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Interesting history thread
I've realised that some other members here like history as well as animals, just like me. So I've decided to make a thread where we can post about interesting historical events. You can post about any historical event you want, from any time period. I'll start by posting about a few interesting historical events I know about.

Quote:A lifetime away from civilisation

Guam is an island in the Pacific. Before WW2, it was ruled by the US. But, on 8th December 1941, one day after the attack on Pearl Harbour, the Japanese Army invaded and took Guam. By 1944, the tide of the war had changed and the Americans were ready to take back the island. Almost the entirety of the Japanese garrison was slaughtered. A Japanese soldier named Shoichi Yokoi and two fellow soldiers went into hiding deep in the jungle. The war ended after a year but Shoichi didn't know, so he remained hiding for 28 years! Both of his comrades died after 20 years and, for the last 8 years, Shoichi was completely alone in the jungle. He did not see another human for 8 years! He slept inside a cave and survived by hunting and fishing. Finally in 1972, after 28 years in the jungle, some fishermen who ventured into the jungle found Shoichi. He was subsequently sent back to Japan, where he lived until passing away in 1997 at the age of 82.

Shoichi Yokoi before and after he went into hiding.
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Quote:Greatest survival story ever

Saburo Sakai was a pilot in the Imperial Japanese Navy during WW2. In August 1942, he was in his warplane (called 'Zero') flying over Guadalcanal, when he realised an American plane (called 'Wildcat') holding off several Japanese planes on its own. The American plane was flown by a pilot named James Pug Southerland. Sakai engaged Southerland and eventually shot him out of the sky. After that, Sakai saw more American planes in the distance and decided to attack them. Unknown to him, these planes were not fighters, they were bombers and had tail gunners on their rear. A bullet from one of those guns entered Sakai's forehead above his right eye, went through his skull and exited through the back of his head. A bullet went through his brain and, miraculously, he was still alive! Immediately, the entire left side of Sakai's body became paralyzed. Yet, he was able to fly his plane, with one hand, for five hours, back to the Japanese base 640 miles away, all the while trying extremely hard to not fall into shock as that would mean certain death. Sakai was hospitalized and survived. During the entirety of WW2, Sakai shot down around 60 Allied warplanes. After the war, he became as pacifist and vowed to never kill another living thing again, not even a mosquito. Sakai passed away in 2000 at the age of 84.

Watch this video from 47:00 onwards:

Quote:Greatest deception in military history

Arminius was born to a German tribal chief in about 18BC. At the time, Germany was mainly jungles with various warring tribes. In his childhood, Arminius was taken from his family by the Romans (who were trying to conquer Germany) in order to ensure good behaviour from his father (i.e. if you don't listen to us, we kill your son).

The Roman Empire was the most powerful empire in the world at the time, it was a superpower that ruled large parts of Europe and North Africa and had the most technologically advanced and best trained army in the world, plus a huge victory record over various different enemies. The Romans had metal armour, metal swords, shields and spears. German soldiers of the time, by comparison, had little armour. And while they did have metal weapons, these were generally inferior to Roman weapons. And some German soliders even carried wooden weapons and stone slings.

Anyway, Arminius was brought up in Rome, joined the Roman Army, participated in wars and became an auxiliary officer. In 8AD, Arminius was sent back to Germany along with other Roman soldiers to further the conquest of Germany. Publius Quinctilius Varus was the overall commander of the Roman Army in Germany.

However, Arminius was unwilling to fight against his own people and decided to secretly unite the numerous rival German tribes. The oppression and cruelty of the Romans made it easier for Arminius to unite the various tribes. In 9AD, Arminius told Varus that a rebellion was taking place in North Germany and that they should march through Teutoburg Forest to get there quicker. 

Varus, unaware of where Arminius' true loyalty lay, agreed and set off with around 20,000 Roman soldiers through Teutoburg Forest. In reality, there was no rebellion in North Germany. Instead, around 20,000 German soliders were laying in ambush inside Teutoburg Forest, waiting for the Romans. The Romans, while very good at open warfare, disliked forests and this paritcular forest was unknown to them. The Germans, on the other hand, were very experienced at forest warfare due to previous wars between rival tribes and many Germans knew Teutoburg Forest like the back of their hands, having grown up near it.

