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Saturday, 7 August 2010

Guglielmo Marconi

For the inventor of radio, see the competing claims in History of radio and the Invention of radio.

Guglielmo Marconi

Born 25 April 1874(1874-04-25)

Palazzo Marescalchi, Bologna, Italy

Died 20 July 1937 (aged 63)

Rome, Italy

Known for Radio

Notable awards Nobel Prize for Physics (1909)


Guglielmo Marconi (Italian pronunciation: [ɡuʎˈʎɛːlmo marˈkoːni]; 25 April 1874– 20 July 1937) was an Italian inventor, best known for his development of a radio telegraph system, which served as the foundation for the establishment of numerous affiliated companies worldwide. He shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun "in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy"[1][2][3] and was ennobled in 1924 as Marchese Marconi.

Contents [hide]

1 Biography

1.1 Early years

1.2 Radio work

1.2.1 Early experimental devices

1.2.2 Transatlantic transmissions

1.2.3 Titanic

1.2.4 Patent disputes

1.2.5 Continuing work

1.3 Later years

2 Personal life

3 Legacy and honours

3.1 Honours and awards

3.2 Tributes

3.3 Places and organizations named after Marconi

4 Patents

4.1 British patents

4.2 US patents

5 See also

6 Notes

7 Further reading

8 External links

[edit] Biography

Guglielmo Marconi Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[edit] Early years

Marconi was born near Bologna, the second son of Giuseppe Marconi, an Italian landowner, and his Protestant[citation needed] Irish wife, Annie Jameson, granddaughter of the founder of the Jameson Whiskey distillery.[1] Marconi was educated in Bologna in the lab of Augusto Righi, in Florence at the Istituto Cavallero and, later, in Livorno. As a child Marconi did not do well in school.[4] Baptized as a Catholic, he was also a member of the Anglican Church, being married into it; however, he still received a Catholic annulment.

[edit] Radio work

During his early years, Marconi had an interest in science and electricity. One of the scientific developments during this era came from Heinrich Hertz, who, beginning in 1888, demonstrated that one could produce and detect electromagnetic radiation—now generally known as "radio waves", at the time more commonly called "Hertzian waves" or "aetheric waves". Hertz's death in 1894 brought published reviews of his earlier discoveries, and a renewed interest on the part of Marconi. He was permitted to briefly study the subject under Augusto Righi, a University of Bologna physicist and neighbor of Marconi who had done research on Hertz's work. Righi had a subscription to The Electrician where Oliver Lodge published detailed accounts of the apparatus used in his (Lodge's) public demonstrations of wireless telegraphy in 1894.

[edit] Early experimental devices

Marconi began to conduct experiments, building much of his own equipment in the attic of his home at the Villa Griffone in Pontecchio, Italy. His goal was to use radio waves to create a practical system of "wireless telegraphy"—i.e. the transmission of telegraph messages without connecting wires as used by the electric telegraph. This was not a new idea—numerous investigators had been exploring wireless telegraph technologies for over 50 years, but none had proven commercially successful. Marconi did not discover any new and revolutionary principle in his wireless-telegraph system, but rather he assembled and improved a number of components, unified and adapted them to his system.[5] Marconi's system had the following components:[6]

A relatively simple oscillator, or spark producing radio transmitter, which was closely modeled after one designed by Righi, in turn similar to what Hertz had used;

A wire or capacity area placed at a height above the ground;

A coherer receiver, which was a modification of Edouard Branly's original device, with refinements to increase sensitivity and reliability;

A telegraph key to operate the transmitter to send short and long pulses, corresponding to the dots-and-dashes of Morse code; and

A telegraph register, activated by the coherer, which recorded the received Morse code dots and dashes onto a roll of paper tape.

Similar configurations using spark-gap transmitters plus coherer-receivers had been tried by others, but many were unable to achieve transmission ranges of more than a few hundred metres.

At first, Marconi could only signal over limited distances. In the summer of 1895 he moved his experimentation outdoors. After increasing the length of the transmitter and receiver antennas, and arranging them vertically, and positioning the antenna so that it touched the ground, the range increased significantly.[7][8] Soon he was able to transmit signals over a hill, a distance of approximately 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi).[9] By this point he concluded that with additional funding and research, a device could become capable of spanning greater distances and would prove valuable both commercially and militarily.

Finding little interest in his work in Italy, in early 1896 at the age of 21, Marconi traveled to London, accompanied by his mother, to seek support for his work; Marconi spoke fluent English in addition to Italian. While there, he gained the interest and support of William Preece, the Chief Electrical Engineer of the British Post Office. The apparatus that Marconi possessed at that time was strikingly similar to that of one in 1882 by A. E. Dolbear, of Tufts College, which used a spark coil generator and a carbon granular rectifier for reception.[10][11] A plaque on the outside of BT Centre commemorates Marconi's first public transmission of wireless signals from that site.[12] A series of demonstrations for the British government followed—by March 1897, Marconi had transmitted Morse code signals over a distance of about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) across the Salisbury Plain. On 13 May 1897, Marconi sent the first ever wireless communication over open sea. It transversed the Bristol Channel from Lavernock Point (South Wales) to Flat Holm Island, a distance of 6 kilometres (3.7 mi). The message read "Are you ready".[13] The receiving equipment was almost immediately relocated to Brean Down Fort on the Somerset coast, stretching the range to 16 kilometres (9.9 mi).

Impressed by these and other demonstrations, Preece introduced Marconi's ongoing work to the general public at two important London lectures: "Telegraphy without Wires", at the Toynbee Hall on 11 December 1896; and "Signaling through Space without Wires", given to the Royal Institution on 4 June 1897.

Numerous additional demonstrations followed, and Marconi began to receive international attention. In July 1897, he carried out a series of tests at La Spezia in his home country, for the Italian government. A test for Lloyds between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island, Ireland, was conducted on 6 July 1898. The English channel was crossed on 27 March 1899, from Wimereux, France to South Foreland Lighthouse, England, and in the autumn of 1899, the first demonstrations in the United States took place, with the reporting of the America's Cup international yacht races at New York.

Marconi sailed to the United States at the invitation of the New York Herald newspaper to cover the America's Cup races off Sandy Hook, NJ. The transmission was done aboard the SS Ponce, a passenger ship of the Porto Rico Line. [14] Marconi left for England on 8 November 1899 on the American Line's SS St. Paul, and he and his assistants installed wireless equipment aboard during the voyage. On 15 November the St. Paul became the first ocean liner to report her imminent arrival by wireless when Marconi's Needles station contacted her sixty-six nautical miles off the English coast.

According to the Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute, the Marconi instruments were tested around 1899 and the tests concerning his wireless system found that the "[...] coherer, principle of which was discovered some twenty years ago, [was] the only electrical instrument or device contained in the apparatus that is at all new".[15]

[edit] Transatlantic transmissions

Marconi watching associates raise kite antenna at St. John's, December 1901“ See if you can hear anything, Mr. Kemp![16] ”

Around the turn of the century, Marconi began investigating the means to signal completely across the Atlantic, in order to compete with the transatlantic telegraph cables. Marconi established a wireless transmitting station at Marconi House, Rosslare Strand, Co. Wexford in 1901 to act as a link between Poldhu in Cornwall and Clifden in Co. Galway. He soon made the announcement that on 12 December 1901, using a 152.4-metre (500 ft) kite-supported antenna for reception, the message was received at Signal Hill in St John's, Newfoundland (now part of Canada) signals transmitted by the company's new high-power station at Poldhu, Cornwall. The distance between the two points was about 3,500 kilometres (2,200 mi). Heralded as a great scientific advance, there was—and continues to be—some skepticism about this claim, partly because the signals had been heard faintly and sporadically. There was no independent confirmation of the reported reception, and the transmissions, consisting of the Morse code letter S sent repeatedly, were difficult to distinguish from atmospheric noise. (A detailed technical review of Marconi's early transatlantic work appears in John S. Belrose's work of 1995.)[17] The Poldhu transmitter was a two-stage circuit.[18][19] The first stage operated at lower voltage and provided the energy for the second stage to spark at a higher voltage. Nikola Tesla, a rival in transatlantic transmission, stated after being told of Marconi's reported transmission that "Marconi [... was] using seventeen of my patents."[20][21]

Feeling challenged by skeptics, Marconi prepared a better organized and documented test. In February 1902, the SS Philadelphia sailed west from Great Britain with Marconi aboard, carefully recording signals sent daily from the Poldhu station. The test results produced coherer-tape reception up to 2,496 kilometres (1,551 mi), and audio reception up to 3,378 kilometres (2,099 mi). The maximum distances were achieved at night, and these tests were the first to show that for mediumwave and longwave transmissions, radio signals travel much farther at night than in the day. During the daytime, signals had only been received up to about 1,125 kilometres (699 mi), less than half of the distance claimed earlier at Newfoundland, where the transmissions had also taken place during the day. Because of this, Marconi had not fully confirmed the Newfoundland claims, although he did prove that radio signals could be sent for hundreds of kilometres, despite some scientists' belief they were essentially limited to line-of-sight distances.

On 17 December 1902, a transmission from the Marconi station in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada, became the first radio message to cross the Atlantic from North America. On 18 January 1903, a Marconi station built near South Wellfleet, Massachusetts in 1901 sent a message of greetings from Theodore Roosevelt, the President of the United States, to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, marking the first transatlantic radio transmission originating in the United States. This station also was one of the first to receive the distress signals coming from the RMS Titanic. However, consistent transatlantic signalling was difficult to establish.

Marconi began to build high-powered stations on both sides of the Atlantic to communicate with ships at sea, in competition with other inventors. In 1904 a commercial service was established to transmit nightly news summaries to subscribing ships, which could incorporate them into their on-board newspapers. A regular transatlantic radio-telegraph service was finally begun on 17 October 1907[22] between Clifden Ireland and Glace Bay, but even after this the company struggled for many years to provide reliable communication.

[edit] Titanic

The two radio operators aboard the Titanic—Jack Phillips and Harold Bride—were not employed by the White Star Line, but by the Marconi International Marine Communication Company. Following the sinking of the ocean liner, survivors were rescued by the RMS Carpathia of the Cunard Line.[23] Also employed by the Marconi Company was David Sarnoff, the only person to receive the names of survivors immediately after the disaster via wireless technology. Wireless communications were reportedly maintained for 72 hours between the Carpathia and Sarnoff,[24] but Sarnoff's involvement has been questioned by some modern historians. When the Carpathia docked in New York, Marconi went aboard with a reporter from The New York Times to talk with Bride, the surviving operator.[23] On 18 June 1912, Marconi gave evidence to the Court of Inquiry into the loss of the Titanic regarding the marine telegraphy's functions and the procedures for emergencies at sea.[25] Britain's postmaster-general summed up, referring to the Titanic disaster, "Those who have been saved, have been saved through one man, Mr. Marconi...and his marvelous invention."

[edit] Patent disputes

Main articles: Invention of radio and History of radio.

Marconi's work built upon the discoveries of numerous other scientists and experimenters. His "two-circuit" equipment, consisting of a spark-gap transmitter plus a coherer-receiver, was similar to those used by other experimenters, and in particular to that employed by Oliver Lodge in a series of widely reported demonstrations in 1894. There were claims that Marconi was able to signal for greater distances than anyone else when using the spark-gap and coherer combination, but these have been disputed (notably by Tesla).[9]

In 1900 Alexander Stepanovich Popov stated to the Congress of Russian Electrical Engineers that: "[...] the emission and reception of signals by Marconi by means of electric oscillations [was] nothing new. In America, the famous engineer Nikola Tesla carried the same experiments in 1893."[26]

The Fascist regime in Italy credited Marconi with the first improvised arrangement in the development of radio.[27] There was controversy whether his contribution was sufficient to deserve patent protection, or if his devices were too close to the original ones developed by Hertz, Popov, Branley, Tesla, and Lodge to be patentable.

