THE UNFOLDING JOURNEY is a new blog written in association with Legacy Genealogy.

This blog is a blend of disciplines that reveal the rich texture of culture and history that surrounded your ancestors' lives, as well as your own. We will take you beyond just the names, dates, and places to give you the "back story" for the reasons your ancestors thought what they thought and did what they did. We invite you to also visit us at the Legacy Genealogy facebook page at http://facebook.com/legacygenealogy

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Civil War History of the 57th Indiana (#4 of 52)

Chickens, Campfires, and Confederates

“Just before reaching camp, quite a laughable incident occurred among the men. One of Company “E” had entered a barn-yard at the road-side, and was making off with a chicken, when he was discovered by an old lady, who gave chase and followed him into the road. Even when he passed through the ranks she still followed, but was at last baffled by the chicken being handed to a comrade, who hid it under his blanket. She acknowledged the Yankees ‘a little too sharp,’ and returned to the house. Soon after the regiment encamped a man was wounded in the arm by one of the men shooting at a chicken. The shot took effect near the elbow, and so disabled him that he was never afterword able for service.
“As soon as  arms were stacked, the men started in search of fuel, and in due time made their appearance in camp, bearing on their shoulders loads of rails, carried, in some cases, nearly a mile. But all our hopes of comfort are suddenly blasted by the appearance of our brigade commander, who comes galloping through the camp in a furious rage, swearing, cursing the men, and threatening court-marshal and disgrace, unless the rails are immediately replaced; and the men are ordered to return them forthwith. But if the tender-hearted officer who regarded the comfort of fawning traitors as much as he did that of the tired men under his command had but followed them, as they disappeared in the woods, he would have discovered that many were only carried beyond his sight, and thrown down until after dark; those that could be were broken in pieces, and carried back to camp. Of course pieces of rails would be of no account, except to build fires.
“On Sunday, January 19th, the day of our arrival in this camp, the enemy, under the rebel generals Crittenden and Zollicoffer, marched from their camp and attacked Gen. Thomas’ division, at Mill Springs, but met with a total defeat, and the loss of one of their commanders, who was killed by Col. Fry, of Kentucky. At the time of the battle at Mill Springs, a portion of Wood’s division had advanced toward Hall’s Gap, and were engaged in repairing the road. Our regiment was under orders to assist in this labor when the news of the battle was received. The success of our forces at this point obviating the necessity of our further advance in that direction, we returned to Lebanon on the 31st of January, and marched out on the Columbia road.
“When a few miles from Lebanon, we passed the camp of the 1st Ohio Cavalry, from whom we learned that a small force of the enemy, under John H. Morgan, had crossed Green River, and captured a number of our men, who were putting up telegraph wires. Five hundred men from this regiment, and the same number from the 8th Kentucky, had already started in pursuit; but Morgan succeeded in making good his escape beyond the river.”

(Midway between Louisville and Nashville, Third week of January, 1862)
Excerpts taken from “Annals of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry: Marches, Battles, and Incidents of Army Life” written by Asbury L. Kerwood immediately after the war.

The Disputed Legacy Of George Custer

On June 25, 1876, George Armstrong Custer and his cavalry were wiped out by a force of Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne, and nine other Native American Nations at the Little Big Horn. Many know the popular story, but few know the full truth as no soldiers survived.
Custer remains to this day a “shadowy legend.” Few characters in American history are as well known and yet still unknown. There have been more books written about George Custer than any other American of the 19th Century, except Abraham Lincoln. He was a man of many talents and many more faults, depending on your point of view. The Indians called him Long Hair, Creeping Panther, and Son of the Morning Star. Journalists called him “The Boy General with the Golden Locks.” His men called him Hard Ass and Iron Butt.

Some historians contend that Custer was awarded his appointment by an Ohio Congressman to keep him away from the man’s daughter. He attended West Point, Class of 1861, and graduated dead last in his class. Many believed he wouldn’t have graduated at all if there hadn’t been an urgent need for officers in the Union Army, the Civil War having just begun. Custer was held up as an example to future cadets on how not to behave. He was “profane, libidinous, and alcoholic.”

