OUR EUROPEAN HERITAGE
Our family trace their roots back to the European continent. It wasn't until 1967, when Denis Graham, the author of this work, married Chie Abe, that the ancient Japanese heritage was first introduced into the family.
Until 10,000 B.C. Europe was dominated by the last ice age. As the great ice fields receded, civilizations began to form, as we understand them. Modern man came to Europe perhaps as long ago as 100,000 B.C. These Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) people were hunters and gathers, and lived in caves and other natural shelters. The Neolithic era (New Stone Age) began at the end of the last ice age, and the climate approached that of the present. The Neolithic people were able to begin agricultural economies to supplement and eventually replace hunting. Between 6,000 and 4,000 B.C. man discovered copper, gold, tin, and other metals. Tools could be made which were stronger and made tasks easier. Towns and cities grew out of villages as life became less of a struggle.
During the 3rd millennium B.C. Indo-Euopeans, from north of the Black Sea, spread into south-eastern Europe, introducing horses and their language to the region. In this area was born the Minoan and Greek cultures. With the coming of the Iron Age came the Celts, Slavs and Germanic peoples of central Europe.
The ancestors of our clan are predominantly of Celtic and Germanic origin.
The Celts, or Kelts, were really a variety of people, most of which had the common heritage of ancient Israel. During the Iron Age, Israelite seafarers traveled through the Mediterranean and settled in France, Spain, Ireland and even into the Scandinavian countries. Spain became known as Iberia, which is derived from the name Hebrew, which, itself, comes from Eber, an early patriarch of the Hebrew people. Gaul, which is what early France was known by, comes from Galatia, an early colony of Israel where their language became known as Gaelic, and, in fact, the Celtic language as a whole was known as Gaelic. Gaelic is still spoken in parts of today's Ireland and Scotland.
Denmark, the land of Dan, also comes from the ancient Israelite seafarers. Dan was one of the tribes of Israel. And, the northern portion of Denmark, still known today as Jutland, actually means "land of the Jews."
A later influx of Celts came into Europe from the east. These, too, were from the house of Israel. Decades after they were taken into captivity into Assyria and still long before the birth of Christ, these people began to migrate into southern Russia and Turkey and later entered Europe along the Danube river valley, occupying central Europe.
During the millennium before the birth of Christ, these Celts came to be the predominate peoples of central and western Europe. They established trade routes with the Etruscans, Greeks and Italians, which brought them into contact with the Romans, who called their lands Celtica.
The Celts lived in fortified villages, with a tribal organization that became increasingly hierarchical as wealth was acquired. Priests, nobles, craftsmen, and peasants were clearly distinguished, and the powers of the chief became king-like. The Celts believed in a demonic universe and relied on the ministry of the Druids.
Because of over population, the Celts began pushing south and east. As they roamed
they struck terror into Europe; their very appearance generated fearsome legend:
The Celts were highly mobile and fast. They respected nothing in their path. In 390 B.C. Celtic tribes sacked Rome, entered the Senate and pulled the Senator's beards.
The Celtic language was called Gaelic, from which Gaul (France) and Galacia (Turkey) derived their names.
The whole race was madly fond of war, high spirited and quick to battle, but otherwise straight-forward and not of evil character. They were fond of gold and often wove strands into their clothing.
The Celts, never organized into a nation, were always a series of tribes scattered throughout Celtica. They tried to unite when Julius Caesar invaded Gaul, but it was to late. They were defeated by Caesar in campaigns between 60 and 56 B.C.
After their defeat the Celtic tribes were on the decline, even though other Celts persisted, in mainland pockets, on the isles to the west of Europe, and in Scandinavia, the Roman conquest of Gaul heralded the beginning of the end of major Celtic European distinction. They would, however, exist and flourish under other names.