Arminius asked Varus if he could ride ahead to gather support for the Romans. Varus agreed. Arminius just went ahead and joined the Germans. As the Romans went further into the forest, their lines became long and stretched out. That night, the Romans were attacked. They were caught unaware and many of them were killed. After attacking, the Germans just disappeared back into the trees. The Romans were unable to pursue them due to being slower due to heavier armour and due to being unfamiliar with the area. Plus, there was heavy rain which caused Roman shields to become waterlogged and heavy and the strings of their bows to become wet, making their bows useless. The Romans were also hindered by walls and trenches previously built by the Germans  in preparation for the battle. After days of battle, the majority of Roman soldiers had been slain. Varus committed suicide by falling on his own sword.

By carrying out the greatest act of deception in military history, Arminius, with a poorly armed tribal army, defeated the most powerful army in the world.

The Romans did come back and carry out some raids in Germany but they were never able to conquer it.

Statue of Arminius in Germany
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Syphilis back in the day.

Quote:The Things People Did To Fight Syphilis Were Utterly Horrifying

Syphilis, today, is minor and treatable. In the past, though, it was an incurable diseases that caused insanity, rotting flesh, and death. It's understandable that nations took drastic measures to try to stop it — but their efforts resulted in a 400-year reign of terror.

Syphilis hit Europe at the end of the 1400s. In some ways, it terrified people more than the plague. The plague, at least, killed people quickly. Syphilis opened weeping sores and greyish eruptions that started at one spot and spread all over the body. As the sores got deeper, the flesh dropped away, leaving deep craters in the flesh. The disease, like leprosy, seemed to start at the extremities. Some accounts have victims missing eyes, noses, and lips. Others mention missing hands and feet. In the final stages, the disease attacked the brain, driving people insane. Not every person afflicted with syphilis suffered all of these symptoms, but even one of them caused extreme suffering.

The disease seemed to first appear among French troops in Naples, conveniently allowing the French and the Italians to blame each other for its origins. As it swept across Europe, learned people gathered in conferences trying to figure out what it was, and what could be done about it. Give them credit where credit is due, they figured out the transmission pattern early. One physician wrote, "Men get it from doing it with women in their vulvas."

So that settled that. The problem, going forward, was stopping people from "doing it with women." Throughout Europe, cities such as Edinburgh, banned brothels and armies banned the euphemistically named "camp followers." It didn't work.

At that point, things got awful. Whenever foreigners were found to have syphilis, they were sent back to their own countries. When the wealthy had it, they were confined to their homes. When the poor had it, they were sent to hospitals, which would admit them, but which often had a tradition of publicly whipping each patient before they came in, and after they went out. Considering there was no cure for syphilis, and people sometimes had repeated attacks, this could mean a lot of whippings. Anyone found disobeying the order to report to a hospital was executed. In Paris, people found guilty of sticking around with syphilis were thrown into the Seine to drown.

The infected population grew, and the measures to counter the disease grew more selective. Although the rich were subject to some restrictions, the most popular targets of stricter laws were beggars and sex workers. Paris, at one point, ordered all able-bodied beggars out of the city - presumably to starve in the country. Because a plague of rotting bodies spelled the end of an army, any sex worker caught within eight kilometers of an army had her nose and ears slit. Hospitals expanded, but as they attempted to accommodate more people, they grew worse. Noblemen who toured, for example, the Hospital at Bicêtre called it a hell-hole and said that the patients would be better off in a barn. Do-gooders, meanwhile, tried to improve it. During one spasm of reform, workers were sent to collect years of accumulated garbage from the rooms and put in new curtains. So that was good. Still, the hospital overcrowding problem increased. In 1703, the Salpêtrière hospital housed 4,500 sex workers. There was no way to keep conditions decent under that kind of strain.

And then there was the actual treatment for syphilis. It was mercury — eaten, inhaled, and rubbed into the skin. By the 1800s, people were not ignorant of what mercury could do to a person, but no other treatment seemed to work as well. Patients were exposed over and over until their symptoms cleared up, or they died.

Syphilis was a public health hazard into the 1900s, and still subject to sometimes over-the-top medical responses. The discovery of a cure, penicillin, ended not only a terrible disease, but a four-hundred-year public health nightmare.

