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Steel history – medieval to modern steel

By |2018-09-10T06:07:42+00:00September 7th, 2017|Central Asia, Science|

Steel history: a Safavid steel helmet (Iran, 1500s AD) Medieval steel from India and Iran The wars after the collapse of the Mongol Empire in the 1300s stopped steel production in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. But metal-workers kept on making high quality crucible steel in India and Iran under the Pandyas, the Mughals, and the Safavid Empire. The wars also made it hard [...]

What is opium? World history of medicine and drugs

By |2017-09-07T09:33:48+00:00September 7th, 2017|Central Asia, Science|

Opium poppy flower Opium comes from a kind of poppy flower. It evolved around 100 million years ago in West Asia and Central Asia. People probably realized as soon as they got to West Asia, about 60,000 years ago, that you could use opium as a medicine. By 6000 BC, in the Stone Age, West Asian farmers were already growing opium in their [...]

Roman pottery – Ancient Rome

By |2018-10-12T09:00:10+00:00August 31st, 2017|Art, Romans|

Campanian pottery from southern Italy Roman pottery used molds Roman pottery began with Etruscan-style pottery, but soon developed a tradition of its own. What was Etruscan pottery like? More Ancient Rome articles In general, potters in Italy tended to make their pots all one color. They didn't paint pictures on them the way potters did in Greece. Instead [...]

Medieval Islamic people

By |2018-04-18T23:33:48+00:00July 26th, 2017|Islam, People|

A plate from the Fatimid period (1000s AD), Egypt Children in the Islamic Empire generally did what their parents did (as many people still do today). Girls never went to school. They worked at home taking care of their brothers and sisters and cooking. Girls carried water from the well, and they went out to look for [...]

Arabic language and literature

By |2018-04-08T01:10:49+00:00July 25th, 2017|Islam, Literature|

Sabataean writing Arabic is in the Semitic language group. Semitic languages seems to have gotten started before the beginning of writing, somewhere near modern Syria. They spread from there through Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan down to the Arabian peninsula. Because the Arabian peninsula was more isolated, people there kept speaking an older version of the language. [...]

Slavery in medieval India – History of India

By |2017-12-06T21:45:42+00:00July 20th, 2017|India, People|

Dancing woman from Mohenjo Daro, in what is now Pakistan Slavery in ancient India There were probably always slaves in India, but until about 1000 AD there were only a few people who were enslaved, and most of them worked as house servants or entertainers. Islam brings more slavery to India But when Islamic conquerors reached India, they forced many [...]

History of Bananas – Southeast Asia

By |2017-06-20T03:50:19+00:00June 20th, 2017|Food, India|

A bunch of bananas Wild ancestors of banana trees grew in southeast Asia. Like chickens, bananas were first domesticated in southeast Asia, possibly as early as 8000 BC but certainly before 5000 BC. That's about the same time as apples and earlier than peaches and avocados and oranges. In southeast Asia and Papua New [...]

Ming Dynasty China – Chinese History

By |2018-04-18T17:10:34+00:00June 6th, 2017|China, History|

Hung-Wu Emperor (National Palace Museum, Taipei) After the Hungwu Emperor threw the Mongols out in 1368 AD, he established the Ming Dynasty. But the Hungwu Emperor's power was still pretty weak after the Mongol invasion. He only ruled China from the Great Wall to the east of Tibet - smaller borders than modern [...]

What are vaccinations? Definition of vaccination

By |2017-05-30T11:08:03+00:00May 30th, 2017|Biology|

Children being vaccinated  A vaccination is a way to keep animals (both people and other kinds of animals) from getting sick when viruses get inside their bodies. The earliest kind of vaccination was when people noticed that if you had already had the sickness and gotten better, you couldn't catch it a second [...]

History of Tanzania – African History

By |2018-04-13T15:40:10+00:00May 24th, 2017|Africa, History|

Kilwa By 1500 AD, people in Tanzania were doing pretty well. They did a lot of trading with India and the Arabian Peninsula from their biggest port at Kilwa, and other smaller ports. They bought silk and cotton cloth, steel knives, Indian and Chinese medicine, and spices like pepper and cinnamon. To get [...]