The religion of the Celts was Druidism. The druids constituted a priestly upper class in command of a highly ritualistic religion, which apparently centered on the worship of a pantheon of nature deities. Druids were also responsible for the education of the young and generally the intellectual life of the community. The druids believed in immortality of the soul and, apparently, its departure at death into another, not earthly, body. Their religious ceremonies were conducted primarily in tree groves (the oak and the mistletoe that grows on oaks were held sacred) and at river sources and beside lakes. The druids performed animal, and sometimes human, sacrifices and practiced divination and other forms of magic.
THE BRITISH ISLES
Of our known Celtic European ancestors, most came from the British Isles of England, Scotland and Ireland. It is this British heritage with which we are most clearly associated.
The English people are of mixed origin. The ancient Britons were absorbed by the waves of invading Celts, Romans, Jutes, Danes, Saxons, and Normans. The mingling of these and other groups through the many centuries gradually produced the English people, culture and language.
England's first known inhabitants were cave dwellers who hunted and fished and lived under Stone Age conditions until after the year 2000 B.C. They were a blend of various peoples who came from the continent of Europe before glaciers separated the British Isles from the continent.
Early Israelite (Celtic) tribes came to England from Europe circa 1000 B.C. to 800 B.C. They knew how to make bronze and iron weapons and soon became dominant. They came to be known as Brythons, a corruption of the Hebrew terms "berith," meaning covenant, and "ish," meaning man. It was these Brythons after whom the Romans called the area Britain.
Julius Caesar landed in Britain in 55 B.C. with an army and returned with a larger one the next year. He defeated the Celts, but soon left. Romans did not return for nearly a century. In 43 A.D. Roman soldiers under Emperor Cladius landed in Britain and began what was to be a long occupation. It ended in 407, when the legions were recalled to defend Rome from the Visigoths. Despite more than 300 years of domination, few traces of Roman civilization remained in Britain, except for the fine Roman roads and the ruins of Roman cities.
Even before the Romans withdrew, Angles, Saxons (sons of Issac), and Jutes--Germanic Celtic tribes from north Germany and Denmark--had begun raiding the island. There were also invasions of Britain by the Picts from northwest Scotland and by the Scots from Ireland and west Scotland.
The Britains tried to force back the new invaders. (The King Arthur legend probably arose from this resistance.) However the Saxons, of which the Angles and Jutes are a part, became dominant. The area they won was eventually called Anglaland, or Englaland, from which came England. It was from this influx of these various Saxon tribes that the modern people of England arose, bringing with them their language, laws, religion, and other ways of life.
For several centuries the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes often fought each other. They formed a number of kingdoms: the Saxons--Wessex, the Angles--East Anglia, Mercia, Deira, and Bernicia. Northumbria later was formed from Deira and Bernicia.
In the ninth century, Egbert, Saxon king of Wessex, was recognized as overlord of the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Actually, however, he was not sole ruler. The task of unifying England under the West Saxon monarchy did not begin until the reign of Alfred the Great (871-899).
Vikings--Danes and Norwegians--began plundering England's coast about 787. By 877, Danes held East Anglica, Northumbria, and much of Mercia. In 878 Alfred the Great of Wessex, after a great victory at Edington, compelled the Danes to agree to stay within the Danelaw, an area in the east.
Alfred's West Saxon successors finally established their supremacy over the Danelaw by 954, when a united England under Anglo-Saxon rule came into being. But in 1013 King Swein I of Denmark won control of most of England. His son Knut (Canute) in 1016 became the first of three Danish kings of England. The Danish rule ended in 1042 when Edward the Confessor, a Saxon, became king.
A struggle between the crown and the nobles developed and reached an important climax during the reign of King John. Enraged by John's despotic policies, nobles and churchmen revolted in 1215 and forced the king to issue the Magna Charta, or Great Charta. One of the great documents of human liberty, the Magna Charta set limits on the king's power in many fields, and established the principle that the king was subject to the law.
During the reign of the Plantagenet rulers, from 1154 to 1485 England changed a great deal. The Magna Charta was signed, Wales was won, so was Scotland, only to be lost again, the Hundred Year's War was fought in France. The Black Death, which struck England in 1348 and killed perhaps half the population, helped bring important social changes. The rise of towns and commerce brought money into free circulation, breaking down the manorial and feudal systems.
