Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Franco-Prussian war was more or less Bismarck’s war and he went after it on the conviction,’We could not have set up the German Reich in the Middle of Europe without having defeated France.’ His fame and place in history was laid on North German Confederation for which he had so vigorously followed as the Chancellor and in his calculation it was simple: Germany can only grow at the cost of France.

Napoleon did not want another war after the disastrous Mexican War but his Empress wanted it and so did the Court. The French Army could only muster 300,000 in the field with no reserves. The Prussians on the other hand hd 500,000 men and large reserves. When the Iron Chancellor was ready he precipitated a war crisis and to which he sent a doctored telegram from the French government. Kaiser William on reading it sent back a reply that Bismarck would qualify as ‘a red rag to the Gallic bull.’

If by optimism alone a war could be won how would have the Parisians celebrated it! Unaware of realities of war they celebrated the coming war night after night. If their optimism was all that needed the war would have taken Berlin in a flood.
The Germans crossed the border into Alsace on Aug.4,1870.

For the Emperor the tragedy was soon to come and it was at some seven miles from the Belgian frontier at a sleepy village called Sedan. The farce of his Imperial grandeur as a cuckoo compared to his illustrious uncle who was truly the Eagle,  had already sickened him. He was exhausted sick and much in agony with stones in bladder  In a way it was a release for him and the Second Republic was finished. (continued)  

Read Full Post »

In 1928 at Neidenburg in the East at the local elections Nazis got only 2.3% of the votes cast. After the Great Depression the Nazis did not have a party office there. Neither did Hitler visit the place to drum up support. By 1933 the Nazi party got 53 % in Germany( actual figures I cannot vouch for.I am quoting this secondhand-b).

Nazi Manifesto was still the same as at the time of its founding and in 1933. People in Germany were dejected with the economy and disruptive Communists were for rejecting democracy. In such a flux energy of each German was in ferment and was ready for taking.


Energy of individual is in full flow when he sells himself to an idea. Look at the post-war Germany what with the hyperinflation and political chaos man on the street was waiting for one father figure who would guide him out of the woods. Defeated and humiliated German had already sold to fall in and Adolf Hitler seized the chance. Having got so much energy from so many Hitler like the Piedpiper of Hamelin led Germany to ruin.

Integration principle shows the pernicious influence of Nazi cult surviving even though National Socialism as a political movement was finished. Its evil has worked its way into the pores of the national life. Neo-Nazis for example.

Here are two principles at work:

How come the first Woodstock festival was a roaring success while the second music-fest was a colorless affair?The natural outgrowth of social changes of 69 was energy that each participant brought there. It is like a flash flood that made a path upturning the whole social landscape. The youth had laid claim to have a say in their destiny that let old fogeys who represented the Establishment give in. Eastern philosophy, music and a new moral order that experimented with multiple lifestyle choices connected to give the social changes its structure. It was natural while the music fest at the Woodstock 30 years later was organized. The first demonstrated Integration principle in creating something new from many influences already in flow.


A similar phenomena we see in the founding of the Church. When John the baptist began his ministry people were agog with expectation. Coming of Messiah had gripped all. Similarly there was a great gathering on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem and all those who were there because their master had promised them an outpouring witnessed something extraordinary. Holy Spirit came down in many tongues.


 A Church that is organized is like a man with an idea seeking counsel from PR man. He simply kills the spontaneous fire in his soul to get so many on the bandwagon! It happened to Christianity where the Church of Rome became a power unto itself. The originality of the teachings of Jesus became diluted with passage of time. Within the first fifty years the Early Church was busy wrestling with the question of how best it could reconcile the gentile and Jewish converts into its hold.

Integration principle must trade off with Inversion principle.



Read Full Post »

 How far chance plays a role in the history of nations? Let me recall the story I had posted some time ago.


Blind Chance

Agastya, a householder from Tulu desam, who lived in the middle of two constantly fighting neighbors Ambu and Subbu, had enough of his life. He went to Kailas to meditate. He received in due course enlightenment and his mentor asked him to choose a gift. He chose a deity in gold as large as a man’s palm.

“Chance it is called.” The mentor commented.

“It is a good gift to make my going back to my folks worth remembering.” Before he reached his home he came along a river where one man was about to make a hole in the river. “Don’t,” Agastya ran up to him. “It is chance which brought me to save you.” To his great surprise he was Subbu, his neighbor.

Yogi Agastya gave him his image and said,” Remember Chance has saved you.” Not long after Subbu went on a journey and he carried his image for his protection. While passing through a forest he was waylaid by robbers and was killed for the gold he carried.

