This week I started 8th-grade history through the Ron Paul Curriculum. The class is taught by Bradley Fish Jr. Today, I am going to overview what I learned this week. Focusing on a little bit of history from the Middle East.
The Middle East
This civilization includes modern-day Jordan, Turkey, Israel, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. You see, the ancient people from this area were farmers, so they needed a great place to plant their crops and keep them lush and green. The middle east was a great choice because there was a semi-circle kind of area that was especially fertile. The Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile rivers all flow through this area, which was called the “fertile crescent” after it’s lush farming land (see pictures below). Between the years of 1000 BC and 500 AD, the middle east changed hands a lot, in fact, 5 different powers ruled during those 1500 years. Babylon, Persia, Parthia, Rome, and for a short time, Alexander the Great was in control.
In 750 AD, the Muslims took over the government, converting it to their religious system, to start forming the Islamic middle east that we know today.
The Battle of Jumonville Glen was a 15-minute skirmish that started the wheels in motion for the 7 years war (also called the French and Indian war).
It all started on a cold winter night. A troop of English and Indian soldiers were marching toward a place called Fort Necessity. The fort was in construction, and the soldiers were sent to keep it safe from the Canadians while it was being built. The English soldiers were commanded by a man named George Washington, (yes, the same man that let the continental army in the American Revolution) and the Indian soldiers were being led by a man named Tanacharison.
Washington and Tanacharison were about 5 miles apart when word came from the Indians that they had spotted the Canadian encampment. (As a side note really quick, the band of 35 or so Canadians led by Joseph Jumonville, was just a small part of a larger group of soldiers. The larger group had already captured the partly constructed fort that Washington was on his way to defend. Jumonville and his men were sent to warn Washington not to start messing around with the Canadian’s claimed land). Washington marched his men the 5 miles that night to where Tanacharison was and set up an ambush. The next morning, the Canadians were surprised by a bunch of soldiers attacking the camp. The skirmish lasted only about 15 minutes, but quite a few of the Canadians were killed, including Joseph Jumonville. Not including a couple of men that managed to escape, all of the Canadian survivors were taken as prisoners. The dead were either just left in the field where the battle took place or buried in very shallow graves. George Washington pushed his men on to the fort.
When word came to the main party of Canadians, Jumonville’s brother was raving mad. He took a troop of 600 soldiers, attacked Washington and his men and forced him to surrender. The surrendering terms were written in french, which Washington couldn’t read, so it is questionable if he knew what he was agreeing to when he signed that paper. It turns out that the paper had a confession that he had had Jumonville specifically assassinated in the battle. That was used against him later in life.
The next year, more and more small conflicts kept happening, and essentially grew into a full blown war. In fact, both France and England declared war on each other in 1756. This was the 7 years war, or the French and Indian war.
George Whitefield (pronounced Whit-field, not White-field) was a influential traveling preacher during the period of the Great Awakening in the 13 Colonies. He was actually born in England, but found his calling in the new world. He actually helped get them going with breaking away from England too.
George Whitefield was born in 1714, in the town of Gloucester England. His parents owned a inn, but business wasn’t very good, and they were rather poor. Whitefield entered Oxford as a servitor to pay his way through (a servitor is someone who works for the higher class students cleaning rooms, carrying books, etc). During his time in college, Whitefield met the Wesley brothers (Charles and John) and joined a club with them called “the Holy Club”, where he was introduced to theology and such things. Although Whitefield was learning all about christian theology and God, he didn’t really have an actual relationship with God.
God revealed himself to George, and he became very passionate about serving and following in God’s path. He started preaching and his reputation just grew and grew. It is said that he could preach so loud that you could hear him from five miles away! Whitefield visited America and saw the need for an Orphanage and some good old preaching. He returned to England, rose funds, and then went back to the colonies. A orphanage was built and he called it “Bethesda”. When Whitefield wasn’t at the orphanage, he was traveling around preaching at revival.
George Whitefield kept on with his calling until his death in September of 1770, at age 55. He was one of the most influential preachers of the time, and is remembered as one of the leaders of the Great Awakening.
Today I’m going to give you a very brief summary of four of the original 13 Colonies. Hopefully I can get them in order.
Virginia was started in 1607 by the Virginia Company. Sir Walter named it after the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth the 1st of England. Jamestown was the first settlement. The life for the colonists in Virginia was a hard one. The colony almost failed many times, but always found a way to survive.
The Massachusett Bay Colony was started in 1620 by the colonists from the Mayflower. The story of the mayflower and the puritans is pretty famous, so I won’t tell you all about it. The first settlement was Plymouth. Massachusetts became a royal colony in 1691.
#3. New Hampshire
New Hampshire was started in 1921. John Wheelwright, and his sister-in-law, Anne Hutchinson started a settlement called Exeter in New Hampshire. The two of them were banished from Boston, so they took some other people with them and started Exeter.
