The story

When did the use of “Contact!” by soldiers emerge?

When did the use of “Contact!” by soldiers emerge?

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

I was recently watching a World War One docudrama-esque show (Our World War (BBC)) and, while patrolling and fighting to control Trones Wood, some British troops unexpectedly encounter the German enemy. Instinctively, a rifleman calls "contact" as the engagement begins.

Rightly or wrongly, the use of the phrase contact took me by surprise. It's a well known phrase and part of many Immediate Action drills in modern warfare, but it didn't strike me as one that would be in use during World War I.

For example, an American Vietnam Era combat handbook states:

This immediate action drill is used, defensively, to make and quickly break undesired but unavoidable contact (including ambush), and, offensively, to decisively engage the enemy (including ambush). When used in chance contact, men nearest the enemy open fire and shout, "Contact, Front (Right, Left, or Rear)." The patrol moves swiftly into line formation and assaults.


So, my question is effectively twofold: When did the use of "Contact" begin and was the use in this context anachronistic?

According to the 1899 US Army French-English Military Technical Dictionary:

contact, m., touch, contact: (mil.) contact with the enemy

A 20 August 1898 US Army report from Puerto Rico says:

Being anxious to gain contact with the enemy, orders were given to move forward rapidly, and Lieutenant Heavey, with Company I, Eleventh Infantry, was left behind with instructions to repair the road, assist the ammunition wagons over, and to rejoin the command as quickly as possible.

There are many instances of "contact" being used for enemy contact in this document.

Well before this, the 1802 British A New and Enlarged Military Dictionary says:

I have seen, observes the Marshal, a whole volley of cool directed musquetry, occasion the loss of no more than four men ; while the troops against which it has been poured, have calmly marched up, reserved their fire till they got in contact with the enemy, and then amply revenged the deaths of their comrades by discharging their pieces, and following up with the bayonet.

From 1871 you have Helmuth von Moltke's famous quotation:

No plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force.

At least, this is the usual way in which it is translated to English. Alternative translations for the original phrase could be encounter, meeting or conjuncture.

Von Moltke was a Chief of Staff rather than a simple rifleman but the phrase was definitely in use before the twentieth century.

60 years after the war ends, two soldiers emerge from the jungle

The two old men apparently declared they were soldiers, and the story they told when they emerged from the dense jungle of a Philippine island was yesterday the talk of the nation they claimed to have fought for.

According to reports, the Japanese men, who are both in their 80s, said they had been hiding on the island of Mindanao, which is 600 miles from Manila, since before the end of the second world war.

The Kyodo news agency identified them as Yoshio Yamakawa, 87, and Tsuzuki Nakauchi, 85, and said they were former members of a division whose ranks were devastated in fierce battles with US forces towards the end of the war.

The soldiers had remained in the jungle and mountains since then, possibly unaware that the war had ended 60 years ago, and afraid that they would be court-martialled for desertion if they showed their faces again.

The revelation provoked an immediate response in Tokyo, with the prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, dispatching a team of diplomats to try to verify the stories.

Mr Koizumi told reporters that if the two were found to be Japanese soldiers, everything would be done to repatriate them if that was what they wanted.

"If they are alive, we'd like to fulfill their wishes," he said. "If this turns out to be true it will be quite a surprise. They have done really well to stay alive this long."

If yesterday's reports are true, it would be the first time a Japanese soldier has been found alive for more than 30 years.

In 1974, Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese army intelligence officer, caused a sensation when he was persuaded to come out of hiding by a former comrade on the Philippine island of Lubang.

Mr Onoda, now 83, wept uncontrollably as he agreed to lay down his rifle, unaware that Japanese forces had surrendered 29 years earlier. He returned to Japan the same year, but unable to adapt to life in his home country, emigrated to Brazil in 1975.

In 1972, Shoichi Yokoi was found on the island of Guam and returned to Japan, where he died in 1997. Like Mr Onoda, he had no idea that the war had ended.

The drama began on Thursday when a Japanese mediator for a veteran's group who was on Mindanao searching for the remains of former soldiers told the Japanese embassy in Manila that he had been contacted by the men and would be able to deliver them to the island's capital, General Santos, yesterday afternoon.

But hopes of confirming their identities were dashed when they men failed to materialise, possibly scared off by the media attention.

"There has been nothing concrete at all today nothing has happened," an embassy spokesman, Shuhei Ogawa, told the Guardian from the hotel where the Japanese delegation was waiting. With expectation mounting at home, Japanese officials on the ground said they were not ready to give up. The embassy delegation plans to stay at least until today.

"We don't know beyond that," Mr Ogawa said. "It depends on what happens. We believe someone from the social welfare ministry is due to leave Japan tomorrow but we don't know when they will get to General Santos City."

A close associate of a veterans' organisation in Japan that knows the mediator told the Guardian he was confident that the men exist.

"I understand that they produced some form of identification and wrote their names in Japanese," said Kazuhiko Terashima, whose father, Yoshihiko, is president of a group that searches for the remains of Japanese soldiers. "Then they said they wanted to return to Japan, so the mediator contacted the Japanese embassy."

Mr Terashima said he believed the men, who were dressed in civilian clothes, had fled back into the mountains because they were unsettled by the presence of so many Japanese reporters in the area.

Japan invaded the Philippines in 1941, hours after the attack on the US at Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii. It conducted a brutal occupation that killed an estimated one million Filipinos.

But the historical background barely merited a mention in media coverage in Japan, where speculation mounted that the octogenarians, if found to be genuine, would return home more than 60 years after they left as young men to fight for the emperor.

"If they come, we will ask them if they can speak Japanese and if they want to return to Japan," said Shinichi Ogawa, the Japanese consul for Davao, the main city on Mindanao.

Negotiators and former soldiers regularly travel to the Philippines to investigate reports of Japanese military stragglers living in mountain jungles, apparently unaware that the war had ended.

An estimated three million Japanese troops were stationed overseas when the wartime emperor, Hirohito, surrendered in August 1945. Unaware of their country's capitulation, some went into hiding, holding on to their weapons and ammunition for years and evading patrols of allied troops.

"We always have rumours about war veterans turning up alive in remote parts of the Philippines," Mr Ogawa said. "But this time the story seemed more credible. We had someone who promised us concrete information, a meeting on a certain day. So we took it more seriously."

When did the use of &ldquoContact!&rdquo by soldiers emerge? - History

Sam Houston had already served in the U.S. House of Representatives and as governor of Tennessee when he moved to Texas in 1832. At the time he arrived, Texas was part of Mexico and the site of rising tensions and violent disturbances between Mexican authorities and Anglo settlers from the United States. Voicing his support for a separate state of Texas, Houston emerged as a leader among the settlers. In 1835, he was chosen commander in chief of the Texas army.

The Alamo was an 18th century Franciscan Mission in San Antonio, Texas, which was the location of an important battle for Texans fighting for independence from Mexico. In 1836, a small group of Texans was defeated by Mexican General Santa Anna.

When Houston received word of the defeat at the Alamo, he was inspired to begin a month-long retreat to regroup and replenish the Texas army's strength. Remembering how badly the Texans had been defeated at the Alamo, on April 21, 1836, Houston's army won a quick battle against the Mexican forces at San Jacinto and gained independence for Texas. Soon after, Houston was elected president of the Republic of Texas. He continued to serve as senator and governor after Texas became part of the United States in 1845.

Sam Houston died in 1863 in Huntsville, Texas, where a 67-foot-tall memorial statue of him now stands. After a lifetime of service to his country, the event for which he is most well known is his role in the independence of Texas.
page 1 of 1


The belted plaid (breacan an fhéilidh) or great plaid (feileadh mòr), also known as the great kilt, is likely to have evolved over the course of the 16th century from the earlier "brat" or woollen cloak (also known as a plaid) which was worn over a tunic. This earlier cloak may have been plain in colour or in various check or tartan designs, depending on the wealth of the wearer this earlier fashion of clothing had not changed significantly from that worn by Celtic warriors in Roman times. [2]

Over the course of the 16th century, with the increasing availability of wool, the cloak had grown to such a size that it began to be gathered up and belted. The belted plaid was originally a length of thick woollen cloth made up from two loom-widths sewn together to give a total width of 54 to 60 inches (140 to 150 cm), and up to 7 yards (6.4 m) in length. This garment was gathered up into pleats and secured by a wide belt.

Plaids with belt loops were in use by the 18th century. A surviving men's belted plaid from 1822 has a belt loops sewn inside it at each pattern repeat, such that it can be unpleated entirely into a blanket, or rapidly pleated with a hidden drawstring belt (with a second belt worn outside, to flatten the pleats, as in the portrait of Lord Mungo Murray above). [3]

The upper half could be worn as a cloak draped over the left shoulder, hung down over the belt and gathered up at the front, or brought up over the shoulders or head for protection against weather. It was worn over a léine (a full-sleeved tunic stopping below the waist) and could also serve as a camping blanket.

A description from 1746 states: [4]

The garb is certainly very loose, and fits men inured to it to go through great fatigues, to make very quick marches, to bear out against the inclemency of the weather, to wade through rivers, and shelter in huts, woods, and rocks upon occasion which men dressed in the low country garb could not possibly endure.

For battle, it was customary to take off the kilt beforehand and set it aside, the Highland charge being made wearing only the léine croich or war shirt, a knee-length shirt of leather, linen, or canvas, heavily pleated and sometimes quilted as protection.

The exact age of the great kilt is still under debate. Earlier carvings or illustrations prior to the 16th century appearing to show the kilt may show the léine. The earliest written source that definitely describes the belted plaid or great kilt comes from 1594. [2] The great kilt is mostly associated with the Scottish Highlands, but was also used in poor Lowlands rural areas. Widespread use of this type of kilt continued into the 19th century, and some still wear it today (kiltmakers who still supply great kilts offer them primarily as highly formal attire – equivalent to white-tie evening wear – typically paired with a Sheriffmuir doublet and a ruffled jabot [5] ).

