Monday, March 31, 2014

Pennsylvania Oil Rush of 1859

Pennsylvanian Oil Wells (1862)
Oil is one of the most precious commodities in the planet. It powered trucks, cars, and power plants. It was the main foundation of the industrialized and modernized world. Without it, the world would remain backward. Technology would remain primitive. And the basic source of labor would remain animals and men. In the United States, the discovery of oil was a god send. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

South Improvement Company: Start of a Monopoly

Thomas Scott (Left) and John Rockefeller (Right)
John D. Rockefeller was known as the man who monopolized the American oil industry for some decade. He dominated 90% of the North American oil trade. He beat down his competitors with predatory efficiency and ruthlessness. Rockefeller earned strong opposition and criticism. Finally, in 1911, his most cherished business, the Standard Oil, was found guilty of being a monopoly and break up into several companies, which some became powerful oil companies. The story of the creation of the monopoly of Standard Oil began in 1870’s as a collusion of interests and advantages under the name of South Improvement Company.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ottoman Coffee: Love and Hate

Coffee Houses in the Ottoman Empire
The Arabs contributed tremendously to the spread of knowledge about coffee. From the Ethiopian province of Kaffa to the cultivation of coffee in Yemen, then through the whole of the Islamic world. In the 14th century, its reach expanded further and found its way to the courts of Europe. However, the spread of coffee came not without bitterness, the controversy of coffee having the same effects as alcohol was still not over.

Friday, March 28, 2014

John D. Rockefeller: Robber Baron, Oilman, Billionaire

John D. Rockefeller
Oil is one of the most treasured and valuable commodity in the world. Many countries, especially China, want to get a hold of it. Most of the oil reserve is owned by great billion-dollar companies such as Chevron, Mobil, and Exxon. But during the 1800’s, the advent of the black gold, a company was formed that became the root of the mentioned companies and from a man that is known as the richest person ever.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Agriculture of Mughal Empire

The Taj Mahal, symbol of the wealth and affluence of the Mughal Empire. Built by many workers for many years. Workers are fed from the bountiful harvests of the Mughal peasants. Money to build the lavish tomb came from the exports of several cash crops. The agriculture of the Mughal Empire played a huge role in the sustenance and territorial integrity of the Empire. It fed and it gave wealth to the Emperors in the peacock throne.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Unforgettable Invention of China - Paper

Cai Lun
Paper is one of the greatest inventions of mankind. Without paper, man could not have written records for the future to know their history. Without paper, calculations and blueprints would not be produce to help the advancement of science and technology. Without paper, there would be no such thing as paper currency and all of us would be carrying heavy coins every day. The creation of paper was credited to none other than the Chinese. The Chinese developed a paper making technique, which would make a writable piece of paper.

Arabs Love Affair of Coffee

Arab Coffee Merchants (Credit: BBC)
Coffee said to have, according to legends, originated from a goat herder in the Ethiopian province of Kaffa. The mysterious hyperactivity of goats led to the discovery of coffee berries that provided extraordinary energy. Ethiopia back then was just a boat ride away to the Strait of Aden before going to Arabian Peninsula. So it came as no surprise that the Arabs tasted coffee and spread it throughout the Islamic world.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Earhart's Last Flight

Amelia Earhart
The missing Malaysian Flight MH370 is today’s most talked about issue. More than three weeks ago, the flight was on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Midway to the destination, the flight suddenly disappeared on the radar and communication suddenly stopped. A major multi-national effort was done to find the plane.  Eventually, information tells that the plane turned and proceeded to two possible routes: one, towards mainland Asia; two, towards Southern Indian Ocean. Lately, Australian, Chinese, and French satellites picked up debris of what supposed to be parts of the plan a thousand miles away from Perth. Then, the Malaysian Prime Minister announced that the flight crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, the mystery of the plane opened again interest on a half a century mystery of a case of a missing plane in the Pacific. A plane that was flown by one of the greatest name in female aviation, Amelia Earhart.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tea in Han Dynasty

Emperor Gaozu of Han Dynasty
China is today’s largest producer of tea. Tea is one of most drank beverages and leveled equally with coffee. In China, a legend about the origins of tea is traced to one of its legendary Emperor Shennong. Tea, according to the legend, was a result of a coincidental falling of a dried camellia leaf to the boiling water of the Emperor. However, tea would only be exclusively to the Emperor until the age of the Han Dynasty which rule China from 206 BCE to 220 BCE. 

Divine Tea: Discovery of Tea by Shennong

Emperor Shennong
Tea is one of the oldest beverages that man invented. From England to Turkey, and to India, millions drink this scented water infused with different health benefits. In China, the biggest producer of tea, it is not just old but a gift from one of its legendary emperors, Shennong.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Aztecs Love for Chocolate

Aztec Woman mixing Chocolate
Chocolate is hunted by many sweet lovers. Beneath the dark color of this sweet, it gives color to many children, lovers, and anyone from all walks of life. Chocolate came from a bean known as a cacao. Today, the largest producer of cocoa bean is the country of Cote D’Ivoire in Western Africa. Although the largest producer came from the African continent, its roots of chocolate that popularized cacao are not in the continent. The beginnings of chocolate is across the Atlantic Ocean, to America.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dancing Goats and Origin of Coffee

Illustration of Kaldi and his goats
The coffee industry generated billions of dollars of profit. A caffeinated drink that powered billions of men and women driving the economy forward. The Baltics states and the Netherlands consumed the most coffee with their citizens drinking about 4 cups of coffee every day. According to the International Coffee Organization, the worldwide production of coffee in 2013 amounted to over 169 million bags. The whole world's love for coffee began with some goats and an Ethiopian goat herder.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tragic Death of Francois Vatel

Louis de Bourbon, Prince de Conde
The story of Francois Vatel is, said to be, a display of French honor for their culinary careers. Efficiency and perfection is the standard for hard work. It began as a grand feast to impress the nobles and King Louis XIV himself in 1672 in a town of Chantilly. Francois Vatel served as the maître d’hôtel for the auspicious visit. However, with some minor problems and misunderstanding that unfolded during the festivities, the event turned out to be final for Vatel.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Louis XIV and Coffee

Louis XIV
Coffee ranked as one of the world's most drank beverages. Many countries like Brazil, Indonesia, and Ethiopia profited from meeting the world's need for a caffeine fix. France topped as one of the largest importers of coffee in Europe. Its love of coffee went back to the 17th century when only a few drank coffee, a far cry from its current status as a major consumer item. The powerful Ottoman Empire monopolized the coffee trade and only a limited amount arrived in Europe. It only entered the limelight of Europe when the Sun King of France, Louis XIV, encountered coffee.

The Powder that Changed the World

Pili huopao (Thunder Clap Bomb)
China was a cradle of civilization. From its great rivers, Chinese Empires rose and fell with several dynasty flourishing and declining. The Chinese contributed a lot for the progress of mankind. From ship design, to weapons, to silk, and many more. Among the greatest invention of the Chinese that changed the world is a black powder that would revolutionize warfare forever.