Friday, August 12, 2011

Four Key Points in Western History


Greetings Gentle Readers,
As you can see from my previous post, I have once again traveled back in time, to Zud Afrikka again as a Boer scout with the Irish Transvaal Brigade in 1900.
I don't do garden-variety reenacting, too boring (pun intended) and the petty politics in the big groups that do the biggies such as the US Rev War or the US Civ War can be quite nasty.  Thus I along with a handful of other like-minded purists embrace the obscureā€¦
I have also done a Highland Scots rebel under Bonny Prince Charlie in 1745, a French mercenary dragoon in 1632 during the Thirty Year's War and a geezer in the Irish Republican Army in 1919 in West Cork.  Fun stuff, and it is major fun to do the research on the minutiae of the period clothing, weapons, food and mores of the period which you portray.

Lecture Time Now, Take Notes, There will be a Pop Quiz Afterward.
The four periods I have portrayed or am doing so now, are some of the pivotal points in Western history:
  • The Thirty Years War began in 1618 and ended in 1648, with no basic change in the map of Europe. The thirty three battles during those thirty years mainly resulted in the beginning of the modern arms industries in all of Europe.
  • The Jacobite Rebellion led by Bonny Prince Charlie in a vain effort to regain the British throne for his Stuart father from the German George had a major effect on North America.  After Charlie's defeat at Culloden in 1746 (which he could have won - except that he dithered), The English practiced genocide on the Highlanders.  They sent troops into the Highlands and seized all of their little black angus cattle (a breed we still have today) in a calculated attempt to remove the Highlander's main source of income.  Since the Highlanders now couldn't now pay their rents to their Lairds (who owned their land), those worthies evicted their kinsmen, and used their land to graze sheep (see "The Enclosure Acts") instead. The evicted clansmen had no choice to emigrate to the Colonies, or in the case of some ten thousand Scots prisoners of war, to be sold as slaves to buyers in Canada, as well as the Cameroons and other nasty places.
  • The Boer War (two actually, and the Boers won the first) is where the British tied of imperialism crashed on the rocks of those who didn't accept it.  Short story - the Brits invaded the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic which the Dutch farmers (Boers) had set up when they left the Cape.  They Brits had previously recognized these states as independent, but when the Dutch discovered gold in abundance in their territory, the Brits trumped up an reason to invade.  The Boers resisted, and sniping with Mauser rifles at longer ranges than the Brits could shoot, drove them to a stand still, until the Brits started rounding up the wives and children of the Boers who were back on their farms and putting them in concentration camps.  Where over twenty thousand of them died from starvation and neglect.  The British public's very negative reaction to this foul deed by their Army basically ended the arrogance of empire in Britain.
  • The Irish revolt of 1919 was the beginning of the end of Brit dominance over Ireland. William The Bastard's minions first invaded Ireland in 1166, and it took us until 1921 to get them out, in a very bloody, and typically confused Celtic way.  More on this whole issue in my next post.

Any questions so far?

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