing the moonwalk lifted Americans with a sense of euphoric achievement and a surge of patriotism.
Continue reading Neil Armstrong Standing On The Moon

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Ethiopia: King Solomon The Queen Of Sheba And The Black Jews — Part 2

Ethiopian black Jews making aliyah or ascent or going up to the Land of Israel
Ethiopian black Jews making aliyah or 'ascent' or 'going up' to the Land of Israel

In Part 1 we tell the little known story, with roots that reach back to the time of Abraham, of the union of the great King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

In Part 2 a promise is fulfilled. They are welcomed by the Jewish state, like prodigal sons returning to the land of Israel.

The first modern contact with the Ethiopian Jews was by Scottish explorer James Bruce, who was searching for the source of the Nile River.

Early one morning in the late 1940s, an elderly Ethiopian Jew stood with his young grandson at the top of a small mountain, waiting for sunrise. As the sun broke over the horizon, the old man, pointing toward the sun, said, “Remember, this is the way to Jerusalem.”
Shmarya Scott Rosenberg

When Bruce came upon the ancient Jewish community of Ethiopia at Gonder In 1769, many had the sign of the crucifix tattooed on their foreheads to signify their link, as messianic Jews, to Christianity. The Beta Israel population at that time was estimated to be about 100,000 souls.
Continue reading Ethiopia: King Solomon The Queen Of Sheba And The Black Jews — Part 2

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Ethiopia: King Solomon The Queen Of Sheba And The Black Jews — Part 1

King Solomon receives the Queen of Sheba
King Solomon receives the Queen of Sheba. This beautiful example of medieval stained glass dates from 1180AD and is the Second Typological Window in the north quire aisle of Canterbury Cathedral – Image: Sacred Destinations

The modern history of the Jews in Ethiopia begins with the reunification of Ethiopia in the mid-19th century during the reign of Theodore II. At that time the Jewish community, known as Beta Israel, numbered between 200,000 to 350,000 people.

This little known story, with roots that reach back to the time of Abraham, starts with the union of the great King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. In Part 2 a promise is fulfilled. They are welcomed by the Jewish state, like prodigal sons returning to the land of Israel.

The name Beta Israel originated in the 4th century AD when the community refused to convert to Christianity during the rule of Abraha and Atsbeha

Perhaps the earliest Hebraic people came to the land of Ethiopia during the time of the prolonged drought and famine in Canaan at the time of Abraham (1812-1637BC).
Continue reading Ethiopia: King Solomon The Queen Of Sheba And The Black Jews — Part 1

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Gold In South Africa And The Ancient Indian Connection

Relief depicting Ancient Dravidian Seafarers
Relief depicting Ancient Dravidian Seafarers -- click to enlarge

Like most South Africans of my generation, as a schoolboy I learnt that the recorded history of Southern Africa started in the mid 17th century with the arrival of the European explorers.

Did ancient Dravidian Seafarers establish the first gold mines in Southern Africa?

We studied detailed accounts of these early settlers and their exploits as well as the references to the Portuguese explorers, such as Bartolameu Dias, who preceded them by about 100 years.

According to this history the Khoisan or San people inhabited the Southern African region and preceded the Bantu people who gradually displaced them as they migrated south into the coastal regions of what is now known as the Cape. In a previous post, which you can find here, we covered the many languages spoken by the Khoisan.

The truth may be very different (6 photographs).
Continue reading Gold In South Africa And The Ancient Indian Connection

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Marilyn Monroe American Icon

Marilyn Monroe American Icon
Marilyn Monroe American Icon -- Artist: ~cometomorrow Holly on Deviant Art
Born Norma Jean Baker (1926 – 1962), Marilyn Monroe began her career as a model and landed her first film contract in 1946. She made her first appearance on the cover of Life magazine in April 1952, where she was described as “The Talk of Hollywood”. Marilyn was catapulted to fame after her picture appeared on the cover of the first Playboy magazine in 1953.

Without any acting experience, Marilyn became a Hollywood media star and a legend in a career that spanned 16 years and 29 movies.

Her story book wedding to baseball great Joe DiMaggio ended in divorce after just 274 days. Marilyn then married playwright Arthur Miller in 1956. Their union ended in divorce five years later. In Marilyn’s last film, “Misfits” in 1960, she co-starred with Clark Gable. Continue reading Marilyn Monroe American Icon

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American Icon 1950s Cadillac

American Icon, the 1950s Cadillac
American Icon, the 1950s Cadillac Artist: John Harding

This great American icon of American success and the American dream, the 1950s Cadillac, is beautifully drawn here by renowned artist John Harding. See a portfolio of John Harding’s work here. Click to enlarge the image at right.

When this famous automobile first appeared on the streets the classic lines of the 1950s Cadillac defined an era. The style embodied the optimism of post-war America and heralded a glorious industrial renaissance led by Detroit, the home of the American automobile industry. On 25 November 1949, Cadillac produced its one millionth car, a 1950 Coupe de Ville.

Cadillac developed three engines for the 1950 model, including the V8 engine which  set the standard for the automotive industry.  Cadillac’s first tail fins, inspired by the twin rudders of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, appeared in 1948. Continue reading American Icon 1950s Cadillac

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Mr Gene Sharp: Why Dictators and Despots Fear His Name Everywhere

Gene Sharp
Gene Sharp -- photo: Evan McGlinn for The New York Times

Gene Sharp is relatively unknown to the American public. Around the world he is held in high esteem by activists and is regarded with fear and animosity by many authoritarian leaders.

This humble, shy 83-year-old intellectual, through his practical writings on non-violent revolution, has had a broad influence on international events for two decades. Though he is quick to dismiss his role, his ideas are credited with helping to advance a global democratic awakening.

In 2005, two Moscow bookstores selling Russian translations of a book written by Mr. Sharp were mysteriously burnt down. In June 2007, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused Mr. Sharp of stirring unrest in Venezuela. In 2010 in Vietnam opposition activists were arrested for distributing a book written by Mr. Sharp.

Most recently his 102 page pdf document, “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” which is available in 28 languages, has inspired dissidents in Tunisia and Egypt Continue reading Mr Gene Sharp: Why Dictators and Despots Fear His Name Everywhere

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Revolution Comes to Egypt and Sweeps Across The Arab World

Mohamed Bouazizi
Mohamed Bouazizi, a humble vegetable vendor started the revolution in Tunisia when he set himself alight as a sign of protest

Tonight as I write this a revolution of change is sweeping the Arab countries of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen.

The revolution was started in Tunisia by Mohamed Bouazizi (26), a humble vegetable vendor. He set himself alight in December as a sign of protest. Mohamed had endured police bullying that resulted in the “last straw” confiscation of his vegetable cart. He died of his wounds in early January and instantly became a martyr to students and the unemployed. A wave of protests against poor living conditions began. Three weeks ago the country’s dictatorship fell sending a spark to ignite the unrest that is now burning out of control in this region of autocratic rulers.

The next dictator to feel the pain of revolution was Hosni Mubarak of Egypt after a 30 year autocratic rule which subjected Egyptian citizens to the suppression of political opposition, detention without trial and torture. Continue reading Revolution Comes to Egypt and Sweeps Across The Arab World

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