The answer to where did the Cajuns come from lies thousands of miles northeast in Acadia, a French colony founded by about 100 families near Canada’s Bay of Fundy in 1604. During the French and Indian War in 1755, British troops drove the French Acadians from their homes. Of the 10,000 refugees, about 4,000 of […]
Literally hundreds of people and organizations were on U.S. President Richard Nixon’s “Enemies List”. The list was given to government agencies, like the IRS, with quiet presidential orders to harass the people on it. He wanted payback. Some of the more famous names on the list included movie stars, politicians, and media folks, including Carol […]
The Northwest Indians lived in many villages in the lush lands along the Pacific Ocean. This area included the homelands of the Chinook, Makah, and Nootka, who lived along the coasts of what are now the states of Oregon and Washington, and the territory of the Coast Salish tribes, who also lived on the shores […]
When did Helen Sekaquaptewa publish her autobiography and How was water precious to the traditional Hopi?
In her autobiography Me and Mine (1969), Helen Sekaquaptewa, who grew up as a traditional Hopi, wrote of what water meant to her people: “Every drop of water was precious, and there was never enough. From infancy we were taught to drink sparingly; even then, there were times when we were always thirsty. You never […]
Canada’s 1996 census found that about 2.75 percent of its citizens belong to three different native groups. It counted approximately 535,000 First Nations, 41,000 Inuit, and 210,000 Metis. The descendants of First Nations and European (mostly French) traders, the Metis developed their own unique culture in western Canada during the nineteenth century.
Ming vases got their name because the rise in availability and popularity of porcelain goods reached its peak during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.) in China. During this period, the kilns at Jingdezhen (the porcelain capital of China) were able to produce large amounts of high-quality porcelain to readily provide all of China with vases, […]
The U.S. Army and Navy remained segregated during World War II. The War Department eventually approved the training of black officers, and allowed blacks to serve as pilots and in medical and engineering units. Approximately half a million blacks served overseas in segregated units in the Pacific and Europe, but in many cases racial conflicts […]
Who was Tokyo Rose and how did she broadcast propaganda to American troops in the Pacific during World War II?
During World War II, “Tokyo Rose” was the nickname for several Japanese deejays who broadcast propaganda to American sailors in the Pacific. The most notorious one was Iva Ikuko Toguri (aka, “Orphan Ann”) a Japanese American born and raised in Los Angeles. She became stranded in Japan after visiting relatives there prior to the Japanese […]
By age five or six, children would do small tasks such as helping in the big house or in the field fetching water, picking up stones, or working in the trash gang. At the age of ten or twelve, children, both boys and girls, were given a regular field routine.
Some of the trade goods Native Americans received from Europeans made their work easier and their lives more comfortable. But the fur trade’s bad effects far outweighed the good. As Native Americans became involved in the fur trade, their way of life, if not their lives themselves, were often threatened. One tragic effect of the […]
Central America and southern Mexico were inhabited from ancient times by several Native American peoples, most notably the Maya. The Maya had a long history of advanced civilization. They developed their own forms of writing, mathematics, and astronomy. They carved cities and farms out of jungle wilderness. In the classic Mayan period, from 300 to […]
Britain had discovered that German spies were using pigeons to send messages to bases over the English Channel during World War II. S.S. leader Heinrich Himmler was a pigeon fancier, and in fact was the president of the German National Pigeon Society. The Nazis confiscated pigeons from their owners to use for the war effort, […]
On October 10, 1542, a group of Spanish explorers led by Juan Cabrillo arrived in the lands of the Chumash near what is now the city of Santa Barbara. The Chumash were friendly to the Spaniards, but the Europeans soon left when they did not find the gold they were looking for. Although a few […]
In Spain and Latin America, a child is given both its father’s last name and its mother’s maiden name. For example, Anita Castillo Sanchez would be the daughter of a father named Castillo and a mother whose maiden name was Sanchez. The mother is thereby honored along with the father, though her name will drop […]
Only one U.S. president has resigned from office, Richard Nixon. Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States from 1969–1974, and was born in 1913. Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California and graduated from Duke University School of Law in 1937. Nixon was remembered best for the Watergate scandal, when illegal […]
Viking and Norse explorer Leif Eriksson had two brothers, Thorvald and Thorstein. He also had a sister named Freydis. Leif Ericson, or Leifr Eiríksson, is regarded as the first European to land in North America five hundred years before Christopher Columbus. Leif was born about AD 970 in Iceland, the son of Erik Thorvaldsson, known […]
Black Fraternities. Alpha Phi Alpha (1906) Kappa Alpha Psi (1911) Omega Psi Phi (1911) Phi Beta Sigma (1914)
In the early 1970s, older traditional Lakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota were being harassed by the reservation’s police force. To bring attention to their plight, a group of young activists (calling themselves the American Indian Movement) joined with the elders in 1973 to take over the site of the Wounded […]
Vice President Martin Van Buren always had a pair of pistols beside him when he presided over the Senate. Martin Van Buren was born on December 5, 1782 and was the eighth President of the United States from 1837 to 1841. Buren was also the first president to be born an American citizen.
