History is the discovery, collection, organization, analysis and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians. It is a field of research which uses a narrative to examine and analyse the sequence of events, and it sometimes attempts to investigate objectively the patterns of cause and effect that determine events. Historians debate the nature of history and its usefulness. This includes discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present. The stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the legends surrounding King Arthur) are usually classified as cultural heritage rather than the "disinterested investigation" needed by the discipline of history. Events of the past prior to written record are considered prehistory.
Amongst scholars, the fifth century BC Greek historian Herodotus is considered to be the "father of history", and, along with his contemporary Thucydides, forms the foundations for the modern study of history. Their influence, along with other historical traditions in other parts of their world, have spawned many different interpretations of the nature of history which has evolved over the centuries and are continuing to change. The modern study of history has many different fields including those that focus on certain regions and those which focus on certain topical or thematical elements of historical investigation. Often history is taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies.
The last voyage of HMCS Karluk
, flagship of the Canadian Arctic Expedition
, ended with the loss of the ship and the subsequent deaths of nearly half her complement. On her outward voyage in August 1913 Karluk
, a brigantine
formerly used as a whaler
, became trapped in the Arctic
ice while sailing to a rendezvous point at Herschel Island
. After a long drift across the Beaufort
seas the ship was crushed and sunk. In the ensuing months the crew and expedition staff struggled to survive, first on the ice and later on the shores of Wrangel Island
. In all, eleven men died before help could reach them.
The Canadian Arctic Expedition was organised under the leadership of Canadian-born anthropologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson, and had both scientific and geographic objectives. Shortly after Karluk was trapped, Stefansson and a small party left the ship, stating that they intended to hunt for caribou. As Karluk drifted from its fixed position it became impossible for the hunting party to return; Stefansson then devoted himself to the expedition's other objectives, leaving the crew and staff aboard the ship under the charge of its captain, Robert Bartlett. After the sinking Bartlett organised a march to Wrangel Island, 80 miles (130 km) away. Conditions on the ice were difficult and dangerous; two parties of four men each were lost in the attempt to reach the island.
After the survivors had landed, Bartlett, accompanied by a single Inuk companion, set out across the ice to reach the Siberian coast. From there, after many weeks of arduous travel, Bartlett eventually arrived in Alaska, but ice conditions prevented any immediate rescue mission for the stranded party. They survived by hunting game, but were short of food and troubled by internal dissent. Before their rescue in September 1914 three more of the party had died, two of illness and one in violent circumstances.
Major-General Sir Isaac Brock KB
(6 October 1769 – 13 October 1812) was a British Army
officer and administrator
. Brock was assigned to Canada
in 1802. Despite facing desertions and near-mutinies, he commanded his regiment in Upper Canada
) successfully for many years. He was promoted to major general
, and became responsible for defending Upper Canada against the United States. While many in Canada and Britain believed war could be averted, Brock began to ready the army and militia
for what was to come. When the War of 1812
broke out, the populace was prepared, and quick victories at Fort Mackinac
crippled American invasion efforts.
Brock's actions, particularly his success at Detroit, earned him a knighthood, membership in the Order of the Bath, accolades and the sobriquet "The Hero of Upper Canada". His name is often linked with that of the Native American leader Tecumseh, although the two men collaborated in person only for a few days. Brock died at the Battle of Queenston Heights, which was nevertheless a British victory.
- ... that, in 1898, the United States government annexed the Kingdom of Hawaii despite protestation from Queen Liliuokalani (pictured)?
- ... that Jean Thurel was a soldier in the French Régiment de Touraine for more than 90 years?
- ... that the severed head of Julia Martha Thomas, murdered, boiled and dismembered by her maid in 1879, was found next door to Sir David Attenborough's house in 2010?
- ... that the 18th-century Indian automaton Tipu's Tiger shows a near life-size European being mauled by a tiger, and emits wails and grunts as well as containing a pipe organ?
- ... that Svið, a traditional Icelandic dish, consists of a sheep's head that has been cut in half, singed and boiled with the brain removed?
- ... that despite overseeing the construction of the crematoria and gas chambers at Auschwitz, what specifically shocked SS-Obersturmführer Robert Mulka at the camp was his colleagues' dress sense?
- ... that Tsar Alexander II of Russia had a special crystal bottle of Roederer champagne made for the Three Emperors Dinner in 1867 so he could admire the bubbles?
- ... that the Gudea cylinders are the longest literary composition ever found in the Sumerian language?
Japanese samurai, circa 1860. Followers of the bushido code of conduct and wielding the sharpest swords in the world (katanas), samurais were Japan's equivalent of European knights for hundreds of years. Samurai were more or less abolished in favor of a Western-style army in 1873, but their importance in Japanese history persists in the country's culture, even today.
May 18: Flag and Universities Day in Haiti; Day of Revival, Unity, and the Poetry of Magtymguly in Turkmenistan; Sanja Matsuri begins in Tokyo (2013)
- 1863 – American Civil War: General Ulysses S. Grant led his Army of the Tennessee across the Big Black River in preparation for the Siege of Vicksburg.
- 1869 – One day after surrendering at the Battle of Hakodate, Enomoto Takeaki turned over Goryōkaku to Japanese forces, signaling the collapse of the Republic of Ezo.
- 1927 – Disgruntled school board treasurer Andrew Kehoe set off a series of explosives in Bath Township, Michigan's elementary school, which had a final death toll of 45 and is the deadliest mass murder in a school in United States history.
- 1944 – World War II: Polish forces under Lieutenant General Władysław Anders captured Monte Cassino, Italy, after a four-month battle.
- 1955 – Operation Passage to Freedom, the evacuation of 310,000 Vietnamese civilians, soldiers and non-Vietnamese members of the French Army from communist North Vietnam to South Vietnam following the end of the First Indochina War, ended.
- 1980 – The stratovolcano Mount St. Helens erupted (pictured), killing 57 people in southern Washington State, reducing hundreds of square miles to wasteland, and causing over US$1 billion in damage.
More anniversaries: May 17 – May 18 – May 19
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I hate this fast growing tendency to chain men to machines in big factories and deprive them of all joy in their efforts — the plan will lead to cheap men and cheap products.
"War is not a pathology that, with proper hygiene and treatment, can be wholly prevented. War is a natural condition of the State, which was organized in order to be an effective instrument of violence on behalf of society. Wars are like deaths, which, while they can be postponed, will come when they will come and cannot be finally avoided."
— Philip Bobbitt
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