Hopefully I get to post more things here later.
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  • Lightning
Japan's greatest warlord might have been a woman.

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Strap in, this is gonna get weird.

One of the most celebrated figures in Japanese history is Uesugi Kenshin, known as the Dragon of Echigo. He was a daimyo (feudal lord) loved for his idealism and feared for his skill in battle. He was so skilled with war that some of his contemporaries considered him an avatar of Bishamonten, god of war.
He was also, according to a contemporary Japanese historian, a woman.
Let’s get the disclaimers out of the way: said historian, Yagiri Tomeo, is kind of a nut. He’s posited any number of bizarre conspiracy theories that have been discredited, but when it comes to Uesugi, he brings forth some evidence which… is not as easily dismissed.
Firstly, a possible rationale for a female Kenshin living as a man: because the leader of the clan had to be a man, or the shogun could divide up their lands and give them away. So now that we have motivation out of the way, the evidence:
  • Kenshin had severe stomach cramps on a monthly basis, around the 10th of the month. He actually scheduled his military campaigns around this.
  • Kenshin’s cause of death is recorded as a form of uterine cancer. By a doctor who made virtually no mistakes in the rest of the book that it’s written in.
  • Kenshin died around the 10th of March.
  • When the Uesugi were forced to relocate, they repeatedly took Kenshin’s remains with them, and refused to tell even the shogun where he was interred. This rules out DNA testing.
  • Kenshin’s personal tastes and appearance were consistently described in feminine terms, which, given the extreme subtleties of Japanese, is actually a bigger deal than it might seem.
  • Kenshin was the only man allowed by the shogun to wander among his harem.
  • Kenshin never married and never had children (although he did adopt).
So we have a lot of intriguing coincidences. But the evidence is hardly conclusive — if for no other reason than that Kenshin had three older brothers, thus obviating any need for his parents to present a daughter as a son. Given the records of the time, it would be very hard to hide Kenshin’s birth sex, or rewrite it later. I consider the possibility so extremely remote that I feel safe keeping this writeup to male pronouns.
If you’d like to look deeper into the “Kenshin was a woman” theory, this forum thread is a good place to start. (thanks to Sarah Rice for sending this in!)

From here

Quote:The Tongan Wood King
TIL that one of the kings of Tonga, Tuʻitonganui ko e Tamatou, was actually a wooden doll.
His predecessor had died without sons, and to get around the superstition surrounding a break in the lines of succession, the Tongans installed a wooden doll as an interim king. Tamatou was given a grand installation ceremony, assigned a queen, and reigned for three years.
Historians remain silent as to whether he was also a ninja.
Source: WikipediaArt and Exoticism: An Anthropology of the Yearning for Authenticity by Paul van der Grijp
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The story of Nicholas Winton. Evidently this was written before he died, considering what it says towards the very end.

Quote:In December 1938, Nicholas Winton, a 29-year-old London stockbroker, was about to leave for a skiing holiday in Switzerland, when he received a phone call from his friend Martin Blake asking him to cancel his holiday and immediately come to Prague: "I have a most interesting assignment and I need your help. Don't bother bringing your skis." When Winton arrived, he was asked to help in the camps, in which thousands of refugees were living in appalling conditions.

In October 1938, after the ill-fated Munich Agreement between Germany and the Western European powers, the Nazis annexed a large part of western Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland. Winton was convinced that the German occupation of the rest of the country would soon follow. To him and many others, the outbreak of war seemed inevitable. The news of Kristallnacht, the bloody pogrom (violent attack) against German and Austrian Jews on the nights of November 9 and 10, 1938, had reached Prague. Winton decided to take steps.

"I found out that the children of refugees and other groups of people who were enemies of Hitler weren't being looked after. I decided to try to get permits to Britain for them. I found out that the conditions which were laid down for bringing in a child were chiefly that you had a family that was willing and able to look after the child, and £50, which was quite a large sum of money in those days, that was to be deposited at the Home Office. The situation was heartbreaking. Many of the refugees hadn't the price of a meal. Some of the mothers tried desperately to get money to buy food for themselves and their children. The parents desperately wanted at least to get their children to safety when they couldn't manage to get visas for the whole family. I began to realize what suffering there is when armies start to march."