Sometime in the late 17th or early 18th century the small kilt (fèileadh beag, anglicised as filibeg or philabeg), using a single width of cloth worn hanging down below the belt came into use, becoming popular throughout the Highlands and northern Lowlands by 1746, although the great kilt or belted plaid continued to be worn. The small kilt is a development from the great kilt, being essentially its bottom half.

A letter written by Ivan Baillie in 1768 and published in the Edinburgh Magazine in March 1785 states that the garment people would recognize as a kilt today was invented in the 1720s by Thomas Rawlinson, a Quaker from Lancashire. After the Jacobite campaign of 1715, the government opened the Highlands to outside exploitation, and Rawlinson went into partnership with Ian MacDonnell, chief of the MacDonnells of Glengarry to manufacture charcoal from the forests near Inverness and smelt iron ore there. The belted plaid worn by the Highlanders he employed was too "cumbrous and unwieldy" for this work, so, together with the tailor of the regiment stationed at Inverness, Rawlinson produced a kilt which consisted of the lower half of the belted plaid worn as a "distinct garment with pleats already sewn". He wore it himself, as did his business partner, whose clansmen then followed suit. [6]

It has been suggested that there is evidence of Highlanders wearing only the bottom part of the belted plaid before this, possibly as early as the 1690s, [2] but Rawlinson's is the earliest documented example with sewn-in pleats, a distinctive feature of the kilt worn today.

The tailored kilt was adopted by the Highland regiments of the British Army, and the military kilt and its formalised accessories passed into civilian usage during the early 19th century and have remained popular ever since. [2]

The earliest extant example of a tailored kilt is from 1792 (currently in the possession of the Scottish Tartans Authority). [7]

2 thoughts on &ldquo Science Behind Brainwashing: WWII and Hitler &rdquo

I like WWII history and there have been many questions as to how Hitler was able to pull of a lot of the terrible things he did. At that time the propaganda the media spread across the world really played a big factor in how to sway people and still is today! Too much attention brought towards even the dumbest thing can give it power. Hitler was good at swaying people in to aligning many around his visions (even if they weren’t nice ones).

This essay let me remind of ISIS. ISIS did the same things to the children and their soldiers, brainwash the children and soldiers by education. And this is really a terrible way to control people’s mind and make them do something exactly as what they being told. ISIS uses brainwash strategy to convince the soldiers to do the suicide mission without fearless. This is a very immoral action, because ISIS told the soldiers not to treasure their lives. Also, ISIS brainwashed their soldiers to kill the innocent people and the mission is given by Allah. That’s ridiculous.


Bergdahl was born in 1986 in Sun Valley, Idaho to Robert Bergdahl, a commercial truck driver, and his wife, Jani Larson Bergdahl. He is of Norwegian and Swedish ancestry. [2] [11] [12] [13] He has an older sister, Sky Albrecht. [2] [14] [15] Both Bergdahl and his sister were home schooled by their mother in Hailey, Idaho. The family attended Sovereign Redeemer Presbyterian Church, an Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Bergdahl received a GED certificate through the College of Southern Idaho. [16] As an adult, Bergdahl studied and practiced fencing and martial arts before changing to ballet classes at the Sun Valley Ballet School in Ketchum, Idaho. [12] [17] He spent time in a Buddhist monastery between 2007 and 2008. [18]

In 2006, Bergdahl entered basic training in the United States Coast Guard but was discharged after twenty-six days for psychological reasons, receiving an "uncharacterized discharge". [3]

In 2008, Bergdahl enlisted in the United States Army and graduated from the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. [2] He was then assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska. [19]

According to a fellow soldier, Specialist Jason Fry, Bergdahl, whom Fry described as a loner but "focused and well-behaved", told him before deploying to Afghanistan: "If this deployment is lame, I'm just going to walk off into the mountains of Pakistan." [2] Instead of socializing with his comrades during Thanksgiving, he studied maps of Afghanistan. [2]

Bergdahl's unit deployed to outpost Mest-Malak in May 2009, [20] where they conducted counterinsurgency operations. Bergdahl began learning to speak Pashto and, according to Fry, "to gravitate away from his unit [spending] more time with the Afghans than he did with his platoon". Bergdahl's father described his son to military investigators as "psychologically isolated". [2]

Before capture Edit

On June 25, 2009, Bergdahl's battalion suffered its first casualty: First Lieutenant Brian Bradshaw was killed by a roadside bomb near the village of Yaya Kheyl, not far from Bergdahl's outpost. Bergdahl's father believes Bradshaw and Bergdahl had grown close at the National Training Center and that Bradshaw's death darkened Bergdahl's mood. [2]

Last e-mail to parents Edit

On June 27, 2009, Bergdahl sent an e-mail to his parents before he was captured: [2] : 4

mom, dad The future is too good to waste on lies. And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting. [. ] [Three good sergeants had been forced to move to another company] [. ] and one of the biggest shit bags is being put in charge of the team. [. ] [My battalion commander was] a conceited old fool. [. ] In the US army you are cut down for being honest . but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank . The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an american. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools. . The US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at. It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools, and bullies. The few good SGTs are getting out as soon as they can, [. ] I am sorry for everything here. These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live . We don't even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks . We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them [. ] I am sorry for everything. The horror that is america is disgusting. There are a few more boxes coming to you guys. Feel free to open them, and use them. [2] : 4

Bob Bergdahl responded to his son's final message not long after he received it:


Dear Bowe, In matters of life and death, and especially at war, it is never safe to ignore ones' conscience. Ethics demands obedience to our conscience. It is best to also have a systematic oral defense of what our conscience demands. Stand with like minded men when possible.

Dad. [2] : 4

Last communication with platoon Edit

A former senior military officer briefed on the investigation into Bergdahl's disappearance stated that on the night he went missing, Bergdahl left a note. [21] The existence of such a note was disputed by the Obama administration during a meeting with Congress on the release of Bergdahl, according to Senator Saxby Chambliss. [22]

In his sworn statement, Bergdahl denied leaving a note. Investigating officer Major General Kenneth Dahl acknowledged that there was no evidence of his leaving a note. [23]

Circumstances of Bergdahl's disappearance Edit

Bergdahl walked away from his battalion on the night of June 30, 2009, at observation post (OP) Mest near the town of Yahya Kheyl in Paktika Province. [24] Accounts of his capture differ. In a video, Bergdahl said he was captured when he fell behind on a patrol. [4] Taliban sources allege he was ambushed after becoming drunk off base U.S. military sources deny that claim, stating, "The Taliban are known for lying and what they are claiming [is] not true." [6] A Department of Defense spokesperson said, "I'm glad to see he appears unharmed, but again, this is a Taliban propaganda video. They are exploiting the soldier in violation of international law." [4] [5]

Other sources said Bergdahl walked off base after his shift [25] or that he was grabbed from a latrine. [26] [27] In 2009, the U.S. Department of Defense attributed his disappearance to "walking off his base in eastern Afghanistan with three Afghan counterparts and was believed to have been taken prisoner". [28]

General Nabi Mullakheil of the Afghan National Police said the capture occurred in Paktika Province. [4] Other sources say that he was captured by a Taliban group led by Mullah Sangeen Zadran, who moved him to Ghazni Province. [5] He was held by the Haqqani network, an insurgent group affiliated with the Taliban, probably somewhere in Pakistan. [24]

Bergdahl was a Private First Class when captured he was promoted in absentia to Specialist on June 19, 2010, and to Sergeant on June 17, 2011. [29] According to soldiers in Bergdahl's platoon, the morning when Bergdahl was discovered to be missing, his equipment was found neatly stacked, with his compass missing. [30]

A Pentagon investigation in 2010 concluded that Bergdahl walked away from his unit. [31] [32] [33] Bergdahl wrote e-mails to his parents in which he reported having become disillusioned with the war effort and bothered by the treatment of Afghans by American soldiers. He said in his e-mail he was ashamed to be American. [21]

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said: "The questions about this particular soldier's conduct are separate from our effort to recover ANY U.S. service member in enemy captivity" and that the military will investigate how Bergdahl was captured. "Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty. [. ] Our Army's leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred. In the meantime, we will continue to care for him and his family." [34] [35]

Some soldiers who had served with Bergdahl have called him a deserter. [36] [37] [38]

Nathan Bradley Bethea, a member of Bergdahl's battalion, wrote a Daily Beast article stating that there was no patrol the night that Bergdahl went missing and that Bergdahl had talked about his desire to walk to India. Bethea wrote that the brigade received an order not to discuss Bergdahl due to safety reasons, but since he had been found there was no need for further silence. [39] Cody Full, a member of Bergdahl's platoon, said, "He knowingly deserted and put thousands of people in danger because he did. We swore to an oath and we upheld ours. He did not." Full said that Bergdahl had mailed his computer and other possessions home prior to his disappearance. [40]

Contacts by Taliban Edit

On July 18, 2009, the Taliban released a video showing Bergdahl, [4] who appeared downcast and frightened. A Department of Defense statement issued the following day confirmed that Bergdahl had been declared "missing/whereabouts unknown" on July 1 and that his status had been changed to "missing/captured" on July 3. [41]

In the twenty-eight–minute video, his captors held up his dog tags to establish that the captured man was Bergdahl. [4] Bergdahl gave the date as July 14 and mentioned an attack that occurred that day. [42] [43] [44]

On December 25, 2009, five months after Bergdahl's disappearance, the media arm of the Taliban released a video of "a U.S. soldier captured in Afghanistan" entitled "One of Their People Testified". [45]