In 1447 there began a 38-year struggle for the throne between two royal families, the houses of Lancaster and York. This struggle, called the War of the Roses, took its name from the family symbols--red for Lancaster, white for York. It ended in 1485 when Henry Tudor of the Lancastrian party was crowned Henry VII. His marriage to Elizabeth of York united the rivals.
Henry VII regained some lost powers for the crown. Henry VIII separated England from the Roman Catholic church. Mary I restored Catholicism until her successor, Elizabeth I, again abolished the religion. During her reign of 45 years--the Elizabethan Era--commerce flourished. The Golden Age of English literature, which included Shakespeare and other great writers, began. The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 established England as a sea power.
Elizabeth's death in 1603 brought James VI of Scotland to the English throne as James I, but Scotland and England remained separate countries. James was the first of the Stuart line of kings. During his reign the King James version of the Bible was prepared, the first permanent English colony was established at Jamestown, Virginia, and the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. James I and his son, Charles I, were at odds with Parliament, which grew until its culmination exploded in the Great Rebellion of 1642. This led to the rise of the commonwealth of Oliver Cromwell and the beheading of Charles I.
The monarchy was restored in 1660 under Charles II. The union with Scotland came about in 1707 under Queen Anne, the last of the Stuarts. Scotland and England was from then known as Great Britain.
The region known as Scotland was named Caledonia by the Romans in the first century A.D., when legions led by Gnaeus Julius Agricola pushed from what is now England until they reached the Firth of Forth. The Romans called all the people they found in the area Caledonians, though there were at least twenty separate tribes.
Eight hundred to a thousand years before the birth of Christ, Celtic tribes arrived in Scotland, absorbed the local population, and brought Scotland out of the Stone Age. The Gaelic language they brought with them is still widely spoken in Scotland today.
The Romans never conquered Scotland and withdrew their legions in 407. Tribes of Celtic Britons then banded together and formed the Kingdom of Strathclyde. Eventually four kingdoms emerged: those of the Britons, Scots, Picts, and Angles. The Scots were the last of these on the scene, arriving from Ireland as invaders early in the sixth century.
With them the Scots brought Christianity to the area. Soon the new religion spread throughout the land. The Christian religion helped to draw the four kingdoms closer together.
Beginning in the 700's, Norsemen began raiding and invading Scotland. Partly for this reason, Kenneth MacAlpin, king of the Scots, was made king of the Picts as well in 844. Malcolm II, king of the united Picts and Scots, defeated the Angles in 1018 and became ruler over most of Scotland.
Until her unification with England, Scotland and England were for the most part enemies. England continually pushed for its domination over Scotland. Eventually English began replacing Gaelic, Scottish commerce became more dependent on trade with England, and at the time of the unification the Stuarts of England were also monarchs of Scotland.
Under the Stuart, Queen Anne, Scotland and England united as Great Britain in 1707. In 1715 and again in 1745 the Scottish Jacobites tried by violence to bring the Stuarts back to the throne of Scotland, but failed each time. The last attempt, made by the followers of Bonnie Prince Charlie (Charles Edward Stewart) met with disaster at Culloden Moor.
Ancient Israelite seafarers settled Ireland some 4,000 years ago. Later, a people of uncertain origin known as Picts came into northern Ireland and Scotland. About 700 B.C. Celts moved into Ireland, calling themselves Gaels, and their country Erin. The Romans called them Scots and their land Scotia or Hibernia (another corruption of Hebrew).
Ireland was divided into five tribal areas, each ruled by a king. About 200 A.D. the king of Connacht and Meath established himself as a high king, or leader of the Irish kings. The sacred Hill of Tara became the capital of the high kingship.
The religion of the Gaels was Drudism. Conversion of Erie to Christianity began in the fifth century under Saint Patrick. Isolated from Rome, the Celtic church developed its own character and customs, with emphasis on establishment of monasteries, where Latin culture was preserved and encouraged.
