Saturday, December 27, 2014

Henry Heinz: Man Behind the Famous Ketchup

Henry Heinz
Condiments help us to enjoy our food more. It allows us to personalize our food, suiting our snacks to our personal taste.  Mayonnaise, mustard, and Ketchup, give color and presentation. Ketchup is the most popular. One company made a name for this product, Heinz. But who was behind this very established company?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Olmecs: Before the Aztecs and Mayans

Olmec Civilization
The Mesoamerican region was home to numerous civilizations. The famous Aztecs and the Mayans filled history books of flourishing cities and gruesome human sacrifices. But before the huge Aztecs pyramids and the amazing stone structures of the Mayans, an older civilization flourished mysteriously in the area. Well known for their giant head statues, the Olmecs showed the characters that later Mesoamerican civilizations also showed.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Roads in History: Persian Empire


The Persian Empire was one of the largest empire that the ancient world saw. Its territories spanned through three continents. Under its rule were various groups of people and identity as well as different terrains and environment. To connect such a massive empire resulted to the creation of one of the best known road networks in history. Roads had been a way to connect lands, kingdoms, and empires. It brought great benefits to civilizations that created such networks. And one of the first well-known civilizations to use roads in a massive scale was the Persian Empire.

King Chulalongkorn (Part 2): Modernization and Opposition

King Chulalongkorn
Previously, Chulalongkorn ascended to the throne and continued the legacy of his father. At stake was his kingdom’s independence from the threats of western imperialism. However, modernization didn't came without threats. After the slow process of abolition of slavery, nobles and those within the royal family plotted against the king. Also, much were needed to be done for the people to experience the benefits of the modernization.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hakkapeliitta: Thirty Years' War and the Rise of Sweden

Hakkapeliittas in a 1940 Finnish Stamp
The early 17th century became a period of war and religious divide. Central and Eastern Europe became the battlefield of two sides of Christianity. A bold and innovative Swedish King joined the fight and showed his Kingdom’s new military capability. With new tactics, he amazed the world. His soldiers also became fabled. Among his warriors were cavalrymen from the icy terrains of Finland. They were known as the Hakkapeliittas.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Stockholm Bloodbath

Stockholm Bloodbath and the desecration of Sten Sture's grave
The Kalmar Union began in the 14th century with the idea of one King for the three kingdoms of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, but each retaining its own laws and Council of Realm. However, from a series of autocratic kings and failed campaigns against the powerful Hanseatic League, fracture began to appear within the Union. Most especially, Sweden became critical about its part within the Union. Sweden resented the idea that their King ruled them from a foreign and distant city of Copenhagen. They also hated the economic crisis brought by the anti-Hanseatic League stand of the Kalmar Union Kings. Ever since, Sweden always became a focal point of rebellion and a problem for the King of the Union.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Economy of Mauryan Empire

Mauryan Empire
The Indian Sub-Continent hosted numerous kingdoms and empires. It lands became fertile thanks to the flow of numerous rivers and estuaries, including the well-known rivers of Indus and Ganges. One of the first and largest empire in Ancient India was the Mauryan Empire. The laws of its ruler Ashoka made Maurya well-known. But the strength of its rulers equaled the strength of its prosperous economy.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Papyrus: Foundation of Modern Paper

Example of a papyrus (source: Wikimedia, public domain)
Paper had been and has been an essential part of mankind. It allows improvement it recording, writing, and communication. Many civilization tried to create a form of medium for writing, from Americas to China. But the Egyptians were among the first, if not the first, to develop a material that would lead to creation of paper. From the stems of a plant, the Egyptian created the papyrus.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Rape of the Sabine Women: The Growth of Rome

Rape of the Sabine Women by Pietro da Cortona
Rome forged one of the greatest Empires that the world had ever seen. Covering the whole Mediterranean and most of Europe, it became a standard of many empire in the future. Its civilization became the envy of many civilization. Its beginnings, however, was shrouded with legends. The famous story of the twins Romulus and Remus was about the foundation of Rome. It was a story of murder. But the legendary story of growth of Rome was equally heinous and barbaric. The legend of the Rape of the Sabine Women was a story of deception, abduction, and off course, rape.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Almohads: Religious Berber Empire of North Africa

Almohad Caliphate
10th and 11th century, Spain fell under the control of two Muslim Empires. The Almoravids became a powerful Beber Empire in the middle of the 11th century. However, just a hundred years after their rise, the Almoravids saw another contender for their position as a powerful Berber state. In the mountains of the Atlas, from an Islamic preacher and theologian, a new Caliphate would be born - the Almohad Caliphate.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Eli Whitney: The Cotton Gin and Interchangeable Parts

Eli Whitney
He is better known as one of the greatest inventors of the United States of America. His invention change the economy of an entire nation. He brought the rise of cotton industry as an engine of economic growth in the Southern States. He began to practice a concept which was ahead of his time. The idea which would change the manufacturing sector of the United States and the world. He is best remembered as an inventor rather than a tycoon. He was Eli Whitney, the man who invented the cotton gin and thought of the idea of interchangeable parts.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ruling Persia: Satrapies

