Today in North African history: the Battle of Kasserine Pass (1943)

The Battle of Kasserine Pass, which took place from February 19-25, 1943, was the follow up to the Battle of Sidi Bouzid earlier that month and and engagement at nearby Faïd Pass in late January. In the first two clashes, Axis forces under the command of General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim and Field Marshal Erwin Rommel… Continue reading Today in North African history: the Battle of Kasserine Pass (1943)

Happy Presidents Day: Teddy Roosevelt and the Perdicaris Affair, 1904

President’s Day here in the US brings with it lots of anecdotes about the bygone days when the United States was not yet an imperial power and only had intermittent and sometimes eccentric interactions with the rest of the world. You’re more likely today to read about Thomas Jefferson’s war with the Barbary States or… Continue reading Happy Presidents Day: Teddy Roosevelt and the Perdicaris Affair, 1904

Today in US history: the burning of the USS Philadelphia (1804)

Stephen Decatur (d. 1820) is one of the US Navy’s first famous figures, alongside Revolutionary War captain John Paul Jones, and among the first famous American military figures in general. Technically we should call him Stephen Decatur Junior, so as not to confuse him with his father, who was also an important early American naval… Continue reading Today in US history: the burning of the USS Philadelphia (1804)

Today in North African history: the Battle of Sidi Bouzid begins (1943)

The central Tunisian city of Sidi Bouzid is best known today as the birthplace of the Arab Spring. It was in Sidi Bouzid where Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in December 2010 to protest what he believed was unfair treatment at the hands of Tunisia’s corrupt government. The repercussions of that single act of… Continue reading Today in North African history: the Battle of Sidi Bouzid begins (1943)

Today in North African history: the Green March begins (1975)

It’s hard to believe that the Spanish Empire only officially ceased to exist in 1975. I mean, when you think of the Spanish Empire, or at least when I think of it, I think of vast swathes of the Americas that were Spanish colonial domains until the successful independence movements of the early 19th century,… Continue reading Today in North African history: the Green March begins (1975)

Today in North African history: the Eighth Crusade ends (1270)

King Louis IX of France (d. 1270, which is a bit of a spoiler), who would later become St. Louis, would probably go somewhere on a list of the 10 greatest Crusaders of all time, particularly if you limit the list the canonical numbered Crusades. He’d be right up there alongside men like Godfrey of… Continue reading Today in North African history: the Eighth Crusade ends (1270)

Today in North African history: the Battle of Tangier ends (1437)

Prince Henry the Navigator (d. 1460) is one of those Portuguese guys you spend a few minutes on in high school history class in the US at the start of the Age of Discovery unit, in the rush to get to Columbus. But he’s a much more consequential figure than generally regarded. The explorations Henry… Continue reading Today in North African history: the Battle of Tangier ends (1437)