One rare positive aspect of his time at West Point is that he is credited with begining the tradition of standing for the future National Anthem (officially designated years later). He encouraged fellow students loyal to the Union to stand when it was played as a show of unity.

For showing daring under fire, he was promoted to Captain in 1862. Then his meteoric rise to fame began. Commander of the Union Army of the Potomac, George McClellan, liked this young officer. Just two years after his West Point graduation Custer was promoted directly from Captain to Brigadier General in 1863; he was 23 and the youngest General in the Union Army. While he was arrogant and vain, he was also totally fearless. He always led his troops from the front, never the rear. Victories piled up.

Custer became a national hero for his daring exploits at Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Yellow Tavern, Winchester, Five Forks, and Appomattox. He even accepted the surrender of the Confederate Flag and was in the room when Lee surrendered to Grant.

One week after Lee’s surrender, Custer was promoted to Major General, still today the youngest man ever appointed to that rank in U.S. Army history.

Only months after the war ended, Custer was tried by Court Martial for forcing his troops to extreme marches and causing the death of alleged deserters. He had showed complete disregard for his troops’ welfare while pursuing his own personal interests. He was found guilty and removed from command. The newspapers gave sympathetic coverage to Custer and his friend (and commanding officer) Gen. Philip Sheridan had his conviction overturned, returning him to command.

Custer, being a career officer, was first reverted to the rank of Captain, then up to Lt. Colonel to become commander of the 7th Cavalry. The U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry Regiment was organized at Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1866. It patrolled the Great Plains for 15 years and participated in warfare against the Native American Nations from the Washita River to Wounded Knee. The Regiment consisted of 12 companies of troopers armed with Colt .45 revolvers and single-shot Springfield rifles. They are frequently depicted carrying sabers but these were left at their compound when they were on a field campaign. While the 7th Cavalry has been made legendary by Hollywood, in the 1870’s most of his troopers were young immigrants and farm boys who were not prepared for combat.

Their nickname was the “Garry Owen” regiment, named in honor of the Irish tune that they adopted as their march music. You can hear their song below (audio only)

Beginning in 1873, the Regiment was stationed at Fort Abraham Lincoln in the Dakota Territory and was conducting reconnaissance and escorting geologists into the Black Hills when gold was discovered there. Custer himself reported that “there was gold just below the grass.” Civilian miners and merchants flooded this Indian owned land which led to the Great Sioux War of 1876-77.

While having continued problems with his superior officers, Custer redeemed himself with the military by defeating a band of Cheyenne at their Washita River village. Today that raid is considered cold-blooded murder of unarmed and friendly Indians consisting mostly of old men, women, and children.

Curiously, Custer lived with a Cheyenne woman named Meotzi in 1868 and 1869 and fathered two children with her. His troops had killed her father in battle just before they met.

Libby Custer his wife at home, with whom he never had any children, always denied this. While gossip got back to her about Meotzi, Libby went west to see the child. She said she saw no resemblance to her husband. There was little doubt about the second child however. He had white skin and streaked yellow hair. He was called “yellow bird.” Libby out-lived George by 50 years and spent her life defending him, and presenting his legacy as being a “refined and cultured man, a patron of the arts.” Few believed her.

Custer was completely disrespectful of Native Americans, and he believed that they would never stand and fight him. He was wrong.

On June 22, 1876, Custer and 655 men were sent out to locate a suspected large village of Sioux and Cheyenne, scout the terrain, and wait for the rest of the Army to arrive. His men were armed with single shot rifles (the Indians, he would find out, were armed with Winchester repeating rifles). Custer declined taking the gattlin guns (early machine guns) that were available to him which might have evened the odds. He believed they were too heavy to transport and would slow him down.  

Three days later, instead of waiting and without further reconnaissance, Custer divided his troopers even further into three parts to attack this unknown number of warriors. This was against orders and a grave military misjudgment.

He sent two of the groups off to the east and north. Then unbelievably, he attacked the village with his remaining 231 men. He had hastily estimated the number of braves in the village at about 800. Upwards to 3,000 Sioux and Cheyenne warriors stormed out of their village and counter attacked, driving Custer back to a small bluff. They surrounded his command and killed everyone in uniform. It took about 30 minutes to complete the devastation.

