Showing posts from August, 2022

Geography of War - The Battle of Little Bighorn

The Battle of Little Bighorn (The Great Sioux War) Date: June 25, 1876 Modern Location: Southern Montana, United States Combatants: Indian confederation, including Lakota, Dakota, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe tribes (led by Sitting Bull) vs. United States Army (led by Lieutenant Colonel George Custer) Summary: On Nov. 6, 1868, the United States concluded signed the Fort Laramie Treaty with 181 Sioux and Arapaho leaders to end Red Cloud's War, ceding the lands of the Black Hills to a group of Indian tribes that considered the land to be sacred.  Six years later, however, the US Army sent an expedition into the region under the command of George Custer to determine a location for a new fort and to survey the area's natural resources.  When the report came back that there was abundant gold in the hills, American settlers began relocating to the area in breach of the treaty's guidelines.  President Ulysses S. Grant, recognizing the obvious problem and seeking to avoid a deadly confro

Geography of War - The Battle of Creçy

The Battle of Creçy (Hundred Years' War)  Date:  August 26, 1346 Modern Location:  Northern France Combatants:  England (led by King Edward III) vs France and Bohemia (led by King Philip VI and King John the Blind) Summary:  The king of England had a compelling claim on the French throne.  When the French monarch, Charles IV, died in 1328 without any children there were several options for who should have taken his place.  His nearest male relative was his nephew, England's Edward III, whose mother Isabella was the eldest surviving daughter of France's King Philip IV.  The nobility in France had confirmed many years before that a woman could not ascend the throne, but the question was unsettled whether she could pass along a claim that she did not possess.  They eventually named Charles' cousin the rightful heir and crowned him Philip VI.  Edward initially seemed to accept the decision, and traveled to France in order to swear vows of homage so that he could maintain co

Geography of War - The Battle of Adwa

The Battle of Adwa (First Italo-Ethiopian War) Date: March 1, 1896 Modern Location: Northern Ethiopia Combatants: Ethiopia (led by Emperor Menelik II) vs. Italy (led by General Oreste Baratieri) Summary: In the late 19th century, much of the African continent had been controlled and colonized by various European powers.  Ethiopia had been influenced by the Italian occupation of Eritrea to the north, but its loosely-connected tribes remained largely autonomous under the leadership of an emperor.  In a battle for succession after the death of Emperor Yohannes IV in 1889, Italy supported a claimant named Sahle Mariam who eventually was able to build a strong enough confederation to successfully assume the title of Emperor Menelik II.  The bond between the two nations was seemingly strengthened by the signing of the Treaty of Wichale which formally recognized Italy's control over Ethiopia's neighboring coastal colony of Eritrea and provided substantial financial support for the new

Geography of War - The Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg (American Civil War) Date: July 1-3, 1863 Modern Location: South central Pennsylvania, United States Combatants: Union Army of the Potomac (led by General George G. Meade) vs. Confederate Army of Northern Virginia (led by General Robert E. Lee) Summary: Just two years into the Civil War, the vast majority of fighting had taken place in the southern states.  Confederate forces had only made a single large-scale advance onto Union soil, which had ended with a stinging defeat at Antietam in September, 1862.  After a string of successes culminating in a decisive victory at Chancellorsville, Gen. Robert E. Lee hoped to move his army into Pennsylvania to finally win a meaningful battle in the North, perhaps to stoke growing sentiment among the Union population to make peace with the Confederates and end the war that had already caused over 200,000 casualties.  The newly-appointed commander of the Union army was Gen. George G. Meade, replacing Gen. Joseph Hooker after

Geography of War - The Battle of Tours

The Battle of Tours (Islamic Invasion of Gaul) Date: October, 732 Modern Location: Western France Combatants: Umayyad Caliphate (led by Abd al-Rahman al-Ghafiqui) vs Francia and Aquitaine (led by Charles Martel) Summary: After the fall of the Roman Empire, the majority of western Europe fell into small feuding states.  By the year 700 AD, a threat from external invaders had become a legitimate concern as the Umayyad dynasty had established control of lands across northern Africa and across the Middle East, forming the second Islamic caliphate after the death of Mohammed.  In 711 AD, Umayyad forces crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into the Iberian Peninsula and began to conquer the Visigoth kingdom that controlled most of modern-day Spain and Portugal.  It took just eight years for the Umayyad caliphate to consolidate control of the peninsula, creating the Islamic state of Al-Andalus, and turn their focus towards the Franks to the north.  The invaders did not seem to take the Germanic tr