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Islamic North Africa – caravans across the Sahara

By | 2018-02-22T09:23:58+00:00 October 3rd, 2017|Africa, History|

Islamic North Africa: Kairouan mosque (ca. 800 AD) The Eastern Roman reconquest of North Africa in the 530s AD ended the Vandal kingdom there. But trade declined until the Islamic invasions of North Africa in the 600s AD and the establishment of the Umayyad, and then the Fatimid dynasties. Fatimids Under Islamic rule, North Africa became part of a [...]

Brazil and colonization – South American history

By | 2018-04-19T15:03:06+00:00 September 8th, 2017|History, South America, Where|

Tapuia people, ca. 1650 (by Albert Eckhout) In the late 1400s AD, the Tupi people had just won a big war with the Tapuia people. They had gotten control of the Atlantic coast of South America (modern Brazil). They forced most of the Tapuia people inland. So the Tupi were living near the beaches, fishing. Different Tupi [...]

St. Nicholas – Christian saints

By | 2017-08-22T17:27:09+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Medieval, Religion, Romans|

Nicholas hands the purses through the window to the poor girls (Chartres Cathedral, about 1200 AD) St. Nicholas is a Christian saint who is one source for the idea of Santa Claus. According to the story, Nicolas was born in the Roman Empire (in modern Turkey) about 270 AD. This was a time when a lot of people were [...]

Californians fight the Missions

By | 2017-08-12T14:56:31+00:00 August 12th, 2017|History, Native American|

Ohlone people crossing San Francisco Bay, with a European wool blanket (Louis Choris, 1816 AD) 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. Then, in 1530, the first Spanish explorers under the Holy Roman [...]

The Apache get horses – American history

By | 2017-08-12T14:41:33+00:00 August 12th, 2017|History, Native American|

Apache rock painting, ca. 1800 AD Like their Navajo cousins, the Apache people were Athabascan. They moved south into the south-west part of North America from their home in Canada about 1400 AD. So when the Spanish invaders came in the 1500s, the Apache hadn't been in the Southwest very long. Apache women on horseback In [...]

Early Modern Spain – Philip II

By | 2018-04-08T11:14:20+00:00 August 5th, 2017|History, Modern Europe|

Philip II of Spain Philip II of Spain As the great-grandson of Isabella, who had sent Columbus to America, Philip II ruled Spain in the mid-1500s AD. Philip also controlled huge Spanish territories in South and Central America, Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Texas. Philip also ruled the Netherlands and Flanders (now part of Belgium), north of France. As [...]

The Avars – Early Middle Ages

By | 2018-03-21T15:11:55+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Grasslands of Central Asia - the steppe homeland of the Avars Ruled by the Rouran The Avars were a mostly Turkic group of people. We first hear of them living in Central Asia under the rule of the Rouran, in the 400s AD. The Chinese, who lived to their south-east, called the Avars the Juan-Juan. Like other Central [...]

Nicephorus and Leo – Byzantine history

By | 2018-04-15T16:50:55+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Maybe the skull cup was something like this? Nicephorus deposed the Empress Irene in 802 AD and made himself emperor. He refused to pay tribute to the Islamic caliph, and therefore lost still more Roman territory to the Abbasids. On the other hand, he fought successfully for Greece against the Slavs and Bulgars, and negotiated with Charlemagne to recognize his claim to the [...]

Medieval economy – Europe

By | 2018-04-12T00:07:59+00:00 August 1st, 2017|Economy, Medieval|

A medieval carpenter works in his shop. After the fall of Rome, people used money less than they had before. Instead they mostly lived on what they could produce themselves. Rich people lived on what they could make other people give them because they were landlords or landladies. Still even poor people in the countryside kept on [...]