Saturday, August 1, 2020

Death of an Empire - 1911 Chinese Revolution

Despite Wuhan having today a terrible image as ground zero for COVID-19, it had earned a place in Chinese history as the center of a Revolution that marked the end of an era and a dawn of another.

Who was Yuan Shikai? - Part 2

While the Qing Dynasty suffered its decline, Yuan’s fate saw the opposite. He rose up to become of the most influential officials and court. However, with this rise, he collected enemies who strike against him in the most opportune time. From then on he faced a roller coaster ride of ups and downs that would lead him to one of the most prominent figures in a time of great turbulence in Chinese history.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Who was Yuan Shikai? - Part 1

Yuan Shikai marked his name in Chinese history for all its best and faults. From a failed civil service exam taker, he rose to be one of the greatest generals in modern Chinese history and won the Presidency of the Republic of China. As he headed a nation facing transition and turmoil, he resorted to strength and and pomp that garnered criticism and disgust. Nevertheless, his name became intertwined to the story of the death of an empire and the birth of a Republic, revealing its fragility and weakness.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Account: Sir John Bowring on King Mongkut of Siam

Sir John Bowring met with King Mongkut and later described the Thai monarch.

Who was Sir John Bowring? - Part 2

Sir John Bowring lived a life of multiple careers. He published translated works from different European cultures before dedicating his time to the advancement of radical ideas, in particular utilitarianism. Then he became an MP or member of parliament advocating free trade and reforms in military discipline and prison conditions. Due to financial struggles he took positions overseas becoming a player in the advancement of British interest in the Far East.

Who was Sir John Bowring? - Part 1

Sir John Bowring lived a life of multiple careers. He published translated works from different European cultures before dedicating his time to the advancement of radical ideas, in particular utilitarianism. Then he became an MP or member of parliament advocating free trade and reforms in military discipline and prison conditions. Due to financial struggles he took positions overseas becoming a player in the advancement of British interest in the Far East.

Account: Pilgrim of Bordeaux on Jericho

The Pilgrim of Bordeaux made his way to the Holy Land visiting various sites including Jericho.

The Neolithic Jericho

Jericho held the title of the longest inhabited settlement in history. It turned into a legend after its walls came tumbling down through the sounds of trumpets of Joshua and the Israelites. Since then it became a place of pilgrimage and later on of further study for development of humanity during the Neolithic Age.

Jericho, 1931

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Tell Abu Hureyra: A Neolithic Community Beneath a Lake

The Neolithic Age saw humanity’s great leap forward in its history. Agriculture, animal domestication, and sedentary living developed resulting to the foundations of future civilizations. In the Levant, Abu Hureyra provided one of the largest site to serve as a window during this revolutionary period.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Monday, May 25, 2020

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Account: Victor Jacquemont on his meetings with Ranjit Singh

Victor Jacquemont in his travels to the Sub-continent met with Maharaja Ranjit Singh and he wrote an account of his audience.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Account: Victor Jacquemont on European Officers of the Sikh Army

Victor Jacquemont during his travels to the Sub-continent made an observation on the conditions of European officers serving under Ranjit Singh.

Founders: Ranjit Singh of the Sikh Empire


Ranjit Singh established an Empire that the Sikhs as well as Muslims and Hindus called their home. He emerged as another defining leader of Sikhs after the 10th Guru Gobind Singh. He excelled beyond his age and appearance to become the founder of the Sikh Empire.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Who was Bandar Singh Bahadur?

Guru Gobind galvanized a generation of Sikhs earning him enormous respect second only to Guru Nanak. After his assassination in 1708, he said to have ordered a slave of his to punish the Mughals that have done harm to Sikhism. This man who declared himself as a servant of the Guru named Banda Singh Bahadur.
Banda Singh Bahadur (image from sikhwiki.org)

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Who was Guru Gobind Singh?

If Guru Hargobind established the foundation of Sikh martial tradition, Guru Gobind built the structure that furthered the militarization.

Friday, May 1, 2020

The Rise of Sikh Military - Guru Hargobind

Release of Guru HargobindSikhs made a name for themselves as ferocious soldiers. They served in major conflicts in modern history, from the wars of India and Pakistan, the 2 World Wars, or even British war for imperial expansion. How the Sikhs whose religion promoted harmony developed a reputation as valiant warriors?

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Sikhism: The Basic

Guru Nanak Expalainin his Teachings
Sikhism is one of the major religions in India and recognizable in the world for their long beards and turbans that exude an aura of mystery. But what is Sikhism? And what are its teachings and principle?

Friday, April 24, 2020

Founders: Guru Nanak of Sikhism

Guru has been used informally to mean an expert in a particular field – financial guru, fitness guru, business guru, etc. For the Sikhs, however, the word meant something sacred. A guru meant a spiritual and wise mentor that share his word of Enlightenment. And such the case of 10 of Sikhism’s Guru which began with its founder Guru Nanak.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

What Happened during the Second Afghan-War?

The First Anglo-Afghan War witnessed the extent of British aggression and Afghan resolve to maintain its independence. British India, however, failed to contemplate their first mistake and went to repeat it once again with the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

Attack on Khandahar

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The House of Barakzai of Afghanistan - Part 3

Nadir Khan became Nadir Shah after deposing King Amanullah in 1929. Amanullah's downfall came no surprise after the late King imposed rapid reformation of the country striking a strong core of traditionalism of Afghans. Barakzai Kings must then rule country respecting tradition yet maintain a course of reform in a slower and gradual pace or face downfall.

Kabul Railway

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The House of Barakzai of Afghanistan - Part 2

After the Second Anglo-Afghan War, Afghanistan rebuild under the leadership fo Abdur Rahman. As the new century came near, new challenges confronted the Barakzai Dynasty. Other than maintaining peace with imperial powers, the Barakzai also faced the reality of change – modernization, westernization, and reformation. They must steer the country towards stable progress against a backdrop of rigid traditionalism and tribalism.
Afghan troops, 1900's

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The House of Barakzai of Afghanistan - Part 1

The dynasty led Afghanistan from 1826 to 1973 and on that period it battled foreign intervention, imperialism, traditionalism, and tribalism resulting to eventful and turbulent reigns of its rulers.

Dost Mohammad, Founder of the Barakzai Dynasty

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

What Happened during the First Anglo-Afghan War?

Many great powers had fallen to the quagmire of Afghanistan. The most recent, the United States and NATO found it difficult to stabilize the country and more so during the previous invasion of the country by the Soviet Union in the 20th century. And even prior that century, the British Empire faced difficulty in subduing the Afghan people that began with the First Anglo-Afghan War.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Founders: Dost Mohammad of the Barakzai Dynasty

He lived, survived, and thrive in a volatile Afghanistan. Filled with rivalry between family, clans, and tribes he established a dynasty. He survived an invasion of the most powerful empire of his time and contributed to the independence of his country. Dost Mohammad established the Barakzai Dynasty in 1826 and produced leaders for Afghanistan until 1973.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Prussian Reform Movement: Stein, Humboldt, Hardenberg


The 19th century dawned with turbulence as Europe reached a cross road between 2 paths – the continuation of the old order and transformation to the new order. The Kingdom of Prussia saw right into the eyes of the abyss that led to rise of reformist ministers. The Prussian Reform Movement placed the kingdom towards change.