This week: Earth Day, March for Science
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Projects and Pages for the end of April:

INTERNATIONAL WORKER'S DAY: May 1st, all over the world, is International Worker's Day, a holiday to celebrate people who work, and to join together in solidarity -and in labor unions - to work for equality and respect, safe working conditions, more reasonable work schedules, and better pay. In honor of May 1st, suggests checking out our pages on how farming causes inequality, on Egyptian slavery, and on Greek slavery and tyranny. Then there's Chinese slavery and Roman slavery. Women, who often work without pay, even when they're not exactly enslaved, have their stories told in the pages about silk weavers in China and wool weavers in ancient Rome.

In more recent times, there's been the great shame of American slavery and indenture, and then the oppression of sharecroppers after the Civil War. In England, women and children worked long days in factories to spin that cotton. Notice how it's still all about cloth and clothing, though now it's cotton. Sadly, we don't have much about unions - that's something we hope to write more about this year.

greek vase of woman playing pipes

PELOPONNESIAN WAR: On April 25th, 404 BC, the starving, besieged Athenians finally gave up and surrendered to the Spartans, ending the Peloponnesian War. As Thucydides reports, the Spartans forced the Athenians to tear down their city walls, while women played joyful flute music, as if it were a party.

ISLAMIC INVASION OF SPAIN: April 27 711 AD, Tariq ibn Ziyad and his Muslim Berber army land their boats at Gibraltar to begin conquering Spain from the Visigothic kings.

map of united states with a line across the west
Lewis and Clark's route

LOUISIANA PURCHASE: April 30th, 1803 - Thomas Jefferson buys most of the western part of North America - still really belonging to the Mandan, the Shoshone, the Sioux, the Nez Perce, the Chinook, and other Native peoples - from the French emperor Napoleon in the Louisiana Purchase. Napoleon sold the land in order to raise money for his European wars. Soon afterwards, Jefferson sent out the surveyors Lewis and Clark to map and report on the new territory, and began to plan out how to take the land from its Native owners.

WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK: Go to a May Day rally in your town, or start one if there isn't one planned. Or, interview someone in your family who's been a union member. What did it mean to them?

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New(ish) articles this week:

stone carving of a herd of donkeys
Donkeys, from Old Kingdom Egypt (ca. 2500 BC)

EGYPT'S ANIMALS: We rewrote our article on the types of animals that lived in ancient Egypt this week, with new pictures showing the animals as the Egyptians saw them. Read more specifically about the history of donkeys, cows, chickens, dogs, and cats. Or read more generally about Egypt's environment, or about Africa's environment.

History Deals of the Week:

If you have young history buffs at home or in your classroom, you can't do better than the DK Eyewitness series - Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Ancient China, and so on. For Greek myths, we like Marcia Williams' comic book, and of course the old D'Aulaire's. The Paulist Press's Child's Bible has been a stalwart standby for us - no preaching, just the old stories straight up. But broaden your child's horizons with this Ramayana graphic novel too!

New discoveries this week:

stone with a rough carving of an aurochs (like a cow) on it
Aurochs (38,000 years ago)

EARLY STONE AGE ART: A stone carving of an aurochs from southern France is the earliest known animal carving, from 38,000 years ago, but what's more interesting is that the archaeologists found it in a living area, showing that this early art wasn't just for religious ceremonies, but part of people's regular lives. More about aurochs, and the European Stone Age, here.

NATIVE AMERICAN CITY: Archaeologists have located the city of Cecomocomoco or Etzanoa in what is now Kansas, where two rivers come together. Apparently as many as 20,000 people may have lived there in 1601, when Cecomocomoco fought a big battle with the Spanish. They grew corn and beans and squash, and hunted buffalo - and they traded with the Pueblo people. But then most of them died of smallpox, measles, and maybe dysentery.

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Seasonal food of the week:

STRAWBERRIES: It's finally time for some fresh fruit, at least where we are. And the first fruit of the year is always strawberries. You can use them lots of ways: in strawberry jam (just cut them in half, take off the green tops, and cook them with a little water over low heat until they thicken into sauce), dipped in chocolate, in a bowl with sugar, microwaved to make strawberry sauce for pound cake.

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. 24 April, 2017