In the late 1700s, Captain Cook explored the Pacific with the first instruments for accurately marking locations.  Before that, explorers discovered islands quite by accident and could rarely ever find the same island again.  For those tiny specks range across an area larger than any continent.  So far apart, the society of each island developed differently.  A glimpse at the history of five particular islands gives an idea of that variety:





            Historians are just beginning to discover the rich history of Easter Island.  They now divide that history into three periods.  During the first period (about 400 A.D. to about 1100), people worshiped the sun.  They built huge walls, temples, and an astronomical observatory-­all precisely measured and aligned with the movements of the sun.  This sounds much like what was happening in Peru at the time.  And indeed, the Easter Islanders were a mixture of “short-eared" Polynesians and "long-eared" South Americans.


            The second period (1100 to about 1700) shows much sloppier building, Instead, people concentrated on marking their graves with more than six hundred stone statues ten to thirty-­five feet tall.  Wooden tablets with hieroglyphic writing have also survived from this period.  Some historians think the islanders copied these signs from the earlier period without understanding them.  But the amazing fact is that no one else in the Pacific or South America had any form of writing.


            Shortly before 1700, the "short-eared" people very suddenly revolted against the ruling "long-eared" people.  They drove most of them into a ditch and set fire to the place.  They tipped over all of the statues except a few which the shifting sand had buried up to the neck.  European explorers found the natives living in crude grass huts.  Until recently, people thought that the half-buried statues were only heads.





            About 1800, King Pomare II of Tahiti became Christian so the Protestant missionaries would give him guns to fight his tribal wars.  His daughter, Queen Pomare IV was such a good Protestant that when two French Catholic missionaries came sneaking into her country, she threw them out.  A French battleship came roaring back to settle the problem.  Queen Pomare appealed to England for help.  But the chiefs voted to make Tahiti a possession of France.  The French commander removed the queen from power.  England protested, and the French government eventually gave her back her title--but not her power.  Shortly after she died, her son had to give up even the title of king.  Tahiti had become a part of the French empire.


            Throughout the Pacific, England and France raced to grab up islands for their empires.  Germany, the United States, and Japan entered the race late.  Germany bought part of the crumbling Spanish empire.  The United States grabbed the rest during the Spanish-American War.


            But to Europeans and Americans, Tahiti remained the symbol of island paradise.  Famous writers such as Herman Melville and Robert Louis Stevenson spent time there.  And the painter, Paul Gauguin, lived in Tahiti for years, recording the unspoiled island life.





            The natives of Fiji were fierce and proud.  They refused to be beaten down by the British, and they refused to sell their land--though they would rent it out.  As a result, Fijian natives still own eighty percent of their nation.  They are the landlords,


            The Fijians refused to work on the sugar cane plantations built by the English.  So the English brought in thousands of Hindu and Islamic workers from India.  Today, half the population of Fiji is Indian.  The Indians worked hard.  Most of them created prosperous little farms--though they must always rent the land from the Fijians.  This land problem has caused some racial tensions.


            In 1970, Fiji became an independent nation.  Thirty years later, when a man of Indian descent became president, a few native Fijians took him prisoner.  The native chiefs then overturned the constitution which guaranteed equality for all races.





            About 1850, one tribal leader defeated all the other warring chiefs and called himself King George I of Tonga.  His son, George II, saw other islands swept up into foreign empires.  So in 1900 he suggested a treaty of partnership with England.  As a result, Tonga was the only island in the whole Pacific to keep its freedom during the colonial scramble.


            George II's daughter, Queen Salote, ruled for forty-three years.  She brought free medical care and free education to her people.  They loved their friendly queen--all six-feet-three-inches and two hundred eighty pounds of her.  She brought Tonga to world attention when, with queenly dignity, she rode her open carriage through the cold London rain at the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.  After all, she was the only person in the whole British empire who could address the new young queen as an equal.





            In 1789, the sailors on H.M.S. Bounty mutinied against the cruelty of Captain Bligh.  They set him adrift, and the tough captain traveled four thousand miles in a rowboat until he reached land.  He later became a governor in Australia, where his soldiers again mutinied against his harshness.