In terms of his mission, Winton was not thinking in small numbers, but of thousands of children. He was ready to start a mass evacuation.

"Everybody in Prague said, 'Look, there is no organization in Prague to deal with refugee children, nobody will let the children go on their own, but if you want to have a go, have a go.' And I think there is nothing that can't be done if it is fundamentally reasonable."

Independently of Operation Kindertransport (see sidebar), Nicholas Winton set up his own rescue operation. At first, Winton's office was a dining room table at his hotel in Wenceslas Square in Prague. Anxious parents, who gradually came to understand the danger they and their children were in, came to Winton and placed the future of their children into his hands. Soon, an office was set up on Vorsilska Street, under the charge of Trevor Chadwick. Thousands of parents heard about this unique endeavor and hundreds of them lined up in front of the new office, drawing the attention of the Gestapo. Winton's office distributed questionnaires and registered the children. Winton appointed Trevor Chadwick and Bill Barazetti to look after the Prague end when he returned to England. Many further requests for help came from Slovakia, a region east of Prague.

Winton contacted the governments of nations he thought could take in the children. Only Sweden and his own government said yes. Great Britain promised to accept children under the age of 18 as long as he found homes and guarantors who could deposit £50 for each child to pay for their return home.

Winton contacted the governments of nations he thought could take in the children. Only Sweden and his own government said yes. Great Britain promised to accept children under the age of 18 as long as he found homes and guarantors who could deposit £50 for each child to pay for their return home.

Because he wanted to save the lives of as many of the endangered children as possible, Winton returned to London and planned the transport of children to Great Britain. He worked at his regular job on the Stock Exchange by day, and then devoted late afternoons and evenings to his rescue efforts, often working far into the night. He made up an organization, calling it "The British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia, Children's Section." The committee consisted of himself, his mother, his secretary and a few volunteers.

Winton had to find funds to use for repatriation costs, and a foster home for each child. He also had to raise money to pay for the transports when the children's parents could not cover the costs. He advertised in British newspapers, and in churches and synagogues. He printed groups of children's photographs all over Britain. He felt certain that seeing the children's photos would convince potential sponsors and foster families to offer assistance. Finding sponsors was only one of the endless problems in obtaining the necessary documents from German and British authorities.

"Officials at the Home Office worked very slowly with the entry visas. We went to them urgently asking for permits, only to be told languidly, 'Why rush, old boy? Nothing will happen in Europe.' This was a few months before the war broke out. So we forged the Home Office entry permits."

On March 14, 1939, Winton had his first success: the first transport of children left Prague for Britain by airplane. Winton managed to organize seven more transports that departed from Prague's Wilson Railway Station. The groups then crossed the English Channel by boat and finally ended their journey at London's Liverpool Street station. At the station, British foster parents waited to collect their charges. Winton, who organized their rescue, was set on matching the right child to the right foster parents.

The last trainload of children left on August 2, 1939, bringing the total of rescued children to 669. It is impossible to imagine the emotions of parents sending their children to safety, knowing they may never be reunited, and impossible to imagine the fears of the children leaving the lives they knew and their loved ones for the unknown.

On September 1, 1939 the biggest transport of children was to take place, but on that day Hitler invaded Poland, and all borders controlled by Germany were closed. This put an end to Winton's rescue efforts. Winton has said many times that the vision that haunts him most to this day is the picture of hundreds of children waiting eagerly at Wilson Station in Prague for that last aborted transport.

"Within hours of the announcement, the train disappeared. None of the 250 children aboard was seen again. We had 250 families waiting at Liverpool Street that day in vain. If the train had been a day earlier, it would have come through. Not a single one of those children was heard of again, which is an awful feeling."

The significance of Winton's mission is verified by the fate of that last trainload of children. Moreover, most of the parents and siblings of the children Winton saved perished in the Holocaust.

After the war, Nicholas Winton didn't tell anyone, not even his wife Grete about his wartime rescue efforts. In 1988, a half century later, Grete found a scrapbook from 1939 in their attic, with all the children's photos, a complete list of names, a few letters from parents of the children to Winton and other documents. She finally learned the whole story. Today the scrapbooks and other papers are held at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, in Israel.