Darius the Great
The Persian Empire is the greatest and biggest empire that the ancient world could offer before the time of Alexander the Great. Its lands cover three continents. In Europe, it had a foothold in the Balkans and controlled the Anatolian Plateau. In Africa, it occupied the lands of Egypt and its neighboring lands. And in Asia, Persia dominated the whole Middle East along with Iran. Ruling such large territory was difficult. But during the reign of Darius the Great, a solution to rule was found in the form of Satrapies.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Satraps: Administration of Darius I

King Darius the Great
Administering an empire is cumbersome. A centralized government won’t work effectively if it did not manage well its local administration. Furthermore, communication and other economic aspects must be taken into consideration to manage vast extent of lands. This had been the problem of ancient Empires: how to manage a vast lands? This question or challenge was taken on by one of the ancient world’s largest empire – Persia. Under the rule of Darius the Great, Persia would undergo administrative reforms, among them would be the famous satrapies, and would enable it to maintain its positions as a power for more than a century.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

King Chulalongkorn (Part 1): Abolitionist

King Rama V
As the nation mourned the death of their beloved King Rama IV or King Mongkut, Siam was in the middle of its modernization in a quest to preserve its sovereignty as a free country. As cries flowed for the dead King, the court prepared to crown a new king to continue the legacy of his predecessor. Prince Chulalongkorn ascended to the throne as King Rama V. He presided over the continuity of Siam’s change towards the modern age and the change of its long time traditions as well.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ghana Empire: Land of Gold

Empire of Ghana
West Africa saw the rise of powerful and very wealthy kingdoms and even empire. Various terrain and environment existed within the African continent. But rivers provided fertile lands capable of supporting the rise of civilization. Already, during the time of the ancient, the Nile River permitted the rise of the Egyptian civilization in the Saharan desert of Africa. And in West Africa, the rivers of Senegal and Niger gave rise to several kingdoms as well. One of the first kingdoms that rose prominently in the region was the Ghana Empire.

Prussian Economy Under Frederick the Great

Frederick the Great
Germany, today, is one of the most powerful countries in Europe, not to mention that it dominates the affairs of the European Union. Because of its great immense wealth and influence, one can be curious enough to study its history. In the course of studying its history, besides Otto von Bismark and off course, Hitler, another personality that would also be notable is the 18th century Prussian King, Frederick II the Great.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ten Thousand Immortals: Immortalizing the Persian Empire

Persian Immortals depicted during the 2,500 year celebration of the Persia.

The Persian Empire – the largest empire of Asia in the ancient world. It spanned through three continents. In Asia, Mesopotamia and Iran fell to their control. In Africa, Egypt and its peripheries were under Persian rule. And in Europe, the Anatolian plateau and parts of the Balkans were annexed by Persia. Behind this success was the Persian Army and its elite standing force, the celebrated and renowned – Ten Thousand Immortals.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Adventure of Gabriel de Clieu


Gabriel de Clieu
The largest coffee producers in the war is located in the Americas. Brazil produced about 2 million tons of coffee. Coffee originated from Ethiopia and later spread to neighboring Arabian Peninsula. It became a hit throughout the Islamic world. It was through diplomacy and trade that coffee spread in Europe. But how did coffee arrived to Americas had a lot of stories. Among of these stories was filled with adventure, patience, and hardships. The story of Gabriel de Clieu became well-known for its “impact” and the toils he experience to bring coffee to the other side of the Atlantic.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Towards Revolution: Tea Act

Depiction of the Boston Tea Party
During the late 1760’s the Thirteen Colonies and the English Parliament in London became embroiled in tax dispute. The previous Sugar, Stamp and Townshend Acts became infamous and faced strong opposition. Radical colonial began to show their anger in form of boycotts and protests. The thirteen Colonies began to unite in their fight against what they perceive as unjust taxation of the English Parliament. In 1770, the Townshend Act failed. But there remained a part of the tax maintained. Taxes on tea was left intact.  And tea would become the next target of anger for the colonials which would bring colonies towards revolution.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cyrus McCormick: Inventor, Businessman

Cyrus McCormick
When a country becomes industrialized, there is a tendency that the population will grow. That happened to many countries. The United States, during the Gilded Age, underwent rapid industrialization. High population is not much of a problem as long as food production could keep up. The US managed to do it with the mechanization of agriculture. Among the forerunners in mechanization Cyrus McCormick. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Mongkut: The Modernizing King of Siam

King Mongkut (Rama IV)
The 19th century saw a new era of colonization and imperialism. Europeans scramble to take many lands as possible. The British and the French were the most active and powerful. India had bowed to the British. China had been dismembered by the western powers. In Southeast Asia, one kingdom survived the onslaught- the Kingdom of Siam. Much of its freedom was credited to its wise king – King Rama IV or better known as King Mongkut.