Thursday, November 8, 2012

Politics Unraveled

It was November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States with only 40% of the popular votes and with only 180 electoral votes.  The country was split between four candidates representing four very different platforms.  Lincoln was the culmination of Republicanism in the 19th century.  He stood for what was right even when the country he lead was facing turmoil that would shake it's very foundation and leave a crater in the minds of those who lived through it.  Exactly 152 years to the day another presidential election occurred.  This time it would be between the history-making incumbent black Democrat lawyer-turned-politician Barack Obama and his opponent the white Republican businessman-turned-politician Mitt Romney, who also happened to be a Mormon.  This would be a close campaign and race.  Billions of dollars would be spent.  Millions would vote for the one they thought should be elected as Chief-of-State.  As election night started it looked as though Romney would be the victor, but eventually Obama won the support of states such as Ohio and California, which hold important electoral votes.  History was made, not so much in the fact that Obama was reelected (although him being elected four years ago as the first black president was monumental,) but in the fact the Romney was the first member of the LDS Church since Joseph Smith to run for president and almost make it.  Lincoln was absolutely remarkable in his efforts to unify the shattering Union.  His legacy will be remembered throughout the ages.  Romney's efforts will be remembered as well.  How lucky we are to live in a time when great and meaningful events are happening right in front of us.          

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Country Spotlight: Vatican City

Vatican City is indeed a nation that is internationally recognized. Known as the Holy See, it is governed by a body comprised of top officials of the Roman Catholic Church. It is located in Rome, Italy. The current chief of state is Pope Benedict XVI, the leader of the Catholic Church. The Holy See has no standing army or navy, but there is the Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps, a ceremonial and limited security force. The symbol on the flag consists of two crossed keys of Saint Peter.  As of July 2011, the population of Vatican City is 836. Vatican City has used in many motion pictures, such as The Scarlet and the Black and Angels and Demons.  I hope to someday be able to travel to Vatican City and see such great architecture and artwork.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Country Spotlight: Peru

So beginning today every Thursday will be a Country Spotlight.  Obviously, there are enough countries to last for a quite a while.  But, I thought that this would be interesting...

Peru, a South American republic, is located on the western coast along the Pacific Ocean.  It shares borders with Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Chile to the south, and Bolivia and Brasil to the east.
Peru's climate is extremely varied, depending on which region you are in.  In the west, the coastal region is very dry and hot.  In the east, the jungle region is hot and humid.  In the central region, the Sierra, it can be pretty cold.
The ethnic groups in Peru are Amerindian which makes up about half the population, mestizo, white, black, Japanese, and Chinese.  Spanish is the official language of Peru, but Quechua is widely spoken throughout.  Roman Catholic is the major religion in Peru.
The history of Peru is somewhat depressing.  The Incas (see: previous post) were the reigning peoples in Peru, hence the Amerindian populations and the speaking of Quechua.  In the 16th century the Spanish empire invaded and conquered the Inca empire, hence the mestizo and white population, Spanish as the major language, and catholic as the major religion.
It is interesting to see that most of the colonial-age buildings were built upon the ruins of the Incas.  Cuzco, for example, is a museum of a city which displays the original Inca stone bases with colonial Spanish white buildings built on top of them.
Pretty much whenever Peru is mentioned the first thing that pops into mind of most people is Machu Picchu.  These hilltop ruins are reminiscent of the events of the past.  There is quite a reverent spirit that lays upon the ruins.  I would extend an invitation to all who have not been to Peru or Machu Picchu, to put it on their list of things to do before they die.  It is extremely amazing!    

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tahuantinsuyu - Empire of the Four Quarters


I have completed one of my term papers for this semester! The topic is one I find particularly interesting. I decided to write on the formation of the Inca Empire in the 15th century. The key character in this story is Pachacuti. He was the one who transformed the Kingdom of Cuzco into the sprawling empire that lasted for a century. Here is a portion from my paper:

"The creation of an empire as expansive and well-organized as that of the Inca Empire required not only intelligent and brave leaders, but also inventive systems that would ensure the empire’s success and longevity. The empire’s formation was made possible through the use of decisive military tactics and strategic diplomacy."

If you have any desire to read my whole paper, just leave a comment saying so!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Topics for term papers...

I am taking two history classes this semester. One is from the beginning of time to 1500 and the other is from 1500 to present. I have a term paper due in each class. Right now we are trying to decide what topics to come up with for the papers. I am having trouble picking a topic from anything before 1500.
I have thought to do it about the Egyptians, the Romans, or the Incas. What specific topic I don't know. I guess we will just have to wait and see what topic I choose. In other words, I will be presenting portions of my papers here on this blog for all to see...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

George, Nicholas, and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins

George, Nicholas, and Wilhelm

So, about a year ago I had the opportunity to read a great non-fiction book about King George V of England (1865 to 1936), Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (1868 to 1918), and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany (1859 to 1941). This biopic about the three royal cousins and their lives was really interesting. They were the rulers of their countries around the time of WWI. Their blood was linked in an interesting way: King Christian IX of Denmark and Louise of Hesse were George and Nicholas's maternal grandparents, Queen Victoria and Albert were Wilhelm's maternal grandparents and George's paternal grandparents. With this as the case George is first cousins with Wilhelm and Nicholas, but Nicholas and Wilhelm were not first cousins. Their lives were very interesting. I highly recommend reading the book - George, Nicholas, and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I by Miranda Carter.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Current Event: The Death of Kim Jong-il

In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il died on December 17, 2011. His reign started in 1994 with the death of his father, Kim Il-sung. Communist North Korea has long been known as the hermit kingdom. It's personality regime has been brainwashing the citizenry for decades. Millions of North Koreans have died due to sicknesses from famines and poverty. The question now is...what will become of North Korea in the absence of Kim Jong-il? His son, Kim Jong-un, is only 27 or 28. He has been indoctrinated with the strict philosophies of the regime his entire life. Will he be the one to finally open the country to modern civilization and be a player in the international field? We will have to wait and see!
More information about North Korea can be found at the CIA World Fact Book website.