            Nineteen years later a ship discovered Pitcairn Island.  On it lived one old Englishmen, a few Polynesian women, and many children.  The man explained that he was the last of the Bounty mutineers, They had come to this uninhabited island bringing Polynesian men and women with them, But there were not enough women, so the men got into a fight.  Only he survived, Some descendants of the Bounty mutineers still live on Pitcairn Island--where there are only five family names.




            For centuries, the Hawaiian Islands formed four separate kingdoms.  About 1800, King Kamehameha I (kah-MAY-hah-MAY-hah) united these four into one large kingdom, and the history of the Hawaiian nation began.  It is probably not important to remember these names--just the general flavor of Hawaiian history:


KAMEHAMEHA I stood seven feet tall.  The fierce old warrior built up a well-armed navy, established conservation policies, and enforced strict laws to wipe out crime.  In his firm fairness, he had his oldest son executed for breaking the law.


KAMEHAMEHA II was a weakling and his father knew it.  So the old king had set up his favorite queen as the real power.  For the next twenty-five years, women governed Hawaii wisely.  They led the way in social reform against the old religion, Later, they led their people into Christianity.  The young king went to visit England, where he died of smallpox.


KAMEHAMEHA III was the baby brother of the last king.  He grew up to become the great lawgiver of the Hawaiian people.  In 1840, he granted a constitution patterned after that of the United States, with the king as a constitutional executive branch of the government.  When England and France both tried to seize the kingdom, the United States recognized Hawaiian independence.  As the king lay dying, he tried to save his country from becoming a colony by applying for statehood in the United States.  The papers had all the necessary signatures except for the king's nephew and heir--who hid and waited for his own chance to rule.


KAMEHAMEHA IV was a dashing young man who loved everything English.  He and his wife set the pattern for proper Victorian behavior in the Pacific.  Then he began having mental depressions and temper tantrums.  He offered to resign, but the people urged him to stay on.  He held himself responsible for his little son's accidental death, and he died brokenhearted soon after.


KAMEHAMEHA V was his fat no-nonsense brother, He threw out the constitution and ruled rather well by himself.  He worked hard and stubbornly, This bachelor king died unexpectedly, without saying who should be the next king.  So the people got a chance to vote between the democratic Lunalilo (LOO-na-LEE-lo) and the dictatorial Kalakaua (kah-LAH-KAH-oo-ah).  Kalakaua did not believe in elections, so he urged his supporters to boycott.  As a result, most of the votes cast were for Lunalilo,



LUNALILO astounded everyone by refusing to be carried to his coronation.  He walked.  And when the bass drummer collapsed, King Lunalilo joined the band and played the bass drum in his own coronation parade.  He dismissed the palace guard, and turned their quarters over to the Hawaiian National Band.  Already he was dying of tuberculosis.  But he refused to name an heir, saying the people should have a chance to vote.  He asked to be buried in a little churchyard rather than in the royal tombs.


KALAKAUA won election this time by changing it to a vote of just the legislature--and then getting the legislators drunk before they voted.  The jolly king brought his corrupt cronies into the government.  In time he became more and more dictatorial.  Finally the people rose up and forced the king to sign a constitution which took away most of his powers.  He is remembered as the first king to circle the world, visit the United States, or record his voice on a phonograph.  He also wrote the Hawaiian national anthem.


QUEEN LILIUOKALANI (lee-LEE-oo-oh-kah-LAH-nee) tried to straighten out the corruption of her brother.  She was a good woman who had done much social work and had written songs, including Aloha Oe.  But American businessmen in Hawaii did not want her to take away the special privileges they had enjoyed in the days of corruption.  They stirred up a quick revolt, and the president of Dole Pineapple Company became also the president of Hawaii.  The new leaders applied for American statehood, but President Cleveland started an investigation and called for giving the country back to Queen Liliuokalani.  Nothing happened and the statehood question dragged on for more than sixty years before being settled.




            Australia is the attic of biology.  Simpler primitive forms of life--such as the platypus, the kangaroo, the koala--have died out everywhere in the world except Australia.  There these gentle vegetarian animals have lived on without being disturbed.  (By the way, when European explorers saw their first kangaroos, they excitedly asked their native guide what that animal was called.  The puzzled native said "Kan ga roo," which means "I don't understand.")


