Chinese Immigration Research Project

Who were the hardest workers on the Transcontinental Railroad? The Irish? The former slaves? No, it was the Chinese immigrants. Without Chinese Immigration, It would have taken many more years to complete. Although at first hated, Chinese immigrants grew to be respected by their many contributions to American society. The Chinese endured a hard voyage from China only to find backbreaking work. The immigrants started coming in the mid 1800’s and were treated horribly until the 1940’s. Even though they experienced anything from racist laws to anti-Chinese riots, the Chinese immigrants still managed to accomplish astonishing feats.

In China, There were two types of people: the very wealthy and the very poor. Rich people owned big houses. They had many servants, maids, and butlers. They practiced many beauty methods. The most painful was the binding of little girls’ feet. Small feet, called “lily feet”, were considered a mark of feminine beauty. It literally turned the girls into cripples. The poor people had nothing close to the life of a rich person. Many were rice farmers. At least they had something to eat. Those even poorer went hungry for days and had to resort to stealing from the farmers. The poor made up the majority of the Chinese population. Those people brought their hopes and dreams to America.

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Man-Made Environmental Disasters

Whether directly or indirectly, intentional or unintentional, through negligence or even with due diligence, humans are especially skillful at creating disasters, a truth that is quite evident throughout history. As follows are but some of the worst man-made environmental disasters in history.

Love Canal Toxic Landfill

Love Canal barrels of waste

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The History Of Pencils

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Pencil History: The Earliest Forms of Self Expression

Did you know that modern pencils owe it all to an ancient Roman writing instrument called a stylus? Scribes used this thin metal rod to leave a light, but readable mark on papyrus (an early form of paper). Other early styluses were made of lead, which is what we still call pencil cores, even though they actually are made of non-toxic graphite. But pencil history doesn’t stop there…

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Awful Executions Through History

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Political correctness reared its head in the 19th century, when the English parliament decided, in response to public demand, passed a law banning all public executions. One section of the public, however, was outraged, because a good execution, along with pies and pints of beer, had always made for a good outing. Many years earlier, when executions took place at Tyburn all the time, the busiest gallows in England had been made to accommodate 21 victims at once, and execution days drew enormous crowds

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Eight Most Notable Unsuccessful Attempts to Kill Hitler

wolfsschanze attentat 1944

The 2008 Tom Cruise movie “Valkrie” tells a story on how a military conspirational group led by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg planned to assassinate German dictator and fascist Adolf Hitler. This attempt was not the first plot to kill Hitler. Here are some of the most notable plots.

The 2008 Tom Cruise movie “Valkrie” tells a story on how a military conspirational group led by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg planned to assassinate German dictator and fascist Adolf Hitler. This attempt was not the first plot to kill Hitler. According to National Geographic, there were 42 discovered plots to kill Hitler and none was successful. Here are some of the most notable plots.

Maurice Bavaud (Munich, 9th November 1938)

Eight Most Notable Unsuccessful Attempts to Kill Hitler
Maurice Bavaud

 
Being a Swiss Roman Chatolic citizen and having attended Saint Ilan Seminary in Brittany France, Bavaud believed that Hitler was a thread to mankind and most importantly to Chatolic church in Switzerland and Germany. Bavaud became obsessed with the idea of killing Hitler and planned to do the assassination himself.

Bavaud planned to shot Hitler when marching in a parade called “Reichskristallnactht” in the city of Munich on 9th November 1938 . By posing as a Swiss reporter, Bavaud managed to get a VIP seat. Unexpectedly, Hitler changed his marching position to the far end of the street instead of in the middle. Bavaud tried to pull out his gun from inside his pocket but just when Hitler marched past him, the entire bystander reached out their arms for the Hittler’s salute, thus hindering Bavaud from taking the shot. But even if he made the shot, it would have failed anyway since the distance between him and Hitler was too wide to make the shot deadly.

