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A bit of Arab history

      A bit of Arab history, for the curious ones. 

     Muhammad was born by the end of the 6th century, and in the 7th century founded the Islamic religion. This unified the whole of the Arab peninsula, which then went on a conquering spree all over the north of Africa, and almost Europe. (I already mentioned that from 611 to 1492 there was a war in Spain against the more invaders, which the Catholic kings won). While the whole of Europe was engulfed in the Middle Ages, which were a time of cultural, economic and social stagnation, the Arab kingdom was on the rise. They established the Caliphates, monarchies all in unity with the Islamic community, Ummah, with the same religion and culture. In order these were, the Four Orthodox Caliphates, elected by the religious community, Omeya Caliphate, with its capital in Damascus, Abbasi Caliphate, bringing the Islamic religion to the east, Fatimi Caliphate, with its capital in Cairo, Caliphate of Cordoba or Al-Andalus, located in Spain, and the Ottoman Caliphate.

     Yes, the one who blocked trade routes in the 15th century, invaded the decaying Byzantine empire through the Anatolia peninsula and the one from Assassin’s Creed. The Ottoman empire grew to its time of splendor in the 15th century, by the end of the 17th century the Ottoman empire had begun decaying, and by WWI it couldn’t hold together. And it wasn’t until the 19th century that Europe started recolonizing the North of Africa. The Ottoman empire finally collapsed in 1924, and became the Republic of Turkey. Egypt was of the English, Morroco was of the Spanish and French, Western Sahara of the Spanish, Mauritania of the French, Libya of the Italians, Northern Sudan of the English, Syria  of the French, Lebanon of the French, Jordanian of the English, Iraq of the English, Somalia of the Italians, French and English. 

     After 1924, all the countries started a process of independence that led to the organization they have today, as of 1945. Even though, in the next decades they would all suffer coups and state of emergency declaration which would help the rules perpetuate their rule and lead, ultimately, to the Arab Spring. 

      Comments and questions are really welcome!

Text Post Wed, Apr. 18, 2012 2 notes

Puerto Rico History III

      Juan Ponce de Leon, a fortune-seeking Spaniard, Hidalgo noble with no fortune, started colonization in Puerto Rico in 1508, taking Diego Colon (Cristopher’s son) out of the scheme. Juan Ponce de Leon had fought in the Reconquista, in Granada. He had worked in the Dominican Republic, in the Villa de Salvaleon, where he had stopped indigenous rebellions and learned their language. He established the first settlement in Puerto Rico, Caparra. And was sent here by Juan Ceron, governor at that time of La Espanola. 

      The problem was, Caparra was marshy, and there were a lot of mosquitoes there. Tainos took care of these mosquitoes with special oils, but since Spaniards didn’t know about them, they started moving the city after its completion in 1509 to the San Juan Bay. There it stood until 1521.

     In 1509, the Villa de Sotomayor was established, founded by Cristobal de Sotomayor. It was located at the west of Puerto Rico, where now stands Cabo Rojo. In 1510, to 1520, started the allotment of Tainos, by Juan Ponce de Leon, called the Repartimiento. They were supposed to guarantee their protection, food, clothes and education, but of course they didn’t, and the Tainos became slaves. 

      In 1511, Agueybana (a cacique from Guanica) rebelled against the Spaniards, in what were called the Guasabaras Tainas. He did so because Juan Ponce de Leon had violated the moral contract he had with the Tainos after they had performed the Guaitiao, a ceremony of name exchanging, where they swore peace and friendship (this ceremony was very serious for the Tainos) There died a lot of Taino leaders. By 1520, 80% of the Tainos were dead, and their religion completely forgotten. That’s why, in 1515, africans were brought to Puerto Rico, to work as slaves. 

      In 1520, La Fortaleza de Santa Catalina started being built, along with the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, and Fort San Geronimo, until their completion in 1533. These forts were built to protect the little island of San Juan.

     Please ask, it fun! :)

Text Post Sun, Mar. 11, 2012 1 note

Puerto Rico History

       To know Puertorican history, you must first know a bit of background history from Spain. At the start of the VII Century, Spain was undergoing a bit of a civil war. It started when in 611 a.D. Muslims invaded Spain. The Arabs had a constant war with Spanish Christians until the time of the Reconquest. In January 2th 1492, Christians at last won the war, after vanishing the last more king (Boabdil) from Granada.  

      In 1469, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabel of Castile married and established the Tribunal of the Holy Inquisition, and started to win the war against the Arabs. And they united Castile and Aragon to form Spain!   

     You must know that since 1485, a Genovese explorer, called Christophorus Colombus (Cristopher Colombus, or Cristobal Colo’n)(born in 1451) wanted to explore the other side of the Earth in search of a route connecting to the Indies, since after the end of the Mongol Peace, the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the Ottoman Turks Invasion, the route for all those spices was cut off, the “Silk Road”. Christopher looked for help form the king of Portugal, Henry, but was rejected. 

      Also, you must know that this was a time were a lot of advances in maritime travel were made. This was possible thanks to a Portuguese named Henry the Navigator, who founded the School of Navigation of Sagres. 

