User talk:Djwilms

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Removal of Unsourced Allegations and Opinions[edit]

Hi there,

I have removed reference in the article on the Sino-French War that contained nothing more than unsupported allegations and opinions (e.g. reference to Chinese field commanders inflating enemy casualties). As you aptly noted, any such article must include proper citation, preferably from both sides and from neutral, third party sources. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:01, 21 April 2010 (UTC)


See my response to your comments in the discussion section of the Battle for Bang Bo (Zhennan Pass). This has to be resolved the way I suggested. We must remove all *opinions* such as whether the Chinese or French sources were more reliable, etc. *unless* of course you make clear that such were certain commentators' *opinion.* You will then have to cite the names of such commentators. That's how you do your research as any college professor worth his money would've told you.

To make things easier, here's my demonstration. Instead of saying "the Chinese figures of French casualties were exaggerated," you should say "in commentator X's opinion, the Chinese overestimated the number of French casualties, for reason Y, see citation Z." To make things look more impartial, preceding that statement you should also say, "French sources generally estimate the casualties at A, see citation B; Chinese sources, on the other hand, estimated the casualties at C, see citation D."

Anything short of completely objective will be taken as evidence of your sinophobic prejudice. Since by then you will be challenging the fundamental soundness of Chinese sources without evidence for the falsity of every single one of such sources. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:56, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Okay, here's the deal. I left your remark that the Chinese may have exaggerated French casualties. However, you must provide citation supporting that contention and add that such opinion was in fact an opinion held by the historian who wrote the source cited. The material cited could be your unpublished manuscripts. This is to comply with wikipedia's requirement that all "[e]ncyclopaedia content must be verifiable." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:56, 23 April 2010 (UTC)


(Mystery question).

And the answer is... Bouët, Alexandre-Eugène, 1833-1887 [1]. Congratulations for your great work on the Sino-French war! Cheers PHG (talk) 19:10, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Dear [PHG],

Thanks a lot for Bouët. The index to my book can now take one more small step towards completion ...

I see you were the author of that nice little map of the S-F War. I wonder whether you would care to make some minor edits to it? Specifically, I think some dates need changing:

The campaign in Taiwan lasted from August 1884 to April 1885.

The date of the Battle of Shipu was 14 February 1885, and Zhenhai Bay (if we agree to call it a battle, which I'm very doubtful about) 1 March 1885.

The campaign in Tonkin I would date August 1884 to April 1885.

The Sino-French War is conventionally dated from 23 August 1884 to April 1885, though I'm inclined to date it from the battle of Sontay (December 1883). Still, I've kept the conventional dating in my main article, so perhaps your map could also reflect this.

Incidentally, the picture of a French launch attacking a Chinese ship is ascribed in Wright's 'The Chinese Steam Navy' to the battle of Shipu, not Foochow. I think his ascription is correct, and have recaptioned it accordingly, but would welcome any confirmation.

I think I'll do the Battle of Bang-Bo next.

Cheers, David Wilmshurst

New map.
Thanks for the comments Djwilms. Here's an updated map. You might have to hit the refresh buttom on your browser to be able to see it. Cheers. PHG (talk) 04:40, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Dear [PHG]

I loved your Japanese print of the Sino-French War! Do you have any others?

You might be amused to note that I have used Bouet's christian names and dates in the article 'Battle of Phu-Hoai' I contributed today.

I've got a few French warship images at home that I need to add to the article 'Far East Squadron'. I've got Parseval for sure, but you've already covered the main ones. I've seen pictures of Lynx and some of the other gunboats in published books, but don't know whether they're available on the internet.

Keep up the good work on illustrating my contributions! I've so far balked at contributing images because of all the form filling you have to do on copyright, etc, so I appreciate contributions by others.


Is there any reason you keep on referring to Vietnam as Annam? Also Vietnamese names are usually written with the syllbales broken like Son Tay. Blnguyen (bananabucket) 07:06, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

A couple of good points. As far as Annam is concerned, I'm probably influenced by the nineteenth-century French sources I have been using for my book on the S-F War, which invariably refer to Vietnam as Annam and the Vietnamese as Annamites. Vietnam sounds anachronistic, which is also the reason I am using Wade Giles in my book for Chinese names instead of pinyin (though I have reluctantly used pinyin for Wikipedia contributions). As for the convention on Annamese place names, thanks for enlightening me. Again, the nineteenth-century French sources tended to hyphenate them (e.g. Lang-Son, Tuyen-Quan). My practice is, now I come to think of it, inconsistent. Thus I use Sontay, Bacninh, Langson, but also Tuyen-Quan. I have no objection whatsoever to adopting broken syllables for Vietnamese place names. Does that also apply to personal names? E.g., would it be Prince Hoang Ke Viem or do you need hyphens?

--Djwilms (talk) 08:21, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, the older colonial era books tend to use Annam a lot, although in more recent times, the main books about the colonial era like David Marr's books tend to not use Annam, except when discussing the explicit central third of Vietnam as a French protectorate. For Vietnamese names, they are always in single parts like Gia Long for both places and people - Saigon and Hanoi and Haiphong are basically the only exceptions due to prevalence in English. Blnguyen (bananabucket) 05:32, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
Also, how many more articles have you got lined up on this. I'm afraid to say I don't know much at all about the chaos in northern Vietnam in the 1880s. I have been doing a bit of work on the 1860s in southern Vietnam though. Blnguyen (bananabucket) 05:32, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Quite a few. For starters, Bac Ninh Campaign, Hung Hoa Campaign, Thai Nguyen Campaign, Bac Le Ambush, Lang Son Campaign, Jilong Campaign, Battle of Danshui, Blockade of Formosa ... I also intend to seriously edit the existing articles on Siege of Tuyen Quang and Battle of Zhennan. Then there will be articles on the Tonkin Expeditionary Corps and the Formosa Expeditionary Corps, not to mention the Cochin China Naval Division. Finally, biographies of Courbet, Millot, Briere de l'Isle (there's one already, I know), de Negrier and Giovanninnelli on the French side, and at least Liu Mingchuan, Sun Kaihua, Zeng Zizhe and Tang Chingsong on the Chinese side, plus elaborations to existing bios of Li Hongzhang and Liu Yongfu (or Liu Yung-fu, as it's presently titled. It's just a question of summarising stuff that's already in my book, so it shouldn't take more than a few weeks ...

--Djwilms (talk) 06:34, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

When's teh book being published? Who's publishing it? Blnguyen (bananabucket) 06:42, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

I was hoping for 23 August 2009 (the 125th anniversary, and all that), but HKU Press (University of Hong Kong) pointed out that anniversaries are only important for wars that people have heard of. So I'm now aiming for 2010. I've got to draw all the maps, for one thing. And there's a lot of Chinese material I haven't yet integrated into the main, very French-centred, text.

--Djwilms (talk) 06:46, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm guessing if you have a full book then these articles are going to be very detailed correct? How many pages are you intending the book to be? Blnguyen (bananabucket) 06:51, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

The book's around 600 pages long at present, and is written for the general reader of military history (I don't know whether you've read The Washing of the Spears about the Zulu War; it'll be a bit like that). I don't intend to give too much away in the Wiki articles, but enough to generate interest in the S-F War. The one I did this morning, The Battle of Hoa Moc, is about my preferred length. The account of the 1st Brigade's march and the battle takes up about 20 pages of my book. I could give detailed orders of battle if you think anybody would want them, but I wouldn't suppose there was that much interest, except perhaps among wargamers.

--Djwilms (talk) 06:59, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

--Djwilms (talk) 06:59, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Please note that section headers are not to be capitalised except when it is a proper noun. I have changed some for you. HAppy editing, Blnguyen (bananabucket) 06:28, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

A move[edit]

Regarding this move (moved Battle of Zhennan Pass to Battle of Bang Bo: the battle is more familiarly known as Bang Bo outside China), are you sure about this? I am no authority but "Battle of Zhennan Pass" gives 10x as many g-hits than "Battle of Bang Bo". Most of them are wikipedia+mirror hits, but of the remaining ones, "Zhennan Pass" still seems to outnumber "Bang Bo". I would say that this battle is NOT familiarly known, anywhere, anyway. --Миборовский (talk) 03:55, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

You're quite right that the battle is not familiarly known, anywhere, anyway. I keep forgetting that, six years ago, I had never heard of it either. I hope when my book comes out it will be better known. I think it deserves to be, and I also think that de Negrier deserves a decent biography. But on your main point, I've compromised by retitling the article to get both names in. Although I've brought in the Chinese deployments, my description of the battle is mainly from the French point of view, and given the nature of the article I think their name, Bang Bo, should take precedence over Zhennan Pass.

One of my aims in writing a suite of articles on the Sino-French War is to combat the inaccuracies that appear in various Wikipedia articles that deal with it. The Chinese Wikipedia article, for example, claims that the French lost 1,000 men at Zhennan Pass. I think not. I've also seen claims that the Guangxi Army had only 8,000 men, not 32,000. And Ky Lua seems to have got lost entirely in some accounts. The French defeat at Bang Bo elides into the Retreat from Lang Son, with no mention of this major French victory on 28 March ...

--Djwilms (talk) 01:36, 15 July 2008 (UTC)


Hi Djwilms! I added a barnstar on your user page, for your remarkable work on the little-known subject of the Sino-French war. Congratulations! PHG (talk) 06:13, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Thanks very much! How about the legion d'honneur? Djwilms (talk) 06:30, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

That could well be for when you actually publish your book I guess (I am looking forward to buying my own copy!) :) Cheers PHG (talk) 08:10, 15 August 2008 (UTC)


You had great contributions of expanding the article Sino-French War. If you don't mind, I need you to expand article First Indochina War and Cambodian-Vietnamese War, by creating many articles about the battles and campaigns of these wars, thank. (talk) 05:23, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Re Expand[edit]

Twentieth-century Vietnamese history is not really my field, I'm afraid. Once I've finished the stuff on the Sino-French War and the four Chinese regional navies, my plan is to go on to the Cochin China campaign (1860s), Francis Garnier's first attempt to conquer Tonkin (1873-74), and the Vietnamese can vuong resistance movement from 1885 to 1896. That lot should keep me busy for a few weeks at least. But I'll have a look at the existing stuff on these two wars, and if I think I can help by reorganising some material I'll have a go.

By the way, all my S-F War articles are default graded as Start Class or Stubs. I've asked for a review of the main article and a couple of other typical 'battle' articles, but my request doesn't seem to have attracted any attention yet. Do you know how to get these things reviewed?

Djwilms (talk) 06:18, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Can Vuong[edit]

Hi there. What stuff are you interested in from that era. I have written the articles on Truong Dinh and Pahn Dinh Phung. Blnguyen (bananabucket) 02:13, 26 August 2008 (UTC)


I'm principally interested in the period from the 'Hue Ambush' of July 1885 up to 1896, when the French could reasonably claim to have 'pacified' Tonkin. I got interested in what happened in Vietnam after the Sino-French War, as it has certain similarities to what has been happening in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. I've got a nice quote from Paul Puginier in April 1882, when he heard that Riviere was about to seize the citadel of Hanoi. He predicted that it would take the French 20 years to conquer Tonkin, and was not far out in his estimate. Needless to say, Riviere's young naval captains did not believe him.

Djwilms (talk) 09:24, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Image without license[edit]

Image:French Cemetery Keelung.jpg[edit]

Hello. I came across Image:French Cemetery Keelung.jpg. I don't understand why the license is shown as it is. Can you explain why it's public domain. I don't see anything to that effect on Find-a-Grave. Angus McLellan (Talk) 11:35, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi Angus,

You're right, it shouldn't have that licence. I think that was one of several images I uploaded that day, and it may have got tagged with that license through a process of copy-and-paste. I will ask the Find-a-Grave people if they don't mind releasing it into the public domain. If they do, I will delete it and replace it with one of my own photos of the Keelung cemetery (not as good as theirs, though, sadly).

Djwilms (talk) 06:39, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Tonkin campaign[edit]

Hi Djwilms! Congratulations for all your work on the Sino-French war. I think it is truely amazing. On my part I have been beefing up the background in France-Vietnam relations. I also just created the Tonkin campaign article to refer to the 1883-1885 events preceding the Sino-French war per se. I also made a template for the battles of the Tonkin campaign. I hope this will be a satisfactory way of classifying the pre-Sino-French war events of the period. I also made a template to offer a better coverage of French Indochina: Template:French Indochina. Cheers PHG (talk) 09:26, 14 September 2008 (UTC)


Thanks for the compliment. You've got some nice stuff too in the F-V relations article. I particularly liked Courbet at Hue.

Yes, it's difficult to categorise things like the Son Tay and Bac Ninh campaigns. France was not yet at war with China (indeed, she never was officially, as neither side declared war in August 1884), yet French and Chinese troops were fighting each other. Some people talk about the Sino-French War starting in 1883, with the Son Tay campaign, but clearly August 1884 was felt to be the real start of the war at the time. I've tended to use the phrase 'the period of undeclared hostilities that preceded the S-F War' in my articles.

I've been thinking about how best to disentangle Tonkin from the Sino-French War. One possibility might be for the article 'Tonkin campaign' to cover the period April 1882 (Riviere's seizure of the citadel of Hanoi) to February 1886 (de Maussion's occupation of Lao Cai). 1886 is also a good end point because it saw the official, ludicrously premature, declaration by the French that Tonkin had been 'pacified' and the downgrading of the Tonkin expeditionary corps to a division of occupation. There would then be room for another article from 1886 to 1896, Pacification of Tonkin, covering the insurgency in Tonkin and the real work of pacification. At the end of the Sino-French War the French only held the Delta securely, and large parts of western Tonkin were only brought under French rule in the late 1880s. I've spent several months going over Thomazi's blow-by-blow account of every skirmish during those ten years, and I am thinking of writing an article on the pacification, or at least one on the siege of Ba Dinh in 1886, a sort of Dien Bien Phu in reverse, with the French on the outside. The future Marshal of France Joseph Joffre, then a mere captain, had a starring role there, so that would also make it of interest.

Djwilms (talk) 01:23, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

P.S. Are you going to add Battle of Paper Bridge (May 1883) and Battle of Gia Cuc (March 1883) to the template, or do you consider the campaign as starting with Bouet's arrival in June 1883?

Djwilms (talk) 01:36, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi Djwilms, were you thinking of seeking WP:FA or WP:GA status for any of your articles in the long run? YellowMonkey (bananabucket) 04:19, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi there. I wouldn't mind, if readers thought they were worth it. Some of the articles need a bit more work but a few are just about finished. The ones I am proudest of at present are the main article Sino-French War, Bac Le ambush and Keelung Campaign.

Djwilms (talk) 04:47, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi Djwilms! Thank you for your comments. Just one point about the start of the Sino-French war, but my main source on the subject (Jean Randier, La Royale) states that there was indeed a declaration of war on 22 August 1884, which I guess would clarify where exactly the war starts: p.384 "Un dernier ultimatum avait été adressé à Pékin le 19 Aout. Il resta bien entendu sans réponse et le 22, Courbet apprenait que la guerre avait été declarée." also "Informé de la déclaration de guerre, le 22 Aout 1884, Courbet fait prévenir le Vice-Roi du Fou-Kien de son intention de combattre, par notre Vice-Consul, de Bezaure". Would you have any other information on the subject? In any case, I guess we could have "Tonkin campaign" from 1883 until 22 August 1884 (the beginning of the war), then the Sino-French war (22 August 1884-April 1885) which of course includes the Tonkin war theater during that period, and, to your point, Tonkin pacification after April 1885. What do you think? Cheers PHG (talk) 20:13, 16 September 2008 (UTC)


Randier is wrong about the declaration of war. On 22 August 1884 the French cabinet sanctioned an attack on the Foochow Navy Yard and the Fujian Fleet, but this was not a declaration of war. Technically, the attack was an action by France to assert her rights under an 'etat de represailles' (I can't be bothered with the accents) for the Bac Le ambush. Ferry couldn't declare war because the Chamber of Deputies would not have supported it, with the result that he fought the Sino-French War on a shoestring, conjuring up troops from wherever he could, mostly from the army in Africa. He was sustained by the French parliament so long as things went well, but with the Retreat from Lang Son in March 1885 the vultures gathered. I'm going to beef up the article 'Tonkin affair' to deal with the French politics of the Sino-French War. It's good back-stabbing stuff.

On your other point, although there would be a degree of overlap with the Sino-French War, I would date 'Tonkin campaign' from 1883 (let's start with Bouet and the creation of the Tonkin expeditionary corps) to April 1886 (the official date for the end of the campaign, Tonkin being deemed to be pacified), so that it runs for the life of the expeditionary corps. Although my focus has been on the battles with China so far, there was an awful lot going on behind the front lines to entrench the French positions in Tonkin, and I could easily expand what you have done already to mention the expeditions directed against the Vietnamese rather than the Chinese. It would also have the advantage that I could move a lot of stuff from Tonkin Expeditionary Corps to Tonkin campaign and keep the focus of the former article on orders of battle and officers. Then, as you say, a separate article on the real, as opposed to the official, pacification of Tonkin.

Djwilms (talk) 01:03, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Sounds good to me! Cheers PHG (talk) 04:34, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Siege of Đà Nẵng[edit]

See this. (talk) 08:23, 28 September 2008 (UTC)


Barnstar-stone2-noback.png The Epic Barnstar
Awarded to Djwilms for his work on Vietnamese history. YellowMonkey (bananabucket) 06:57, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Thanks very much for the encouragement, Bananabucket. I'll get through the entire French colonial period by hook or by crook, you see if I don't!

Djwilms (talk) 07:08, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Use of Cochinchina[edit]

Cochinchina look more common than Cochin China. (talk) 07:04, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Fine. I'll emend it whenever I come across it in my articles. I've already been using the adjective 'Cochinchinese' when referring to the tirailleurs cochinchinois (Cochinchinese Riflemen). Djwilms (talk) 01:30, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Right, because the original name is in French as Cochinchine, it's one word, no separate. So we will write the same thing in English as Cochinchina. Cheer. (talk) 01:59, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

New ideas[edit]

1) When you create articles about battles or any other campaigns, I would like you to add the "Infobox Military Conflict box", just like what I did.

2) For all articles that their titles had Vietnamese name, you should put (or redirect) them in origin Vietnamese words, which support Vietnamese tone marks. (e.g.: Lang Son Campaign to Lạng Sơn Campaign).

3) I think you had looked at article Bombardment of Đà Nẵng. There's something strange. You read the entire article, you realize that it mostly talked about the background, causes, materials, loses, and results. But for the bombardment itself, it had only but a few words about it. So if you more informations, please expand and write more about the attack, thank. (talk) 20:13, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi there,,

I've rewritten the article Bombardment of Đà Nẵng to remove a certain amount of repetition and to go further into the background and significance of the incident. I'm trying to find out more about why the negotiations failed and the circumstances in which the battle started. The suggestion that the French opened fire first is also intriguing, and I'm certainly open-minded about this. For the time being, though I prefer to rely on Thomazi, old though he is, than the history of Vietnam by Chapuis quoted in a previous revision, which seems unreasonably biased against the French. For the time being, I'd prefer not to use this source until I've looked further into the incident. If necessary, I will reinstate it.

Djwilms (talk) 09:21, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi there,,

I've changed the name of the article Battle of Paper Bridge as we discussed. I'm also beginning to add infoboxes to all the campaign or battle articles I've written where there was an obvious victory or defeat.

Am I right in assuming that the flag of Vietnam after 1863 was plain yellow (see my infobox for Capture of Nam Dinh)? If not, do you have a suitable flag icon for these infoboxes?

Djwilms (talk) 01:56, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Cochinchina campaign[edit]

Hi there,

Thanks for your comments. I should be able to tidy up the article Bombardment of Đà Nẵng as you suggest. I do have more information on the attack itself, and I'll put it in in the next couple of days.

Turning to the articles dealing with the battles of 1858 to 1862, my article Siege of Đà Nẵng is still a work in progress, and I intend to add a lot more detail on the siege itself in the near future. The article presently contains a lot of extraneous material better suited to an article on the campaign as a whole, and I intend to create an article Cochinchina campaign (1858-1862) (I can't think of a better title at present, but any suggestions will be welcome) and shift a lot of stuff from both Siege of Đà Nẵng and the related article Capture of Saigon to it. I am presently translating Thomazi's account of the capture of Saigon into English, and will shortly be in a position to add a lot of detail to that article.

I have no problem in principle with adding military conflict boxes to my articles, though they can often be rather simplistic, particularly in terms of counting casualties. And what constitutes victory and defeat? To take just one example, check out my article Keelung Campaign, which is one of my better ones. Then try to decide who won the campaign, and why. You could argue that it was a victory for the French, who won most of the battles, or a victory for the Chinese, who tied down substantial French forces in an inconclusive struggle around Keelung. Trying to resolve these problems has been one of the reasons why I have so far avoided using these boxes myself.

Djwilms (talk) 01:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)


Please see the above comments. Would you be able to do one of your neat templates for 'Cochinchina campaign'? It would initially include Siege of Đà Nẵng and Capture of Saigon, and would include under French personalities Rigault de Genouilly, Charner and Page. I eventually intend to create articles on Capture of My Tho and Capture of Bien Hoa to complete the military side of the campaign. And there would be space for biography articles of the Vietnamese commanders. There's a lot in Thomazi which I will put in shortly.


