Friday, October 31, 2014

Tea: Arriving to Japan

Emperor Saga
Tea is widely drink in East Asia. It traced its roots from the Chinese legendary god, Shennong. But the agent of spreading tea to the neighbors China were Buddhist monks. Japan, in particular, credited a Buddhist monk for the introduction of tea to the archipelago.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Towards Revolution: Townshend Act

Charles Townshend
Previously, the two new tax schemes of England had brought opposition and arguments in the Thirteen Colonies in North America. The Sugar act led to widespread smuggling and arguments on the powers of the Parliament in London in enact laws in the colonies. Meanwhile, the Stamp Act brought wave of opposition on a higher scale. Numerous sectors, from intellectuals to religious groups, had voiced their anger over the new tax. The opposition was so strong that in 1766, the Stamp act was repealed. But England was not yet finish. In 1767, in order to increase their revenues, Charles Townshend, implemented a new wave of taxes that would once again engulf the Thirteen Colonies.

Medieval Age Developments in Agriculture

The backbone of the Medieval Europe’s economy was agriculture. Most of the Europeans were farmers. Feudalism was based on land as property used for farming in order to sustain the needs of the nobles and the serfs themselves. The Medieval Ages was sometimes dubbed as the Dark Ages, which was in reality not true. Innovations continued to be made during this period.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Clash in Canossa

Emperor Henry IV in front of Pope Gregory VII
A showdown between earthly and divine authority. A clash between the power of a king and a pope for the control of the clergy. In the winter of 1077, a showdown between the two most powerful men in Europe. An act to humiliate the other was committed. A clash of the titans at a castle in the Italian town of Canossa.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hittite Innovation: Chariots

Mobile warfare has been with mankind ever since horses and other fast or big moving animals were utilized for battle. Horses were used for cavalry and served as shock units. In the ancient world horses were not enough to win battles. Kingdoms and empires back then needed more than just a horse in order to win battles. The chariot was an innovation that brought to the front line the efficiency of archery and deadliness of spear attacks in fast speed. Among the most well-known civilization that developed the chariot was the Hittites.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Askia Mohammad: The Zenith of the Songhai Empire

Askia Mohammad depicted in Civilization V
The Songhai people rose from the obscurity of the once mighty Mali Empire to become the newest empire in the region thanks to the efforts of its founder Sunni Ali. Sunni Ali died in 1492, leaving his son in charge of the Empire. However, it would be interrupted by the ambitions of one of Ali’s most trusted general – Mohammad Ture or better known as Askia Mohammad. This cunning and tenacious general would march the Empire into its golden age.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Narai: Expansion and Tragedy

French depiction of King Narai
During the 17th century, the Kingdom of Ayutthaya (Ayudhya) saw an expansion of its foreign relations. At the start of the 1600’s, Ayudhya had just reclaimed its position as a major power in mainland Southeast Asia under its legendary King Naresuan. Then, about fifty years later, the Kingdom would embark in expanding its reaches and knowledge of the world. Under King Narai, Ayudhya would enter a period of connecting with other Asian and European countries.

Hittites: The Great Civilization of Anatolia

Hittite Empire during its heights 
Before 2,000 BCE, Mesopotamia was a flourishing region of human civilization. Sumerian city states, the Akkadian Empire, and finally, the Early Babylonian Empire had risen and fallen as time went by. The Early Babylonians, in particular fell in the hands of another empire. This invaders, however, did not came from Mesopotamia. But rather, its conquerors started from the plateaus of the Anatolia – the Hittite Empire.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sunni Ali: The Rise of the Songhai Empire

Songhai Empire
Mali’s power had waned by the 15th century. Various regions of the empire began to assert their independence from the declining Mali. Among this regions was near the famous bend of the Niger River. It only took a ruthless ruler, named Sonni or Sunni Ali Ber to lead his people to independence and to a military campaign that would forge a new empire – the Songhai.

Eye for an Eye - The Code of Hammurabi

Hammurabi
Laws govern people. It set the conduct of every individual in a land with a government. It prevents chaos and anarchy. Law making had existed ever since man had begun to live together – in a community to be precise. But codification of law begun much later. The earliest form of law found by archaeologist was the Code of Hammurabi. The code was instituted by the great king of early Babylonian Empire, Hammurabi.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Early Babylonian Empire


Mesopotamia was a cradle of civilization and among the empires that it catered was the great Babylonian Empire. Before the Babylonian Empire, for thousands of years, the Fertile Crescent, as it was known, was home to many communities. The Sumerians group themselves into small city-states and fought each other for dominance. About 2330 BCE, a Semitic tribe led by Sargon rose to establish one of the earliest known empire - the Akkadian Empire.  But after 300 years, the Akkadian Empire crumble due to its diverse population. Then a hundred years after fall of the Akkadian Empire, a new empire rose to prominence in the Mesopotamia. From the same ethnoliguistic group as the Akkadians – the Babylonians – would unite the region once more under one rule.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Great Spurt - Industrialization of the Russian Empire

Sergei Witte
The 19th century saw the rise of the industrial world. New sources of energy were discovered and harnessed to power new machines. Machines that began the mechanized many processes and production of so many goods. It saw an evolution in communication and transportation, allowing once isolated areas to become connected with cities. New major cities rose and flourish as production and transportation provided the wealth for it to develop. This events were felt from the United States to Japan. But one of the late comers to the industrialize world was the biggest nation in the Earth – Russia. But in 1890, a decade before the turn of the century, it would begin to catch up with the west in a modest but rapid phase of industrialization, known to many as the Great Spurt.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Beer and Ancient Egypt

Other than the Sumerians, there was another ancient civilization capable of producing and consuming beer. The Sumerians were known as beer consumers. They produced it from the barley that grew in the fertile lands of the Tigris and the Euphrates River. Women had the monopoly of the beer brewing industry with the female goddess Ninkasi as the testament to this dominance. However, the Sumerians were not just the drunkards of beer in the ancient world. Just at the southwest of region of Mesopotamia, another civilization flourish and proved to be another beer drinking civilization. The Egyptians flourish for thousands of years. Its fertile lands were fit to cultivate barley which was used to produce beer or what they called heneket or booza.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Naresuan: The Rebirth of Ayudhya

Naresuan behind 50-Baht bill
From the works of the legendary Ramathibodi, the Kingdom of Ayudhya rose in prominence in region. It was able to expand its territories and set up itself into an organized kingdom. But after the death of King Ramathibodi, infighting among relatives caused disruptions on its prosperity. And after two centuries, it succumb to its enemies. From its defeat and fall in the hands of its adversaries, Ayudhya would once again be reborn under a new ruler, one whose life was equally honored and remembered. His name was Naresuan.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Andrew Mellon: Investor to Secretary of Treasury

Andrew Mellon
J.P. Morgan was not alone in having a keen eye for investments. Morgan, a financier with powerful influence and enormous wealth, had made investments in scientific discoveries as well as ventures that became successful. But Morgan did not have the monopoly of having a foresight for profits. Andrew Mellon was also a financier, visionary, and, government official. Mellon would bet his money in several ventures and capitalize in new technologies. From his sound investment decision he accumulated huge wealth and influence and allowed him to be respected and trusted by the Presidents of the United States.