As soon as news reached his home Ambu the other neighbor went to the Yogi and fell at his feet and said “Chance which you brought was for my rescue. Was it not?”

Chance has to be explained in terms of total interaction of life-forms. Certainty is settled by actions. Certainy of any ony one set of events in turn is on its own and must take its chance with others. History as with individual plays with larger groups and on a wider scale but the principle is always the same.



In Cosmos certainty of any action creates its own chains of events which create chance for a new player. Thus the war on terror in 2003 deposed Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Consequences of US intervention seems to have strengthened the hegemony of Shi’ia faction in the Middle East. So the Sunni faction whips up an opposition to cut the role of Iran in the region. Syria’s ability to withstand the opposition is a proof of Iran’s growing clout in the region. In a 4-D world of certainty chance is in the flattened down 3-D version of reality.












Read Full Post »

Historians are not agreed upon the origin and meaning of the famous name

of Rome. One version tells us that after the capture

of Troy some fugitives obtained ships, were carried by the winds to the

Tyrrhenian or Tuscan coast, and cast anchor in the Tiber. There the

women, who had suffered much from the sea voyage, were advised by one

who was accounted chief among them for wisdom and noble birth, Roma by

name, to burn the ships. At first the men were angry at this, but

afterwards, being compelled to settle round about the Palatine Hill,

they fared better than they expected, as they found the country fertile

and the neighbours hospitable; so they paid great honour to Roma, and

called the city after her name.

 Take Two:

Some say that Roma, who gave the name to the city, was the daughter

of Italus and Leucaria, or of Telephus the son of Hercules, and the wife

of Aeneas, while others say that she was the daughter of Ascanius the

son of Aeneas. Since these versions are disputed re is And even those who follow the most reasonable of these legends, and admit that it was

Romulus who founded the city after his own name, do not agree about his


Take Three:

Some say that Romulus was the son of Aeneas and Dexithea the

daughter of Phorbas, and with his brother Romus was brought to Italy

when a child, and that as the river was in flood, all the other boats

were swamped, but that in which the children were was carried to a soft

bank and miraculously preserved, from which the name of Rome was given

to the place.

Take Four:

Others say that Roma, the daughter of that Trojan lady,

married Latinus the son of Telemachus and bore a son, Romulus.

Take Five: 

In the house of Tarchetius, the king of the Albani, a cruel and lawless

man, a miracle took place. A male figure arose from the hearth, and

remained there for many days. Now there was in Etruria an oracle of

Tethys, which told Tarchetius that a virgin must be offered to the

figure; for there should be born of her a son surpassing all mankind in

strength, valour, and good fortune. Tarchetius hereupon explained the

oracle to one of his daughters, and ordered her to give herself up to

the figure; but she, not liking to do so, sent her servant-maid instead.

Tarchetius, when he learned this, was greatly incensed, and cast them

both into prison, meaning to put them to death. However, in a dream,

Vesta appeared to him, forbidding him to slay them. In consequence of

this he locked them up with a loom, telling them that when they had

woven the piece of work upon it they should be married. So they wove all

day, and during the night other maidens sent by Tarchetius undid their

work again. Now when the servant-maid was delivered of twins, Tarchetius

gave them to one Teratius, and bade him destroy them. He laid them down

near the river; and there they were suckled by a she-wolf, while all

sorts of birds brought them morsels of food, until one day a cowherd saw

them. Filled with wonder he ventured to come up to the children and

bear them off. Saved from death in this manner they grew up, and then

attacked and slew Tarchetius. This is the legend given by one

Promathion, the compiler of a history of Italy.(Parallel Lives by Plutarch)

Founding of Rome belongs to the past. Who is funding her now?



Read Full Post »

While we study of human origins two main theories emerge to explain the archaeological and fossil record: one, known as the multi-regional hypothesis, suggested that a species of human ancestor dispersed throughout the globe, and modern humans evolved from this predecessor in several different locations. The other, out-of-Africa theory, held that modern humans evolved in Africa for many thousands of years before they spread throughout the rest of the world. DNA evidence suggests the original exodus involved anywhere from 1,000 to 50,000 people. 

The departure point, but most now appear to be leaning away from the Sinai, once the favored location, and toward a land bridge crossing what today is the Bab el Mandeb Strait separating Djibouti from the Arabian Peninsula at the southern end of the Red Sea. From there, the thinking goes, migrants could have followed a southern route eastward along the coast of the Indian Ocean. “It could have been almost accidental,” Christopher Henshilwood(an archaeologist at Norway’s University of Bergen) says, “a path of least resistance that did not require adaptations to different climates, topographies or diet. The migrants’ path never veered far from the sea, departed from warm weather or failed to provide familiar food, such as shellfish and tropical fruit.”