Djwilms (talk) 01:19, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Here you go. Cheers PHG (talk) 05:48, 2 October 2008 (UTC)


What a splendid template! Thanks very much. By the way, I'll be doing something on the attack on the Ki Hoa lines shortly. It may end up as a separate article, but for starters I'll probably place it in Siege of Saigon. Djwilms (talk) 06:18, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Background on French help with Gia Long[edit]

Hi Djwilms, I am a bit surprised with your writings about Gia Long and Minh Mang's dealings with the French and Pigneau. From my understanding, the modern books - anything since WW2, all say that the French govt didn't go through with the assistance deal of 1500 odd men and few boats and in the end, Pigneau arrived in 1789 in Saigon with free-lance French officers. Cady, Hall, Karnow, etc, all the guys listed in Gia Long all cite around < 300 and say that by the time Gia Long fully won in 1802, not many were left (only a few dozen) and by the time Gia Long died, only four were left. Chaigneau, de Forsans, Vannier and Despiau I think. Per the paper by Mantienne, which I cited in Gia Long and Citadel of Saigon, it appears that modern consensus is that the French trained the Nguyen military in the 1790s and after that the Nguyen understood how Vauban and European boats and forts worked and they then built the later forts themselves. I don't think Thomaxi views are the prevailing ones anymore. Thoughts? Keep up the good work. YellowMonkey (bananabucket) 05:58, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi YellowMonkey, You're probably on much stronger ground than me here. I've read up on Gia Long and Minh Mang essentially as background for my interest in the Sino-French War, and I haven't gone into their reigns in great detail. Having just taken a glance at the article Gia Long, I can see that there's a lot there that I wasn't aware of. I'm perfectly happy to revise what I've written already, but I'd need to get myself up to speed on this stuff before I worked out how to do it. But if you feel strongly about it, by all means revise it yourself.

Djwilms (talk) 06:15, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi YellowMonkey, me again. I've amended the section in question after doing a bit of checking. The mistake was entirely my fault: I'd just tended to assume that Vaubanesque citadels like at Son Tay had been built by French engineers. Thomazi, who is generally good on matters of fact if not of interpretation, attributes four citadels, all in Cochinchina, to Olivier de Puymanel. Here's the passage:

. . . we should mention Olivier de Puymanel, a volunteer who disembarked from Dryade in 1788 at the age of 20. The bishop so appreciated his qualities that he appointed him his chief of staff. When he died at the age of 31, in 1799, worn out by his efforts, he had accomplished a considerable work in Cochinchina, notably in directing the construction of Vaubanesque fortresses covering the principal strategic positions of the country—Vinh Long, Ha Tien, My Tho, Bien Hoa and so on—and which our soldiers, seventy years later, would be not a little surprised to find facing them.

So perhaps not Hanoi, Son Tay and Bac Ninh ...

Djwilms (talk) 06:57, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

I have a lot of books in PDF form that I can email to you if you want. And papers as well. YellowMonkey (click here to chose Australia's next top model!) 03:15, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi YellowMonkey,

Thanks very much. Do you have any books or articles that deal with the Cochinchina campaign? That's the area that I expect to be working on in the next few weeks, and I'm sure I'll soon reach the limits of Thomazi's account, useful though it is.

Djwilms (talk) 04:17, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

The more general book is by McLeod, which concentrates on the period from 1858-1874. That is more about politics and Tu Duc's tactics and is more about political strategy rather than military tactics. Nevertheless it has info about the Catholic minority and how the French and the Emperor tried to deal with them. There is a book called "The French Presence

in Cochinchina and Cambodia Rule and Response (1859 - 1905)" by Milton Osborne which seems to be more about the general French rule. Some other books that I checked out recommended "The French Conquest of Cochinchina 1858-1862" which is a PhD thesis by Nguyen Thanh Thi at Cornell under some famous professors who wrote lots of books. The third one is not in pdf, but I can send you the pages as images if you want. There is also a profile paper on Phan Thanh Gian - the main mandarin in the peace negotiations - which is on JSTOR which you should have because you are at a university. I also have a paper about the 19th century Nguyen forts and navy. YellowMonkey (click here to chose Australia's next top model!) 07:20, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

poke. If you drop my an email I will respond with the papers. YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model) 04:18, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Reminder again in case all this was swamped by the bot notices. YellowMonkey (click here to chose Australia's next top model!) 01:30, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi YellowMonkey,

I think I'm going to need to sort out my user page. It's getting a bit long. Of the books you mention, the one that immediately appeals is the paper on the Nguyen forts and navy. Having mistakenly assumed that some of the citadels in Tonkin were built by the French, I would be interested in establishing when they were built and by whom. This is more for my Sino-French War book than for Wikipedia, but I'll doubtless add a couple of sentences to Son Tay Campaign and Bac Ninh campaign and other relevant pieces. My office email is if you want to send it to me by email. Thanks in advance,

Djwilms (talk) 01:10, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

I've just sent them. YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model) 02:56, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Siege of Saigon?[edit]


I've been fiddling around with my new article Cochinchina campaign to incorporate material from your article Capture of Saigon. I'm wondering whether your article might be more profitably retitled 'Siege of Saigon'. The capture took one day; the subsequent siege lasted a couple of years (I've got a lot of stuff in Thomazi on both the capture and the siege). It would add to the somewhat weak category Sieges involving Vietnam, and would be on the same footing as the analogous article Siege of Đà Nẵng. What do you think?

Djwilms (talk) 03:31, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

No problem with me! Cheers PHG (talk) 05:27, 2 October 2008 (UTC)


Me again. I notice you have given the date 18 February 1859 for the capture of Saigon, whereas Thomazi's account gives 17 February. I've provisionally emended to 17 February, but if you have a better source for 18 February I will be happy to reconsider.

Djwilms (talk) 08:08, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Capture of Biên Hòa[edit]

Please move Capture of Bien Hoa to Capture of Biên Hòa. (talk) 05:32, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

You're great. Could you tell me, when you log in, how did you move that the edit history comes along with it? (talk) 07:05, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi there

Dunno ... I just went to the original article Capture of Bien Hoa, selected 'Move' at the top of the page, pasted in the name with accents and clicked on 'Move'. Everything then happened automatically. Djwilms (talk) 07:08, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Battle of Paper Bridge[edit]

I think the title is not okay. Maybe we can't translate directly, which means the article should be renamed as Battle of Cầu Giấy, Battle of Cầu Giấy Bridge, or Battle of Giấy Bridge, is it better? (talk) 06:17, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi there,,

In the French sources, the battle is almost invariably called Paper Bridge, though I have seen Battle of Cau Giay on occasion. I think western readers who know anything at all about Riviere's death would think of Paper Bridge rather than Cau Giay, so I think we need to keep Paper Bridge in the title somewhere. We could always do the same thing as I've done with the Battle of Bang Bo/Zhennan Pass, viz. put one of the names in brackets. How about Battle of Cầu Giấy (Paper Bridge)? Djwilms (talk) 01:39, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree with title Battle of Cầu Giấy (Paper Bridge), cheer. (talk) 02:22, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

The Military history WikiProject Newsletter : Issue XXXI (September 2008)[edit]

The September 2008 issue of the Military history WikiProject newsletter has been published. You may read the newsletter, change the format in which future issues will be delivered to you, or unsubscribe from this notification by following the link. Thank you.
This has been an automated delivery by BrownBot (talk) 22:20, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Interested in working on the French Revolution[edit]

Greetings, I got your name from the WP:FRANCE members' list. Are you interested in working towards a substantial improvement to the French Revolution article? It is one of the most viewed throughout the encyclopedia, and should be of excellent quality. In my dream world, I'd like to separate the article into multiple sections, with each editor taking a particular part to improve. I hope to see you at the article! Regards, Lazulilasher (talk) 17:18, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi Lazulilasher, I'll have a look at it and see if I can usefully contribute anything. I'm an academic editor by trade so I might at least do some copy-editing, even though it's not a period I'm particularly familiar with. But I'm tied up at present on a series of articles on the French in Vietnam (the Cochinchina campaign, the Tonkin campaign and the Sino-French War), so it might not be immediately.

Cheers, Djwilms (talk) 03:22, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Siege of Da Nang[edit]


Can you shed more light on the provenance of the image in the article Siege of Đà Nẵng claiming to show French troops disembarking at Da Nang in 1858? I ask because I have seen that image before in a French book on the Sino-French War, only there it claims to show French troops either at Thuan An in August 1883 or at Keelung in October 1884 (I don't have the book to hand in the office, so I'm relying on my memory). I would have thought that the uniforms, particularly the pith helmets, were those of the 1880s, not the 1850s, so I'm doubtful that this is really an image of the landing at Da Nang in 1858.

Djwilms (talk) 01:52, 13 October 2008 (UTC)


I've tracked down the picture of the marine infantry going ashore in Huard's book La guerre du Tonkin (Paris, 1887), and it's definitely from 1883 and depicts the landing at Thuan An on 20 August. I've therefore moved it to Battle of Thuan An. Nice image, though.

Djwilms (talk) 01:09, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Thank you very much Djwilms for properly identifying the image! Cheers PHG (talk) 05:20, 14 October 2008 (UTC)


I have just discovered the amazing amount of work that you have put into the Sino-French War related articles. I had started the Sino-French War article back in 2003 with a poor 2 line stub, hoping that someone would add material to it so that I could learn something in the process. Thank you and congratulations! olivier (talk) 06:45, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Dear olivier,

Thanks very much for the kind words. I have dipped into the history of the article and I noticed that it had some good stuff in the early days that seemed to get lost a bit later. I'm shortly about to publish a book on the Sino-French War, so I've got masses of stuff at my fingertips. I started contributing SF War articles to Wikipedia in May 2008, in the hope that people would spot and correct any mistakes before the book comes out, and things have sort of mushroomed since then. I find doing Wiki articles utterly addictive, and also very much enjoy searching for suitable images to illustrate them. I'm now heading back into the 1860s and 1850s with Rigault de Genouilly and learning a great deal myself in the process. I dare say I'll get back to Pigneau de Behaine eventually ...

Djwilms (talk) 07:18, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Dear olivier,

I have just looked at your 2003 stub. It's not at all poor: it combines the virtues of brevity and accuracy, which not all articles do. All my stuff starts out like that, also, though I normally try to add at least one footnote to prevent my articles getting tagged right from the start.

Djwilms (talk) 07:32, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Well, there was no tagging back in these days... Just out of curiosity: did you eventually get reviews and help in your research from posting these articles on Wikipedia? In order to move to the next level, some of these articles could be nominated as good articles. That would draw attention to them and generate feedback. You can nominate them yourself or tell me which ones you want to see nominated and I will do it (it may take a while before I do it though). olivier (talk) 07:38, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Dear olivier,

I'd love to see some of them upgraded; they're mostly stuck on Start Class or have not yet been noticed. My personal favourites at present are Keelung Campaign and Bac Le ambush, which are nicely illustrated. I'm going to be doing some scanning of images in the next few days from Huard's La guerre du Tonkin (Paris, 1887), which has over a hundred marvellous engravings of battle scenes, French generals, Vietnamese decapitations, etc, and a lot of the more pedestrian articles should blossom as a result. Anything you could do to upgrade Keelung and Bac Le would be greatly appreciated.

I work at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and I'm giving a talk next week to Chinese history postgraduates on 'Who won the Battle of Zhenhai?' I'll be using the English and Chinese Wikipedia articles as material for the talk. The contrast between the two articles is striking. I'll know that I've finally got through with my own interpretation of the SF War when people begin translating my articles into Chinese (or indeed, into French, for that matter)! Somebody has added some of my Chinese generals to the Chinese article on the Battle of Zhennan Pass, but they've still kept the absurd casualty figures of over 1,000 dead in the 2nd Brigade. Hence my sly comment at the end of my own article Battle of Bang Bo (Zhennan Pass).

Djwilms (talk) 08:02, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

You should encourage your history students to start editing Wikipedia. Asian history really is poorly covered on Wikipedia, partly because of a dearth is people who have and can read Asian hisotry texts and the fact that htere is not much in English. YellowMonkey (click here to chose Australia's next top model!) 02:16, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Dear YellowMonkey,

I agree with you completely. I'd also like them to start translating the masses of Chinese stuff on the Sino-French War into English. I can read Chinese, but they would be able to do the job much more quickly than me. I'll put in a plug for Wikipedia editing in my talk.

Djwilms (talk) 02:31, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Does anyone at your uni do Vietnamese history? YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model) 03:20, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Dear YellowMonkey,

I'm not sure, as I work as an academic editor for the entire university and have no official connection with its Department of History. I'll try to find out for you. I'm giving my talk on the Battle of Zhenhai on Friday merely in my capacity as an enthusiastic amateur. The good thing is that it has forced me to work on editing that particular article in the past couple of days, as I've asked them all to read both the English and Chinese Wiki articles on the subject as background to my talk.

Djwilms (talk) 03:59, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Thesis on "French Conquest of Cochinchina"[edit]

Would you like me to email scans of this, some of the info on the battles are quite detailed. YellowMonkey (click here to chose Australia's next top model!) 02:16, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Dear YellowMonkey,

Yes please. I've got some quite detailed descriptions of the 1873 battles involving Francis Garnier, but not much at all on the Cochinchina campaign (basically, only the battle descriptions in Thomazi's two books from the 1930s). He's accurate enough on military matters, but he gives only an outline of each engagement, and I'd love more detail.

Djwilms (talk) 02:34, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Flying across the ocean. It should have arrived now. If you want me to scan the maps in higher resolution, do feel free. I did start cropping the scans to save time but it started becoming a real time sink. I hope this gives better coverage of the battling it out. It also gives great detail on Tu Duc's political strategies and Vietanmese local militia. YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model) 04:45, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Dear YellowMonkey,

Thanks very much. I'll get back to the Cochinchina campaign once I've finished putting infoboxes in all my Sino-French War articles. And I see we now have lots of valuable additional information on the Beiyang Fleet, so I can update my tables in that article. I'm rather enjoying this Wikipedia editing. You never know what wonderful new stuff fellow enthusiasts will come up with between one day and the next.

Djwilms (talk) 04:49, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

How did the talk go? YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model) 04:52, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Dear YellowMonkey,

Very well, thanks. Some appreciative gasps from the audience (Chinese PhD students) of my photo of Arlington in Chinese dress (see Battle of Zhenhai). I appealed to them to start contributing to Wikipedia, and particularly to import more accurate information into the Chinese Wikipedia Sino-French War articles. And I discovered that the Department of History has a microfilm collection of the North China Herald (Shanghai English-language newspaper), so I can read the entire nine-months collection for the Sino-French War and see what they were saying in China about. I'm sure it will contain masses of fascinating new information.

Djwilms (talk) 04:56, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Chinese Ship Images[edit]

Dear PHG,

Wow! I've just seen your photos of Chinese warships from the Fujian fleet in the articles Battle of Fuzhou and Fujian Fleet. They're really something! But do you mind if I take them out of the tables I made and arrange them instead in a gallery of photos (with ship names in both English and Chinese), so that it makes the table more easy to read? See my article Tonkin Flotilla for the general idea.

Djwilms (talk) 02:53, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Dear PHG,

Have a look at what I've done to Battle of Fuzhou and see what you think. I've also removed the image of Dingyuan from the gallery of ships of the Fujian Fleet. It's a bit irrelevant in this context, and her absence from the battle is mentioned in the text of the article.

I'm going to do a similar table on the French ships at Fuzhou, with details of captains, crew, armament etc, so I can transfer the sketchy details on the French ships that appears at the top of the French photo gallery. The result will make the article look much neater, with two nice fact-filled tables and two impressive photo galleries.

Djwilms (talk) 04:24, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Dear PHG,

I've just added the skeleton of the French ship table. I'll fill it in gradually over the next few days.

Djwilms (talk) 04:50, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

This all looks great! Cheers PHG (talk) 10:44, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks PHG,

Keep hunting for ship images, both French and Chinese. I followed your paper trail to the Chinese article you got Yangwu from, and was delighted to find Zhang Peilun as well. I'd been looking for a photo of him for some time.

Djwilms (talk) 01:34, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

PS Did you like my skull and crossbones Black Flag Army flag in the Sino-French War infobox? A bit of a joke really, but see my comments under Talk for that article ...

Djwilms (talk) 01:35, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Dear PHG,

Congratulations on those lovely images you've just put into Battle of Fuzhou. I must get hold of Randier's book. I've not seen the photographs of the dead Chinese ships before.

Djwilms (talk) 03:10, 22 October 2008 (UTC)


Take it easy. I think it's ok to say that his victories were well-received by public opinion in France and that he was deified. YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model!) 02:42, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi Djwilms. It's OK really, don't bother. Since such expressions as "restored the honour of French arms" can be considered as an abstract and arbitrary value judgement, the best solution would be to present it as some authors' opinion, with actual quotes and references (there must be plenty of those), and this would nicely depict French patriotic sentiment at that time (a reality as you rightly point out). Ne vous laissez pas dévier de votre voie, Professeur! Keep up with your amazing contributions! Cheers! PHG (talk) 06:20, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi YellowMonkey and PHG,

Thanks for the sympathy and encouragement, guys. I'll hunt around for a suitable quotation from Henri Brisson, Admiral Galiber, General Boulanger or somebody equally eminent. Personally, I would have thought that General de Négrier's assessment was good enough, that Courbet had given hope back to France, but apparently not.

Djwilms (talk) 08:27, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

P.S. By the way, lovely Battle of Fuzhou images, PHG! I've just seen the latest ones. The oil painting of the attack by the torpedo boats is magnificent.

Yes check.svg Done with the cropping of the image at Siege of Tuyen Quang! (you may have to click the refresh button to see the change). I am delighted that you like the oil painting of the Battle of Fuzhou. I'll keep my eyes open in case there are more like this, but regarding Charles Kuwasseg, this seems to be it. Please keep me posted when your book is published. I will definitely be one of your very first buyers! Cheers PHG (talk) 07:08, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks PHG,

That's much better. I saw that image some time ago and wasn't able to get any better resolution than you have. Solution: buy it!

Take a look at Battle of Phu Hoai and Tonkin Expeditionary Corps for my latest image uploads on Bichot. Oh, the Qing soldiers photo is fascinating. I wonder where that was taken ...Djwilms (talk) 07:20, 5 November 2008 (UTC)


I hope you could find any picture about the bombardment of Da Nang. (talk) 02:25, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Hi there,

I'd love to find a suitable image for that article, but I haven't come across anything yet. I don't know whether PHG or YellowMonkey might have anything. They seem to have much more on pre-Sino-French War Vietnamese history than I do.Djwilms (talk) 02:28, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

I would like you to create article Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport fire from here, you may write a short paragraph, I will expand it later; and these categories:938, 981, 966, 967, 968 in Vietnam, thank. (talk) 19:23, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Thank you[edit]

Hi Djwilms. Thank you for your message! I have contacted the deleter of these images, because it is quite unclear to me why they were deleted, and in any case no warning was issued, making it is quite impossible for the uploader to react and provide the necessary information.
Yes, I am quite a huge fan of Silk Road stuff too. I wrote such articles as Christianity among the Mongols and expanded Rabban Bar Sauma. Some people meet these subjects with total disbelief, but I think these instances of cultural interaction are absolutely fascinating. Cheers PHG (talk) 04:46, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Article reviews[edit]

hi Djwilms, if you want a good review, I suggest you pick one of your more complete articles and submit it at WP:MHR because multiple people will come and discuss stylistic issues and such, rather than an assessment where they will just go to "B". It's also more interactive as a learning experience instead of sitting around reading policy documents and so forth. YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model!) 08:04, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Hi YellowMonkey,

Thanks for the advice. I've submitted Keelung Campaign (my personal favourite) for a review at WP:MHR, and will await the response with interest. I've had a look at some of the comments made on other articles, and they all seem to be helpful. I'll probably get told my footnotes are too academic, for a start ...

Djwilms (talk) 08:15, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

You seem to have gone to WP:MHA which is just the "B" and "Start" labels. not WP:MHR YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model!) 08:18, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Hi YellowMonkey,

Whoops! I'll move it. Thanks for spotting that.

Djwilms (talk) 08:20, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

That area is also well populated so you should get lots of tips. YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model!) 04:34, 13 November 2008 (UTC)


It appears that you are only wikilinking when the target article exists and will appear blue, because I see in your articles there are a lot of officers and military forts and places etc that are wikilinked and only blue and no redlinks. It's acutally encouraged for people to link to articles that don't exist to remind and encourage people to create the articles. So you should link them. Also I see you said on your page that you bolded articles on Sino-French War that you intend to create earlier, but I changed this to redlinks per the WP:MOS. I see you have done this in Hong Kong Morris also, although I think that if you created articles on the club members they will be deleted per WP:N. YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model!) 04:45, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Hi YellowMonkey,

Don't worry, I have no intention of creating articles on any of the 100+ members of the Hong Kong Morris, not even myself!

I understand the rationale for redlinks, and will try to be more generous with them from now on. I haven't been so far because I personally think that red links to non-existent articles look ugly and spoil the readability of an article. But that's just my own aesthetic preference. More to the point, they are an intimation of mortality. If I linked up every minor fort I mention in my Sino-French War articles (there's 20 or so in Keelung Campaign, just for starters), I could spend the rest of my life trying to write about each of them and I'd be dead before I finished. I suppose in theory someone might come along a couple of centuries from now and write an article on Fort Gardiol (an undistinguished French fort at Keelung, which existed for a grand total of eight months before the Chinese flattened it after the French evacuation in June 1885), but I don't really want to think about that prospect! As you have observed, what I've done so far is link to subjects which I think are sufficiently important to merit an article, and which one of these days I intend to write myself (some of the Cochinchina campaign French admirals come into this category). But is it the intention to link absolutely everything? What about, say, the company captains of French battalions that I mention in footnotes? I've put them in for the benefit of wargamers and others who like that sort of information. Personally, I would prefer to leave them unlinked until somebody demonstrates that they were notable in some way. That happened, for example, with Augustin Boué de Lapeyrère, a naval lieutenant in the Sino-French War whom I mentioned in the article Battle of Fuzhou. I didn't know, until somebody pointed it out to me, that he later became an admiral, and as such is the subject of a Wikipedia article. I then went through all my articles linking him up wherever he appeared. Something like that might happen again in one or two cases, but I would be surprised if many of my so-far unlinked officers turned out to be as notable as Boué de Lapeyrère.

On the aesthetic point, is it only me who doesn't like redlinks or are there others out there who also find them intrusive?

Djwilms (talk) 06:31, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

P.S. I have already had some useful comments on Keelung Campaign and am revising the article accordingly. Thanks for the suggestion of going for a peer review.