After his first failure, Bavaud tried to follow Hittler’s move in order to get close enough to him. His attempts were never successful. Finally he ran out of money and took a train trip to Paris without buying ticket. The conductor turned him over to the police. Upon the discovery of the gun amongst Bavaud’s belonging, the police turned him over to the Gestapo. Swiss government had done nothing to save him. On 14th May 1941, Bavaud was beheaded by guillotine.

 Georg Elser, (Burberbraukeller, Munich, 8th November 1939)

Eight Most Notable Unsuccessful Attempts to Kill Hitler
Georg Elser

Image via DamnInteresting

Elser was a German citizen who was afraid that Hitler would bring devastation to Germany. He had no religious motive, instead he mainly concerned about labour issues. Elser despised restricted worker’s freedom, poor working condition and low wages. His skill as carpenter and previous working experience in a watch factory gave him the ability to build a wooden time bomb.

Elser planned to assassinate Hitler when giving annual speech in Burberbraukeller, a large beer hall in Munich, which was one of the gathering places of Nazi Party. Elser got this idea when he was attending the 1938’s Nazi gathering in that place and noted that the event was poorly guarded. In November 1938 Elser came to Munich and managed to stay inside Burberbraukeller. Every night he crawled into a hollow space behind a column where Hitler would give his speech. His bomb was so carefully made. Until today it is still consider a work of art. On 5th November 1939, the 50 kg bomb was completely installed. Elser set the bomb to explode at 21.20 on 8 November 1839.

Unexpectedly, in the last moment, Hitler decided to take late night train to get back to Berlin as Munich Airport was closed due to bad weather. Consequently he had to end his speech at 21.07. Thirteen minutes earlier than anticipated. At exactly 21.20 the bomb exploded killing 8 people and injuring more than 60 others. Elser’s assassination plan that would have changed history was failed. At the time of explosion, Elser was already on his way to Switzerland. He was arrested by the police when trying to cross the border. Elser was transferred to Munich and interrogated by Gestapo. He finally confessed. He was shot to death in 1945 only three weeks before the end of war in Dachau concentration camp.

Polish Army (Warsaw 5th October 1939)

In September 1939 Hitler’s troops invaded Poland. Polish Army, however, managed to continue their underground activity during the war. The underground army planned to assassinate Hitler during a Victory parade in Warsaw by planting a bomb in Square Charles de Gaulles. The bomb failed to explode.

Soviet Inteligence (1940s)

Eight Most Notable Unsuccessful Attempts to Kill Hitler
Olga Checkova

Image source : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olga_Chekhova

The soviet recruited Olga Checkova, a Russian-born actress who fled to and gain recognition in Berlin, as spy. Checkova was recruited due to her good relationship with Hitler. Soviet intelligence asked Checkova to introduce Hitler to two assassins. The plan was abandoned when the Russian started to win the war.

Foxley Operation (1944)

Eight Most Notable Unsuccessful Attempts to Kill Hitler
Hitler’s Berghof.

Image source : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berghof_(Hitler)

British Government through its Special Operation Executive (SOE) also planned to assassinate Hitler. The SOE first planned to put bombs in train that Hitler travelled in. This plan was abandoned because Hitler’s train schedule was never predictable and too irregular. The second plan was to poison Hitler’s food and beverage while he was travelling by train. Once again, this plan was abandoned as the SOE would require an inside man. The third plan which was considered the most acceptable was to assign a sniper to shot Hitler.

From a prisoner of war who had been part of Hitler’s security guard, the SOE obtained information of Hitler activities at the Berghof, a vocational place regularly visited by Hitler. It was revealed that at 10 AM everyday, Hitler would take his private walk around the woods, unguarded and out of sight of sentry posts. A Nazi flag visible from a nearby café was put up every time Hitler was there. The SOE planned to send 2 men wearing a German uniform by parachute into the area surrounding the compound.

Although Churhill favored the plan, not all SOE’s executive supported it. Many still believed that with the war almost over, it would not be a good idea to assassinate Hitler. Killing Hitler would make him sort of a martyr to some Germans and Nazism would probably live on. No decision was reached and the plan was never executed.

