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Old 07-28-2020, 03:15 PM
 
93 posts, read 38,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
For unknown-obscure, I would say Madagascar. Also Ethiopia, Somalia, Morocco, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Mauritius, Hawaii, Hungary. (I'm limiting my list to those well-known countries that an American would have a fighting chance of finding on a globe.) At least from the standpoint of Americans, not many of us could answer even the most introductory questions about the history of those countries. Except maybe "Who was the last colonial power to occupy them?" and a lot of Americans would even get many of those wrong. Quick, name the European powers who had colonies in Cameroon? Quick, what do you know about the history of Egypt between the Pharaohs and the war with Israel?

The great majority of well-educated Americans don't even know that Germany and Italy did not exist as national entities yet in the middle of the 19th century. Texas was a republic (and then a state) before Germany or Italy were unified into nationhood. So it's hard to put them on the "best known history" list.

By the way, I think it is a pretty obvious given that the question is framed from the reference point of a person who does not have a natural allegiance to or association with the particular country in question.
Uh, Hawaii is a state. It's American history...
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:19 PM
 
93 posts, read 38,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Actually most people don't know much about French history here pre-Napoleon. US history is very modern so it's easier to summarize it if you know what I mean
I'm not sure what the clarification "very modern" means. The history of the US isn't "very" modern, which to me, would speak to a history that mainly started around or post WW2, like modern Germany or certain African nations, the nations that split from Yugoslavia, etc,

American history isn't very easy to summarize, and I can only guess you don't know a lot about it if you think that. There's revolutions and civil wars and overseas conquests and enlightenments, territorial developments, wars with Mexico and Spain, Indian conflicts, the pioneers, civil rights movements and the like to discuss - it's not as long as the ancestral heritage of a country like Italy or China or a number of countries in Europe, but it doesn't have a short or "very modern" history, it has the oldest constitution still in use and the oldest law making body in the new world. It's the world's oldest federation...
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:23 PM
 
93 posts, read 38,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nolefan34 View Post
As an American, I would say the histories most taught in public schools were-

1. USA
2. England
3. France
4. Ancient Greek
5. Ancient Roman
6. Ancient Egyptian
7. Spanish
8. Russian/Soviet
9. Mexican
10. Canadian

Everywhere else was secondary.
I was taught more about ancient civilizations outside of the UK in my American high school. France and England featured about as much as each other, followed by Germany, for obvious reasons, and we did have tiny chapters on China.
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Old 07-28-2020, 03:26 PM
 
93 posts, read 38,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
English history is well know partly because of Shakespeare but also the historical documentation is reasonably complete and accessible.
US history is often the subject of Hollywood movies and the documentation is there but subject to interpretation which is changeable.
Spanish history is pretty well known going back to Rome and the Punic Wars, the Romanized Visigoths, Moorish caliphates, re-conquest and unification, colonial expansion and so on right down to the Spanish Civil War and Franco.


Canadian history is not well known to US citizens. I was surprised that Newfoundland and Labrador were independent for a while and not part of Canada until 1949. Canada was faced with some of the same challenges as the US but found different solutions in many cases.
The history of Central American countries and places like Haiti and Dominican Republic are not well known. The Dominican Republic applied for statehood in the US but was turned down. Haiti invaded and ruled the Dominican Republic for twenty years (still a sore spot). There has been so much foreign intervention in these countries that it's hard to keep it all straight.
Ethiopia has a fascinating culture and history but very long and complicated so only a few topics ever get covered. The rest of sub-Sahara Africa is mostly a blur to Americans who puzzle over why Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn are fighting the German Kaiser's gunboat in The African Queen.
Canada wasn't faced with "a lot of the same problems as the US", at least not any that it had to decide all on it's own. It was a part of the British empire.
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Old 07-30-2020, 01:51 PM
 
3,223 posts, read 2,147,664 times
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Well of course, the best known is the history of big countries and considering the users of this forum, then especially the history of the US and the UK. Ancient Greek and Roman history is also well known.The worst known, of course, is the history of small countries far from Europe. I mean, for example the history of Bhutan or Eritrea or Tannu Tuva is not something that is well known. I am myself from a small country whose history is not very well known, but that does not bother me, because I cannot expect anyone to be particularly interested in a so small country.

But what is disturbing is the biased depiction of history. That is exactly what has happened to the history of my country. Take, for example, the history of the 20th century. It is a general 'good practice' to emphasize only the bad things about the Soviet period and everything related to Russia is shown in a bad light. It is also very common to show the effects that came here from Russia weaker than they really were.This is especially often the case in history articles and reviews for the general public. During the Soviet period, history was biased, but today the situation is not really a gram better. Certainly there was quite a lot of bad in the Soviet period, but as far as the Russians are concerned, they were at least, I would say on a personal level, more respectful than our current official big Western friends, even though our right wing liberal elite licks Western boots as much as they can and promotes Russophobia. (Ironically, I have sometimes noticed that some people in the West still have a contemptuous or suspicious attitude towards the people of the former Eastern bloc. I guess I'm not mistaken in saying that for an ordinary English person, I'm a trivial nobody. (But that doesn't bother me at all. )) I am only disturbed when history is at the service of politics.
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:21 PM
 
Location: New York Area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olgabolga View Post
Uh, Hawaii is a state. It's American history...
Hawaii was a kingdom, then a republic, then a territory and then a state. It's history as a monarchy and republic is not well known, nor is the history of the Vermont Republic.

