The Five Civilized Tribes are among the best known Native American groups in American history, and they were even celebrated by contemporary Americans for their abilities to adapt to white culture. But tragically, they are also well known tribes due to the trials and tribulations they suffered by being forcibly moved west along the Trail of Tears.
The Cherokee began the process of assimilation with whites very early, even before the establishment of the Unites States, and by the early 19th century they were one of the "Five Civilized Tribes." Ultimately, however, it is unclear what benefits "civilization" brought the tribe. Throughout the colonial period and after the American Revolution, the Cherokee struggled to satisfy the whims and desires of American government officials and settlers, often suffering injustices after complying with their desires. Nevertheless, the Cherokee continued to endure, and after being pushed west, they rose from humble origins as refugees new to the southeastern United States to build themselves back up into a powerhouse both economically and militarily. Even after being forced to leave their traditional homeland again, they once more rose to become a powerful tribe and nation, ruling themselves and building their economic power through wise and skillful leadership.
Though not as well known as the Cherokee, two of the Five Civilized Tribes were the Chickasaw and Choctaw. With roots that tie them to the Ancient Moundbuilders, the Chickasaw and Choctaw were among the most established groups in the Southeastern United States, and they were among the first natives encountered by Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto's historic expedition in the mid-16th century. They became known as two of the Five Civilized Tribes for quickly assimilating aspects of European culture, but in response to early European contact, they also became part of one of the strongest confederacies in the region. Ultimately, however, they were pushed westward during the mid-19th century and were notoriously part of the Trail of Tears.
Despite becoming a dominant regional force, infighting among the Creek brought about civil war in the early 19th century, and they were quickly wrapped up in the War of 1812 as well. By the end of that fighting, the Creek were compelled to cede millions of acres of land to the expanding United States, ushering in a new era that found the Creek occupying only a small strip of Alabama by the 1830s.
With the Spanish Empire foundering during the mid-19th century, the young United States sought to take possession of Florida. President Andrew Jackson's notorious policy of Indian Removal led to the Seminole Wars in the 1830s, and that was already after General Andrew Jackson had led American soldiers against the Seminole in the First Seminole War a generation earlier. The Seminole Wars ultimately pushed much of the tribe into Oklahoma, and the nature of some of the fighting remains one of the best known aspects of Seminole history among Americans.
The Five Civilized Tribes comprehensively covers the culture and history of the famous tribes, profiling their origins, their famous leaders, and their lasting legacy. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole like you never have before.
"These people, who had formerly dwelt on the shores of the Erythraean Sea, having migrated to the Mediterranean and settled in the parts which they now inhabit, began at once, they say, to adventure on long voyages, freighting their vessels with the wares of Egypt and Assyria..." - Herodotus
Of all the peoples of the ancient Near East, the Phoenicians are among the most recognizable but also perhaps the least understood. The Phoenicians never built an empire like the Egyptians and Assyrians; in fact, the Phoenicians never created a unified Phoenician state but instead existed as independent city-state kingdoms scattered throughout the Mediterranean region. However, despite the fact there was never a "Phoenician Empire," the Phoenicians proved to be more prolific in their exploration and colonization than any other peoples in world history until the Spanish during the Age of Discovery.
The Phoenicians were well-known across different civilizations throughout the ancient world, and their influence can be felt across much of the West today because they are credited with inventing the forerunner to the Greek alphabet, from which the Latin alphabet was directly derived. Nonetheless, the Phoenicians left behind few written texts, so modern historians have been forced to reconstruct their past through a variety of ancient Egyptians, Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, and Roman sources. It's not even clear what the Phoenicians called themselves, because the name "Phoenician" is derived from the Greek word "phoinix", which possibly relates to the dyes they produced and traded (Markoe 2000, 10). The mystery of the ancient Phoenicians is further compounded by the fact that archaeologists have only been able to excavate small sections of the three primary Phoenician cities: Byblos, Sidon, and Tyre.
Despite the inherent problems in reconstructing Phoenician history, there are enough primary sources available to accurately place the Phoenician people in their proper historical context within the ancient Near East, and scholars have found that given their extensive exploration, colonization, trade, and manufacturing (among other things), the Phoenicians deserve to be considered alongside the other well-known peoples of antiquity.
The Phoenicians: The History and Culture of One of the Ancient World's Most Influential Civilizations comprehensively covers the history, culture, and lingering mysteries behind the Phoenicians, profiling their origins and their lasting legacy.. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Phoenicians like never before, in no time at all.
