Humpday History

The History of the Crimea

Humpday History

Humpday History

The history of the Crimean peninsula is fascinating and a microcosm of the conflict between Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and the near east.

The Crimean Peninsula

The Crimean Peninsula

First of all let’s take a few minutes to look at the big picture, as you can see by the map above, the Crimea dominates the Black Sea, control of the Crimea, gives you control of the Black Sea.

Here is a map of the Crimea, so you have an idea where things are…


Now on to the history…

I won’t go into the pre-history, I will start in the early Iron Age (approximately the 8th Century B.C.), most of Crimea had been settled by Scythians, with the exception of southern Crimea where the Tauri (Cimmerians) lived, possibly evicted from the rest of Crimea by the Scythians.

By the 7th Century B.C. Greeks had established colonies in Crimea, allying themselves with the Tauri, against the Scythians, by the 4th Century B.C., the Greek colonies had grown strong enough to form a Kingdom (the Kingdom of Cimmerian Bosporus), this Kingdom was eventually ruled by Pontus, regained their independence, and then became a Roman client Kingdom.  By the mid 3rd Century, Rome had abandoned the Crimea.

After the end of quasi-Roman rule, the Crimea was invaded and/or occupied by a succession of invaders including the Goths (250), the Huns (376), the Bulgars (4th thru 8th Century), and the Khazars (8th Century).

In the mid 10th Century, Sviatoslav I of Kiev conquered the eastern part of the Crimea while the southern end was part of the Byzantine Empire (Cherson Theme).  In 988, Vladimir the Great conquered what is now Sevastopol (an impressive Eastern Orthodox cathedral marks the spot of that historical event.


During the Summer of 1238, Batu Khan (grandson of Genghis Khan) devastated the Crimea and occupied the area (with the exception of some Venetian and Republic of Genoa colonial cities) until 1441.

As a side note, during the Siege of Kaffa [1346] (Feodosiya) by the Golden Horde, many historians believe that the first documented use of biological warfare, when Mongols who died of the plague were catapulted over the walls, possibly spreading the plague to Western Europe.

In 1441, Haci I Giray (another descendent of Genghis Khan) formed the Crimea Khanate from the remnants of the Golden Horde (destroyed by Tamerlane, believe it or not, another Genghis Khan descendent).  The Crimea Khanate lasted (primarily as a tributary kingdom) until 1783 when Russia annexed the entire area.  It was during the time of the Crimean Khanate that thousands of Ukrainians and Russians were captured and sold as slaves in Kaffa (numbering in the tens of thousands a year from 1450 until at least 1647.

The Crimea remained under Russian authority from 1783 until 1954, when for administrative and political pandering reasons the area was transferred from the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian SSR.

After the breakup of the USSR, Crimea remained part of the Ukraine, until the recent annexation by Russia.

I apologize for the tardiness, and for the very quick and incompleteness of this missive, although it does give one a better feel for the chaotic nature of the history of the Crimea.

Humpday History (29 Jan 14)




On this day in history…


—1845   – The Poem, “The Raven” is published by Edgar Allan Poe (in the

New York Evening Mirror)




—1856   – Queen Victoria institutes the Victoria Cross, highest military decoration

awarded for valour “in the face of the enemy” in the UK and many of the

commonwealth nations.



—1907   – Charlis Curtis (who would later go on to become Vice President)

becomes the first native American Senator.



A classic of literature was published, a more proper honoring of our heroes is instituted, and a sadly overlooked inspirational event all occurred on this day.

Humpday History (18 Dec 13)


On this day in history…


218 B.C.  —  The Battle of the Trebia, where Hannibal’s Carthaginian troops crushed a Roman army under Tiberius Sempronius Longus.  [Second Punic War].


1271  —  Kublai Khan renames his empire Yuan, marking the official start of the Yuan Dynasty in Mongolia and China


1888  —  Cliff Palace, in Mesa Verde were re-discovered by Richard Wetherill and his brother-in-law. 