In the 1980s, new tools completely changed the kinds of questions that scientists could answer about the past. By analyzing DNA in living human populations, geneticists could trace lineages backward in time. These analyses have provided key support for the out-of-Africa theory. Homo sapiens, this new evidence has repeatedly shown, evolved in Africa, probably around 200,000 years ago. 

How did life rise and what influences went into peopling of the earth are beyond the scope of this essay. Here my intention is to draw some parallels in the nature’s way of ensuring safety in serving the earth already teeming with myriad forms of life. Nature in handling life seems to show all coincidences or chance must serve the whole so there is an element of certainty. The certainty underpins the truth of Natural selection as well as paraphrases  history of human species into Integration Principle. 

The evolution of the earth as a habitable planet gave rise to its atmosphere with its protective layer so harmful ultraviolet rays shall not enter. This broad division of earth into landmass, oceans and atmosphere carries differences in various ways in each and functions also are distinct from one another. Despite of such variations Integration principle builds the entire earth as one indivisible unit.

In order to understand its implications ask ourselves this question. If global warming were to make life on most parts of the earth impossible what shall we blame: North, South or the Third World countries?

Whatever happens on one part affects us all. Nature has spread various safeguards to minimize a single catastrophe annihilating entire life forms. 


Web of life is one such safety net for life forms to make their gains more durable. It also supports dissemination of  knowledge and ideas.

Of many skills technology in particular would make human migration tantamount to creating highways of knowledge. Discovery of fire by man some 500,000 years ago allowed man to migrate to colder regions during periods of drought and famine. Such changes in terms of climate have become less disastrous because man had acquired wherewithal owing to long periods of stability. Fire made cooking possible and also became more varied and sophisticated.

Advance in one direction creates man off-shoots: Those city-states in the Fertile Crescent, including the Babylonian and Assyrian empires relying on easy availability of food  have had leisure and the means to explore other avenues to fill in their time. Writing must have opened up a whole new horizon by which civilizations could leave valuable information for future generations. The many nodes of human civilizations set on various geographical locations work in tandem to spread around the good and evil inherent in the human achievements. There were indigenous peoples in the New World at the time the Pilgrim Fathers arrived, and were descendents of waves of migration going as far as 40,000 years ago. After the arrival of Europeans many millions died from epidemics of diseases such as smallpox imported to their shores. 

Volcanic eruptions and tsunami have wiped out civilizations and one such catastrophe might explain the fabled story of Atlantis.  In the modern era, geologic and archeological investigations hint at an intriguing possibility — that the demise of Atlantis may be related to a catastrophic Bronze Age eruption in the Aegean Sea, which destroyed an advanced Minoan civilization living on the island group of Santorini. Be that as it may we hear about the civilization of  Greece coming into focus following this event.  History of Europe as a result would never be the same. What is certain is that a sudden catastrophe brings an entire civilization down and the shockwaves of it impact some other culture on the rise to give a kickstart.

How  valid would be for native Americans to claim Americas exclusively considering they replaced peoples living before as they were subjugated by White settlers from Europe?

It is a truism that Nature does not put all her eggs in one basket. Muslims in the Palestine claiming the land as theirs have as much validity as the Jews. Now the state of Israel has its writ run in the territories held by it after the 1967 war. It is a certainty as long as it can keep it.

Nature showed its intent and if people cannot accept it for the peace and safety of all concerned, something has to give away. It may be unnatural in its resolution, something of a chance but certainty shall be yet another,- history of which is anyone’s guess.(ack:Guy Gugliotta-Smithsonian Magazine 2008)



Read Full Post »



Palestine is an artery between Asia to Africa. Geography shaped its vital role in millennia and history of ancient civilizations brought its strategic importance into focus of world empires that later stepped into the center stage. Until the rise of Greece and Rome its destiny was shaped by rise and decline in fortunes around Egypt, Assyria and Babylon.Via Maris was as vital as Via Appia and one cannot fail to notice the reason why from the map given hereunder.


via maris

What does the map tell you? The coastline facing westward to Europe gave ancient Phoenicians a trade route to Greece and beyond. In the south it is linked to the Red Sea and to the Indian Ocean. To the east of Palestine lies Mesopotamia, land of the Euphrates and the Tigris. To the south Egypt, land of the Nile; to the north, the highlands of Hittite Anatolia; to the west, Cyprus and Aegean Isles.