While Marconi did pioneering demonstrations for the time, his equipment was limited by being essentially untuned, which greatly restricted the number of spark-gap radio transmitters which could operate simultaneously in a geographical area without causing mutually disruptive interference. (Continuous-wave transmitters were naturally more selective and less prone to this deficiency). Marconi addressed this defect with a patent application for a much more sophisticated "four-circuit" design, which featured two tuned-circuits at both the transmitting and receiving antennas. This was issued as British patent number 7,777 on 26 April 1900. However, this patent came after significant earlier work had been done on electrical tuning by Nikola Tesla and Oliver Lodge. (As a defensive move, in 1911 the Marconi Company purchased the Lodge-Muirhead Syndicate, whose primary asset was Oliver Lodge's 1897 tuning patent. This followed a 1911 court case in which the Marconi company was ruled to have illegally used the techniques described under Lodge's tuning patent.) Thus, the "four-sevens" patent and its equivalents in other countries was the subject of numerous legal challenges, with rulings which varied by jurisdiction, from full validation of Marconi's tuning patent to complete nullification.

In 1943, a lawsuit regarding Marconi's numerous other radio patents was resolved in the United States. The court decision was based on the prior work conducted by others, including Nikola Tesla, Oliver Lodge, and John Stone Stone, from which some of Marconi patents (such as U.S. Patent 763,772) stemmed. The U. S. Supreme Court stated that,

The Tesla patent No. 645,576, applied for 2 September 1897 and allowed 20 March 1900, disclosed a four-circuit system, having two circuits each at transmitter and receiver, and recommended that all four circuits be tuned to the same frequency. [... He] recognized that his apparatus could, without change, be used for wireless communication, which is dependent upon the transmission of electrical energy.[28]

In making their decision, the court noted,

Marconi's reputation as the man who first achieved successful radio transmission rests on his original patent, which became reissue No. 11,913, and which is not here [320 U.S. 1, 38] in question. That reputation, however well-deserved, does not entitle him to a patent for every later improvement which he claims in the radio field. Patent cases, like others, must be decided not by weighing the reputations of the litigants, but by careful study of the merits of their respective contentions and proofs."[29]

The court also stated that,

It is well established that as between two inventors priority of invention will be awarded to the one who by satisfying proof can show that he first conceived of the invention."[29]

The Supreme Court of the United States did not dispute Marconi's original British patent nor his reputation as the inventor of radio. The US Supreme Court stated that his original patent (which became reissue 11,913) was not being disputed.[30]

The case was resolved in the U.S. Supreme Court by overturning most of Marconi's patents. At the time, the United States Army was involved in a patent infringement lawsuit with Marconi's company regarding radio, leading observers to posit that the government nullified Marconi's other patents to render moot claims for compensation (as, it is speculated, the government's initial reversal to grant Marconi the patent right in order to nullify any claims Tesla had for compensation). In contrast to the United States system, Mr. Justice Parker of the British High Court of Justice upheld Marconi's "four-sevens" tuning patent. These proceedings made up only a part of a long series of legal struggles, as major corporations jostled for advantage in a new and important industry.

The 1895 public demonstrations by J.C. Bose in Calcutta regarding radio transmission were conducted before Marconi's wireless signaling experiments on Salisbury Plain in England in May 1897.[31][32] In 1896, the Daily Chronicle of England reported on his UHF experiments: "The inventor (J.C. Bose) has transmitted signals to a distance of nearly a mile and herein lies the first and obvious and exceedingly valuable application of this new theoretical marvel." Marconi, while being fully aware of Bose's prior work in this area, nonetheless claimed exclusive patent rights.[33]

[edit] Continuing work

“ Have I done the world good, or have I added a menace?[34] ”

Over the years, the Marconi companies gained a reputation for being technically conservative, in particular by continuing to use inefficient spark-transmitter technology, which could only be used for radiotelegraph operations, long after it was apparent that the future of radio communication lay with continuous-wave transmissions, which were more efficient and could be used for audio transmissions. Somewhat belatedly, the company did begin significant work with continuous-wave equipment beginning in 1915, after the introduction of the oscillating vacuum tube (valve). In 1920, employing a vacuum tube transmitter, the Chelmsford Marconi factory was the location for the first entertainment radio broadcasts in the United Kingdom—one of these featured Dame Nellie Melba. In 1922 regular entertainment broadcasts commenced from the Marconi Research Centre at Writtle.

[edit] Later years

“ His Excellency the Senator Marchese Guglielmo Marconi, president of the Royal Academy of Italy, Member of the Fascist Grand Council ”

In 1914 Marconi was made a Senator in the Italian Senate and appointed Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in the UK. During World War I, Italy joined the Allied side of the conflict, and Marconi was placed in charge of the Italian military's radio service. He attained the rank of lieutenant in the Italian Army and of commander in the Italian Navy. In 1924, he was made a marquess by King Victor Emmanuel III.

Marconi joined the Italian Fascist party in 1923. In 1930, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini appointed him President of the Royal Academy of Italy, which made Marconi a member of the Fascist Grand Council.

Marconi died in Rome in 1937 at age 63 following a series of heart attacks, and Italy held a state funeral for him. As a tribute, all radio stations throughout the world observed two minutes of silence. His remains are housed in the Villa Griffone at Sasso Marconi, Emilia-Romagna, which assumed that name in his honour in 1938.

[edit] Personal life

Marconi had a brother, Alfonso, and a stepbrother, Luigi. On 16 March 1905, Marconi married Beatrice O'Brien (1882–1976), daughter of Edward Donough O'Brien, 14th Baron Inchiquin, Ireland. They had three daughters—Degna (1908–1998), Gioia (1916–1996) and a third who lived only a few weeks—and a son, Giulio (1910–1971). They divorced in 1924 and the marriage was annulled in 1927. On 15 June 1927, Marconi married Maria Cristina Bezzi-Scali (1900–1994); Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was Marconi's best man at the wedding.[35][36] They had one daughter, Elettra (born 1930). Later in life, Marconi was an active Italian Fascist[37] and an apologist for their ideology and actions such as the attack by Italian forces in Ethiopia.

In 1915 his friend Mrs. Mary Cummins Brown of New York perished in the sinking of the British luxury liner RMS Lusitania off the Irish coast, a fact he wrote about two days later in The New York Times.

[edit] Legacy and honours

[edit] Honours and awards

In 1909, Marconi shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Braun for his contributions to radio communications.[1]

In 1918, he was awarded the Franklin Institute's Benjamin Franklin Medal.

In 1924, he was made a marquess by King Victor Emmanuel III., thus becoming Marchese Marconi.

The Radio Hall of Fame (Museum of Broadcast Communications, Chicago) inducted Marconi soon after the inception of its awards. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2009.[38]

The Dutch radio academy bestows the Marconi Awards annually for outstanding radio programmes, presenters and stations; the National Association of Broadcasters (US) bestows the annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards also for outstanding radio programs and stations.

Marconi was inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1977.[39]

A commemorative British two pound coin was released in 2001 celebrating the 100th anniversary of Marconi's first wireless communication.

A commemorative silver 5 EURO coin was issued by Italy in 2009 honouring the centennial of Marconi's Nobel Prize.

[edit] Tributes

The premier collection of Marconi artifacts was held by The General Electric Company, p.l.c. (GEC) of the United Kingdom which later renamed to Marconi plc and Marconi Corporation plc. In December 2004 the extensive Marconi Collection, held at the former Marconi Research Centre at Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex UK was gifted to the Nation by the Company via the University of Oxford. This consisted of the BAFTA award-winning MarconiCalling website, some 250+ physical artifacts and the massive ephemera collection of papers, books, patents and many other items. The artifacts are now held by The Museum of the History of Science and the ephemera Archives by the nearby Bodleian Library. The latest release, following three years work at the Bodleian, is the Online Catalogue to the Marconi Archives, released in November 2008.

Ira Gershwin's lyrics to "They All Laughed" include the line, "They told Marconi wireless was a phony."

The band Tesla references him in "Edison's Medicine" lyrics: They'll sell you on Marconi, familiar, but a phony."

The band Jefferson Starship references him in their song We Built This City. The lyrics say: "Marconi plays the mamba, listen to the radio".

The 1979 play 'The Man From Mukinupin' by Dorothy Hewett makes several references to Marconi by the character The Flasher, who imagines he is communicating with Marconi through a box of matches. "Marconi the great one, speak to me!", "Marconi, Marconi, must I kill?" and "Marconi says I must not frighten the ladies..."

The Bermuda rig, developed in the 17th century by Bermudians, became ubiquitous on sailboats around the world in the 20th century. The tall masts and triangular fore-and-aft sails reminded some people of Marconi's wireless towers, hence the rig became known also as the Marconi rig.

[edit] Places and organizations named after Marconi


Guglielmo Marconi Airport (IATA: BLQ – ICAO: LIPE), of Bologna, Italy, is named after Marconi, its native son.

Via Guglielmo Marconi in in the city of Bologna, Italy


Australian soccer club Marconi Stallions


The 'Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company of Canada', of Montreal, Canada, was created in 1903 by Guglielmo Marconi.[40] In 1925 the company was renamed to the 'Canadian Marconi Company', which was acquired by English Electric in 1953.[40] The company name changed again to CMC Electronics Inc. (French: CMC Électronique) in 2001.

The Marconi Wireless Corporation operated several pioneer and commercial radio stations in Canada, Ireland, Newfoundland, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Marconi National Historic Site of Canada was created by Parks Canada as a tribute to Marconi's vision in the development of radio telecommunications. The first official wireless message was sent from this location by the Atlantic Ocean to England in 1902. The museum site is located in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, at Table Head on Timmerman Street.

Villa Marconi retirement home, Nepean, Ontario

People's Republic of China

Marconi Road in Kowloon Tong, former home of many of Hong Kong's broadcasters, including Asia Television Limited and Television Broadcasts Limited

United States

Marconi Plaza, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Roman terrace-styled plaza originally designed by the architects Olmsted Brothers in 1914–1916, built as the grand entrance for the 1926 Sesquicentennial Exposition and renamed to honor Marconi.

Marconiville section of the town of Copiague

Upper East Side New York's La Scuola D'Italia

Marconi Conference Center and State Historic Park, Marshall, California. Site of the transoceanic Marshall Receiving Station.

Marconi Avenue, The Hill, St. Louis

Marconi memorial statue on Telegraph Hill, San Francisco

Marconi Beach in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, located near the site of his first transatlantic wireless signal from the U.S to England.

Marconi monument at Fulton intersection, Sacramento, CA

Marconi Boulevard in Rocky Point, New York. His original radio shack is found along that road at the Frank J. Carasiti Elementary School in Rocky Point.

Guglielmo Marconi Memorial Plaza in Somerset, NJ, located on the former site of the New Brunswick Marconi Station. President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points speech was transmitted from the site in 1918.

Marconi Road in Wall Township, New Jersey, located in the former Camp Evans, which was the site of the Belmar Marconi Station. Now the location of the Infoage Science/History Learning Center, dedicated to the preservation and education of information age technologies.

Marconi Avenue in Sacramento, California.

[edit] Patents

[edit] British patents

British patent No. 12,039, Date of Application 2 June 1896; Complete Specification Left, 2 March 1897; Accepted, 2 July 1897 (later claimed by Oliver Lodge to contain his own ideas which he failed to patent)

[edit] US patents

U.S. Patent 0,586,193 "Transmitting electrical signals", (using Ruhmkorff coil and Morse code key) filed December 1896, patented July, 1897

U.S. Patent 0,624,516 "Apparatus employed in wireless telegraphy".

U.S. Patent 0,627,650 "Apparatus employed in wireless telegraphy".

U.S. Patent 0,647,007 "Apparatus employed in wireless telegraphy".

U.S. Patent 0,647,008 "Apparatus employed in wireless telegraphy".

U.S. Patent 0,647,009 "Apparatus employed in wireless telegraphy".

U.S. Patent 0,650,109 "Apparatus employed in wireless telegraphy".

U.S. Patent 0,650,110 "Apparatus employed in wireless telegraphy".

U.S. Patent 0,668,315 "Receiver for electrical oscillations".

U.S. Patent 0,760,463 "Wireless signaling system".

U.S. Patent 0,792,528 "Wireless telegraphy". Filed 13 October 1903; Issued 13, 1905.

U.S. Patent 0,676,332 "Apparatus for wireless telegraphy" (later practical version of system)

U.S. Patent 0,757,559 "Wireless telegraphy system". Filed 19 November 1901; Issued 19 April 1904.

