Friday, January 31, 2014

Wu Zetian: Only Woman Emperor of China

Empress Wu Zetian
Today, many countries accepts the role of women in ruling a country. Several nations elected a woman to the position of either President or Prime Minister. Names like Angela Merkel of Germany, Christina Kirchner of Argentina, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil takes the everyday affairs of their respective countries. It shows the changes in time and in the mindset of the people. In East Asia, however, it is difficult to attain such level. It was lucky that President Park Geun-Hye managed to win in Korea. It is because of strong Confucian thinking and ideals that made it difficult for women to attain the highest office in their countries. In China, the home of Confucian, one such woman in the past defied the social norms and became the Emperor of all China.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Great Zimbabwe: Legacy of Pre-Colonial Africa

Zimbabwe Bird
Land rich in mineral resources, from gold, copper, and iron. Geographically landlocked, it has mountains ranges in the east, and could cradle life with the Zambezi River in the northeast with the famous Victoria Falls stands beautifully as one of the tallest falls in the world. It is also full of wildlife with elephants, rhinos, and other big animals roaming its lands. This is the country of Zimbabwe. Today, Zimbabwe faced dire economic challenges. In the past, it was once home of the prosperous center of the gold trade. A city where the name of the country was derived, the city of Great Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Khufu: Pharaoh Who Built a Wonder

Pharaoh Khufu
Egypt is a land of desert sands. Even though the desert sands were inhospitable, Egypt became a cradle of civilization because of the River Nile provided food and water to sustain life. Thus Egyptian contributed many of its knowledge to the creation of the modern word. Great monuments to the glory that was Ancient Egypt can be seen across its lands. These monuments became tourist destination and site for archaeologists to study. Among the great monuments was the Great Pyramid of Giza which was synonymous to name to man who laid buried in it, the Pharaoh Khufu.

Canals and Glasses: Glass Industry of the Republic of Venice

Murano Island
Venice was once a marshy swamp with no prospects of being a city. But with innovation of the early Venetians, a new city rose. Famous canals, today with its famous gondolas, erected that allowed a city to rise. With their engineering brilliance, they also showed skills in business. They appeared in ports across the Mediterranean Sea as good traders. Their opened mindedness allowed them to trade with the Muslims and other people along the region. As the city rose into wealth and prominence, they began to enter to different industry and worked for excellence. One of the most famous products of Venice was Glass.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Kilwa: Golden Port in East of Africa

Map of East Africa
Gold is one of the world’s precious metal. It was used as a currency. The dollar for instance used the gold standard for the value of the dollar. Only mined in few areas, its scarcity and the great color of it makes it into one of the most treasured metals in the world. In history, it built empires, funded wars, made or break people. In Africa, it was the center of the Trans-Saharan Trade. In the east of Sahara, it was also coveted by tribes and kingdoms that wanted to experience prosperity.

Salt Through the Desert: Tuareg Salt Caravan

Timbuktu (1858)
Salt is an important seasoning in our daily food. It gives saltiness to match our own taste. From the Americas to Asia, every culture use salt in their cuisine. For many, it becomes a life saver as it can preserve food, from meat to vegetable. Mostly came from sea, salt is taken for granted today. But back then it was a source of livelihood and wealth to a group of people from northern Africa, the Tuaregs. They became merchants giving taste to the food in the past.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Goddess of Silk: Leizu

Chinese women processing silk
Silk was the most coveted textile in the planet. From Rome to China, great empires sought for this prized cloth. Made from an unexpected insect, it gave China a monopoly on its production. People would cross the Mediterranean, the Middle East, India, the Indian Ocean, to go to China to purchase silk. For centuries, it connected the East and the West. But how did silk began? In China, Chinese tell the legend of the beginning of the Chinese silk industry. It involved a legendary Emperor and his Empress.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Gonzalo de Cordoba: Revolutionizing Warfare

Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba
The 16th century saw many changes in world history. New continents found. New ideas spread. Era of Henry VIII, Leonardo Da Vinci, and many more became well known during this century. Along with new lands and new ideas, a new weapon was crafted that would change the world forever – the gun. It revolutionized warfare, but during the 16th century it was in its infancy. Many was still dumbfounded of its capability. But one country managed to found its potential and used it, the country of Spain.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Molotov Cocktail and the Winter War

Vyacheslav Molotov
In every riots or violent protest, the participants with coverings in their faces brought either a club or a flammable bottle called the Molotov Cocktail. It is the worst object that can be thrown into any anti-riot police. If used in the streets, it could cause serious damage to the target both cars and establishments. It has been an object of anarchy and defiance. But if curiosity would struck, why is this flamable object called the molotov. Is molotov a person or a place? A look to a event during the period of the start of World War II can shed on why this flammable and dangerous weapon called molotov.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tongue Piercing with Lady Xoc

Lintel 24
In Central America, the Mayan Civilization flourished. Wealth from trade and war led to developments in science and technology as well as engineering. Great Mayan cities rose. Names like Tikal, Palenque, and Chichen Itza became famous today throughout the world. The city of Yaxchilan became thriving cities with strong rulers at the top. Women also played key roles to the Mayan societies. One important duty concerned the religious bloodletting rituals of their civilization. Among those who participated in these bloodletting rituals was a powerful woman named Lady Xoc (pronounced as Shook).

