World History


Exploring the Language of the Popular in Anglo-American Newspapers, 1833-1988

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Principal Investigator Dr Martin Conboy, Department of Journalism Studies, University of Sheffield

Exploring the Language of the Popular in Anglo-American Newspapers, 1833-1988

The United Nations as Teacher

Suppose there were an information source from which you could learn practically everything about how the world’s 191 countries operate?  What makes these global citizens tick?  Why do they do what they do? Why, for instance, did Saddam Hussein invade Kuwait in the first place?  And why did some military experts and historians compare that invasion to Hitler’s conquest of Czechoslovakia in 1938?  How did the 1994 civil war in Rwanda result in the massacre of half a million people?  What forces keep the Middle East in perpetual turmoil?
The United Nations as Teacher

Rare FBIS Annexes now available online

FBIS Daily Report Annexes, 1974-1996 is an essential complement to FBIS Daily Reportsthe fully searchable broadcast and news resource featuring first-hand reporting from around the globe. This new international archive offers an additional 7,500 items, each designated "For Official Use Only" and previously unavailable outside the intelligence community and other Federal agencies. The Annexes were not an item in the Federal Depository Library Program, which distributed the Daily Report in microfiche from 1978 to 1996. No institution other than the Central Intelligence Agency holds all of the Annexes.
Rare FBIS Annexes now available online

The Police in Revolt? The Jails Open? Four Views of Mexico on November 25th, 1911

“The Police, in Revolt; the Jails, Open; the Nation, in Riot; the Families, in Dismay” – Thus runs the headline of Mexico’s El Diario on November 25th, 1911, as the Mexican Revolution raged in the capital.  As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, it is both sobering and edifying to look back at the Revolution that shook Mexico a century ago, the reverberations of which would be felt across the Americas for decades.

From Latin American Newspapers. Click to enlarge.

It is especially edifying to look back at this revolution from the many perspectives that can be found in the newspapers of both Mexico and the United States. On the same day, November 25th, 1911, El Imparcial took a very different view of the situation—not surprisingly, as it was a propaganda organ of Mexico’s embattled dictator, Porfirio Diaz.

The Police in Revolt? The Jails Open? Four Views of Mexico on November 25th, 1911

Exploring Mexico's Revolutions in American Newspapers

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the initial uprising that would lead to the independence of Mexico from Spain.  2010 is also the 100th anniversary of the Mexican revolution of 1910, which overthrew President Porfirio Diaz.  Both revolutions lasted around a decade. The 1810 uprising is traditionally thought to have begun on September 16. This article published on December 20, 1810 in Boston’s Independent Chronicle shows how early news of the uprising was presented in the United States. It’s short and to the point.
On February 23, 1811, Baltimore’s Federal Gazette contained this translation of an article from the November 20, 1810 issue of the Spanish-language Mexico Gazette. The original article is a first-person account by Brigadier Don Felix Calleja of his actions in the field against the insurgents. Everything traveled slowly then, not just news. Publishers had no fear of reprinting materials from wherever they could get them.

Exploring Mexico's Revolutions in American Newspapers

Bismarck's Birthday Verses: The Chicago Latin Version

From America's Historical Newspapers

When one thinks of Prince Otto von Bismarck, 19th-century Germany’s Iron Chancellor, birthday cakes and greetings do not first come to mind. But they did — at least the birthday greetings — in perhaps an unexpected place and certainly in a most unusual way in a Chicago newspaper in 1874. On April 1, 1874, Bismarck — still not fully recovered from a serious illness contracted the year before (not nervous exhaustion from overwork in redesigning the European continent but rather a case of gout) — celebrated his 60th birthday in Berlin amid much adulation from the new Germany, his enthusiastic nationalist supporters, and foreign dignitaries. Just a little more than a month later, the Chicago Inter Ocean newspaper published on May 2, 1874 a macaronic poem [i.e. a poem, usually in Latin, interspersed with vernacular words or phrases] celebrating Bismarck’s birthday. It is, I think, a poem which raises at least a couple of questions.
“SALUTES NATALICIAE AD BISMARCKIUM PRINCIPEM

Tot mitto Tibi salutes,

Quot ruras Gallia cutes,

Quot Roma habet clamores,

Bismarck's Birthday Verses: The Chicago Latin Version

Dredges, Gunboats, and Mosquitoes: The U.S. Congressional Serial Set and the Building of the Panama Canal

