Category: History

Timeline of the life and work of Karl Marx

The following timeline is adapted from Marxists.org, which is an excellent source for Marx and Marxism. (The links below will lead to texts at Marxists.org.)  Marxists.org also has a timeline of the works of Marx and Engels. There is also a  good timeline for Karl Marx at the Wikipedia. May 5, 1818 A son Karl is born to barrister Heinrich Marx and his wife, Henriette, in Trier November 28, 1820 A son Frederick is born to textile manufacturer Friedrich Engels and his wife, Elisabeth, in Barmen July 27-29, 1830 Revolution in France September Revolution in Belgium 1830-31 Uprisings in Poland October 1830 Karl...

The History of South East Asia

Southeast Asia is an extremely diverse region on Earth. It consists of many large and small ecological areas. It has a staggering variety of economic, social, and cultural niches. Hundreds of ethnic groups and languages coexist in the space between the two large cultural neighbors, India and China. Over the centuries, the region has been colonized by the Europeans, and in the aftermath, it has developed its independence with a strong underlying sense of unity. unity,

The Execution of Damiens

The use of torture as a form of punishment was commonplace in European societies into the early 19th century. Today, we are outraged by mass killings, genocide, and ISIS beheadings, but extreme violence has always been there; it runs deep in human history. We are all traumatized, and it is difficult to work through the shadows of our violent past. The worst form of violence is often state-sponsored. Most political systems have a very dark and unexamined history when it comes to torture and killings. One case that made history was the execution of Robert-François Damiens in 1757 in France. He...

George Washington’s Farewell Address. 1796

Friends and Citizens: The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made. I beg...

Historical Timeline for Africa

The following historical timeline for Africa is adapted from: The African Experience. From “Lucy” to Mandela. By: Kenneth P. Vickery. Teaching Company, 2007. c. 4–3 million B.C Emergence of Australopithecus, possibly the first in the hominid line of evolution, culminating in modern humans in East/Southern Africa. c. 1.5 million B.C Emergence of Homo erectus in Africa, definitely a human ancestor. c. 100,000 B.C Emergence of Homo sapiens, “wise human,” in Africa. c. 40,000 B.C Emergence of Homo sapiens sapiens, fully modern humans, in Africa. c. 5000 B.C. to A.D. 1000 (depending on region) Closing of Late Stone Age, opening of...

The Roots of Religion

Thanks to modern science, we now know more about religious history than ever: Scientific archaeology began in the 18th century, and since then excavators have been discovering and interpreting evidence, ranging from tiny goddess figurines carved from mammoth ivory to entire sacred landscapes, such as at the Giza plateau in Egypt. The archeological evidence enhances and corrects our knowledge derived from books and other preserved objects. Ancient graves, statues, temples, stones, sacrificial offerings, or places of initiation – they all express the universal human search for spiritual power and understanding. Archaeology provides evidence that is very different from historical writings like the Bible or...

China: Charter 08

The Charter 08 was signed by over three hundred prominent Chinese citizens, and published in 2008. It was conceived and written in admiration of the 1977 Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia. The Chinese document calls not for reform of the current political system, but for an end to it. It wants to abolish one-party rule, and replace it with a system based on human rights and democracy. The publication day, December 10, 2008, was selected because it is the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948. The Declaration is reflected in the Charter because it outlines the vision of a...

Martin Luther King: Letter from Birmingham Jail. 1963.

The letter argues for non-violent resistance. People have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws, because there is a deeper natural law that allows us to judge man-made laws.   16 April 1963 My Dear Fellow Clergymen: While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day,...

Patton’s speech to the Third Army.

General George Patton’s speech to the US Third Army was given in 1944, prior to the landing in the Normandy. Patton tried to motivate the inexperienced Third Army for its pending combat duty and terrible losses. He pushed his soldiers to do their duty regardless of personal fear, challenging them to be aggressive and engage in constant offensive action. The speech is laced with profanity, and was well-received with his men. It is another example of a classical speech when a General addresses his troops before the battles begin. Be seated. Men, all this stuff you hear about America not...

Thucydides: Pericles’ Funeral Oration

Pericles’ Funeral Oration is a famous speech from Thucydides’ book History of the Peloponnesian War. The speech was delivered by Pericles, an famous Athenian politician, at the end of the first year of the war, which lasted from 431 to 404 BC. It was a part of the annual public funeral for the war dead, and the speech defines the character of the Athenian democracy.  “Most of those who have spoken here before me have commended the lawgiver who added this oration to our other funeral customs. It seemed to them a worthy thing that such an honor should be given...