Grete shared the story with Dr. Elisabeth Maxwell, a Holocaust historian and the wife of newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell. Robert Maxwell arranged for his newspaper to publish articles on Winton's amazing deeds. Winton's extraordinary story led to his appearance on Esther Rantzen's BBC television program, That's Life. In the studio, emotions ran high as Winton's "children" introduced themselves and expressed their gratitude to him for saving their lives. Because the program was aired nationwide, many of the rescued children also wrote to him and thanked him. Letters came from all over the world, and new faces still appear at his door, introducing themselves by names that match the documents from 1939.
The rescued children, many now grandparents, still refer to themselves as "Winton's children." Among those saved are the British film director Karel Reisz (The French Lieutenant's Woman, Isadora, and Sweet Dreams), Canadian journalist and news correspondent for CBC, Joe Schlesinger (originally from Slovakia), Lord Alfred Dubs (a former Minister in the Blair Cabinet), Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines (a patron of the arts whose father, Rudolf Fleischmann, saved Thomas Mann from the Nazis), Dagmar Símová (a cousin of the former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright), Tom Schrecker, (a Reader's Digest manager), Hugo Marom (a famous aviation consultant, and one of the founders of the Israeli Air Force), and Vera Gissing (author of Pearls of Childhood) and coauthor of Nicholas Winton and the Rescued Generation.

Winton has received many acknowledgements for his humanitarian pre-war deeds. He received a letter of thanks from the late Ezer Weizman, a former president of the State of Israel. He was made an Honorary Citizen of Prague. In 1993, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, awarded him the MBE (Member of the British Empire), and on October 28, 1998, Václav Havel, then president of the Czech Republic, awarded him the Order of T.G. Masaryk at Hradcany Castle for his heroic achievement. On December 31, 2002, Winton received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to humanity. Winton's story is also the subject of two films by Czech filmmaker Matej Mináč: All My Loved Ones and the award-winning Nicholas Winton: The Power of Good.

Today, Sir Nicholas Winton, age 97, resides at his home in Maidenhead, Great Britain. He still wears a ring given to him by some of the children he saved. It is inscribed with a line from the Talmud, the book of Jewish law. It reads:

"Save one life, save the world."
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Quote:How the Grand Mosque of Paris saved hundreds of Jews during the Nazi occupation of France

Quote:[b]WW2: Britain's secret Weapon of Mass Destruction[/b]

The war was going very badly for Britain from 1939 to 1942. The Germans had captured most of Western Europe, London and other cities were being subjected to regular bombing raids and German submarines were sinking supply ships.

In 1942, with the threat of invasion looming, the British came up with a plan to drop linseed cakes infected with anthrax spores into Germany's pastures and grazing fields. Anthrax is a deadly disease caused by bacterium Bacillus anthracis.

Consumption of anthrax-infected food would result in death 60% of the time and the inhalation of anthrax would result in death 90% of the time (modern treatments cut the mortality rates but those treatments were not available during WW2).

By early 1944, Britain had developed 5 million cakes infected with anthrax spores. However, by then, the US and the Soviet Union had both entered the war, Germany was losing badly and Britain's survival was no longer at stake. Thus, the deadly weapon was never used. The cakes were destroyed after the war ended.

Had Britain really dropped 5 million anthrax cakes over German, the result would have been devastating. Millions of Germans would of died from inhalation of anthrax, millions more would have died from eating cattle that became infected by eating the cakes dropped on fields, Germany's cattle would have been wiped out, severly restricting its food supply and Germany itself may have become uninhabitable for decades to come.

The British tested the weapon on Gruinard Island (off the coast of Scotland), in 1942 and 1943. In one such test, 60 sheep were tethered in a line and an anthrax bomb was detonated upwind from them. The sheep inhaled the anthrax spores, and within a few days all of them were dead. And Guinard Island remained uninhabitable and quarantined until the British decontaminated it nearly 50 years later in 1990.

Quote:A young man and his tribe stand up to the Spanish conquistadors

The Mapuches are a tribe in Chile. In the 1500's, the Mapuches' territory and population was far smaller than that of the Incas and Aztecs. The Mapuches also had far fewer warriors and less wealth than the Incas and Aztecs.