The Taliban did not name the American, but the only U.S. soldier known to be in captivity was Bergdahl. U.S. military officials had been searching for Bergdahl, but it was not publicly known whether he was being held in Afghanistan or in Pakistan. [45] On December 25, another video was released showing Bergdahl wearing sunglasses, a combat uniform, and helmet. [46] [47] [48]

He described his place of birth, deployment to Afghanistan, and subsequent capture and made several statements regarding his humane treatment by his captors, contrasting this to the abuses suffered by insurgents in prisons. He finished by stating that the United States should not be involved in Afghanistan and that its presence there was akin to the Vietnam War. [ citation needed ]

The Taliban originally demanded the release of six Taliban prisoners. After Taliban commander Awal Gul died of a heart attack at Guantanamo Bay on February 2, 2011, the demand was reduced to five Taliban prisoners. [49] [50]

On April 7, 2010, the Taliban released a third video depicting Bergdahl, pleading for the release of Afghan prisoners held at Guantanamo and Bagram. In November 2010, Bergdahl appeared briefly in a fourth video. In May 2011, Bergdahl appeared briefly in a fifth video. [51] [52]

In June 2010, Bergdahl managed to escape his captors but was recaptured after less than nine days. [53] In August 2010, it was reported that a Taliban commander named Haji Nadeem had claimed that Bergdahl was helping to train the Taliban in bomb-making and infantry tactics. [54] [55] The Pentagon dismissed the reports as Taliban propaganda. [56]

In June 2013, Bergdahl's parents received a letter from him through the Red Cross. [57]

In January 2014, the United States received another proof-of-life video dated December 14, 2013, in which Bergdahl mentioned the death of South African president Nelson Mandela, indicating the video had been filmed after December 5. [58]

In early 2014, it was suggested in some media that the United States government had attempted to secure the release of Bergdahl by paying a ransom and that the intermediary had absconded with the money. The Pentagon said no ransom was paid but that a payment had been made for intelligence that led to Bergdahl's release. [59] [60]

Search efforts Edit

After Bergdahl was confirmed as missing, the Army initiated a DUSTWUN search to find him. According to soldiers from his platoon, there was an increase in attacks against US forces in Paktika Province following his disappearance. [61] Significant resources were deployed in an effort to find Bergdahl. [30] Two Pashto-language leaflets were distributed by the U.S. military in seeking Bergdahl. [6] One showed a smiling GI shaking hands with Afghan children, with a caption that called him a guest in Afghanistan. The other showed a door being broken down and threatened that those holding Bergdahl would be hunted down. [6]

According to soldiers involved in the effort to find Bergdahl, at least six soldiers from his battalion were killed during the search. [61] [30] Retired general Michael Flynn also blamed their deaths on the search for him, [62] but the Army's investigations did not report that any of these men were on a mission to look for him. [62] National Guard Master Sgt. Mark Allen was on a mission to gather information about Bergdahl from two Afghan villages in July 2009 when his unit was ambushed by insurgents using small arms, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Allen who was shot in the head, was severely permanently disabled from the wound, leaving him unable to walk or speak. He died on October 12, 2019. [63] [64]

Officers who served in Afghanistan during that time told CNN that diverting resources to find Bergdahl delayed the closing of Combat Outpost Keating, [61] where eight American soldiers were killed on October 3, 2009 when 300 Taliban insurgents overran the base. [65]

However, a former senior military officer told The New York Times that there was no direct evidence that diversion of surveillance aircraft or troops to search for Bergdahl encouraged the Taliban attacks. "This was a dangerous region in Afghanistan in the middle of the 'fighting season'," the officer said, adding that while the search "could have created some opportunities for the enemy [it was] difficult to establish a direct cause and effect." [40]

After a review of the database of Afghan war casualties, The New York Times editorialized that "Sergeant Bergdahl's critics appear to be blaming him for every American soldier killed in Paktika Province in the four-month period that followed his disappearance." [40]

Torture in captivity Edit

According to a senior U.S. official, Bergdahl told military officials that he had been tortured, beaten, and held in a cage by his captors after he tried to escape. [66] He told medical officials that he was locked in a metal cage in total darkness for weeks at a time as punishment for trying to escape. [67]

On May 31, 2014, Bergdahl was released by his captors and recovered by Delta Force, a Special Mission Unit component of the Joint Special Operations Command in eastern Afghanistan. [68] The release was brokered with the Taliban by the American, Qatari, and Afghan governments, in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees transferred to Qatari custody for at least one year. At 10:30 a.m. (EDT) on May 31, 2014, Bergdahl was handed over by 18 Taliban members to a special operations team [69] in eastern Afghanistan, [70] near Khost on the Pakistani border, in what was described as a "peaceful handover". [71] A video of the handover was later released by the Taliban. [72]

Bergdahl was treated by U.S. military medical staff at an undisclosed base in eastern Afghanistan. He was then transferred to Bagram Airfield before being flown to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, for medical treatment. [73] On June 13, 2014, he was flown by military plane to San Antonio, Texas, where he was taken to the Brooke Army Medical Center to complete his recovery and reintegration. [74]

The Taliban detainees – known as the "Taliban Five" [75] – who were transferred from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to custody in Doha, Qatar, are Mohammad Fazl, Khairullah Khairkhwa, Abdul Haq Wasiq, Norullah Noori, and Mohammad Nabi Omari. [76] They were the Taliban army chief of staff, a Taliban deputy minister of intelligence, a former Taliban interior minister, and two other senior Taliban figures. [77]

Some Republican members of Congress have said that the prisoner swap that led to Bergdahl's release may have been illegal. [78] The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (NDAA) mandates that all prisoner transfers from Guantanamo Bay require 30 days' notice to Congress, which was not done in this case. [79] When President Barack Obama signed the bill, he released a signing statement saying that the restriction interfered with the president's executive power as commander-in-chief. [80]

The White House released a statement acknowledging that the release of the Guantanamo prisoners did not comply with the NDAA provision, but cited the president's signing statement and "unique and exigent circumstances" as justification. [81] [82] One year earlier, Jay Carney (then-spokesperson for the White House) had assured the press that the decision to free Bergdahl would be made only after consulting Congress, in accordance with said law. [83]

Release efforts Edit

For months, U.S. negotiators sought to arrange the transfer of five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp to the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. The transfer was intended as one of a series of confidence-building measures designed to open the door to political talks between the Taliban and Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government. [84] That move – at the center of U.S. strategy for ending the long, costly conflict in Afghanistan – was supposed to lead directly to Bergdahl's release. The Taliban has consistently called for the United States to release those held at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for freeing Western prisoners. But the Guantanamo transfer proposal ground to a halt when the Taliban rejected U.S. conditions designed to ensure transferred Taliban would not slip away and re-emerge as military leaders. [85] Ultimately, the Obama administration agreed to the prisoner exchange, allowing Bergdahl to be released on May 31, 2014. [86]

White House Rose Garden ceremony Edit

On May 31, 2014, President Obama appeared with Bob and Jani Bergdahl in the White House Rose Garden where he delivered a speech about the prisoner swap that resulted in the recovery of their son. [87]

Return to duty Edit

On July 13, 2014, it was reported that Bergdahl would return to duty at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. This was confirmed by Army officials on July 14, with a spokeswoman saying that "He will now return to regular duty within the command where he can contribute to the mission." [88] In 2015, he was serving as a clerk however, the "military taboo surrounding desertion is such that he had to have a security detail to guard him from possible attacks from his fellow soldiers." [89]

Debate over negotiations Edit

Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said he was "extremely troubled" and that "This fundamental shift in U.S. policy signals to terrorists around the world a greater incentive to take U.S. hostages". [90] This sentiment was repeated by Congressmen Buck McKeon and James Inhofe, who released a joint statement saying that terrorists now have a "strong incentive" to capture more soldiers. [91] Ted Poe, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, said the Bergdahl exchange appeared to violate the United States policy of not negotiating with terrorists. [92] Anderson Cooper asked White House spokesman Jay Carney if it can "still be said that the United States does not negotiate with terrorists" to which Carney replied:

It can be . because when you put on the uniform of the United States and you go and fight on behalf of your country in a foreign land at war, and you're taken captive by the enemy, the principle that we don't leave our men and women behind doesn't have an asterisk attached to it depending on who's holding you.

Cooper followed up by asking "Even if it was a group like Al Qaeda, there would be negotiations with them?" to which Carney replied:

What I'm saying is he was a prisoner in an armed conflict, and we were engaged in an effort for five years to try to recover him. As an admiral said on TV today, he said when one of your shipmates goes overboard, you go get them. You don't ask whether he jumped or he was pushed or he fell. You go get him first and then you find out. [93]

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Bergdahl was a "prisoner of war" and that "We didn't negotiate with terrorists". [94] Time magazine published an article stating that the Taliban are:

[N]ot really a 'terrorist' enemy as we commonly understand the word. The group is not on the State Department's official list of terrorist organizations and has long been a battlefield enemy in the ground war for control of Afghanistan. It is not plotting to, say, hijack American airplanes—even if it does have sympathies with people who are. Ditto the Taliban leaders released over the weekend.