1898  —  Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat sets the land speed record in Jeantaud electric car, at the blazing speed of 39.245 mph (63.159 kph).  Later on the same day de Chasseloup-Laubat beat that record with a top speed of 57.65 mph (92.78 kph), although this record would only stand a month before Camille Jenatzy would shatter it.


1932  —  In the first ever NFL playoff game, the Chicago Bears defeated the Portsmouth Spartans (now the Detroit Lions) 9-0 in Chicago Stadium on a modified 80 yard long field. 


and a political one, just for shits and giggles


2012  —  President Obama stated [in reference to ObamaCare] bluntly,

“If you like your insurance, you can keep it.  Period. 

If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.  Period.” 

This turned out to be a lie, repercussions appear to be few to none. 

1 in 3 Americans still believe the President. 

[expect more lies from our ‘leaders’.  What a prediction, eh?]

Humpday History (16 Oct 13)



Today in History….


1384 — Jadwiga is crowned King of Poland (Jadwiga was a woman, and women monarchs with real power were very rare at the time, hence why she was crowned King instead of Queen to show she held real power).

King Jadwiga of Poland

King Jadwiga of Poland


1781 — Yorktown captured by General George Washington.  (The last major battle of the Revolutionary War ends the essentially ensuring American independence.)

Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, ending siege of Yorktown.

Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, ending siege of Yorktown.

1793 — Marie Antoinette executed during French Revolution.

Queen Marie Antoinette

Queen Marie Antoinette

1859 — John Brown leads raid on Harper’s Ferry.

a modern recreation of John Brown's 'Fort'

a modern recreation of John Brown’s ‘Fort’

1946 — Execution of leading Nazi’s convicted during Nuremberg Trials.


as a note of interest, yesterday marked the 484th Anniversary of the end of the First Attempt by the Ottoman Empire to conquer Vienna.

Hero of Vienna,  Niklas Graf Salm (Nicholas, Count of Salm)

Hero of Vienna,
Niklas Graf Salm (Nicholas, Count of Salm)



Humpday History (4 Sep 13)




Here is some of the history of the nerve agent known as Sarin.

Sarin gas molecule

Sarin gas molecule

Sarin was developed in Wuppertal (Germany) by IG Farben as an improved pesticide in the late 1930s.

Allegedly, Sarin was named in honor of IG Farben’s scientists who discovered it:  Gerhard Schrader, Otto Ambros, Rudiger, and Van der Linde.  (I’m not sure how Van der Linde fits)

Nazi Germany produced somewhere between 500 kg and 10 tons of Sarin in World War 2.  Although Sarin and other nerve agents were incorporated into artillery shells, none were used against Allied forces.


Starting in the early 1950s both the NATO alliance and the Warsaw Pact started producing sarin to be used against the other in case of war.


In 1956 all sarin production in the US was ceased, although distilling existing stocks continued until 1970.


In March and April of 1988, Sarin was used by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq against both Kurdish civilians (in the city of Halabja, causing an estimated 5,000 causalities) and against Iranian troops (in the Second Battle of al Faw causing an estimated few thousand causalities)

In June 1994, the Aum Shinrikyo cult/terrorist group released sarin gas in what has become known as the Matsumoto incident (8 dead, 200 injured)

In March 1995, the Aum Shinrikyo group again released an attack with sarin, this time in the enclosed space of Tokyo’s subway system.  (13 dead, 6252 injured)


On 17 May 2004, sarin gas was used in a roadside bomb attack against US troops in Iraq.  (2 injured)


While sarin has been around roughly 80 years, its first confirmed use came only a quarter of a century ago, and although only used rarely since, it does seem that sarin’s primary capability lies in its ability to cause massive casualties, very quickly, and overwhelming most local emergency services.  Make no mistake while sarin has not been extremely fatal in the historical uses, it can be and is highly toxic.  Long-term effects from sarin exposure has not been properly studied.  While sarin does have a short shelf life, and an even shorter exposure life (time on the ground after it has been released), there are derivatives of sarin that are considered to be persistent agents, although none have been found in use in Syria to date.