In addition to himself, George Custer had two brothers, one brother-in-law, and one nephew killed in the battle as well. His brother, Thomas Custer, is one of only 18 others in American military history to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor twice, both times before the battle.

The Sioux Chief, Sitting Bull, warned his warriors not to take anything from the battlefield as it would be a bad medicine. Nevertheless, almost all the soldiers’ bodies were stripped naked, horribly mutilated, and their uniforms taken. Eyes were removed (so that their spirits could not see their way back to the Sioux) and feet were cut off (so their spirits could not walk back either).

Shortly after the battle, additional U.S. troops arrived. “We moved to the scene of General Custer’s fight, but the sight was too horrible to describe. We buried 204 bodies and encamped near General Terry. But the smell forced him to move his camp several miles away,” Lt. George Wallace.

Who killed Custer? This controversy has gone on for many years. Several Indians attested that he had shot himself, but this was not in his nature. When his body was found it had received three bullet wounds, but no arrow wounds. While there were head wounds on the right side (he was right handed), there were no powder burns present. In 1909, the Sioux Council of Elders decided to settle the matter by naming Chief Brave Bear as the man who ended Long Hair’s life.

Sitting Bull once said, “They tell me I killed Custer. It is a lie. He was a fool and rode to his death.”

The Sioux and Cheyenne won the Battle of the Little Big Horn, but ultimately lost the war. Within a week, the nation had heard all the news about the battle. Most reports were highly biased. The thirst for revenge was strong. General Sheridan flooded the area with troops and soon subjugated the Indian Nations. Ironically, elements of the 7th Cavalry, not part of the Little Big Horn, were present at the Native American’s last stand at Wounded Knee in 1890.

The Seventh Cavalry had a long and storied history after the Little Big Horn. It fought, without horses, in the Pacific Theatre during WWII and was part of the U.S. occupation force in Japan. During the Koran War it fought behind enemy lines with rapid strikes against supply lines. It was utilized again in Vietnam, now moving by helicopter. The 7th also served in Desert Storm (1990-91) and in Iraqi Freedom (2003-05). Forty-five troopers from the 7th Cavalry earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, 24 for the Battle of the Little Big Horn (posthumously).

Continued interest in Custer today is puzzling. His life-long behavior was arbitrary, cruel, and self serving. He was certainly not an innocent victim of Indian savagery.

While Custer showed great courage, he was led by his hunger for glory. He was a superior cavalry commander, and sometimes brilliant. He did not forget the lessons he learned during the Civil War, but his hubris compelled him to take unnecessary chances. Ultimately it cost his life and the lives of his men.

He was an object of extreme admiration to some, but a psychotic killer to others.

“I have seen enough of him to convince me that he is a cold-blooded, untruthful, and undisciplined man. He is universally despised by all his officers excepting his relatives.” General David Stanley, Commander, Yellowstone Expedition.

Why are we still so intrigued by this man and his story 135 years later? Did his death symbolically absolve us of our sins against the Native Americans?

Custer has his immortality.

To learn more about the Battle of the Little Big Horn, check out the following segments of the History Channel’s Battlefield Detectives - Custer’s Last Stand:

part 1 (15 min):

part 2 (15 min):

part 3 (13 min):

part 4 (3 min):

Monday, August 29, 2011

The "White Australia Movement": Social Engineering Through Exclusion

On the Australian continent things were changing in 1900. The direct rule of Great Britain upon its colonies there was coming to an end. The European population, mostly English and Irish but with some German, represented 98% of the people. It was a laboring population, without the idle rich found in Europe or America. 
Many wanted the emerging country of Australia to become a “white worker’s paradise.” They feared the large populous countries to the north in Asia proper. The politicians fanned this fear and told the white workers that their democratic equality required racial exclusion. The Australian Labor Party embraced this philosophy.
They believed that the “servile races” (predominantly Asians and Africans) should not to be allowed to participate in the newly forming government, and their entry into Australia should be restricted or eliminated. Many saw the native aborigines as nothing more than relics of an early form of human development that only existed because they were isolated. Their race was dying. The Chinese too (30,000 strong in 1900) were undesirable, even though some had been in Australia for over 40 years.
The Immigration Restriction Act.
With the joining of the Australian colonies into a single nation in 1901, one of the first actions of the new Australian Commonwealth Government was to pass the “Immigration Restriction Act of 1901” which aimed to “place certain restrictions on immigrants and to provide for the removal from the Commonwealth of prohibited immigrants.”
At that time, the passage of this law by the Australian Federal Parliament also required the approval of Great Britain, which it received after references to specific nationalities were removed. The British government was concerned that non-white citizens of their empire, such as Indians, would be barred entry.
Not all Australians supported the new law. Liberals, reformers, plantation owners, and the Catholic Church voiced their opposition but were unsuccessful in stopping the wave of white-based nationalism.

