Your Occasional History Lesson

Education One Tumble At A Time

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Charles Martel

Location: France

Years Active: 714 - 741

Charles Martel, or Charles the Hammer, was an early Frankish leader, both politically and militarily. Born the illegitimate child of a notable Frankish leader, Charles soon began to impose his succession to become the real power behind the throne of Francia, taking the role of Mayor of the Palace, which was, in essence, a prime minister who wielded all the real power in a kingdom. Thanks largely to Charles Martel, power in Francia (modern-day France) was consolidated and centralized, leading Francia to become the eminent power in Gaul.

Most notably, Charles Martel halted the Islamic encroachment into Europe. The Umayyad Caliphate, which had recently conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula (modern-day Spain & Portugal), had looked to further march through Europe, starting with Gaul. At the Battle of Tours, Charles Martel routed the Islamic invaders with soldiers trained via Catholic Church funds. Due to Charles, the spread of Islam and the Arabic Empire was stopped. Because of his actions during the Battle of Tours, he gained the name “Martel,” which, as previously mentioned, means “hammer.”

Charles was wildly successful in his military campaigns against the southern foes, the Umayyad Caliphate, and politically successful, in his shrewd politicking to become the most powerful leader in Gaul, consolidating his power by strong-arming out rival kings. He died in 741, buried in Paris, and divided his lands up among his sons. One of his sons, Pepin the Short, would eventually father a young man who would go on to be known across Europe as Charlemagne.

Charles Martel has been called a “hero of an age,” for his routing of the Umayyad Caliphate.

(Author’s Note: Hi.)

Filed under History Charles Martel Charlemagne Lesson French History

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Anonymous asked: Sorry i still dont get what happened in the battle of york can you please make it short for me please and btw my name is madina please and thank you

After the two frantic e-mails you sent me, I think you can do your own research! I gave the brief overview, but all I do is merely spur a greater thirst for knowledge!

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Anonymous asked: are you sure that the details about operation paul bunyun are correct. i was there in korea on that day and i recall one of the helicopters landing at our medic station with one of the bloody officers. everything went WILD after that

Almost always positive!

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John Rabe

Location of Events: China

Time Period: World War II

John Rabe was a German businessman working in China during the late 1930’s for the Siemens AG corporation. Rabe worked across all of China, from Beijing, to Shanghai, and finally in Nanking. While working in Nanking in 1937, the Japanese Army began to approach, causing most foreigners, tourists, and visiting businessmen to flee. Twenty-two foreigners and businessmen stayed, including fifteen missionaries from Europe and the United States.

These remaining people formed the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone, and subsequently formed the Nanking Safety Zone. As these events began to take shape, the Japanese Army entered the city, and began the horrific historical event known as the Nanking Massacre, or more gruesomely, the Rape of Nanking. While the Japanese devastated the city and it’s inhabitants, Rabe and his acquaintances formally set up the Nanking Safety Zone, an area where Chinese refugees could be safe and be provided with food and water.

Rabe was elected the leader of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone due to his position as a Nazi Party member, and the Anti-Comintern Pact between Japan and Nazi Germany, effectively allying the two groups, ensured that Rabe’s work would be relatively untouched by the Japanese Army. Sources suggest that Rabe’s work saved somewhere between 200,000 and 250,000 Chinese lives.

Supposedly, Rabe was ordered back to Germany by Adolf Hitler himself in order to preserve German-Japanese relations. Rabe brought home numerous sources and evidence of the massacre that occurred in Nanking. When he arrived back in Germany, he was detained and interrogated by the Gestapo. There they seized a letter from Rabe addressed to Hitler that pleaded for him to use his influence with the Japanese to end the brutality in China. In 1948, after Rabe went through a thorough de-Nazification process, his family was left on the streets. The citizens of Nanking were made aware of this, and raised the equivalent of $2,000 USD for Rabe and his family.

Rabe’s grave was moved from Berlin to Nanking, where it currently resides in the Nanking Safety Zone.

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heavenly-dreamerss asked: whats ur opinion of the Assyrian Empire? i am an Assyrian and i really like to hear others view on us :)

The Assyrian Empire was a great, great empire, originally branching from the Akkadian Empire, the first empire in written history. What I think is truly amazing is how long the Assyrian civilization existed. With proof of its existence in 23rd Century B.C. the Assyrians survived as a nation, in one form or another, through the Roman empire, all the way up until the Arab Islamic Conquest in the 700 A.D.

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Anonymous asked: Yep, the Guomindang-Communist one! Thank you very much (:

The Chinese Civil War, occurring from 1927 to 1949, was a conflict between two major parties within China. The Kuomintang Nationalist Party, lead by Chiang Kai-shek, and the Communist Party of China, led by Mao Zedong. Interrupted briefly by World War II, this conflict occurred from an ideological split between who should rule the country. Eventually, the Communists pushed the Kuomintang farther, and farther, until the Kuomintang was forced to flee to Taiwan, where they set up the Republic of China, while in mainland China, the Communist Party set up the People’s Republic of China. To this day, the war has never officially ended, and most sides declare their governing body to be the official government of the Chinese people.

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abbigale asked: Will you tell me a bit more about Cleopatra?

Cleopatra was last pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty, and of Ancient Egypt overall. She, unlike other Ptolemaic rulers, learned Egyptian and declared herself the reincarnation of the Egyptian god, Isis. She is famous for her love affair with Roman general, Mark Antony, after Julius Caesar’ death at the hands of the Roman Senate. They had three children together, and she supported him throughout his campaign with Roman generals who attempted to squash his rebellion. When Antony lost the famous Battle of Actium, he committed suicide. Cleopatra, madly inlove with Antony, soon followed, supposedly via snake bite.

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Anonymous asked: Hi there I would be interested if you can talk about pepin the short of Gaul and his empire he created after the fall of the Roman empire I believe ?

Pepin the Short was the first King of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty. As you may know, the Franks eventually evolved into modern-day France. His brother and himself succeeded their father Charles Martel, to become mayors of the palace. Soon, Pepin gained permission from Pope Zachary to depose the current king, and take the throne. Pepin soon began military conquests, going to war with the King of the Lombards, Aistulf. Through military might, he forced the Lombards to return land to the church. Pepin’s close ties with the Catholic Church lead to his son gaining an imperial coronation, which many see as the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire.

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Anonymous asked: Hi could you give me a brief overview of the causes of the Chinese Civil War and perhaps your opinion on the extent to which foreign intervention played a role in its outcome? Thanks and great blog (:

Just for clarification purposes, you mean between the Kuomintang and Communists, right? Not one of the numerous Dynasty quarrels.

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queercred asked: Do you think you could come up with a tag system? I'd love to be able to search the blog for lessons on certain topics/time periods/countries/etc., but that's currently impossible. Very interesting and comprehensive blog, though, and thank you for being so committed to it.

I don’t even know how to go about imposing one, if someone has a suggestion, let me know.