U.S. Patent 0,760,463 "Wireless signaling system". Filed 10 September 1903; Issued 24 May 1904.

U.S. Patent 0,763,772 "Apparatus for wireless telegraphy" (Four tuned system; this innovation was predated by N. Tesla, O. Lodge, and J. S. Stone)

U.S. Patent 0,786,132 "Wireless telegraphy". Filed 13 October 1903

U.S. Patent 0,792,528 "Wireless telegraphy". Filed 13 October 1903; Issued 13 June 1905.

U.S. Patent 0,884,986 "Wireless telegraphy". Filed 28 November 1902; Issued 14 April 1908.

U.S. Patent 0,884,987 "Wireless telegraphy".

U.S. Patent 0,884,988 "Detecting electrical oscillations". Filed 2 February 1903; Issued 14 April 1908.

U.S. Patent 0,884,989 "Wireless telegraphy".

U.S. Patent 0,935,381 "Transmitting apparatus for wireless telegraphy". Filed 10 April 1908; Issued 28 September 1909.

U.S. Patent 0,935,382 "Apparatus for wireless telegraphy".

U.S. Patent 0,935,383 "Apparatus for wireless telegraphy". Filed 10 April 1908; Issued 28 September 1909.

U.S. Patent 0,954,640 "Apparatus for wireless telegraphy". Filed 31 March 1909; Issued 12 April 1910.

U.S. Patent 0,997,308 "Transmitting apparatus for wireless telegraphy". Filed 15 July 1910; Issued 11 July 1911.

U.S. Patent 1,102,990 "Means for generating alternating electric currents". Filed 27 January 1914; Issued 7 July 1914.

U.S. Patent 1,148,521 "Transmitter for wireless telegraphy". Filed 20 July 1908.

U.S. Patent 1,226,099 "Transmitting apparatus for use in wireless telegraphy and telephony". Filed 31 December 1913; Issued 15 May 1917.

U.S. Patent 1,271,190 "Wireless telegraph transmitter".

U.S. Patent 1,377,722 "Electric accumulator". Filed 9 March 1918

U.S. Patent 1,148,521 "Transmitter for wireless telegraphy". Filed 20 July 1908; Issued 3 August 1915.

U.S. Patent 1,981,058 "Thermionic valve". Filed 14 October 1926; Issued 20 November 1934.

[edit] See also

Invention of radio

Jagdish Chandra Bose

List of people on stamps of Ireland

Sasso Marconi

List of people on the cover of Time Magazine: 1920s - 6 Dec. 1926

[edit] Notes

1.^ a b c "Guglielmo Marconi: The Nobel Prize in Physics 1909"

2.^ "Welcome to IEEE Xplore 2.0: Sir J.C. Bose diode detector received Marconi's first transatlanticwireless signal of December 1901 (the “Italian Navy Coherer”Scandal Revisited)". Ieeexplore.ieee.org. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber=658778. Retrieved 2009-01-29.

3.^ Roy, Amit (2008-12-08). "Cambridge 'pioneer' honour for Bose". The Telegraph (Calcutta: Telegraphindia.com). http://www.telegraphindia.com/1081208/jsp/nation/story_10221833.jsp. Retrieved 2010-06-10.

4.^ Robert McHenry, "Guglielmo Marconi," in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1993.

5.^ Williams, H. S., & Williams, E. H. (1910). Every-day science. New York: Goodhue Company. Page 54.

6.^ Marconi delineated his 1895 apparatus in his Nobel Award speech. See: Marconi, "Wireless Telegraphic Communication: Nobel Lecture, 11 December 1909." Nobel Lectures. Physics 1901-1921. Amsterdam: Elsevier Publishing Company, 1967: 196-222. Page 198.

7.^ This fact was known to many as, in 1893, Tesla stated in the widely known "On Light and Other High Frequency Phenomena" speech which was delivered before the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, in February, and before the National Electric Light Association, St. Louis, in March, that "One of the terminals of the source would be connected to Earth [as a electric ground connection ...] the other to an insulated body of large surface".

8.^ Marconi did acknowledge this later in his Nobel Award speech. See: Marconi, "Wireless Telegraphic Communication: Nobel Lecture, 11 December 1909." Nobel Lectures. Physics 1901-1921. Amsterdam: Elsevier Publishing Company, 1967: 196-222. Page 206.

9.^ a b Marconi's late-1895 transmission of signals was for around a mile (1.6 km). This was small compared to Tesla's early-1895 transmissions of up to 50 miles. For more see "Nikola Tesla On His Work with Alternating Currents and Their Application to Wireless Telegraphy, Telephony, and Transmission of Power", Leland I. Anderson, Twenty First Century Books, 2002, pp. 26-27.

10.^ Alfred Thomas Story, The Story of Wireless Telegraphy. 1904. Page 58.

11.^ John J. O'Neill, Prodigal Genius:The Life of Nikola Tesla. Ives Washburn, New York, 1944

12.^ "Flickr Photo". http://www.flickr.com/photos/psd/164193649/.

13.^ BBC Wales, "Marconi's Waves"

14.^ Helgesen, Henry N.. "Wireless Goes to Sea: Marconi's Radio and SS Ponce". Sea History (Spring 2008): 122.

15.^ United States Naval Institute, Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute. The Institute, 1899. Page 857.

16.^ Page, Walter Hines, and Arthur Wilson Page, The World's Work. Doubleday, Page & Company, 1908. Page 9625

17.^ "Fessenden and Marconi: Their Differing Technologies and Transatlantic Experiments During the First Decade of this Century". Ieee.ca. http://www.ieee.ca/millennium/radio/radio_differences.html. Retrieved 2009-01-29.

18.^ "Marconi and the History of Radio".

19.^ John S. Belrose, "Fessenden and Marconi: Their Differing Technologies and Transatlantic Experiments During the First Decade of this Century". International Conference on 100 Years of Radio -- 5–7 September 1995.

20.^ Margaret Cheney, Tesla, Man Out of Time, New Jersey : Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1981

21.^ Margaret Cheney and Robert Uth, Tesla: Master of Lightning, Barnes & Noble, 1999.

22.^ "The Clifden Station of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph System". Scientific American. 23 November 1907.

23.^ a b John P. Eaton & Charles A. Haas Titanic - Triumph and Tragedy, A Chronicle in Words and Pictures. 1994

24.^ Herron, Edward A. (1969). Miracle of the Air Waves: A History of Radio. Messner.

25.^ Court of Inquiry Loss of the S.S. Titanic 1912

26.^ "The Guglielmo Marconi Case; Who is the True Inventor of Radio".

27.^ Gianni Isola, "Italian radio: History and Historiography"; Special Issue: Italian Media Since World War II. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, August, 1995

28.^ U.S. Supreme Court, "Marconi Wireless Telegraph co. of America v. United States". 320 U.S. 1. Nos. 369, 373. Argued 9–12 April 1943. Decided 21 June 1943.

29.^ a b Wireless Telegraph co. of America v. United States.

30.^ U.S. Supreme Court, "Marconi Wireless Telegraph co. of America v. United States". 320 U.S. 1. Nos. 369, 373. Argued 9–12 April 1943. Decided 21 June 1943.

31.^ "The Work of Jagdish Chandra Bose: 100 years of mm-wave research". tuc.nrao.edu.

32.^ "Jagadish Chandra Bose", ieeeghn.org.

33.^ Bondyopadhyay, P.K. (January 1998). "Sir J. C. Bose's Diode Detector Received Marconi's First Transatlantic Wireless Signal Of December 1901 (The "Italian Navy Coherer" Scandal Revisited)". Proceedings of the IEEE 86 (1): 259–285. doi:10.1109/5.658778. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/login.jsp?url=/iel3/5/14340/00658778.pdf?arnumber=658778. Retrieved 2007-03-13.

34.^ William John Baker, "History Of The Marconi Company 1874-1965". 1996. 416 pages. Page 296

35.^ George P. Oslin, The Story of Telecommunications. 1992. 507 pages. Page 294.

36.^ Gerald Sussman, Communication, Technology, and Politics in the Information Age. 1997. Page 90.

37.^ Physicsworld.com, "Guglielmo Marconi: radio star", 2001

38.^ New Jersey to Bon Jovi: You Give Us a Good Name Yahoo News, 2 February 2009

39.^ National Broadcasters Hall of Fame Accessed 2009-02-10

40.^ a b "CMC Electronics' Profile" (in English). CMC Electronics Inc.. http://www.cmcelectronics.ca/En/About/cmc_profile_en.html. Retrieved 2007-01-12.

[edit] Further reading

Relatives and company publications

Bussey, Gordon, Marconi's Atlantic Leap, Marconi Communications, 2000. ISBN 0-95389-670-6

Marconi, Degna, My Father, Marconi, James Lorimer & Co, 1982. ISBN 0-919511-14-7 - (Italian version): Marconi, mio padre, Di Renzo Editore, 2008, ISBN 8883232062

Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company, Year book of wireless telegraphy and telephony, London: Published for the Marconi Press Agency Ltd., by the St. Catherine Press / Wireless Press. LCCN 14017875 sn 86035439


Ahern, Steve (ed), Making Radio (2nd Edition) Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2006.

Aitken, Hugh G. J., Syntony and Spark: The Origins of Radio, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1976. ISBN 0-471-01816-3

Aitken, Hugh G. J., The Continuous Wave: Technology and American Radio, 1900-1932, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1985. ISBN 0-691-08376-2.

Anderson, Leland I., Priority in the Invention of Radio — Tesla vs. Marconi

Baker, W. J., A History of the Marconi Company, 1970.

Brodsky, Ira. "The History of Wireless: How Creative Minds Produced Technology for the Masses" (Telescope Books, 2008)

Cheney, Margaret, "Tesla: Man Out Of Time" Laurel Publishing, 1981. Chapter 7, esp pp 69, re: published lectures of Tesla in 1893, copied by Marconi.

Clark, Paddy, "Marconi's Irish Connections Recalled," published in ";100 Years of Radio," IEE Conference Publication 411, 1995.

Coe, Douglas and Kreigh Collins (ills), Marconi, pioneer of radio, New York, J. Messner, Inc., 1943. LCCN 43010048

Garratt, G. R. M., The early history of radio: from Faraday to Marconi, London, Institution of Electrical Engineers in association with the Science Museum, History of technology series, 1994. ISBN 0-85296-845-0 LCCN gb 94011611

Geddes, Keith, Guglielmo Marconi, 1874-1937, London : H.M.S.O., A Science Museum booklet, 1974. ISBN 0-11-290198-0 LCCN 75329825 (ed. Obtainable in the U.S.A. from Pendragon House Inc., Palo Alto, California.)

Hancock, Harry Edgar, Wireless at sea; the first fifty years: A history of the progress and development of marine wireless communications written to commemorate the jubilee of the Marconi International Marine Communication Company, Limited, Chelmsford, Eng., Marconi International Marine Communication Co., 1950. LCCN 51040529 /L

Hong, Sungook, Wireless: From Marconi’s Black-Box to the Audio, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2001. ISBN 0-262-08298-5.

Janniello, Maria Grace, Monteleone, Franco and Paoloni, Giovanni (eds) (1996), One hundred years of radio: From Marconi to the future of the telecommunications. Catalogue of the extension, Venice: Marsilio.

Jolly, W. P., Marconi, 1972.

Kinzie, P. A., Early Wireless: Marconi was not Alone.

Larson, Erik, Thunderstruck, New York: Crown Publishers, 2006. ISBN 1-4000-8066-5 A comparison of the lives of Hawley Harvey Crippen and Marconi. Crippen was a murderer whose Transatlantic escape was foiled by the new invention of shipboard radio.

Masini, Giancarlo, Guglielmo Marconi, Turin: Turinese typographical-publishing union, 1975. LCCN 77472455 (ed. Contains 32 tables outside of the text)

Mason, H. B. (1908). Encyclopaedia of ships and shipping, Wireless Telegraphy. London: Shipping Encyclopaedia. 1908. 707 pages.

Page, Walter Hines, and Arthur Wilson Page, The World's Work. Doubleday, Page & Company, 1908. Page 9625

Perry, Lawrence (March 1902). "Commercial Wireless Telegraphy". The World's Work: A History of Our Time V: 3194–3201.

