History

Fun fact

5. Oxford University Is Older Than the Aztecs. As Colin Schultz wrote for Smithsonian, the Aztecs seem like ancient history. “Archaeologists dig up Aztec ruins, museums put on Aztec exhibits.” The central Mexican civilization flourished between the 14th and 16th centuries. But Oxford University is older. Teaching started as early as 1096. It’s 1,000-year anniversary later this century is sure to be a an epic celebration.

Edenic hunter gatherers

In addition, the social bonds that led to extreme sharing among the Aché had some horrific consequences. When you engaged in extreme sharing, it was based on the idea that in the not-too-distant future you would also be the recipient of extreme sharing by others. But what about those who seemed unlikely to be contributors to future sharing? In Aché society, widows, the sick or disabled, and orphans were likely to be killed: “The Aché had among the highest infanticide and child homicide rates ever reported. Of children born in the forest, 14 per cent of boys and 23 per cent of girls were killed before the age of 10, nearly all of them orphans. An infant who lost their mother during the first year of life was always killed.”

An interesting turnaround

Neo-Nazi mercenaries known for their brutality in conflicts in Syria and the 2014 war in Crimea have been deployed by Russia in Ukraine.

The self-styled “task force Rusich”, recruited from nationalist circles in Moscow and St Petersburg, posted images of its troops in the Kharkiv region.

So now their Nazis will fight our Nazis – ;looking at it from the Ukrainian perspective.

As with Apollo, guess they’ll have to hope that our Nazis are better than their Nazis.

They’ll be after Wilberforce next

Explorer and abolitionist David Livingstone condemned by council for ‘links to slavery’
The fate of his monument, which stands next to Glasgow Cathedral, now hangs in the balance along with other ‘problematic’ city statues

White guy about when slavery existed? Sure he’s guilty.

A monument to Livingstone has been pinpointed as one of eight in the city celebrating figures “with connections to Atlantic slavery” because he was employed in a mill, which used cotton from the West Indies, to finance his university education.

And that’s just insane. A 10 year old working in a mill?

We’re getting to being like markets now

Tradescant Road is also on the list since John Tradescant the Elder and the Younger were Lambeth gardeners who “made occasional use of slave trade vessels travelling to North America and Africa for the transport of botanical and anthropological specimens”.

How many layers deep are you going to do to try to find connections?

Which is what does make it like markets and supply chains. Folk try to make large companies responsible for their supply chains. But how deep do you go? To the fourth, or seventh level of that supply chain? Who made the bulldozers which dug up the wolframite which made the tungsten which sits in the steel of your pencil sharpener blade? And who made the tungsten which made the bulldozers?

At some point the supply chain of any single item is the entire global economy. So too the influence of slavery. At some point everything in the past is connected to it. The coachman who gave a tip to the street crossing walker the money having been made by the master’s uncle in slave holdings…..that being the answer for some of course, that we are all guilty.

To some extent Russians will be, and, err, yes?

Official type Russians that is:

Vladimir Putin has been accused of “abducting and deporting” thousands of civilians from the besieged city of Mariupol and transporting them deep inside Russia.

Ukrainian authorities alleged Russian forces had rounded up several thousand residents from the shattered port before sending them to remote cities hundreds of miles from the border.

It’s worth recalling that in – just – the lifetimes of those still with us 1945 and succeeding saw the largest forced population moves in history. Germany was moved 400 miles west – or at least the Eastern border was. Poland was moved 400 miles West. The eastern border of Ukraine was moved 400 miles west. All German speakers east of the new border were picked up and dumped west of it.

That we probably all know about – the mass cleansing of the Baltic Germans. But what people might not know about is that all Polish speakers east of the new Polish border were dumped west of it. And all Ukrainian speakers west shifted back east. Tens of millions moved for nothing more than the language they spoke at home.

Shifting people around for bureaucratic – OK, state – reasons, not something the Russian state has ever been shy about…..

OK, so they’ve found Endeavour

Which is very cool indeed of course. Although the actual story here is Shackleton managing to take his men out of there. As I recall, to South Georgia in an open boat, over the mountain to the whaling station and didn’t lose a one? Have I got that right?