"They went down by twos and threes. Usually, they made an effort to rise. I never can forget their groans and strangled breathing as they tried to get up. Some succeeded. Others lay lifelessly where they had fallen.. I observed that the Jap guards paid no attention to these. I wondered why. The explanation wasn't long in coming. There was a sharp crackle of pistol and rifle fire behind us." - Captain William Dyess
On December 7th, 1941, the Japanese military engaged in a preemptive strike against the American Pacific fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, but they also began maneuvers to attack the American controlled Philippines. Although General Douglas A. MacArthur and Allied forces tried to hold out, they could only fight a delaying action, and the Japanese managed to subdue all resistance by the spring of 1942. However, in the aftermath of Japan's successful invasion, as the nation's military strategists began preparations for the next phase of military actions in the theater, their forces had to deal with a critical logistical problem they had not foreseen. The Japanese had to deal with large numbers of Filipino and American soldiers who had surrendered after a lengthy defense in the Bataan peninsula, but they were not prepared for so many prisoners of war because their own military philosophy emphasized rigid discipline and fighting until the end. They could not imagine a situation in which Japanese soldiers would willingly surrender, so they assumed that no other combatants would do so either.
Although the Bataan Death March would become synonymous with brutality and are still widely viewed as an atrocity, Japanese plans called for an orderly removal of the prisoners by foot, truck and rail into central Luzon so that they could quickly use Bataan as a launching point to attack the island of Corregidor, thus clearing the entrance to Manila Bay and gaining a key location for naval operations in the Pacific. In fact, Japanese plans did not call for any sort of brutality toward the prisoners; orders coming down from military leaders described potential interactions between Japanese soldiers and POWs as occurring with a "friendly spirit." The atrocities that occurred during the Bataan death march were instead due to poor planning and the brutality of individual Japanese soldiers who themselves were harshly treated within the Japanese military regime and did not understand soldiers who surrendered. In conjunction with that, an inability or unwillingness on the part of Japanese commanders at Luzon, and especially by General Masaharu Homma, to act against the suffering of Filipino and American POWs led to the harsh conditions of both the march out of Bataan and the experience within Japanese internment camps.
In terms of the death toll, an estimated 9,000 Filipino and 1,000 American prisoners died during the march alone. For the Pacific Theater as a whole, 37% of all prisoners of war died while in captivity. At the conclusion of the war, a war crimes tribunal found the Japanese officers in charge of prisoner-of-war operations in the Philippines guilty. Most notably, General Homma was found guilty of crimes against humanity, and on April 3, 1946, he was executed by firing squad near Manila. Several other Japanese military officials were also found guilty by the tribunal and executed for their roles in the treatment of American and Filipino prisoners of war.
The Bataan Death March chronicles the horrific trials and tribulations experienced by the prisoners of war. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the death march like never before, in no time at all.
"We bring you the circus - that Pied Piper whose magic tunes lead children of all ages into a tinseled and spun-candied world of reckless beauty and mounting laughter; whirling thrills; of rhythm, excitement and grace; of daring, enflaring and dance; of high-stepping horses and high-flying stars.
But behind all this, the circus is a massive machine whose very life depends on discipline, motion and speed - a mechanized army on wheels that rolls over any obstacle in its path - that meets calamity again and again, but always comes up smiling - a place where disaster and tragedy stalk the Big Top, haunts the back yard, and rides the circus train - where Death is constantly watching for one frayed rope, one weak link, or one trace of fear.
A fierce, primitive fighting force that smashes relentlessly forward against impossible odds: That is the circus - and this is the story of the biggest of the Big Tops - and of the men and women who fight to make it." - Opening remarks from the film The Greatest Show On Earth!, a drama set in the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Americans have loved traveling circuses for generations, and none represent the country's love for entertainment quite like the most famous of them all, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The five brothers who started a circus in Wisconsin, as well as P.T. Barnum, have had their names become synonymous with the circus, so it's only fitting that the manner in which these men entered the business and the merging of their traveling circuses together also make for great stories.
Circus promoters have long been viewed as somewhat shady hucksters, but none could top P.T. Barnum, who used a blend of traditional circus entertainment, freak show exhibits, and outright hoaxes to create "The Greatest Show on Earth". Barnum introduced America to Jumbo the Elephant, one of the most legendary acts in the history of the circus, as well as "exhibits" like Joice Heth, an elderly African American woman Barnum advertised as a 161 year old who nursed George Washington. He also notoriously perpetrated hoaxes with General Tom Thumb and claimed to have a live mermaid, so it's no surprise that Barnum is often apocryphally quoted as saying, "There's a sucker born every minute." While he didn't actually say that, he said something similar: "Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public."