Stone, Ellery W., Elements of Radiotelegraphy

Weightman, Gavin, Signor Marconi's magic box: the most remarkable invention of the 19th century & the amateur inventor whose genius sparked a revolution, 1st Da Capo Press ed., Cambridge, MA : Da Capo Press, 2003. ISBN 0-306-81275-4

Winkler, Jonathan Reed. Nexus: Strategic Communications and American Security in World War I. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008). Account of rivalry between Marconi's firm and the U.S. government during World War I.

[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Guglielmo Marconi


University of Oxford Marconi Calling

University of Oxford Online Catalogue of the Marconi Collection

University of Oxford Online Catalogue of the Marconi Archives

Guglielmo Marconi Foundation, Pontecchio Marconi, Bologna, Italy

Canadian Heritage Minute featuring Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi documentary narrated by Walter Cronkite

Nobel Prize: Guglielmo Marconi biography

Review of Signor Marconi's Magic Box

Information about Marconi and his yacht Elettra

Comitato Guglielmo Marconi International, Bologna, Italy

I diari di laboratorio di Guglielmo Marconi

Marconi il 5 marzo 1896, presenta a Londra la prima richiesta provvisoria di brevetto, col numero 5028 e col titolo "Miglioramenti nella telegrafia e relativi apparati"

List of British and French patents (1896-1924)

Sparks Telegraph Key Review An exhaustive listing of wireless telegraph key manufacturers including photos of most Marconi keys

Cherished Television, Part one: The Pioneers

Marconi Belmar station, InfoAge. (See also, Marconi Period of Significance Historic Buildings)

Marconi on the 2000 Italian Lire banknote.

Marconi's Use of Kites to Assist Wireless Communication

Marconi and "wireless telegraphy" using kites

Marconi's Case File at The Franklin Institute with info about his 1918 Franklin Medal for application of radio waves to communications

History of Marconi House

Marconi Memorial in Washington, DC

Transatlantic "signals"

BBC Reference to his first transmission over water

Faking the Waves, 1901

Marconi and His South Wellfleet Wireless (Cape Cod National Seashore

Priority of invention

vs Tesla

PBS: Marconi and Tesla: Who invented radio?

The Guglielmo Marconi Case Who is the True Inventor of Radio

U.S. Supreme Court, "Marconi Wireless Telegraph co. of America v. United States". 320 U.S. 1. Nos. 369, 373. Argued 9–12 April 1943. Decided 21 June 1943.

21st Century Books: Priority in the Invention of Radio — Tesla vs. Marconi

vs Popov

Who started the electronic era?

Academic offices

Preceded by

January Smuts Rector of the University of St Andrews

1934 - 1937 Succeeded by

Robert MacGregor Mitchell

Friday, 6 August 2010

Florence Nightingale WOMEN

Florence Nightingale WOMEN

by Qasim Cheema
Early Life

Florence Nightingale had been named after the Italian city of Florence where she was born in 1820 to a wealthy English family. Her upbringing should have been conventional for a well-to-do family in Derbyshire. However, she would not accept the social restrictions and ambitions of her parents and sought to carve out a life for herself. ‘It was as if I had wanted to be a kitchenmaid’ said Florence of her family’s horrified opposition to her plans to train as a nurse. How could such a cultured, wealthy, educated lady wish to spend her days with nurses whom everyone knew were a coarse, ignorant, disreputable class of female, all too often drunk or worse. It would shame her family. And yet, Florence had felt a powerful calling and would not be diverted from her chosen path.

Indifferent to the charms of ‘Society’ and turning her back on marriage proposals, she spent her days studying official reports on health, sanitation and hospital conditions. In her first London ‘Season’, she took to inspecting military hospitals, and by the time she was thirty she had visited and worked in hospitals all over the continent. Her training included periods at the renowned hospitals at Kaiserwerth in Germany and the Maison de la Providence in Paris.

She was more than just a caring individual. She was a talented, determined lady who had a fine brain. She made herself an expert in public administration and the relatively new field of statistics – even more unusual for women at the time. She became a recognised authority on hospitals and health care. In 1853 she was appointed superintendent of the Institution for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen in Harley Street. Her social standing and education did open doors that may have been denied to women of a lower social standing of the era. Her social circle would include Sidney Herbert, the Secretary of War. It was to be this contact that would lead to her most significant opportunity in the field of healthcare.

The Medical Calamity in the Crimea

Scutari Conditions

When cholera broke out among British troops at Varna, not long after their arrival, they were sent in ever increasing numbers to the Turkish Barrack Hospital in Scutari, Turkey. Despite being classified as a ‘General Hospital’ it was assumed that the facilities would be more than adequate to the task. In reality, it was a vast, dilapidated, filthy set of barracks. Beneath its four miles of corridors and rooms were great overflowing sewers which fouled the air of the whole building. It was damp and bare of any furniture – no beds, chairs, tables, buckets or even hospital equipment. Indeed, there was only one kitchen for the entire hospital. There was no cleaning staff and there were few doctors, nurses or medicine. The men were laid in rows on the dirty floors. They were often left unattended for days at a time – not even for a drink of water.

Such scenes were nothing new to veterans of the army, it had been ever thus. What was different this time was the presence of war corresondent William Russell of the Times. He wrote despatches that showed the British public what the conditions were really like. It did not help the authorities to be compared so poorly to their allies the French – who had made much better provision for the treatment of their troops. Accusing fingers were pointed at Sidney Herbert, the Secretary of War. As the minister in charge of the financial arrangements for the army, he was naturally blamed for the ‘criminally inadequate arrangements’. However, he was in fact deeply concerned with the welfare of the troops despite military authorities telling him that Russell’s accounts were grossly exaggerated.

Florence Nightingale Arrives in Scutari

Feeling that the military authorities were closing ranks around the growing scandal, Sidney Herbert took the decision of inviting his good friend Florence Nightingale to go and evaluate the situation for herself and to become the ‘Superintendent of the Female Nursing Establishment of the English General Hospitals in Turkey.’ She was despatched rapidly with a party of 38 nurses.

On hearing of the appointment, the Army Medical Department and the doctors at Scutari were less than impressed. Overworked and understaffed, they were not looking forward to the arrival of a society woman with nurses who nothing of army conditions and procedures. On her arrival, they did little to aid Florence. Her party were allocated just five damp and dirty rooms, a kitchen, two beds and a few chairs.

Florence refused to be cowed by the conditions. She did not complain and set about organising their area as efficiently as they could. In the meantime they would wait for the doctors to call upon their expertise and store of drugs and supplies that they had brought with them. The nurses were ordered not to enter a ward without the permission of the doctor. Many of the nurses were convinced that it was immoral not to help the suffering soldiers. Florence though was determined to demonstrate that they were there to work with and not against the doctors.

Turkish Barrack Hospital

The nurses did not have long to wait. Soon, casualties were returning after the bloody battle of Inkerman. It soon became a flood. This was further swelled by victims of the harsh Crimean winter. When a blizzard blew down tents and wrecked ships bringing fresh clothes, food and forage, many of the men were forced to spend the winter out in the open in the atrocious conditions. The hospital corridors would soon be crammed with men suffering from dysentery, cholera, rheumatic fever and frostbite. All of these were in addition to the battlefield wounded. The doctors soon turned to Miss Nightingale and her nurses for help.

Meanwhile, conditions outside of Sebastapol were deteriorating. There was no bread, tea or fuel getting through to the troops sleeping rough on the ground. By January there were 11,000 soldiers fit for duty outside the city compared to 12,000 in the hospital at Scutari. It was, said Miss Nightingale, a ‘calamity unparalleled in the history of calamity.’ To her indignant fury, stocks of preserved foods, lime juice, tea, blankets, clothing, medical supplies, and other necessities were held up in the ‘bottomless pit’ of the corrupt Turkish Customs House or were being withheld in the Purveyor’s store awaiting official examination and paperwork to be in order. It was little wonder that the British government back in London would fall over the poor conduct and organisation.

Worse was to occur as an epidemic broke out in the hospital itself. It killed so many people that the doctors and nurses were reluctant to go on their rounds. It was assumed to be some form of cholera.

Transforming Procedures


What came to be known as ‘Nightingale Power’ saw a transformation in the conditions of the wards, facilities and infrastructure of the hospital. The cesspools and sewers beneath the building were identified as being overflowing and disgusting. They were cleaned out, limescaled and flushed through repeatedly. This did the trick of removing the source of the cholera epidemic.

Wards were similarly transformed. They were repaired, cleaned, beds were spaced out. Windows were unshuttered and fresh air was made available. Nurses were responsible for checking the hygiene of the wards and ensuring hot food was available. Soon, Miss Nightingale could report to Sidney Herbert’

“Orderlies were wanting, utensils were wanting, even water was wanting. I supplied all the utensils, including knives and forks, spoons, cans, towels, etc… and was able to send instant arrowroot in huge milk pails (two bottles of port wine in each) for 50 men… I am a kind of General Dealer in socks, shirts, knives and forks, wooden spoons, tin baths, tables and forms, cabbages and carrots, operating tables, towels and soap, small tooth combs, precipitates for destroying lice, bedpans and stump pillows.”

Polar Area Diagrams

Indeed, it was to be her administrative skills that were really to revolutionise medical care in the British Army. All data was meticulously recorded – however insignificant. She could therefore prove, through the innovative use of pie charts, that her hygienic, organised approach worked. The death rates declined so precipitively that few could argue with her methods. Oddly, there was argument to be had. For her entire life she would never be convinced of the existence of germs. Pasteur was shortly to prove that they did exist and that some of them were responsible for the transmission of diseases. Miss Nightingale would cling doggedly to the idea that disease was spread by ‘bad air’. She believed that her data proved her case. Spreading out the beds, introducing fresh air etc, all helped the decline in death rates. Of course, the emphasis on hygiene, fresh air and good quality food would also help keep germs at bay. Her methods were right, her understanding of why they worked were flawed.

Florence’s transformation of the facilities at Scutari would be noticed by the new press who made her into a household name back in Britain. Queen Victoria would be impressed of the care given to her beloved sick soldiers. On asking if there was anything that she could do as Sovereign, Miss Nightingale wrote back asking for the pay of sick soldiers to be improved – which it duly was.

1857 Royal Commission

Florence then moved to the Crimea itself in order to supervise the administration at the Balaclava hospital there. This was nearly her undoing as the tired and exhausted Florence succumbed to what was dubbed ‘Crimean Fever’. For days she lay close to death being nursed by her own colleagues who eventually managed to bring her back to health. The country longed to have her carried back on a warship for a triumphant return to Britain. True to her nature, she slipped unnoticed back to London. She took a train north and walked home to meet her family. She never once appeared in public or made any public speech or statement.

Her lobbying however intensified. She would be a key witness to the 1857 Royal Commission to investigate the sanitary conditions and procedures used by the army. Women were not allowed to present themselves in person. However, her meticulously gathered records, pie charts and data spoke for themselves. They would form a key part in the recommendations for improvements that the Royal Commission would prescribe. It would lead to the professionalisation of the armed forces medical services.

The Mother of Nursing

School for Nurses

For the rest of her life, Florence would dedicate her energies to reforming the Army Medical Service, reform of hospitals and the establishment of nursing as a professional service. Her health had never fully recovered from her time in Crimea and yet she lobbied incessantly for the improvement in soldiers’ conditions and founded the `Nightingale School for Nurses at St Thomas’s Hospital in London. She would advise nations all over the world in the establishment of nurse training facilities and hospital design and administration – France, America, India and many others.

In 1860 her best known work, Notes on Nursing, was published. It laid down the principles of nursing: careful observation and sensitivity to the patient’s needs. Notes on Nursing has been translated into many foreign languages and is still in print today.

She died in 1910 at the age of 90. She requested not to be buried in Westminster Abbey which was respected. Six sergeants carried her coffin to the family grave at East Wellow. On the tombstone was inscribed ‘F.N. Born 1820. Died 1910′

Florence Nightingale WOMEN

Florence Nightingale WOMEN

By Qasim Cheema

Katherine Mansfield

By Qasim Cheema
Place of Birth Wellington

New Zealand

Born 1888

Died 1923


“Start very early. Titiokura – the rough roads and glorious mountains and bush.

