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West Asian environment – Little Ice Age to global warming

By |2018-04-25T23:04:59+00:00September 11th, 2017|Environment, West Asia|

Iraqi oil production (2000s AD) In the 1500s AD, a global cooling period known as the Little Ice Age affected people all over the world, from the Navajo and Iroquois in North America to the French in Europe and the Mongols in Central Asia. West Asia was no exception. In the Ottoman Empire, after the death of Suleiman the Magnificent, it was very cold and there [...]

History of iron and blacksmithing – from iron to steel

By |2018-04-07T17:04:34+00:00September 7th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

History of iron: a Greek black-figure vase showing a blacksmith at work (Athens, about 550 BC) Why do people use iron? The history of iron doesn't start until much later than bronze. Iron is harder to form into metal than copper or bronze, because it needs a much hotter fire and a more complicated process. But if [...]

The Crow get horses – American history

By |2018-04-08T11:21:54+00:00August 13th, 2017|History, Native American|

Crow men In the 1600s AD, Crow people were still living in the Dakotas. But they caught smallpox and measles from their neighbors, the Mandan, and many Crow people died. So even though they had not yet met any Europeans, Crow people's lives were still very much changed by European settlers. Crow people met Europeans for the first time in [...]

Pueblo history – Anasazi – Native Americans

By |2018-04-24T10:27:55+00:00August 9th, 2017|History, North America|

Anasazi (Pueblo) pit house Anasazi people Pueblo people (sometimes called the Anasazi) started to build mud-brick houses for themselves in the south-west part of North America (modern Colorado, northern Arizona, and New Mexico) about 100 BC, during the Middle Woodland period (the time of the Han dynasty in China, and the Roman republic in Europe). At this point archaeologists call [...]

Europe’s economy in the 1800s

By |2018-04-16T10:32:28+00:00August 4th, 2017|Economy, Modern Europe|

A British merchant ship in the Caribbean, in the 1860s By 1800 AD, France, Britain, and Spain were all getting rich. They used their strong armies and navies to take wood, food, and cotton from other countries without paying for them. France was taking things from West Africa and Haiti. Britain was taking stuff from India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. [...]

European economy in the 1700s

By |2018-04-08T11:14:15+00:00August 4th, 2017|Economy, Modern Europe|

Kids in a spinning mill in England During the 1700s AD, the first modern factories opened. At first these were spinning factories to make thread for clothing, blankets, and sheets. Because most adults were busy working on farms, factory owners hired mostly children to work in the spinning factories. In Britain in 1788, two out of three [...]

Medieval England – History of Europe

By |2017-08-02T17:40:31+00:00August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Henry III of England King John died in 1216 AD, the year after John signed the Magna Carta. His son Henry III succeeded him. (Henry III was named after his grandfather Henry II.) Henry III was only nine years old when he became king. So he pretty much had to do whatever the barons (the rich men) told him [...]

The Yamnaya and the Indo-European language family

By |2018-04-21T13:20:00+00:00July 27th, 2017|Central Asia, History|

Yamnaya get around: Map of the spread of Indo-European languages Who were the Yamnaya? People we call the Yamnaya (Ukrainian for "People who lived in pits") seem to have been speaking an early version of the Indo-European language at least as early as 5000 BC in the area between the Black Sea and the Caspian [...]

Farming and famine – Climate change

By |2018-04-19T14:44:11+00:00June 20th, 2017|Environment|

Climate change: Hunters, bison and aurochs Cave painting from Lascaux, ca. 15,000 BC Climate change encouraged the evolution of the first humans, who probably evolved in Africa as the climate got drier and grasslands replaced jungles. People came down from the trees and evolved to swim and fish. They learned to walk upright [...]