History of Human Rights

Which movements, ideas, and events have contributed to the history and development of the concept of human rights?  The following list is very selective; it shows some historical highlights that manifest the trend that runs through the Western legal and philosophical traditions. Traditional Religions all support idea that the human person has worth and value and should be treated with a measure of dignity and respect. This leads to the idea that there are enduring standards of morality and justice against which to evaluate people’s actions and the laws of communities. However, the emphasis in religion is on duties, not...

Technological Discoveries in Modern Times

History and the change in human civilization are driven by scientific and technological innovations. Below is a timeline of some breakthroughs in the last 500 years; the list could be a lot longer, and the pace of innovation has increased dramatically in recent years. One of the reasons for this acceleration is synergy: we can use innovations like computers to invent even smarter things and revolutionize every area of life. Technological progress does not translate into real progress for humanity. Mid-13th Century: Gunpowder. 1453 Gutenberg invents the Printing Press. 1769 Steam engine, around 1769. This drives the industrial revolution. 1821...

Renaissance

The Renaissance is a cultural movement that starts from Italy in the mid-14th century and spreads through Europe. It brings the Medieval time period to an end, and is marked by a changing consciousness about politics, the world, and art. It’s the time of da Vinci, Michelangelo, Giotto, Titian, Raphael, Donatello, or Brunelleshi. Here is a timeline of some of the main events that characterize the period: Timeline (Quoted from Sparknotes ) April 6, 1341: Francesco Petrarch is Crowned Poet Laureate Many historians cite this date as the beginning of the Renaissance. 1397: Giovanni de Medici Moves to Florence Giovanni...

Early History of Civilization

I wanted to know more about the human prehistory; where we come from and what we really know about our own origins.The timeline below gives you a rough overview; it is a fascinating story. One way to sequence human prehistory is by the type of tools that were in use. Early on, researchers came up with a three stage system of stone, bronze, and iron that allowed them to sequence the origins of human civilization. This system, however, does not work for every geographic area. The Stone age period comprises more than a million years, and gets divided into an...

Petrarca: The Ascent of Mount Ventoux

Petrarch’s motives for climbing Mount Ventoux – to see the view – is often cited as the mark of a new humanistic “Renaissance” spirit. His ascent took place on April 26, 1336, but it was  written and published only around 1350.  Hans Blumenberg describes Petrarch’s ascent of Ventoux  in  “The Legitimacy of the Modern Age:”  This was “… one of the great moments that oscillate indecisively between the epochs, namely between the medieval period and modernity.” I like this text because of the interplay between the experience of nature and the subjective world of the author. As Petrarca takes in...

Global History – Timeline

Overview by Period and Region Prehistoric Landmarks c. 2−2.5 million……………..More humanlike species with larger brain size years ago in eastern Africa. 120,000 years ago ………….Arrival of Homo sapiens sapiens; later displacement of Neanderthals and other species across Asia and Europe from initial center in Africa. 25,000 BCE…………………..Passage of people to the Americas via land link from Asia. 8000−5000 BCE ……………Further improvements in tool making; first development of agriculture; great expansion in human population. 4000−3500 BCE ……………Early use of bronze and copper tools. 1500 BCE……………………..Early use of iron tools and weapons. River Valley Civilizations 3500−2600 BCE ……………Sumerian kingdom, development of cuneiform...

Chinese Dynasties

I learned almost nothing about Chinese history when I went to school in Germany. In our times, it is really important to learn global history, and not just the history of our own countries or continents. The following short overview of Chinese dynasties is a frame for understanding at least the outline of Chinese history. Here are the dynasties in chronological order: Zhou, Qin, Han, Tang, Song, Lio, Jin, Yuan, Ming, Qing. Zhou (770-240BC) is an era of constant warfare and power struggles. Confucius and Lao-tzu (creator of Daoism) are born during this period. Their writings have an enormous impact...

Walter Benjamin: On the Concept of History

From Walter Benjamin: Illuminations. p. 253 This text was written in 1940 and is published in German in “Gesammelten Schriften I:2. Suhrkamp Verlag. Frankfurt am Main, 1974.” I It is well-known that an automaton once existed, which was so constructed that it could counter any move of a chess-player with a counter-move, and thereby assure itself of victory in the match. A puppet in Turkish attire, water-pipe in mouth, sat before the chessboard, which rested on a broad table. Through a system of mirrors, the illusion was created that this table was transparent from all sides. In truth, a hunchbacked dwarf who...