Time pointed out that the United States and other countries have "negotiated with terrorists" multiple times in previous years. [95] In February 2014, CNN published an article discussing the possibility of releasing Bergdahl in exchange for the five Taliban, and concluded that "discussions about the release of Bergdahl with the Afghan Taliban are not directly with a terrorist organization per se, but instead with an insurgent group that has a terrorist wing". [96]

In August 2014, the Government Accountability Office published a report stating that the Pentagon broke the law when conducting the prisoner exchange because it failed to notify U.S. Congress in advance, as required by the law. [97] [98] [99]

National Security Advisor Susan Rice appeared on ABC News' This Week on June 1, 2014, several days after the exchange, saying Bergdahl "served the United States with honor and distinction." [100] Following the announcement that Bergdahl was formally charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, much debate regarding the administration's handling of the negotiations resumed, centered on Rice's comment and then-State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki's statement in late March 2015 that the swap was "absolutely" worth it. [101] [102] [103]

In September 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 249 to 163 (with 22 Democrats joining the Republican majority) to pass a nonbinding resolution condemning President Obama for failing to give Congress thirty days' notice before exchanging Bergdahl. [104]

On June 16, 2014, the U.S. Army said that it had begun investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding the disappearance and capture of Bergdahl in Afghanistan. [105]
On June 25, 2014, the U.S. Army stated that there is "no evidence" that Bergdahl "engaged in any misconduct" during his years in captivity. [106] The 2010 Pentagon investigation referred to above dealt with events leading up to his capture. In July 2014, Bergdahl was returned to active duty. [107]

In August 2014, it was announced that an investigation headed by Major General Kenneth Dahl would be conducted. [108] During the course of Dahl's inquiry, Bergdahl told investigators that he left his position in June 2009 to report on "misconduct in his unit" and that he had intended to return quickly. [109] During a 59-day investigation, Dahl interviewed 57 witnesses, including Bergdahl. [110] [111]

According to his lawyer, Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl told him that he "had concerns about certain conditions in the unit and things that happened in the unit and he figured that the only way to get any attention to them would be to get that information to a general officer." [109] Fidell opined that Bergdahl was actually AWOL when he was captured, rather than a deserter. [109]

In December 2014, the Army referred Bergdahl's case to a four-star general for a possible court-martial. [112] On March 25, 2015, the Army announced that Bergdahl had been charged with two counts under the Uniform Code of Military Justice: one count of "desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty" and one count of "misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place" the second more serious misbehavior charge can be charged with a life sentence. [113] [114] [115]

According to documents released by his defense team, Bergdahl was diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder following an Army Sanity Board evaluation. On July 27, 2015, a memorandum from the sanity board stated "Though Sgt. Bergdahl did have a severe mental disease or defect at the time of the alleged criminal conduct, he was able to appreciate the nature and quality and wrongfulness of this conduct." [116]

In September 2015, following earlier postponements, [117] an Article 32 hearing (similar to a preliminary hearing in the civilian system) [118] was held at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. [119] [120] [121] At the hearing, Dahl testified that he found no evidence suggesting that Bergdahl was "sympathetic to the Taliban" or intended to desert. [110] [111] Dahl also testified that Bergdahl had "idealistic and unrealistic expectations" of people, [110] [111] identifying with Ayn Rand's character of John Galt. [110] Dahl testified that he had found no evidence that any soldiers had been killed while specifically engaged in the effort to retrieve Bergdahl. [110] Dahl also testified that imprisonment would be an "inappropriate" penalty for Bergdahl. [110] [111]

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Visger presided over the hearing and made a recommendation on whether Bergdahl should be court-martialed. [119] In October 2015, Visger "recommended that the charges be referred to a special court-martial and that a punitive discharge and confinement would be inappropriate given all the circumstances." Visger's recommendation was reviewed by General Robert B. Abrams, the commander of United States Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the "convening authority" in Bergdahl's case. [122] [123]

In December 2015, Abrams rejected the recommendation and ordered that Bergdahl face a general court-martial on the two charges. [8] [124] His trial was first set for February 2017. [125] Regarding these charges, Bergdahl had sought a pardon from President Obama, [126] which was not granted. [127]

In 2016, Bergdahl's case was the focus of Season 2 of the podcast Serial. [128]

On President Donald Trump's inauguration day, Bergdahl's lawyers sought to use the president's words to end the prosecution. Specifically, Trump had denounced Bergdahl during the presidential campaign as a "dirty rotten traitor". The defense attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the desertion and endangerment charges against Bergdahl, saying it was now impossible for him to get a fair trial. They contended that the effect of President Trump's statements violates a prohibition on unlawful command influence, a legal concept in military justice. [129]

Colonel Jeffery Nance declined to dismiss the case in February 2017, then it was appealed and was denied by the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals in March. Bergdahl's defense then filed a third motion, again asking to dismiss the case over the comments from Trump. [130] Bergdahl returned to court for a pre-trial hearing on May 5, 2017, where the judge said he intended to start jury selection on October 16, 2017. [131]

However, it was announced on August 21 that Bergdahl had rejected a trial by jury and chose instead a trial by military judge Colonel Nance. [132] On October 16, 2017, Bergdahl, via his attorney, pleaded guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. [133] His sentencing hearing was slated to take place on October 23. [134]

On October 23, the military judge heard arguments to renew a motion to dismiss the court-martial, citing recent comments by President Trump on October 16. President Trump said that he couldn't comment on the case, and added, "but I think people have heard my comments in the past." Prosecutors claimed that Trump was merely trying to distance himself from his previous remarks about Bergdahl. [135] Sentencing testimony began on October 25.

On November 3, 2017, military judge Nance accepted Bergdahl's guilty plea and sentenced him to be dishonorably discharged, reduced in rank, and fined $1,000 per month from his pay for ten months, with no prison time. The fine and reduction in rank were to take effect immediately, while the discharge was stayed pending automatic appeal. [136] [137] The judge did not give his reasons for the sentence, which was later reviewed by General Abrams. As the final sentence included a punitive (dishonorable) discharge, it was reviewed by the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals. [138]

After the sentencing, President Trump tweeted "The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military." [139] In June 2018, General Abrams approved the sentence. [140]

On August 28, 2020 his sentence was approved by the appeals court. [141] A new appeal was submitted in September. [142]

As an infantryman who had engaged in combat with the enemy prior to his capture, Bergdahl was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge and a total of ten overseas service bars for the five years he spent in the combat zone in Afghanistan.

In January 2016, his military lawyer requested the Army award Bergdahl the Purple Heart and the Prisoner of War Medal on the grounds that withholding the medals might prejudice and "cast a semblance of guilt" on Bergdahl as he awaited trial. [143]

On November 3, 2017 after sentencing, his civilian attorney indicated that the defense team would still seek to have the Prisoner of War Medal issued to Bergdahl for the five years he spent in captivity. [144]


Portugal established a route to China in the early 16th century, sending ships via the southern coast of Africa and founding numerous coastal enclaves along the route. Following the discovery in 1492 by Spaniards of the New World with Italian explorer Christopher Columbus' first voyage there and the first circumnavigation of the world by Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano in 1521, expeditions led by conquistadors in the 16th century established trading routes linking Europe with all these areas. [4]

The Age of Exploration was hallmarked in 1519, shortly after Europe's discovery of the America's, when Fernando Cortés begins his expedition on the Aztecan Empire. [5] As the Spaniards, motivated by gold, slaves, fame, and Christianization, established relations and war with the Aztecs, the slow progression of conquest, erection of towns, and cultural dominance over the natives brought more Spanish troops and support to modern day Mexico. As trading route over the seas were established by the works of Columbus, Magellan, and Elcano, land support system was established as the trails of Cortés' conquest to the capital.

Human infections gained worldwide transmission vectors for the first time: from Africa and Eurasia to the Americas and vice versa. [6] [7] [8] The spread of old-world diseases, including smallpox, flu and typhus, led to the deaths of many indigenous inhabitants of the New World.

In the 16th century perhaps 240,000 Spaniards entered American ports. [9] [10] By the late 16th century gold and silver imports from America provided one-fifth of Spain's total budget. [11]

Contrary to popular belief, the conquistadors were not trained warriors, but mostly artisans seeking an opportunity to advance their wealth and fame. [12] A few also had crude firearms known as Arquebus. Their units (compañia) would often specialize in forms of combat that required long periods of training that were too costly for informal groups. Their armies were mostly composed of Spanish, as well as soldiers from other parts of Europe and Africa.

Native allied troops were largely infantry equipped with armament and armour that varied geographically. Some groups consisted of young men without military experience, Catholic clergy who helped with administrative duties, and soldiers with military training. These native forces often included African slaves and Native Americans. They not only fought in the battlefield but served as interpreters, informants, servants, teachers, physicians, and scribes. India Catalina and Malintzin were Native American women slaves who worked for the Spaniards.

Castilian law prohibited foreigners and non-Catholics from settling in the New World. However, not all conquistadors were Castilian. Many foreigners Hispanicised their names and/or converted to Catholicism to serve the Castilian Crown. For example, Ioánnis Fokás (known as Juan de Fuca) was a Castilian of Greek origin who discovered the strait that bears his name between Vancouver Island and Washington state in 1592. German-born Nikolaus Federmann, Hispanicised as Nicolás de Federmán, was a conquistador in Venezuela and Colombia. The Venetian Sebastiano Caboto was Sebastián Caboto, Georg von Speyer Hispanicised as Jorge de la Espira, Eusebio Francesco Chini Hispanicised as Eusebio Kino, Wenceslaus Linck was Wenceslao Linck, Ferdinand Konščak, was Fernando Consag, Amerigo Vespucci was Américo Vespucio, and the Portuguese Aleixo Garcia was known as Alejo García in the Castilian army.

The origin of many people in mixed expeditions was not always distinguished. Various occupations, such as sailors, fishermen, soldiers and nobles employed different languages (even from unrelated language groups), so that crew and settlers of Iberian empires recorded as Galicians from Spain were actually using Portuguese, Basque, Catalan, Italian and Languedoc languages, which were wrongly identified.

Castilian law banned Spanish women from travelling to America unless they were married and accompanied by a husband. Women who travelled thus include María de Escobar, María Estrada, Marina Vélez de Ortega, Marina de la Caballería, Francisca de Valenzuela, Catalina de Salazar. Some conquistadors married Native American women or had illegitimate children.