The top of Turangakumu. Next day, walking and the bush, clematis and orchids.

At last come the Waipunga Falls, the fierce wind, the flax…”

Katherine Mansfield was born in Wellington as the daughter of a successful businessman. Her family was wealthy enough to afford to send her to Queen’s College, London for her education. She then returned to New Zealand for two years, before going back to London to pursue a literary career.

She quickly fell into the bohemian way of life lived by many artists of that era. With little money, she met, married and left her first husband, George Bowden, all within just three weeks. She then found herself pregnant (not by her husband) and was forced to stay in a Bavarian hotel by her concerned mother. She miscarried the child, but the whole sequence of events and experiences gave her the impetus to publish her first collection of Short stories The German Pension (1911). In that same year she met the critic and essayist John Middleton Murray. Their tempestuous relationship together brought Katherine Mansfield into contact with many of leading lights of English literature of that era. Most notably, she came to the attention of D. H. Lawrence. This attention is most obvious in his depiction of Mansfield and Murry as Gudrun and Gerald in Woman in Love (1917).

Her life and work were changed forever with the death of her brother during The Great War. She was shocked and traumatised by the experience, so much so that her work began to take refuge in the nostalgic reminscences of their childhood in New Zealand. For the imperial historian, it is this body of work that is the most interesting: Prelude (1917), Bliss, and Other Stories (1920) and The Garden party and Other Stories. (1922) She could evoke stunning mental images of the natural beauty of New Zealand as well as showing a keen ear for the oddities of Upper Class English and Colonial society.

The last years of her life were punctuated with bouts of the tuberculosis that would eventually kill her in 1923. This sense of impending and unnaturally early death also added to the sharpness and poignancy of her later works. Her husband, John Middleton Murry, would later publish many of her works, letters and papers postumously. However, he guarded her image jealously and is thought to have censored much of this body of work.

The British Empire

By Qasim cheema

At its peak, the British Empire was the largest formal empire that the world had ever known. As such, its power and influence stretched all over the globe; shaping it in all manner of ways. This site is dedicated to analysing the history of the British Empire: The triumphs, the humiliations, the good that it brought and the bad that it inflicted. For better or worse the British Empire had a massive impact on the history of the world. It is for this reason that this site tries to bring to life the peoples, cultures, adventures and domination that made the Empire such a powerful institution. It is neither an apology for, nor a nostalgic reminiscince of the institution that so dominated the world for over two centuries. Rather, it analyses and describes the vast institution that so influenced the shape of the world that we see today.
The Purpose of the Site
First of all, I would like to make it clear that this site is not a rigourous academic site. I am sure there are plenty of mistakes and oversights on my part; for which I apologise in advance. My interest in the subject is purely that of a personal journey of discovery; to give myself a reason to research what I regard as a fascinating subject. As long as I can remember, I have always been interested in imperial stories, films or histories. If I analyse it, I think that I am interested in the concept of why men and women were prepared to leave the world that they did know for one which was totally alien to them. Of course, not everyone had the luxury of choice; a decision was often forced upon many. But even so, I am interested in how people coped with starting new lives in exotic or alien lands with different cultures, geography, languages, etc…, etc… Often they tried to bring their own culture with them, although this did not always work as intended. Did they shape the destination or did the destination shape them? And what of the different experiences? What about those who went temporarily as part of a job or a contract compared to those who were trying to start a completely new life with no intention of ever returning home? There were huge population flows around and between the various colonies. This was an era before passports and immigration laws. If you had the means to pay your passage (or have it provided for you), it was more than possible for you to move around this vast institution. Many colonies would encourage migration in order to create a workforce or a sustainable population to inhabit and defend it. Indeed, what were the motivations behind the creation of the Empire itself? And who were the people who made it possible? These are just some of the questions and themes that you will find addressed around this site.
About the Authors I myself am a history teacher at a secondary school in Plymouth, Britain (although I should say that I do not actually get to teach a great deal of imperial history). I started the site in 1996 to try and combine my two teaching subjects of ICT and history. I felt that creating a web-based history site would provide me with an excuse to hone both sets of skills. I do not think that I realised just how large and popular this site would become over the years. It is currently over 7,000 pages in length and grows insatiably.
I have been privileged to have been aided by a whole series of contributors over the years. There are too many to mention here, but all submissions, images, etc… are gratefully acknowledged to the original authors or donors throughout the site.

One person that I should mention is my wife, Cheryl. She has recently started to spend a lot more time supporting the site and its development. Whilst she was originally a teacher herself, she diverted from that track in order to run her own business. Her role here then is to focus on the “non-historical” aspects of maintaining this website, e.g. the administration, creation and maintenance of databases and proof-reading (she has her work cut out for her).

Can you Help? If you have any material that you would like to add to the site then do not hesitate to contact me. Whether you have some old family photos, an article that you have written, a book or film review or whatever, if it is connected to the British Empire in some way, I would be delighted to host it on the site. Of course, there is a bulletin board where you can post short commentaries, requests or join in the discussion. The only rules are that posts are connected to imperial history in some form or another and that a high level of civility and politeness is maintained at all times. Otherwise, anything goes.
What Period of History is Covered?
Defining the start and finish for the dates of the British Empire has not been an easy task. It is generally divided into two distinct Empires. The First Empire revolved primarily, but not exclusively, around the settler colonies of the Americas. These would be termed the Thirteen Colonies and would gain their independence from Britain in 1783. The Second Empire then developed from the remnants of the First – particularly India – and were added to during the Napoleonic Wars and then throughout the nineteenth century and even into the beginning of the twentieth century. It is this Second, predominantly Victorian, Empire that most people associate with the British Empire. This site actually covers both – but it is useful to be able to separate the two entities. I tend to use the convenient bookends of 1497 to 1997. It makes for a pleasing five hundred year synchronicity. The first date marks the very first overseas British colony of Newfoundland claimed as a way of trying to guard access to the rich fisheries discovered near there. The 1997 date represents the British withdrawing from their last significant colony of Hong Kong. This date is a little more arbitrary in that there are just over a dozen territories still directly governed by Britain scattered across the globe. I suppose the Falkland Islands represent the biggest of these remaining colonies. It is actually said that the British territories are still scattered enough around the world that the sun still does not technically set on the British Empire. I believe that Pitcairn Island just about allows the sun to track over the Pacific Ocean and still be shining directly on administered British territory. Of course the sun never sets on the Empire on this website.
What Period is not Covered?
Confusingly, the two distinct British Empires outlined above are sometimes referred to as the Second and Third Empires respectively. It has been known for historians to refer to the Norman expansion of their Angle-lands (England) as being a distinctive Empire building era of its own. This empire building would include the addition of Wales, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the first establishment of outposts in Ireland. It does get confusing because the Normans themselves came from the North of France and so was it a Norman/French Empire or a distinctive English Empire? In fact the Normans were descended from the Viking settlers who themselves had settled in the North of France – so was it a Viking Empire even? This Anglo-French Empire, if I can call it that, would later be referred to as the Angevin Empire. It really began to disintegrate into the two distinctive countries of England and France during the Hundred Years War. Although even after that, England maintained a toe-hold in the north of France at Calais until Mary Tudor finally lost control of it in 1558, although the Channel Islands do still technically remain part of the UK. This website does not go into this medieval period at all. It does not really expand on the creation of Britain or the formation of the United Kingdom; the one exception being Ireland which had a profoundly complicated relationship with Britain and the imperial experience in general. I have regarded Wales and Scotland as integral parts of Great Britain, allowing for the fact that Scotland did not join the Union until 1707, partly as a result of its financially ruinous experience with its own Scottish Empire at Darien/New Caledonia. Ironically, the Scottish in particular would thrive within the opportunities provided by the British Empire. Technically, Britain should only be used from this 1707 date onwards, so the period of 1497 to 1707 should really be termed an English Empire – although Wales was part of that political entity.
Additionally, I have tended to avoid ‘European’ politics, wars and diplomacy unless they had a direct bearing on the Empire itself. For example, I have not covered any of the European campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars, but have mentioned many of the colonial clashes and the hoovering up of French and Dutch colonies by the Royal Navy. The two World Wars are treated similarly. The reason for this is partly practical. There is not enough time to do justice to these huge conflicts in addition to all the imperial conflicts. But there is also a political dimension to this decision which revolves around foreign policy aims. The British took very few colonies in Europe itself and those that it did were mainly for use as naval bases. Its foreign policy for Europe was generally to ensure that no single European power came to dominate the continent. It frequently joined alliances against the French in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the Russians in the mid-nineteenth century and the Germans in the twentieth century. Its armed forces were frequently called upon to serve on the continent, but it did not become involved in settlement or colonisation after the conflicts had been resolved. Europe was densely populated, it had a reasonably high technology level and the peoples there were becoming increasingly conscious of their nationalist and linguistic groupings. Besides, the fact that Britain was an island and that it had a large and powerful navy meant that it could afford to pick and choose its level of involvement and commitment on the continent and so it could turn its attention to maritime and non-European trade and opportunities instead. I have therefore concluded that it is best for me to avoid continental wars, battles and politics.

What is a Colony?

Imperial Institute
This is not as easy a question as you might expect. They were basically units of overseas territory controlled by the British Government or organisations (or even individuals) coming from Britain. There is a full list of these colonies on the Entering and Exiting the Empire page. It also explains the basic classifications of territories – although there were many exceptions.
Company Rule – these were when private companies – capitalised from Britain – tried to set up their own colonies as private commercial concerns. They frequently found the administration far more expensive than they expected and so often turned to the British government for help – particularly when wars or rebellions occurred.

Colonies were those areas directly ruled by a governor on behalf of the British government and representing the Crown. The governor was responsible to the Colonial Office in London, although he usually had wide powers of discretion. These were the most common form of imperial control.

Protectorates were territories where the local rulers could continue ruling domestically but they had ceded the foreign and defence aspects of their government to the British. In return, the British respected and were prepared to defend the ruler from foreign or internal threats.

Dominions were those colonies that were granted significant freedom to rule themselves. The settler colonies were afforded this freedom. Dominions were fully independent countries after the 1931 Statute of Westminster, although their Head of State continued to be the British sovereign.

Mandates were set up after World War One as German and Turkish colonies were passed to Britain and France to prepare for self government on behalf of the League of Nations. After World War Two, the United Nations issued further mandates.

In addition to these five kinds of ‘colony’ there were colonies set up by individuals, missionaries and even – in the case of Pitcairn Island by escaped mutineers! Of course these are the areas that had some measure of formal control. In many ways, British naval, industrial and commercial supremacy was so great that it effectively held sway over an equally impressive ‘informal empire’. The best example of this was South America where the Royal Navy was happy to uphold the US so-called ‘Monroe Doctrine’ as it suited British commercial and strategic concerns at very little cost to the taxpayer. In many ways, formal control was often extended when informal relationships collapsed or were challenged by other European rivals.

How Big was the British Empire?
Of course, the British Empire expanded and contracted wildly over the years. It became fairly large with the ever expanding American colonies in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, particularly after the defeat of the French in the Seven Years War. The American Revolution lost much (but not all) of this territory, but the expansion of British interests in India filled this vacuum. It really was the victory in the Napoleonic Wars that allowed the British to hoover up naval bases and toe holds across the world. These would generally provide the jumping off points for the massive expansion in the Victorian period. Advances in medicine and communications helped open up the last continent of Africa to European Imperialism in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century.
World War One appeared to add yet more colonies to the British Empire in the form of mandates. I have created a list of the populations and sizes of the colonies in 1924 a territorial highpoint of Empire – although economically the Empire would begin to enter its period of decline in this Inter-war years period. But it was still estimated at this time to cover between a quarter and a third of the globe and that it represented an area of over one hundred and fifty times the size of Great Britain itself.

The Second World War would see much imperial territory threatened or temporarily lost. Despite being on the winning side, the Empire would not recover from the geo-political shifts caused by this Second World War and would enter into a period of terminal decline. India was the first and largest area to be shed and then the Middle East and then Africa. Various Caribbean and Pacific possessions held on a little longer but most of these also went their seperate way. The last of the major colonies to be lost was that of Hong Kong in 1997.