By 800 the Gaels were supreme in Ireland. Shortly after 800 Norsemen began settling in the British Isles. Soon they established cities along the Irish coast--Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, and Limerick--and gained control over much of the country. At the battle of Clontarf in 1014 the king of Munster, Brian Boru, led the Irish to a decisive victory over the Norsemen. The Norse cities became Christianized and their people gradually assumed Irish speech and customs.
In 1170, Henry II of England, began taking over Ireland. He established many English nobles in Irish earldoms. He made his son, John, lord of Ireland, and when John succeeded to the throne in 1199 Ireland became a domain of the English crown.
It took the English 400 years to completely subdue the Irish and in 1541 Henry VIII took the title of king of Ireland. In 1641 the Irish rebelled because of England's persecution of the Catholic church. The rebellion was finally crushed by Oliver Cromwell in 1649.
In 1801 Ireland was brought into the United Kingdom as equals. The potato famine of the 1840's reduced the Irish population from 8,000,000 to 6,500,000 in only seven years.
Our Germanic ancestors came primarily from Germany, as opposed to Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Czecholovakia, or other areas which also have large Germanic stocks.
German legend claimed that the oldest city in Europe was Trier, founded more than twenty centuries before Christ by Trebeta, a son of the famous Assyrian King Ninus. Ninus stood for Nimrod, the founder of Nineveh, capital of ancient Assyria. In fact, one reads...in Trier the inscription reading, "Trier existed for thirteen hundred years before Rome was built."
Central Europe was invaded very early by peoples coming from Asia and Russia. There were two distinct groups, the Celts and the Teutons. The Celts, descendants of the "Lost Tribes of Israel," went on to conqueor and settle Western Europe. The Teutons, descendants of the Assyrians, conqueored north central Europe, today's Germany.
Teuton means "spear-men." The Romans, whose unaccustomed ears tried to translate into their own tongue the names of these fierce "Germanic" peoples, rendered the "Deutschen" as "Teutons, the "t" in their language being pronounced very similarly to the "d" in English.
The Romans, for all their efforts to conquer Germany between 12 BC and AD 16, met with only limited success. The Germans held their ground tenaciously, and Roman leadership varied in quality. In AD 9, German forces under Arminius annihilated three Roman legions in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest. The Romans were abe to avenge that defeat but not to consolidate their rule in most of Germany nor to establish the Elbe as their outermost European frontier. Instead, they fell back to a 300 mile fortified border, called the limes, which extended from the Rhine to the Danube.
As the German tribes overran the Roman Empire in the 5th century, one tribe, the Franks, expanded its base in northwest Germany until it controlled territories from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to Bavaria and Thuringia in the east. The first great leader of the Franks, Clovis (ruled 481-511), established the Merovingian dynasty, which lasted until 751. It was this Frankish kingdom which began the merger of Roman, German, and Christian elements that was the foundation of medieval German culture.
The decline of the Merovingian dynasty in the 8th century placed power in the hands of royal officials, one of whom, Charles Martel (ruled 714-741), established a new Frakish dynasty. This Carolingian dynasty was named after its greatest figure, Charles I (ruled 768-814), better known as Charlemagne. Charlemagne conquored still more lands in Germany, including Bavaria in the east and Saxony in the north. To the Saxons, particularly warlike and unruly, he gave a choice of death or conversion to Christianity.
Charlemagne made additional conquests in Italy and Spain. When the pope crowned him emperor or Christmas day of the year 800, Charlemagne was recognized as master of a revived Roman Empire in the West. But this restoration was more nominal than real because the economic disintegration that had undermined the original Roman Empire made it difficult to create a centralized state in so vast a realm.
Charlemagne, himself, stipulated that his lands should be divided among his heirs after his death, according to the long-standing German tradition. The result, therefore, following his death, was almost a century of civil war among the heirs and the eventual emergence (870) of two Frankish kingdoms, that of the West Franks (France) and that of the East Franks (Germany). The general political chaos of these decades was complicated by invasions of barbarian Vikings and Magyars. Cental government became all but impossible, and the great landed nobles of the realm asserted their local powers. Feudalism took hold in most of Germany as a means of preserving a modicum of law and order.