A Readex breakfast event during the 2010 American Library Association annual conference included a presentation by Steve Daniel, an internationally known authority on government documents. In "Dredges, Gunboats, and Mosquitoes," Daniel traced the history of the idea of a water route through Central America as it is documented in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. Daniel writes:
"The building of the Panama Canal was without doubt one of the great engineering and technological achievements of the modern era, equal in every respect to the first transcontinental railroad and putting a man on the moon. Its completion in 1914 was the realization of a dream that dates back to the early years of European settlement in the New World. "Because of the Serial Set’s importance as a collection of legislative history materials, the even greater importance of the 19th and early 20th century Serial Set as a fundamental resource for research on the major and minor issues of American political, economic and social history is sometimes overlooked.  Highlighted here are only a small number of the hundreds of publications in in the Serial Set that might be cited on the Panama Canal." 
Here is Daniel’s PowerPoint. A video of his live presentation will be available here soon. Daniel adds:
"Whether it’s biographical research on Civil War generals and politicians, the history of civil rights and women’s suffrage in America, or the building an interoceanic canal, the Serial Set is a logical place to begin."
Dredges, Gunboats, and Mosquitoes: The U.S. Congressional Serial Set and the Building of the Panama Canal

The Pope's Stone, Part Two: The Bloody Bedini Background

[The Pope’s Stone, Part One discussed the theft and destruction of a block of marble sent by Pope Pius IX in 1853 to be placed in the Washington Monument, under construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This Part Two recounts some inflammatory background to that embarrassing episode in American history in the form of the perilous visit of a Vatican prelate just before the destruction of the stone.]

The announcement of his upcoming visit was short and succinct, in no way foreshadowing the waves of bigotry, chaos, and violence, which over the following seven months would accompany his progress through America. Baltimore’s Sunof June 27, 1853 reported simply:

"Monsignor Bedini, Archbishop of Thebes, former Commissary Extraordinary of the Pontifical Government to the Legations, has left Rome as special Envoy of His Holiness to the United States. He is charged by the Holy Father to pay a visit to the government at Washington, and also to hold interviews with different Prelates of the Church in the United States, and to acquire the most exact information respecting the interests and condition of the Catholic Church in this country. After making as along a visit as may be of advantage in the United States, Monsignor Bedini will go to Brazil, where he is to reside as Apostolic Nuncio near that Government."

Gaetano Bedini was born on May 15, 1806 in Sinigaglia, Italy, also the birthplace of Pius IX, not far from the Adriatic. After his ordination in 1828, Bedini was awarded a Doctor Utriusque Juris (i.e. doctorate in civil and canon law) and became secretary to Cardinal Altieri, Papal Nuncio at Vienna. In 1846 he was sent by the Pope to serve as Apostolic Internuncio [a sort of junior ambassador] to the Imperial Court of Brazil, where in the words of J.F. Connelley

The Pope's Stone, Part Two: The Bloody Bedini Background

"Tears in England": Will World Cup History Repeat Itself?

From the Springfield Union, July 1, 1950, page 18

England will meet the United States in the first game either team plays in the 2010 World Cup. The tournament begins this Friday, June 11, with the England vs. U.S. game occurring Saturday afternoon in the Eastern Time zone. The first time the two teams met produced a stunning upset in 1950. The Springfield Union quoted British newspapers as saying that the loss "marks the lowest ever for British sport," and "is the biggest soccer upset of all time." A reporter for the U.K.’s Daily Graphic wrote: "It was pathetic to see the cream of English players beaten by a side (team) most amateur players at home would have beaten..." A search within 20th-Century American Newspapers on "World Cup" and "soccer" in the year 1950 reveals only 10 articles in the pages of eight major U.S. papers. In contrast, this year ESPN and its family of networks will be broadcasting every game from the tournament. Times, and American interest in the sport, have changed.
"Tears in England": Will World Cup History Repeat Itself?

Indian Opinion: The Newspaper Founded by Gandhi in South Africa in 1903

Students and scholars of Peace Studies and related fields will be interested to learn that Mahatma Gandhi’s Indian Opinion is one of the titles in the World Newspaper Archive: African Newspapers, 1800-1922. Founded by Gandhi in 1903 when as a young attorney he worked in South Africa, this newspaper chronicles the genesis of the concept of “non-violent resistance,” which would become the foundation of the Indian independence movement. In the mid-19th century, the British government in South Africa began importing workers from India to work as indentured servants. However, under the authority of General Jan Smuts, severe restrictions were imposed on all Indian immigrants, including a mandatory identity card, warrantless search, seizure and arrests. Gandhi, at that time working as a lawyer in the Natal province of South Africa, launched the newspaper with the aim of educating the European community in South Africa about the plight of Indian immigrants.
Indian Opinion: The Newspaper Founded by Gandhi in South Africa in 1903

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