In the 1500's, the Americas were under devastating attack from the Spanish. The Spanish had steel armour, metal swords, metal halberds, horses and early forms of guns and cannons whilst the Native Americans had inferior wooden, stone and obsidian weapons and inferior cotton armour. Moreover, the Natives had no resistance to smallpox and other Old World diseases and the Spanish used divide and conquer strategies. All this enabled small Spanish armies to easily defeat much larger Native armies, the Spanish captured huge areas of land, the mighty Aztecs and Incas had been defeated and conquered and, wherever the Spanish went, they carried out mass murder, forced Natives into harsh servitude and plundered Native gold and other wealth.

When Pedro de Valdivia, a veteran of wars in Europe and later the conquest of the Inca Empire, led the Spanish conquistadors into Chile in the 1540's, the Mapuches were facing defeat after defeat. The Mapuches were more numerous than the Spanish (though not nearly as numerous as the Aztecs and Incas had been) but the Spanish had all the advantages previously mentioned.

In 1544, a 11 year old Mapuche boy named Lautaro was captured and forced into sevitude by the Spanish. During his time in captivity, he witnessed brutality carried out by the Spanish towards Mapuche prisoners. Valdivia ordered his men to cut off the hands and feet of hundreds of Mapuche prisoners, including Lautaro's parents, for trying to resist Spanish colonisation. This caused Lautaro to develop a great hatred for the Spanish and for Valdivia in particular.

Lautaro figured out that if he knows how the Spanish fight, he'd have a better chance of defeating them in the future. Thus, he pretended to friendly towards his Spanish captors (though he hated them in his heart) and, slowly, their treatment of him turned from harsh and bitter to friendlier as time went. Eventually, the Spanish even started teaching Lautaro how to ride horses and use Spanish weapons and let him accompany them in their battles. This enabled Lautaro to learn of Spanish tactics, strategy, and their weaponry.

In 1552, after around 8 years in captivity, Lautaro decided he had learnt enough and escaped. In 1553 (only 19 years old), he was elected the leader of the Mapuche Army and managed to lead them to several victories over the Spanish. The Mapuches captured weapons and armour from fallen Spanish soldiers and stole Spanish horses to form their own cavalry.

On Christmas day 1553, Valdivia himself was captured after his small army was lured into a trap and destroyed by ambush in the Battle of Tucapel. While captive, Valdivia promised that, if his life was spared, he would never again try to conquer the Mapuches and would donate them large herds of cattle for food and farming. However, the Mapuche leadership told him that he couldn't be trusted to keep his promise once freed and had him tortured and executed.

However, the Spanish desire to conquer Chile did not end with Valdivia's death. They continued their war against the Mapuches and, in 1557, Lautaro himself was killed in action in the Battle of Mataquito.

However, the Mapuche will to resist lived on. In 1598, the Mapuches won a decisive victory in the Battle of Curalaba. The Spanish leader Martin Garcia Onez de Loyola was killed in the battle. Over the next few years, the Mapuches managed to destroy or force the abandonment of the Seven major Spanish cities and several smaller Spanish settlements in their territory.

That finally sank the Spanish dream of conquering the Mapuche country.

The Spanish Empire bordered the Mapuche country until the 1820's and, while there were clashes every now and then, the Spanish never again attempted a seriour conquest of the Mapuche country.

The small Mapuche country had successfully resisted Spanish conquest, something which most Native American tribes, including the vast Aztec and Inca Empires, had failed to do.
The YouTube channel Timeline - World History Documentaries has some really interesting docs. Here's one about the Great Plague of London.

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How a rag-tag native militia munched on a numerically and technologically vastly superior colonial army

The Rif is a mountainous region in Morocco. In the early 1900's, Morocco was divided between France and Spain, with Spain ruling the Rif region. There were (relatively minor) wars between the Spanish and the Native Riffans in the 1890's and in 1909/1910, which the Riffans, despite their numerical superiority, lost and suffered much higher casualties than the Spanish. This was primarily because the Spanish had superior weapons (more  guns, better guns, artillery, far superior fire power).

Abd el Krim (born in 1882) was a Riffan man who worked as a journalist for a Spanish newspaper in the early 1900's and later became a judge in the 1910's. Initially, he supported Spanish rule (viewing it as modern) but, during WW1, he developed pro-indenpendence and anti-colonial notions. Due to spreading nti-colonial propaganda, Krim was imprisoned by the Spanish in 1916 and escaped in 1918.