For more information:  CDC — Facts About Sarin [Link]

Humpday History (28 Aug 13)

Today in History,


Dr Martin Luther King, Jr gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, this was and is the most important speech about Freedom in modern history.  If you have not had the pleasure of watching or listening to it, please do.


Humpday History (14 Aug 13)




On this day in history…..


1040 — King Duncan I is killed in battle against his cousin and rival Macbeth, who becomes King of Scotland


1848 — Oregon Territory is organized by an act of congress


1880 — Construction of the Koln Cathedral is complete, 632 years after construction began.  (It is nice, tho.)


1947 — Pakistan gains independence from Great Britain.  (chaos ensues)


1980 — Lech Walesa leads strike in Gdasnk shipyard, leading to the eventual downfall of communism in Poland.  (A brave man and inspirational leader)


A small sampling of some historical events that occurred on this day in history.

While not quite as important, but nevertheless an amusing factoid…

Today is Mila Kunis’ birthday.

So Happy Birthday Mrs. Kunis.


Humpday History (17 Jul 13)



Humpday History for 17 July 2013,

on this day in history

-1762- Catherine the Great ascends to the throne as Czarina of Russia.

-1918- Czar Nicolas I of Russia, his wife and children were murdered by Russian      communists.

-1945- Potsdam Conference opens, attended by Churchill/Attlee (UK), Stalin (USSR), and Truman (USA).

-1955- Disneyland opens.

-1975- Apollo-Soyuz spacecraft dock somewhere over Metz, France.


So a quick recap, a strong monarch ascends the Russian throne, later a weak one is murdered, then the cold war starts, a huge amusement park opens, and the cold war continues (in space), so a busy day in history.


For more history (and better) check out History Kicks Ass!  A great website with tons of fascinating material.  The past couple of days have been on jewelry from history and the pictures are amazing, so if you have some time, you should head over there and learn that History does kick ass!



Humpday History (03 Jul 13)




For this week’s a couple of quotes from history, while I generally don’t  like quotes these rather struck me as amusing and true so without further ado….


What this country needs is more unemployed politicians.

Edward Langley (I have no idea who this is)


Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

Mark Twain (Author)


The word ‘politics’ is derived from the word ‘poly’, meaning ‘many’, and the word ‘ticks’, meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’.

Larry Hardiman (I have no idea who this is either)


Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.

Sir Ernest Benn, Bt (Brit. publisher, writer & political publicist)


No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems – of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.

Thomas Sowell (Renaissance man)


and an extra one from yours truly…

I would supplicate a stone or a tree and expect results before I would expect results from a politician”



Humpday History (26 Jun 13)





Sadly, our government is a cesspool of ignorance, corruption, and general buffoonery, but history shows us that sometimes (very rarely it seems these days) something good does come from the Idiots in the Towers, one such thing is the Truman Committee.

Truman Committee, 1943

Truman Committee, 1943

Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program  (the official name of the Truman Committee, you know how Uncle Sam loves their official naming) was formed in early 1941, well into the US preparing for World War 2, the purpose of the committee was to investigate and correct issues concerning inefficiency, corruption (war profiteering), and waste.  The committee cost taxpayers $360,000 for the first 3 years, and saved taxpayers a total of $10-15,000,000,000 (yep that is billions).  (What an investment right?)

Truman on Time cover

Truman on Time cover


I would love to see a ‘Truman Committee’ on the NSA wire taps, Benghazi, Drone strikes on Americans, amongst many other things.  BTW the Committee was a bi-partisan committee, and Senator (later President Truman) was a consummate professional, never stooping to petty political games.

More information available…

LIFE – Google Books

LIFE – Google Books

US Senate History