Theories of Empire
Historians have long debated how and why the British were able to amass such a formidable and expansive empire in the years since 1497. And why were the British able to supplant the Portugese, Dutch and Spanish Empires in the Seventeenth and eighteenth Centuries and effectively see off French, Russian and German challenges over the nineteenth and early twentieth Centuries? These debates still rage and there is no definitive answer. For students, I have put a wider range of factors on the Student Zone brainstorm boards but some of the more commonly stated reasons are explained below.
Christianity, Commerce and Civilisation

This was a popular combination of factors given for the rise of the British Empire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth Centuries. The Protestant aspect of Christianity was seen by many within the British Empire as part of the larger battle with the more ‘Catholic’ nations of Continental Europe. Ever since the Reformation, religion represented not merely a spiritual difference between the Catholic and Protestant churches but was part of a far larger cultural and political competition between deadly rivals. Portugal, Spain and France were the Catholic nations who developed successful commercial empires before the English (and Dutch) were able to do so. Religion gave an excuse for this commercial rivalry to turn into military and political competition. The very success of the Protestant nations in challenging the Catholic hegemony in the New World and the East Indies seemed to confirm that God might be on the Protestants’ side after all – although this did ignore the fact that the English and Dutch co-religionists were just as frequently found at the throats of one another.

It was certainly helpful that the Protestant work ethic meant that Christian and commercial ideals could be reconciled fairly easily and in fact was thought to manifest itself in the improvement and development of British civilisation in general. In pre-industrial Britain, the combination of the these three factors would lead to the creation of the settler colonies in North America. Devout Christians would look for economic freedom from feudal relationships in this New World. However, mercantalism and then the industrial revolution meant that this commercial aspect could take on a more sinister role as monopoly power, slavery or exploitative working conditions became a temptation hard for investors or capitalists to resist. It was reassuring to many such capitalists that they could hide behind the idea that by investing in enterprises and schemes around the world that they were serving a modernising and civilising goal and so their consciences could be clear in such a noble enterprise.

The civilisation aspiration could be damaging in its own right. It assumed that British civilisation was innately superior to those it was subjagating. Indeed, the very subjagation process confirmed the superiority of British Civilisation! It then assumed that the new rulers were obliged to improve the subjugated peoples that it had taken under its wing with large doses of Christianity and commerce. Of course, this appealed to the positive aspirations that many Imperialists held for the future of a benign Empire. It offered a justification for Imperialism. However, it could also justify some of the more extreme Social Darwinist ideas of racial superiority and it allowed for treating the subject peoples as innately inferior.

In summary, Christianity, commerce and civilisation was a neat way to justify the uniqueness of the British Empire and yet give it a justification for continuing into the future. It could also be deeply patronising and justified cultural imperialism and racial stereotyping and yet there was a surprisingly large strain of truth behind this reason for the British strain of imperialism.


East Indiamen, 1685
Mercantilism and Chartered Monopoly Companies were becoming quite the fashion in the late Sixteenth and Seventeenth century (and would live on to the nineteenth in some cases. It was a cheap and relatively easy way for a Feudal Monarch to gain an income on the back of his nation’s prestige and maritime exploits. He (or she) could give permission to explorers to claim lands on his behalf and then authorise certain companies (with the aid of Charters) to exploit the natural resources in that part of the world in return for a fixed income to the Monarch. In many ways it was something for nothing for the ruler. He could provide exclusive (monopoly) rights to certain cronies in return for money, political support or promotion at home. It invariably, but not always, resulted in ignoring the rights of any indigenous or local peoples that were ‘in the way’. If the political entity was too large and powerful then alliances might be entered into or the Monarch might lend the Company the support of his nation’s military wings. The Spanish and Portugese long used this system of government, and the French and Dutch followed suit. It was to be no surprise that England (then Britain) would also follow this model – at least for a while. The Stuart Monarchs were particularly keen on this economic model – especially as it seemed to provide the permanently cash-strapped Stuarts with much needed money. Over time though, problems did arise. Companies were often more interested in making a profit than in taking care of the people it ruled over. When rebellions or riots broke out, it was invariably the government who had to come to the rescue as the company’s resources would be quickly depleted by long, drawn out and expensive campaigns. The famous ‘East India Company’ had to go cap in hand to the British Government to save it from bankruptcy but not before many individual investors and directors had made fortunes. They would sell their shares when it looked like trouble was looming – it was the small or institutional shareholders who invariably got caught out – or the British taxpayer!

Slavery would show just how exploitative and morally bankrupt this system could descent to. Plantations needed labour and labour was available, relatively cheaply, in West Africa. It was when slaves started revolting and rising up in rebellions that questions were asked back in Britain – why precisely was the government spending money and resources supporting slave owners against slaves? They had not shared the profits in the ‘good’ years, why should British taxpayers support them now that they were suffering. Surely it was there own problem.

Technological and Industrial Superiority

The British had no monopoly on technological innovation. Gunpowder, the printing press, navigational equipment were all developed and improved on the continent or further afield yet. Europe from the Fifteenth century onwards was becoming a dynamic place where new ideas were swirling around with unnatural haste. Britain was benefitting from this much wider European Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment and yet it was also in a position to take these ideas, and many others, much further as it would become the first nation to harness the power of steam which in turn would unleash an Industrial Revolution and an avalanche of high quality, mass-produced goods that would flood the markets around the world. They, in turn, would provide a technology gap that non-European nations would find difficult to compete with. Precision-made muskets, rifles, machine guns, train locomotives, steam ships would provide the relatively small and outstretched British armed forces with unparalleled advantages. They could take on vastly larger (and possibly braver) enemies and yet beat them off, subdue and suppress them. British weaponry was very effective and its communication systems allowed it to shepherd its meagre resources to devastating effect and even its medical resources would improve enough to allow its soldiers and sailors to penetrate deeper and more inaccessible areas. Britain was not the only nation to enjoy a technological advantage over non-European nations, but its combination of industrial might and maritime power meant that it had a peculiar advantage and one that would not be challenged until the development of guerilla warfare and tactics in the twentieth century.

Strategic Imperatives

Sir John Seeley once stated that the British Empire was acquired in a ‘fit of absent-mindedness’. What he meant by this was that the Empire was acquired for a variety of reasons that did not add up to a coherent whole. He also had in mind the fact that new colonies were being added in order to defend existing colonies and borders. The best example of this might be the colony of India. It was certainly regarded as the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire but it also meant that a surprising number of supporting colonies would be added to guard the so-called Jewel itself or the routes to and from the Jewel. For example, the British were keen to take control of the Cape Colony from the Dutch during the Napoleonic Wars to secure the main sea route to India. Likewise, islands like St. Helena, Mauritius and the coastline of Aden were all added for similar reasons. Of course, when the Suez Canal was opened in the 1869, it was not long before the British took a controlling interest in the Suez Canal Company and soon became involved in controlling the Egyptian administration itself. Then, once Egypt was a colony, Sudan and Cyprus became part of the Empire. Even within India itself, British control was expanded from coastal factories to dominate the interior and then becoming involved in acquiring the Himalaya region to defend the approaches to India. There was a relentless logic to guarding the next valley, river or island that soon got the British involved in places that had little strategic importance except to the colonies that it already controlled.

Maritime Advantages

The Royal Navy would undoubtedly become a formidable military institution, but it was not always inevitable that Britannia would rule the waves. Naturally, being an island nation, shipbuilding and sailing would be important skills and industries to a country like England. But, Portugal and then Spain had got off to a far more promising maritime domination of the seas from the fifteenth century onwards. They had come to understand the ship design, navigational and long distance skills required to explore and commercially exploit the routes that they discovered. The English were always playing catch up or were merely picking up the scraps left by the Portugese and Spanish. If anything, it was the Dutch and French who first challenged Portugese and Spanish control of the seas. This situation would not really be transformed until the eighteenth century. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 where the Dutch King William of Orange took control of the English Crown would reduce, but not remove, Anglo-Dutch rivalry but it would not be until the Seven Years War of 1756 to 1763 that the Royal Navy would be able to take on the far richer and supposedly more powerful Kingdom of France. Ironically, this was also due to the Glorious Revolution in that the Dutch brought sophisticated banking techniques (including the formation of the Bank of England) that would allow the British to borrow money to build a huge Navy with the idea of paying back the loans once Britain had been victorious. The French Navy had no such infusion of investment and so were hard pressed to see off the challenge from the Royal Navy especially on the global scale of what was really the first ‘World War’ in that it stretched over all corners of the globe. In some ways, the French were able to get some revenge by helping the American Revolutionaries in the 1770s and 1780s in their humiliation of the British. But this in itself would be a false dawn for the French Monarchy. They had invested huge quantities of money to challenge the Royal Navy (and help the Americans to win the Revolutionary War) but without the benefit of receiving tangible assets to recoup this investment. It is not an understatement to say that one of the prime reasons for France’s own Revolution was because their cupboard was bare after helping the American Revolutionaries. This of course would lead indirectly to the Napoleonic struggles between France and Britain. Napoleon would concentrate on his land campaigns, but he would be constantly frustrated or harrassed by the Royal Navy. For example, Nelson destroyed Napoleon’s fleet at anchor off Egypt in 1798 which killed off his Pyramid Campaign. Napoleon would try to combine the French and Spanish fleets to lure the Royal Navy across the Atlantic to allow him to launch an invasion force against England. The resulting battle of Trafalgar in 1805 would become the defining naval battle for the next century. The British did not fall for the lure and ended up blockading the French and Spanish fleets instead. Once these fleets set sail, Nelson directed an aggressive assault that would destroy the them and leave the Royal Navy ruling the waves until World War One and beyond. For the rest of the nineteenth century, there was no maritime power who could come close to challenging British domination of the maritime communication and trade routes. This meant that the British could hoover up all the outlying French, Spanish and Dutch colonies in the remainder of the Napoleonic Wars and could then guarantee the safety of all of these isolated outposts from at least maritime threats. Britannia really would rule the waves and this undoubtedly made imperialism easier to implement.

Marxist/Leninist Stages of Development

One interesting theory to explain Imperialism was borne out of the works of Karl Marx. In fact, it is more due to Lenin’s adaptations to Marx’s writings that colonialism was brought into the fold, but it relied on the historical determinism put forward by Marx. Basically, he believed that human societies were travelling through economic stages of development before reaching the Communist Utopia where all are treated equally and all goods are distributed equitably. Feudalism was a pre-condition for Capitalism which in turn was a pre-condition for Communism. It was argued that Capitalism had the seeds of destruction within itself – capitalists would compete with one another as they strived to make more and more profit – but they would be reduced in number but becoming more efficient simultaneously. Eventually, it would be so efficient that it would produce all the worldly goods that consumers would desire, but there would be so few capitalists left that the wage slave workers (who were becoming more and more exploited) would rise up and seize the factories and the means of production. It was Lenin who had to adapt this theory to why a revolution might take place in relatively non-capitalist Tsarist Russia which was barely moving out of the Feudal phase. He basically added another layer of inevitability to explain that capitalist Europe was competing for the raw materials and markets that colonies could provide. It was this, he explained, that would result in the outbreak of World War One, as European nations desperately competed with one another for colonies and once these ran out, would fight one another for domination – bringing the day forward for the ‘real’ Communist Revolution. He therefore advocated staying neutral in the Capitalist war but was not averse to taking the opportunity to seize power in October, 1917 as Russia was worn out by the long drawn out attritional, total war.

Communism was an easy ideology to sell to poor, exploited and oppressed peoples around the World, Communist organisations and groups therefore became major resisters and opponents to Imperial regimes the World over – especially when they became tied to Cold War politics. Unfortunately, when agricultural or primary resource colonies gained their freedoms with the promises of a Communist Utopia to fulfill it did not take long for disappointment, cronyism and corruption to undermine and discredit Communism as a viable form of government. It may have given some people inspiration to remove their imperial overlords, it just could not deliver on its promises.

Combination of Factors

Of course, there is rarely a single answer to the complicated realities of politics, economics and military rivalry. There is probably no single reason to explain how Britain created such a vast institution. Various isolated reasons, advantages and localised situations would combine to create a series of justifications for seizing isolated colonies that combined to form the huge and expansive British Empire.