The last Carolingian king of the East Franks was Louis the Child (ruled 899-911). On his death, Lotharingia (Lorraine) was the only East Frankish duchy to transfer its allegiance to the Carolingian king of the West Franks. The dukes of Bavaria, Franconia, Saxony, and Swabia--the other so-called stem duchies--initially elected the duke of Franconia king of Germany as Conrad I. In 919, however, they turned to the house of Saxony as their best defense against the Magyars (today's Hungarians).
The first two Saxon kings, Henry I and his son, Otto I, were able to reassert the strength of a centralized monarchy. They stopped the Magyar onslaught and expanded German holdings into Eastern Europe. Working closely with the church, they also established effective administrative machinery that succeeded in keeping the ambitious rival German dukes in line. When Otto I founded the Holy Roman Empire in 962, he gained both a powerful ally in the papacy and new resources of taxes in northern Italy. To maintain these advantages, however, his successors were frequently obliged to preoccupy themselves with Italian affairs instead of attending to matters at home.
Early in the 11th century, the Saxon line of monarchs died out, and the German princes began to elect a series of Salian (Franconian) kings. Of these, Henry III (r. 1039-1056) brought imperial control over the church to its pinnicle, deposing three rival popes in 1046 and nominating four popes in succession. His successor, Henry IV, however faced a resurgent papacy, which not only resisted lay control of the church but also did so in alliance with the German princes, who sought to win back the powers taken from them by the kings. This struggle, usually called the Investiture Controversy, lasted until 1122 and ended essentially in victory for the papacy and the German nobility. The German king's powers over the church and the great German princes were gravely weakened, and the process of feudalization in Germany was accelerated.
The Hohenstaufen dynasty increased the power of the monarchy briefly. First elected to the throne in 1138, the Hohenstaufens held it, despite vigorous challenge from the rival Welf family, until 1254. The dynasty's greatest figure, Frederick I (r. 1152-1190), known as Barbarossa, chose to work within the feudal structure as a partner of the great princes. Although he acquired the valuable province of Burgundy by marriage and subdued most of Italy by force, his successors were overwhelmed by a resurgent papal-aristocratic alliance and by French and English intervention. Only the brilliant Frederick II (r. 1212-1250) was able to restore a measure of order, but he was so absorbed in Italian affairs that he neglected Germany. Hence, at a time when England and France were being welded into modern nation-states, Germany fell once more into the hands of regional princes.
There were sufficient intervals in this turbulent age to permit some economic progress and cultural achievement. Cities and commerce made a solid comeback, and by the end of the period there were no fewer than 1,600 cities and towns of varying size in Germany, many of them crowned by impressive Romanesque cathedrals.
None of Frederick II's successors was able to regain the imperial powers that had been usurped by the German princes. The period immediately following Frederick's death was one of particular chaos. During this period the Hohenstaufen were finally extinguished, and foreign princes contested for the imperial title. In 1273, Rudolf I of the house of Habsburg was elected king. The German princes were suspicious of Habsburg territorial ambitions, however, and elected a series of kings from other dynasties in succession to Rudolf. One of these kings, Louis IV (r. 1314-1346) of the Bavarian house of Wittelsbach, had to fight off a challenge from a Habsburg antiking, Frederick the Fair. Consistently opposed by the papacy, Louis rallied the support of the German princes for his 1338 declaration asserting the authority of these princes to elect the emperor without confirmation by the pope.
Charles IV (r. 1347-1378) of the house of Luxemburg, formally acknowledged the principle of elective monarchy with the Golden Bull, of 1356, which regularized elections by naming seven electors: the archbishops of Mainz, Trier, and Cologne, the duke of Saxony, the margrave of Brandenburg, the count palatine of the Rhine, and the king of Bohemia. Far from endorsing or deliberately encouraging disorder, the Golden Bull accepted the political realities of an age in which unified monarchy had become impossible in Germany. Real power rested with the princely and ecclesiastical states, the imperial free cities, and the imperial knights.