            Just as the more primitive forms of animals died out, the earlier groups of people died out everywhere except Australia.  The closest known relatives of the black Australian aborigines were the black people who started civilization in India 4500 years ago.  But Australia had no farm animals, and was mostly desert.  So the gentle aborigines lived as wandering hunters.  Two different groups had come to Australia.  The earliest, gentlest group got pushed off Australia to the island of Tasmania.


            Tasmania offers a good case study of how European colonists treated the native people.  Tasmania is a large island almost the size of South Carolina.  England used Tasmania and the rest of Australia as a place to dump unwanted criminals.  These outlaws terrorized the wilderness.  Settlers came too.  The first settlers landed in Tasmania in 1803.  A few days later a herd of kangaroos came leaping past, with about three hundred black men, women, and children trying to catch the animals.  The white settlers panicked and shot more than fifty black people who had never seen a white person before.


            The atrocities had only begun.  Outlaws used aborigines for target practice.  Businessmen captured them for slaves.  Settlers gave them gifts of poisoned flour and poisoned liquor.  It was widely said that some white men shot aborigines to feed to their dogs.


            Finally, in desperate frustration the natives began fighting back as well as they could with wooden spears.  So in 1830, the governor organized the biggest manhunt in history.  Nearly five thousand soldiers and settlers lined up just 135 feet  (__ meters) apart in a line that stretched halfway across Tasmania.  Then they slowly walked southward, beating the bushes.  After three months, they neared the sea and began to close in on their captives.  But when they got down to the shore, not a single native was there.  Every one of them had slipped through the line--except one woman and child they had caught sleeping.  Thus the biggest manhunt in history cost about $100,000, and captured two people.


            After more attempted massacres that failed, a Methodist bricklayer offered to bring in the aborigines peacefully.  He and a native woman named Truganina (            ) talked them into surrendering.  Of the original five thousand aborigines, they found only 203 still living.  These rapidly died in captivity.  Truganina was the last to die in 1876.  She had been born the year the first white settlers arrived in Tasmania.  In her lifetime, her whole race disappeared.




            On the Australian continent, many aborigines still live.  The seven colonies of Australia united into a single nation in 1901.


            In neighboring New Zealand, the natives were Polynesian,  and fought back more successfully.  Today their numbers are increasing once again.  New Zealand became a nation in 1907.


            Yet New Zealand farmers plowed up evidence of an earlier extinction: huge eggshells and bones of giant birds nearly twice as tall as a man.  The first Polynesians had reached New Zealand around 900 A.D.  They hunted.  They cut down trees.  By 1600, half of the species on the islands had become extinct.  Even primitive people could do great damage to nature.




            For centuries, Japan copied China.  Then in the 1600s, Christian missionaries landed in Japan and began meddling in Japanese politics.  A military strongman, called the shogun, seized power and chased the Christians out.  He closed Japan to all Westerners.  For the next two-and-a-half centuries, his descendants ruled as shoguns and continued his isolation policy.


            Then in the 1850s, American battleships appeared in the harbor, with the demand that Japan open to American businessmen.  The shogun gave in.  Then England, France, and the Netherlands all demanded a part of Japanese business.  Japanese leaders saw the very real danger that Japan would become another colony in one of the Western empires.  To keep this from happening they started a crash program to make Japan as strong as any Western power.  This time they could not copy China, for the Western powers were already carving out areas for themselves along the Chinese coast.  Japan had to use Western methods, and use them fast,


            First step was to get rid of the shogun with his old­-fashioned ideas.  After some persuasion, the shogun resigned in 1867.  Once more, the emperor became the real power in Japan.  This change is called the Meiji (MAY-jee) restoration, and the new young emperor became known as the Meiji emperor.  He was an active man, and he chose talented officials.  They brought in Western  technology, and built factories.  Japanese industry boomed.  In just twenty-five years, Japan leaped from feudalism to modern industrial society--a process which had taken four hundred years in the West.  No other nation in history made such a rapid change.


            Japanese industry ran into the same problems as Western industry; they needed manpower and resources.  China had manpower going to waste, and the Dutch East Indies had plenty of resources.  Japanese leaders began wondering if they had grown strong enough yet to carve out their own little economic empire.  They saw that England was about to take Korea away from China.  Japan moved first, and took Korea in a quick war against China in 1894.  England and Russia protested so much that Japan had to let Russia share in ruling Korea.  But when the Russians wormed themselves into more and more control, Japan declared war on the Russians in 1904 and beat them.  And the Japanese gained much more during World War I: they grabbed up all of the Pacific islands which had belonged to Germany.