      So, Colombus seeked an audience with a lot of kings, but they all rejected him. It wasn’t until April 1492, that the Christian Kings of Spain, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabel of Castile, agreed. They signed the Capitulations of Santa Fe, where the Kings agreed to name Colombus viceroy of all the land he found, 8% of all possessions found, and agreed to let his kids inherit that.  

      In his first voyage, he took 3 ships, La Nina, La Pinta and La Santa Maria. They reached America October 12th 1492, passing by Guanahani (San Salvador), Cuba and La Espanola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Then, in Tortuga (close to Haiti), La Nina crashes, and the Fort of Nativity is built. December 24th 1492. 

     August 1493, the Kings authorized a second voyage, and he took more ships and men to populate the land. It wasn’t until November 19th 1493 that he discovered Boriquen, later named San Juan Bautista, and know named Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico. 

      June 7th 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed, where Portugal and Spain divided the Earth between them, with the Church’s consent.

      After the third a fourth voyage, the Kings took away all he had and imprisioned him, later liberating him until his death, obviously his kids gained nothing. This as because the Kings thought that that was too much power and money for him. :/ 

      This is just the first part. Remember I will always answer questions! Click here!

Text Post Mon, Jan. 09, 2012 15 notes

Movie to watch: The Fountain

       The Fountain, my favorite movie. Darren Aronofsky, as director, shows us in this movie the life of Dr. Thomas Creo, a researcher, who is looking for a cure for cancer, as his wife has brain cancer. Not only that, it also presents us with Creo’s wife’s book, a story in the past of a man searching for immortality, and in the future as Creo is the last man on his way to Xibalba. A great insight to Mayan mythology and existentialism. I love it, so please watch it!

    Please ask!

Text Post Fri, Dec. 23, 2011 20 notes

Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

     The Spanish Civil War started 17 July 1936 after a declaration of opposition from a group of conservative generals lead by Jose Sanjurjo against the government. The second President of the Second Spanish Republic of that time was Manuel Azana. 

      It all started more than a century before, when the Constitution of 1812 sought to eliminate the monarchy, but failed as Fernando XIV abolished it. Then between 1868 and 1874, liberalism was felt strongly, as Isabella II was overthrown and her successor, Amadeo I, abdicated in 1873. The First Spanish Republic was proclaimed, but not for long, as the Restoration of the Bourbons happened in 1874. Universal Male Suffrage was introduced in 1890, and anarchism grew to a level not seen anywhere, and Carlists opposed all liberal measures. In the first two decades of the 20th century, anti-clericalism grew, as well as the industrial working class, which caused the appearance of unions and parties, such as the Socialist and the Reformist. 

      The military was aware of a risk of fracture in thee state, and frowned upon nationalism. This caused the Tragic Week. After the creation of a communist organization, fear of communism raised. In 1921, the Socialist Party split, and the Communist Party was formed. But in 1923, Miguel Primo de Rivera seized power by a military coup. And after his fall of support and resignation in 1930, King Alfonso XIII abdicated, and the Second Spanish Republic was formed. Niceto Alcala-Zamorra was Prime Minister. 

      There was conflict still, between Republican-Socialist and Religious-Fascists. And with the Spanish Constitution of 1931 being liberal, reformist, democratic and taking away the church’s power, it horrified some people. The army and the church were part of the opposition. When Alcala-Zamora resigned, Manuel Azana took the job, and the Alejandro Lerroux, wanting the position, took the Reformist Party to the opposition. Alacala was now President. In 1932, there was an unsuccessful uprising by Jose Sanjurjo. 

      The government of now President Alcala-Zamora, started selling state favours, monopolies, and removing land reforms, after a right-wing party won the elections, but still the President didn’t let them form the government, and Lerroux took the job. Lerroux wasn’t very clear in his favors. Lerroux resigned when violence started in the streets, and Bolshevism broke apart the Socialist Party.  

     In 1935, Lerroux’s government collapsed, and since Zamora didn’t want the right-wing party to form the government, he called on elections. These were won by the Popular Front, which was made by Azana and Indalecio Prieto. But as communist began taking the socialist’s ranking in organizations, some generals thought that to prevent the dissolution of Spain the government needed to be replaced. 

     By 1936, preparations for the coup were on their way. General Jose Sanjurjo was the key person in the operation. The government, fearing the coup, re-localized the generals, but in vain since it did not act upon warnings from the Director of Security. The coup began the 17 of July in Spanish Morocco, and continued in Spain, not as swift as planned, since the government was able to maintain control of a lot of their territory. Jose Sanjurjo died in 1936 in a plane crash, which made General Francisco Franco the head of the coup. 

      The war raged on until 1939, when the Nationalists (the rebels) won. This was mostly due to the arrangement of foreign support. The Republicans (Government) which were supporting steadily a communist state, gained the support of the Soviet Union and the International Brigades, which consisted of groups of people from different countries, and Mexico. The Nationalists, on the other hand, which wanted a conservative government, gained the support of Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy (since he was Hitler’s toy), and Portugal.  

     That’s how the Franco regime started. :/ 

     If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. If you want me to talk about the Franco regime or the Cold War please say so!