The "Dictation Test" and deportations.
The Act also authorized and imposed written language tests for entry into the country. From the beginning, these tests were applied in a very discriminatory way. Great Britain would not agree to a dictation test that targeted a specific race, so the provision was rephrased as a literacy test, “Any person who when asked to do so by an officer fails to write out at dictation, and sign in the presence of the officer, a passage of fifty words in length in a European language directed by the officer (will not be admitted).” The language specified by the government officer could be any European language he chooses, which was usually one the potential immigrant could not speak.
Initially the test was going to require proficiency in English, but it was thought this would give an advantage to some Japanese and to African Americans. Later, the law was amended to include ANY language.
Between 1902 and 1909, only 52 people passed the test out of 1359 who took it. No one passed the test after 1909.
The social engineering to create a white society continued. In 1902 the Parliament passed the Pacific Island Laborer Act. Thousands of south sea islanders, who were workers on sugar plantations, were deported. Many had been indentured servants who completed their service but remained in the country, even marrying into the population. This posed a serious threat to the White Australia philosophy.
Some non-whites were exempted from the new laws and deportation. If a non-white was a resident before the country was formalized, they were not subject to the immigration laws. But, their families located outside of Australia became prohibited immigrants, there were no exceptions. As these generations aged and could not increase their numbers by bringing in additional family, the non-white population decreased rapidly.
Australia enters the international community.
Until World War I there was a ban on all non-white immigration, but then the “White Australia” policies drew international attention at the Paris Peace Treaty Conference. 
The Big Four victorious allies (Britain, U.S., France, and Italy) thought that they could monopolize the talks but Japan, an emerging power, demanded that a “Racial Equality Proposal” be added to the treaty by the League of Nations, to be applicable to all nations.
Prime Minister Billy Hughes (Australia) knew that this would run counter to the White Australia movement, and objects. P.M. Lloyd George (Britain) and President Woodrow Wilson (U.S.) also opposed the racial equality provision requested by Japan, but remained quite. Instead they tell the Japanese that they must deal with Australia directly, which they attempt but with no progress.      
Australia stands firm against racial equality.
A vote of all nations present is taken and Japan’s racial equality provision is approved. President Wilson intercedes, however, and says that it must be a unanimous decision (a direct violation of the principles of the League of Nations). So Japan’s proposal is not accepted.
Australia and Japan becomes bitter and mortal enemies.
Increased British immigration and the Depression.
Australia and Great Britain plan the massive immigration of white British citizens to fill the land. The belief was that this would defend Australia (and the remnants of the British Empire) from the threat of the “Yellow Asian Peril.” The British immigration to Australia grows, financed by Britain. Some British socio-political authors warn that the “servile races” will eventually try to overwhelm the white race and enslave it. In the 15 years following World War I, the previous large Chinese population in Australian is cut in half.
The economic depression of the 1930’s affects white Australians more than the remaining small non-white population. There is a brief revival of non-white Australians because these people will accept the low paying agricultural jobs available. The 22,000 farms planned to be developed for white British immigrants yields only 500 farms.
A challenge to the "Dictation Test."
The Immigration Restriction Act and the Dictation Test remained in force. It was challenged by a white citizen of Czechoslovakia named Egon Erwin Kisch, who was exiled from Germany for opposing Nazism. The Australian Government went to extreme lengths to bar Kisch from entering the country as they believed him to be a political activist. They administered the Dictation Test and Kisch, fluent in several European languages, past repeated testing.
Finally, he failed to correctly pass a test in Scottish Gaelic. His testing officer, a native of Scotland, did not have a working knowledge of this language either. In a subsequent court case, the judgment was made that Scottish Gaelic was “not within the fair meaning of the Act” and Kisch was cleared of being an illegal immigrant. The Dictation Test suffered wide public ridicule.
WWII - What goes around comes around.
By 1940, Australia’s population is 99% white, after 40 years of social engineering through exclusion.
Australia’s ardent enemy, the Empire of Japan, becomes the dominant military force in Asia. They invade China and turn an eye toward Australia. In 1942 Japan bombs Darwin and other cities, inflicting a serious psychological blow. For two years the Japanese Navy conducted 100 air raids against northern Australia, and a Japanese invasion force was turned back at the Battle of the Coral Sea.
Many see this, in part, as revenge for the humiliation Japan experienced over the dismissal of its racial equality amendment to the 1919 peace treaty. By insisting on preserving a “White Australia,” what Australians feared most, the “Yellow Peril,” had come to pass. The seeds were sown 23 years earlier at Versailles.
As Japanese forces advanced southward, refugees fled to Australia. These included non-white Filipinos, Malaysians, Indonesians, as well as Dutch. They couldn’t be refused entry in all human decency.
More than this, the Aborigines, New Guineans, and Indonesians/Timorese served to defend Australia, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the white Australians, who began to question their exclusionist policies.  
Post war changes.
After World War II, Australia still faced the problem of being a large country with a small population while the growing threat of Chinese expansion became a reality during the 1950’s. If the country was to survive and grow it needed to embrace other cultures, and immigrants.
Eastern and southern European immigrants arrived in large numbers. Asian students were accepted at universities; even Japanese “war brides” were allowed into the country. In 1958 the "Dictation Test" was discontinued. By the mid-1960’s, the archaic “White Australian Policy” was through. These policies were officially abolished in 1973.
From 1950 to 2010, Australia’s population tripled.
Today, Australia has 22 million people originating from almost 200 different countries. Migration has contributed to Australia’s strong economic and social growth. Almost half of Australians are migrants or the children of migrants and account for two-thirds of the population growth.