I too would only redlink names which I think have a good chance of becoming articles in light of the notability of their subject. Redlinking also works as a soft request for an article creation. It is your redlink to Léonard Charner that motivated me to right an article about him :) Cheers PHG (talk) 06:29, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Re: Battle of Huwei[edit]

Hello, Djwilms.

Regarding the articles Battle of Huwei and Battle of Tamsui, after reading your article myself, I came to the conclusion that they are indeed the same event. By all mean, feel free to merge the two articles as you see fit. As to the name of the battle, if it would help English speakers to understand this particular event better, please use the name of your choice.

No, I have not create any other article regarding the Sino-French War.

I was born in Taiwan, so, yes, I am capable of reading and writing Chinese. I have, as a matter of fact, edited or translated some English articles into Chinese. However, from my past experiences, Chinese Wikipedians tend to be more persistant in using figures from Chinese sources. I will see what I can do and try to keep the firgures on both English and Chinese Wikipedia consistant.

Best of luck.

--K kc chan (talk) 12:38, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Glad to hear that. Now it would be less confusing for people seeking information on this particular battle. Also, since you mentioned, I am the one that created the article Japanese Invasion of Taiwan (1895) under a different user name User:Kc0616, which I stop using more than a year ago. Most of the stuff were translated from Chinese Wikipedia, and since there aren't that many references, hence the English version cited very little references. If you don't mind using Chinese/Taiwanese sources, I can probably dig up some info on the militia for this article.
--K kc chan (talk) 05:06, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I do not know of any good book that you can use since I do not reside in Taiwan at the moment. To be honest, everything I know about this war came from online sources, and I have never read an actual book about the history of Taiwan.

Furthermore, not many people in Taiwan know about this war, since the government of Taiwan/Republic of China tend to downplay this part of history. (The official textbook used in school dedicates only one paragraph on this topic...)

Anyhow, the Chinese Wikipedia article has some sources that may be useful for your research.
They are all Chinese, though.
--K kc chan (talk) 07:35, 4 February 2009 (UTC)


You clearly have a advanced knowledge on the Cochinchina campaign , i ask of you if you could tell me the name of good books about this subject. Also we are having a long dispute over whether Spain had an sphere of influence and whether they wanted to create a colony (along side the french) in Indochina, could you please help us resolve this dispute ? [6]

Greetings--EuroHistoryTeacher (talk) 04:09, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Hi EuroHistoryTeacher,

I'm by no means an expert, and I'm heavily dependent on the accounts of the campaign given by Thomazi. Taboulet might have something on the subject, but I don't have him with me at present, so I'll have to get back to you on that. In the meantime, this is all that Thomazi has to say about Spanish participation in the campaign:

The Spanish presence alongside us was always motivated by the protection of the missionaries, though perhaps they too were thinking of material advantages. At around this time [i.e. 1861] Admiral Charner wrote to Colonel Palanca, 'The Spanish are our allies, not our auxiliaries. But there can be no question of partitioning the territory of Saigon. Spain may find compensation for her glorious sacrifices elsewhere, in Tonkin. Such is the spirit of the instructions of the emperor Napoleon.' In fact Spain withdrew from the affair without cashing in on this somewhat imprecise promise.

Thomazi, La Conquête de l'Indochine, 46–7

This, of course, says more about French than Spanish motives ...

I'm not aware of any authoritative accounts of the campaign in English. There's a brief account in Henry MacAleavy's awful book 'Black Flags over Vietnam', but MacAleavy is so unfair to the French that this book (written during the Vietnam War) is a travesty of historical writing. In fact, one of the main reasons I started writing my own book on the Sino-French War (nearly finished) was because I disagreed so violently with MacAleavy's version.

I'm very much learning as I go along for the Cochinchina campaign, which I have used only as brief background in my Sino-French War book. So far I have been using Thomazi's two books on the French conquest of Indochina, both written in the 1930s. I'm sure Taboulet also has a lot to say about the period. All three of these French works must be used with caution as far as motivation is concerned, but I've normally found them to be accurate in matters of pure fact.

Djwilms (talk) 04:18, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

If EHT would like to email either Djwilms or myself, you can get a copy of "The French Conquest of Cochinchina" a book which deals with the campaign. More importantly, there are a lot of pages about the political buildup, including the alliance with Spain and the details thereof. YellowMonkey (bananabucket) 04:54, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Djwilms (talk) 01:40, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Thank you![edit]

Hi Djwilms! Thank you so much for your testimony, I truely appreciate! Wikipedia can be quite annoying, even revolting, at times, but I believe that overall it is a good project. You once said that you did your PhD thesis on the Nestorians. It is actually an area I stumbled upon by chance, but found really interesting because of its implications in terms of East-West interraction. Please don't hesitate to ask if you need my collaboration on anything. It is a pleasure to have people of your caliber contribute to this encyclopedia! Cheers PHG (talk) 20:36, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Pescadores vs Penghu[edit]

I just checked your user page. You're writing a book on the Sino-French war? Wow! Pretty amazing.

I almost said that maybe I should just defer to you and admit that you must know what you're talking about in regard to the Pescadores. But then I thought "No, the guys writing a book! He must have all kinds of reference materials lying around. It's not like asking him to cite references means going to the bookstore or library." And if you don't have them lying around, you must be going to the library and/or bookstore frequently anyway.

Good luck on your book! Readin (talk) 03:38, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Dear Readin,
Please don't defer to me on anything to do with the Pescadores Islands unless you think my arguments make sense! My only interest in the islands is historical, plus the fact that I visited them once, in the course of researching my book, to drop a tear on the memorials to the French dead of 1885.
References. Well, it will need some work, though the last time I looked, the Times Atlas of the World called them the Pescadores.
I firmly believe that Wikipedia should not try to anticipate name changes but should follow the practice of the most authoritiative English-language sources. I don't know exactly how the policy of the world's leading atlases and encyclopedias is decided, but any decision to change a long-standing name must take into account several factors. Preferred usage in the country concerned must obviously be one factor, but cannot be the only one. Other factors must be whether the new name is likely to stand the test of time (which is why atlases normally wait a few years before accepting name changes such as Burma to Myanmar), and how well-known and well-established the existing name is. The degree of official support for a name change must be another factor, and here it does not help matters that Taiwan's government is recognised only by a few banana republics. Beijing has largely replaced Peking in English (except in historical contexts) because the PRC government wishes it so, and the Western world's academics and cartographers have been happy to oblige an up-and-coming power. Sad but true.
Even if the Wikipedia community decides to rename the Pescadores Penghu, as I greatly fear it will, I would still wish to safeguard the term 'Pescadores Campaign' for the unpleasantness of March 1885. I hate seeing names in historical articles changed anachronistically. For example, the battle between the French and the Chinese around Keelung on 1 October 1884 was fought for a hill invariably called Mount Clement by Europeans at the time. Given that the sources for the battle are overwhelmingly French (and it's not my fault there are so few Chinese sources for the fighting in Taiwan), I have duly called it Mount Clement in my Keelung Campaign Wikipedia article, but have then glossed it with its present Chinese name (Huo-hao-shan) and the Chinese characters. That seems to me to be the most sensible way of approaching this kind of problem. Any non-specialist reader who comes across a reference to the 1885 Pescadores campaign in a French source and wants to follow it will naturally expect to find the reference under the name Pescadores, not Penghu.
Djwilms (talk) 04:23, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

The naming convention that is Wikipedia policy starts with Use the most easily recognized name

Generally, article naming should prefer what the greatest number of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature.

This is justified by the following principle:

The names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors, and for a general audience over specialists.

Wikipedia determines the recognizability of a name by seeing what verifiable reliable sources in English call the subject.

It is those criterion that I hope we can find evidence on. There are other rules, but I doubt any of them apply here. Personally I don't really have a preference for either name. I've had approximately equal exposure to both and equal knowledge of both. I knew both referred to islands of Taiwan, but I only recently realized both were the same place. I regret this confusion because had I heard only one name twice as often, it would have clued me in to their importance and I would have made a point of learning more earlier.

Regarding the historical usages, I believe there is a Wikipedia policy or guideline that says to avoid anachronisms. I think they give an example of using "Gaul" rather than "France" when talking about events that happened there during the time of the Roman Empire. If that is the case it makes sense to continue to use the name "Pescadores" in the article about the Pescadores Campaign. I made basically this point a couple days ago to Gumuhua on his talk page. Readin (talk) 04:52, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Hi again:

"politically-motivated use of Penghu when the islands are normally known in English as the Pescadores; (b) the politically-motivated replacement of Wade Giles by pinyin; and (c) your bizarre habit of not using capital letters for French, Chinese, etc."

My aim was to use pinyin as the standard, i dont see how thas related to politics, unless u consider that Ma is now selling out taiwan to the chinese because pinyin will be the legal standard in taiwan starting next year (2009)..

(c), my mistake only, again, apologies. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gumuhua (talkcontribs) 00:03, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

Happy New Year[edit]

Traditional Banana Boat.jpg

Dear Djwilms, I hope you had a wonderful New Year's Day, and that 2009 brings further success and happiness! ~ YellowMonkey (bananabucket) 05:44, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

All the best with your writing in the new year.....YellowMonkey (bananabucket) 05:44, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Happy New Year[edit]

Hi Djwilms! Happy New Year to you. All my best wishes! PHG (talk) 07:39, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

PHG ArbCom request[edit]

I've posted a request for possible additional evidence at Wikipedia talk:Requests for arbitration/PHG/Evidence. Cool Hand Luke 18:52, 7 January 2009 (UTC)


Hi Djwilms! Thank you for your message, and good luck with the article! Here is the template in question. Cheers PHG (talk) 06:26, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

You're very welcome. I had made some contributions about the Nestorians during the Middle Ages (their contribution the spread of Christianity to the East), but I'm afraid I do not know anything about the more recent events! I guess it's generally better to avoid controversial topics on Wikipedia (I generally do so of course, except when my own contributions are challenged!) It is a great honour to be contributing with people of your caliber :) Cheers PHG (talk) 06:54, 15 January 2009 (UTC)


Hi Djwilms! I think I am leaving. It was a pleasure to work with you! Cheers PHG (talk) 14:10, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Some questions about the Pre-20th Century Christians of the Shemsdin district[edit]

Hello Djwilms,

I have recently replied to your post in the discussion page of the Assyrian Genocide article, in which I refuted your opinion. However, looking back I do agree that the figures may be overestimated. Still, I think Cutts' population estimates should be taken with a grain of salt. There were undoubtedly villages and other dwellings he missed on his travels, and the time at which they were taken predated the massacres by at least 40 years.

At any rate, I have only had a chance to read a few pages of your book on Google, but I did go through Cutts' Christians Under the Crescent in Asia quite thoroughly. In the meantime, I was wondering if you could help me with something. My brother and I are in the process of making our family tree, and it turns out that my great great grandfather was a Malek of an Assyrian village in the Shamezdin (Shemsdin) district. His name was Malek Breemu (or Brīmu), and he was the malek of Baţīmu (or Badtemu, Batīmu). Have you ever come by this village or the name Malek Breemu in your review of the literature and manuscripts when writing your thesis/book? Malek Breemu would have been alive around the same time in which Cutts' book was in the process of being written (i.e. during his travels), roughly corresponding to the mid-19th century.

I have a feeling that the village Baţīmu may in fact be the Bet Daiwe (another spelling I have seen is Bitiwo) or Bidiwi as it appears in Cutts' list in the appendix of his book.

I'm sorry for the long post, but I am very eager to learn more about my family's history. We Assyrians have a very limited knowledge base when it comes to such matters. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Regards, Šarukinu (talk) 18:49, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

US/British English[edit]

Thanks for catching a couple of my typos in the article Pescadores Campaign (1895). You have also 'Americanised' British spelling in a couple of cases. I don't mind in the least, as in my real-life job I am an academic editor at a university where articles appear with both types of spelling and often a mixture of both, and my only aim is to ensure consistency and compliance with the guidelines of whatever journal will be publishing them. But I'm interested. Is there a Wikipedia policy on US/Brit English? I had assumed, simply from reading various articles, that you could use either. Perhaps you could enlighten me.

Djwilms (talk) 04:08, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Good day sir! I had noticed this article was not assessed for MILHIST, and I did copy-edit it first. Sorry about mixing American and English styles, feel free to undo any of them. The only policy I know of is to be consistent within the article, either to use all USA or all Brit, for text as well as for dates. I saw the dates formatted as January 1, 1895, (except for the intro) and assumed the American style was in play. Here's the link to the style guide for MILHIST. Hope this helps. Kresock (talk) 04:24, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

French victory?[edit]

Someone had changed the result in Sino-French War to ceasefire. Is it really true, I read the article and felt it's a French victory. (talk) 03:57, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

The truth[edit]

Please read the "aftermath" section of the Sino-French war article. It states that France got "most of what it wanted". If you read the section, it should answer a few questions. Also, look at most of the battles and you will see China lost most of them and suffered heavier causalties. User:Reenem (talk)

Re: Battle of Fuzhou[edit]

Yes, I live in Fuzhou now, working for China Telecom. I'm looking forward to your visit to my hometown and I would like to meet you then. I have two nineteenth century books (PDF version) concerning the Sino-French War which I'd love to share with you: one is The Foochow Arsenal and Its Results by Prosper Giquel and the other is The French at Foochow by James F. Roche and L. L. Cowen. Please send me an e-mail if you are interested. --GnuDoyng (talk) 13:32, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Re: Battle of Changhsing[edit]

I believe it is 邱鳳揚, according to the sources.

--K kc chan (talk) 07:51, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Please do let me know when you finish and publish your book. I look forward to see it.
--K kc chan (talk) 00:58, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Keelung Campaign A review[edit]

Are you going through with it? You haven't started a reveiw page. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 02:04, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Bombardment of Đà Nẵng[edit]

There's something surpried me about this incident. If you check the French article, it also said that. This battle occurred within a day only, the French are undamaged, but how can the Vietnamese casualties be up to 1200. I'am a little doubt about it, do you have any particular source about it?

Also, I read some other sources and they said it took place on Apr 15, not 25. (talk) 01:00, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

Liu Yongfu & the Black Flags[edit]

Good job ! When will your book be ready ? and what about the copyright ?

I have removed the paragraph in chinglish made by Hans yulun lai, a known vandal on the Black Flag Army page.

I also have a few questions and remarks on Liu Yongfu:

1. 1.a. Jeffrey Barlow, in “The Zhuang - A Longitudinal Study of Their History and Their Culture” [7] (Jan. 2001) and in “The Zhuang in The Sino-Vietnamese Frontier during the Qing-Era” [8] (Oct. 10-2002) says “He was a Hakka, his family originally from the southeast region at Bobai county in Wuzhou prefecture near the Vietnamese border. The family moved steadily west in succeeding generations and resided in Shangen at Liu's birth, about 1837.” He cites Zhong-Fa Zhanzheng Diaocha Ciliao Shilu. [The Veritable Record of the Materials of the Investigation of the Sino-French War] Guangxi Zhuangzu Zizhichu Bowuguan Xiuding. (The Museum of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region) (ed.) Guangxi Renmin Chubanse, Nanning: 1982. p. a source – which I have not seen. For Barlow, Liu was therefore born in Shangen.

1.b. Troutrea (a pseudonym) in [9] says that Liu was born in Bobai, Guangxi. He must have confused 博白 with Liu’s place of birth.

1.c. From what I know, Liu was effectively born in Qinzhou (欽州) (probably pronounced locally as Chinhsin).

1.d. You also say that Liu was born in Qinzhou, quoting Lung Chang [龍章], Yueh-nan yu Chung-fa chan-cheng [越南與中法戰爭, Vietnam and the Sino-French War] (Taipei, 1993), document which I do not have.

==> Since Liu said in his memoirs that he was born Qinzhou why does Lung Chang say it is Shangen (Shang’en or Shan-gen?). Are these two names for the same place? Or Liu was born twice? Or had he a hidden brother?

2. McAleavy p. 99 does not give the name of the place, but says that it was “in the extreme southwest of Guangdong province, close to the Vietnamese border and within a few miles of the sea”. The same sentence is found in Wikipedia. My notes (source unknown) and [10] as well as [11] say that Qinzhou was in Guangdong province at the time of Liu’s birth, but is now in Guangxi.

==> If this is right, it could be clarified - this would explain why Liu is born in Guangdong for some, Guangxi for others.

3. In 1857, the starving Liu and his half-brother had first joined the band of Zheng San (Ch’eng San, 鄭三), which himself joined forces with Wu Er (吳二). After the death of his half-brother, Liu left them for the band of Wang Shilin (王士林), followed soon by … Wu Er. Then he joined the band of Huang Sihong (黃思宏) and later defected to Wu Yuanqing (Wu Yuan-ch'ing, 吳元清). My notes say that this gentleman was also named Wu Si (吳四) (I assume there must have been plenty of bandits named Wu, who had to be numbered) and Wu Lingyun (~吳凌雲 – the second hanzi is wrong, I cannot find it – replace the bottom with 土). Here, my note are probably wrong, since the father of Wu Yuanqing was Wu Lingyun, who was, as Barlow (2002) says, the head of one of the Zhuang rebellions and creator of the short-lived Yanlinguo - 廷陵国 or 延陵国, it’s another sino-viet byzantine debate – see [12]..

Soon after Liu joined his band Wu Yuanqing was succeeded by his son, the better known Wu Yazhong (Wu Ya-chung, 吳亞忠) who has a page in Japanese Wikipedia ([13]) and was also named Wu Azhong (Wu Ah-chung, 吳阿忠), as in McAleavy, or Wu Hezhong or even, to make things worse, Wu Zhong (Wu Chung, 吳忠).

You say that Wu Yuanqing “held a commission from the Taipings”. Although Wu Yuanqing and, later, Wu Yazhong pretended they were Taiping princes, no Taiping ot Taiping-related document or historian have documented this allegation. The Taipings were far away from Guangxi and Wu could say whatever they wanted.

Like many others, the Wu Yuanqing – Wu Yazhong militia had benefited from what Li Wei [14] calls nicely the “Taiping domino effect”, but they had nothing to do with the Taiping. Wu Yazhong had indeed recruited new members in the Taiping prefecture, which he raided, but it would be misleading to say that these were “former Taipings”.

In the same way, neither Liu Yongfu nor the Black Flags ever had any connection with the Taiping. There may have been among the Black Flags a few defectors from the early Taiping rebellion in Guangxi, but this was much further North. Or there may have been some former Taipings fleeing after their defeats (if they had crossed into Vietnam; they would have rather joined the Yellow Flags). The old French literature (Dupuis and others) is full of statements on links between Black Flags and Taipings, but without evidence.

==> So I have removed the sentence “splinter remnant of the Taiping rebels” in the Black Flags page. If you have evidence of relations, you may undo it, but I am convinced that if they were “splinter remnant”, it was not from the Taipings.

Good job! You made me like Wikipedia!

P.S.1 Why don't you move the Table of contents up?

André de StCoeur (talk) 01:50, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Dear André de StCoeur,

Thanks very much for your comments. I've gone back to Lung Chang to look up Liu's birthplace and Taiping connections, or lack thereof, and have discovered, interestingly, that what he says about Liu Yongfu in the published Chinese text (Taipei 1993) of Yueh-nan yu Chung-fa chan-cheng (Vietnam and the Sino-French War) differs slightly from what he says in his later (unpublished) French translation of this book. The Chinese text (in my English translation) reads thus:

The Annamese emperor Tu Duc, unable to make any effective resistance to Garnier’s incursions, sent an envoy to ask Liu Yung-fu to take the field. Liu Yung-fu, who was then at Hung Hoa, responded eagerly to the Annamese request. Liu Yung-fu (or Liu I) was a remarkable man. He began his career as a bandit in southern China, and went on to invade Tonkin, defend Annam against the French, serve as a general in the Chinese army and finally resist the Japanese invasion of Formosa as commander-in-chief of the so-called 'Democratic Republic of Taiwan'. Liu Yung-fu was born on 10 October 1837 in Ch'in-chou (欽州) in Kwangtung province. When he was eight his parents moved to Shang-ssu-chou (上思州) in Kwangsi. His family was poor, living by manual work for others, and was only just able to scrape a living. In the 1850s Hung Hsiu-ch’uan raised rebellion in Kwangsi, at Chin-t'ien-ts'un in Kuei-p'ing County, and Kwangsi descended into chaos. In 1857 Liu Yung-fu joined a local militia force commanded by Wu Yuan-ch’ing (吳元清), and later by his son Wu K’un (吳鯤). Wu Yuan-ch’ing and his son ran a freelance organisation that had no connection with the Taipings. In 1867 the Kwangsi forces sacked the two county towns of T’ai-p’ing and Kuei-shun. Liu Yung-fu then left Wu K’un, and led 200 soldiers across the border into Tonkin, where he created a neutral and independent force, the Black Flag Army. In 1869 Wu K’un also entered Tonkin, and Feng Tzu-ts’ai led an army into Tonkin to attack bandits. In 1869 Wu K’un fought the Chinese army at Bac Ninh, and was wounded. He committed suicide by drinking poison.

That seems fairly clear: no Taiping connection.

But look at what he says in his French translation:

Lieou Yong-fou fut une figure extraordinaire : tour à tour rebelle aux autorités chinoises, envahisseur du Tonkin, défenseur du Vietnam, général de l’armée chinoise et généralissime des forces armées de la République de Formose pour combattre les Japonais. Il vint au monde le 10 octobre 1837 dans le district de Fang-tch’eng qui faisait partie du département de K’in-tcheou (dans la partie occidentale du Kouang-tong). Sa famille était très pauvre. A l’âge de huit ans ses parents l’amenèrent à Chang-sseu-tcheou (au Kouang-si). Après la mort de ses parents il dut passer des années dans les rangs des forces impériales ou dans des bandes rebelles qui opéraient dans le Kouang-si à la suite de la rébellion des T’ai-p’ing en 1850. Une de ces bandes rebelles dirigée par Wou K’ouen (ou Wou Ya tsong) avait des rapports vagues avec les T’ai-p’ing. C’est à elle que Lieou Yong-fou se joignit finalement. En 1867 lorsque la province était sur le point d’être pacifiée, Lieou Yong-fou abandonna Wou K’ouen pour aller au Tonkin. Il avait deux cents compagnons pour passer la frontière. Au Tonkin il fonda les Pavillons noirs. En 1868 Wou K’ouen dut à son tour chercher refuge au Tonkin. Poursuivi par les troupes chinoises conduites par le général Fong Tseu-ts’ai et coincé dans la région de Bac ninh, Wou K’ouen se suicida en 1869.

