This week: Nowruz and more Women's History
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Projects and Pages for mid-March:

painting of an indian woman riding a horse
Chand Bibi (India)

WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH: Women kept right on writing, doing science, and holding power in the 1500s, 1600s, and 1700s. Many countries had women leaders in the 1500s, from Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth in England to Catherine de' Medici in France, Nurbanu Sultan and Sofia Baffo in the Ottoman Empire, Pari Khan Khanum in Iran, Elena Glinskaya in Russia, and Hamida Banu and Chand Bibi in India. The 1600s saw more women in power: the Empress Xiaozhuang in China, Nur Jahan in India, Kosem Sultan and Turhan Hatice in the Ottoman Empire, Anna Khanum in Iran, Anne of Austria in France, and Mariana of Austria in Spain. In the 1700s, Russia had four empresses including Catherine the Great, while Maria Theresa ruled Austria-Hungary, and Elizabeth Farnese and Maria Luisa ruled Spain.

painting of an african-american woman
Phillis Wheatley

Meanwhile, there were also women philosophers like Damaris Masham and Mary Wollstonecraft, women poets like Phillis Wheatley, women ministers like Anne Hutchinson, and women scientists like Emilie du Chatelet.

stone carving of a man carrying an egg
Giving eggs as gifts for Nowruz

NOWRUZ: This week is the celebration of the Iranian, Zoroastrian holiday of Nowruz. Nowruz celebrates the coming of spring. People have been celebrating Nowruz since the beginning of the Persian Empire, about 500 BC, but it probably comes from an even earlier New Year's celebration from ancient Mesopotamia, described in the Enuma Elish. For Nowruz, people went trick-or-treating and gave presents, including candy and decorated eggs.

WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK: Color some eggs for Nowruz, or make some candy.

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New article this week:

painting of Native men riding horses in a circle
Comanche men (painted by George Catlin)

COMANCHE: In the late 1600s AD, Pueblo people managed to capture a lot of horses from their Spanish oppressors, and they sold some to some Shoshone people, who seized the opportunity and rode with it: they immediately formed a new group, the Comanche, moved further south, and became expert horse-riders, horse-breeders, and horse-traders. Comanche people got rich selling horses to the Sioux, the Crow, the Cheyenne, and other people. They were doing great until most of them died of cholera and smallpox in the late 1800s - but even today, many Comanche are successful ranchers or doctors or lawyers.

History Deals of the Week:

Some stories to explain Nowruz: Norooz A Celebration of Spring! The Persian New Year ($13.95) and The New Year's Goldfish: A Nowruz Story (only $8.99!). For more about the Comanche, check out S.C. Gwynne's Empire of the Summer Moon ($6.63), about Quanah Parker and the end of Comanche power. And it's still Women's History Month! Check out Nancy Goldstone's The Rival Queens: Catherine de' Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal that Ignited a Kingdom (only $2.99 on Kindle!), or Toni Patel's Chand Bibi - The Fearless Queen for $11.90.

New discoveries this week:

armor made out of bronze strips fastened together
Han Dynasty Chinese armor

CHINESE-STYLE ARMOR IN SIBERIA: A find of Chinese-style armor in Central Asia shows the extent of Northeast Asian trade connections. Like Chinese and Japanese armor, this armor is made out of thin strips fastened together. The Chinese and Japanese used bronze or iron, but this armor is made out of reindeer antlers. Inuit people, across the Bering Strait in North America, made similar armor from seal bones about the same time. Do we really know which way the influence goes?

NEW STATUE NOT REALLY RAMSES II: Despite all the excitement last week, this week it turns out that new statue is really of a much later and less powerful Pharaoh, Psammetichus I, who ruled Egypt in the 600s BC. How do the archaeologists know? Oh, his name is carved on the back of the statue. So there you go.

ARCHAEOLOGY FUNDED BY THE US GOVERNMENT: As President Trump threatens to cut funding to the National Endowment for the Humanities, let's take a look at the discoveries the NEH has funded: Without the NEH, we wouldn't know that Troy wasn't only attacked during the Trojan War, but was always being attacked. We wouldn't know about the Native site of Werowocomoco, near Jamestown. We wouldn't know that the Uluburun shipwreck, from Bronze Age Turkey, carried ostrich eggs, ivory, and ebony from southern Africa. And there's much more...

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Seasonal food of the week:

NOWRUZ: As part of your Nowruz celebrations, you could start with crackers and boniet, a spread made with parsley and anchovies. Then make pistachio soup or roasted chickpeas. For the main course, maybe chicken with clementines and fennel, or eggplant and ground lamb? Falafel would also be appropriate, or these sweet and sour meatballs. For something even sweeter, try this lamb tagine with root vegetables and dried fruit. And for dessert, this make-ahead creme caramel?

Also check out our seasonal and budget recipes at

Or, view an extensive range of science and history based educational and learning toys by visiting now.

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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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  • Carr, K.E. . Study Guides, . Web. 23 March, 2017