To learn more about the White Australia Movement, you can link to the three videos listed below. They are parts 2, 3, and 4 that follow the video featured above in this article. We urge you to watch them.
“Immigration Nation Ep1: White Australia Policy - Part 2/4”
“Immigration Nation Ep1: White Australia Policy - Part 3/4”
“Immigration Nation Ep1: White Australia Policy - Part 4/4”

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Civil War History of the 57th Indiana (#3 of 52)

Measles, Marching, and Mademoiselles
“As was the case with all new regiments, the measles broke out among the men while in Camp Hardin. The regimental hospital was crowded with patients; and at the time orders to march were received, January 7th, there were quite a number of cases in the company quarters. In the tent which the writer had charge of, there were two cases of the measles which were dangerous. The weather was damp and rainy, and application was made several times to have the patients removed, which was invariably answered with the reply, ‘The surgeons will attend to them.’

“At 1 o’clock p.m. the bugle sounded to strike tents. After the other tents were taken down ours was left standing for the sick men inside. Finally orders were received to ‘take it down over their heads,’ and, as the only resort, we wrapped them in blankets, carried them to the hospital, and laid them in the gangway. Every other foot of space was crowded with the sick and suffering; and a load of men who had been taken in an ambulance to the City Hospital, unable to gain admittance, had returned and were being unloaded at the door.

“(later) A novel and distressing sight was presented by the poor people of the city, who came out to our camp just as we were leaving, to collect such things as were left behind. Scarps of bread, bones, old shoes, worn-out quilts, straw, chips of wood, and everything that could be carried, were appropriated in some manner.
“Our first experience on the march was rough and tiresome in the extreme. Added to this was the single rest of but a few moments during the entire march, which contributed to make the labor more oppressive. After a harassing march of nine miles, we camped near the road, in a grove, where our situation was much more comfortable than the camp we occupied in the suburbs of the city. Our beds were made from the oats-field of a secessionist who lived near, notwithstanding we were under strict order to molest nothing belonging to citizens. This order, though from Gen. Buell, was often violated, as the appearance of poultry, honey, fruit, and ‘such like’ in our camp bore ample testimony.
“On the following morning the march was resumed. At one point in particular, where two young ladies were standing in front of a large residence, waving a flag, one of them exclaimed: ‘Nothing can compare with the brave sons of Indiana.” The flag and the remarks were received with a hearty cheer.”