One of these rebel bands . . . had vague connections with the Taipings.

I think you are probably right though, and that there was no connection. I'm not quite sure where I got the Taiping connection from; possibly from McAleavy, who says that Wu Yuan-ch'ing claimed to have been created a prince by the Taiping ruler in Nanking (Black Flags, p. 104).

I'll see if I can dig up anything else relevant and will follow up on the other points you raise. Thanks very much for taking the trouble to make such a long post. It's nice to get well-informed comment and criticism.

My book, provisionally titled 'Bearding the Dragon: The Sino-French War, 1884-85', will be submitted to HKU Press next June and should come out in 2011.

I'll get back to you soon,

Djwilms (talk) 02:01, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for the information! Where did you find a French version of 越南與中法戰爭?
Several writers have said that the Black Flags were created "in the wake of the Taiping rebellion in Guangxi" or "à la suite de la rébellion des T’ai-p’ing" and the like. What I understand is that the Taiping left a mess in Qing Guangxi when they moved North and that a lot of bandits (pirates in colonial French) and small warlords appeared. Some of them were probably "early" Taipings who preferred to stay in Guangxi. [By the way, I wonder why nobody says Liu Yongfu was a "warlord" or "chef de guerre" or "seigneur de la guerre" - it seems it fits him nicely].
There are a lot of web pages stating that the Black Flags were remnants of the Taipings, mainly because they are copy-and-paste of old versions of Wikipédia articles. But there are old references too. Pavie squarely states that the Black Flags were Taipings expelled from Guangxi.
I have nearly finished articles on Liu and on the Black Flags in French. I try to write them from their own point of view, but it's pretty difficult. --André de StCoeur (talk) 03:33, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Dear André de StCoeur,
I'll have a careful read of your French articles when I have a moment.
I got the French version of 越南與中法戰爭 from Lung Chang's widow, through the good offices of the film noir director Rene Vienet, who is also a Sino-French War enthusiast (we met when we were both living in Taiwan a few years back). Lung Chang was fluent in French (hence the choice of subject for his book), and had almost finished a French translation of 越南與中法戰爭 before he died. If you care to give me your email address, I would be happy to send you a copy. I've found his book of enormous help to me in writing my own book on the Sino-French War. Sadly, by the time Rene discovered the existence of the French translation, I had already translated most of the 400 pages of the Chinese version into English. Having the French translation earlier would have saved me a lot of time. Still, it was good practice for my Chinese.
I'll consider using 'warlord' in the index to my book. It might sound better than the present entry: 'Liu Yung-fu (1837–1917), Chinese bandit'. Perhaps 'soldier of fortune' might do the trick.
Djwilms (talk) 02:08, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Of course, I would like to get a copy of Lung Chang book in French or English, even in draft form. My e-mail address is (with such an address, you'll guess I live in France).
Soldier of fortune seems OK, especially in French (the soldats de fortune are less greedy than the mercenaires). I posted a question on [15], but I don't expect a reply soon. Chinese Gordon was probably not a mercenary. Was he a soldier of fortune?
André de StCoeur (talk) 22:37, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I've just emailed you Lung Chang in French.
Chinese Gordon was an English gentleman, and therefore a soldier of fortune (it has the same connotations in English as French), not a mercenary.
I'm still inclined to describe Liu Yung-fu as a bandit in my book, then at least readers will know where my sympathies lie. 'De Tham (dates), Annamese pirate'; so much more robust than calling him an 'insurgent', as political correctness now forces me to do.
I've just discovered from one of your posts, much to my embarrassment, that Wong's Black Flag thesis was written at HKU in the 1970s. Considering that I worked there for five years (2002-2007), I'm amazed it never occurred to me to check whether anybody had done anything interesting on late-Kwing stuff. A vital source right under my nose and I missed it ...
Djwilms (talk) 09:11, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Three Tangs: Tang Ching-sung, Tang Jingsong and Tang Qingsong[edit]

I have met the first one (an ugly fat lady with a moustache) on the Arthur steamship on 5-6 June 1895 when I was young. I made an article [16] on the second one in French (which you could check). Who is the third one?

Since I did not succeed in importing the picture [17], I copied it onto French Wikipédia [18].

I feel you should change the file name and the description (as either Jingsong or Ching-sung).

By the way, is there a rule in English (and French) texts for Chinese authors and other people from Taiwan and other non-putonghua-speaking places? I have no problem for Chang Kai-shek or Sun Yat-sen, but is it Lung Chang or Long Zhang? Tang Ching-sung or Tang Jingsong? Maybe 龍章 prefers to be called Lung Chang... --André de StCoeur (talk) 03:33, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Hi there!
Oh, have I got my pinyin wrong? I probably transliterated it from memory, without looking at the Chinese characters. I'll get rid of any references to Tang Qingsong (or is it Tang Jingsong). Stupid godawful system anyway (see below).
1. Wikipedia likes us to give names in Wade Giles somewhere if the subject matter of the article is pre-1910. I normally give names in as many forms as I can, just to be on the safe side. Personally, I shall never forgive the Chinese Communists and the unimaginative Soviet philologists who advised them for inventing that ghastly pinyin system back in the 1950s. It just means that everybody now has to learn two systems instead of one. Wade Giles was an excellent system, and now that English has become a world language would have been the best of all possible systems for rendering the sounds of Chinese. I'm fed up with hearing English friends who know little about China talking about the Kwing dynasty (that's how you'd naturally pronounce Qing in English). In my forthcoming book on the Sino-French War, all Chinese names will be given in Wade Giles, in line with the usage of the Cambridge History of China.
He preferred to be called Lung Chang when he was still alive ...
2. I notice you state that T'ang Ching-sung disbanded the Yunnan Army in January 1886. Do you have a source for that? I know that it took it a couple of months to fall back from Tuyen Quang to the Chinese border at Lao Cai, but I wasn't aware that it was formally disbanded at a particular date.
Djwilms (talk) 08:17, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
3. P.S. I'm glad you're making good use of my source references. Any chance of you rewriting the main French article 'Guerre franco-chinoise'?

Hello, hello,

1. I have a Chinese friend named CuiCui. Thanks to pinyin, she has a hard time in France - some people call her Mélaoli (Cf. Je suis gobé d'une petite - c'est une Anna,c'est une Anna , une Annamite. Elle est vive, elle est charmante, c'est comme un oiseau qui chante). C'est aussi grâce au pinyin qu'on apprend que Siksi[19] était une impératice Kwing. I agree pinyin is terrible, but what about quốc ngữ? I know old Alex's typewriter was damaged during his trip and had no 'f" and no "z" (Reference missing), but he should have repaired it. Anyway, the stupid godawful pinyin saved the French from the Wade-Giles / EFEO / Yale mess (not to mention the bopomofo).
I hope your book will include an Annex with Chinese proper names in Wade Giles / pīnyīn / 漢字 / 汉字 ...
2. Wong Chi Keung (1972, pp. 147-148) says (notes in square brackets are mine) "On May 25 [1885] Huang Shou-chung [an ex Black Flag commander] with about three hundred men joined T'ang Ching-sung at Lungchow (1)[where is this?]. A few hundred more of Huang's men arrived some time later (2). They were then reorganized into two batallions. In January 1886 when Sino-French hostilities were definitively over, T'ang's troops had to be disbanded (3). Huang Shou-chung and his men then fell into oblivion". Notes: (1) Diary of a Volunteer p. 195;(2) Ibid. (3) Ibid. p.227. [But I do not have (and I never had) Tang's "Diary of a volunter"]. I will send you Wong's thesis (images, 40Mb) when I get your e-mail address.
3. I may complement the Guerre franco-chinoise article and align it on the Sino-French War, but my main interest is on Chinese secret societies and the Black Flags. I also have to tell how Tang Jingsong helped Liu Yongfu in 1883 and finish the Liu Yongfu article. I have put questions on the French Tang Jingsong discussion page, but who will reply?
4. Finally a remarquable quotation from Hocquard "Une campagne au Tonkin" [20](pp.313-314) : "C'est à partir de 1867, à la suite de la fameuse insurrection du Kouang-si que le trafic de la rivière Claire a commencé à diminuer. A cette époque, les insurgés chinois, rejetés par le général Fung de l'autre côté des frontières du Céleste Empire, envahirent le Tonkin sous la conduite de leur chef Ou-Tsong et se divisèrent en deux bandes, dont l'une, composée des Hékis ou Pavillons-Noirs, établit son quartier général à Lao-kai sur le fleuve Rouge, et dont l'autre, formée par les Hoang-Kis ou Pavillons-Jaunes, s'installa à Ha-giang, dans le point où la rivière Claire passe sur le territoire tonkinois. Tant que les Pavillons-Noirs et les Jaunes restèrent sous l’unique commandement de Ou-Tsong, le commerce ne souffrit pas beaucoup : les Chinois avaient établi à Ha-giang et a Lao-kai des postes de douane où les barques qui faisaient le trajet entre la Chine et le Tonkin payaient un droit de passage ; le général chinois se serait bien gardé d'entraver ce trafic, puisqu'il en tirait toutes ses richesses. Mais Ou-Tsong mourut et les Bannières-Jaunes et Noires ne purent s'entendre pour lui trouver un successeur. Chacune d'elles se choisit un chef : les Hoang-Kis prirent pour général Hoang-Anh, qui demeura à Ha-giang, et les Hékis installèrent à Lao-kai Luu-Vïnh-Phuoc, dont le nom devait bientôt devenir atrocement célèbre dans tout le Tonkin."
OK for Feng Zicai. Hoang Anh must be Huang Zongying. But I have no idea who this Ou-Tsong can be. Why not a Taiping general?

André de StCoeur (talk) 00:31, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for all that. Lung-chou (Longzhou, 龍州), about 100 kilometres northeast of Lang Son inside Kwangsi province, was the main base for the Kwangsi Army in the Sino-French War after the French captured Lang Son. Briere de l'Isle was asked by the army ministry to consider a campaign to take it in March 1885 (someone at the ministry thought that if he 'showed his spahis' at Lung-chou, southwest China would go up in flames as its Muslim minorities rallied around a French-inspired jihad), and he and de Negrier decided that it was beyond the strength of the Tonkin expeditionary corps to do so.
Huang Shou-chung may have critically influenced Liu Yung-fu's decision to defend Son Tay in December 1883, vowing that he would stay and hold it himself if Liu didn't want to defend it. He does not seem to have done or said anything else notable thereafter, or at least anything that is on my radar.
I shall see if I have anything on the mysterious Wu Tsung. I suspect he is McAleavy's 'Wu Ah-chung', the son of Wu Yuan-ch'ing (Black Flags in Vietnam, 105). 'With this regiment at his back he [Liu] decided to return to his first allegiance, where in the meanwhile Wu Ah-chung had succeeded to his father in the make-believe princedom. Now, of course, Liu was able to cut much more of a figure, so much so in fact that Wu thought it wise to cement their relationship by offering him his sister's hand. Apparently the young lady was not very appetizing, for though Liu consented to a betrothal he alleged various excuses for postponing the marriage and the year 1865 found him still a bachelor.' There are three other index references to Wu Ah-chung that I haven't checked out yet.
I enjoyed your petite Annamite. The song sounds as though it dates from the same era as this gem from British India: 'Black Velvet was full of joy/For every British soldier boy/She guaranteed to please/And the most it would cost you was five rupees.'
Do you mind looking over the stuff I have written about Liu Yung-fu and the Black Flag Army in my shortly-to-be-published book? It probably won't come to more than about twenty pages, and I'm acutely aware that there are a lot of people who know far more about the 1860s and 1870s than I do. Once we get to the Sino-French War I am on much firmer ground, but I would appreciate help on the earlier period.
Djwilms (talk) 01:26, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
P.S. Please send me Wong Chi Keung's thesis. I am now in the process of cutting down my book from 650 to 400 pages, indexing it, and tying up loose ends before submitting the final text in June 2010, so I soon won't have much of an opportunity to add new stuff. Now would be ideal, while I'm in the throes of creative destruction. My email address is:
I'd be happy to reciprocate with stuff that I have. If you let me have your own email address, I could start by sending you my bibliography for the Sino-French War. I have translated thousands of pages from various French sources into English in the course of writing the book, all neatly filed away on my computer, so there's bound to be stuff in there somewhere that would interest you and that I could let you have quickly.
P.P.S. I've started to knock the English article Tang Ching-sung into shape. I haven't done much with it so far, but now that I know there's a fellow-enthusiast out there I'll try to build it up over the next few weeks. I'll start off by providing proper source references for everything in there that I originated. Anything related to Tang in Taiwan in 1895 is already properly sourced in the main article Japanese invasion of Taiwan, but the Sino-French War stuff needs more work.

Military history WikiProject coordinator election[edit]

The Military history WikiProject coordinator election has started. We will be selecting coordinators from a pool of eighteen to serve for the next six months. Please vote here by 23:59 (UTC) on Saturday, 28 March! Thank you.
This has been an automated delivery by BrownBot (talk) 00:39, 21 March 2009 (UTC)


I have used (in part) your quotation from Maury in fourchette (see note 4), which lead to a change in baïonnette. I admit that François de Slavetrader's joke is hard to translate into English.

By the way, the address of Librairie & imprimerie Vitte & Perrussel is "3, Place Bellecour, et rue Codé 30, Lyon" not Lyons. My great-grandfather jumps up and down in his bottles when the Capitale mondiale de la gastronomie is mispelt by his ennemis héréditaires from Londres, Douvres or elsewhere, even if it is by the Duc de Marlbrough. Do the French mispell English names? Look at Maury's dédicace on page 1. Ceux qui sont encore debout au service de la France wlll defend Lyon to the end - even à la fourchette !

My note on Liu Yongfu is coming as slowly as general mann-mann. Hope your book is moving more mau lên.

--André de StCoeur (talk) 00:36, 2 April 2009 (UTC).

Dear André de StCoeur,
How sharp-eyed of you to have spotted my sly edit of Lyon! We rosbifs have always called Lyons Lyons, at least since the battle of Agincourt (victoire anglaise éclatante de la guerre de cent ans). And where's this place Douvres? I had to look it up before the penny dropped. I assume Douvres derives from the Latin name Dubris, as I cannot believe that even the French could so disfigure the English name Dover.
I'm glad you appreciated the 'fourchette' quotation. I knew it was a fork, but chose the English word 'knife' because it made the joke sound better in English.
I tried to find out which words were (are) used for bayonet in English. I found:
Bagonet [21] [22], [23], etc.
Toad sticker [24], [25]
Can opener: [26]
But who will understand "Show them you can use your can openers out of the kitchen"? (and you would have to check whether de Négrier had boites de singe for his men!). --André de StCoeur (talk) 12:27, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Oh, is singe also bully beef in French? I know the French routinely described the Chinese and the tirailleurs tonkinois as monkeys (singes) in 1885, but hadn't realised that singe had a technical meaning too. I had always assumed that when they talked about eating singe during arduous excursions away from the Cafe de Biere, they were frying up the bodies of dead Celestials as a welcome change from horses.
Djwilms (talk) 03:31, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Your interpretation is right ! They used to sing "The best cook is the Chinese, the Chinese cook, the Chinese, cook the Chinese, cook the Chinese". This happened on both sides : my great-great uncle Albert-Etienne de Montémont told me it was common, especially in the nudist island of Formosa. Nowadays, that's what the locals give to eat to the ignorant laogui (gwailo) as "typical Taiwanese dish". These people have a deep sense of humour.
By the way, did you know that the stéphanois* gave Francis Garnier the nickname "le Singe" when he returned (in part or in parts) home in a tin box after the best bits were swallowed by Liu's and Hoàng Kế Viêm's friends. That's my version. There is another one here.
*Garnier was a stéphanois, i.e., from Saint-Etienne. Everybody knows that, except maybe Taiwanese-delicacies-gwailo-eaters. --André de StCoeur (talk) 23:35, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
What a lovely site on Garnier! I have just downloaded all the illustrations, and will in due course stick them into the English Wikipedia article on Francis Garnier. It's about time I gave it some attention, as it is in real need of a makeover. Thanks for that!
Talking of monkeys, have you come across this little anecdote in Lecomte's La vie militaire au Tonkin? It's June 1885, a couple of months after the end of hostilities, and a Chinese colonel has just arrived in Hanoi to supervise the return of some French prisoners captured during the retreat from Lang Son. He is invited to dinner with General Warnet:
'The colonel and his secretary were invited to General Warnet’s table and to that of the staff-captains.'
'The colonel became abominably drunk. He drank off an innumerable number of toasts and drained his glass each time, upending it onto his thumbnail to show that he had drunk the last drop. He let out incomprehensible shouts, and pulled out of his pocket an enormous pair of spectacles which he perched on his nose or pushed up on top of his forehead. To wear spectacles, in China, shows that you are a scholar. He was a scholar too, but only when he was drunk.'
'We suggested that somebody should take his photograph. At this offer he rolled his eyes wildly, and claimed that it would shorten his life if he presented his monkey face to the camera lens.'
'When he returned to the Chinese camp, he told all his cronies how we lived. We learned later from other Chinese officers that he had boasted that he had been treated wonderfully, since we had let him drink himself into a stupor every day. What a brute!'
Good old Lecomte. One of my favourite French officers.
Djwilms (talk) 01:06, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

One of the great pleasures of writing a book on the Sino-French War is translating this sort of passage into passable English. Talking of which, I have revisited la radoteuse, in the light of your comment that it denotes repetitious blathering, not just common-or-garden blathering. Here's my latest version:
'I’m fed up with hearing the same old song. All I can do now is to give that old woman a good smack and see whether that stops her blathering. We're now launching a major war, and we're on our way to Peking. Dear God, that wasn't what I had in mind at all!'
It's getting there, I think.
Enough chat for the time being. I must get off home to read David Chandler's The Campaigns of Napoleon, which has just arrived in its sumptuous new Folio Society edition. Shall I start with Toulon or, in this era of instant gratification, fast-forward to Waterloo?
A bientot,
Djwilms (talk) 02:32, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

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Qing not China[edit]

All the campaign articles you've created, I saw that you (not only yourself) always referred Qing Dynasty as China. But in fact, Qing is not China. Qing is foreign country to China and it domninated China. Also the Qing Empire consisted of 6 different countries: China, Manchuria, Mongolia, Uyguru, Taiwan and Tibet. But I don't get it that most peole always though that Qing is China, this's absolutely wrong. You will find more informations on this video. So, on articles, I think you should just leave it as Qing Dynasty or Qing Empire. Cheer. (talk) 22:13, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Technically, you are correct, but China is a convenient shorthand for the Qing empire that has been used in all mainstream academic writing on China (e.g. the Cambridge History of China) for decades. I have no intention of being the first person to depart from this extremely useful convention.
The other problem with this distinction is that it is routinely exploited by patriotic Chinese to hold the Manchus responsible for everything that went wrong in the past four centuries, while claiming anything that went right as a triumph for China. You could say, I suppose, that the Sino-French War was lost by the Qing Dynasty. Yes, but the Sino-French War was fought by armies and fleets which were overwhelmingly ethnically Chinese, under the command of Chinese generals. It is therefore just as true to say it was a defeat for China. I have only come across the participation of a single Manchu infantry unit in the war, at the Battle of Nui Bop (January 1885). It therefore seems perverse to treat the war as anything other than a defeat for China.
I will check whether there is a Wikipedia policy on the use of dynastic names. Certainly, in my forthcoming book on the Sino-French War, while I will distinguish where necessary between the Qing court and China in political matters, I have no hesitation whatsoever in describing the Yunnan and Kwangsi armies as Chinese armies and speaking of Chinese victories and Chinese defeats.
Djwilms (talk) 01:05, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
User is perfectly right. In the same way, I hope you will remove all references to France as a misnomer for Gaule. Moreover, "Chinese defeats" are an offensive way to call "Gaulois victories". I made a special page for you on I'm sure you will be convinced. --Touchatou (talk) 15:05, 12 April 2009 (UTC) (another alias for the scion of an aristocratic military family soaked in formaldehyde)
An excellent point, my old. I should like to propose that we rename it the Gallo-Manchu War. So much closer to the Chinese term Kwingfa zhanzheng.
Djwilms (talk) 07:43, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Dengching or Chengching?[edit]

(Copy-pasted from Talk:Battle_of_Shipu.)

Can anybody help me with the correct name of the Chinese warship crippled by friendly fire at Shipu?

I have followed Rawlinson and Wright in giving her name as Dengching (Teng-ch'ing, 登慶), but I have a strong suspicion that her name was really Chengching (Ch'eng-ch'ing, 澄慶). Certainly, all the contemporary French sources plus Arlington, the American naval officer who served with the Nanyang Fleet, spell her name with an initial 'Tch' or 'Ch'. Lung Chang also gives the name as 澄慶 (Ch'eng-ch'ing) in his 1993 book Yueh-nan yu Chung-fa chan-cheng. Perhaps somebody gave Rawlinson the wrong Chinese character, 登 instead of 澄, and Wright simply repeated the mistake.

Can anyone shed light on this issue?

Djwilms (talk) 02:26, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Hyper-high-tech sophisticated reply:
1. Rawlinson used to drink whisky without water and 澄 without 水.
2. Wright was wrong.
3. On Google, "石浦灣" and "澄慶" gives 23 hits, all in Chinese (with plenty of info. on Shipu battle).
4. "石浦灣" and “登慶" gives only the Battle of Shipu Wikipedia page.
5. Never trust Wikipedia

Conclusion 1: it is 澄慶.

6. In pinyin, 澄 can be pronounced chéng or dèng; In proper nouns, it is Chéng.

Conclusion 2: it is chéngqìng.

