Historical Information

Greetings and Welcome
to all who visit Eclectic Knights.

The title of this site is taken from my different interests,
which are very eclectic to say the least.

The information you will find on these web pages is collected from various places and, in many cases, is backed by historical and/or current scientific facts. Some other information comes from respected philologus articles & opinions, as well as my own opinions of various matters.

In life one must: Battle On...

The history of New Zealand: a brief overview of the pre-historic, colonial and modern periods.

New Zealand's colourful history commences from the time when the Rangitata Land mass separates from the ancient super continent of Gondwana 80 million years ago, evolving over time to become modern New Zealand.

As Polynesians discover and settle New Zealand, thought to be sometime between 950 and 1130 AD, the Moriori people are settling, possibly around the same time, the Chatham Islands, or Rekohu, a small group of islands off the coast of New Zealand.

In 1642 the first of the European explorers, Abel Janszoon Tasman from Holland, sails into New Zealand waters. The first encounter between Māori and European is violent, leading to bloodshed. After partly charting the coastline, Tasman leaves New Zealand without ever having had the occasion to set foot ashore.

One hundred years pass by before the next Europeans arrive. In 1769 James Cook, British explorer, and Jean François Marie de Surville, commander of a French trading ship, both arrive by coincidence in New Zealand waters at the same time. Neither ship ever sights the other.

From the late 1790's on, whalers, traders and missionaries arrive, establishing settlements mainly along the far northern coast of New Zealand. Wars and conflicts between Māori (indigenous people of New Zealand) tribes were always constant, and weapons used until now were spears or clubs. The arrival of traders leads to a flourishing musket trade with local Māori, who rapidly foresee the advantages of overcoming enemy tribes with this deadly new weapon. The devastating period known as the inter tribal Musket Wars commences.

Rumours of French plans for the colonisation of the South Island help hasten British action to annexe, and then colonise New Zealand. A number of Māori chiefs sign a Treaty with the British on 6th February 1840, to be known as the Treaty of Waitangi. The subsequent influx of European settlers leads to the turbulent period of the New Zealand Wars, also known as the Land Wars, which last for over twenty years.

Hostilities between Māori and European commence in 1845. By 1870 the British government withdraws the last of its Imperial Troops from New Zealand, not wishing to invest any further in a costly overseas war which was likely to continue indefinitely. The Māori, although inferior in number, proves a formidable foe.

The battle of Gate Pa is possibly the battle which made the greatest impact in the history of The New Zealand Wars.

Hongi Hika, warrior chief of the Nga Puhi tribe; Te Rauparaha, also known as "The Napoleon of the South - warrior chief of the Ngati Toa tribe; Te Kooti, resistant, prophet, and founder of the Ringatu church; Michael Joseph Savage, early innovative Prime Minister are but a few, Māori and European, who have left their mark on the history of New Zealand.

New Zealand today is an independent nation within the British Commonwealth. The British Monarch, although constitutional head of state, plays no active role in the administration of New Zealand's government.

The capital city is Wellington, although the beautiful city of Auckland is the largest on the North Island.

Victory for Southern Independence

In the first major land battle of the Civil War, a large Union force under General Irvin McDowell is routed by a Confederate army under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard. Three months after the Civil War erupted at Fort Sumter, Union military command still believed that the Confederacy could be crushed quickly and with little loss of life. In July, this overconfidence led to a premature offensive into northern Virginia by General McDowell. Searching out the Confederate forces, McDowell led 34,000 troops–mostly inexperienced and poorly trained militiamen–toward the railroad junction of Manassas, located just 30 miles from Washington, D.C. Alerted to the Union advance, General Beauregard massed some 20,000 troops there and was soon joined by General Joseph Johnston, who brought some 9,000 more troops by railroad. On the morning of July 21, hearing of the proximity of the two opposing forces, hundreds of civilians–men, women, and children–turned out to watch the first major battle of the Civil War. The fighting commenced with three Union divisions crossing the Bull Run stream, and the Confederate flank was driven back to Henry House Hill. However, at this strategic location, Beauregard had fashioned a strong defensive line anchored by a brigade of Virginia infantry under General Thomas J. Jackson. Firing from a concealed slope, Jackson’s men repulsed a series of Federal charges, winning Jackson his famous nickname “Stonewall.” Meanwhile, Confederate cavalry under J.E.B. Stuart captured the Union artillery, and Beauregard ordered a counterattack on the exposed Union right flank. The rebels came charging down the hill, yelling furiously, and McDowell’s line was broken, forcing his troops in a hasty retreat across Bull Run. The retreat soon became an unorganized flight, and supplies littered the road back to Washington. Union forces endured a loss of 3,000 men killed, wounded, or missing in action while the Confederates suffered 2,000 casualties. The scale of this bloodshed horrified not only the frightened spectators at Bull Run but also the U.S. government in Washington, which was faced with an uncertain military strategy in quelling the “Southern insurrection.”

DIVISION CHRONICLE
The 370th RCT, attached to the 1st Armored Division, arrived in Naples, Italy, 1 August 1944 and entered combat on the 24th. It participated in the crossing of the Arno River, the occupation of Lucca and the pentration of the Gothic Line. Enemy resistance was negligible in its area. As Task Force 92, elements of the 92d attacked on the Ligurian coastal flank toward Massa, 5 October. By the 12th, the slight gains achieved were lost to counterattacks. On 13 October, the remainder of the Division concentrated for patrol activities. Elements of the 92d moved to the Serchio sector, 3 November 1944, and advanced in the Serchio River Valley against light resistance, but the attempt to capture Castelnuovo did not succeed. Patrol activities continued until 26 December when the enemy attacked, forcing units of the 92d to withdraw. The attack ended on 28 December. Aside from patrols and reconnaissance, units of the 92d attacked in the Serchio sector, 5-8 February 1945, but enemy counterattacks nullified Division advances. On 1 April, the 370th Regiment and the attached 442d Infantry Regiment (Nisei) attacked in the Ligurian coastal sector and drove rapidly north against light opposition. The 370th took over the Serchio sector and pursued a retreating enemy from 18 April until the collapse of enemy forces, 29 April 1945. Elements of the 92d Division entered La Spezia and Genoa on the 27th and took over selected towns along the Ligurian coast until the enemy surrendered, 2 May 1945.