Henning Von Tresckow (1941 – 1944)

Eight Most Notable Unsuccessful Attempts to Kill Hitler
Henning Von Tresckow

Image source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henning_von_Tresckow

Tresckow came from a Prussian noble family with long military tradition. He didn’t like the cruelty shown by Hitler’s regime in particular when Hitler started the mass shooting towards Jewish woman and children. Tresckow made numerous attempts to kill Hitler from 1941 – 1944.

In August 1941, Tresckow and his cousin Schlabrendroff planned to kidnap Hitler when travelling to Heeresgruppe Mitte. The plan failed because of high security. On March 1943 Tresckow concealed a plastic bomb in a package purportedly contained cognac bottles and tried to place it in Hitler’s Condor plane. The bomb failed to explode because the luggage compartment where the package was located was not heated. The low temperature had prevented the bomb from detonating. Schlabrendroff retrieved the package from the plane to prevent the discovery of the plot. A week after this failed plot, Tresckow made another attempt to blow Hitler. This time, the execution of the plan was on the hand of Gersdorff, Tresckow’s friend and ally.

Rudolf von Gersdorff (March 1943)

Gersdorff intended to do a suicide bombing. He carried 8 ounces C2 bomb and hide it in his pocket. He was a tour guide when Hitler visited Zeughaus Berlin to inspect Soviet captured weapons. His plan was to throw himself around Hitler after Hitler made his speech and blew the bomb that would surely kill them both. The bomb was set to explode within 10 minutes after the detonator was activated. Unexpectedly, Hitler ended the tour sooner than expected. Probably because he felt Gersdorff,s anxiety. Gersdorff managed to diffuse the bomb in a public lavatory. He evaded suspicion and become one of few German Military anti Hitler plotter who survive the war.

Claus Von Stauffenberg (20 July 1944)

Eight Most Notable Unsuccessful Attempts to Kill Hitler
Claus Von Stauffenberg

Image source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henning_von_Tresckow
Born into an aristocrat Catholic family; Stauffenberg felt uneasy towards Hitler’s ill-treatment of Jews. Finally, his personal sense of justice and religious morality made him turn against Hitler.

Stauffenberg named his assassination plan “Valkrie Operation”. This is perhaps the most famous plot to kill Hitler. Stauffenberg planned to conceal two bombs in a briefcase and put it in the briefing room in Wolfsschanze, one of Nazi’s Headquarters, when Hitler held a meeting there on 20 July 1944.Because there was not enough time to arm the second bomb before the meeting began, only one bomb was successfully carried into the briefing room. Stauffenberg placed the briefcase as close as possible to Hittler and hurriedly excused himself. Unexpectedly, after his exit from the room, Colonel Brandt moved the briefcase away from its intended position.

The bomb exploded. Stauffenberg watched the explosion and convinced himself that no one could have survived the blast. He was wrong. He was in Berlin to initiate a military coup against Nazi’s leaders when he heard the news that Hitler suffered only minor injury. Scientist believes that the existence of windows on the walls of the meeting room had reduced the power of explosion. Moreover, the wrong placement of the bomb caused a heavy and solid oak conference table to form a shield that protected Hitler. Modern computer simulation shows that if only the second bomb were also used, the blast would have killed Hitler. Stauffenberg was shot to death.

Besides the above attempt, there are still numerous plots to kill Hitler, from bombing to poisoning. Although all have failed, it shows the world that not all German citizens or their military supported Hitler’s conduct and ideology.

Tiananmen Square 2

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A Moral Fight to an Unreasonable End.

In 1989, the people of China were fighting the injustice of their communist government in Tiananmen Square. Their rights were being oppressed and they wanted the ability to run their own lives. The students at the protest had elected representatives to speak up against their communist leader. They wanted China to accept the reforms they protested for, but more than that they wanted the rest of the world to realize that China’s communist government was ruining the country. The protestors of Tiananmen Square used reasonable means of protesting to gain the rights that they did not have because they were never trying to harm anybody in their process of achieving freedom. To gain these liberties, the people protested together at Tiananmen Square, wrote petitions against the government, and went on a hunger strike.

