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West Asian games – Mesopotamia and Iran

By |2018-04-25T23:40:39+00:00September 13th, 2017|Games, West Asia|

Earliest known dice (Iran, ca. 2600 BC) See that the six is already opposite the one, as on modern dice? But check out this Harappan die. The people of West Asia really liked gambling games. The earliest dice in the world are from a backgammon set from ancient Persia (modern Iran), from about 3000 BC. Backgammon probably came from even [...]

Roman games: What games did Roman people play?

By |2018-09-10T05:43:42+00:00September 2nd, 2017|Games, Romans|

Roman dice were involved in many Roman games Neither cards nor chess... Roman people played most of the different kinds of games that people play today. There are two important exceptions. The first one is  chess. Chess did not come to Europe from India until the Islamic Empire, about 1000 AD. The second one is card games, [...]

Dreidel project – Hanukkah games

By |2018-04-09T23:07:29+00:00August 23rd, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

A Hanukkah dreidel Since the 1700s AD, people have often celebrated Hanukkah by playing the dreidel game. The first thing you need to play the dreidel game is a dreidel. It's better to buy a dreidel (DRAY-dell) because if you make your own it's very difficult to get it to play fair: it's always going to land [...]

Brigham Young – Mormon religion

By |2017-08-14T15:29:54+00:00August 14th, 2017|History|

Brigham Young in the 1840s After a mob killed Joseph Smith, the Mormons chose a new leader, Brigham Young (BRIG-am yung) and wisely left Illinois. In 1847, Brigham Young decided that the Mormons should move way out west to Utah, where the Ute and Paiute people lived. Utah was part of Mexico at this time. In the next year, though, [...]

Mississippians and American history

By |2017-08-13T18:03:17+00:00August 13th, 2017|History, Native American|

Excavation of a house at Joara The people who lived in the lower Mississippi valley (modern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama) were not doing so well around 1500 AD. The Little Ice Age of the 1400s, or some other crisis, had weakened their economic and political system. But they were farming corn and beans and living in towns. One [...]

Mandan and Sacagawea – American history

By |2017-08-13T17:54:38+00:00August 13th, 2017|History, Native American|

A Mandan village in 1832 Around 1500 AD, Mandan women began to build round houses, or lodges, instead of rectangular ones. They also started using bison skin tipis when they were travelling or hunting. By the 1600s, the Mandan were probably already catching European diseases like measles and smallpox from their Sioux and Mississippian neighbors, even though they hadn't met any Europeans yet. [...]

Denmark Vesey’s revolt – American history

By |2017-08-13T09:46:45+00:00August 13th, 2017|History, North America|

St. Thomas in the early 1700s, as Denmark Vesey might have seen it When African-Americans were held in slavery in the United States, they hated it and they fought to get free, or to get even small freedoms, any way they could. One example is Denmark Vesey, who was born into slavery about 1767 AD in St. Thomas (then [...]

Comanche history – Native Americans

By |2018-04-24T10:40:21+00:00August 12th, 2017|History, Native American|

Comanche women (1800s) From Shoshone to Comanche Pueblo people captured Spanish horses in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 AD, and they sold some of those horses to the Shoshone, in what is now Wyoming. The Shoshone who had horses split off from the other Shoshone. They called themselves the Nermernuh, but their Ute neighbors called them the Comanche. [...]

Californians fight the Missions

By |2018-10-02T07:43:05+00:00August 12th, 2017|History, Native American|

Ohlone people crossing San Francisco Bay, with a European wool blanket (Louis Choris, 1816 AD) Native people in California In 1500 AD, California was a popular place to live. About one out of every three people living in what would become the United States lived in California. Early Native Californians More articles about [...]

Medieval Islamic games

By |2018-05-08T15:25:26+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Africa, Games, Islam, West Asia|

Medieval Islamic games: Muslims playing chess in Spain Chess from India The big new game of the Islamic Empire was chess. The Arabs learned to play chess from the Sassanians when they conquered them, and probably the Sassanians learned chess from people in India. Indian people themselves seem to have learned at least some version [...]