7. Never trust Frenchies.
With this 澄清 (chéngqīng, clarification), does it 澄清 (dèngqīng; to become clear)?
--André de StCoeur (talk) 01:09, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

The Military history WikiProject Newsletter : Issue XXXVIII (April 2009)[edit]

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Possibly unfree File:Bac Ninh campaign.jpg[edit]

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Your work on Wikipedia[edit]

Hi Djwilms,

The Sino-French war articles and the one on the Japanese invasion of Taiwan (1895) are very impressive; congratulations for all the work you've put in there. I don't think I can help much in terms of the main text on the Japanese invasion as I think you've done a great job already, but I think the article needs more references - something I may be able to help with. I'm gradually trying to improve the Dutch Formosa articles as and when I have time (which is not often at the moment), but your articles have raised the bar quite a bit for what I want to do here!

Oh, and do let me know when your book is ready - I'll definitely pick up a copy.

Taffy (talk) 08:59, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

NowCommons: File:Black Flag Army Flag.jpg[edit]

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The Military history WikiProject Newsletter : XXXIX (May 2009)[edit]

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Tonkin medal[edit]

Hi Djwilms! Fantastic work on the Tonkin commemorative medal. I was far from thinking such controversy had surrounded it! An explanation was given to me some while ago that commemorative medals were actually invented by the British following the Crimean War, and that the French then adopted the idea (starting with Napoleon III's Médaille de Sainte-Hélène for the participants to the campaigns of Napoleon I), so I suppose this whole concept of giving a medal to each participant was rather novel, and indeed may have been challenged as it was perceived to be too democratic and not a recognition of the worthiest. Thank you for this enlightening contribution, and best regards! Phg (talk) 05:40, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

BoNM - France.png French Barnstar of National Merit
Hi Djwilms! I am proud to award you the French Barnstar of National Merit for your extraordinary and highly knowledgeable contributions on the Sino-French War and related subjects. It is an honour and a great value for Wikipedia to have people of your caliber around. Keep up with the great work! Phg (talk) 05:40, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Hi Djwilms! I'll see what I can find on my side. Cheers Phg (talk) 09:56, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

I just nominated the article at "Did you know?": [27]. Cheers Phg (talk) 10:37, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

DYK for Tonkin commemorative medal[edit]

Updated DYK query On June 24, 2009, Did you know? was updated with a fact from the article Tonkin commemorative medal, which you created or substantially expanded. If you know of another interesting fact from a recently created article, then please suggest it on the Did you know? talk page.

BorgQueen (talk) 20:35, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Tonkinese Rifles[edit]

Hello Djwilms, I have noticed that you have created an article about the Tonkinese Rifles. I have previously created the Senegalese Tirailleurs article about its Sub-Saharan counterpart. As you notice, I have chosen to approach the translation of the unit name differently, keeping the Tirailleur part and just translating the regional name and switching the order.

I naturally prefer my solution in translating the name, my key reasons being: 1. Tiralleur doesn’t mean rifle or even rifleman 2. There is actually an English wikipedia article about tiralleurs 3. Naming them rifles is just copying the British name for similar units in their service.

Although I must acknowledge that many authors writing in English prefer your solution, a notable example being Bernard B. Fall in his books about Indochina. In either case, I think that a unified policy concerning the articles in question would be preferably so we don’t get a situation with articles like the Moroccan Rifles, Algerian Tirailleurs and so forth. Additionally, when articles are created about individual regiments, I have though of using the style “1st Algerian Tirallieur Regiment”. Carl Logan (talk) 17:18, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Hi Carl,
When I created the article I was aware of the other articles you mention, and pondered for some time whether to give it the title 'Tonkinese Rifles', 'Tirailleurs tonkinois' or, on the model of your own article, 'Tonkinese Tirailleurs'. I chose the title Tonkinese Rifles because, despite its drawbacks (as you say, tirailleur doesn't mean rifle or rifleman), it is a recognised title in English. I think most readers interested in learning more about the various French tirailleur units will have come across them in books like Bernard Fall's, under the name 'riflemen'. I've just flipped through Henry McAleavy's Black Flags in Vietnam, which I happen to have by me at the moment, and note that he refers to the tirailleurs annamites as 'Cochinchinese riflemen'.
For what it's worth, in my forthcoming book on the Sino-French War I have used the terms 'Algerian riflemen' or 'Turcos' for the tirailleurs algériens (four battalions of Turcos were in Tonkin at the height of the war), 'Annamese riflemen' or matas for the tirailleurs annamites (several companies were involved in the 1883 and 1884 battles in Tonkin), and Tonkinese riflemen or linh tap for the tirailleurs tonkinois. In battle descriptions I sometimes call them 'skirmishers'. For the names of individual units, I use formulations such as 1st Battalion, 3rd Algerian Rifle Regiment, 2nd Tonkinese Rifle Regiment, etc.
I agree that consistent usage would be desirable; and as you will probably have gathered, my own preference would be for the English term 'Rifles': thus, 'Senegalese Rifles', not 'Senegalese Tirailleurs'. But I quite see the logic of your own solution, so I wouldn't oppose a change of title to 'Tonkinese Tirailleurs' if there was support for it. Perhaps other contributors might have a view?
By the way, on the subject of the Turcos, I still haven't satisfactorily identified the four battalions present in Tonkin during the Sino-French War. I have established their basic organisation (see below), but have not yet found any source that gives the correct designation of Comoy's battalion (it is referred to as the '4th Battalion' tout court). You wouldn't happen to know, would you?
1st Battalion, 3rd Algerian Rifle Regiment (chefs de bataillon Jouneau and Godon, Captains Godinet, Noirot, Carles and Massip)
2nd Battalion, 1st Algerian Rifle Regiment (chefs de bataillon, Letellier and Hessling, Captains Servant, Cannebotin, Omar ben Chaouch and Ligrisse)
3rd Battalion, 3rd Algerian Rifle Regiment (chef de bataillon de Mibielle, Captains Camper, Chirouze, Polère and Valet)
4th Battalion (chef de bataillon Comoy, Captains Gérôme, Boëlle, Bigot and Rollandes).
I'll be doing another article shortly on the tirailleurs annamites and the chasseurs annamites. There's another interesting translation problem. What does one call a chasseur in English? Should the article be entitled 'Annamese Light Infantry'?
Djwilms (talk) 01:20, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
I recognise your point and of course I agree, we should strive to make it easier to find the articles for the general reader, but I would argue that the use of rifleman instead of tirailleurs are more common in older books while today the use of just tirailleurs is more common. Both Henry McAleavy's and Bernad Fall’s books are from the sixties, while authors like Martin Windrow, Douglas Porch and Anthony Clayton uses tirailleur in their books about the French military. On the other hand it might have more to do with how speciallist the author.
The Algerian Tirailleur regiments did have four battalions instead of the normal three; it was do to the great demand in Algeria to join the tirailleurs so in 1865 Napoleon III expanded the regiments to four battalions each. I note that the 2nd Regiment don’t have the “Extreme-Orient 1884-1885” battle honour the 1st and 3rd have for the service during the Sino-French War so I don’t think it that regiments fourth battalion. Instead it seems logical that it is the fourth battalion of the 1st Regiment, each regiment sending two battalions are more likely than one send three and the other just one. It also fits 1st and 3rd battalions from the 3rd Regiment together with the 2nd and 4th from the 1st Regiment.
Personally I don’t like the translation of chasseur as light infantry, it suffers from the same problem tirailleur/rifleman does and additional there where Light Infantry Regiment (Régiment d'Infanterie Légère) in the French Army until 1854 and after that there was still the battalions of the Light Infantry of Africa (Infanterie Legere d'Afrique), the penal units of the French Army. Chasseur is, together with tirailleur, one of few cases I favour keeping the French word, like I have done with the 9th Parachute Chasseur Regiment article. Additional there is also the case with Jäger units that existed in Germanic-speaking countries where Wikipedia often keep the German word Jäger. Carl Logan (talk) 18:28, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughts on Comoy's battalion. It would indeed make sense for it to have been the 4th Battalion of the 1st Algerian Rifle Regiment. I recently bought Anthony Clayton's Histoire de l'armée française en Afrique, hoping for enlightenment there, but while he gives a lot of interesting information on the other formations he says very little about Turco organisation. Just one paragraph would have been enough, but it's not there.
Ah yes, the good old African Light Infantry, whose presence in Tonkin did so much to reconcile the long-suffering Tonkinese to French rule. General de Courcy called them 'the dregs of the army', and he should have known. It might have been better if the army ministry had sent both battalions earmarked for the Far East (the 2nd and the 3rd) to Keelung, where they could slaughter the Chinese without annoying civilians. They deserve a Wikipedia article, perhaps under that name. In my book, and in some of my Wikipedia Sino-French War battle articles, I usually call them zéphyrs, just as I usually call the Algerians Turcos. You might enjoy the following paragraph from Captain Garnot's book on the Formosa expedition. Being a zéphyr officer, I suppose he had to stick up for his men, but I think it's easy enough to read between the lines:
The African battalion was a remarkable unit. The chasseurs were all young soldiers, who had joined the battalion after a spell either in military prison or in the workhouse. They had all fallen foul of the law many times before their call to the colours. They called themselves the zéphyrs or 'happy ones' (les joyeux). Not one had a clean charge sheet. They are always ready to steal and loot. They like to make a show of being indisciplined, but they are not really. They are quick to crime, but also capable of good actions. The crucial thing is to have the sense to overlook their defects for the sake of their good qualities. Eager for a chance of fame, they count their lives as little, and are determined to win notice by getting themselves into the most extravagant scrapes. Accustomed to a harsh life in southern Algeria, they are used to a daily round of fatigues and privations. With nothing to expect from life, they make poor soldiers in garrison, where they freely indulge their baser instincts. But on campaign, especially a demanding campaign, they become wonderful instruments of combat, thanks to their endurance and their unbelievable spirit of adventure. Such men must be led by an officer with an iron grasp, but with deep reserves of humanity and justice. He should be a man of few words, sparing of advice and praise, but prompt in decision and quick to enforce his will. The zéphyr becomes an incomparable soldier as soon as he grasps that the will of his officer will, in the final analysis, overbear his own, and that his officer will always give him the protection and justice which he has a right to expect. Do not ask him just to carry out the bare minimum of the army's daily tasks, but use him to the limit. Punish him without pity, but let the punishment fit the crime. The battalion has a saying, that the joyeux needs his bread, his loan, and his prison cell.
Does Douglas Porch use tirailleur? That's a very strong point in favour of your own usage. I'll have a look at his book on the Legion tonight, see how he deals with the problem, and get back to you. I think he is one of the few writers on the French army in English who has managed to deal with French terminology sensibly, so that it doesn't intrude too much. A couple of years ago I read Martin Windrow's The Last Valley, on Dien Bien Phu. I enjoyed it very much, and thought that overall it was very well written, but I couldn't cope with the alphabet soup he used when referring to French and Vietnamese units. You had to keep on referring to the order of battle in the Appendix to work out who he was talking about.
Djwilms (talk) 01:21, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Replied on my talk[edit]

YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) paid editing=POV 04:34, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

The Military history WikiProject Newsletter : XL (June 2009)[edit]

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Da Nang[edit]

But it wasnt called Tourane until the French won was it? It was never called Tourane by Vietnamese. Although lots of older western books use Tourane even when referring to traders going there in the 1600s... YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) paid editing=POV 05:12, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

I think the majority of readers who wish to know more about the 1858 siege of Da Nang will have come across it in Western histories that refer to it by its traditional European name, Tourane (it was not just called Tourane in French, but in English too and in other European languages). On a similar issue, I recently had to defend the title of my article Pescadores Campaign, dealing with the French capture of the islands in 1884, against pressure from Taiwanese contributors who wanted to replace 'Pescadores' with Penghu, the Chinese name for the Pescadores Islands. I made exactly the same argument, readers' convenience, and was upheld.
I think it is sufficient to mention in the article that Tourane is the city now familiarly known in the English-speaking world as Da Nang, and I have done so. You make the point that it was never called Tourane by the Vietnamese. Was it Da Nang to the Vietnamese in 1858? If so, my gloss '(modern Da Nang)' needs to be changed to simply '(Da Nang)'.
That issue apart, I hope you agree with my removal of Vietnamese accents. Quite honestly, I see no place for them at all in any of the articles in English Wikipedia except as a gloss to illustrate the Vietnamese spelling of a place name or proper name after the first occurrence of the name in its normal, unaccented English spelling. But please don't think that I am singling out Vietnamese spelling. I am just as severe on French spelling, and in several articles on Vietnamese topics have removed references to 'Hué' where 'Hue' is meant. Thus we now have, correctly, articles entitled 'Treaty of Hue' instead of 'Treaty of Hué'.
Djwilms (talk) 06:33, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Anachronistic naming - Danang vs. Tourane[edit]

The information I have from the official website of the city of Danang shows that the French only renamed the city to Tourane after they've taken administrative control (that is, after the siege described in Siege of Tourane)[28]. Before that, the port was known as "Cửa Hàn" (Mouth of the Han River). So using the name Tourane for this siege is no less anachronistic than "Da Nang". At least Da Nang has some currency. DHN (talk) 09:57, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure that the name Tourane was in common use by Europeans from at least the seventeenth century onwards, and was the name used by Alexandre de Rhodes in the mid-seventeenth century, by Pigneau de Behaine in the eighteenth century, and by all other early French pioneers in Vietnam. When I get home I'll consult Maps of Asia, a massive collection of European maps of Asia from the Middle Ages onwards, and see how early the name appears. It's certainly not anachronistic to use it for an event that took place as late as 1858. A more interesting question, in my opinion, is the origin of the European name, and I'll see whether the website you mention sheds any light on that.
Djwilms (talk) 01:13, 23 July 2009 (UTC)


I don't think any Vietnamese views it as such, as they hardly ever came and were tokenistic. Not as though China had any control over what happened in Vietnam, except a few attempted invasions, although I bet most Chinese would say that VN belongs to China Tibet style.... YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) paid editing=POV 07:06, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

How much of your book is on WP? YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) paid editing=POV 07:06, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Most of my stuff on WP is either an expansion or contraction of stuff that will be going in the book. For example, I don't quote the text of the Tientsin Accord word for word in the book, which is one reason I have put it on Wikipedia. On the other hand, most of my battle descriptions are considerably shorter on Wikipedia than they are in the book. The only battle description at present that bears a close resemblance to what's in the book is the one of the Battle of Dong Dang. To give you an idea of how much I have shortened things, the Siege of Tuyen Quang, at present a fairly short Wikipedia article, gets a 30-page chapter in the book. The book, by the way, will be around 600 pages long, in 21 chapters.
Djwilms (talk) 01:12, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

WP:Hornbook -- a new law-related task force for the J.D. curriculum[edit]

Hi Djwilms,

I'm asking Wikipedians who are interested in United States legal articles to take a look at WP:Hornbook, the new "JD curriculum task force".

Our mission is to assimilate into Wikipedia all the insights of an American law school education, by reducing hornbooks to footnotes.

  • Over the course of a semester, each subpage will shift its focus to track the unfolding curriculum(s) for classes using that casebook around the country.
  • It will also feature an extensive, hyperlinked "index" or "outline" to that casebook, pointing to pages, headers, or {{anchors}} in Wikipedia (example).
  • Individual law schools can freely adapt our casebook outlines to the idiosyncratic curriculum devised by each individual professor.
  • I'm encouraging law students around the country to create local chapters of the club I'm starting at my own law school, "Student WP:Hornbook Editors". Using WP:Hornbook as our headquarters, we're hoping to create a study group so inclusive that nobody will dare not join.

What you can do now:

1. Add WP:Hornbook to your watchlist, {{User Hornbook}} to your userpage, and ~~~~ to Wikipedia:Hornbook/participants.
2. If you're a law student,
(You don't have to start the club, or even be involved in it; just help direct me to someone who might.)
3. Introduce yourself to me. Law editors on Wikipedia are a scarce commodity. Do knock on my talk page if there's an article you'd like help on.

Regards, Andrew Gradman talk/WP:Hornbook 05:02, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Hi Djwilms[edit]

I am delighted you like Randier's La Royale, and thank you for the wonderful document about the Tonkin medal! Best regards Phg (talk) 04:47, 4 August 2009 (UTC)


Eurasian landmass

Hi Djwilms, I'll be delighted to help on the Nestorians, and I am really glad you like the Rabban bar Sauma map: it's been an extremely interesting subject to research! For maps, my personal method has been to use Commons topographical maps such as these, and then to complete them with text, arrows etc... with Power Point, which happens to be the most convenient software I have for this purpose. I then copy/paste the page in jpeg format, and save everything on my desktop as a Web Page, which gives me an uploadable jpeg map. I guess it would be even easier and more elegant with a drawing software, but that's a bit beyond my confort zone. I lost the source for the Rabban Map, but I have uploaded a topographical map of the Eurasian landmass (attached) which you can crop and edit at will. Tell me how things are going and if there are ways I can help further. Best regards Phg (talk) 09:19, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Hi PHG, Go have a look at the map I've just uploaded into my article Dioceses of the Church of the East. I've been experimenting, without much success, to get good quality reproduction of the Powerpoint map I did. I've found that saving in JPEG format loses quality (perhaps I'm doing it the wrong way). I've tried uploading a pdf version (edit my image by replacing jpg with pdf and you'll find a much better version of the map, also uploaded to Wikipedia. The only problem is that I can't make it appear on my page. Don't know why; I'm sure it's something incredibly simple. Can you help? Djwilms (talk) 03:59, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Hi Djwilms! Your map looks quite amazingly good already! If jpeg definition is the problem, usually I copy the full Power Point page into the next page as a "Microsoft Power Point slide object" (in the Paste options), then stretch the slide object in question (quite beyond the actual size of the page), and only then copy and paste it in jpeg format, to finally squeeze the new jpeg image within the boundaries of the page. This allows to achieve high definition. Maybe a quite good alternative would be to simply "Print Screen" (Screen capture) your map, paste it in Power Point, and Save as a Web Page to fing the jpeg file in the Web Page folder. Best regards! Phg (talk) 04:08, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

The Military history WikiProject Newsletter : XLI (July 2009)[edit]

The July 2009 issue of the Military history WikiProject newsletter has been published. You may read the newsletter, change the format in which future issues will be delivered to you, or unsubscribe from this notification by following the link. Thank you.
This has been an automated delivery by BrownBot (talk) 19:19, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Congratulations on all your hard work[edit]

Assyrian Barnstar.JPG I have been reading the article you have created entitled Dioceses of the Church of the East and I must say it is an excellent, well-resourced, authoritative historical account of the Assyrian Church of the East. I would like to award you this barnstar on behalf of WikiProject Assyria for writing this eloquent document. Keep up the great work my friend.Best Regards Ninevite (talk) 21:00, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

The Barnstar of Assyria

Here are some useful links I found that may be of interest to you.

The homepage of this website is filled with countless articles that will be helpful towards your expansion of the Dioceses of the Church of the East and related articles you plan to work on in the near future. The second link discusses how the Church went as far as Japan. Perhaps you could write something on that based of the information from the link. The introductory sentence mentions that the church reached as far as China, perhaps this could be changed to Japan. I will let you make the judgment on that since you are the expert in the field. Good Day Ninevite (talk) 21:00, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Hello DJ as far as writing and adding brackets to Syriac text, I can direct you to an expert on wikipedia who is a main contributor to Aramaic Wikipedia. The userpage of this gentlemen is User:334a, He has helped me translate articles before as well as adding intermediate links for Syriac hyperlinks. Unlike me he has multiple Syriac fonts on his computer. I have left him a message, the next time he logs in he should get it. I hope this helps. Ninevite (talk) 17:22, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Seeing your your most recent article on the church in Salamas, I think this website will be of some interest to you. My cousins back in Iran attend the church. Hope you enjoy. Ninevite (talk) 18:50, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

I am glad to be of service to you, apologies for not responding back quicker, I have been fighting a bad cold lately but I feel much better now. My knowledge is limited on provenance; however I may be of some help for you on the Syriac words. I highly recommend you download the Assyrian fonts on your computer so it will be easier for you to type. Check this link out. This link is an online dictionary of preinstalled Assyrian words where you can copy and paste words that are already written. Check this same link out too all you have to do is write its English equivalent and it gives you the Assyrian translation. I hope this helps, and by the way, if you still plan on writing a new book on the ACOE, I would be one of the first to buy it out my interest. Ninevite (talk) 03:57, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Reviews and article ratings[edit]

Why don't you just make sure that each paragraph has at least one citation, then they will all meet B-class easily. Or you can use teh MILHIST reveiw services YellowMonkey (cricket photo poll!) paid editing=POV 08:16, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Here: Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Review. But I guess you know about this already. olivier (talk) 05:00, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Re: Assyrians in Japan[edit]

Hi Djwilms, User:Nineveh 209 directed me here after you asked how to type in Syriac. Do you know how to read Syriac? If you do, you can just copy-and-paste each individual Unicode letter by going to Syriac alphabet#Short table. This method works well if you're just trying to write a few words, but it can take a very, VERY long time if you're writing up whole sentences or paragraphs in Syriac. Other than that, I can give you a link and instructions to download and enable Syriac fonts if you plan on writing a large amount. --334a (talk)

New Template[edit]

Hi Djwilms! Here's the new template your requested. Hope it works for you! Best regards. Phg (talk) 12:37, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Taiwan Barnstar[edit]

Taiwan Barnstar.png Taiwan Barnstar of Merit
Awarded to Djwilms by Taiwantaffy (talk) for contributions to WikiProject Taiwan, specifically for his sterling work on the Battle of Tamsui, Keelung Campaign and Pescadores Campaign articles.