            The grandson of the Meiji emperor did not rule as forcefully as his grandfather and father had.  Junior army officers began making important government decisions.  When Russia and China quarreled over which should control Manchuria, the Japanese army seized the area in 1931.  The Japanese government had to go along with the army's decision.  Soon the Japanese military moved south, capturing the entire Chinese coast.  Then World War II started in Europe.  Germany defeated the Netherlands.  It looked like this might be the ideal time for Japan to take the Dutch East Indies which had belonged to the Netherlands.  But the American colony of the Philippines and the English colonies of Malaysia blocked the way.  Furthermore, the American navy patrolled these waters.


            In the frenzy of World War II, some people feared  that Japan planned to invade Australia or India or the United States.  Looking back now, it appears that Japan had limited ambitions to be carried out in a three-step plan :


1.  Knock out the American and British forces which blocked the way.

2.  Take the Dutch East Indies.

3.  Convince the Chinese people to join in an Asian empire.


Japan proceeded according to plan.  But the United States was new at the business of empire.  Older powers had grown used to losing a corner of their distant empires once in a while.  But the American people mistook an attack on the American navy as an attack on America, itself.  So the United States declared War on Japan--a war which Japan never wanted.


            The Japanese army quickly occupied most of Southeast Asia and the nearby islands of the Pacific.  It is important to remember that, except for divided China and neutral Thailand, none of those areas stood free.  They all belonged to somebody else's empire.  The Japanese succeeded with the help of the local people, who felt glad to get rid of their Western masters.  In the final losing days of the war, Japan repaid these local supporters in this way: The Japanese army pulled back so fast that the local people had time to gather up all the guns and ammunition and hide them before the American army could arrive.


            After the explosion of the first two atomic bombs, the Japanese surrendered--on condition they be allowed to keep their emperor.  (For further details on World War II, see Volume II, Chapter 49.)







            In World War II, Japan overran the colonies of four nations: the United States (Philippines), England (Malaya), Holland (Dutch East Indies), and France Indo-China).  Independence movements already flourished in all four colonies; local people welcomed the Japanese liberators.  After Japan lost the war, people in the colonies did not feel eager to have their Western masters back.  Recognizing this, the United States and England returned just long enough to turn things over officially to the local leaders.  Holland and France put up a losing fight, trying to reconquer their lost lands. (This chapter deals with the three island colonies; for the French struggle on the mainland, see Unit IV, Chapter 8.)





            Spain had taken over the Philippines back in the 1500s.  The islands became Spanish-speaking and Catholic.  But by the late 1800s, the Filipinos began agitating for independence, led by the famous writer, Jose Rizal (ho-SAY ree-SAHL)-­who was of mixed blood, mostly Chinese.  When the Spanish government executed Rizal, the Filipinos rose up in fury.  They declared their independence from Spain in 1898, and established the Philippine Republic.


            This was the year of the Spanish-American War, so the Americans and the Filipinos worked together in driving Spain out of the islands.  But at the peace conference, the United States bought the Philippines from Spain for twenty million dollars.  The Americans had entered the colony business, and had no intention of losing their investment.  The Philippine leaders felt betrayed.  They declared war on the United States, and tried to drive their new masters out of the islands.  By 1902, the American army crushed the Philippine Republic, and the United States ruled.


            During the Great Depression, American business leaders could not compete with low-priced Filipino goods.  To get Philippine products off the American market, they persuaded congress to grant independence to the islands.  The bill passed, and the islands were scheduled for gradual independence, to be completed by 1946.  World War II interrupted the schedule, but the American government decided to keep its promise, and granted the Philippines their independence on the scheduled date.