(First week of January, 1862, Kentucky)
Excerpts taken from “Annals of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry: Marches, Battles, and Incidents of Army Life” written by Asbury L. Kerwood immediately after the war.

The Human Development Index

In 1990, the United Nations Development Program felt that a standardized method needed to be created to measure human welfare. A measurement that could be used by policy makers in government, charities, politics, social action groups, and the public in general.
The architects of the program faced many challenges:
How can you find a standard way of measuring human well-being across various countries and cultures?
How can you shift the historic focus of development from economic policies to people-centered initiatives?
How can you gain the acceptance of policy makers to use the data, and convince them to act on it? Some of the UN committee members felt that a single numerical value would be less ambiguous and more acceptable.

Goals were developed and accepted. The HDI must include:
A way to represent the longevity and healthiness of a human life.
A way to represent a person’s access to educational opportunities.
A way to represent the adequacy of a person’s standard of living.
A way to determine changes in human development over time (trends).
A way to make projections of what could be ahead (predictions).

A definition was agreed upon:
A human development “rating” is a single numerical value determined by a complicated algorithm. It represents the country’s level of life expectancy, average and expected years of schooling, and the per capita GNI. The numerical values range from 0.001 up to 1.000.
The “index” itself is a comparative measure that ranks all countries by their rating into a general level of development that is either Very High, High, Medium, or Low.
(the project also calculates HDI for states/provinces and cities)
The U.N.’s HDI Program was not without criticisms, some valid, others not.
Some believed that data to be collected already existed and that it has been thoroughly studied. The goal of the program was to combine data in a new way to reflect human well being. Studying narrow categories of data didn’t contribute to this goal. Some were concerned over data reliability. While this is a valid concern, all data is to some degree flawed. Some felt that there was a failure to include ecological factors in the quality of human life. This probably a true criticism and may be addressed going forward. Others believed that the group classifications (very high, high, medium, low) were arbitrary and could be used to stigmatize countries. Well, countries are already stereotyped by things that have no quantifiable basis at all. In spite of these criticisms, the project went forward.
Since its beginning in 1990, there have been 21 annual reports with 21 indices. Over that time only four countries have been ranked number one in the world. Norway and Canada topped the list eight times each, Japan three times, and Iceland twice.

One hundred seventy one UN-member countries submitted data for the 2010 Report. Twenty four countries were not included because of the unavailability of data including Bhutan, Cuba, Iraq, Lebanon, Oman, North Korea, Somalia, and 17 smaller countries.
The top ten highest ranked countries in the 2010 HDI were:
1. Norway (.938)
2. Australia (.937)
3. New Zealand (.907)
4. United States (.902)
5. Ireland (.895)
6. Liechtenstein (.891)
7. Netherlands (.890)
8. Canada (.888)
9. Sweden (.885)
10. Germany (.885)
(the world average is .624)

Two interesting summaries from the 2010 HDI are:

Number of Countries in Each Classification - by Major Geographic Area
(taking to 10 highest ranked and the 10 lowest ranked countries)

                                        Very High   High          Medium     Low

Europe                               10             9              1              -

Asia/Oceana                       10             -               4              6
(incl. Australia and NZ)

Americas                            4              6              9              1
(incl. North and South)

Africa                                 -               4              6              10

These numbers are more or less expected. Europe, especially Western Europe, is a highly developed society. Asia’s numbers are bolstered by Australia (#2) and New Zealand (#3) in the world rankings.

Number of Countries in Each Classification - by Affiliation
(taking to 10 highest ranked and the 10 lowest ranked countries)

                                        Very High   High          Medium     Low

European Union                   16             4              -               -

East Asia/Pacific                  7              8              3              2

Middle East/North Africa       5              9              4              2

Arab League                       3              7              5              5

Latin America                     -               12             7              1

These numbers are also somewhat as expected. The oil producing countries tend to rank quite low in the HDI, leading us to believe that that revenue is not being used to improve the living conditions of the masses.