European young men enlisted in the army because it was one way out of poverty. Catholic priests instructed the soldiers in mathematics, writing, theology, Latin, Greek, and history, and wrote letters and official documents for them. King's army officers taught military arts. An uneducated young recruit could become a military leader, elected by their fellow professional soldiers, perhaps based on merit. Others were born into hidalgo families, and as such they were members of the Spanish nobility with some studies but without economic resources. Even some rich nobility families' members became soldiers or missionaries, but mostly not the firstborn heirs.

The two most famous conquistadors were Hernán Cortés who conquered the Aztec Empire and Francisco Pizarro who led the conquest of the Incan Empire. They were second cousins born in Extremadura, where many of the Spanish conquerors were born. Catholic religious orders that participated and supported the exploration, evangelizing and pacifying, were mostly Dominicans, Carmelites, Franciscans and Jesuits, for example Francis Xavier, Bartolomé de Las Casas, Eusebio Kino, Juan de Palafox y Mendoza or Gaspar da Cruz. In 1536, Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas went to Oaxaca to participate in a series of discussions and debates among the Bishops of the Dominican and Franciscan orders. The two orders had very different approaches to the conversion of the Indians. The Franciscans used a method of mass conversion, sometimes baptizing many thousands of Indians in a day. This method was championed by prominent Franciscans such as Toribio de Benavente.

The conquistadors took many different roles, including religious leader, harem keeper, King or Emperor, deserter and Native American warrior. Caramuru was a Portuguese settler in the Tupinambá Indians. Gonzalo Guerrero was a Mayan war leader for Nachan can, Lord of Chactemal. Gerónimo de Aguilar, who had taken holy orders in his native Spain, was captured by Mayan lords too, and later was a soldier with Hernán Cortés. Francisco Pizarro had children with more than 40 women. The chroniclers Pedro Cieza de León, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés, Diego Durán, Juan de Castellanos and friar Pedro Simón wrote about the Americas.

After Mexico fell, Hernán Cortés's enemies Bishop Fonseca, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, Diego Columbus and Francisco Garay [13] were mentioned in Cortés' fourth letter to the King in which he describes himself as the victim of a conspiracy.

The division of the booty produced bloody conflicts, such as the one between Pizarro and De Almagro. After present-day Peruvian territories fell to Spain, Francisco Pizarro dispatched El Adelantado, Diego de Almagro, before they became enemies to the Inca Empire's northern city of Quito to claim it. Their fellow conquistador Sebastián de Belalcázar, who had gone forth without Pizarro's approval, had already reached Quito. The arrival of Pedro de Alvarado from the lands known today as Mexico in search of Inca gold further complicated the situation for De Almagro and Belalcázar. De Alvarado left South America in exchange for monetary compensation from Pizarro. De Almagro was executed in 1538, by Hernando Pizarro's orders. In 1541 Lima, supporters of Diego Almagro II assassinated Francisco Pizarro. In 1546, De Belalcázar ordered the execution of Jorge Robledo, who governed a neighbouring province in yet another land-related vendetta. De Belalcázar was tried in absentia, convicted and condemned for killing Robledo and for other offenses pertaining to his involvement in the wars between armies of conquistadors. Pedro de Ursúa was killed by his subordinate Lope de Aguirre who crowned himself king while searching for El Dorado. In 1544, Lope de Aguirre and Melchor Verdugo (a converso Jew) were at the side of Peru's first viceroy Blasco Núñez Vela, who had arrived from Spain with orders to implement the New Laws and suppress the encomiendas. Gonzalo Pizarro, another brother of Francisco Pizarro, rose in revolt, killed viceroy Blasco Núñez Vela and most of his Spanish army in the battle in 1546, and Gonzalo attempted to have himself crowned king.

The Emperor commissioned bishop Pedro de la Gasca to restore the peace, naming him president of the Audiencia and providing him with unlimited authority to punish and pardon the rebels. Gasca repealed the New Laws, the issue around which the rebellion had been organized. Gasca convinced Pedro de Valdivia, explorer of Chile, Alonso de Alvarado another searcher for El Dorado, and others that if he were unsuccessful, a royal fleet of 40 ships and 15,000 men was preparing to sail from Seville in June. [ clarification needed ]

Early Portuguese period Edit

Infante Dom Henry the Navigator of Portugal, son of King João I, became the main sponsor of exploration travels. In 1415, Portugal conquered Ceuta, its first overseas colony.

Throughout the 15th century, Portuguese explorers sailed the coast of Africa, establishing trading posts for tradable commodities such as firearms, spices, silver, gold, and slaves crossing Africa and India. In 1434 the first consignment of slaves was brought to Lisbon slave trading was the most profitable branch of Portuguese commerce until the Indian subcontinent was reached. Due to the import of the slave as early as 1441, the kingdom of Portugal was able to establish a number of population of slaves throughout the Iberia due to its slave markets' dominance within Europe. Before the Age of Conquest began, the continental Europe already associated darker skin color with slave-class, attributing to the slaves of African origins. This sentiment traveled with the conquistadors when they began their explorations into the Americas. The predisposition inspired a lot of the entradas to seek slaves as part of the conquest.

Birth of the Spanish Kingdom Edit

After his father's death in 1479, Ferdinand II of Aragón married Isabella of Castile, unifying both kingdoms and creating the Kingdom of Spain. He later tried to incorporate by marriage the kingdom of Portugal. Isabella notably supported Columbus's first voyage that launched the conquistadors into action.

The Iberian Peninsula was largely divided before the hallmark of this marriage. Five independent kingdoms: Portugal in the West, Aragon and Navarre in the East, Castile in the large center, and Granada in the south, all had independent sovereignty and conflicting interests. The conflict between Christians and Muslims to control Iberia, which started from North African Muslim's successful launch of attack in 711, lasted from the years 718 to 1492. [14] Christians, fighting for control, successfully pushed the Muslims back to Granada, which was the Muslim's last control of the Iberia.

The marriage between Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabel of Castile caused joint rule of the spouses on the two kingdoms, dubbed "Catholic Kings" by Pope Alexander VI. [14] Together, the Crown Kings saw about the fall of Granada, victory over Muslim minority, and expulsion or force-conversion of Jews and non-Christians to turn Iberia into religious homogeneity.

Treaties Edit

The 1492 discovery of the New World by Spain rendered desirable a delimitation of the Spanish and Portuguese spheres of exploration. Thus dividing the world into two exploration and colonizing areas seemed appropriate. This was accomplished by the Treaty of Tordesillas (7 June 1494) which modified the delimitation authorized by Pope Alexander VI in two bulls issued on 4 May 1493. The treaty gave to Portugal all lands which might be discovered east of a meridian drawn from the Arctic Pole to the Antarctic, at a distance of 370 leagues (1,800 km) west of Cape Verde. Spain received the lands west of this line.

The known means of measuring longitude were so inexact that the line of demarcation could not in practice be determined, [15] subjecting the treaty to diverse interpretations. Both the Portuguese claim to Brazil and the Spanish claim to the Moluccas (see East Indies#History) depended on the treaty. It was particularly valuable to the Portuguese as a recognition of their new-found, [ clarification needed ] particularly when, in 1497–1499, Vasco da Gama completed the voyage to India.

Later, when Spain established a route to the Indies from the west, Portugal arranged a second treaty, the Treaty of Zaragoza.

Colonization of Mesoamerica, the Caribbean, and South America Edit

Sevilla la Nueva, established in 1509, was the first Spanish settlement on the island of Jamaica, which the Spaniards called Isla de Santiago. The capital was in an unhealthy location [16] and consequently moved around 1534 to the place they called "Villa de Santiago de la Vega", later named Spanish Town, in present-day Saint Catherine Parish. [17]

After first landing on Guanahani island in The Bahamas, Columbus found the island which he called Isla Juana, later named Cuba. [18] In 1511, the first Adelantado of Cuba, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar founded the island's first Spanish settlement at Baracoa other towns soon followed, including Havana, which was founded in 1515.

After he pacified Hispaniola, where the native Indians had revolted against the administration of governor Nicolás de Ovando, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar led the conquest of Cuba in 1511 under orders from Viceroy Diego Columbus and was appointed governor of the island. As governor he authorized expeditions to explore lands further west, including the 1517 Francisco Hernández de Córdoba expedition to Yucatán. Diego Velázquez, ordered expeditions, one led by his nephew, Juan de Grijalva, to Yucatán and the Hernán Cortés expedition of 1519. He initially backed Cortés's expedition to Mexico, but because of his personal enmity for Cortés later ordered Pánfilo de Narváez to arrest him. Grijalva was sent out with four ships and some 240 men. [19]

Hernán Cortés, led an expedition (entrada) to Mexico, which included Pedro de Alvarado, and Bernardino Vázquez de Tapia [es] . The Spanish campaign against the Aztec Empire had its final victory on 13 August 1521, when a coalition army of Spanish forces and native Tlaxcalan warriors led by Cortés and Xicotencatl the Younger captured the emperor Cuauhtemoc and Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire. The fall of Tenochtitlan marks the beginning of Spanish rule in central Mexico, and they established their capital of Mexico City on the ruins of Tenochtitlan. The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire was one of the most significant and complex events in world history.

In 1516 Juan Díaz de Solís, discovered the estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River.

In 1517 Francisco Hernández de Córdoba sailed from Cuba in search of slaves along the coast of Yucatán. [20] [21] The expedition returned to Cuba to report on the discovery of this new land.

After receiving notice from Juan de Grijalva of gold in the area of what is now Tabasco, the governor of Cuba, Diego de Velasquez, sent a larger force than had previously sailed, and appointed Cortés as Captain-General of the Armada. Cortés then applied all of his funds, mortgaged his estates and borrowed from merchants and friends to outfit his ships. Velásquez may have contributed to the effort, but the government of Spain offered no financial support. [22]

Pedro Arias Dávila, Governor of the Island La Española was descended from a converso's family. In 1519 Dávila founded Darién, then in 1524 he founded Panama City and moved his capital there laying the basis for the exploration of South America's west coast and the subsequent conquest of Peru. Dávila was a soldier in wars against Moors at Granada in Spain, and in North Africa, under Pedro Navarro intervening in the Conquest of Oran. At the age of nearly seventy years he was made commander in 1514 by Ferdinand of the largest Spanish expedition.

