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Battle of Ramillies

The Battle of Ramillies, fought on 23 May 1706, was a battle of the War of the Spanish Succession. For the Grand AllianceAustria and the Dutch Republic – the battle had followed an indecisive campaign against the Bourbon armies of King Louis XIV of France in 1705. Although the Allies had captured Barcelona that year, they had been forced to abandon their campaign on the Moselle, had stalled in the Spanish Netherlands and suffered defeat in northern Italy, yet despite his opponents' setbacks Louis XIV on reasonable terms. Because of this, as well as to maintain their momentum, the French and their allies took the offensive in 1706; the campaign began well for Louis XIV's generals: in Italy Marshal Vendôme defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Calcinato in April, while in Alsace Marshal Villars forced the Margrave of Baden back across the Rhine. Encouraged by these early gains Louis XIV urged Marshal Villeroi to go over to the offensive in the Spanish Netherlands and, with victory, gain a'fair' peace.

Accordingly, the French Marshal set off from Leuven at the head of 60,000 men and marched towards Tienen, as if to threaten Zoutleeuw. Determined to fight a major engagement, the Duke of Marlborough, commander-in-chief of Anglo-Dutch forces, assembled his army – some 62,000 men – near Maastricht, marched past Zoutleeuw. With both sides seeking battle, they soon encountered each other on the dry ground between the Mehaigne and Petite Gheete rivers, close to the small village of Ramillies. In less than four hours Marlborough's Dutch and Danish forces overwhelmed Villeroi's and Max Emanuel's Franco-Spanish-Bavarian army; the Duke's subtle moves and changes in emphasis during the battle – something his opponents failed to realise until it was too late – caught the French in a tactical vice. With their foe broken and routed, the Allies were able to exploit their victory. Town after town fell, including Brussels and Antwerp. With Prince Eugene's subsequent success at the Battle of Turin in northern Italy, the Allies had imposed the greatest loss of territory and resources that Louis XIV would suffer during the war.

Thus, the year 1706 proved, for the Allies. After their disastrous defeat at Blenheim in 1704, the next year brought the French some respite; the Duke of Marlborough had intended the 1705 campaign – an invasion of France through the Moselle valley – to complete the work of Blenheim and persuade King Louis XIV to make peace but the plan had been thwarted by friend and foe alike. The reluctance of his Dutch allies to see their frontiers denuded of troops for another gamble in Germany had denied Marlborough the initiative but of far greater importance was the Margrave of Baden’s pronouncement that he could not join the Duke in strength for the coming offensive; this was in part due to the sudden switching of troops from the Rhine to reinforce Prince Eugene in Italy and part due to the deterioration of Baden's health brought on by the re-opening of a severe foot wound he had received at the storming of the Schellenberg the previous year. Marlborough had to cope with the death of Emperor Leopold I in May and the accession of Joseph I, which unavoidably complicated matters for the Grand Alliance.

The resilience of the French King and the efforts of his generals added to Marlborough's problems. Marshal Villeroi, exerting considerable pressure on the Dutch commander, Count Overkirk, along the Meuse, took Huy on 10 June before pressing on towards Liège. With Marshal Villars sitting strong on the Moselle, the Allied commander – whose supplies had by now become short – was forced to call off his campaign on 16 June. "What a disgrace for Marlborough," exulted Villeroi, "to have made false movements without any result!" With Marlborough's departure north, the French transferred troops from the Moselle valley to reinforce Villeroi in Flanders, while Villars marched off to the Rhine. The Anglo-Dutch forces gained minor compensation for the failed Moselle campaign with the success at Elixheim and the crossing of the Lines of Brabant in the Spanish Netherlands but a chance to bring the French to a decisive engagement eluded Marlborough; the year 1705 proved entirely barren for the Duke, whose military disappointments were only compensated by efforts on the diplomatic front where, at the courts of Düsseldorf, Vienna and Hanover, Marlborough sought to bolster support for the Grand Alliance and extract promises of prompt assistance for the following year's campaign.

On 11 January 1706, Marlborough reached London at the end of his diplomatic tour but he had been planning his strategy for the coming season. The first option was a plan to transfer his forces from the Spanish Netherlands to northern Italy. Savoy would serve as a gateway into France by way of the mountain passes or an invasion with naval support along the Mediterranean coast via Nice and Toulon, in connexion with redoubled Allied efforts in Spain, it seems that the Duke's favoured scheme was to return to the Moselle valley and once more attempt an advance into the heart of France. But these decisions soon became academic. Shortly after Marlborough landed in the Dutch Republic on 14 April, news arrived of big Allied setbacks in the wider war. Determined to show the Grand Alliance that France was still resolute, Louis XIV prepared to launch a double surprise in