The first way that the college students of China protested against their government was by gathering at Tiananmen Square. First, in April 17, 10,000 students had met up at Tiananmen Square to protest. This shows that so many people of China wanted a change in government and that the government was ruling unfairly. They were not trying to harm anybody by gathering together. They were only there to mourn for the death of Hu Yaobang and to protest for a democracy. Also, these students began to sing hymns that had lyrics that fought communism and promoted democracy. This portrays the fact that the people were so propelled by their beliefs of a need for democracy that they were compelled to sing out their feelings for a new government. Once again, they were not trying to kill anybody with their singing. They were only trying to let out their emotions to the world to let others know what they desired. Finally, the students carved out a giant statue that stood for liberty and democracy. This reinforces the fact that they wanted a democratic government because they were trying to mimic the Statue of Liberty to get the rest of the world and the US to notice their plea for a fair government. In the end, the government did notice their protesting, but the people of China did not gain anything out of it. They were only massacred later on for their insolence and betrayal against the government even though the students had not tried to harm anybody.

The second thing the students did was to make petitions and posters to protest against the government. Petitions are a moral way to call against the injustice of a nation because nobody is harmed in doing so. First, on the first day of the gathering at Tiananmen Square, the students immediately began to make a petition of demands that they wanted. It was a way to get the world to realize that so many people wanted a change in government. Second, the students began making posters and banners that called for freedom, democracy, and enlightenment. They hung them up on the imitation Statue of Liberty to attract the attention of the government. They also wanted the people of the world to see those banners and realize how badly the people of China wanted a democracy. Finally, on May 9, the students petitioned for the freedom to report the protest to the world. They wanted to tell everybody that the government was oppressing them. None these tactics worked because they angered the government and ended up being slaughtered in their own protesting grounds.

Finally, the students that were protesting went on a hunger strike. On May 13, the students began a hunger strike in order to get the government to meet with them. In a sense this was an unmoral tactic to force the government to notice them because they were risking human lives, but the end justifies the means and their reason for a hunger strike was moral. Then on May 14, the students were allowed to talk to the government leaders because the hunger strike convinced the government to talk with them. Unfortunately the negotiations failed and the students were left with nothing. They had a chance to make changes to China, but a stubborn Communist Government prevented them from doing so. Finally in May 18, Li Peng tried to stop the students from their strike, but the students won’t stop their protesting and the government prepared for martial law. The length of the hunger strike most definitely forced the government to take extreme means to stop the strike. After all, if the government let the people die from starving themselves, the international press would print bad reviews on China to the rest of the world. This means that the people of China brought the massacre upon themselves when they tried to protest by the means of a hunger strike.

The student protestors at Tiananmen Square were never trying to harm the government from the start because that would not have solved anything and that means that the protestors’ tactics of fighting for their cause was just. All three of their tactics to protest against their government were moral, but going on a hunger strike brought about their protest’s failure. The government could not afford the deaths of human lives that they would not be able to cover up later, so their final resort was to use martial law. Although the protestors used just ways of fighting, the government they were fighting only did whatever it could to stop the protesting.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

Chinoy, Mike. “Two Decades in the Heart of the Dragon: China Live.”

This book told me that on the students sang hymns to try to protest for a democracy (185), and that on April 17 the students began their petition of demands for the changes they wanted in their government (188). Also it told me that on May 9, the students tried to petition for the freedom to report about the protest to the world. And finally, it said that the students made posters and banners that had freedom, democracy, and enlightenment written on them (190).

Peng, Li. “Li Peng and Others Meet Representatives of the Fasting Students.” Tiananmen Chronology. 18 Dec. 2008 .

This site told me about all 3 of the specific examples on the tactic of hunger strike. It said that the people began a protest on May 13 to try to meet the government, that on May 14 the students talked to the government, and on May 18, Li Peng tried to stop the students’ hunger strike.

Secondary Sources

“‘History written in Blood.’” Hong Kong Alliance. 18 Dec. 2008 .