But Hitler was charismatic

That of course being a part of the problem:

She then discusses her friendship with Hitler, describing how she met him many times and found him “extraordinary, fascinating and clever … he was the person who was making the news which made him extremely interesting.”

Lady Mosley, by then a 79-year-old widow, talks repeatedly about her admiration for the Führer, referring to his “mesmeric blue eyes” and adding: “He had so much to say, so interesting, so fascinating … I can’t regret the relationship.”

Varied Mitfords were guilty of all sorts of sillinesses but that’s not even wrong.

Those Rio Tinto mines

The Times has something about the British Cemetary in Huelva:

The remains of Scottish, English and Welsh people who worked in the Rio Tinto mines and brought football and afternoon tea to Spain lie in a forgotten corner of the country.

The cypress-shaded British Cemetery outside the southwest port city of Huelva has slumped into decay. Its walls are crumbling, refuse chokes its padlocked main gate and overgrown vegetation obscures the tombstones.

And, yes, OK. The graveyard up at the mines (Minas de Riotinto these days) would have been Catholic, so the Anglican one might well have been that 100 km (or whatever) away in the regional capital.

However, this:

The company, whose community was strictly regulated by etiquette and at its height bustled with bridge, golf, football and cricket clubs, built a village of grand mock Tudor houses for its workers that still stands along with other relics such as the pier and Mackay’s house in the city.

Didn’t know they’d done that in Huelva. I did know they’d done that up in RioTito itself. There’s one of those houses for sale right now:

URGE SALE. Historical house in good condition, recent reforms. New bathroom. Freshly painted. Large living rooms with fireplace, kitchen with office and pantry. Furnished. Quiet environment with landscaped pedestrian zones.”

Interesting little point

The descendants of slaves in the Americas are the richest group of Bantus extant.

OK, this isn’t quite right but it’s damn close. One reason it’s not right is that not all sub-Saharan Africans are Bantus, significant portions of West Africa are not. OK, meaning that the ancestry of significant numbers of African Americans is not Bantu. But, you know.

Per capita income of African Americans is around the $23,000 mark.

Per capita income and GDP per capita are not the same thing. But per capita income cannot be higher than GDP per capita (OK, GNI per capita but that doesn’t matter here). So, treat them as usefully equal for this point.

We need to use PPP incomes and GDP because we are trying to compare lifestyles. The US number for income is already at PPP of course.

Top African country is Equatorial Guinea at $24k and change. Anyone who thinks that flows through to the general population is an idiot. Next is Gabon, an oil rich enclave of 2 million people at $18,000 GDP per capita at PPP. Then Botswana at $17k is probably the first place we can say is actually earning it from actual economic development – however much diamonds have aided them in getting there.

South Africa at $13k, Tunisia at $12 k, that’s Arab, or Maghreb at least, not sub-Saharan or Bantu. And so on and most of sub-Saharan Africa is at the real shitty end of this list in the couple of $k levels.

Lots of the Caribbean, Bahamas, Kitts Nevis, Antigua, mid 20s to low 30s – arguably that top end is about the same as that Black American income number.

It is actually true. The descendants of those African slaves are the richest group of people of recent sub-Saharan African descent on the planet.

Remind me, we’re to pay reparations to this currently richest recent sub-Saharan descent group of folks for what?

We could skip that Bantu and Hausa and Igobo and all that descriptive difficulty and just use what US Census does – Blacks.

It is actually possible to say that current US Blacks are the richest group of Blacks either now on the planet or even ever.

Run that reparations argument by me again?

We knew the idiot was going to say something

The question was always how bad his take was going to be. David Olusoga:

The merchant elite of late Victorian Bristol who erected the statue of Colston, many of them members of the Merchant Venturers, did so in the full knowledge that the man they sought to elevate to civic sainthood had been a trader in human flesh. The details of his grim career had been obscured but not obliterated.

I think it would be absolutely fascinating to have a detailed look at the Nigerian antecedents of a certain individual. For it’s possible that there are rather closer links to the slave trade than some might think there.

So, anyone know a good genealogist in Nigeria?

Met a bloke in a pub once who offered me a job

The former chancellor George Osborne’s family wallpaper business has said that Brexit added £400,000 to its costs, as the company’s sales slid more than 16% during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Osborne & Little, which is controlled by Osborne’s father, Sir Peter Osborne, said the UK’s exit from the EU had “an immediate adverse effect on profits” from January 2021, with unforeseen costs such as increased shipping payments and taxes on EU goods imported to the UK before being exported back to Europe.