South Central Siberia

South Central Siberia is a geographical region north of the point where Russia, China and Mongolia come together. At 49°8′8″N 87°33′46″E, the borders of Russia, China and Kazakhstan come intersect in the Altai Mountains. Mongolia and Kazakhstan are kept separate by a 40km stretch of the Sino-Russian border between the Altai Republic, a federal subject of Russia, Altay Prefecture in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. To the east, Tavan Bogd Uul in Bayan-Ölgii Province, marks the end of the Sino-Russian border. To the west, is Kazakhstan's East Kazakhstan Province; the Altai mountains on the Russian side of the border have been designated a UNESCO world heritage site. Above the "Four Corners" and in the southern part of South Central Siberia is the Altai Republic, it contains the central knot to the Altai Mountains. The area is mountainous and has few good roads, it was inhabited by various Turkic groups who became the Altay people. As the surrounding steppes filled with Russians, many of the lowland Turks were Russified or retreated to the mountains.

The area only came under definitive Russian control in the 1860s. The M52 highway runs northwest from here. Northern South Central Siberia includes the Altai Republic, a 400 km projection of forested mountains which bends to the west at the tip, it is called the Abakan Range in Kuznetsk Alatau in the north. North of its northern end is the town of Tomsk; the west part of South Central Siberia includes the steppe of the Kuznetsk Depression, which contains the large Kuznetsk Basin coal fields, the mountains of the Abakans and Kuznetsk Alatau and the Salair Ridge which ends near Novosibirsk. In the Soviet era, the Kuznetsk Basin coal fields were the largest Russian coal field after the Donets Basin; the name Kuznets means blacksmith and comes from the'Blacksmith Tatars' or Shors, who were notable metal workers. The Russians reached the area as early as 1618; the Abakans, Kuznetsk Alatau and the Kuznetsk Basin form the Kemerovo Oblast with its Russian population. The Tom River joins the Ob River north of Tomsk.

The town of Novokuznetsk was founded in 1618. The eastern part of South Central Siberia, between the Kuznetsk Alatau and the Sayan Mountains, includes the steppe of the Minusinsk Depression, the core of Khakassia; the Yenisei River flows north through its center. The Abakan River flows from the base of the depression north and east to the Yenisei at Abakan town, near where another river comes in from the east. Minusinsk town is a few kilometres east of Abakan; the Chulym River starts in the northwest corner of the depression, arcs into the Taiga north of the Alatau and joins the Ob River. East of the river is the southern tip of Krasnoyarsk Krai; this area was a center of a suggested homeland for the Tocharians. It was the home of the Yenisei Kirghiz, who gave their name to the Kirgiz further south; the Khakas of Khakassia may be their descendants. East of the Altai and southeast of Minusinsk is Tuva. Tuva is bordered on the south by the Tannu-Ola Mountains, which separate it from the Mongolian Great Lakes Depression, on the west by the Altai, on the northwest by the Western Sayans which separate it from the Minusinsk Depression, on the north by the Eastern Sayans and on the east by mountains on the Mongolian border.

The core area is the capital city of the Tuva Republic. The Yenisei River flows west here and breaks through the Western Sayans in a long narrow gorge which contains the Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam north of the Tuva border. Tuva was traditionally part of Mongolia, only passed to the Soviet Union—Russia in the 20th century. To the north, South Central Siberia merges into the Siberian forests. To the south, South Central Siberia merges into the mountains along the former Sino-Soviet border. Dzungaria is directly to the south. To the west of South Central Siberia is the agricultural steppe of the Altai Krai with its Russian population. Here the Katun River and the Biya River join to form the Ob River. Further west, between the Ob and Irtysh Rivers are the Baraba steppe in the north and the Kalunda Steppe in the south. To the east, the Western and Eastern Sayan Mountains extend east to the southern tip of Lake Baikal. Large Towns in South Central Siberia include: Novosibirsk, about 100 km northwest of Salair on the Ob River.

Barnaul, on the steppe south of Novosibirsk. The Trans-Siberian Railway runs through this region from Novosibirsk to Krasnoyarsk; the area to the west is forest-steppe. The steppe curves around north of the Kuznetsk Alatau into the Minusinsk Depression; the land to the north and east is Taiga. The Russians first entered the area in about 1620. Seeking furs, they stayed in the forest area to the north. Massive peasant colonization of the steppe area only began after about 1860. Altai-Sayan region Barabinsk Steppe Kanas Lake Great Lakes Depression Saylyugemsky National Park Shorsky National Park Denisova Cave Ukok Plateau Pazyryk Culture Lykov family South Siberian Mountains Forsyth, James, "A History of the Peoples of Siberia", 1992