From 1438, members of the ruling dynasty of Austria were elected Holy Roman emperors, with only one short break (1740-1745), until the empire's dissolution in 1806. Acquiring Burgunday, the Low Countries, Spain, and much of Italy by marriage, they came closest to restoring full dignity to the imperial crown. The ablest of the early Habsburgs, Maximilian I (r. 1493-1519), decreed "Eternal Peace" in 1495 in order to control the unrully imperial knights and restore order in his divided realm. He also created an imperial court of justice to help enforce his decrees.
The German princes, jealous of their powers and still fearful of Hapsburg ambitions, responded by demanding an imperial governing council to control imperial policies. As constituted in 1500, it included several of the great princes and representative of the imperial free cities. It did not, however, evolve into an effective organ of representative government. The princes were more interested in hamstringing the emperors than they were in assuming the burden of statesmanship, and the additional divisions generated by the Reformation overwhelmed the council and left Germany as fragmented as ever.
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed to a church door in Wittenberg his 95 theses condemning the sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic church. This event is usuall taken to mark the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
Luther's revolt against what he regarded as abuses by the Roman Catholic church swiftly became entangled in larger political and social issues. The peasants of much of Germany, chafing under the oppressive rule of aristocratic landowners, drew some unwarranted political conclusions from Luther's religious independence and rose in the revolt known as the Peasants War in 1524. The revolt was suppressed, with Luther's help, but religious and social radicalism lived on in the Anabaptist sects. After the Peace of Augsburg (1555), Lutheranism was recognized as the religion of most of northern and central Germany.
Calvinism, a rival Protestant sect, began making progress in Germany. This, along with the desire of Catholic princes and church leaders to stamp out the new religions, led to the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). This was a series of four related wars, in which the Protestant states barely held their own, although they were aided by the Swedes and French. When hostilities were ended by the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), a devasted Germany was still torn hopelessly in a collection of more than 300 virtually sovereign states without any effective central government.
Prussia and Unification
Prussian greatness began at Brandenburg, a small military frontier state created on lands conquered brom the Saavs in the 13th century. It began to expand under the Hohenzollern rulers of the 17th century. Prussia was acquired by Brandenburg in 1618 bu inheritance.
The earliest of the prominent Hohenzollern rulers were Frederick William, elector of Brandenburg (r. 1640-1688), and his grandson Frederick William I (r. 1713-1740), king of Prussia. The title of king had been assumed by Prussian rulers in 1701.
Prussia built an army that was far larger than those of other states of comparable population. Their purpose was defensive because Prussia had suffered hideously during the Thirty Years' War. However, Frederick II (r. 1740-1786), later called the Great, used the army to expand Prussia's borders. As a result of the war of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748) and the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), Frederick won the valuable province of Silesia from Austria. He also participated in the first of three partitions of Poland with Russia and Austria. When Frederick II died, Prussia was the largest and most significant northern state in divided Germany.
During the wars of the French Revolution and the era of Napoleon, Germany was conquered by the French. The chief impact of the conquest was to instill a sence of unity and nationalism in the German people. Prussia, although defeated by Napoleon I, carried out drastic military and social reforms and ultimately led the other German states in the victorious War of Liberation against the French in 1813.
The Congress of Vienna (1814-1815) restored most of the major princes while retaining Napoleons simplified structure of only about three dozen, instead of three hundred German states. These states were bound loosely together in the German Confederation.
Beginning in 1862, Prussia's minister-president, Otto von Bismark, eliminated Danish, Austrian and French influence from Germany. In 1867, Bismark unified northern Germany. Three years later, during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), the southern German states agreed to join the federation, and on January 18, 1871, the Prussian king William I was crowned emperor of a new German Reich at Versailles.