Things That Matter

It Turns Out Everyone Should Be Obsessed With Teens Portraying Moments In History On Tik Tok

It’s easy to shrug off the rising craze of Tik Tok as another social media trend for a new generation. After all Gen Zers have taken to the app in the same ways that Millenials quickly obsessed over apps like SnapChat and Instagram. But the fun social media video app which has launched millions of videos showing users lip-syncing and performing comedy and talent videos is proving itself as a platform that’s ready to cross generations. Even ones that are hundreds of years apart. 

Recently, a fun trend being shared by Tik Tok teens online has been reiterating moments in history through a more light-hearted lense. From moments in history that explore the Atlantic slave trade to U.S. history teens on TikTok are lighting up the app with facts and lessons.

Colonization Of The Continent of Africa, 1400s

Taking some of the more tragic moments in our world history and simplifying them for their audiences, are generally the usual approach to most of these videos. We love the way this Tik Tok in particular calls out the involvement of Great Britain, France, Spain and Portugal in the colonization of the continent of Africa in the 1400s.

European Age Of Exploration/ Invasion, 1405 – present

This clever Tik Tok teen used music and editing to describe the invasion of the Americas and the destruction of the Indigenous populations in the area. There’s no doubt that the arrival of Europeans in the Americas and continent of Africa brought various diseases including smallpox, the bubonic plague, cholera, chickenpox, and the common cold. While at times the spread of these diseases were by mistake, it wasn’t always accidental. At the Siege of Fort Pitt in 1763,  the British gave items as gifts to Indigenous people that had come from a smallpox infirmary in hopes of spreading the diseases to tribes.

Henry VIII Has His Marriage T Catherine of Aragon Annulled In Favor of Anne Boleyn, 1533

This hilarious Tik Tok pretty accurately conveys the drama that went down when the King of England decided he wanted to make his mistress his wife. Spanish princess Catherine of Aragon didn’t see what she had coming when she married her second husband Henry VIII. The young queen. Though she’d been married to the king for 24 years, he had their marriage annulled. 

Reign of Catherine The Great of Russia, 1762-1796

This Tik Tok portraying the life of and reign of Catherine The Great of Russia truly does cut the story down pretty quickly, but we have to acknowledge who fun and sweet it is.

The Boston Tea Party, 1773

https://www.tiktok.com/@jylecrennan/video/6662720347848051973?refer=embed

This hilarious reiteration of the Boston Tea Party of 1773 will make your side split. The infamous moment in U.S. history is accurately captured, though with extreme brevity, in this Tik Tok clip that shares how the British attempted to help the East India Company from its debts by putting taxes on tea sent to the U…

The Boston Tea Party AGAIN because these teens love 1773

It seems the Boston Tea Party actually tends to be kind of a thing in the world of Tik tok. 

Election of U.S president William McKinley, 1896

Ah the election of U.S. President William McKinley. This fun portrayal of his election ends up ultimately being a great reminder of the fact that corruption has effected our elections for decades and its not just Trump.

German Occupation Of Belgium, 1914

It’s pretty hilarious how this Tik tok user was able to take an iconic moment in reality television to use it to portray an actual reality in World History. Of course, the  German occupation of Belgium was much more destructive than it was catty, which this Tik Tok tends to imply.

The Establishment Of The League Of Nations, 1919

We also love how accurately this Tik Tok user portrays a defining moment in U.S. allyship and support. 

Attack On Pearl Harbor, 1941

And of course, this moment perfectly portrays how a massive flub affected the way in which the U.S. entered World War II.

Want To Learn About The Indigenous History Of Your Neighborhood? This New App Will Help You

Things That Matter

Want To Learn About The Indigenous History Of Your Neighborhood? This New App Will Help You

Native Lands

For all the (let’s be absolutely honest here!) banal uses of social media out there, sometimes developers use the geolocative capabilities of smartphones to make the world a more inclusive place. This app looks at the history of a place and reveals how it was originally organized by the traditional owners of the land before processes of colonization and dispossession reshaped the maps of what is now known as the Americas. Digital media allows us to visualize things that are already there, so next time you step on indigenous land you can quietly acknowledge it. 

Through location, the Native Land app lets you unearth the indigenous heritage of a place.

Credit: Native Land

The app was developed in Canada, a country which was a complex network of indigenous groups before French and British colonial powers redrew the map. The app can be accessed both through mobile devices (it works on iOS and Android) and through a browser based map. It includes key information such as a group’s language, name and whether the land was ceded (most likely by force or through a deceptive deal) through a treaty. It is a work in progress, so bear with the developers please!

They state before you even start looking for the indigenous past of a territory based on your postcode: “This map does not represent or intend to represent official or legal boundaries of any Indigenous nations. To learn about definitive boundaries, contact the nations in question. Also, this map is not perfect — it is a work in progress with tons of contributions from the community. Please send us fixes if you find errors”. So if you have information that the developers could use to make the app more precise, they are more than open to new findings that could make this collaborative tool a more accurate representation of the indigenous imprint on a place. Ready to find out more about the place that you call home? Click here

Remember: maps are only political and not set on stone, so the map you know was drawn by colonial powers.

Credit: Native Land

Contrary to what we might believe, maps are hardly set on stone. In fact, how a territory is named and where boundaries sit is evidence of historical processes through which lands are taken. Just look at this map of North America and think about all the blood that has been shed by the original owners of the land just so we can identify just three countries today. There were hundreds of discreet ethnic groups in Canada, Mexico and the United States before the European superpowers of Britain, France and Spain landed and created havoc. 

But the past is past, right? So why should we care? Well, we should care, a lot, particularly in today’s political climate. Let’s take this map of the California area as an example.