20 August, 2009

Visiting Taipei[edit]

Hi Djwilms - yes, I live in Taipei (the county not the city, but it's close enough). Any time you're considering coming over here, just let me know, I'd be happy to meet up. Taiwantaffy (talk) 01:15, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Chinese suzerainty over Vietnam[edit]

Djwilms, i saw your discussion regarding Chinese suzerainty over Vietnam here [29], and i would like to leave a comment. I personally don't think the Vietnamese tribute missions to China ever ceased during the time from 15th century to 19th century. Perhaps there were some brief times, when the throne changed hand between Ming and Ching dynasties, and also when Vietnam was in political turmoil, as of the transition period of the Mạc Dynasty. Whatever Ming Mang might think, officially he still spent an unusually lavish welcoming party for Chinese envoy when they came to bestow the Ching's blessing to his coronation. As a Vietnamese, I often regard these acts as a diplomatic way of dealing with China, to flatter and feign obedience, to avoid possible military conflict. And as some other authors had pointed out (sorry I can't remember whom), those missions times and again could be considered as trade missions, for the Chinese gave richly gifts with equal values to the tribute, not just with Vietnam, but with all other vassal states of China. I don't know why there is little records exist of those envoys, but I strongly believe the Vietnamese court gave no excuse to China to show their displeasure. As Vietnamese historians often pointed out, Vietnamese leaders understood well that even though they might win militarily, the shear size and might of China would guaranty a complete devastation of the country in the even of a war with China, so it was prudent to save face to China so everybody could live in peace.

You are absolutely correct when saying "Vietnamese don't considered themselves as tributaries in any meaningful sense". China indeed had little, or no saying over our own domestic affairs, and even on the occasions when Vietnam went to war with other China's South East Asia "tributaries". Vietnamse kings often called themselves "hoang de" (emperor) addressing their own subjects or other South East Asia rulers, but used "vuong" (king) when dealing with the Chinese. They simply didn't want to provoke the Chinese. The incident of Franco-Sino war was perhaps the first time a Chinese intervention was called to defend Vietnam against a foreign power aggression. And China went to war to defend its own interests (e.g. protect their southern border and/or annexing provinces in Tonkin). But to use the frequency of tribute missions as evidence of the Chinese's loose suzerainty over Vietnam would be irrelevant. (sorry i can't find a better word instead of "irrelevant", i'm not a native English speaker) But i do hope you will find some other evidence to support your point, and i'm looking forward to reading your book. Tdatnguyen (talk) 21:22, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Dear Wikisir,

Would I, humble (book)worm in sino-vietnamese history, dare make some suggestions to the honourable scholar Djwilms?


(I posted these comments here and discovered later that some of them duplicate those of Tdatnguyen above.)

1. First, you happily mix different terms (tributary, suzerainty, vassalage) which have different meanings in English (for example, there can be a tributary relation of A vis-à-vis B without sovereignty of B over A) – and may even mean different things when applied to different periods of (Western) history. These terms are themselves approximate translations of Chinese (and sino-vietnamese) terms which have themselves changed meaning over time.

2. Second, the subordinate relationship between China and Vietnam is not reflected only by tribute missions sent from Vietnam to China. It included also:

  • a. The letters patent (tche-chou) issued by the Peking court to the Annam ruler. Devéria (1880)[1] discusses the issue of the proper translation of tche_chou (footnote 1, p.7)
  • b. The very humiliating investiture ceremonies during which the new Annam emperor had to kneel down three times and kowtow nine times in front of the emissaries of the Chinese court. The Chinese even insisted that at each of the nine kowtows, the front of the Annam ruler had to touch the ground. Lê-hiên-tông (1740-1786) could avoid the ceremony for 20 years because his uncle Lê Ý Tông (1735-1740) had resigned and was still alive (the investiture ceremony was usually combined with a ceremony for the former Annam emperor). When he received he imperial investiture in 1761 and tried to do only five kowtows, he was publicly scolded by the celest envoys and had got to comply. He was later sent a blistering imperial decree dated 1762 reminding him that he had better follow the proper étiquette and that his unruly behaviour was pardoned just because “the customs of this price have remained primitive”. Gabriel Devéria [2] The Vietnamese had paid some of the expenses of the imperial emissaries; this was unacceptable, and the decree ordered with the utmost contempt the money to be given back to the Annam envoy.
  • c. The imperial seal provided by China to the Vietnamese emperor. When Lê Huyền Tông (1663-1671) asked for the imperial investiture to the new Manchu court, the latter requested Annam to return beforehand the seal given in 1659 by a Ming prince (a kind of unsuccessful de Gaulle) to his father Lê Thần Tông (1649-1662). Lê Huyền Tông dragged his feet for three years (who knows? The Ching may make a comeback!) and returned the seal only in 1666. He could then receive the official investiture. [3]
  • d. Plenty of other testimonies of submission, such as the numerous missions to the viceroys of Guangdong and Yunnan.

3. I am very surprised that you could write "In my view, it (i.e., a tributary relationship?) did not exist between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries." In 1663, the Chinese court requested Annam to send a tribute every three years,[4] a frequency strangely replaced around 1672 by two tributes every six years.[5] Devéria (1880) lists a number of tribute mission sent by Annam before the reign of Gia Long.

4. You say that "no tribute missions are recorded during the reign of Minh Mang". Maurice Durand (1957) provides the details of such a mission (and indications on many others).[6] As for Thiệu Trị, I do not know of his relations – if any - with the Peking court.

5. It seems clear that China’s "suzerainty" over Vietnam had been steadily eroding over the years. China was decaying and too busy with its innumerable revolts, its secret societies uprisings (down with the Ching, bring back the Ming!) and those incomprehensible foreign devils (the gun-toting and the bible-fundamentalist-martyrdom-seekers ones) to deal with its equally petrified southern neighbour. It also seems clear that Tự Đức sudden sinophily was politically motivated. If suzerainty implies control over foreign affairs and limited autonomy, it can be argued that China had lost "suzerainty" over Annam since Lê Lợi.

6. But it also seems that Annam remained a tributary of China until 1874, although mainly – and increasingly - at a symbolic level, and with increasing delays and "oversights" (Thiệu Trị?). Would I dare say that "the Vietnamese considered themselves as formally tributaries, but not as vassals in any meaningful sense"? Yes.

7. Anyway, are suzerain / vassal proper terms to describe the evolving relationship between China and Annam? One could even consider whether newer terms would be more appropriate. Annam was clearly not a puppet State a satellite State or a client State. There was not a single representative from Peking at the Huê court to influence local policies (or am I wrong?). Protectorate seems inadequate - China did not protect Annam against its neighbours. Buffer state looks awkward. But, after all, China saw Annam as a hedge between the Middle Kingdom and faraway devils.[7]

After having exposed my almost total ignorance of the subject, will the great Wikischolar forgive my impudent impertinence?

Three kowtows and best wishes for your book.--André de StCoeur (talk) 22:57, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

  1. ^ Devéria, Gabriel Histoire des relations de la Chine avec l'Annam-Viêtnam du XVIe au XIXé siècle d'après des documents chinois traduits pour la première fois et annotés, Ernest Leroux, éditeur, Paris, 1880, x + 102 pp.
  2. ^ Devéria (1880) provides a translation of the decree pp.14-16.
  3. ^ Devéria (1880) p.8-9.
  4. ^ Devéria (1880) p.7.
  5. ^ Devéria (1880) p.10.
  6. ^ Durand, Maurice Sur un manuscrit de la Bibliothèque centrale de Hanoi relatant une ambassade viêtnamienne en Chine en 1825, Bulletin de l'Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient, Année 1957, vol. 48, n°48-2, pp. 593-601.
  7. ^ See Devéria (1880) p.14, note 1.

Nominations open for the Military history WikiProject coordinator election[edit]

The Military history WikiProject coordinator selection process has started; to elect the coordinators to serve for the next six months. If you are interested in running, please sign up here by 23:59 (UTC) on 12 September!
Many thanks,  Roger Davies talk 04:24, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Annam flags[edit]

With reference to your questions on flags, you may find the information you look for here in English, here in French and in Vietnamese here. Note that when the British-US force took over briefly Annam, the country was given a new flag. When the anglo-saxons were driven off by the Bigouden the country had still another flag with some variants.

As regards the shade of yellow, the best way is to use colour photographs taken at the time: in a blockhaus near Tuyên Quang, a command post or in this observation station (notice the armoured chariot nearby). Notice also the bullet holes in the uniform of this female soldier. This one waves the yellow flag while sporting a futuristic uniform.

Soldiers use to hide underground, but where easily spotted by the légionnaires because of their flags, as here or here.

Sometimes soldiers used the flag as uniform as these soldiers or that one.

Inscriptions on the flag were designed as threats against French forces or warnings, more warnings or even mockery.

The Long tinh kỳ was used to enroll volunteers. Because of their financial situation There is evidence that Vietnamese generals had flags used for commercial purposes as here or here.

The Vietnamese naval forces also used the yellow flag, as here. Here, one see clearly that the flag of the Vietnamese Admiral is yellow. The flag was also used as a symbol of French domination.

You can also see variants of the flag carried by Tu Duc invading the Paracels, with a variant of the Gia Long flag. The Annam flag flowing over the Paracels.

Finally an interesting picture of a proud Annam cuirassier under the yellow flag and the red flag with a star rushing to stop the invading French navy.

--Touchatou (talk) 22:40, 23 September 2009 (UTC)



The description of the Battle of Bang Bo (Zhennan Pass) does not fit with the one given in the article on Feng Zicai - note that the latter article does not include any reference, but may have been influenced by the prolific and highly unreliable Mitch Williamson 1884-1885 Franco-Chinese War.

The numbers given in the paragraph “casualties” in Battle of Bang Bo (Zhennan Pass) (146 killed in the five units mentioned) do not tally with the number of casualties on the French side at the top (74 killed, less than the 79 killed in Verdier’s brigade - see Harmant 1892 p.235). Moreover, on 21 August 2009, anonymous "" has still reduced without any explanation the number to 63 (and other figures as well). I did not revert it because the original figure seems wrong.

More generally, are you sure the numbers of casualties you provide for "the French" include those of Vietnamese units under French command?

--André de StCoeur (talk) 01:20, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Hi Andre,
French casualties were 74 killed and 213 wounded. The lower figure of 63 dead in the infobox is wrong, and I have amended it accordingly. I'm not sure where it comes from. I thought at first it might be just the French casualties on 24 March instead of on both days, but there were 70 French dead on 24 March, not 63.
The casualty figures include those for the Tonkinese Rifles, who were scarcely engaged. The French used them to bring in the wounded rather than in the front line. Here's a convenient summary of the Bang Bo casualties from my book:
The 2nd Brigade's casualties on 24 March were 70 killed and 188 wounded, bringing its total losses during the two-day battle to 74 killed and 213 wounded. Seven officers were either killed or mortally wounded during the heavy fighting on 24 March, and six more were seriously wounded. The butcher's bill was not quite as bad as at Hoa Moc, but it was worse than in any of the battles of the Lang Son campaign, even Bac Vie. Unsurprisingly, the unfortunate 111th Line Battalion suffered the heaviest losses (31 dead and 58 wounded), but Diguet's Legion battalion (12 dead and 68 wounded) ran it a close second. The 143rd Battalion also suffered appreciable casualties (17 dead and 48 wounded), as did Schoeffer's Legion battalion (12 dead and 34 wounded). There were only a handful of casualties among the Tonkinese riflemen and the two French artillery batteries, but they included chef de bataillon Tonnot of the Tonkinese Rifles, who was wounded.
I don't have Harmant immediately to hand (you mention his figure of 79 dead, I'll need to look at that again), but I have based my casualty figures on a careful comparison of several French primary sources for the battle of Bang Bo, including Harmant: Armengaud, Lang-Son, 40–58; Harmant, La vérité sur la retraite de Lang-Son, 211–35; Lecomte, Lang-Son, 428–53 and 455; Maury, Mes campagnes au Tong-King, 185–203; and Notes sur la campagne du 3e bataillon de la légion étrangère au Tonkin, 32–40. I have also taken into account discussion in secondary sources, including Bonifacy, À propos d’une collection des peintures chinoises, 23–6 and Thomazi's two accounts (Histoire militaire de l’Indochine française, 111–12 and La conquête de l’Indochine, 254–7).
I have seen the grotesque description of Bang Bo in the article Feng Zicai, and I will replace it with an accurate account when I have time.
Thanks for pointing this out. Constant vigilance against the forces of chaos seems to be necessary on Wikipedia.
Djwilms (talk) 01:22, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Honourable defender of the truth,
Forget about your copy of Harmant, you will never find it the mess you call bookshelves. You can consult it in flip book format here.
I must have double-counted the dead to get 146.
I have used Feng Zicai to finalize the French version fr:Feng Zicai formerly on my French page. Please correct the errors (but don't start an edition war with a billion Chinese nationalists)
Maybe one could compare Zeng and the Bang Bo / Ky Lua affair to Vo_Nguyên_Giap and the 1968 Têt offensive : both endured a bloody defeat which became a victory through the magic wand of politics.

--André de StCoeur (talk) 22:57, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Church of the East articles[edit]

Thanks I'm interested in the Assyrian Church and I see that you've added a lot of material. I also see that you posted on the talk page to the Assyria WikiProject and got no feedback, so I figured I would encourage you here. —Justin (koavf)TCM☯ 04:54, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

Dear Djwilms, do you remember where the Wilmshurst (pag 316) took the information that Augustine Hindi was consecrated bishop on September 8, 1804 by Isho'yahb Isha'ya Yohannan Gabriel (or Jean Guriel) bishop of Salmas, who in turn was ordained bishop on November 8, 1795 by Yohannan Hormizd ? thank a lot A ntv (talk) 21:35, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Either Hornus, Tfindji or Giamil, I would guess. I'll see if I can find the reference for you tonight.
Djwilms (talk) 01:22, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
Dear Djwilms, which is the modern name for Gazarda? I cant find a wikilink. A ntv (talk) 08:10, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
The town known as Gazarta d'Beth Zabdai ('the island of Zabdicene') by the East and West Syrians, because it was built on an island in the Tigris river in the district known to the Romans as Zabdicene and the Syrians as Beth Zabdai, is modern Cisre in eastern Turkey (properly spelled with a cedilla below the c), which until the Turkish spelling reforms was commonly known by its Arabic name as Jezira ibn Umar, Jezira, Jazirah, Jazireh or variants thereof. (I think Badger spells it Jezeerah.) It lies roughly midway between Mosul and Diyabarkr (Amid). Typing in Jezira gets you a link to the province of that name, not the town, and I haven't been able to find a Wikipedia article on the town under any of its names. I'm not sure whether any of this is helpful from the point of view of linking it. I'm surprised there's no article on the town, though. I'll do another search when I have time.
Found it! Cizre (with a z, not an s).
Djwilms (talk) 08:38, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Dear Djwilms, I kindly ask you to check the content of my new articles Rabban Hormizd Monastery, and Rabban Hormizd (Saint) (as per George Percy Badger, I'm tring to add new articles on often cited issue - I'm looking for material about Fiey and Tfinkdji).
I'm going on with wikification of articles of you, and I would suggest to create a new catergory "Dioceses of the Church of the East" and to remove those articles from "Bishops of the Assyrian Church of the East" and "Chaldean bishops".
In order to go on with the Articles on the lives of Patriarchs of the Shimun line after Abdisho Maron, I've bought the Beltrami La Chiesa caldea nel secolo dell'unione, but unfortunatly the more sources I get the more un-matching data I found. Thus I cannot proceed. Perhaps it is better not to have a single article for each Patriach, but a general Article on the whole line.
As last issue, if you have time, can please have a look to Abraham Shimonaya, an Article that has been created by some editor with an automatic translation from de:Abraham Shimonaya. I cant read German, thus I cannot end the copyedit work of the Article because I've not understood the whole story A ntv (talk) 18:33, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi Djwilms[edit]

An article such as "Diplomacy of the Sino-French war" sounds like a great idea indeed. Please go ahead with the edits you see fit!
Here's the template you requested:

Cheers PHG Per Honor et Gloria 18:00, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Speedy deletion nomination of Kirkuk (Chaldean Archdiocese)[edit]

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A tag has been placed on Kirkuk (Chaldean Archdiocese) requesting that it be speedily deleted from Wikipedia. This has been done under section G12 of the criteria for speedy deletion, because the article appears to be a blatant copyright infringement. For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or printed material, and as a consequence, your addition will most likely be deleted. You may use external websites as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences. This part is crucial: say it in your own words.

If the external website belongs to you, and you want to allow Wikipedia to use the text — which means allowing other people to modify it — then you must verify that externally by one of the processes explained at Wikipedia:Donating copyrighted materials. If you are not the owner of the external website but have permission from that owner, see Wikipedia:Requesting copyright permission. You might want to look at Wikipedia's policies and guidelines for more details, or ask a question here.

If you think that this notice was placed here in error, you may contest the deletion by adding {{hangon}} to the top of the page that has been nominated for deletion (just below the existing speedy deletion or "db" tag), coupled with adding a note on the talk page explaining your position, but be aware that once tagged for speedy deletion, if the page meets the criterion it may be deleted without delay. Please do not remove the speedy deletion tag yourself, but don't hesitate to add information to the page that would render it more in conformance with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. Favonian (talk) 09:08, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

November 2009[edit]

Information.svg Welcome to Wikipedia. It might not have been your intention, but you removed a speedy deletion tag from Kirkuk (Chaldean Archdiocese), a page you have created yourself. If you do not believe the page should be deleted, you can place a {{hangon}} tag on the page, under the existing speedy deletion tag (please do not remove the speedy deletion tag), and make your case on the page's talk page. Administrators will look at your reasoning before deciding what to do with the page. Thank you. Favonian (talk) 09:12, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Please don't remove the copyvio tag. As far as I can see, a considerable portion of this article it taken from Wilmshurst's book. If you are in fact Wilmshurst (guessing from you user name) you will still have to settle the copyright issue. Favonian (talk) 09:15, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

I am indeed he, and if you prefer I can always substitute text from an earlier draft of the book, which presumably is not in copyright since it wasn't the final text that appears in the book. But do give me more than five minutes, I'd hardly started setting up the article before the tags started appearing.
What I have been doing recently, in my suite of articles on the Chaldean Church, is substantially modifying the text that appeared in my book by expanding it, reorganising it, adding Syriac names of villages and giving more precise footnotes. I intend to do exactly the same with the Kirkuk article if given a chance.
Djwilms (talk) 09:20, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
I just commented on the issue on the article's talk page. Per AGF, I won't reinstate the copyvio tag right now, but please reword the article so it is not a verbatim copy of the book. Favonian (talk) 09:23, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
OK (per your latest comment) I'm fine with that. The reason why CSD notifications come so early in an article's "life cycle" is because of the new article watch process. It is virtually the only way of catching additions to WP which in some way or another leave something to be desired. If I had paused to check your credentials, I would have sent you a somewhat less formal request. For that I apologize, but I hope you bear the general issue in mind. Favonian (talk) 09:29, 13 November 2009 (UTC)


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Hello, Djwilms. You have new messages at Favonian's talk page.
Message added 10:39, 16 November 2009 (UTC). You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

Favonian (talk) 10:39, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Picture of Oscar de Négrier[edit]

Hello my friend

On page fr:Discussion:Oscar_de_Négrier user Kilom691 kindly indicated that a picture of your superhero was available here. I have posted it on Wikipedia Commons, but I am not too sure about the copyright and the "categories"

Djwilms' idol

. --André de StCoeur (talk) 23:53, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Merci, my old. As a matter of fact, I possess that very issue of Le Petit Journal, so might get around to scanning the cover at higher definition.
Talking of the great slaver, do you know anything about the controversy that surrounded his escape from Metz after Bazaine's capitulation in 1870? I have another issue of Le Petit Journal which shows de Negrier making short work of two Prussian uhlans who foolishly got in his way. There were allegations from the Germans that he had broken his parole. It's not really relevant to my Sino-French War book, but I'm just interested.
Djwilms (talk) 01:14, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Seert (Chaldean Diocese)[edit]

Thanks for this excellent article ;). In future, could you use inline citations? Thanks, Ironholds (talk) 19:45, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Excellent, thanks :). I tend to write entire articles at a time and then paste them in inlines and cats attached, but I can see the advantages to your method - my method takes so long my backlog is enormous, while you will at least have something at every redlink by the time I'm done with one. Ironholds (talk) 12:45, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Tonkinese Rifles[edit]

Thanks for your comments. You have created a well written and researched article on a not very well known subject in the best Wikipedia tradition. It will be a long time before I can bring the post-1890 part of the tirailleurs' history up to the high standard that you have set - but I will do my best! Regards Buistr (talk) 02:13, 11 December 2009 (UTC).