Dávila sent Gil González Dávila to explore northward, and Pedro de Alvarado to explore Guatemala. In 1524 he sent another expedition with Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, executed there in 1526 by Dávila, by then aged over 85. Dávila's daughters married Rodrigo de Contreras and conquistador of Florida and Mississippi, the Governor of Cuba Hernando de Soto.

Dávila made an agreement with Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro, which brought about the discovery of Peru, but withdrew in 1526 for a small compensation, having lost confidence in the outcome. In 1526 Dávila was superseded as Governor of Panama by Pedro de los Ríos, but became governor in 1527 of León in Nicaragua.

An expedition commanded by Pizarro and his brothers explored south from what is today Panama, reaching Inca territory by 1526. [23] After one more expedition in 1529, Pizarro received royal approval to conquer the region and be its viceroy. The approval read: "In July 1529 the queen of Spain signed a charter allowing Pizarro to conquer the Incas. Pizarro was named governor and captain of all conquests in New Castile." [24] The Viceroyalty of Peru was established in 1542, encompassing all Spanish holdings in South America.

Juan Díaz de Solís arrived again to the renamed Río de la Plata, literally river of the silver, after the Incan conquest. He sought a way to transport the Potosi's silver to Europe. For a long time due to the Incan silver mines, Potosí was the most important site in Colonial Spanish America, located in the current department of Potosí in Bolivia [25] and it was the location of the Spanish colonial mint. The first settlement in the way was the fort of Sancti Spiritu, established in 1527 next to the Paraná River. Buenos Aires was established in 1536, establishing the Governorate of the Río de la Plata. [26]

Africans were also conquistadors in the early Conquest campaigns in the Caribbean and Mexico. In the 1500s there were enslaved black, free black, and free black sailors on Spanish ships crossing the Atlantic and developing new routes of conquest and trade in the Americas. [27] After 1521, the wealth and credit generated by the acquisition of the Mexica Empire funded auxiliary forces of black conquistadors that could number as many as five hundred. Spaniards recognized the value of these fighters. Although they usually chose to forget black contributions in written accounts of Spanish campaigns, Spaniards occasionally admitted that African men were outstanding soldiers (because so many African men became slaves by being captured on battlefields back in Africa, they already had military experience before coming to the Americas). [ citation needed ]

One of the black conquistadors who fought against the Aztecs and survived the destruction of their empire was Juan Garrido. Born in Africa, Garrido lived as a young slave in Portugal before being sold to a Spaniard and acquiring his freedom fighting in the conquests of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and other islands. He fought as a free servant or auxiliary, participating in Spanish expeditions to other parts of Mexico (including Baja California) in the 1520s and 1530s. Granted a house plot in Mexico City, he raised a family there, working at times as a guard and town crier. He claimed to have been the first person to plant wheat in Mexico. [28]

Sebastian Toral was an African slave and one of the first black conquistadors in the New World. While a slave, he went with his Spanish owner on a campaign. He was able to earn his freedom during this service. He continued as a free conquistador with the Spaniards to fight the Mayas in Yucatán in 1540. After the conquests he settled in the city of Mérida in the newly formed colony of Yucatán with his family. In 1574, the Spanish crown ordered that all slaves and free blacks in the colony had to pay a tribute to the crown. However, Toral wrote in protest of the tax based on his services during his conquests. The Spanish king responded that Toral need not pay the tax because of his service. Toral died a veteran of three transatlantic voyages and two Conquest expeditions, a man who had successfully petitioned the great Spanish King, walked the streets of Lisbon, Seville, and Mexico City, and helped found a capital city in the Americas. [29]

Juan Valiente was born West Africa and purchased by Portuguese traders from African slavers. Around 1530 he was purchased by Alonso Valiente to be a slaved domestic servant in Puebla, Mexico. In 1533 Juan Valiente made a deal with his owner to allow him to be a conquistador for four years with the agreement that all earnings would come back to Alonso. He fought for many years in Chile and Peru. By 1540 he was a captain, horseman, and partner in Pedro de Valdivia's company in Chile. He was later awarded an estate in Santiago a city he would help Valdivia found. Both Alonso and Valiente tried to contact the other to make an agreement about Valiente's manumission and send Alonso his awarded money. They were never able to reach each other and Valiente died in 1553 in the Battle of Tucapel. [30]

Other black conquistadors include Pedro Fulupo, Juan Bardales, Antonio Pérez, and Juan Portugués. Pedro Fulupo was a black slave that fought in Costa Rica. Juan Bardales was an African slave that fought in Honduras and Panama. For his service he was granted manumission and a pension of 50 pesos. Antonio Pérez was from North Africa, and a free black. He joined the conquest in Venezuela and was made a captain. Juan Portugués fought in the conquests in Venezuela. [30]

North America colonization Edit

During the 1500s, the Spanish began to travel through and colonize North America. They were looking for gold in foreign kingdoms. By 1511 there were rumours of undiscovered lands to the northwest of Hispaniola. Juan Ponce de León equipped three ships with at least 200 men at his own expense and set out from Puerto Rico on 4 March 1513 to Florida and surrounding coastal area. Another early motive was the search for the Seven Cities of Gold, or "Cibola", rumoured to have been built by Native Americans somewhere in the desert Southwest. In 1536 Francisco de Ulloa, the first documented European to reach the Colorado River, sailed up the Gulf of California and a short distance into the river's delta. [31]

The Basques were fur trading, fishing cod and whaling in Terranova (Labrador and Newfoundland) in 1520, [32] and in Iceland by at least the early 17th century. [33] [34] They established whaling stations at the former, mainly in Red Bay, [35] and probably established some in the latter as well. In Terranova they hunted bowheads and right whales, while in Iceland [36] they appear to have only hunted the latter. The Spanish fishery in Terranova declined over conflicts between Spain and other European powers during the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

In 1524 the Portuguese Estevão Gomes, who had sailed in Ferdinand Magellan's fleet, explored Nova Scotia, sailing South through Maine, where he entered New York Harbor and the Hudson River and eventually reached Florida in August 1525. As a result of his expedition, the 1529 Diego Ribeiro world map outlined the East coast of North America almost perfectly. [ citation needed ]

In 1534 the explorer French Jacques Cartier described and mapped the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River.

The Spaniard Cabeza de Vaca was the leader of the Narváez expedition of 600 men [37] that between 1527 and 1535 explored the mainland of North America. From Tampa Bay, Florida, on 15 April 1528, they marched through Florida. Traveling mostly on foot, they crossed Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and Coahuila. After several months of fighting native inhabitants through wilderness and swamp, the party reached Apalachee Bay with 242 men. They believed they were near other Spaniards in Mexico, but there was in fact 1500 miles of coast between them. They followed the coast westward, until they reached the mouth of the Mississippi River near to Galveston Island. [ citation needed ]

Later they were enslaved for a few years by various Native American tribes of the upper Gulf Coast. They continued through Coahuila and Nueva Vizcaya then down the Gulf of California coast to what is now Sinaloa, Mexico, over a period of roughly eight years. They spent years enslaved by the Ananarivo of the Louisiana Gulf Islands. Later they were enslaved by the Hans, the Capoques and others. In 1534 they escaped into the American interior, contacting other Native American tribes along the way. Only four men, Cabeza de Vaca, Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, Alonso del Castillo Maldonado, and an enslaved Moroccan Berber named Estevanico, survived and escaped to reach Mexico City. In 1539, Estevanico was one of four men who accompanied Marcos de Niza as a guide in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola, preceding Coronado. When the others were struck ill, Estevanico continued alone, opening up what is now New Mexico and Arizona. He was killed at the Zuni village of Hawikuh in present-day New Mexico. [ citation needed ]

The viceroy of New Spain Antonio de Mendoza, for whom is named the Codex Mendoza, commissioned several expeditions to explore and establish settlements in the northern lands of New Spain in 1540–42. Francisco Vázquez de Coronado reached Quivira in central Kansas. Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo explored the western coastline of Alta California in 1542–43.

Francisco Vázquez de Coronado's 1540–1542 expedition began as a search for the fabled Cities of Gold, but after learning from natives in New Mexico of a large river to the west, he sent García López de Cárdenas to lead a small contingent to find it. With the guidance of Hopi Indians, Cárdenas and his men became the first outsiders to see the Grand Canyon. [38] However, Cárdenas was reportedly unimpressed with the canyon, assuming the width of the Colorado River at six feet (1.8 m) and estimating 300-foot-tall (91 m) rock formations to be the size of a man. After unsuccessfully attempting to descend to the river, they left the area, defeated by the difficult terrain and torrid weather. [39]

In 1540, Hernando de Alarcón and his fleet reached the mouth of the Colorado River, intending to provide additional supplies to Coronado's expedition. Alarcón may have sailed the Colorado as far upstream as the present-day California–Arizona border. However, Coronado never reached the Gulf of California, and Alarcón eventually gave up and left. Melchior Díaz reached the delta in the same year, intending to establish contact with Alarcón, but the latter was already gone by the time of Díaz's arrival. Díaz named the Colorado River Río del Tizón, while the name Colorado ("Red River") was first applied to a tributary of the Gila River.

In 1540, expeditions under Hernando de Alarcon and Melchior Diaz visited the area of Yuma and immediately saw the natural crossing of the Colorado River from Mexico to California by land as an ideal spot for a city, as the Colorado River narrows to slightly under 1000 feet wide in one small point. Later military expeditions that crossed the Colorado River at the Yuma Crossing include Juan Bautista de Anza's (1774).