The 1990 census counted 506,000 Dominican Americans in the United States, but the real number today is probably close to a million. In other words, there are about as many Dominican Americans as there are Cuban Americans. It is hard to know the exact number because many Dominican immigrants have come to the country illegally. […]
The Crusades of medieval western Europe became progressively uglier as centuries passed; gold and lives were squandered, and yet the Crusaders were no closer to wresting the Holy Land from the infidel Muslims. In 1202, Crusaders ransacked Christian churches and Eastern European villages, much to the embarrassment of the Church and their communities back home. […]
Rumor had it that Catherine the Great accomplished the feat with a special harness. The horse was lowered onto her from above, and that she died when the harness broke and the horse crushed her. It’s one of the naughtier sex stories in history, and it’s completely, entirely untrue. Catherine the Great was the German-born […]
A dugout was a type of canoe used by many Algonquian tribes. To make a dugout, a canoe-maker started by chopping down a cedar or an elm tree and setting the middle of the trunk on fire. Once the trunk was charred and the flame extinguished, the burned wood in the center would be dug […]
How did the city of Galveston, Texas get its name and When did Bernardo de Galvez become governor of Louisiana?
Even before Spain entered the American War of Independence, one Spanish official was an amigo, or friend, to the rebels: Bernardo de Galvez (1746-1786), who became governor of Louisiana in 1777. While Spain was still officially neutral, Galvez saw to it that arms and supplies were sent to the rebels from New Orleans. After Spain […]
By the mid-1930s, nearly fifty African Americans had received appointments in various New Deal agencies and cabinet departments. A. Philip Randolph was president of a black labor organization with 8,000 members. As executive secretary of the NAACP, writer Walter White had helped to increase its membership from 15,000 to well over 200,000 by 1936. The […]
Which one? Never mind, it doesn’t really matter because both Queen Elizabeth I and II were 25 when they were coronated.
It’s a common myth that the hazards of smoking weren’t known until sometime in this century. Almost as long as tobacco has inhabited western civilization, most have been aware of its serious ill effects. Explorer Rodrigo de Jerez was probably the first European to take up smoking, sometime around 1492 when he accompanied Columbus on […]
The holiday known as El Grito de Lares commemorates the night of September 23, 1868, when Puerto Ricans took over the town of Lares and demanded independence from Spain. The revolt was crushed, but the “cry of Lares” had been heard. Slavery was abolished in 1873, and in 1897 the Spanish crown agreed to give […]
Columbus began his New World adventures in the Bahamas, but the Spanish never settled on the islands. It was the English who founded the first European colonies there in the mid-seventeenth century. The islands of the Bahamas remained a British colony until independence was granted in 1973.
Mexico is just over the border from Texas and the American Southwest. Cross a river or step over a line in the desert, and you’ve switched countries. Immigration laws limit how many Mexicans can enter legally, but many enter illegally. Puerto Rico is part of the United States. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth. […]
Life was hard for the black politicians during Reconstruction. They were seldom appointed to important committee chairmanships. They were not invited to socialize and did not receive special benefits that other congressmen did. They could not get into restaurants or hotels in the downtown Washington, D.C. area, and had to sleep at the homes of […]
The Zulu perform an intricate ritual before going to battle. The regiment, which is up to 1,000 warriors, congregate in the cattle kraal (the area blocked off for cattle near or within the village area) and jump around, miming their moves in battle. This is done in full war regalia, which can include headdresses of […]
Paul Cuffe (1759-1817), a free black man, operated his own successful shipbuilding company in Connecticut in the late 1700s and early 1800s. He used the wealth he accumulated to help other blacks. Former Mississippi slave William Johnson, freed in 1820, earned a modest fortune operating barbershops in Natchez, Mississippi, in the 1830s and 1840s. He […]
The word in the title of Jose Villarreal’s novel Pocho is a derogatory term used by people in Mexico to describe Mexican Americans. It suggests a Mexican who has foolishly given up his ethnic heritage to seek his fortune among the Anglos, who look down on him. The term implies “stupid” or “small.” Chicanos often […]
A colonia was literally a colony of Mexican Americans, a Hispanic community founded close to the farms, mines, or railroads where the immigrants worked. A colonia of boxcars and shacks would spring up every so often along the tracks that Mexican Americans were laying down. These settlements became the basis for some modern communities of […]
In the movies, harakiri appeared very real. Realistically, it’s not clear how often the practice of ritual suicide—or seppuku—was voluntarily carried out to clear a samurai’s honor. The practice was more frequently used as a form of punishment, not as a completely voluntary act. What was involved is also often portrayed inaccurately: After donning white […]