            Democracy worked for twenty years.  Then a dictator took over for the next twenty years.  He felt so confident that he sometimes scheduled elections.  One time, he had soldiers kill his opponent.  In the next election, the dead man's widow, Corazon Aquino (KOR-a-zon a-KEE-no),  decided to run.  The simple housewife won, but the dictator lied about the election results.  People hung yellow ribbons everywhere to show their disgust with the government.  Two army leaders said that Mrs. Aquino was the real president.  When the dictator tried to arrest them, Aquino called for a demonstration of "people power."  Thousands and thousands of people jammed the streets to protect the military.  Other officers refused to obey the dictator's orders, and he had to leave the country.  This was in 1986.  Three years later, Aquino's example of "people power" inspired citizens all across eastern Europe to throw out their Communist governments. (See unit 4. chapter _.)





            Indonesia has changed hands many times.  It once formed part of the civilization of India.  Then Arab traders converted the islanders to Islam.  In fact, nearly a quarter of the world's Muslims today live in Indonesia.  Portugese traders took over next.  Spain swallowed up Portugal.  When the Netherlands broke free from Spain in the 1600s, they took with them the Portugese colonies of South Africa and the East Indies.  When Napoleon took control of the Netherlands around 1800, England used that as an excuse to grab the Dutch colonies.  The English later gave the East Indies back to Holland--but kept South Africa.


            By the twentieth century, an independence movement had sprung up--led by a young dentist named Dr. Sukarno (soo-KAR-no).  The Japanese drove the Dutch out of the islands.  As soon as Japan lost the war in 1945, Sukarno declared Indonesian independence, The Dutch decided to fight--and lost.  They recognized the Republic of Indonesia in 1949.


            President Sukarno kept close ties with Communist China.  But the Indonesian Communists became over-eager, and started a revolution.  The army put down the Communists--and removed Sukarno from power.





            When the English had to pull out of the East Indies in the early 1800s, they just moved north onto the mainland and took over the eleven Muslim sultanates of Malaya.  Later, England also got control over a few areas which had formed part of the East Indies.  The largest of these island possessions was Sarawak, which has an interesting history all its own:


            Around 1840, the local ruler of the island of Borneo feared that a revolution was brewing.  So he hired James Brooke, an English mercenary soldier who specialized in fighting pirates.  Brooke put down the revolution, and the grateful leader gave him Sarawak, a stretch of land as big as England.  Brooke became the "White Rajah" of the independent nation of Sarawak--a position later held by his nephew and grand-nephew.  In 1946, the third rajah gave Sarawak to England.


            As the last big colonial power in Southeast Asia, the English decided it was time to get out.  The Chinese minority urged them to stay, because they feared the Muslim majority.  But England lumped all of its possessions into a new nation called Malaysia.  It has a strange form of government: the sultans of the various states meet each five years to elect a monarch for the nation.


            The city of Singapore--with its Chinese population--soon pulled out of the Malaysian nation.  President Sukarno of Indonesia declared war because he felt that the island areas of Malaysia rightfully should be a part of his nation.  After Sukarno fell from power, Indonesia declared peace.  All three former colonies then stood as free and stable nations.




            After World War II, a new religion sprang up in the south Pacific from Indonesia across to Fiji.  The people on these scattered islands had no contact with each other; their new religion had no leader or organizer.  Rather, a lot of isolated people began interpreting things the same way at the same time.  Thus, in modern times we have the opportunity to observe the natural way a religion develops.  This particular religion is known as the Cargo Cults.


            Actually, the first Cargo Cult appeared around 1900.  It resulted from the gifts of the Christian missionaries, who came with their warning to prepare for the end of the world when "the first shall be last and the last shall be first."  Local prophets began to preach that the world would end in three days of darkness.  White people would turn black, and black people would turn white.  Then Great Pigs would come down from heaven, bringing cargo--the white men's goods--for all those who had no cargo now.  Most people on the islands regarded these early prophets as crackpots.


            Then in World War II, the cargo actually did arrive.  Great silver birds dropped out of the heavens, bringing food, weapons, prefabricated houses, jobs, jeeps, money, prosperity.  People suddenly believed in the Cargo Cult.


            But something was wrong: the planes landed only in the white men's villages, and left cargo only for the white men.  Anyone could see that the planes came down from the heavens.  And heaven was where the ancestors had always dwelt, sending down gifts of sunshine and rain.  The ancestors of the islanders had never known the white men.  Why should they send gifts to these strangers?  Obviously, the ancestors intended this cargo for their descendants; but the white men were intercepting the gifts through their magic, and luring the planes into their traps.