How is the Site Organised?
A site this large is going to have to be broken up into manageable chunks and sections. I have tried very hard to anticipate the sections and areas of interest that might be needed to try and explain the many Imperial experiences. I have generally come up with a series of major sections which are laid out alphabetically on the right hand side of this page. Additionally, you can get to the sections from from the menus on the bottom of each page. If you cannot find your way through this navigation system, then try using the Search function.
How Should you Credit Information from the Site?
My name is Stephen Luscombe. By profession, I am a teacher and so I am very happy for any material on this site to be used for educational, non-profit purposes. I would of course appreciate crediting the fact that you found the information on britishempire.co.uk preferably with a link to the page that it came from. If you need to supply a date, the site has been in a constant state of upgrading and updating since it was started in 1996. If you have any specific requests or need further clarification then do not hesitate to contact me by email.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

دامن کو ذرا دیکھ ،ذرا بندِ قبا دیکھ !

جناب نبی آخرالزماں صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کی ختمِ نبوت کے حوالے سے اب تک
اتناکچھ لکھا اور کہاجاچکا ہے ،کہ ملک عزیز میں رہنے والاہر شخص محمد عربی صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کی عزت وناموس پر اپنا سب کچھ نچھاور کرنے کو اپنے لیے باعثِ نجات سمجھتاہے ۔ اسلام دشمن قوتوں کی ہمیشہ سے یہ کوشش رہی ہے کہ وہ اسلام ،شعائرِ اسلام اور پیغمبر اسلام صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کی شان میں گستاخی کرکے مسلمانوں کے جذبات سے کھیلتے رہیں اسی لیے معاندین اسلام ہر وقت اپنے اس محبوب مشغلے میں مصروف نظر آتے ہیں۔حالانکہ یہ مسئلہ اس قدر نازک اور حساس ہے کہ اس مسئلہ کی حساسیت سے غیر مسلم اقوام بھی واقف ہیں،لیکن اس کے باوجود کچھ بدبخت اپنے انجام کو مزید خراب کرنے کے لیے اس طرح کی نازیبا حرکتیں کرتے رہے ہیں ،جس کی وجہ سے تمام عالمِ اسلام کے جذبات مجروح ہوتے ہیں ،اسی کے ساتھ ہی وہ قوتیں اور لادین عناصر جن کی رگوں میں ازل سے ہی اسلام دشمنی دوڑ رہی ہے وہ مسلمانوں کے مذہبی جذبات مجروح کرنے کے لیے اس طرح کے اوچھے ہتھکنڈوں کو استعمال کرکے ایسے عناصر کی پشت پناہی کرتی ہیں تاکہ مسلمانوں کے عقیدے کی اساس پر ڈاکہ ڈالا جاسکے اور اس پر مستزاد یہ کہ اگر مسلمان معاندین اسلام کی ان حرکتوں پر پُرامن احتجاج بھی کریں تو ان مسلمانوں کو تنگ نظری کاطعنہ دیا جاتا ہے اور بعض مغرب نواز اہلِ قلم اپنے مضامین کے ذریعہ مسلمانوں کو روشن خیالی کا درس دینا شروع کردیتے ہیں ۔

اسلامی جمہوریہ پاکستان کے مسلمانوں کے دلوں میں ختم نبوت کے حوالہ سے اٹھنے والی بیداری کی لہر اور علمائے اہل حق کا احساس ذمہ داری اور ان کی قربانیوں اورمسلسل جدوجہد کے نتیجے میں۱۹۵۳،۱۹۷۴ء اور۱۹۸۴ء کی تحریکوں کے نتیجے میں مرزاغلام احمد قادیانی کی شیطانی ذریت کو پاکستان میں غیر مسلم قرار دیا گیا بلکہ ۱۹۸۴ء کے امتناع قادیانیت آرڈیننس کے ذریعے ان گستاخان نبوت کی منہ میں لگام بھی ڈال دی گئی تاکہ آئندہ کوئی دریدہ دہن کائنات کی محبوب ترین ہستی کی شان میں گستاخی کی جرأت نہ کرسکے ۔اس قانون کے نفاذ سے جہاں قادیانیت پر براہِ راست ضرب پڑی وہیں اسلام دشمن قوتیں اور ان کی آلۂ کار تمام طاقتوں کے مکروہ عزائم بھی بے نقاب ہوگئے جو بظاہر اسلام کا لبادہ اوڑھ کر مسلمانوں کی صفوں میں شامل ہوگئے تھے ،اور آپ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کی محبت کا دم بھرتے تھے لیکن درحقیقت وہ عدواتِ رسول صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم اور دیگر انبیاء علیہم الصلوٰۃوالسلام کے بغض میں جل رہے تھے ،چنانچہ اس قانون کے نفاذ کے بعد سے لے کر اب تک ان تمام کا مطالبہ اور مشن یہی ہے کہ کسی طرح اس قانون توہینِ رسالت کا خاتمہ کروایا جاسکے۔

ملک عزیز پاکستان میں اس مسئلہ نے زوراس وقت پکڑا۔ جب۱۹۷۲ء کے آخرمیں ربوہ کے ریلوے اسٹیشن پر کالج کے چند نوجوانوں کوان قادیانیوں نے وحشیانہ طریقہ سے تشدد کا نشانہ بنایا،اس وقت اس تحریک کی ابتداء ہوئی اور پھر اس تحریک نے زور پکڑا اور سینکڑوں گرفتاریوں اور بے شمار شہادتوں کے بعد قادیانیوں کو اسلامی جمہوریہ پاکستان کی تاریخ ساز رکن اسمبلی نے متفقہ طور پر غیر مسلم قرار دے دیااورانہیں اقلیتوں کے مساوی حقوق دے دیے گئے ۔ اس اسمبلی میں قادیانیوں کو اپنا موقف پیش کرنے کا پوراپورا موقع دیا گیا ،جس میں قادیانیوں کی طرف سے پیش ہونے والے مرزاناصر نے باون گھنٹوں تک اپنا تفصیلی موقف اسمبلی کوسنایا ،اسمبلی کے اسی سیشن کے دوران قادیانیوں کی طرف سے موقف پیش کرنے والے دونوں افراد سے جب یہ سوال کیا گیا کہ جولوگ آپ کو مسلمان نہیں سمجھتے۔ ان لوگوں کے بارے میں آپ کیا کہتے ہیں توانہوں نے جواب دیا کہ’’ ہم انہیں مسلمان نہیں سمجھتے جو ہمیں کافرکہتے ہیں۔ ‘‘چنانچہ یہی وہ وجہ تھی جس کی بنیاد پر ان قادیانیوں کے ایک رکن اوراس وقت پاکستان کے پہلے وزیرخارجہ سرظفراللہ خان نے بان�ئ پاکستان قائد اعظم محمد علی جناح کی نمازِ جناز ہ پڑھنے سے انکار کردیا اور جس وقت قائد اعظم کا جنازہ پڑھا جارہاتھا ،اس وقت قادیانیوں کے یہ افراد باہر بیٹھے ہوئے تھے ۔

اگر چہ ختمِ نبوت پر ڈاکہ لگانے والے یہ افراد پہلے نہیں تھے ،بلکہ امام الانبیاء خاتم المرسلین صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کی حیات مبارکہ کی آخری ایام میں اسود عنسی جیسے بدبخت نے بھی نبی ہونے کا دعویٰ کیا جس کی سرکوبی کے لیے امام المجاہدین سرورکائنات صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم نے ایک سریر روانہ فرمایا جنہوں نے گستاخ نبی کو اپنے حقیقی انجام سے دوچار کیا اور پھر آپ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کی رحلت کے بعدخلیفۂ اول حضرت ابوبکر صدیق رضی اللہ عنہ کے دور میں منکرینِ ختم نبوت کا قلع قمع کیا گیا اور دورِ حاضر تک مسلمانوں نے جناب نبی آخرالزماں صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کی عزت و ناموس پر کوئی آنچ نہیں آنے دی ،بلکہ جب کبھی کسی نے بھی رسالتِ مآب صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کی ناموس پر ڈاکہ ڈالنے کی کوشش کی اسے جانثارانِ ختم نبوت نے ناکام بنادیا اور دنیائے کفر کو یہ پیغام دیا :

کی محمد سے وفا تونے، توہم تیرے ہیں

یہ جہاں چیز ہے کیا لوح وقلم تیرے ہیں

پچھلے دنوں قادیانیوں کے دومعبدوں پرہونے والے حملوں کے بعد قادیانیوں کی حمایت میں ان کی نام نہاد مظلومیت کا واویلا کرنے کا فریضہ کچھ ناعاقبت اندیش مسلمانوں نے سنبھا ل لیا ہے اورمیڈیا میں موجود بعض ایسے افراد ان کی پشت پناہی کررہے ہیں ،جس کو دیکھ کراندازہ ہوتاہے کہ قادیانیوں کوعوام کے سامنے مظلوم بناکر پیش کرکے بھولے بھالے معصوم عوام کو ورغلا کر قادیانیوں کے خلاف رائے عامہ کو ہموارکرنے کی کوشش کی جارہی ہے ،خدشہ یہی ہے کہ ان حملوں کی آڑ لے کر ایک بار پھرکچھ مخصوص لابیاں مغربی ایجنڈے کی تکمیل میں سرگرداں ہوچکی ہے ،جن کا مقصد قادیانیوں کے حوالے سے موجو د آئین میں ترامیم لانا ہے۔

بعض مقتدرحلقوں کی جانب سے ان شکوک وشبہات کا بھی اظہارکیا جارہاہے کہ پہلے مرحلے میں امتناع قادیانیت آرڈیننس کو ختم کیا جائے گا اور پھر اگلے مرحلے میں قادیانیوں کافر قرار دیے جانے کا قانون بھی ختم کردیا جائے گا۔ افسانوں کو حقیقت کا روپ دینے والے ٹی وی کے چند نام نہاد دانشور اور پرنٹ میڈیا کے بعض متعصب کالم نویسوں نے بھی اپنی مہم جوئی کا آغاز کردیا ہے ،اور اس سلسلے میں گذشتہ چند دنوں میں شائع ہونے والے کالموں سے ہمارے موقف کی تائیدہوتی ہے ۔

جن میں سے روزنامہ جنگ کے کالم نویس نذیرناجی کا کالم ’’یوم تکبیر ،یوم تکفیر ‘‘ کے عنوان سے ۳۰؍مئی ۲۰۱۰ء کو ’’جنگ ‘‘کے ادارتی صفحے پر شائع ہوا ۔

اس کالم کے بعض اقتباسات ملاحظہ ہوں چنانچہ نذیرناجی اپنے کالم ’’یومِ تکبیر ،یومِ تکفیرمیں لکھتے ہیں کہ :

’’قائداعظم نے پاکستان حاصل کرنے کے بعد ساری قوم کو مخاطب کرتے ہوئے کہا تھا کہ آپ کا تعلق کسی بھی مذہب سے ہو،آج کے بعد آپ سب پاکستانی ہیں اور سب کے حقوق برابر ہیں ۔اس بنیادی نکتے پر قوموں کے وجود اور بقاء کا انحصار ہوتاہے۔مگر ہم نے اسے روزِ اول سے ہی فراموش کردیا،اورپاکستانی شہریت کے حقو ق سب سے پہلے جن بدنصیبوں سے چھیننے کی ابتدا ء ہوئی ،وہ احمدی ہی تھے۔ان خلاف چلائی گئی تحریک کا نعرہ بظاہر ختمِ نبوت تھا لیکن اصل مقاصد کچھ اور تھے۔میری عمر اس وقت سولہ سال تھی ۔وہی عمر جو28مئی کو پکڑے جانے والے دہشت گرد کی ہے ۔میں نے اس تحریک میں بڑھ چڑھ کر حصہ لیا ،گرفتارہوا۔جھنگ سے لائیلپور اور لائیلپور سے لاہور کیمپ جیل میں رکھا گیا اور تین ماہ کی نظربندی مکمل ہونے پر رہائی ملی۔تب تحریک کا زور ٹوٹ چکاتھا ۔ہوش سنبھالا تو پتہ چلا یہ تحریک درحقیقت کشمکش اقتدا رکا حصہ تھی۔ اورپنجاب کی سیاسی قیادت نے مرکزی حکومت کو ہٹانے کے لیے اس نعرے کا استعمال کیا ۔ ‘‘

