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Who were the Mapuche? South American history

By |2018-04-28T01:07:06+00:00September 9th, 2017|History|

Changos whale hunt, El Madano, ca. 1000 AD There were probably people living in Chile (a narrow strip of land in South America between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean) by around 12,000 BC. They came south with their dogs along the coast of South America, either walking or in small boats. Like most other people in South [...]

Marinids – Medieval African history

By |2018-04-23T15:28:43+00:00July 25th, 2017|History, Islam|

Shirij Madrasa, Fez, Morocco, about 1350 AD By 1217 AD, the Almohad dynasty was collapsing. One of the generals, Abu Yusuf, took over control of Morocco and made himself Sultan. That started the Marinid dynasty. All the Marinid rulers were army men like Abu Yusef,. They were mostly cavalry riders. A tour of Fez The Marinids made [...]

Medieval Islamic economy – The Silk Road

By |2017-07-23T16:24:26+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Economy, Islam|

Turkomen on the Silk Road with camels Just like under Persian or Sassanian rule, the economy of West Asia during the Islamic period depended very heavily on trade. The Silk Road ran right across the Islamic Empire. It reached east from China, to Tajikistan, to Uzbekistan, to Iran, to Iraq and Syria. Then it ran west to Lebanon, to the Byzantine Empire, and across the Mediterranean to Italy. Arab [...]

Deccan kingdoms in India

By |2018-04-23T15:00:52+00:00July 19th, 2017|History, India|

Deccan kingdoms: Krishna Deva Raya (possibly), ca. 1500 AD In 1498 AD, when Vasco da Gama first sailed to Calicut in south India, most of South India was part of the Vijayanagara Empire, which was very strong and still growing fast. Further north, the weakness of the Muslim rulers of North India allowed Central India to break free in [...]

Spices and cotton: Mughal Indian economy

By |2018-04-23T14:30:47+00:00July 19th, 2017|Economy, India|

Japanese painting of Portuguese bringing Indian cargo to Japan (1500s AD) Under the Mughal Empire, India continued to make a lot of money by trading things back and forth between East Africa and West Asia to their west, and South-East Asia and China to their east. Mostly Indian traders sold medicine and  pepper and cinnamon and other spices to West Asia. They sold glass beads and cotton cloth to [...]

Pearl Diving – History of Pearls

By |2018-04-08T11:21:51+00:00June 8th, 2017|Clothing|

A pearl inside an oyster Very early in human history, maybe around 100,000 years ago, many people lived along the coasts of Africa and lived mainly on seafood - seaweed, fish, clams, mussels, and oysters. This gave people a very easy, reliable (and delicious) food source. A mother-of-pearl necklace from Ancient Egypt(ca. [...]

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 [...]

Food in Qing Dynasty China

By |2018-04-19T15:03:14+00:00June 4th, 2017|China, Food|

Chinese sweet potato noodles In 1506 AD, the first Portuguese sailing ships - led by Columbus' cousin - reached China, and then more and more European ships came. These European ships brought (among other things) many new foods to China. Chinese people already knew about European food, but the traders brought new foods [...]