This site told me that on April 17, ten thousand students had gathered at Tiananmen Square to protest and that by April 18, there were tens of thousands of students there. Also, it told me that they had made an imitation Statue of Liberty to protest against their communist government.

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia

These are some of the strangest facts involving the worlds first civilization!

1. Mesopotamian Religion did not believe in the after-life. They believed that all good and bad people go under-ground as ghosts and eat dirt.

2. Their religion also believed that they were servants of god. If you were to ask a person today why they are here they would say because god loves me. Back in Mesopotamia they would say to be a servant of the gods. Talk about population control!

3. Mesopotamia invented the wheel, plow, irrigation systems and the sailboat!

4. Priests would read the livers of chickens or lambs to see what the gods wanted for sacrifices.

5. Priests controlled the irrigation systems and also had more power than the king and queen!

6. Mesopotamia was the very first civilization.

7. The Mesopotamian king ordered the construction of the Hanging Gardens for his wife because she grew up in the mountains and was homesick!

8. Mesopotamia was made up of individual City-states controlled by different powers. They would eventually attack each other and end up under 1 ruler. The people would retaliate and go back to being city-states. This process was repeated many times.

9. Each City-state had its own god!

10. In the Mesopotamian religion there are 4 main gods of Earth, Water, Air and the Heavens. And there were 3,000 lesser gods and each represented an everyday item like a pickaxe. If you were mining and the pickaxe slipped and fell on your foot, the god of the pickaxe hated you!

So there you have it.  The Egyptians were not the only super interesting civilization in the ancient history.

The Mortuary Temple of The Pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut

The mortuary temple cover

A thousand shades of sandy-brown. Only two miles from the Nile and all hint of green is gone. It is easy to see why the ancient Egyptians called the desiccated ground either side of their narrow fertile strip the Red Lands, from which our word ‘desert’ is said to derive. And since the sun set in the west the western desert was the land of the dead. Here, on the opposite side of the Niles from the great cities lie complexes of tombs and mortuary temples, none more spectacular than the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, the Pharaoh Queen.

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View of the mortuary temple complex

Hatshepsut was one of the few female pharaohs, reigning for about 21 years up to 1458 BC, in the period of ancient Egypt known as the New Kingdom, the time when the Egyptian Empire grew to its greatest extent. A daughter of the old pharaoh Thutmose I by one of his main wives, she married one of her half brothers as his main wife, bolstering his claim to the throne (he was the son of the pharaoh by a minor wife). Her husband / half brother became Thutmose II but he soon died and his son by a lesser wife became the official pharaoh, Thutmose III, with his Hatshepsut as regent because he was still a child.

Hatshepsut seems to have become rather fond of power and soon styled herself pharaoh instead, holding onto the throne even when her son reached the age of majority. Apart from being one of the few female pharaohs, she is famous for sending a large trade expedition to the ‘Land of Punt,’ which brought back many different exotic goods, illustrated on the walls of the temple.

 

The inscriptions from her time aren’t detailed enough to say for definite where Punt was, but leading contenders are Somalia and Ethiopia, with Arabia as another possibility. What is definite is that during her time Egypt was rich and well connected in trade. Wall paintings of piles of goods make it clear what a variety there was to be had for those with the wealth.

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Wall painting from the temple of piles of grave goods

Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple nestles at the bottom of the cliffs that separate the Nile valley from the high desert plateau beyond. It is built in a series of layers, each a large open square, leading up to the main buildings right up against the cliffs. These consists of a long central open corridor with statues of Hatshepsut in the form of the god Osiris and several individual temples to the side.

the mortuary

The main corridor, with statues of Hatshepsut in the form of the god Osiris

It was common for pharaohs, who claimed to be half divine by birth and to ascend to the divine when they died, to depict themselves in the form of gods. Nothing illustrates the quiet alien concepts of their religion and philosophy more than this. Imagine the fuss nowadays if a ruler depicted himself or herself in the form of a god!

One should remember that this is a mortuary temple and not a tomb. Hatshepsut was never buried here. This place was where she would have been prepared for burial and where, for years afterwards, priests would pray for her soul. The concept is similar to a medieval king dedicating a chapel and paying for a priest to sing masses for his soul after his death.

