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  • Early Wales c. 600–900

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    After the Romans left Britannia in the early 5th century, Irish Gaelic tribes colonized Celtic northern Wales. The kingdom of Gwynedd was formed after northern Britons (from as far afield as Strathclyde, Scotland) reclaimed the land and drove out the Irish settlers. Several generations later the kingdom of Gwynedd briefly... More
  • German Expansion 1936–39

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    Nazi Germany’s pursuit of Lebensraum (‘living space’), began legitimately. The 1935 Saarland plebiscite had been mandated at Versailles, and the Saarlanders elected to join Germany. Hitler seemed taken with plebiscites: he held another the following year in the Rhineland, after first occupying it with his army in contravention of Versailles,... More
  • Poland 1789

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    After a weak Polish Commonwealth was partitioned by Prussia, Russia and Austria in 1772, it lost 30 per cent of its territories. Austria gained Galicia; Russia gained the northeastern border territories of Polotsk and Mohilev. The smaller northwestern territories assigned to Prussia cut Poland off from the sea, resulting in... More
  • The North German Confederation 1867

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    The North German Confederation was formed after Prussia’s victory over Austria in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. Austria was excluded from Germany, and Prussia established hegemony over a federation of 22 German states. These states had federal autonomy, but were ultimately controlled by a constitution whose head of state, the... More
  • Trouble on the Texas Border 1846

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    The term ‘Manifest destiny’ was coined on the occasion of the annexation of Texas (1845). While never official policy, President Polk certainly scented the opportunity to expand from Texas to the Pacific, at the expense of a newly independent Mexican state enfeebled by Comanche and Apache wars. The pretext was... More