The first settlers landed in Maryland in 1633. King Charles I gave the charter to Lord Baltimore. Leonard Calvert, who was Lord Baltimore’s son was the one that led the colonists into the land and settle it.
In my 7th grade English class, I have been reading a book called Wulf the Saxon, by G.A. Henty. It’s all about the Norman invasion of England. This week for my writing assignment, I need to write about the culture of the Anglo-Saxon people.
The Anglo-Saxon people started out as a bunch of Germanic tribes that settled in the part of Europe that is now England. The tribes eventually united and grew into a country with a King, and different Earldoms and Earls ruling over them. In each earldom, there were the people that lived in them that were free men that were farmers, or some other occupation such as a metal worker or something like that.
There were not a lot of trained, paid soldiers, so when a war started, all the farmers and people were called from their homes, farms, and businesses to fight. This made them weaker than their opponents because their men would leave to get back to their farms and occupations as soon as their required time in service was up. This left the king relatively helpless at times because he had practically no army.
The Saxons were pagan, believing in what seems like thousands of different gods, but eventually, some catholic missionaries came and converted most of England. King Alfred helped spread the popularity of Catholicism also. The Saxons had cities and villages and monasteries and convents and everything.
Over time, England began to adopt more and more civilized ideas and things, to become one of the most powerful country’s in Europe.
Johannes Kepler was born in Germany, in the year of 1571. Growing up, Kepler had a great interest in science and astronomy, but unfortunately, he caught smallpox. This weakened his whole body, and especially his eyesight so he couldn’t study the skies like he had before. Undefeated, Kepler left for the University, to become a mathematician. During his time studying, he was taught about the heliocentric world view, which was very controversial during that time. As a side note, having the heliocentric world view meant that you believed that all of the planets revolved around the sun, rather than the popular belief that the planets all revolved around the earth. Kepler finished his education at the university, and then, at the age of 23, he got the job of teaching mathematics and astronomy in Graz.
When he was 29 years old, Johannes Kepler relocated to Prague to become an associate with the notable Tycho Brahe, who was the Imperial Astronomer for Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Rudolph II. About a year later, Brahe died unexpectedly, and Kepler became the Imperial Astronomer in his place. Johannes Kepler died on November 15, in the year of 1630.
Tycho Brahe was born in Sweden, on December 14th, 1546, to Otte Brahe and Beate Clausedatter Bille. Tycho was actually a Danish Nobleman. His parents were very wealthy so they could afford a very good education for him. At the young age of twelve, the boy went to the University where he studied law and astronomy. While at the University, Brahe and another student had an argument about something and decided to settle it with a sword duel. In the struggle, Brahe got part of his nose chopped off. For the rest of his life, he had to live with an ugly prosthetic nose that was made out of brass. Tycho became the Imperial Astronomer for Emperor Rudolph II and started building a new Observatory. Then, he met Kepler. They really hit it off! Brahe was very impressed with Kepler’s ideas and observations and so they started working together on things. This was actually quite remarkable because, in those days, the scientists weren’t very team-work oriented. Just a year after they met, Brahe died, and Kepler was appointed to his position.
Teacher: Bradley Fish Jr.
This war is what gave England it’s great naval supremacy. Spain was determined to take the English throne and return the country to Catholicism, while England was equally determined to keep the throne and also keep the freedom of religion that Elizabeth I had brought when she ascended the throne in 1558. Philip II of Spain built a fleet of 130 huge ships especially to attack England. It was called the Armada, which in Spanish, means Navy.
Mary Tudor had died, and her half-sister Elizabeth had been crowned queen. But, Mary had married Philip II, the king of Spain. So, when Mary died in 1558, and Elizabeth became queen, he believed that he should get some of the English throne, or at least Elizabeth’s hand in marriage. She refused to marry him (in fact, she never got married at all). So, Philip decided to try to overthrow Elizabeth and take England for himself.
Philip started building a fleet of 130 ships that were huge. Those 130 were so huge that they held 26,000 men. Elizabeth knew that if the Armada landed in England, they were as good as dead, so under Lord Howard of Effingham and Sir Frances Drake, the English navy met the massive Spanish Armada in the English channel.
The Battle went poorly for the Spaniards. The weather was against them, the English had small ships that could run circles around their huge ones, plus the English Channel wasn’t super wide, so it was a lot easier for the English navy to maneuver and get around. To top it off, the English sent a few fire-ships over that lit a bunch of Spain’s fleet on fire. The Armada was so crippled that it returned to Spain without even landing on English Ground.
The Anglo-Spanish war didn’t officially end until 1604 when King James (who became king after Elizabeth I died) instituted the treaty of London that ended the war.