After escaping from prison, Krim became the leader of his tribe and his relations with the Spanish began to deteriorate further and both sides began preparing for war. 

The Spanish at the time had poorly trained soldiers and incompetent officers and the Spanish Army was inferior compared to the armies of other large European countries. However, the Spanish Army was still far superior to the Riffan militia because the Spanish had far more guns (and also early forms of tanks and warplanes) and far, far more gunpowder whereas the Riffians had a small, limited number of guns and a limited amount of gunpowder. Some Riffians were carrying melee weapons like swords and spears due to the lack of guns.

And, unlike in previous wars, this time the Spanish also had numerical superiority.

War finally broke out in 1920. In July 1921, a Spanish force was 23,000 led by general Manuel Fernandez Silvestre arrived in a region called Annual. Meanwhile, Abd el-Krin only had 3000 soldiers at this point. However, Krim was about to show that he's unlike anything the Spanish had faced before. Using new, innoviative methods of guerilla warfare (+ Silvestre's incompetence), Krim destroyed the Spanish force is Annual, killing 13,000 to 20,000 Spanish soldiers (whilst Riffian casualties were 800 killed/wounded). Silvestre is said to have committed suicide following the disaster. The Riffian soldiers had used up all the bullets they had started off with but, by picking up guns and bullets from fallen Spanish soldiers, they ended up having more bullets at the end of the battle than they did at the start.

The Battle of Annual is considered the greatest defeat in Spanish military history. And it is also very different in the sense that, during the colonial period, it was common for small European armies with superior weapons to defeat much larger African/Asian armies but what had happened in Annual was the exact opposite, a very, very rare occurrence.

Following the battle, the Spanish lost a lot of their territory in Rif, Krim proclaimed independence and renamed his nation 'the Republic of Rif'. However, the Spanish didn't give up and sent reinforcements and a stalemate ensued. Due to frustration over being unable to break the stalemate, the Spanish began using warplanes to drop chemical weapons on Riffian civilians. But that still didn't turn the tide of the war in Spain's favour. 

In 1924, the French set up out-posts in Riffan territory. The French were better organised, had better trained soldiers and more competent generals than the Spanish. The French were also veterans of WW1. The French put up 25,000 to 30,000 soldiers in Rif territory.

However, Krim and his men decided they won't tolerate occupation by any foreign power and 8000 Riffians soldiers attacked the French settlements and killed 2000 French soldiers.

This caused France to join the war on the side of Spain. The Spanish and French now had a huge, huge numerical and technological advantage over the tiny, rag-tag Riffian militia. By 1925, 12,000 Riffian soldiers (with limited firepower) were facing a combined Frano-Spanish Army of 120,000 (supported by tanks and warplanes).

Krim resisted for a year before finally surrendering in 1926. He was sent to exile on a small island called Reunion (French territory), where he lived until getting asylum in Egypt in 1947. He passed away in Egypt in 1963, aged 80.

With his mastery of guerrilla warfare, Krim, with a poorly armed rag-tag militia held out against 2 great powers for several years and managed to inflict some devastating defeats on them. Despite their great numerical advantage and superior weapons, the French and Spanish casualties were much higher than the Riffian casualties. 

Abd el-Krim's war tactics were said to have influenced a host of famous and highly successful revolutionaries, including Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and Ho Chi Minh.
A British soldier allegedly spared Hitler's life in WW1.
How a tiny nation with a very weak military used assassins to resist far larger, far more militarily powerful nations.
Apparently there was a samurai of African descent who served under Oda Nobunaga.
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Quote:The superpower of Native American Mexico, the Aztec Empire, got wholly defeated by the Spanish in just 3 years. But another group of Native Americans living in Mexico defeated the Spanish in a long 40 year war. These were the Chichemeca, a confederation of nomadic tribes who were primitive and 'wild', were mostly naked, covered themselves in paint and animal fur, made fear-provoking noises and used hit-and-run techniques, ambushes and raids against the Spanish conquistadors. And they were expert archers with obsidian arrows that were apparently expertly crafted, allowing them to penetrate Spanish armour and penetrate the links of chainmail. 

