Tag Archives: USA

Red Indians and how to tame them

Red Indians and how to tame them


The Elizabethans’ colonial voyages brought them into contact with a people very different level of civilisation from their own—the ‘Indians’ of the New World, as is illustrated by the account written in 1588 by Thomas Harriot  1, the eminent mathematician, astronomer and explorer.

  1. Thomas Harriot (Oxford, ca. 1560 – London, 2 July 1621) — or spelled Harriott, Hariot, or Heriot — was an English astronomer, mathematician, ethnographer, and translator. He is sometimes credited with the introduction of the potato to the British Isles. Harriot was the first person to make a drawing of the Moon through a telescope, on 26 July 1609, over four months before Galileo. After graduating from St Mary Hall, Oxford, Harriot travelled to the Americas, accompanying the 1585 expedition to Roanoke island funded by Sir Walter Raleigh and led by Sir Ralph Lane. Harriot was a vital member of the venture, having translated and learned the Carolina Algonquian language from two Native Americans, Wanchese and Manteo. On his return to England he worked for the 9th Earl of Northumberland. At the Earl’s house, he became a prolific mathematician and astronomer to whom the theory of refraction is attributed.

Mormons in search of Promised Land, 1846-69

Mormons in search of Promised Land, 1846-69

The Mormons have been described as the most systematic, organised, disciplined and successful pioneers in American history. For over 20 years they were one of the main forces driving the settlement of the America West. The Mormons were remarkable also in migrating as a whole community, unlike the individualists and opportunists who made up the majority of the settlers of the West.

The Modoc War, 1872-73

The Modoc War, 1872-73

From the late 1860s there was an uneasy peace until the outbreak in 1872 of the Modoc War, one of the smallest, and certainly one of the oddest, campaigns the US Army ever had to fight. As usual, problems arose from political pressure exerted by land-hungry settlers: in this instance, they wanted the fertile lands of the Modoc tribe of northern California. As a result, the Modocs were ordered from their ancestral lands to a reservation in southern Oregon, which they were to share with the more numerous Klamath tribe.

Who was Ada Blackjack?

Who was Ada Blackjack?

On 16th September 1921, four young men, Americans Lorne Knight, Milton Galle, and Fred Maurer; and Allan Crawford, a Canadian, were despatched to the remote, uninhabited Wrangel Island, off the coast of Siberia, in order to claim it as Canadian territory. Accompanying them was one woman – an Iñupiat Inuit named Ada Blackjack, hired as a seamstress. In a dictated statement, printed in Stefansson’s book, Blackjack wrote: “When we got to Wrangel Island, the land looked very large to me, but they said that it was only a small island. I thought at first that I would turn back, but I decided it wouldn’t be fair to the boys. Soon after we arrived I started to sew.”

Key moments of the American Civil War

Key moments of the American Civil War

Union and Confederate armies clashed close to the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg in the battle we now know was a defining moment in the American Civil War. At the time of the American revolution it was legal to hold human beings as ‘property’ in all of the British colonies that rebelled. But in the wake of the revolution slavery was abolished in New England and, gradually, in the mid-Atlantic states as well. In the south, though, where most enslaved people were held, abolitionism stalled and slavery expanded rapidly.