There are also a surprising number of large and important countries that are well down in the 2010 HDI rankings. But population size is not a factor in the ratings formula.
46. Argentina (.775)
57. Saudi Arabia (.752)
58. Mexico (.750)
59. Malaysia (.744)
67. Russia (.719)
71. Ukraine (.710)
72. Iran (.702)
75. Brazil (.699)
85. Turkey (.679)
91. China (.663)
104. Egypt (.620)
111. Indonesia (.600)
113. South Africa (.597)
122. India (.519)
128. Pakistan (.490)
131. Kenya (.470)
132. Bangladesh (.469)
135. Burma/Myanmar (.451)
157. Sudan (.379)
158. Afghanistan (.349)
The lowest ranked country in the world in 2010 was Zimbabwe #171 (.140)


The table below summarizes how countries changed their rankings between 2007 and 2010. Who is moving up, who is moving down, and who didn’t change at all?
There are some surprises in the details.

Of the countries (totaling 57) in the top third of the rankings in 2010, the largest proportion actually saw a DECREASED ranking. These were members of the group that historically included the most developed - Western European countries. Included were the U.K., the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, and Italy. Canada also joined this group. The reasons are still not clear. Did the economic downturn affect these developed countries more than others, probably? Were opportunities for education or health care reduced, maybe? Did immigration into these countries from undeveloped areas contribute to this?

Of the countries (totaling 57) in the middle third of the rankings, the largest proportion INCREASED, by far, their rankings. Many of these were from the nations that had been struggling toward a high standard of living after the breakup of the Soviet Union or other totalitarian regimes - the Eastern European countries. They included Bulgaria, Serbia, Belarus, Russia, Albania, Bosnia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Macedonia. The countries showing increased rankings also included many South American countries such as Brazil, Peru, Belize, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Jamaica. Increasing income in eastern Europe, and improved health and education opportunities in South America were the likely contributors.

Finally, the countries (totaling 57) in the bottom third of the rankings overwhelmingly remained UNCHANGED. Regrettably, these are the sub-Saharan African nations. They include Ghana, Cameroon, Uganda, Senegal, Zambia, Gambia, Liberia, Mozambique, Niger, Zimbabwe, and The Democratic Republic of the Congo. It appears that little has changed in Africa to improve the lives of the millions living there. Shifting populations, civil wars, famine, and political conflict head the list of problems for this region. 

Number of Countries by Movement in the Rankings (2007 to 2010)
                                        Increased          Unchanged         Decreased

Top third in 2010                 23                     7                      27
(#1 - #57)
Middle third in 2010             35                   8                      14
(#58 - #114)

Bottom third in 2010            12                     34                   11
(#115 - #171)

All Countries                       70                     49                     52

All states in the county, if independent nations, would be classified in the Very High group of developed countries. The top ten ranked states are:
1. Connecticut
1. Massachusetts
3. Hawaii
4. California
5. Minnesota
5. New York
7. New Jersey
8. New Hampshire
8. Rhode Island
10. Colorado
By region, they are ranked as:
1. New England
2. West Coast
3. Mid-Atlantic
4. Midwest
5. West
6. Southwest
7. Southeast
The 2010 Human Development Index also includes a projection of where things will stand in 2030. It is the most controversial part of the HDI.
In my opinion, whoever calculated these rankings must have some bias built into their numbers as there is no data to support them. Predictions one year in the future are tenuous, but 20 years out? For me they have a strong lack of credibility. 
The table below lists the top 30 ranked countries for 2030 (along with their actual rankings for the last four years).
There are a lot of changes from 2010
The biggest climbers are Spain (up 16), Slovenia (up 14), Italy (up 13), France (up 11), Japan (up 10), Greece (up 9), and Austria (up 8).
The biggest drops belong to the U.S. (down 15) and Germany (down 11).
New faces among the top 30 include Croatia, Slovakia, Estonia, Hungary, and Poland (all Eastern European); plus Cyprus and Chile.
In all there are eight Eastern European countries, six from Asia/Pacific, one from South America, and none from sub-Saharan Africa.
You must take these projections with a grain of salt.