Along the major axis of communication from north to south, intersected by Mesopotamia and Anatolia on the east and Egypt on the other  you can locate great cities Gaza, Meggido, Hazor. For control of these trade routes many military campaigns were waged. You can see how strategically important was Palestine by the names here. The Pharaohs were major players as well as kings of Assyria, Babylon, Persia and by Alexander the Great. In his wake came the emperors of Byzantium, the Arabs, the crusaders, the Mamelukes, the Turks. In the closing stages of WWI crucial thrust towards Damascus occurred here. Finishing off the ambitions of a moribund Ottoman Empire was a necessity for the Allies and it was a signal for yet new players to come to the scene.

Palestine in short though on the fringe of the western world could not escape the constant struggle for control  between major players from Africa and Asia especially.

(To be continued)          

Read Full Post »

Francisco Pizarro’s bold plan paid off and the handful of Spaniards had conquered the Inca king and his phalanxes of Indians. Every Spaniard pressed into action had killed an average of 15 natives during those two terrible hours. They bearded Spaniard conquistadors had come for 3 Gs ,-gold glory and God. At the end of the skirmish the Spaniards were sure God led them. Yes Indeed!
What followed was gold and silver that was waiting to be grabbed. On the day after the massacre Hernando de Soto confiscated 800 pounds of gold,more than 3500 pounds of silver and 14 emeralds. The greed with which they stole the royal table service was an eyeopener to the king. The hapless king did not think his life was in peril. So he parleyed with Pizarro to win freedom. He promised,’a room full of gold also the entire hut filled twice over with silver.” Pizarro promised him no harm. Little did he know that these 160 strangers were the advance party of a colonial invasion.
The King was imprisoned for eight months. His ransom was fulfilled by mid 1533.

All the gold and silver melted and ingots were divided into five where the one fifth went to the king of Spain.
Meanwhile Pizarro’s partner, Diego de Alamgro reached Cajamarca with reinforcements from Panama. The Spaniards consulted and they dared not set the king free. They decided to execute the king. It was done as the night fell on Saturday, July 26,1533. There was a mock conversion administered by friar Valverde and the king tied to a stake on the square was garroted to death. It was condemned by the Spanish authorities in Panama and also by the king. King Charles wrote to Pizarro,” we have been displeased by the death of Atahualpa, since he was a monarch and particularly as it was done in the name of justice.”
The conquest of Peru started with a checkmate- the capture and death of the Inca king. The fighting came later. There were four battles with Atahualpa’s armies during their 8oo-mile march along the great Inca road from Cajamarca to Cuzco.
The inca armies fought against impossible odds and the Spanish superior firepower,- and cavalry was a decisive factor. Finally on November 15,1533 Pizarro’s men seized their ultimate prize, Cuzco the heart of Inca capital. Pizarro, now in his late 5os set about governing and plundering th land he had conquered. The natives were forced to work relentlessly for their new masters. As Barthelome de Vega wrote,” Men are loaded with it (tributes), and so are the women, the pregnant women with their heads (bent down) on their swollen bellies and those who have given birth their babies on top of their loads.” Rape and looting went on everywhere and the Indian population declined catastrophically.
The victory was a poison chalice for Pizarro in terms of the falling out of their partnership. Diego de Almagro resented at being cut out of the share of the royal ransom and his ire knew no bounds for all the glory Pizarro garnered. The king had invested Pizarro with the governorship of Peru and he was left out. In order to placate him Almagro was given the governorship of land south of Peru. When he and his men rode out to his seat he found no treasure. He was unaware that the Spaniards would strike at Potosi the richest silver mines. Deeply bitter and wracked by envy Almagro laid claim for Cusco. The Spaniards were soon at each other’s throats. The war ended with Almagro’s defeat by Pizarro’s brother, Hernando in 1538. Almagro and 120 of his men were summarily executed for which Hernando will be shut in a prison on his return home.
A handful of Almagro’s men in Lima vowed revenge and they deputed a young son of Almagro. On the morning of Sunday, July 26,1541 the dead man’s followers breached the palace of Pizarro and brutally murdered him.
The conquest of Peru left two important legacies. One is that one third of all Peruvians today are mestizo- of mixed Indian and Spanish blood. The other is the rooting out of traditional Inca beliefs by Catholic Church has cloned itself as the single religious solace of most Andean Indians.
(Ack:Pizarro, conqueror of the Inca/ John Hemming-National Geographic Magazine-Feb. 1992)

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,703 other followers