            Some white leaders tried to explain that this cargo was created by the work of other white men in factories.  But anyone in the islands could see that white men did not work; they just sat at tables and drew symbols on pieces of paper.  Maybe that was their magic secret.  So islanders sat at tables drawing symbols on paper; but somehow they did not come up with the right symbols.  They noticed that the white men sometimes wrote with a vase of flowers sitting on the desk, so they tried that too.  Still no cargo.  Some white men had U.S.A. on their jackets, so they painted U.S.A. on their skins.  They tried wearing trousers and helmets.  They built runways, but the planes preferred to land on the white men's runways.  Some very brave islanders crawled under the great silver birds, trying to figure out their sex, but that didn't help.  The white men seemed to call the planes with their radio towers, so the natives built towers of branches to call the planes to their runways.  The white men built banks, and the banks filled with money; the natives built banks, but no money appeared in them.


            The islanders probably would have gotten discouraged, but they saw black American soldiers who seemed to get as much of the cargo as the white soldiers did.  When officials tried to discourage the Cargo Cults, islanders decided that the white men were just trying to keep all of the cargo for themselves.


            Two religious philosophies arose.  One group said it was necessary to adopt more white ways.  They worshiped a white god named John Frumm.  (He may have been an American soldier--John from America--who gave out gum and cigarettes.  Perhaps he went back home and worked in a factory--never knowing he was a god.)  Thomas Beatty, an American work brigade leader, is now remembered as a lesser god called Tom Navy.  The red cross of the foreign medical workers has become a religious emblem.  Some islanders asked Ruseful (Roosevelt), King of America, to come visit his bountifulness on the islands.  Years later they took up a collection to buy Lyndon Johnson.  Apparently, $2,000 was not enough.


            The other group said that the ancestors ignored their descendants because the descendants no longer paid proper respect to the ancestors.  This group revived many old tribal rituals, in hope of pleasing the angry ancestors.  They have thrown off all clothes, and once more enjoy sex in broad daylight for all to see without shame.  They must prepare themselves for the future paradise by renewing the paradise that already existed before the missionaries spoiled it.


            So the islanders wait.  They have seen the proof; the cargo does exist.  They wait for that glorious day when they shall have discovered the secret and the cargo shall be theirs.




            In the mid-1800s, all of India became a colony of England.  The colony included nearly one-fifth of the world's people.  Ninety years later, those people had won their freedom from England--mainly through the leadership of one person.  He was a little monkey-faced man named Mohandas K. Gandhi (GAHN-dee).


            He had studied law in England.  He particularly studied Thoreau's teaching of civil disobedience and Tolstoy's teaching of love and simplicity. (See Volume II, Chapters 32 and 30.)  Gandhi practiced law in South Africa, where he experimented with non-violent methods to gain rights for the Indian minority there.


            During World War I, Gandhi returned to India, and tried to organize non-violent domonstr4tions for independence.  But whenever the police attacked the crowd, the demonstrators turned violent.  Gandhi realized that he had to do much more teaching of self-discipline before people discovered the power of quiet courage in themselves.  He walked from village to village, dressed only in his loincloth, preaching simplicity, love, and truth.  He encouraged self-purification through meditation, fasting, and careful diet.  He preached love for all people--even for the outcastes or "untouchables".  Slowly he ended centuries of discrimination. (For an explanation of the caste system, see Volume I, Chapter 14.)


            He taught a reform of all society, pointing out Seven Social Sins:

                        Politics without principle

                        Wealth without work

                        Commerce without morality

                        Pleasure without conscience

                        Education without character

                        Science without humanity

                        Worship without sacrifice


            Gandhi took the spinning wheel as the symbol of his peaceful movement.  Ratter than buy high-priced cloth from the English, he encouraged people to spend an hour each day spinning their own cloth--just as their great ancestors had done.  Years later, when Gandhi had become a world-famous political leader, he still took time out for his daily spinning.


