Photo by Udayaditya Barua on Unsplash

Canada is grappling with a history of genocide and reconciliation.

Like many countries around the world, Canada has a mixed history, filled with many successes and failures. One of the failures has been the national tragedy of the residential schools.

From about 1880 to 1996 large numbers of indigenous children living in Canada were forced to attend state funded schools run by the Catholic Church. It’s estimated up to 150,000 children and youth went through these schools. The goal of the program was the assimilation of Canada’s First Nations people into the dominant European culture.

Recently 1,000 unmarked graves were…

Photo by Marco Mons on Unsplash

On June 25th, 2021, the American Office of the Director of National Intelligence quietly released a nine page report on unidentified aerial phenomena (uap), more commonly known as unidentified flying objects (ufo).

The report was inconclusive. In essence, out of 144 recent ufo cases looked at, 143 could not be identified or explained. There have been thousands of unexplained ufo sightings just in the last 75 years. Historically, two of the first and possibly most famous modern sightings took place in 1947.

Photo by Zach Dyson on Unsplash

Most people are aware of the influence of the Roman Empire. Ancient Rome was known for its aqueducts, roads, and legal codes. However, long before the ascendancy of the Empire, Rome created a functioning republican system.

The Early Years

The early rulers of Rome were Etruscan kings. However, in 509 B.C.E. the last king was deposed and Rome declared itself a republic. There was no formal written constitution that established the new government. Rather, systems were formed which evolved and changed over time.

Although there were elements of democracy, the Roman Republic was much different than any modern state. Within…

Photo by Vincent Guth on Unsplash

The Qing Dynasty lasted from 1644 to 1912

A Golden Age

Early in the 17th century, an attack on China occurred from the north. Forces from Manchuria, called Manchus, defeated armies of the weakened Ming Dynasty and occupied northern China. The invasion continued until the surrender of the Ming Dynasty in 1644. In stark contrast to previous imperial regimes, the rulers of the Qing Dynasty of China were the Manchu people, and not the majority Han population.

Photo by Ansgar Scheffold on Unsplash

A noble political experiment attempted at a time of little stability

The Weimar Republic was the government of Germany from the end of World War One until the election of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis. It held hope and promise for a new era of democracy and stability. Yet from the start, Weimar was besieged by extremism from both the left and the right, as well as a deep financial crisis.

Early Years

Photo by William on Unsplash

Not the most well-known conflict in the United States or Britain, for Canada, the War of 1812 was a crucial event in its history on the road to becoming an independent nation

Barely thirty years after the American Revolution in the British American colonies, tensions between Britain and the United States remained high. Many Americans, still loyal to Britain, had fled to Canada after the Revolution and remained wary of their neighbors to the south.

A rapidly growing U.S. population was looking to expand westward from the original Thirteen Colonies. This put American interests in direct conflict with numerous native First Nations tribes living near the new republic.

In Europe, a bitter war was raging between Napoleon’s France against several countries, including Great Britain. As both Britain and France attempted to blockade…

Mystery of the Doomed Franklin Expedition

Photo by Museums Victoria on Unsplash

May, 1845. Two ships numbering over 100 sailors departed west from the United Kingdom, aboard the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror. Their destination, the frozen waters of the Arctic Ocean in northern Canada. Their mission was to cross the Northwest Passage through the Arctic corridor, finding a clear pathway between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The leader of this dangerous expedition was Sir John Franklin. At 60 years old, this was Franklin’s fourth Arctic expedition. On one of his previous expeditions, Franklin had come close to starving to death. Yet, Franklin was considered…

Photo by Jack Gisel on Unsplash

Some call the Spanish Civil War a prelude to World War Two. It was a brutal conflict, lasting from 1936 to 1939. The opposing sides in the conflict were bitter rivals, divided even amongst themselves at times.

The causes of the war were varied and can be traced back decades. Spain was a weak country at the end of the nineteenth century. Having already lost most imperial possessions, the Spanish-American war of 1898 was another humiliating defeat.

In 1923, a bloodless coup saw the disenfranchisement of King Alfonso XIII, who was replaced by the military dictatorship of General Primo de…

The Divisive Election of 1800

Photo by David Tato on Unsplash

Although some recent elections have been close and controversial, you can go all the way back to the 1800 American presidential election to see the story of a divided electorate and an incredibly close vote.

The two parties at the time were the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. The rival parties had many ideological differences.

The Federalists wanted a stronger centralized federal authority over the nation and over popular opinion, while the Democratic-Republicans believed in popular rule and greater states rights.

The opponents for president were the Federalist incumbent John Adams and the Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson…

Photo by Boston Public Library on Unsplash

The Iroquois Confederacy was an alliance of first five and then six First Nations in what is now the American northeast and southern Canada. Also known as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (meaning “people of the long house”), the nations included Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and then Tuscarora.

Living there for many centuries, Iroquois culture and society was active by 1000 CE. The Confederacy has been dated back to as early as between 1570 and 1600. At it’s height, the society had a population of up to 12,000.

According to legend, the various tribes were constantly at war with each other…

Mark Shiffer

Mark Shiffer is a freelance writer. With a degree in History, Mark enjoys writing about many topics in history and putting them into context.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store