Hi Djilms. Further to our earlier exchange, I notice that you and Carl Logan have discussed whether tirailleurs or rifles should be the default term for the varigated "native" infantry regiments of the defunct French Empire. I wonder if a final conclusion was reached on this - as you may have noticed I have more or less alternated between the two desigations in the additions I have made to your article. I have had a number of communications with Carl over the years regarding French military articles - and in particular those relating to the Armee d' Afrique.
The correct translation of tirailleurs is a difficult one - "Rifles" is undoubtedly the most popular one but I have also seen "Skirmishers", "Levies" and "Sharpshooters" used. Even "Light Infantry", although that clearly clashes with the misnamed "Joyeux" of the Infanterie Legere d' Afrique. My personal preference would be for "Tirailleurs" but I will be happy to go along with any decision that may already have been made. Regards Buistr (talk) 03:53, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
I think both of us have been busy on other things, and we haven't taken the debate any further. My preference remains for Tonkinese (Annamese, Senegalese, etc) Rifles, on the grounds of accessibility. I believe that 'Rifles' remains the instinctive 'default' formulation most English-speaking readers are going to type in if they're looking for information. I'm perfectly happy to gloss that, so that the article might be titled 'Tonkinese Rifles (tirailleurs tonkinois)'. But I think the use of the French word tirailleur is out of place in an article title in an English-language encyclopedia, many of whose readers do not know French. Although I can see very clearly where Carl is coming from in his arguments for tirailleur, it would not occur to me, even though I am familiar with the structure of the French colonial forces, to type in 'Senegalese tirailleurs' as my first search choice.
Djwilms (talk) 02:01, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Eastern Church dioceses in 1220[edit]

Hi Djwilms, I have been working on the List of religious leaders in 1220 article; I don't know why 1220 was created specifically, it was there before I got to it, but it has been an interesting challenge to find all the bishops and archbishops and occasionally lesser officials in 1220. I haven't had much luck with the non-Roman Catholic ones though. I see that you are familiar with the sources for the eastern churches, so if possible, would you be able to add to the 1220 article? Adam Bishop (talk) 15:37, 2 January 2010 (UTC)


Heya, if you have time, there are some discussions at Talk:Nestorianism which I think you'd find very interesting.  :) --Elonka 21:35, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, Elonka. I have immediately put my two-pennorth in. 'East Syrian' might be the best way out, though I would prefer to go with 'Nestorian', provided it is made clear that we are using the term purely because of its convenience and historic associations.
Djwilms (talk) 03:08, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Church of the East[edit]

Hey Djwilms, the new article Church of the East is up. Far from done, but I think it's alright for a start. I'd appreciate your input.--Cúchullain t/c 03:43, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Dear Cuchullain,
This is so much better than the crud that was there before. Well done!
I've just had a quick skim through the article. Although the structure and general allocation of space to particular topics now works very well, thanks to your efforts, the content of the article (which you inherited) still needs a fair bit of work. I've noticed that it contains a lot of factual errors. For example, I've just made an edit to a sentence on the Nestorian Stele to make it clear that it does NOT list the names of scores of prominent Christians in China. Most of the names listed on the stele are those of unimportant monks. However, these mistakes can be fairly easily put right. Most of the errors I have spotted do not seem to be pushing an Assyrian nationalist POV, but have arisen from pure carelessness, and I would be happy to correct them at the rate of about one a day. I will also try to give some better references in some cases.
The article Nestorianism now looks much better too. You've obviously been busy while I was on holiday last week.
Djwilms (talk) 02:14, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

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Patriarchs of the Church of the East[edit]

Dear PHG,

Any chance of you doing me a template along the lines of this one for the patriarchs of the Church of the East? I still haven't worked out how to create templates. Could you just do me a quick skeleton, without the Catholic imagery, with the same row headings, and with the title Patriarchs of the Church of the East? I'll edit it and take it from there. Cheers.

Djwilms (talk) 08:03, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Hi Djwilms! Long time no see! Here's the skeleton you requested. Best regards! Per Honor et Gloria  08:27, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Coordinator elections have opened![edit]

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Moses bar-Kepha[edit]

"Just a suggestion, but I would have thought that the spelling Mushe Bar Kepha (or Mushe bar Kepha) was more common nowadays than Moses Bar-Kepha, and I wonder whether you might consider changing the name of the article accordingly."

I didn't create this page; I just added some material to it!

I don't think most (any?) literature in the English-speaking world would refer to Mushe Bar Kepha, so a change of name would merely hide the article from those looking for info. But by all means place this spelling in brackets after the normal name! Roger Pearse (talk) 16:18, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Church of the east[edit]

Dear Mr. Djwilms,
for the post 1552, please see our intro for Chaldean Catholic Church. I have included a link to a very good book that you can probably find on google books. Here is the book[1]. Please keep in mind that we have many Assyrian and Chaldean nationalists warring over this issue. In the article mentioned above, we have tried to be neutral. Please make sure to consider this.
best regards, --Tisqupnaia2010 (talk) 05:52, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

  1. ^ Wilhelm Baum and Dietmar Winkler: The Church of the East: A Concise History. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003. page 135.

--Tisqupnaia2010 (talk) 05:52, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Your Chaldean stuff is much better than its Nestorian equivalent in Assyrian Church of the East, and it's also at about the right length for inclusion in the main Church of the East article. What is needed, I think, is an expansion of the Chaldean Catholic Church article to about twice its present length and the transfer of the present stuff to the Church of the East article. I'll see if I can find time to work on this in the next few weeks.
I've got Baum and Winkler, thanks, but I'd rather use sources like Tfinkdji, Giamil, Tisserand and Wilmshurst.
Djwilms (talk) 07:48, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

your input to the article about the Chaldean Catholic Church would be appreciated. I would like to invite you to add a note to the discussion page stating your opinion of the article. I hope that a person with your credentials would be able to convince Assyrian Nationalists to reconsider vandalizing the neutrality of the article.--Tisqupnaia2010 (talk) 09:14, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Modern Assyrianism[edit]

Hello Djwilms, I read the excerpt from your forthcoming book The Martyred Church on my friend's talk page and I think it's rather good.

The claim to descent from the ancient Assyrians was first made at the end of the nineteenth century. The Christians living around Mosul always knew that they were living in what had once been Assyria, because the Bible (particularly the Book of Jonah) told them so. For several centuries there was a Nestorian diocese of Nineveh, and the Nestorian metropolitans of Mosul styled themselves metropolitans of 'Athor', Assyria. But it did not occur to any Nestorian Christian before the end of the nineteenth century to regard himself as an Assyrian. We know the names of thousands of East Syrian bishops, priests, deacons and scribes between the third and nineteenth centuries, and there is not a Sennacherib or Ashurbanipal among them. All this changed with the excavation of the ruins of Nineveh by Austin Layard in the 1840s. Layard’s spectacular discoveries made the ancient Assyrians fashionable. In 1881 the authorities of the Church of England decided to call their mission to the Nestorians ‘The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Mission to Assyrian Christians’ because nobody had heard of the Nestorians but everyone knew about the Assyrians. In turn, this first, official use of ‘Assyrian’ did much to popularise the term among the Nestorians themselves. They were quick to appreciate the fact that they enjoyed far higher visibility as ‘Assyrians’ than as Nestorians. By the end of the First World War the term ‘Assyrian’ was in widespread use, and was regularly used in the diplomatic exchanges of the 1920s. Wigram’s book The Assyrians and Their Neighbours (1929) further entrenched the term. The result, in the 1920s and 1930s, was a vogue for Assyrian Christian names. A male child might still be called Awdisho (‘Abdisho‘) or Dinkha (Denha), but as often as not he would have a brother named Sargon or a sister named Semiramis.

I wondered if it would be possible to cite this in an article yet? On a separate note, I must remark on how impressive your prolific contributions to Wikipedia are. Superb work. ܥܝܪܐܩ (talk) 20:02, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

I'll be more than happy to be of any help to you, Dr. --Tisqupnaia2010 (talk) 08:57, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

This theory has been utterly debunked. There is no proof whatsoever that the indigenous Mesopotamians were wiped out, if so, show it? Simo Parpola and others have clearly shown the existence of Assyrian names from late antiquity onwards. How many modern English are called Aethelstan and Offa? None, oh, cant be English then!

Assyria existed as an entity until the 7th century AD.

Armenian, Persian, Georgian and Russian records show the use of the name Assyrian well before the 19th century.

These anti Assyrian arguments are poorly researched, arrogant and somewhat racist to be honest. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:12, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

An extinct church?[edit]

Can you make anything of this article? Sorting through the edit history, it looks like it was originally an abstruse attempt to (1) conflate some passages in primary sources to make it appear that the Indian church was connected to the Syriac Orthodox patriarchate rather than the Nestorian by way of a West Syrian "Orthodox Church of the East", and (2) to bolster the claims of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church regarding the title of Catholicos of the East. Later another editor came in and added a bunch of material concerning what is actually known about Christianity in India, which had the effect of making the article appear to be well referenced. A Google Books search returns nothing relevant to the subject of a phantom Oriental Orthodox church. Probably something that will need to be AFD'd, but I thought I'd check around before doing that.--Cúchullain t/c 19:20, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Contacting PHG help[edit]

Greetings. I'm trying hard to get a hold of a wikipedia user named PHG (stands for Per Honor et Gloria). I noticed you've been in contact with him/her via his/her wiki talk page. I am VERY new to this sort of posting and would like to contact him/her via email. PHG posted an article on a map I'm very interested in featuring in a documentary film I'm working on. Wondering if you could help me contact him/her? My email address is I would appreciate communicating there as I'm quite new at this.--atariatari 18:08, 4 April 2010

The Military history WikiProject Newsletter : XLIX (March 2010)[edit]

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Cochinchina Campaign[edit]

Hi there. Are you still going to work on this? YellowMonkey (vote in the Southern Stars and White Ferns supermodel photo poll) 02:40, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Casualty of bombardment of Tourane[edit]

According to this source, the Vietnamese casualty was up to 10,000 dead. Should we trust it? (talk) 00:24, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Schism of 1552[edit]

Schism of 1552 is very nice. You should nominate it for a DYK. şṗøʀĸɕäɾłäů∂ɛ:τᴀʟĸ 10:18, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

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You are now a Reviewer[edit]

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AfD nomination of Hong Kong Morris[edit]

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Hey Djwilms, if you get a chance, could you look at the brewing fiasco at Ahatallah? It may be slightly out of your area, but as a published author on the Church of the East, combined with your knowledge of the Syriac Orthodox Church, I think your opinion would be most valuable. The talk page will show you exactly the way the debate is going.--Cúchullain t/c 14:06, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Hi, Cuchullain.
Here's my own take on Ahatallah, from my forthcoming book:
The Saint Thomas Christians remained within the fold of the Catholic church for the next six decades, but during this period they grew increasingly restive. The Syrians quite liked the conciliatory Jesuit bishop Francis Roz (1600–24), who showed some sensitivity to their age-old traditions, but they disliked his successors Stephen Britto (1624–41) and Francis Garzia (1641–59), who did not. Under Garzia’s episcopate they began to complain that the few privileges and exemptions granted them at the synod of Diamper were being infringed. In 1650 they secretly wrote to the Mosul patriarch Eliya IX Shem‘on (1617–60) and his Kochanes counterpart Shem‘on XI (1638–56), and also to the Jacobite patriarch in Antioch and the Coptic patriarch in Alexandria, asking for a Syrian bishop to be sent to them. Two years later a Syrian bishop, Cyril Ahatallah, duly arrived. Originally a Jacobite bishop of Damascus, Ahatalla had formally converted to Catholicism in 1632 and had consequently been drummed out of the Syrian Orthodox church. In 1650 he was living in Cairo, at something of a loose end, and was shown the letter from the Saint Thomas Christians by the Coptic patriarch. Seizing his opportunity, he persuaded the Mosul patriarch Eliya IX Shem‘on to consecrate him metropolitan of India and China (his Catholicism apparently being no bar to this appointment) and sailed to India to seek his fortune. On his arrival in Meliapur in 1652 he was promptly arrested by the Portuguese as a schismatic, in that his claims infringed the pope’s authority, and deported to Lisbon to be questioned by the Inquisition. He seems to have died in Paris in 1659 while being taken to Rome for further questioning.
As far as I can see, it agrees fairly closely with what's in the article (I've just skimmed it), but the article doesn't mention Ahatalla's consecration by the Nestorian patriarch Eliya IX (unless I've missed it somewhere).
My immediate comment is that the article is one of the best-written 'Syriac' articles I have yet seen on Wikipedia (your work, perhaps?), and that it seems to be stating the facts fairly and moderately.
Take a look at my paragraph to see if my understanding agrees with yours. If it does, I might be able to suggest some more sources for Ahatalla. I've not actually read the book that is at the centre of dispute, and I'll need to do some digging to unearth the sources I used for my paragraph. There were several, I know.
Djwilms (talk) 01:25, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

I have now ordered Neill's book (both volumes) in order to bring myself up to speed on this issue. I have in fact read Neill's History of Christian Missions (part of the Pelican History of the Church), which covers India in some detail, and no doubt his position is the same in both books. I'll try to find the sources (a) for Ahatalla's consecration by Eliya IX and (b) for the report that he died in Paris in 1659. I know I have consulted several sources, including a couple of learned journal articles, for Ahatallah. I thought it was now common ground that he was not put to death in India, and that allegations to the contrary were just inflammatory rumours put about by the Syrians. Evidently not. I'm not quite sure why there is all this talk about a Catholic bias. A scholarly bias, perhaps, and an interest in establishing the truth and overturning hoary old legends, but that's quite a different matter. Djwilms (talk) 01:21, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

The contention over the article, is due to the sources, which Neill, had considered. Since the sources, are Portuguese, a question about its reliability comes to picture. Also, it makes one to ponder, as to why many historians, have never tried to dig the past of Ahathullah. Is that because of the reliability of the sources??? Neill and Vadakkekara who are quoted as sources, are priests. Also, the area of operation of Neill in India, was the state of Tamil Nadu. You would be knowing, how different each states in India are. Neill has good ground knowledge about the State of Tamil Nadu, however most of the data about kerala, is collected from various sources.
Where we need good sources are
1. Eventually he requested to return to Syria, where he vowed he would bring the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius Hidayat Allah, into communion with Rome.
2.Ahatallah was certainly unsuccessful in converting the Patriarch before his death in 1639. After that point, he apparently began claiming he was Hidayat Allah's rightful successor, and began styling himself "Ignatius", the name traditionally born by Syriac Orthodox Patriarchs.
3.However, the Jesuits extended considerable kindness and freedom to him, and allowed him to meet with Zachariah Cherrian Unni and two other members of the Saint Thomas Christian clergy. (I dont know from where Neill got these names, in some books the the christian deacons named Itty and Thommen met him). Also considerable kindness????
4.In reality, it appears that Ahatallah did in fact reach Goa, and was then sent on to Lisbon with the ultimate goal of having his case decided in Rome. Evidently, however, he died in Paris in 1655, before reaching Rome. Do we have good sources, to throughly say, he died in Paris.
Portuguese sources are generally not trusted, because of the catholic biasedness. That is why we had a heated debate. All we want to know is, whether all the authors who talk about ahathualla's background, loops back to the portuguese documents. Thanks a ton for your interest in this matter. Hope you now, have more clarity on the issue. CosmasIndi (talk) 12:52, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
This is very clearly blocked user and sockpuppeteer Fyodor7. Fyodor, I can assure you that Djwilms knows how to evaluate sources, and has a much less skewed view than you do about which ones are "generally not trusted". Please stop trying to avoid your block.
Djwilms, I think it is well established that Ahatallah wasn't killed in India. Neill (volume 1, p. 319) indicates that this was the rumor in India at the time, and it spread more widely in the scholarly literature after it was repeated as fact by Maximilian Müllbauer in the 19th century. You can still find it mentioned in some modern works, but most give it no credence or deny it outright. However, I think it would be good to have additional sources supporting a few of the major contentious points in the article, especially Ahatallah having converted to Catholicism.--Cúchullain t/c 13:31, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Hi Sir, Came to know, that , a document in Vatican, authored by Pope Alexander VII, mentions, that, [Ahathulla]] was a non catholic Patriarch. The Syrian Jacobites in India, maintain, that, Ahathulla was the same Ignatius Hidayat Allah, who actually went missing.

Recollect something a catholic friend told me, that most of the articles and documents about the saint thomas christians preserved in lisbon and vatican, are out of bounds for the saint thomas christians from India. Several Syro-Malabar Catholic's (which is is eastern christan church, under the patriarch of rome) did try, to access the archives in lisbon and vatican and were turned down. My friends brother is a catholic priest, he got the info from him. Do you by any chance know anything about these?.

Also, User:Cuchullain made a comment that I was haranguing you [[30]], I certainly didnt do anything as such. Am sorry, if you have felt so. We are finally breathing fresh air, to have found someone knowledgable in this area. CosmasIndi (talk) 17:43, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Diacritics in Vietnam-related articles[edit]

There is a discussion at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Vietnam#Diacritics that you may wish to to contribute to. Colonies Chris (talk) 09:05, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Hi—I'm curious; does your objection to using diacritics extend to article titles, or do you simply object to their use throughout an article? I'm trying to judge whether we can claim consensus on the use of diacritics specifically in article titles. --dragfyre_ʞןɐʇc 21:59, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry to say that I'm against the use of diacritics in article titles as well as in the main body of the text. It seems to me that the principle should be convenience and common usage in English. As far as convenience is concerned, spattering an article with diacriticised names does not improve its readability, and puts off non-specialist readers. As far as common usage in English is concerned, most English-language books on Vietnam spell Vietnamese place names without diacritics (e.g. Lang Son, Vung Tau). Most atlases do the same. The only advantages of giving a place name with diacritics are to indicate its correct pronunciation and to indicate how the Vietnamese spell it. This is best done by glossing the name when it first appears in the body of an article. The same principle, incidentally, should also apply to the names of persons.
Djwilms (talk) 01:19, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Hey, no reason to apologize—IMO your contributions are invaluable and are helping to move us forward. I've cleaned up the "In a nutshell" section in the diacritics discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Vietnam#Diacritics. When you get the chance, please indicate your support or opposition to each consensus point to allow us to determine which points have the most support. I've also added a note to the effect that, for now, these points do not constitute a formal proposal, but just indicate where we're at in our discussion. --dragfyre_ʞןɐʇc 14:33, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Shemon of Ada and the Saint Thomas Christians[edit]

Hi Sir,

Regarding your discussion about, whether the COE ceased to exist in India, after Portuguese period. When the Portuguese, was at the helm of the affairs controlling the Arabian sea, they were very careful , in allowing vistors to India. The Chaldean Mar Joseph, the brother of Sulaqua, was kept at Goa, for an year, for monitoring his faith and then allowed to kerala. Upon arrival in Kerala he preached Nestorian faith, he was taken out of kerala for questioning (probably to Rome or Lisbon)

Later during the time of Dutch, one Mar Gabriel was send to Kerala to reclaim the faithful, am not sure, if he was Chaldean or Assyrian. He mostly tried to win back the Orthodox group, i believe and the Orthodox group called the antiocheans for help, in dealing with him.

During the time of Joseph Audo, Mellus and Rokkos, were send to again win back the Syrian Christians…

Am sure, you already know all these. Also most of the catholic books never talk about Assyrian church, infact, they only use the word Chaldea. Recently read in some catholic websites, were they call Timothy I (Nestorian Patriarch), Chaldean patriarch Timothy I who lived in 8th century. The versions of the Jacobite Orthodox and Nestorians (called Chaldeans in India) are not widely available online, and they do not have sufficicent English books. I would be happy to assist, if you would like to hear differnt versions, than those already available in market. Thank you.Cosmas Indii (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 13:49, 22 July 2010 (UTC).

Lord, give it a rest, Fyodor.--Cúchullain t/c 14:17, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Offer to review Taiwan articles[edit]

I notice you're asking for reviews of some of your articles. I'm happy to do this with any Taiwan-related articles against the Good Article criteria, but you will have to formally submit them (via WP:GAN) before I can review them for the GA classification. If you do happen to nominate any articles, please just drop me a line on my talk page and I'll check them out. Taiwantaffy (talk) 06:51, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Cooperation on the Sino-French War?[edit]

Hi, I am writing to you regarding your on-going wiki project on the Sino-French War. I am currently a MPhil student of East Asian Studies at University of Cambridge, and my MPhil thesis is about the representation of the Sino-French War,under the guidance of Prof. Hans van de Ven. I am about to finish my thesis in a week, and came across the wiki pages you contributed to the Sino-French War. I was surprised by the high quality of these pages and I really appreciate your efforts in continously editing and improving these pages. I would like to help you with this project. I am a Chinese native speaker, but went to college in the U.S. and am currently pursuing my graduate degree in Britain. I started my research on the Sino-French War about one year ago, and have been working with a number of primary resources such as communications between Robert Hart and James Duncan Campbell, the memorials to the Qing court, and copies of French official documents stored at Guangxi Archive, China. I think that I can potentially help with the project by editing the pages you created with reference to these primary resources. As to the secondary materials, you might want to look at Shao Xunzhen's book Zhongfa Yuenan Guanxi Shimo (邵循正 《中法越南关系始末》) - I think that is the most important academic book on the diplomacy between China and French on the Vietnam issue, far better than 龙章's book. Another book worthwhile to read is Huang Zhennan's Zhongfa zhanzheng guankui(黄振南《中法战争管窥》). The author painstakingly cross-examined a great number of Chinese resources with French resources and offered a new pesperctive on the military history of the Sino-French War. Anyway, I am more than happy to learn that I am not the only person in this planet who studies the Sino-French War. I look forward to hear back from you. Falcon Fang (talk) 04:51, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

Another enthusiast, and a better book than Lung Chang's: how splendid! I live and work in Hong Kong, but by the happiest of coincidences I will be flying back to the UK tomorrow evening for a three-week holiday. I will be staying with my parents in Northampton, and have a car in England, so I could come over to Cambridge one day to meet you if it didn't distract you from completing your thesis (I remember the feeling well). Perhaps you would like to write to me at this email address: If you let me have your contact telephone number, I will give you a call when I'm back in England.
I too had that feeling that I was the only person on the planet who studies the S-F War.
Djwilms (talk)

The Military history WikiProject Newsletter : LIII (July 2010)[edit]

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1873 Tonkin expedition[edit]

Since you're interested about the 19th century French war in Vietnam, do you have sources about the 1873 French intervention in Tonkin? If yes, I would like you to create an article about it. (talk) 20:22, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

I'll try to get round to it shortly. I have translated Captain Thomazi's chapter in La Conquete de l'Indochine (written in 1930 or thereabouts) on the 1873/4 intervention, and could do worse than upload that for a start. The facts are all there, but the interpretation would need to be edited for objectivity.
Djwilms (talk) 01:41, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

BTW, as we know, the French made 3 invasions of Vietnam, in 1858, 1873, and 1883. We have articles about the first and third invasions. And as for the second invasion, when you create an article about it, could you find an name for it that doesn't NOT include the date. Because the tiitles of the article Cochinchina Campaign and Tonkin Campaign don't include the dates, so it would be cooler if the title of the article about the second invasion also don't include the years. Moreover, for the 1873/4 expedition, was it a French failture? (talk) 04:09, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

The Bugle: Issue LXI, March 2011[edit]

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The Bugle: Issue LXII, April 2011[edit]

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The Bugle: Issue LXIII, May 2011[edit]

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Ignatius Gregory Peter VI Shahbaddin[edit]

If you may be interested, I've written a short article about Ignatius Gregory Peter VI Shahbaddin with all the refs I know (all the story is however narrated in Italian in the Rabbath vol 2). I suppose that his name Gregory was due to the fact he was bishop of Jerusalem. A ntv (talk) 14:54, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

The Bugle: Issue LXIV, June 2011[edit]

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ܫܠܡܐ Djwilms, I truly admire your work concerning Syriac Christianity. BTW why don't you nominate some of your article? They could easily pass as GA or even FA.--Rafy talk 00:31, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks very much for your kind words. I will get round to it one of these days, but right at present I am desperately busy trying to get my new book on the Church of the East (link: out. It will be published in two weeks' time, and I am still making final amendments to the proofs. That's cut down my editing on Wikipedia drastically during the past few months. Any substantial revisions to my stuff will have to wait until the autumn, I'm afraid!