My vote for the least known history is the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ.
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:52 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
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The history of everything south of the Rio Grande is 'historia desconocida' to Americans. They learn about the Panama Canal, sort of, and Pizarro and Cortez and Columbus, sort of. That is about the extent of history south of the border...the end.
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Old 07-31-2020, 05:26 AM
 
Location: Alberta, Canada
3,253 posts, read 2,725,252 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbgusa View Post
I am actually extremely familiar with Canadian history. Another little known fact is that Alberta and Saskatchewan were initially to be admitted to the Confederation as one province, "Buffalo" but the existing provinces felt it woiuld be too large and powerful. Another is that most of the provinces' northern portions were part of Hudson's Bay Company, which eventually became known as "Northwest Territories." Eventually much of this land was attached to Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. Modern Alberta and Saskatchewan remained part of the Northwest Territories until 1905. In 1999 the eastern and far northern arctic regions were reconstituted as "Nunavut" with Northwest Territories running from the Alberta and Saskatchewan borders to the Arctic Ocean on the and Yukon Territory on the West. I am uncertain about the details of the separation of Yukon Territories from the Northwest Territories though I'm sure in 1897 this was regretted.
Nicely said, JBG. Like the USA, Canada grew from British colonies (Canada as constituted in 1867 was originally only today's provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick), and British business interests (the Hudson Bay Company). Territories were established, much like in the US (the Kansas-Nebraska territory, for example; and Rupert's Land in Canada), and subsequent provinces were admitted into Confederation under certain criteria; much like the Northwest Ordinance 1787 established criteria for states to be admitted to the Union. Note, however, that Canada learned from the US Civil War and the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution: you need to delineate states'/provinces' rights in your Constitution. And with advisement from Canadian representatives, the UK did just that, at ss. 91-95 in Canada's Constitution.

I've said before that Canada was an experiment by the UK: can we let some colonies go and form an independent government, as long as they can still be overruled by Westminster? As things turned out, the answer was "Yes," as the Canadian experiment proved. Accordingly, Australian independence followed in 1901, and New Zealand in 1907. Other former British colonies would get their independence in due course.

And also as Canada proved, there was no need for Westminster to get involved in Canadian affairs. From 1867 to 1982, Westminster never interfered with Canada's Parliament, unless it was asked to by the Canadian Parliament (most often to admit new provinces) which usually resulted in a rubber-stamp approval by Westminster in London.

Like I said, JBG, good post. I don't fault Americans for not knowing Canadian history--American students should learn American history in school, after all--but they should also be instructed at some point that the former British Empire effectively died in 1931 with the Statute of Westminster. But I do wish Americans would stop asking me, "How does it feel to not be an independent country?" and "Your country is ruled from London," and "The Queen tells you what to do." JBG, you know better. Can you spread the word among Americans?
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Old 07-31-2020, 06:45 AM
 
Location: New York Area
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There was for a short period an independent New Iceland (not sure of the name) in modern Manitoba, centered around Gimli.
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Old 07-31-2020, 06:48 AM
 
Location: New York Area
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Default Thanks, ChevySpoons

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevySpoons View Post
Nicely said, JBG. Like the USA, Canada grew from British colonies (Canada as constituted in 1867 was originally only today's provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick), and British business interests (the Hudson Bay Company).
What's really interesting is that PEI, where the original Charlottetown meeting that drew up a lot of the rules, from my understanding, wasn't even in the first batch of provinces.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevySpoons View Post
And with advisement from Canadian representatives, the UK did just that, at ss. 91-95 in Canada's Constitution.
Are you referring to the British North America Act, the Statute of Westminster or the poorly-named Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 1982?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevySpoons View Post
I've said before that Canada was an experiment by the UK: can we let some colonies go and form an independent government, as long as they can still be overruled by Westminster? As things turned out, the answer was "Yes," as the Canadian experiment proved. Accordingly, Australian independence followed in 1901, and New Zealand in 1907. Other former British colonies would get their independence in due course.
I've said before that I wish the U.S. had been allowed to go down that path. If we had the separation of the "reserve powers" from the working leader of government, i.e. the G.G. and the PM, a lot of the mess of Watergate might not have happened. Nixon would have been turfed, either by a leadership convention or the G.G. by the end of March or the latest April of 1973, not August 8, 1974. Gough Whitlam's removal as the Australian PM in 1975 by the G.G. comes to mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevySpoons View Post
Like I said, JBG, good post. I don't fault Americans for not knowing Canadian history--American students should learn American history in school, after all--but they should also be instructed at some point that the former British Empire effectively died in 1931 with the Statute of Westminster.
Thanks again. I feel some deficiency in my knowledge. I known the PM sequence with gaps. I know Macdonald, then Mackenzie, then Macdonald again. I get fouled up in the ones between Macdonald and Laurier. I know that Abbot, Bowles, Tupper and one other are in there but don't know the order regularly. I do know from Laurier to present, even though I often forget the crucial mandates of Turner and Campbell, and what important legislation or changes they promulgated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChevySpoons View Post
But I do wish Americans would stop asking me, "How does it feel to not be an independent country?" and "Your country is ruled from London," and "The Queen tells you what to do." JBG, you know better. Can you spread the word among Americans?
I find that view totally obnoxious. By the same token Rick Mercer does the same thing when he interviews clueless Americans on "This Hour Has 24 Minutes." I wish Mercer would cross my path some time. I'd have some fun with him, for live television, on Canadian history, of which my knowledge is admittedly insufficient. And see post above this one for a little-known country in your neck of the woods.
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