The marriage between Luisa de Abrego, a free black domestic servant from Seville and Miguel Rodríguez, a white Segovian conquistador in 1565 in St. Augustine (Spanish Florida), is the first known and recorded Christian marriage anywhere in the continental United States. [40]

The Chamuscado and Rodriguez Expedition explored New Mexico in 1581–1582. They explored a part of the route visited by Coronado in New Mexico and other parts in the southwestern United States between 1540 and 1542.

The viceroy of New Spain Don Diego García Sarmiento sent another expedition in 1648 to explore, conquer and colonize the Californias.

Asia and Oceania colonization, and the Pacific exploration Edit

In 1525 Charles I of Spain ordered an expedition led by friar García Jofre de Loaísa to go to Asia by the western route to colonize the Maluku Islands (known as Spice Islands, now part of Indonesia), thus crossing first the Atlantic and then the Pacific oceans. Ruy López de Villalobos sailed to the Philippines in 1542–43. From 1546 to 1547 Francis Xavier worked in Maluku among the peoples of Ambon Island, Ternate, and Morotai, and laid the foundations for the Christian religion there.

In 1564, Miguel López de Legazpi was commissioned by the viceroy of New Spain, Luís de Velasco, to explore the Maluku Islands where Magellan and Ruy López de Villalobos had landed in 1521 and 1543, respectively. The expedition was ordered by Philip II of Spain, after whom the Philippines had earlier been named by Villalobos. El Adelantado Legazpi established settlements in the East Indies and the Pacific Islands in 1565. He was the first governor-general of the Spanish East Indies. After obtaining peace with various indigenous tribes, López de Legazpi made the Philippines the capital in 1571. [ clarification needed ]

The Spanish settled and took control of Tidore in 1603 to trade spices and counter Dutch encroachment in the archipelago of Maluku. The Spanish presence lasted until 1663, when the settlers and military were moved back to the Philippines. Part of the Ternatean population chose to leave with the Spanish, settling near Manila in what later became the municipality of Ternate.

Spanish galleons travelled across the Pacific Ocean between Acapulco in Mexico and Manila.

In 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo traversed the coast of California and named many of its features. In 1601, Sebastián Vizcaíno mapped the coastline in detail and gave new names to many features. Martín de Aguilar, lost from the expedition led by Sebastián Vizcaíno, explored the Pacific coast as far north as Coos Bay in present-day Oregon. [41]

Since the 1549 arrival to Kagoshima (Kyushu) of a group of Jesuits with St. Francis Xavier missionary and Portuguese traders, Spain was interested in Japan. In this first group of Jesuit missionaries were included Spaniards Cosme de Torres and Juan Fernandez.

In 1611, Sebastián Vizcaíno surveyed the east coast of Japan and from the year of 1611 to 1614 he was ambassador of King Felipe III in Japan returning to Acapulco in the year of 1614. [ citation needed ] In 1608, he was sent to search for two mythical islands called Rico de Oro (island of gold) and Rico de Plata (island of silver). [42]

As a seafaring people in the south-westernmost region of Europe, the Portuguese became natural leaders of exploration during the Middle Ages. Faced with the options of either accessing other European markets by sea, by exploiting its seafaring prowess, or by land, and facing the task of crossing Castile and Aragon territory, it is not surprising that goods were sent via the sea to England, Flanders, Italy and the Hanseatic league towns. [ citation needed ]

One important reason was the need for alternatives to the expensive eastern trade routes that followed the Silk Road. Those routes were dominated first by the republics of Venice and Genoa, and then by the Ottoman Empire after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The Ottomans barred European access. For decades the Spanish Netherlands ports produced more revenue than the colonies since all goods brought from Spain, Mediterranean possessions, and the colonies were sold directly there to neighbouring European countries: wheat, olive oil, wine, silver, spice, wool and silk were big businesses. [ citation needed ]

The gold brought home from Guinea stimulated the commercial energy of the Portuguese, and its European neighbours, especially Spain. Apart from their religious and scientific aspects, these voyages of discovery were highly profitable.

They had benefited from Guinea's connections with neighbouring Iberians and north African Muslim states. Due to these connections, mathematicians and experts in naval technology appeared in Portugal. Portuguese and foreign experts made several breakthroughs in the fields of mathematics, cartography and naval technology.

Under Afonso V (1443–1481), surnamed the African, the Gulf of Guinea was explored as far as Cape St Catherine (Cabo Santa Caterina), [43] [44] [45] and three expeditions in 1458, 1461 and 1471, were sent to Morocco in 1471 Arzila (Asila) and Tangier were captured from the Moors. Portuguese explored the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans before the Iberian Union period (1580–1640). Under John II (1481–1495) the fortress of São Jorge da Mina, the modern Elmina, was founded for the protection of the Guinea trade. Diogo Cão, or Can, discovered the Congo in 1482 and reached Cape Cross in 1486.

In 1483 Diogo Cão sailed up the uncharted Congo River, finding Kongo villages and becoming the first European to encounter the Kongo kingdom. [46]

On 7 May 1487, two Portuguese envoys, Pêro da Covilhã and Afonso de Paiva, were sent traveling secretly overland to gather information on a possible sea route to India, but also to inquire about Prester John. Covilhã managed to reach Ethiopia. Although well received, he was forbidden to depart. Bartolomeu Dias crossed the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, thus proving that the Indian Ocean was accessible by sea.

In 1498, Vasco da Gama reached India. In 1500, Pedro Álvares Cabral discovered Brazil, claiming it for Portugal. [47] In 1510, Afonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa in India, Ormuz in the Persian Strait, and Malacca. The Portuguese sailors sailed eastward to such places as Taiwan, Japan, and the island of Timor. Several writers have also suggested the Portuguese were the first Europeans to discover Australia and New Zealand. [48] [49] [50] [51] [52]

Álvaro Caminha, in Cape Verde islands, who received the land as a grant from the crown, established a colony with Jews forced to stay on São Tomé Island. Príncipe island was settled in 1500 under a similar arrangement. Attracting settlers proved difficult however, the Jewish settlement was a success and their descendants settled many parts of Brazil. [53]

From their peaceful settlings in secured islands along Atlantic Ocean (archipelagos and islands such as Madeira, the Azores, Cape Verde, São Tomé, Príncipe, and Annobón) they travelled to coastal enclaves trading almost every goods of African and Islander areas like spices (hemp, opium, garlic), wine, dry fish, dried meat, toasted flour, leather, fur of tropical animals and seals, whaling . but mainly ivory, black slaves, gold and hardwoods. They maintaining trade ports in Congo (M'banza), Angola, Natal (City of Cape Good Hope, in Portuguese "Cidade do Cabo da Boa Esperança"), Mozambique (Sofala), Tanzania (Kilwa Kisiwani), Kenya (Malindi) to Somalia. The Portuguese following the maritime trade routes of Muslims and Chinese traders, sailed the Indian Ocean. They were on Malabar Coast since 1498 when Vasco da Gama reached Anjadir, Kannut, Kochi and Calicut.

Da Gama in 1498 marked the beginning of Portuguese influence in Indian Ocean. In 1503 or 1504, Zanzibar became part of the Portuguese Empire when Captain Ruy Lourenço Ravasco Marques landed and demanded and received tribute from the sultan in exchange for peace. [54] : page: 99 Zanzibar remained a possession of Portugal for almost two centuries. It initially became part of the Portuguese province of Arabia and Ethiopia and was administered by a governor general. Around 1571, Zanzibar became part of the western division of the Portuguese empire and was administered from Mozambique. [55] : page: 15 It appears, however, that the Portuguese did not closely administer Zanzibar. The first English ship to visit Unguja, the Edward Bonaventure in 1591, found that there was no Portuguese fort or garrison. The extent of their occupation was a trade depot where produce was purchased and collected for shipment to Mozambique. "In other respects, the affairs of the island were managed by the local 'king,' the predecessor of the Mwinyi Mkuu of Dunga." [56] : page: 81 This hands-off approach ended when Portugal established a fort on Pemba around 1635 in response to the Sultan of Mombasa's slaughter of Portuguese residents several years earlier.

After 1500: West and East Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Edit

In west Africa Cidade de Congo de São Salvador was founded some time after the arrival of the Portuguese, in the pre-existing capital of the local dynasty ruling at that time (1483), in a city of the Luezi River valley. Portuguese were established supporting one Christian local dynasty ruling suitor.

When Afonso I of Kongo was established the Roman Catholic Church in Kongo kingdom. By 1516 Afonso I sent various of his children and nobles to Europe to study, including his son Henrique Kinu a Mvemba, who was elevated to the status of bishop in 1518. Afonso I wrote a series of letters to the kings of Portugal Manuel I and João III of Portugal concerning to the behavior of the Portuguese in his country and their role in the developing slave trade, complaining of Portuguese complicity in purchasing illegally enslaved people and the connections between Afonso's men, Portuguese mercenaries in Kongo's service and the capture and sale of slaves by Portuguese. [57]

The aggregate of Portugal's colonial holdings in India were Portuguese India. The period of European contact of Ceylon began with the arrival of Portuguese soldiers and explorers of the expedition of Lourenço de Almeida, the son of Francisco de Almeida, in 1505. [58] The Portuguese founded a fort at the port city of Colombo in 1517 and gradually extended their control over the coastal areas and inland. In a series of military conflicts, political manoeuvres and conquests, the Portuguese extended their control over the Sinhalese kingdoms, including Jaffna (1591), [59] Raigama (1593), Sitawaka (1593), and Kotte (1594,) [60] but the aim of unifying the entire island under Portuguese control failed. [61] The Portuguese, led by Pedro Lopes de Sousa, launched a full-scale military invasion of the Kingdom of Kandy in the Campaign of Danture of 1594. The invasion was a disaster for the Portuguese, with their entire army wiped out by Kandyan guerrilla warfare. [62] [63]