Around the same time that Barnum was operating the Barnum & Bailey's circus, the Ringling Brothers were engaging in more traditional circus activities in Wisconsin. As their traveling circus became better known in the late 1880s, it was advertised as the "Ringling Brothers United Monster Shows, Great Double Circus, Royal European Menagerie, Museum, Caravan, and Congress of Trained Animals". The Ringling Brothers were eventually successful enough that they were able to buy Barnum's circus after Barnum had already died, and they merged the traveling circuses together in 1919.
The Greatest Show on Earth: The History of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus examines the origins of the famous circuses, the background of the important individuals involved, and their merger into the most famous circus of all. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about "The Greatest Show on Earth" like never before, in no time at all.
"First news from Galveston just received by train which could get no closer to the bay shore than six miles where the prairie was strewn with debris and dead bodies. About 200 corpses counted from the train. Large steamship stranded two miles inland. Nothing could be seen of Galveston. Loss of life and property undoubtedly most appalling. Weather clear and bright here with gentle southeast wind." - G.L. Vaughan, Manager of Western Union in Houston, in a telegram to the Chief of the U.S. Weather Bureau on the day after the hurricane.
In 2005, the world watched in horror as Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans, and the calamity seemed all the worse because many felt that technology had advanced far enough to prevent such tragedies, whether through advanced warning or engineering. At the same time, that tends to overlook all of the dangers posed by hurricanes and other phenomena that produce natural disasters. After all, storms and hurricanes have been wiping out coastal communities ever since the first humans built them.
As bad as Hurricane Katrina was, the hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas on September 8, 1900 killed several times more people, with an estimated death toll between 6,000-12,000 people. Prior to advanced communications, few people knew about impending hurricanes except those closest to the site, and in the days before television, or even radio, catastrophic descriptions were merely recorded on paper, limiting an understanding of the immediate impact. Stories could be published after the water receded and the dead were buried, but by then, the immediate shock had worn off and all that remained were the memories of the survivors. Thus, it was inevitable that the Category 4 hurricane wrought almost inconceivable destruction as it made landfall in Texas with winds at 145 miles per hour.
It was only well into the 20th century that meteorologists began to name storms as a way of distinguishing which storm out of several they were referencing, and it seems somewhat fitting that the hurricane that traumatized Galveston was nameless. Due to the lack of technology and warning, many of the people it killed were never identified, and the nameless corpses were eventually burned in piles of bodies that could not be interred due to the soggy soil. Others were simply buried at sea. The second deadliest hurricane in American history claimed 2,500 lives, so it's altogether possible that the Galveston hurricane killed over 4 times more than the next deadliest in the U.S. To this day, it remains the country's deadliest natural disaster.
The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 chronicles the story of the deadliest hurricane in American history. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Galveston Hurricane like never before, in no time at all.
On January 31, 378 AD, a massive army arrived at the gates of the city of Tikal, one of the Ancient Maya's most important settlements in the Yucatan Peninsula. The events that transpired became known by the Spanish name "Entrada" ("Entry"), referring to "the entry of Teotihuacan". While there is no clear record of the events due to the sheer scale of destruction that took place, it's clear that neither Tikal nor the Maya as a whole had ever seen anything like it because these foreign soldiers not only conquered but also subsequently ruled Tikal despite the fact they had come from Teotihuacan, located about 630 miles (1,013 kilometers) away. In the process, the Teotihuacanos not only changed Tikal but the direction of the Mayan civilization for centuries to come.
At the time, Teotihuacan was the biggest city in South America and was located in the Valley of Mexico near today's Mexico City. Thriving between 100-750 AD, it was one of the largest cities in the ancient world, with a population estimated at upwards of 150,000-250,000, over three times the size of contemporary Mayan capitals. Furthermore, Teotihuacan was a supremely well-planned and efficient city that was able to field massive armies and extend its power far beyond its home base to create a unified empire unlike anything in the region before it. In fact, the city's residents seemed so sure of its power that there were apparently no walls or military fortifications around Teotihuacan. Thanks to that power, Teotihuacan not only served as a vital center for trade in Ancient Mesoamerica but also spread its architecture, art, religion, and culture, all of which subsequently influenced the famous Mesoamerican civilizations that followed, including the Aztec and Maya.
Although Teotihuacan reached the height of its power and influence about 1500 years ago, the city is still an endless topic of fascination and debate, in addition to being Mexico's most toured archaeological site. The origins of the city remain mysterious (as do the city's founders), and scholars are still coming up with theories to explain the city's demise. All the while, later Mesoamerican civilizations remembered Teotihuacan, and the Aztec even considered the city's ruins a site of worship.
Teotihuacan: The History of Ancient Mesoamerica's Largest City covers the history of the city, as well as the speculation and debate surrounding it. Along with pictures, footnotes, and a bibliography, you will learn about Teotihuacan like you never have before, in no time at all.
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