Credit: Native Land

So why is becoming familiar with the indigenous past of place important? Because it tells us that the borders that exist today are practically a human invention rather than something set on stone, and that unless you have indigenous heritage we are all guests. California, for example, was populated by a wide variety of peoples who were conquered by the Spanish or assimilated into mestizo culture through religion and language. So when white supremacists get all “America for the Americans” on Brown folk, they should be reminded that the land is and has always been indigenous. 

And this map of Australia is just nuts! Can you believe that colonial settlers have tried to make this country fully white and monolingual in the past?

Credit: Native Land

Australia is a young country that nevertheless has faced racism due to the aires de grandeza of some colonial settlers. Even though there has been a formal apology from the government towards aboriginal Australians, and there are constant acknowledgements to the fact that the land was never ceded, there remain great challenges to make the country truly inclusive for those who owned and thrived in the land in the first place. Just looking at this map makes you think of the wide variety of languages and traditions that existed in the island before the Dutch and English arrived

The ‘Sahuaraura’ Manuscript, An Ancient Peruvian Document That Was Thought Lost—Was Found Just Last Week, Over 100 Years Later

Things That Matter

The ‘Sahuaraura’ Manuscript, An Ancient Peruvian Document That Was Thought Lost—Was Found Just Last Week, Over 100 Years Later

BBC / Twitter

The Sahuaraura manuscript is considered a fundamental part of Peruvian history and culture. This piece Peruvian history, written by hand, was lost for a century and a half. Placed under the care of the then Public Library of Lima, the document disappeared in 1883 inexplicably—and now, over a hundred years later, it’s been found.

A part of the history of Peru, written by hand, was lost for a century and a half.

Peru National Library

During the Pacific War from (between 1879 and 1883), a manuscript of great value, was lost. Placed under the safekeeping of the then Public Library of Lima, the document was mysteriously lost.

“Recuerdos de la monarquía peruana, ó bosquejo de la historia de los incas”

Twitter @dossieroficial

The document titled “Recuerdos de la monarquía peruana,ó bosquejo de la historia de los incas” was a historical treaties written by hand by the priest, scholar and national hero, ‘Justo Sahuaraura Inca’, whom, it was believed, was a descendant of the sovereign, Huayna Capac, third Sapan Inka of the Inca Empire, born in Tumipampa and the second to last ruler over the Tahuantinsuyo empire.

The document disappeared for nearly 150 years.

twitter @bibliotecaperu

It wasn’t until 2015, when, by chance, the Sahuaraura manuscript was found thousands of kilometers away. The document was lost for nearly 150 years, nowhere to be found.

It was discovered in Brazil

instagram @shane.lassen.russlyonsedona

As it turned out, a family in Sao Paulo, had had it in their possession for over four decades —and hoped to sell it in the U.S. during a high profile auction by the renowned auction house, Sotheby’s.

Peruvian authorities are organizing an exhibition to show the document publicly in celebration of its return to Peru.

twitter @laurasolete123

After four years of formalities and paperwork, the Sahuaraura manuscript is finally back where it disappeared from, the now National Library of Perú. And to celebrate its return, authorities have organized an exhibition to show the document publicly for the first time. The return of the document took place just last week, and it was amongst 800 other historical and archaeological pieces including Incan ceramics, textiles and bibliographic materials that were all stolen decades ago —and that the Peruvian government finally located and retrieved from 6 different countries.

Of all the objects rescued, the manuscript holds a place of special importance for Peruvian history.

Peru National Library

The Sahuaraura text is considered a fundamental part of Peruvian historiography and the cultural value of the manuscript is ‘incalculable’. “Only this copy exists,” explained the Ministry of Peruvian Culture, Francesco Petrozzi, “and it tells us, very clearly, about a period in our history that we must all know about and study closely.”

It took, Sahuaraura, a member and descendant of the Incan noble family, years of research, consulting archives and documents —now lost— to be able to construct his primal history of Peru with data cited, very rarely, on other works about the arrival of Spanish conquistadors into this region of the continent.

The Sahuaraura manuscript includes an illustrated genealogy study.

twitter @peruturismo

The book also goes into great detail about the genealogy of the rulers of the vast pre-columbian territories that conformed the Incan empire with its capital in Cusco, which provides a huge insight into the history of the region to modern researchers.

The manuscript details Peruvian history, from the foundations of the empire, until the largest indigenous rebellion against Spanish rule in the region.

twitter @bibliotecaperu

The text starts from Manco Cápac, who was thought to be the first ruler and founder of the Incan culture, and follows history all the way up to Túpac Amaru, the indigenous leader who fronted the largest anti-colonial rebellion in Latin America in the XVIII century.

What is known of Sahuaraura, the scholar himself?

Museo Histórico Regional de Cusco

The priest and scholar is an icon of Peruvian culture and history. He was born towards the end of the XVIII century and he was the son of a leader of one of the regions of Cusco, which is why some chroniclers believe he belonged to the highest lines of Incan nobility.  He became a priest and joined the Catholic church, which named him synodal examiner of the bishopric and general liaison with six provinces of Cusco.

It is said that he received Simon Bolivar himself —a Venezuelan military and political leader who led the independence of what are currently the states of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama from the Spanish Empire —in his own house, and that the libertador gave him a medal for his services toward the freedom of Peru.

Sahuaraura also documented important literary works of the Incan empire in his works.

instagram @manu_elera

Among the many other manuscripts that the scholar worked on, and that also compile different aspects of Incan history, there is a literary anthology of the empire. This document includes the codex of Ollantay drama, considered by some, the most ancient expression of Quechua literature.

Sahuaraura himself went missing.

instagram @purochucho

Nothing is known about the death of this scholar. Sahuaraura himself went missing from Peruvian history at a time unknown. All that is known is that he retired somewhere in Cusco, and no one ever knew anything about him after. There is no information on the place or date of his death.