            In 1930, Gandhi led his most famous demonstration--which awakened the conscience of people all around the world.  England charged the Indians a tax for salt.  Gandhi preached that it was wrong to pay taxes to a government which did wrong.  So instead of buying salt, he led a march across India down to the sea, where the marchers made their own salt--which was illegal.  Gandhi and his followers went to jail many times.  In jail, Gandhi would go on a hunger strike.  By now, people all over the would watched anxiously.  They pressured their governments, and their governments pressured England to not let Gandhi die.  When they could not make him eat, the embarrassed British had to let him go.  Then he would lead more demonstrations, go to jail again, and refuse to eat again until he got freed.


            This was a new kind of revolution--with truth as its only weapon, And the battle-ground lay not in India or in England--but in the individual consciences of people all over the world.  And it worked.  By 1947, the British had been embarrassed enough, and they left.  India was free.


            But at the last moment, India split into Hindu and Muslim sections--each scrambling to control more territory.  (See the next chapter.)  Gandhi tried to hold his people together, preaching that love should bind them.  But people felt strong with victory.  They were in no mood for love now.  A Hindu--a member of Gandhi's own religion--shot him.  The shock of Gandhi's death brought people to their senses.  The fighting stopped.


             Gandhi's younger assistant, Nehru, led India for several years.  Later, Nehru's daughter, and then Nehru's grandson took over.  Both were assassinated.  But the real ruler in the hearts of the Indian people remains the memory of a gentle little old man whom they call "Mahatma" or "Great Spirit": Mahatma Gandhi.




            Rabindranath Tagore (rah-BEEN-drah-naht tah-GOR) was a Hindu poet from the India-Bangladesh region at the beginning of the twentieth century.  He also wrote stories, plays, and songs.  He received the Nobel Prize for literature.  In addition, he painted, and ran a school for the development of all the arts.  Tagore and Gandhi were the two most respected men in India, but Tagore refused to get bogged down in politics.  He concentrated on freedom of the spirit.  Here is one of his poems:




Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge in free;

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection:

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action--

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.




            It is a surprising fact that only a quarter of the world's Muslims live in the Arab countries.  Another quarter live scattered through Africa.  Almost a third quarter dwell in the single island nation of Indonesia.  And the fourth quarter live in Pakistan and Bangladesh.


            Until just recently, Pakistan and Bangladesh were parts of India.  But already by the year 1000, Muslim raiders had started moving into the area.  They settled mostly in the two northern corners of India. and ruled as emperors. (See Volume I, Chapter 60.)  Once the battles for control ended, Hindus and Muslims learned to live together peaceably.


            When the British came to India, they found that the Muslims of the north made good fierce soldiers.  The Khyber Rifles (northwest corner) and the Bengal Lancers (northeast corner) became crack military units--the pride of the British colonial army.  The people in these two areas prospered.  Army clerks developed into a middle class.


            When Gandhi gently drove the British out of India, many Muslims of the north had mixed feelings.  They had learned to be soldiers and administrators; but in the new government of free India, they would only be a suspected minority.  Led by a lawyer named Mohammed Ali Jinnah (JIN-nah), they campaigned for the creation of a separate Muslim nation.  Interestingly, most religious leaders spoke against separation, for they saw that the real reasons were political ambitions--not any religious feeling.


            But Jinnah won his campaign.  In 1947, England set up the two independent nations of India and Pakistan.  The  problem was that Pakistan lay in two halves--with India between them.  And the two halves had nothing in common, except religion.  West Pakistan was a sprawling land of desert and camels; East Pakistan was a crowded little area of jungle and water buffalo and elephants.  About the same number of people lived in each half.


            Right after independence, India and Pakistan went to war concerning the western border.  Both sides committed atrocities on the minorities in their own lands.  Millions of refugees fled both ways to safety across the border.  This border dispute has broken into fighting several times since.


            Jinnah and Gandhi both died in 1948.  Nehru held India together, but Pakistan split into feuding factions.  After ten years of turmoil, a military man took control as dictator.  Political leaders went to jail, but discontent still grew.  People of East Pakistan complained that they paid outrageous taxes to support West Pakistan's wars.  They also complained that all the rulers came from West Pakistan.