According to one Spanish soldier,

"On one occasion I saw them throw an orange into the air, and they shot into it so many arrows that, having held it in the air for much time, it finally fell in minute pieces" (Powell 48). 

"One of don Alonso de Castilla's soldiers had an arrow pass through the head of his horse, including a crownpiece of double buckskin and metal, and into his chest, so he fell with the horse dead on the ground 'this was seen by many who are still living' (Powell 48). 

That sounds heavily exaggerated but you get the point, they were really good archers.

And, in 1 encounter, 50 Chichimeca warriors killed 200 Spanish conquistadors (though I do not see a reference for that statement).

The war lasted from 1550 to 1590, with the Spanish being defeated and deciding to try to make peace with the Chichimeca.

Quote:The doomed English Armada

In school, they taught me about how the English Navy defeated the mighty Spanish Armada in 1588. But they said nothing about how the Spanish defeated the English Armada the very next year.
Just storing all this stuff here for future reference. Heavy cavalry in full armor using pistols.

Quote:By the 1550s, the German heavy cavalrymen had virtually completely discarded the lance in favor of a pair or more of wheellock pistols. They were considered heavy cavalry, in full or three-quarter armour, but using their pistols as their primary offensive weapons. One of the results of this was to force armourers to make their newer armours pistol-proof, which added to the weight and expense of the suit; in looking for ways to reduce the load carried by the horses, one of the first things to go were the heavy armoured bardings worn by the horses themselves, and the practice was extinct long before the new century. Thus, by 1560 the German heavy horse was already significantly lighter than it had been some thirty years previous.

Quote:Henri formed his cavalry, consisting of pistoliers in full armour, in four blocks, with infantry between the blocks to add firepower. Joyeuse formed his cavalry in the old en hay formation, with fully armoured gendarmes armed with the heavy lance. "All the front rank was formed of counts, marquises, barons and great lords"6, and overlapped the Huguenot line on either side. Joyeuse began his charge, but his cavalry broke into a gallop too early, scattering the formation. When Henri's columns hit the two ranks of Catholic nobles, the issue was settled in five minutes, with nothing but the ransom of prisoners left to be decided after some desultory slaughter. In the words of Tavannes, "The large pistols make close action so dangerous that everyone wants to leave, making the fights shorter".

A few examples of 17th century cuirassier armor. Not half or three quarter, but full armor much to my surprise (though, I'm sure this wasn't representative of cuirassier armor at the time).

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The past is a foreign country another planet.
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The Nazis wanted to bring the auroch back to life.

The largest gun in hhistory weighed as much as 10 blue whales. This gun fired massive shells, each weighing more than an elephant, at a range of 29 miles.
History's first recorded suicide bombing (I think)

The year was 1857. The British had ruled India (or large parts of it) for the last 100 years. But now, many Indians had decided they had had enough and wanted to drive out the foreign invaders , thus leading to a massive rebellion. The immediate cause was that the British had brought a new gun, the Enfield P-53 rifle, which used paper cartridges that were pre-greased, and it was rumoured that the grease used was derived from cows (sacred to Hindus) and pig (unclean to Muslims), so a lot of Indian soldiers in the British East India Company Army didn't want to use them. Other (long term) causes were that British rule was harsh, their policies often exacerbated famines to enormous proportions, the taxes were high, a lot of wealth and resources were taken from India to Britain and Indians were seen as inferior and discriminated against.

Anyway, during the rebellion, in Delhi, there was a fort which contained enormous quantities of gun powder and weaponry. 8, vastly outnumbered, British soldiers defended the fort from Indian mutineers for several hours but then decided they cannot continue any longer. To prevent the vast amounts of gunpowder from falling into the hands of the mutineers, the defenders decided to set fire to the gunpowder and blow it all up. The explosion was so tremendous it could be heard from 40 miles away. The fort walls were blown away and 4 of the British soldiers were killed in the explosion, along with hundreds of mutineers. The other 4 British soldiers somehow survived and were awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award in the British Army.

See this video from 12:30 to 17:30.
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Image source looks like there really were guys who were extensively covered in plate armor who used bows. I'd expect someone with armor like this to have been a man-at-arms, if not a knight. Wow.
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