More envoys were sent in 1507 to Ethiopia, after Socotra was taken by the Portuguese. As a result of this mission, and facing Muslim expansion, regent queen Eleni of Ethiopia sent ambassador Mateus to king Manuel I of Portugal and to the Pope, in search of a coalition. Mateus reached Portugal via Goa, having returned with a Portuguese embassy, along with priest Francisco Álvares in 1520. Francisco Álvares book, which included the testimony of Covilhã, the Verdadeira Informação das Terras do Preste João das Indias ("A True Relation of the Lands of Prester John of the Indies") was the first direct account of Ethiopia, greatly increasing European knowledge at the time, as it was presented to the pope, published and quoted by Giovanni Battista Ramusio. [64]

In 1509, the Portuguese under Francisco de Almeida won a critical victory in the battle of Diu against a joint Mamluk and Arab fleet sent to counteract their presence in the Arabian Sea. The retreat of the Mamluks and Arabs enabled the Portuguese to implement their strategy of controlling the Indian Ocean. [65]

Afonso de Albuquerque set sail in April 1511 from Goa to Malacca with a force of 1,200 men and seventeen or eighteen ships. [66] Following his capture of the city on 24 August 1511, it became a strategic base for Portuguese expansion in the East Indies consequently the Portuguese were obliged to build a fort they named A Famosa to defend it. That same year, the Portuguese, desiring a commercial alliance, sent an ambassador, Duarte Fernandes, to the kingdom of Ayudhya, where he was well received by king Ramathibodi II. [67] In 1526, a large force of Portuguese ships under the command of Pedro Mascarenhas was sent to conquer Bintan, where Sultan Mahmud was based. Earlier expeditions by Diogo Dias and Afonso de Albuquerque had explored that part of the Indian Ocean, and discovered several islands new to Europeans. Mascarenhas served as Captain-Major of the Portuguese colony of Malacca from 1525 to 1526, and as viceroy of Goa, capital of the Portuguese possessions in Asia, from 1554 until his death in 1555. He was succeeded by Francisco Barreto, who served with the title of "governor-general". [68]

43b. The Trust Buster

Teddy Roosevelt was one American who believed a revolution was coming.

He believed Wall Street financiers and powerful trust titans to be acting foolishly. While they were eating off fancy china on mahogany tables in marble dining rooms, the masses were roughing it. There seemed to be no limit to greed. If docking wages would increase profits, it was done. If higher railroad rates put more gold in their coffers, it was done. How much was enough, Roosevelt wondered?

The Sherman Anti-Trust Act

Although he himself was a man of means, he criticized the wealthy class of Americans on two counts. First, continued exploitation of the public could result in a violent uprising that could destroy the whole system. Second, the captains of industry were arrogant enough to believe themselves superior to the elected government. Now that he was President, Roosevelt went on the attack.

The President's weapon was the Sherman Antitrust Act , passed by Congress in 1890. This law declared illegal all combinations "in restraint of trade." For the first twelve years of its existence, the Sherman Act was a paper tiger. United States courts routinely sided with business when any enforcement of the Act was attempted.

For example, the American Sugar Refining Company controlled 98 percent of the sugar industry. Despite this virtual monopoly, the Supreme Court refused to dissolve the corporation in an 1895 ruling. The only time an organization was deemed in restraint of trade was when the court ruled against a labor union

Roosevelt knew that no new legislation was necessary. When he sensed that he had a sympathetic Court, he sprung into action.

Teddy vs. J.P.

Theodore Roosevelt was not the type to initiate major changes timidly. The first trust giant to fall victim to Roosevelt's assault was none other than the most powerful industrialist in the country &mdash J. Pierpont Morgan.

This 1912 cartoon shows trusts smashing consumers with the tariff hammer in hopes of raising profits.

Morgan controlled a railroad company known as Northern Securities. In combination with railroad moguls James J. Hill and E. H. Harriman , Morgan controlled the bulk of railroad shipping across the northern United States.

Morgan was enjoying a peaceful dinner at his New York home on February 19, 1902, when his telephone rang. He was furious to learn that Roosevelt's Attorney General was bringing suit against the Northern Securities Company. Stunned, he muttered to his equally shocked dinner guests about how rude it was to file such a suit without warning.

Four days later, Morgan was at the White House with the President. Morgan bellowed that he was being treated like a common criminal. The President informed Morgan that no compromise could be reached, and the matter would be settled by the courts. Morgan inquired if his other interests were at risk, too. Roosevelt told him only the ones that had done anything wrong would be prosecuted.

The Good, the Bad, and the Bully

This was the core of Theodore Roosevelt's leadership. He boiled everything down to a case of right versus wrong and good versus bad. If a trust controlled an entire industry but provided good service at reasonable rates, it was a "good" trust to be left alone. Only the "bad" trusts that jacked up rates and exploited consumers would come under attack. Who would decide the difference between right and wrong? The occupant of the White House trusted only himself to make this decision in the interests of the people.

The American public cheered Roosevelt's new offensive. The Supreme Court, in a narrow 5 to 4 decision, agreed and dissolved the Northern Securities Company. Roosevelt said confidently that no man, no matter how powerful, was above the law. As he landed blows on other "bad" trusts, his popularity grew and grew.

George Washington’s words in this letter represent a stirring plea for help at the darkest moment of the American Revolution. As few other documents do, this letter illustrates Valley Forge as an icon of American perseverance and resolve in the face of cruel fortune and overwhelming odds.

This circular letter, sent to all the states except Georgia, depicts Washington at his most impressive. In this version of the letter, which was sent to New Hampshire on December 29, 1777, Washington makes clear his urgency, gives a shocking but compassionate description of the plight of his troops, and issues his stern but considered warnings of the consequences of failure.

After ten days encamped at Valley Forge, Washington transmitted returns to the New Hampshire legislature. Noting "how deficient, – how exceedingly short they are of the complement of men, which . . . they ought to have," the commander in chief proceeded to detail the urgent need for additional troops and supplies. Washington importuned the New Hampshire legislature to take "early and vigorous measures" to raise more men. The outcome of the war, he stressed, depended on it.

The suffering of the soldiers at Valley Forge, and Washington’s desperate attempts to rally Congress and the states to their aid, has become legend. This was the first large, prolonged winter encampment that the Continental Army endured—nine thousand men were quartered at Valley Forge for a six-month period. During that time, some two thousand American soldiers died from cold, hunger, and disease. The troops who survived emerged seasoned and disciplined, a far cry from the untrained men who had straggled into camp during the bitter December of 1777.

A full transcript is available.


Head Q rs : Valley Forge Dec 29 th : 1777

I take the liberty of transmitting you the Inclosed Return, which contains a state of the New Hampshire Regiments. By this you will discover how deficient, – how exceedingly short they are of the complement of men, which of right according to the establishment they ought to have. This information, I have thought it my duty to lay before you, that it may have that attention which it’s importance demands and in full hope, that the most early and vigorous measures will be adopted, not only to make the Regiments more respectable but compleat. The necessity and expediency of this procedure are too obvious to need Arguments. Should we have a respectable force to commence an early Campaign with, before the Enemy are reinforced, I trust we shall have an Opportunity of striking a favourable and an happy stroke But if we should be obliged to defer it, It will not be easy to describe with any degree of precision, what disagreable consequences may result from It. We may rest assured, that Britain will strain every nerve to send from Home and abroad, as early as possible, All the Troops it shall be in her power to raise or procure. Her views and schemes for subjugating these States, and bringing them under her despotic rule will be unceasing and unremitted. . . .

There is one thing more to which I would take the liberty of solliciting your most serious and constant attention to wit, the cloathing of your Troops, and the procuring of every possible supply in your power from time to time for that end. If the several States exert themselves in future in this instance, and I trust they will, I hope that the Supplies they will be able to furnish in aid of those, which Congress may immediately import themselves, will be equal and competent to every demand. If they do not, I fear—I am satisfied the Troops will never be in a situation to answer the public expectation and perform the duties required of them. No pains, no efforts on the part of the States can be too great for this purpose. It is not easy to give you a just and accurate idea of the sufferings of the Army at large—of the loss of men on this account. Were they to be minutely detailed, your feelings would be wounded, and the relation would probably be not received without a degree of doubt & discredit. We had in Camp, on the 23rd Inst by a Field Return then taken, not less than 2898 men unfit for duty, by reason of their being barefoot and otherwise naked. Besides this number, sufficiently distressing of itself, there are many Others detained in Hospitals and crowded in Farmers Houses for the same causes. . . .

The end of the war in 1865 brought a welcome peace, especially for the men who served as soldiers. Armies were disbanded and regiments mustered out of service. Former soldiers returned to the farms and stores they had left so long ago, but the memories of their service and old comrades did not disappear quite so rapidly. In the decade following the end of the Civil War, organizations of veterans of the North and South were formed. Northern veterans joined the Grand Army of the Republic and Confederate veterans enrolled in the United Confederate Veterans. For many years, G.A.R. posts and U.C.V. chapters met over reunion campfires retelling stories and recalling the friends who did not return. Many veterans wrote articles, stories, and poems for the magazines of both organizations. The G.A.R. and U.C.V. held powerful influence in political circles from 1878 through the turn of the century, but their influence faded as veterans in congress retired and passed out of politics. The last hurrah for both organizations came at Gettysburg in 1913 when 54,000 veterans attended the 1913 Anniversary celebration and Grand Reunion, and both organizations formally joined in a singular purpose of national unification and peace. America's involvement in the Great War (World War I) four years later brought hundreds of aged "Yanks" and "Johnnies" out to march together in military parades for one last time before they quickly faded into the background as the nation's attention focused on her "doughboys" serving in Europe.

Though the Civil War veterans faded away, the armies in which they once marched were forever honored by the parks they helped establish at Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, Chickamauga and Gettysburg.