آگے چل کر جناب نذیر ناجی لکھتے ہیں :

’’بھٹو صاحب کے دور میں یہ تحریک ایک بارپھر سیاسی مقاصد کے لیے چلائی گئی ۔اس وقت مذہب کو سیاست کے لیے استعمال کرنے والے گروہ زیادہ طاقتور ہوچکے تھے،بھٹوصاحب ان کا مقابلہ نہ کرسکے اور آئین میں ترمیم کرکے احمدیوں کواقلیت قرار دے دیا گیا۔‘‘

جناب نذیر ناجی کا یہ کالم اگر قادیانی گروہ سے اظہار ہمدردی کی بنیاد پر مبنی ہوتاتو تشویش کی بات نہ ہوتی اور ہماراحسن ظن آپ علیہ الصلوٰۃ والسلام کے فرمان ’’ظنواالمؤمنین خیراً‘‘(مومنوں سے اچھا گمان رکھو)کے مطابق یہی ہے کہ نذیر ناجی صاحب بھی قادیانی گروہ کے مکروفریب اور آپ علیہ الصلوۃ والسلام کی ختمِ نبوت کا انکار کرنے کے حوالوں سے بخوبی واقف ہوں گے لیکن بظاہرموصوف کے کالم یہ تاثر ملتا ہے کہ معاذاللہ مسلمانوں نے اپنے نبی کی ناموسِ رسالت کا دفاع آج تک صرف اپنے سیاسی مقاصدکے لیے ہی کیا ہے ۔ بقول ان کے بھٹوصاحب کے دور میں مذہب کو سیاست کے نام پر استعمال کرنے والے گروہ زیادہ طاقتور ہوچکے تھے۔ لہٰذا بھٹو صاحب اتنے طاقتور گروہ کا مقابلہ نہ کرسکے اور اسی بنیا د پر قادیانیوں کو پاکستان میں غیرمسلم قراردے دیا گیا۔اگر موصوف کی یہ بات تسلیم کرلی جائے تو قادیانیوں کو غیر مسلم قرار دی جانے والی قومی اسمبلی کے وہ تمام اراکین جنہوں نے اس بل کی حمایت میں ووٹ دیاتھا ،ان کی حیثیت مشکوک ہوجائے گی اور ہمارے خیال کے مطابق مسلمانوں کی اتنی کثیر تعداد آقائے نام دار صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کی ناموس کو دنیا کے حقیر سے فوائد کے لیے استعمال نہیں کرسکتی،مزید برآں موصوف کے علم میں یہ بات بھی ہوگی کہ قادیانی جماعت کے اس گروہ کا تعاقب ہندوستان کے ان جید اورنامور علماء کرام نے بھی کیا جن کے پیش نظر کوئی سیاسی مقاصد نہ تھے اور نہ ہی ان علماء نے برصغیر ہند میں کوئی سیاسی عہدہ حاصل کیا ،موصوف کے علم میں یہ بات بھی بخوبی ہوگی کہ پاکستان کی تحریکِ ختم نبوت کے تینوں مراحل میں ایسے علماء کی کثیر تعدا دموجود تھی جو باوجود مختلف مسالک سے تعلق رکھنے کے اس مسئلے پر مجتمع ہوئے اور عوام الناس کے سامنے قادیانیوں کے مکروفریب کو بے نقاب کیا اور دلیل وبرہان ساتھ اس فرقے کا تعاقب کیا ۔ آخر اس تحریک میں حصہ لینے والے تما م علماء نے بعد میں کیا سیاسی عہدے حاصل کیے ؟

آگے چل کر نذیر ناجی صاحب لکھتے ہیں کہ :

’’چندروز پہلے سے انٹر نیٹ پر گستاخانہ خاکوں کے خلاف زبردست احتجاجی مہم چل رہی تھی ۔جب ناموسِ رسالت صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم پرمسلمانوں کے جذبات بے قابو ہونے کے امکانات ہوں تو پاکستان کی ہر انتظامیہ سمجھ لیتی ہے کہ ان بھڑکے ہوئے جذبات کا رخ احمدیوں کی طرف آسانی سے موڑا جاسکتا ہے ۔‘‘

یہ بات سمجھ سے بالا تر ہے کہ موصوف کا یہ خیال آخر کس مفروضہ پر مبنی ہے ،حالانکہ اس سے قبل بھی گستاخانہ خاکوں کی اشاعت کے موقع پربالخصوص پاکستان اور دنیا بھر کے بیسیوں ممالک میں احتجاج ہوئے لیکن ان تمام احتجاجوں کے باوجود کسی بھی اخبار میں یہ خبر شائع نہیں ہوئی کہ مسلمانوں نے بلاوجہ کسی بھی ایک قادیانی فرد کے ساتھ زیادتی کی ہو یا ان کی املاک کو نقصان پہنچایا ہو،باقی رہی انتظامیہ کی بات تو اس سلسلے میں روزنامہ امت میں ان قادیانیوں کے حوالہ سے شائع ہونے والی ایک رپورٹ ملاحظہ کی جاسکتی ہے ،جو بروز اتوارمؤرخہ ۳۰؍ مئی ۲۰۱۰ء کو شائع ہوئی ، اس رپورٹ میں جہاں بہت سارے حقائق کو طشت ازبام کیا گیا ،وہیں اس گروہ کے متعلق بعض ایسے چشم کشاانکشافات بھی کیے گئے ہیں اور سوالات اٹھائے گئے ہیں جن کے جوابات تاحال دستیاب نہیں ہوسکے ،چنانچہ اس رپورٹ کے چند اقتباسات پیشِ خدمت ہیں :

’’سرکاری ذرائع کے مطابق قادیانی جماعت نے مقامی انتظامیہ کو نہ صرف یہ کہ آج تک شہر میں اپنے مراکز کی تعداداورمحل وقوع کے بارے میں آگاہ رکھنا ضروری نہیں سمجھا ہے بلکہ اپنے اہم اورحساس ترین مراکز کے بارے میں اب تک کوئی تفصیل فراہم نہیں کی ہے ۔سیکورٹی ذرائع کاکہنا ہے کہ قادیانیوں کے خفیہ مراکزکی وجہ سے ہی سرکاری اداروں کو مشکلات کا سامنا ہے کیوں کہ وہ ان کی حفاظت سے قاصر ہیں ۔‘‘

’’امت‘‘ میں شائع ہونے والی اس رپورٹ میں ایک سابق صوبائی مشیر مذہبی امور کے حوالہ سے یہ کہنا ہے کہ :

’’صوبائی حکومت کے ایک سابق مشیر مذہبی امور نے ’’امت ‘‘ کو بتایا کہ یہ بات ان کے ذاتی تجربے کی ہے کہ قادیانی جماعت صوبائی حکومت یا قانون نافذ کرنے والے اداروں سے اس طرح تعاون نہیں کرتے جس طرح دیگر مذہبی اقلیتیں کرتی ہیں ۔‘‘

اس رپورٹ میں یہ انکشاف بھی کیا گیا ہے کہ لاہور میں قادیانیوں کے چالیس سے زائد مراکز قائم ہیں ،پولیس یا حکومت کے پاس ان کے بارے میں کوئی ڈیٹا موجود نہیں اور قادیانی جماعت بھی اس سلسلے میں تعاون کرنے پر تیار نہیں،اور نہ ہی حکام کو وہ سی سی ٹی وی فوٹیج دی جارہی ہے جس کے ذریعے سے دہشت گردوں کو پکڑا جاسکے ،حالانکہ اگر یہ فوٹیج متعلقہ ادارو ں کے ہاتھ بروقت آجاتی تو تمام ترحملہ آوروں کی پہچان ممکن ہوسکتی تھی اور تحقیقات کے حوالے سے جلد سے جلد مثبت پیش رفت ہوسکتی تھیں ،آخرکیا وجہ ہے کہ قادیانی جماعت متعلقہ حکام کے ساتھ تعاون کرنے پر تیار نہیں ؟ یہاں پر یہ سوال بھی پیدا ہوتاہے کہ قادیانی جماعت اپنے مراکز کے بارے میں اس قدر حسا س کیوں ہے ؟ آخر کس وجہ سے ان مراکزتک متعلقہ حکام کی رسائی ممکن نہیں ہے؟

یہ تمام سوالا ت اس امر کی نشاندہی کرتے ہیں کہ قادیانی جماعت کی مشکوک سرگرمیاں اور متعلقہ حکام کو اپنے

معبدوں تک رسائی نہ دینا،اور اپنے مراکز کو خفیہ رکھنا ،آخر کسی وجہ سے ہے ۔یہ بھی ممکن ہے کہ وہ ایجنسیاں جو اسلامی جمہوریہ پاکستان میں اسلام کو پھلتا پھولتا نہیں دیکھنا چاہتیں،انہوں نے ۲۸؍ مئی کو قادیانیوں پر حملہ کرایا ہو، جس کا مقصد پاکستان کو دنیا بھر میں بدنام کرناہو اور اس بات کے بھی کافی شواہد موجود ہیں پاکستان کے خلاف بیک وقت کئی ایجنسیاں ایسی ہیں جو سازشیں کرتی آئی ہیں ،ان ایجنسیوں میں بھارتی ایجنسی راء ،امریکی کمپنی بلیک واٹر، اسرائیلی ایجنسی موساد اور دیگرکئی ایجنسیاں باقاعدہ ملوث ہیں جس کے متعلق اخبارات میں آئے روز خبریں شائع ہوتی رہتی ہیں اور پاکستانی ایجنسیوں کے پاس ایسے کئی شواہد موجود ہیں جن میں پاکستان میں ہونے والی دہشت گردی میں مذکورہ بالا ایجنسیاں ملوث رہی ہیں خواہ وہ لاہور کی مون مارکیٹ کا سانحہ ہو یا لیبرٹی چوک پر سری لنکا کی کرکٹ ٹیم پر ہونے والا حملہ ہو یا پشاور اور مردان کی مارکیٹوں میں ہونے والے دھماکے ہوں ،دہشت گردی کے ان تما م واقعات میں اب تک پاکستان کی مخالف ایجنسیوں کے ملوث ہونے کے واضح شواہد ایجنسیوں کے پاس موجود ہیں ،لہٰذا یہ کہنا کہ پاکستان کی انتظامیہ ناموسِ رسالت پر بھڑکنے والے احتجاج کو احمدیوں کے خلاف استعمال کرتی ہیں قطعی طور پر بے بنیاد اور من گھڑت ہے ۔

بالفرضِ محال جناب نذیر ناجی صاحب کے ان تمام مفروضوں کو صحیح تسلیم کربھی لیاجائے تو موصوف کے ماضی کے کالموں سے واقفیت رکھنے والے کسی بھی صاحبِ بصیر ت شخص کے لیے یہ سمجھنا اور فیصلہ کرنا دشوار نہیں ہو گا کہ موصوف کا قلم اورخیالات موسموں کی طرح بدلتے رہتے ہیں، ابھی تھوڑے ہی عرصے پہلے کی بات ہے جب مسندِ اقتدا ر پربراجمان ایک آمر تھا، تب انہی موصوف کاقلم اس فوجی آمر کی تعریف میں رواں دواں تھا لیکن اس فوجی آمر کے کرسی سے اترتے ہی موصوف کا یہ قلم اس فوجی ڈکٹیٹر کے خلاف استعمال ہونے لگااورتادمِ تحریر استعمال ہورہاہے لہٰذا ہم اتنا ہی کہیں گے کہ :

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ہم نے عرض کیا تو شکایت ہوگی

آخر میں اتنا ضرور عرض ہے کہ اللہ تبارک و تعالیٰ کی طرف سے دی گئی جان اور حضرت محمد مصطفی صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کے طفیل ملنے والے ایمان کاتقاضہ تو یہ تھا کہ موصوف کاقلم آپ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کی عزت و ناموس کے دفاع میں استعمال ہوتاہے ،لیکن ایں سعادت بزوربازونیست !