What is truly astonishing about the place is colour of the painted wall carvings, dulled only slightly by the passing of three and a half millennia. One moment, the centuries seem to lie lightly, the merest veil of fine Egyptian gauze separating now from then. The next, the full weight of all those years hits you, and you gasp with wonder.

Ancient Warriors: Nine Deadly Weapons Blast From the Past

Those ancient warriors may not have been the most subtle fighters around, but they they sure had some bad-ass weapons. I guess for the ancients, desperate times called for desperate measures, as you will see from these murderous military weapons.

  1. Triple Morning Star

    mace PA200611
    This Ancient Weapon known as the Mace comes from the Medieval Age. This weapon was very deadly and consisted of a wood or metal shaft with a mounted head of bronze, copper, wood, or steel. The mace was carried and used by both foot soldiers and Calvary men. Maces were very effective in battle and could puncture even the heaviest of armor. This was a barbaric weapon and left battlefields filled with torture and blood.

  2. Hawaiian Throwing Axe

    1hawaiian
    This Hawaiian Throwing Axe was a deadly hand held weapon that could be used at both short and long range. This weapon was made out of wood and shark teeth had the power to take men’s limbs off. This weapon was mainly used when opposing Hawaiian armies closed upon each other. They were then thrown at the opposing troops to help soften enemy ranks before close combat. They could also be used in hand to hand combat and had the muscle to rip open skin as if it was butter. This was a very dangerous weapon and is not something you would want to go up against.

  3. Hunga Munga

    HungaMunga 1.jpgoriginal
    The Hunga Munga is an African tribal weapon that is way ahead of its time. It is a handheld weapon and contains a metal pointed blade with a curved back section and separate spike near the handle. This weapon was used in fighting between African tribes and was often times throw in a rotating motion causing deep wounds and even death. Its variation of blades allowed it to be used as more then a weapon. It was used as a tool in farming and even in building structures. It was a great all around tool and has been found all throughout Africa. Today you may have seen the Hunga Munga in the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy uses it once in a while to fight off evil demons that she faces.

  4. Throwing Star

    Shuriken
    The throwing star known as the shuriken which means “a dagger hidden in a palm” were used and invented by the Japanese. The stars had much variation in the shape; some were shaped like a star and thrown with spin, yet others were needlelike and thrown like a throwing dagger. These daggers couldn’t penetrate armor, but the ninjas, who used them, usually didn’t fight armored opponents. Venom was normally used with the shuriken.

  5. Caltrop

    Caltrop
    The Caltrop is a weapon made up of two or more sharp spikes or spines arranged so that one of them points upward from a stable base. Caltrops serve to slow down the proceeding of horses, war elephants, and human troops. It was said to be particularly effective against the soft feet of camels. These were very painful if stepped on and were spread all throughout battle fields. They also were deadly because if stepped on it would cause a bad infection that would cause a slow agonizing death. They also have been used in modern times. In the Vietnam War the Vietcong put them into booby traps. If an American soldier was punctured by one he died from infection almost 90% of the time.

  6. Crossbow Pistol

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    This 17th Century Crossbow was way ahead of its time and is very cool. This crossbows look like an early form of a pistol and was very powerful. This hand held crossbow was both accurate and effective but it just was too hard to reload. Because of this it was not used very often in battle and was used more for target practice. Another problem with this weapon was making the arrows which was to time consuming especially if they were just going to get lost in battle. Overall this weapon was still badass and really shows what type of technology and ideas the 17th Century had.

  7. Trebuchet

    Trebuchet du chateau de Gil
    A trebuchet is basically a high powered catapult and had many uses in ancient times. Mainly used as a weapon it had enough power to break through castles and destroy towns. It was first used in the 16th Century. Rocks, dead horses, dead people, and dead animals were all used as ammo. In the 16th and 17th Century when plagues and diseases were looming over civilizations plagued bodies were thrown by the trebuchet into enemy territory. The bodies decomposed passing the plague to the enemies slowly killing them. This is one of the first forms of biological warfare.]