The Old Green Tree in Bath, I was about to go up to London as a student and bloke offered me a job in that firm – weekends, etc – to help me pay my way.

Just one of those little events of life – didn’t take it of course, I was at that time and extremely good waiter. Something which is a rare enough skill – being a good one that is – and so I got very well paid for being one.

So that’s Bath, Clifton and the New Town all to go then

Links to slavery, d’ye see?

Culloden, near Inverness, is known as the place where the Jacobite rebellion was finally crushed in 1746, but the battlefield overseen by the NTS has now become the first in Britain to be linked to the slave trade by an official body.

The site of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s defeat has been included in a report into links between the slave trade and historic sites because the “the Bonnie Prince” received financial backing and a boat to Scotland from a businessman linked to the slave trade.

If we’re working at that remove then the three Georgian cities (well, but you know) of Bath, Clifton and the New Town all need to go too.

But this is like 16th cousins. By the time you get to that sort of linkage then the entire species is linked at that sort of distance. And if not 16th then 17th.

So with slavery. Yep, naughty, not unusual, we’re glad its gone. But get to third and fifth hand links and everything pre-1888 (Brazilian abolition) is linked. As with the modern day point, the supply chain for any single item is the entire world economy.

The Anglo Saxons had slavery

King James II portrait in Downing Street ‘under review’ for slavery links

Head of the Royal African Company, wasn’t he?

But then the Anglo Saxons had slavery too. So, that’s Alfred and Eddie the C right out then. We must celebrate Willie the Bastard who abolished it.

Or is that all white folks and doesn’t count?

Can we do Olusoga for perjury?

Edward Colston was “chief executive officer” of a company responsible for enslaving more Africans than any other in British history, the historian David Olusoga has told a court, as defendants argued they acted “lawfully” in toppling his statue.

Appearing on Thursday as an expert witness in the trial of four people accused of criminal damage of the memorial to Colston, the presenter of the BBC’s A House Through Time series described the horrors of the trade.

Rhian Graham, 30, Milo Ponsford, 26, and Sage Willoughby, 23, are accused of helping to tear down the statue of the slave trader during a Black Lives Matter protest on 7 June last year. They are standing trial alongside Jake Skuse, 33, who is accused of helping to roll the bronze to Bristol harbour where it was thrown into the River Avon.

Olusoga, a professor of public history at the University of Manchester, said that while Colston was a shareholder in the Royal African Company it shipped 84,000 Africans into slavery, including 12,000 children. Overall, he said, the company “transported more Africans into slavery than any other company in the whole history of the slave trade in the north Atlantic”.

The RAC didn’t actually enslave people. It bought slaves. This is not necessarily a huge moral difference but it is a factual one. Those purchased and shipped were already slaves when purchased. That’s how they were purchased, see?

Further, the RAC was by no means the largest shipper. Not unless we’re going to rest an awful lot on that definition of “North Atlantic” it wasn’t. Claiming that the Bight of Benin counts – north of the Equator – and Angola doesn’t is the sort of casuistry we’d hope a historian doesn’t descend to.

But then, you know, Olusoga. The English are such bastards that he lives in England.

How colonial

Myanmar’s top general Min Aung Hlaing is strangling a democracy. What will the west do about it?
Simon Tisdall

A proclamation issued by the court of King Thibaw in 1885 which called on his countrymen to liberate Lower Burma was used by the British as pretext that he was a tyrant who reneged on his treaties and they decided to complete the conquest they had started in 1824.

Entirely, wholly, different, isn’t it?

Err, no, not really

But the newspapers are only voicing a deep-rooted obsession with inflation that dates back 100 years to the Weimar Republic and post-war hyper-inflation, which wreaked most havoc on the asset-owning middle classes devastated by soaring prices.

Germany, famously, is a country where the bourgeoisie tended not to own assets. Rental was normal, cash savings and bonds have long been a preference over equities.

It’s precisely that the middle classes didn’t own assets, rather fixed return claims upon them, that made inflation such a killer for those middle classes.