            Rioting drove the dictator from power.  The next dictator called for elections in 1972.  As expected, the military government lost in East Pakistan.  But to everyone's surprise they also lost in West Pakistan.  The dictator refused to let the winners take office, and arrested the East Pakistani leaders.  East Pakistan revolted and set itself up as the republic of Bangladesh.  Pakistan invaded, with American and Chinese support.  Bangladesh received aid from Russia, encouragement from most of the rest of the world, and fighting soldiers from India.  India quickly defeated Pakistan.  The people of Bangladesh demanded that their leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, be freed from prison to become their first president.  The two nations had now become three,


            Since then, Bangladesh has struggled as one of the world's poorest countries.  In Pakistan, military dictators have overthrown one elected leader after another.  India functions as the world's largest democracy.







            Nepal is the only remaining Hindu kingdom in the world.  It has an ancient history.  It was thd birthplace of the Buddha, and contributed much to the cultures of India and China.  In the 1700s. the warriors of the Gurkha tribe took over the country, leaving the king as only a figurehead.  The Gurkhas expanded Nepal by making war on their neighbors.  In 1950, King Tribhuvana (                       ) took control of the government once more.  He built roads and schools, opening ancient Nepal to the modern world.


            Tibet has been a district of China through almost all of its history.  The Buddhist high priest, called the Dalai Lama (DAH-l§ LAH-ma), has ruled local affairs since the 1500s.  When the Dalai Lama dies, officials search the land for the boy born soon after who embodies the reincarnated spirit of the old ruler.  He becomes the new Dalai Lama.  Sometimes, the search lasted for years.  When China became a republic in 1911, Tibet went its own way.  Forty years later in 1951, the new Chinese Communist government made Tibet a part of China again.  A few years after that, the Dalai Lama fled to India.


            For the past few centuries, Bhutan also chose its rulers by reincarnation.  But at the beginning of the twentieth century, no satisfactory reincarnation could be found.  So the priests elected a king.  Bhutan has remained a kingdom ever since.





            In the southeast corner of Asia, only Thailand remained free during the colonial period.  This was because King Mongkut (mong-KOOT) hired European technicians and advisors to make his nation strong.  The best-known of these Europeans was an English schoolteacher named Anna Leonowens (heroine of the book, Anna and the King of Siam, and the musical, The King and I).  Anna's fifteen-year-old pupil Chulalongkorn (choo-la-long-kawn), became king when his father suddenly died.  Chulalongkorn did away with slavery.  He brought in railroads and telegraphs.  He ruled forty-two years from 1868 to 1910.  Both of these remarkable men were scholars.  The kings of Thailand since then have developed surprising talents--especially in musical composition.





            In the 1850s, the Raja of the Indian state of Jhansi died.  His young widow, the rani, decided to rule his lands.  But the British had just begun a policy of confiscating the lands of any ruler who died without a son.  They gave the rani a pension, and took over.


            About this time, the Indian soldiers in the British army revolted.  The trouble broke out over new ammunition packages which had to be bitten open--packages waterproofed with lard from pigs and cows. (The Islamic religion prohibited eating pigs; the Hindu religion prohibited eating cows.)  The rani joined this rebellion, and became its fiercest leader.  The British surrounded her forces, but she broke through their lines in a wild horseback escape.  She gathered more supporters and suffered defeat again.  A third time she rode out to battle, clenching the reins in her teeth so she could swing her sword with both hands.  She died in the saddle.


            The rani of Jhansi became a symbol of Indian independence and female courage.  Much of Gandhi's support came from women who drew their inspiration from the memory of the rani of Jhansi





            In the early 1970s, scientists in the Philippines discovered the Tasaday (TAHS-a-day) tribe.  They lived in caves deep in the jungle.  They wore a few leaves.  They made stone tools.  But the most amazing thing was their gentleness.  No one got angry or spoke loudly.  They hugged each other a lot.  Had cavemen survived?  Had these wonderful people never been corrupted by civilization and all of its wars?

          But one thing was wrong:  The Tasaday did not have thousands of years of knowledge about jungle plants--especially those that could be used for medicine.  One reporter declared that the whole thing was a hoax--that the Tasaday had just left nearby villages to pose for cameras in the caves.  Yet they have not adjusted well to modern life, and some have cracked under the strain.  After years of debate, scientists finally concluded that the ancestors of the Tasaday had gone to the jungle only about 150 years before.  They had gradually lost contact with the outside world, and created a better society for themselves.

For fuller details and primary sources, click  (It is slow loading, and treats the Tasaday as a hoax, but has lots of good information and some pictures.)


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