  8. Ancient Rocket Launcher

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    In the 14th century, the Chinese invented rocket-launchers. These were weapons which shot arrows with rockets attached near the tip into the air toward the enemy. Also in the 14th century, multi-stage rockets were made. When the rockets near the front of the device burnt out, they lit fuses for the second-stage rockets at the back. The bombs the Chinese used in the 17th century were made of gunpowder wrapped in paper and had a fuse covered in gunpowder.

  9. Ancient Flame-Thrower

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    The Chinese invented the continuous flame-thrower in the tenth century. In the picture above we see the tank standing on four legs, with the pump and device above it. Because the Chinese invention of a double-acting Piston-bellows was used with this device, a continuous stream of flame could be emitted. The metal used was brass. The Flame-Thrower was used in naval or boat combat and allowed the Chinese to easily set enemy ships on fire and sink them on the spot. It was a great technology and has been used ever since.

Christopher Columbus and the Genocide of the Taino Nation

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Obsessed with finding a sea rout to Asia and the Far East, Columbus set out on his ‘Enterprise of the Indies’ in 1492, backed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.  However, instead of finding a rout to the rich trade in the East, Columbus and his crew discovered the New World, and soon set about subjugating and murdering the local population and removing the vast wealth from the land.

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Columbus discovering the New World.  Image Source

A small colony was established in Hispaniola consisting of thirty-nine of his crew, the rest returned to Spain with Columbus along with gold, spices and natives taken as slaves to be given as gifts for his royal patrons.

The following year, he led a second expedition comprising of seventeen large ships and one and half thousand new colonists, arriving in the Americas a month later.  By the time he got back to Hispaniola, his men there had been slaughtered by the locals and a second colony was founded.

Columbus punished the local tribe, known as the Taino, severely.  He enslaved many and executed many more; according to Ward Churchill, former professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado, by 1496, the population had been reduced from as many as eight million to around three million.

On his third expedition, he explored the region before returning to Hispaniola in 1498 where he had left his brothers in charge, Diego and Bartholomew.  Conditions there were in decline so he stepped up the terror campaign against the Taino, ruling with an iron hand causing resentment from the colonists and local chiefs alike.  Complaints of his brutality got back to the Spanish monarchs and in 1500 they sent a Chief Justice to bring him and his brothers back to Spain in chains.

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Columbus in chains.  Image Source

However he was released on his arrival and allowed a fourth and final expedition, which he conducted with the same brutality as previous ones.  By the time he finally left in 1504, the Taino had been reduced to around 100,000 people arguably making Columbus a war criminal by today’s standards and  guilty of committing some of the worst atrocities against another race in history.

Some were killed directly as punishments for ‘crimes’ such as not paying tribute to the invaders.  Many who could not or would not pay had their hands cut off and were left to bleed to death.  Columbus and his men are documented by the chronicles of Las Casas, know as Brev’sima relaci-n,  to have partaken in mass hangings, roasting people on spits, burnings at the stake and even hacking young children to death and feeding them to dogs as punishment for the most minor of crimes. The Spanish masters massacred the natives, sometimes hundreds at a time for sport, making bets on who could split a man in two, or cut a head off in one blow.

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Taino people being tortured by the Spanish.   Image Source

Defenders of Columbus argue that a large amount of the victims were killed by disease however they fail to recognize that most of these diseases were caused by poor living conditions in forced labour camps.  Deprived of their crops and fields, many fell prey to dysentery and typhus, were worked to death or were left to starve to death.

After his death his terrible legacy would live on, by 1514, a census showed only 22,000 Taino remained alive.  By 1542 there were only 200 remaining and after they were considered extinct, as was becoming more and more the case throughout the Caribbean basin.

In around fifty years Columbus and those that followed him had all but eliminated a population of around fifteen million people.  This process was just the start and an estimated 100 million people were wiped out by Europeans in the so called ‘civilisation’ of the Western Hemisphere making the discovery of the New World the start of what was arguably the worst case of mass genocide in history.