Note: If you are looking for only the history that relates to my newest release, Sugar Moon , you may find a pared down list of posts on this page, “ Essential History for Sugar Moon .” Enjoy!
At the start of
Under the Sugar Sun, Georgina Potter travels to the Philippines to search for her brother, Ben—a soldier missing since the Philippine-American War. The night she arrives, she walks into a fire set by the cholera police to “cleanse” a neighborhood. Right away we are rooted in the history of the American occupation, a period too few in the United States understand.
But why were Americans in the Philippines in the first place? How did war with Spain in the Caribbean turn into an empire in Asia?
Here on my blog, I have written a lot of history—no surprise since it is my day job. Here are links to the most relevant posts, complete with illustrations.
The bid for empire started with an election about making America great (again?), with jobs, industrialism, and trade. Sounds familiar. Find out more.
American imperialism was a cause and effect of the Spanish-American War. Why fight at all? It’s the economy, stupid!? Find out more.
The Spanish-American War made Teddy Roosevelt a national political hero, but how much of his call to war was fake news? Find out more.
How much of Roosevelt’s reputation was fake news? And who had really saved his hide in Cuba? Read more about African American heroes of the Spanish-American War.
Mission creep was a thing before we had the phrase. How the war in the Caribbean turned into an empire in Asia. Also, imperial euphemisms. Find out more.
What was so “new” about American imperialism in the Philippines? Also, how Mark Twain is still relevant today. Find out more.
The good, bad, and ugly of your great-great-great grandparents’ Vietnam War: the Philippine-American War. Also, why it matters to you now more than ever. Find out more.
Sergeant Major John W. Calloway, experienced soldier and reporter for the Richmond Planet, called out the incongruency between empire and democracy—in his private correspondence—and he was punished for it. Find out more.
The history of systemic racism in the US Armed Forces extended to America’s empire. Read more about the talented officers who have been left out of popular history, including Walter Loving who was posthumously awarded the Philippine Presidential Medal of Merit and the Distinguished Conduct Star, the second-highest military honor in the Philippines.
The Pulahan War was a millennialist insurrection, like ISIS. Why don’t we study it more? Find out more in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Euphemisms for imperialism but not immigration reform. They called that what it was: Chinese exclusion. Find out more.
Baseball was a perfect metaphor for American colonial rule. Find out more.
Cholera has long been a sideshow of war. For the Americans in Manila, it was a challenge to modernity and “benevolent assimilation.” Also, silly naval surgeons. Find out more.
Read more about why cocaine for surgery and heroin from the Sears Catalog was actually a step up for the history of medicine.
Soldiers in…negligées? My research rabbit hole on daily life in the U.S. Army in 1901. Find out more.
For the Americans sweating it out in Manila, all roads led to Baguio—once they built them, that is. Find out more.
Learn about the real missionaries of Dumaguete, the backdrop for Tempting Hymn, and their best legacy: Silliman University. Find out more.
A case study in occupation, and a town that every American should know. Essential reading for the upcoming Sugar Moon. Find out more.
The US returned war booty known as the bells of Balangiga in December 2018, over 117 years too late. Why now? Find out more.
Talk about mission creep: a war against Spain fought in Cuba blossomed into a new war in the Philippines that lent soldiers to fight yet another campaign in China. Find out more.
Happy Fourth of July, Republic Day, Philippine-American Friendship Day, and 21st Hallock wedding anniversary! (Yes, Mr. H and I married on American Independence Day because we enjoy irony.) Find out more.
Spend the holidays with the 30th U.S. Volunteers in Pasay. Find out more.
Take a peek inside deaf education in the Gilded Age with heroine Della Berget, modeled on real-life adventuress, Annabelle Kent. Find out more.
Who won the 2016 election? Marijuana, of course. But beware! Gilded Age America preferred cocaine tooth drops. Find out more.
Three intrepid Gilded Age women take on illiteracy, disease, and the perils of international travel. Find out more.
The wealth of the Gilded Age reached both sides of the Pacific, but nowhere was it gaudier than at Newport. Find out more.
What did Gilded Age authorities teach about sex, virginity, and pleasure? The results may surprise you. Find out more.
War, natural disaster, terrorism, technology, and health care: all concerns of New Years Day 1900. Find out more.
I hope you have enjoyed my snarky view of history, and I hope it enriches your reading of the Sugar Sun series.