Bloody Eagle - The Blood Eagle Ritual

During the Middle Ages, the Viking were the most infamous and feared barbarians in Europe. They were identified with fast longboats. They occupied areas of Scandinavia, Greenland, Iceland and other parts of northern Atlantic. They even said to have reached as far as the Americas. With their broad axe, they’re known as blood thirsty warriors towards their enemies and prisoners. They also have their own Gods, with Thor being the most popular but the most powerful being Odin, the god of the gods in Norse mythology. A particular ritual that gained attention of many was the human sacrifice towards Odin, known as the blood eagle ritual.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Decree 770 of Ceausescu

Nicolae Ceausescu
Romania, 1966 – the communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu just took power a year ago. As the new leader of Romania he aimed to make Romania independent from the influence of its powerful neighbor, the Union of Socialist Republics or the USSR. To break free from the Soviet hegemony, economic independence was crucial. One way to achieve economic independence was to have a large population that could drive a consumer-led growth and increase of work force. However, abortion was legal and prevalent in Romania. In order to reverse the abortion trend, Ceausescu resorted to abolish it with his Decree 770.

Varna - Hindu Caste System

Jawaharlal Nehru (Left) and Gadhi (Right)
Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world. It spread across the subcontinent of India, making it one of the major religions in the world. The religion hosted many Gods like Shiva and Vishnu. It is also includes a set of social caste system known as the Varna.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Look East Policy of Malaysia

Mahathir Mohamad
Asia in 1980’s was the image of rapid economic growth. Many Asian nations starting with Japan, followed by the Five Asian Tigers, showed to the world rapidly growing economies. Malaysia was among the industrializing nations during those days wanted to emulate the miracles of these Asian nations, especially Japan. And with a new Prime Minister in 1981, he launched a new slogan that would direct his close relation to Japan and other Asian countries.

Ostpolitik: Looking Peace in the East

Willy Brandt
Germany, 1969 – the German nation was divided for over two decades. The Adenauer era already ended six years ago. Two chancellor had come to power, Ludwig Erhard and Kurt Kiesinger. The Cold War was still raging. Just a year before, in 1968, Soviet aggression was demonstrated in its invasion of Czechoslovakia. The world feared for a new era of Soviet menace. The Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), under its new Chancellor, the once Mayor of West Berlin, Willy Brandt, instead of making a hard stand against the Eastern Communist bloc, decided to engage them under his foreign policy known as the Eastern Policy or Ostpolitik.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Afternoon Tea: Beginings in Victorian Era

Anna Maria, Duchess of Bedford
Afternoon tea did not begin until the 1800’s. It was created to combat a sinking feeling of a duchess during the afternoons due to the time between meals. It then became a favorite past time for the nobles and then for the whole country.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Aztecs and Adultery

The Aztecs are usually known for their pyramids and their heart-snatching rituals. They are a civilization full of culture and rigid social traditions. One aspects of Aztec life that is interesting about the Aztecs is their laws concerning infidelity of a wife - or adultery.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Portuguese Popularized Tea in England

Catherine of Braganza

Social media today produces countless trends, from music, to video, to challenges, and finally food. Culinary trends such as dalgona coffee and baked sushi owed much of their buzz from Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Trends crosses boundaries faster than ever before – a hit in the Americas reaches Asia in a matter of days or even hours. But before the information age, trends travel slower and with limited audiences and the role of influencers fell to royalties, such as the case of popularization of tea in England by Catherine of Braganza.

Turks and the Croissant?

Siege of Vienna, 1683

We express our emotions and ideas through the art of various mediums such as paintings, sculptures, music, and the least well-known food. Such as the case of the creation of the croissant that memorialized the feeling of jubilation and triumph of the people Vienna after a long arduous siege in the hands Turks. From a celebration of victory came out one of the most popular pastries in the world.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bible with an Expensive Typographical Error - The Wicked Bible

“Thou shall commit adultery” – this is was the infamous line from the so-called Wicked Bible or the Adulterer’s Bible.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Hallstein Doctrine

Flags of West Germany (left) and East Germany (right)
In the 1950s, Germany sat right in the middle of the Cold War and divided between the capitalist democratic West and the communist East. The West German state, known as the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) reconstructed and economically developed. Under its chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, the country aligned with democracies of Europe and also worked towards European integration. In contrast, the Eastern German State, known as the German Democratic Republic (GDR) joined the communist bloc falling to the sphere of influence of the Union Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). For West German Chancellor Adenauer, he sought to reunite the 2 German states by preventing the recognition of the other German State.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Buy British Last Policy of Mahathir

Mahathir Mohamad
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad led Malaysia over a diplomatic clash against its former colonizer, Great Britain. Malaysia ended its status as a British colony by gaining independence in 1957. By 1981, the Federation of Malaysia was a developing nation, striving to achieve the status of an industrialized and developed country. In July of the same year, Mahathir Mohamad, a well-known Malaysian nationalist became Prime Minister. A few months later, events took place that led to the implementation of a directive known as the Buy British Last Policy.