Djwilms (talk) 08:53, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

Hello, I'm very delighted that people like yourself are taking interest in "my" culture (if I may say that). Your book is, as it looks from the discription, one of the most comprehensive work in its field. I'm looking forward to reading it.
By the way, I'm still learning classical Syriac grammar and I might have some difficulties with word choices. the word ܚܠܥܬܐ is used in my native village to describe either something earned or the bride's dowry. Other words that might have the same meaning are ܟܠܝܠܐ, originally means crown but its use is extended to include other meanings.
I think that the Bar Hebraeus' translation will be very interesting for a friend of mine who is doing her PH.D. on a medieval Syriac Orthodox text. b'Shaina wb'Shlama.Rafy talk--12:46, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

New Book![edit]

Hello, Congratulations and thank you for you new book! I'm really looking forward to reading it. Best regards.--Rafy talk 20:35, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Dear Rafy,
You might have to wait a while! I've just been to and to order half a dozen copies for friends of mine, and was suprised to discover that it is 'temporarily out of stock'. Considering it only went on sale yesterday, I was amazed. I've just emailed my publishers to find out what is going on. I may be reduced to ordering copies on, where it can still be found.
Now that I've finally got some time on my hands, I'm pressing ahead with a series of new Wikipedia articles on the dioceses of the Syriac Orthodox Church. I'm ploughing through Chabot's French translation of Michael the Syrian (which I need to read for the introduction to my English translation of Bar Hebraeus for Gorgias Press, just so I can estimate how much Bar Hebraeus plagiarised from Michael), and putting the bishops I come across on Wikipedia.
Djwilms (talk) 02:03, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Et pendant ce temps-là...[edit]

Fini, la Martyred Church ! Maintenant je passe à la fr:guerre franco-chinoise ! DW

... le book sur la 中法战争 n’avance pas… "I will shortly be publishing a full-length book…", qu’il disait ! Congratulations quand même. André de StCoeur (talk) 17:27, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Too late for "Temporairement en rupture de stock." André de StCoeur (talk) 17:31, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Yo, Andre,

Thanks for the congratulations. It's also 'temporarily out of stock' on the Anglo-Saxon derivatives of, viz. and The publishers seem to have thought that supplying with 10 copies would keep them quiet for a year or two, whereas I have already bought up their entire stock myself, just to give to friends and family. Either they or I don't understand the concept of marketing. For example, they haven't even put a product description on yet, even though I have told them more than once that most copies of the book are likely to be bought by Assyrians living in the US and Europe. Perhaps they take the view that there is a limited market for the book, and that those who ARE going to buy it will do so anyway sooner or later and don't need encouragement. That is not a view that I share, but there we are. I don't suppose you want to write a review for me on, do you? I would happily supply you with a glowing tribute (in English).

Ah yes, the book on the Sino-French War. Believe it or not, that is now next on my agenda. When I have recovered my faith in British book marketing, I might offer it to East and West, since they did a good production job on The Martyred Church. If they are not interested, Hong Kong University Press is, so it won't lack for a publisher. The book is very nearly finished (Francois replaced with Oscar throughout), and might even see the light of day next summer. I need to get it done by then anyway, as I have a contract with Gorgias Press to publish an English translation of the Ecclesiastical History of Bar Hebraeus by December 2012.

I was introduced in Hong Kong to a Scottish fellow the other day, who had lived in Taiwan for several years and is very interested in the island's history. By the most extraordinary of coincidences, one of the first topics of conversation he raised was the forts at Tamsui, and their connection with the Sino-French War. The mutual friend who had introduced us said, 'As a matter of fact, David is writing THE book on the Sino-French War.' Such moments happen rarely to me, and I confess that I made the most of it.

Djwilms (talk) 05:53, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Augustine Hindi[edit]

Hi, a question has been raised concerning Augustine Hindi's year of death. Maybe you can have a look and help out with your expertise. Thanks in advance! --FordPrefect42 (talk) 16:50, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Dioceses of the Syriac Orthodox Church[edit]

"The West Syrians envisaged their church as the legitimate patriarchate of Antioch, and appear to have tried to duplicate the hierarchy already existing."

Can you please provide a reference for the above. This will be seriously contested by Syrian Orthodox, who belive theirs is the Orginal Patriarchate.

Also, can you please guide me to books with deatails about the same. (talk) 02:44, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

The Bugle: Issue LXVII, September 2011[edit]

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The Bugle: Issue LXVIII, October 2011[edit]

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File source problem with File:Capitaine de fregate.jpg[edit]

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Isho`yahb II[edit]

You did actually spend some time comparing the two versions of the Ishoyahb II article, yes? --Zimriel (talk) 03:11, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Dear Zimriel (talk),

Sorry if I was hasty. I seem to have done the same thing as you, and inadvertently taken out stuff that could usefully have stayed in (especially the material from Guidi's Chronicle). Let me revisit your earlier edit, and take another look at it. I don't agree with all you say, and I don't think we need to labour the point at such length, but I do agree with you that we need to cast doubt on the authenticity of these so-called 'treaties' between the Christians and the Muslims. I am familiar with Chase Robinson's book, and although he is not always right, he is right on that point.

Give me a couple of days, and I will try to come up with a suitable form of words.

Djwilms (talk) 05:56, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Syriac vs. Syrian dilemma[edit]

Hello, I've been facing some difficulties regarding the usage of Syrian vs. Syriac. In one article a user argued that Syrian should be used instead of Syriac because the latest is a religious name unfit to be used to describe a group of people. Another case, a user argues that Syrian and Syriac are different concepts that shouldn't be wikilinked. Similar problems show up in categories such as Category:Syrian Christians and Category:Syrian saints, that include both historical Eastern and Western Syrians and citizens of the Syrian Arab republic. to remedy this I suggested moving modern Christians of Syria to another category with a more obvious name. Another solution would be to move all archaic Syrian Christian categories to a more distinguishable Syriac ones. Do you have any thoughts on this?--Rafy talk 10:47, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

By the way, if you have some time, could you take a look at Talk:John of Damascus. The conflict in short is that many sources describe him as a "Semite" and "Syrian or Aramean rather than Arab" but Tiamut insists that this is still too ambiguous to have a wikilink to Syriacs.--Rafy talk 10:48, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Personally, I prefer the term Syrian Orthodox Church, because it has a history of over a millennium. Following the publication of my book on the Nestorians and Chaldeans, I am now working on a book on the history of the Syrian Orthodox and Syrian Catholic Churches. I will call them Jacobites, Syrian Orthodox and Syrian Catholics throughout the book, until we get to the politically correct 21st century. The Jacobite Church has recently officially renamed itself the Syriac Orthdox Church, so out of respect for its wishes, and for the sake of a quiet life, we should probably follow this usage; though I fervently hope that it will eventually change its mind and revert to its old, time-honoured, name. Occasionally I forget and use 'Syrian Orthodox' in my Wikipedia edits, and sometimes get round to changing Syrian to Syriac if I'm feeling politically correct, which isn't often. To tell the truth, I'm not really bothered by these arguments over nomenclature, as they generally generate more heat than light.
I'll have a look at John of Damascus.
Djwilms (talk) 01:36, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

The 3%[edit]

On 26 September 2008, you quoted Thomazi in Tonkin Affair as writing that, "On the stock exchange on 30 March the 3% fell by three and a half francs; it had only fallen by two and a half francs on the day that war was declared in 1870." Now, I can't quite figure what "the 3%" is. Could you elaborate on that for me, please? Thanks in advance. Best. Président (talk) 04:36, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

I've been puzzled about that too, and I'm afraid I can't help you very much. I've just checked the relevant paragraph of Thomazi (p. 260), and the French text reads as follows:
A la Bourse, le 30 mars, le 3 % baisse de 3 fr. 50 ; il n’avait baissé que de 2 fr. 50 le jour de la déclaration de guerre en 1870.
I'm pretty sure my translation is correct, but what 'the 3%' might be, I have no idea, I'm afraid.
Djwilms (talk) 06:26, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

The Bugle: Issue LXIX, November 2011[edit]

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Dioceses' maps[edit]

I have just created two maps showing historical dioceses of the Church of the East and the Syrian Orthodox Church.

I'm not quite sure about the accuracy of the area of missionary activities in the first one. I read somewhere about supposed activities in the Philipines, Korea and Japan but the reliability of those sources is questionable. The second map needs some polishing. I also couldn't locate some names such as ʿArqa, Arzun, Gargar... By the way I would be glad to help out in case you have any requests or suggestion about other maps or diagrams.--Rafy talk 22:13, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi Rafi,
That's a great start! I'm delighted to find that someone else is interested in mapping Nestorian and Jacobite dioceses. I have produced several detailed maps of the dioceses of the Church of the East in my recent book The Martyred Church, which will give you the information you need for the Nestorian map. If you don't yet have access to that book, I would be happy to email you the pdf. files of the maps. Email me at and I'll get back to you in a day or so.
I am also putting together a detailed map showing the dioceses of the Syrian Orthodox Church, to go in what I hope will be a companion volume on the Jacobites (perhaps to be called The Church of Severus), which I can let you have when it's ready. I too have not yet been able to localise ʿArqa, though I know where Arzun and Gargar are. I have no doubt I'll get there in the end.
By the way, I like your ain in ʿArqa. I shall now go through all my Wikipedia edits replacing the character I presently use for ain.
I'm trying compile a list of the locations mentioned in the Jacobite dioceses articles in order to pinpoint on a map. I will let you know of my progress.
I think I simply copied the ʿayin symbol directly from your article as it was rendered on wikipedia. Alternatively, I regularly use symbols found in the ISO 259 standard for transliterating Hebrew.--Rafy talk 11:33, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Military Historian of the Year[edit]

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The Bugle: Issue LXXI, February 2012[edit]

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Ichthus: January 2012[edit]

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Two articles for the same Church![edit]

Hi, don't you think that we should merge Church of the East and Assyrian Church of the East? They obviously refer to the same eastern Church. An option would be to rename the first article to History of the Church of the East, since it is after all strictly concerned with history.--Rafy talk 12:49, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Hi Rafy.
Actually, this has been discussed before. The Assyrian Church of the East is defined as the one of the two successor churches (with the Chaldean Church) since the schism of 1552. They both claim descent from the old COE, so that was the only logical way to prevent permanent edit wars.
Djwilms (talk) 09:33, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm aware of the long history of schisms and counter-schisms in the Church of the East. However generally speaking those who joined the Catholic Church were required to profess the canons of faith provided by the Catholic Pope, thus braking the dogmatic continuity with their predecessors. The first leader and the "founder" of the Chaldean Church is always mentioned as John Sulaqa, while the Assyrian Church's official list goes back to St. Thomas.
By the way the LOC has proposed an ALA-LC romanization of Syriac. I thought you might find this interesting for eventual implementations in Wikipedia.--Rafy talk 19:27, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

I would like to bring this stub to you attention. I believe that it should be an obvious redirect to the Church of the East rather than a poorly written stub.--Rafy talk 15:04, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Hi Rafi,
I would delete the stub entirely. It contains so many errors that I don't know where to start. The Persian Church is simply a geographical name for the Church of the East. I have used it in numerous occasions in my recent book The Martyred Church, simply for variety when I got fed up of calling it the Nestorian Church. It is true that not all Persian Christians went along with the decisions of the synod of Babai, but we have very little idea of what happened to the dissidents. Some of them may have rejoined the Church of the East later, others will have become Chalcedonians or Jacobites. But there is no evidence that a distinct 'Persian Church' was formed in opposition to the Church of the East, at least no evidence that I am aware of. Neither of the sources cited can be trusted on this kind of thing, I'm afraid.
Djwilms (talk) 06:39, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. I will redirect the page since consensus has been reached.--Rafy talk 11:41, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

GOCE July 2012 Copy Edit Drive[edit]

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The Bugle: Issue LXXVI, July 2012[edit]

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Hello, Djwilms. You have new messages at Talk:List of Patriarchs of the Church of the East.
Message added 12:25, 2 August 2012 (UTC). You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

Rafy talk 12:25, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Notification of proposal to ban Spanish articles from Did You Know?[edit]

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The Bugle: Issue LXXXIII, February 2013[edit]

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The Bugle: Issue LXXXIV, March 2013[edit]

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The Bugle: Issue LXXXV, April 2013[edit]

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The Bugle: Issue LXXXVI, May 2013[edit]

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Love history & culture? Get involved in WikiProject World Digital Library![edit]

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Better source request for File:Landing at Pa-te-chui.jpg[edit]

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The Bugle: Issue LXXXVII, June 2013[edit]

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The Bugle: Issue LXXXVIII, July 2013[edit]

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The Bugle: Issue LXXXIX, August 2013[edit]

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Disambiguation link notification for September 11[edit]

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WikiProject Military history coordinator election[edit]

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Feast day listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]


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3-4 year old question on Islamic burning, but here it goes..[edit]

Hi, there! I noticed that on the talk page of Death by burning from 2010, you wondered about judicial burning to death in Islamic countries. In the 17th century Ottoman Empire (Turkey and dominions), several sources say that Turks who apostasized from Islam might face burning to death. Furthermore, from 18th century Morooco and Algiers, it is said in several sources that Christian slaves or Jews meriting death penalty would be burned (while Arabs would be impaled or meet other types of nastinesses.) I might cough up some links if you absolutely need'em. Cheers.Arildnordby (talk) 21:27, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

I've coughed up a few refs in the relevant article.Arildnordby (talk) 23:53, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks very much. I am gradually building up evidence that this punishment was taken over by the Muslims from the Christians after the Arab Conquest. I have come across several references to early examples of burning to death as (a) a pagan Roman punishment for Christians, notably in the persecution of Diocletian (c.305), (b) a Christian punishment for heretics (4th to 6th centuries AD), and finally (c) a Muslim punishment for rebels, deviants and apostates, including Christians (7th century onwards). One of these days I will document them for this article.
Djwilms (talk) 06:26, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
Sounds interesting! From the accounts I know of, typically 16th-19th century accounts, death by burning within regions of Islam was particularly associated with grave breaches of religion (typically, apostasy of Muslims (most commonly reported), or derogation of Islam by non-Muslims). There existed, however, particularly in Mameluke Egypt, a torture/punishment called shamyal, in which wounds were cut into the person's arms, filled by pitch or resin, and set fire to. In this flaming condition, the person was led to the execution site on a camel. (That's more of a pre-executional torture by burning, though, rather than the execution mode itself, so it might be peripheral to the article elements you wish to include)Arildnordby (talk) 13:08, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
In case you think the shamyal torture might be of relevance for your research, the following snippet is from Leonhard Rauwolf, travelling 1573-75, describing a variant of the ritual as observed in Tripoli: "So I have seen them often to ride along, but chiefly at one time with a poor Malefacior condemned to die, who was carried on a Camel's back, tied with his Back to a Cross; with his Arms extended, to the place of Execution, and between the Cross and his Shoulders were put two burning Torches prepared with Bacon, so that the Grease ran all over his Body, and burnt it severely"

This excerpt can be found on p.36 in John Ray's 1693 translation, A Collection of Curious Travels and Voyages, in Two Tomes, volume 1. Good luck with your work.Arildnordby (talk) 15:28, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

I have added a few 13th century burning accounts from Morocco and Tunis of martyred Catholic monks. In one explicit case, and presumably in others as well, the specific charge would have been that of proselytizing among the Muslim population.Arildnordby (talk) 16:17, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
Highly relevent to you research? I see from what you write that you are particularly interested in the early history of judicial burning within Islam. I assume you know about, but post anyway, an entry from the Encyclopedia of Islam, on the early ridda apostate and rebel Tulaiah b. Khuwailid, several of whose followers were burnt to death in the 630s Ce. E.J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam 1913-1936Arildnordby (talk) 16:51, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
Fascinating! Thanks very much for all this stuff, gentlemen. I am reminded that one of the procedures during the execution of Damiens in Paris (18th century) was to rip open the flesh of his arms and legs and pour boiling lead into the wounds, before all four limbs were pulled off by teams of horses. Possibly we need to distinguish, as has been suggested, between the application of fire (a) as a mode of torture, and (b) as a mode of execution. Let me give further thought to a possible spin-off article ...
Djwilms (talk) 09:29, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Chronicle of Arbela[edit]

Hi, You probably used this chronicle more than once in your books. What are your thoughts regarding claims of it being a modern forgery?--Kathovo talk 14:02, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Here's what I say in The Martyred Church (pages 89-90): Around 550 an unknown author from Adiabene wrote a Syriac history of the Church of Erbil and its bishops and martyrs. This history, the Chronicle of Erbil, took the development of the Addai legend a decisive stage further by transporting him to Persia and claiming him as the apostle of Adiabene. The Chronicle, which ignores the identical role claimed by the monks of Dorqoni for Mari, is structured around the careers of twenty bishops of Erbil who sat between the second and sixth centuries, from Paqida, said to have been consecrated by Addai at the beginning of the second century, to Hnana, who became metropolitan of Adiabene in 511. All of the early bishops in this sequence were invented by the author, who bolstered his fiction by assigning improbably precise reign-dates to each of them. The Chronicle of Erbil, first edited at the beginning of the twentieth century by Alphonse Mingana, who published the Syriac text of the Chronicle with a French translation in 1907, has become a battleground for scholars of the Church of the East, because it has been alleged to be a modern forgery. According to Mingana, the Chronicle was the work of Mshiha-zkha, an obscure historian mentioned by 'Abdisho' of Nisibis in his famous list of Nestorian authors, and survived in a single manuscript. It has since been shown beyond reasonable doubt that Mingana doctored his text in order to support this unlikely ascription, and to provide the manuscript with a convincing provenance. Hardly surprisingly, some scholars have suspected that he went further, and also wrote the text itself. Mingana was as brilliant as he was unscrupulous, but it is unlikely that he was capable of deception on so massive a scale. It is far more likely that the text itself is a genuine product of the sixth century, and that Mingana merely forged its provenance in a misguided attempt to win it scholarly acceptance. This appears to be the view of the German scholar Peter Kawerau, who has recently published a new edition of the Chronicle’s text. Kawerau has stubbornly defended the Chronicle’s authenticity and historical value, even to the point of impugning the integrity of the ‘Roman Catholic theologians’ with whom he disagrees, and is very probably right to maintain that the Chronicle is an authentic text from the sixth century. But that does not mean that its evidence can be trusted. The Chronicle of Erbil was doubtless written by a monk in one of the Erbil monasteries. Its author was a conscious inventor of tradition, who cheerfully mingled truth with fiction for the greater glory of the diocese of Erbil. Like other historical fictions from this period, the Chronicle may conceivably contain information of great value on pagan customs and other aspects of life in Parthian and Sasanian Persia; but it is rarely possible to separate the gold from the dross.
I wrote that 4 years ago and I have not changed my mind since.
Djwilms (talk) 09:35, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
I get the picture now. Thank you so much for your reply. Do you know whether Mingana left the Dominican seminary in Mosul because of this issue?--Kathovo talk 01:18, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Hah! A good question, and one to which I don't know the answer. While I was doing my PhD thesis on the Church of the East in the 1990s, it was considered impolite (at least at Oxford), to ask prurient questions about Mingana and the Chronicle of Erbil. Clearly there had been some sort of scandal, but there was a 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' sort of mood, and our supervisors focused instead on Mingana's more positive contributions to scholarship. It would be nice if someone could work over the Wikipedia article on him and bring it all out into the open at last ...
Djwilms (talk) 02:57, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
I have found an article in Arabic by Assad Sauma regarding this controversy. Apparently the conflict started when Mingana claimed that the Addai tradition was a mere legend and that Christianity in Mesopotamia is of Antiochian origin. Once in England Mingana cut off all his relations with all his Middle Eastern acquaintances except for his lifelong friend patriarch Ephrem Barsom. Interestingly, Mingana's daughter recounted that her father and the patriarch would converse in French during their private meetings.--Kathovo talk 18:47, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

Nomination for deletion of Template:Patriarchs of the Syriac Orthodox Church[edit]

Ambox warning pn.svgTemplate:Patriarchs of the Syriac Orthodox Church has been nominated for deletion. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for discussion page. Mugsalot (talk) 22:07, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Hello, I am a French artist and I am living in Taipei for over one and half year. I am currently working on a comic about the sino-french war. Your numerous wikipedia pages about this topic are a great help and I also read most of the French sources from but I still don't find anywhere the book of the Commandant Paul Thirion. A notice about this book is readable from Academia Sinica but I don't find the book in their library at Nangang, although you have there 2 linear meters of books there mostly in Chinese about the sino-french war.

Emmanuel — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:16, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

By chance, I have recently acquired a pdf file of Thirion's book. Send me an email (, and I would be happy to let you have a copy.
Djwilms (talk) 08:49, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

Nomination of Locust (mainland Chinese tourist) for deletion[edit]

A discussion is taking place as to whether the article Locust (mainland Chinese tourist) is suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia according to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines or whether it should be deleted.

The article will be discussed at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Locust (mainland Chinese tourist) until a consensus is reached, and anyone is welcome to contribute to the discussion. The nomination will explain the policies and guidelines which are of concern. The discussion focuses on high-quality evidence and our policies and guidelines.

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WikiProject Military history coordinator election[edit]

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Nominations for the Military history Wikiproject's Historian and Newcomer of the Year Awards are now open![edit]

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Voting for the Military historian and Military newcomer of the year now open![edit]

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