Beryl McBurnie

Beryl Eugenia McBurnie was a Trinidadian dancer. She established the Little Carib Theatre, promoted the culture and arts of Trinidad and Tobago as her life's work, she helped to promote the cultural legitimacy of Trinidad and Tobago that would arm its people to handle independence psychologically and healthily. McBurnie dedicated her life to dance, becoming one of the greatest influences on modern Trinidadian pop culture. At the age of eight years she was invited to recite the "Sycamore Tree" for a charity concert in the district. Soon after that she set about gathering children from the neighbourhood to form a group, which would present concerts; the first concert planned did not take place, but she and her friends tried again, borrowing chairs from neighbours. This time the performance was well appreciated and this successful venture encouraged her to continue. Beryl McBurnie began dancing as a child, performing in dances and plays at Tranquility Girls' School, Port-of-Spain. In her youth she performed Scottish reels and other British folk dances that the teacher instructed.

Though she appreciated their beauty, she yearned for more. In her teens, she decided to focus on promoting "the emotions of the folk, which in some cases gave an insight into the history and the way of life of the ordinary people." On leaving Tranquility Girls School, McBurnie became a teacher and used this opportunity to engage in the extracurricular activities surrounding the preparation for school concerts, play productions and operettas. She danced at every opportunity that came her way, at the same time becoming quite accomplished at piano and in the use of voice, she started her career teaching in Port-of-Spain. She instead decided to pursue her dream career in folk-dance after touring the country with Trinidad's leading folklorist, Andrew Carr. Many melodies and folk dances that would have been lost to Trinidad and Tobago were rescued by McBurnie and promoted in her dancing. In 1938, she enrolled at Columbia University in New York and studied dance with dance pioneer Martha Graham. McBurnie worked with American modern dancer and choreographer Charles Weidman, African-American choreographer Katharine Dunham, studied eurhythmics with Elisa Findlay - a student of Emile Jacques Dalcroze.

McBurnie taught Trinidadian dance at the New Dance GroupBeryl McBurnie was the first person to promote primitive and Caribbean dance. In 1938 when Katherine Dunham arrived in New York from Chicago, McBurnie taught her the rhythms and dances of the West Indies. During these sessions she taught Dunham ritual chants and from the Shango of Trinidad and dances such as the Bongo - a dance done at wakes - and Kalinda, a dance between two opponents using sticks in a mock battle. In 1940, McBurnie enjoyed a brief return to Trinidad, she presented A Trip Through the Tropics at the Empire Port of Spain. McBurnie combined Caribbean and Brazilian dances with interpretations of New York and modern dances, performed to the music of Wagner and Bach, to a packed audience, her performances sold out. She returned to New York in 1941 and stayed until 1945. During that time she began teaching classes in West Indian dance and she organized the material in an educational yet attractive package which she used in a series of lecture demonstrations and lecture recitals.

She danced and sang with Sam Manning and his ensemble, in the production of the only known calypso "soundies," film clips made for film jukeboxes located in restaurants and bars. She became a popular teacher at the New Dance Group. Primus, like Katherine Dunham, studied West Indian dance from McBurnie and joined the group, which appeared at various venues in New York. In 1941 McBurnie assumed a pseudonym name "La Belle Rosette" and performed professionally under that stage name, she was booked to perform at "coffee concerts" at the Museum of Modern Art by philanthropist Louise Crane a young theatrical agent. The poet Hilda Doolittle wrote a positive review of her "coffee concert" showing. After her "coffee concert" performances, "La Belle Rosette" performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the 92nd Street Y alongside American dancers Doris Humphrey and Martha Graham.. In June 1942 McBurnie replaced Carmen Miranda in the hit Broadway musical revue Sons o' Fun at the Winter Garden Theatre. A review of her performance in the People voice of New York, a reporter wrote “Belle Rosette the talented Trinidadian performer scheduled to take Carmen Miranda’s role in the hit show Son O’Fun...amply proved to an enthusiastic audience at the Y.

M. H. A on Sunday evening, that she has ‘what it takes’-in the Broadway parlance." Between 1942 and 1945, McBurnie made several appearances at places such as Hunter College, Henry Street Settlement Playhouse in New York, Madison Square Gardens, The Village Gate and New York City College. During that time, she completed two further study periods at Columbia, where she studied Dramatic Arts, Painting and other Creative Arts courses that she considered important for her work; the following year, she made a film appearance with the Trinidadian vocalist Sam Manning in Quarry Road. McBurnie left the United States in 1945 at the height of her popularity in New York to become a dance instructor with the Trinidad and Tobago government's Education Department in 1945. In 1948 she established theatre in Trinidad, her first show was Bele pre-carnival 1948 at her newly opened Little Carib Theatre in Woodbrook, Port of Spain. Paul Robeson laid the cornerstone of the building during a tour of the Caribbean in 1948.

Among the many highlights of her work from this period were Talking Drums.