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Footnotes to History

The nations you didn't learn about in high school geography.

James L. Erwin has created a wonderful resource called The Atlas of Forgotten Nations. In it, he lists countries you never heard of, either because they were too small, too short-lived or never recognized by the world. For example:

Abalonia- The USS Abalonia was a concrete cargo ship, constructed for the purpose of becoming an independent nation. The company which built it hoped to anchor it in rich shellfish beds on the Cortes Bank, 100 miles off the coast of San Diego, and claim jurisdiction over the area. Shortly after the Abalonia's launch in 1969, it foundered and sank, nearly killing the crew. In the wake of the Abalonia fiasco, a second company began plans to build a platform on the Cortes Bank and declare it the nation of Taluga. The US government quickly gave notice that the Cortes Bank, as part of the continental shelf, fell within its jurisdiction.

The Web of Knowledge

Everything is Connected

I love history to begin with, and James Burke's Connections series was my cup of tea. More to the point, it told me how that cup of tea led to the development of radio astronomy (Connections 2, episode 6).

Sgt. Grump pointed me to a Wired News story that tells of Mr. Burke's endeavor to create The KnowledgeWeb Project. The KnowledgeWeb system is being designed to present knowledge in an interconnected way that allows for an infinite number of paths of exploration between people, places, things, and events. Read more here.

Programmers and writers wishing to connect the historical dots are needed to help build K-Web. You can sign up to volunteer to help HERE.

And if you have an hour, go to The Smithsonian Associates web site to listen to an entire taped lecture, given by Burke in support of his new book. It's fascinating stuff.

Old Movies On-Line

Sgt. Grump has found a site that contains about a thousand public domain movies dating from 1906 thru the 1970's. It includes government, military, business, and amateur films: Documentaries, propaganda, educational films--you-name-it. Examples, but by no means limited to:

There are films here that you'll remember seeing in grade school. And on Mystery Science Theater 3000 as "filler" material!

The Internet Archive contains more than old movies, however. They have created something called "The Wayback Machine" (after Mr. Peabody & Sherman's cartoon time machine) that allows you to view stored web pages the way that they appeared at an earlier point in history. So far, the collection contains 10 billion pages from 1996 to the present.

Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System

On-Line Database from the National Parks System

If you know that one of your relatives served in the Civil War, the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System is a new database of basic facts about servicemen who served on both sides during the Civil War. The Names Index Project is a project to enter names and other basic information from 5.4 million soldier records in the National Archives. The facts about the soldiers are being entered from records that are indexed to many millions of other documents about Union and Confederate Civil War soldiers maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Other information will include: histories of regiments in both the Union and Confederate Armies, links to descriptions of 384 significant battles of the war, and other historical information. Additional information about soldiers, sailors, regiments, and battles, as well as prisoner-of-war records and cemetery records, will be added over time.

Today in History

This is a neat link to see what happened on this date.

Library of Congress American Memory Collection - Today in History

An On-Line Gotha

A huge family tree of all European royalty.

This site breaks down each of the royal houses in Europe--from the Romanov Tsars of Russia to the Princes of Monaco--and tells you how they are related. It's a giant genealogical garden of goodness!

An On-Line Gotha

History of the Guitar

From the lute to the gittern, from classical to electric, this article at Guitar.com takes you through the history of my favorite instrument.

History Links


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