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Medieval African history – Timbuktu and Great Zimbabwe

By | 2017-10-29T16:49:31+00:00 October 3rd, 2017|Africa, History|

Mansa Musa of Mali After the 400s AD, the Bantu expansion slowed down. They had already settled most of the good farmland in southern Africa. What was left was mainly desert or thick jungle. It was no good for farming or herding cattle. The Bantu left that land to the Khoikhoi and San people who already lived there. [...]

What is Nowruz? Zoroastrians – West Asian holidays

By | 2017-09-15T21:02:31+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Persepolis may have been built in the 500s BC as a place to celebrate Nowruz. Zoroastrianism became much more popular suddenly when the Persian kings became Zoroastrians around 550 BC. Soon after that, Zoroastrian worshippers began to celebrate the first day of spring as an important holiday. That was the first day of their New Year. Nowruz is [...]

Central and South American history – colonization

By | 2017-09-08T14:37:56+00:00 September 8th, 2017|Central America, History, South America|

Aztec doctor treating people with smallpox (1500s AD, Codex Mendoza) In 1500 AD, the Inca Empire dominated the east coast of South America. Further north, the Aztec empire under Montezuma II controlled Mexico and what is now Guatemala. In the center of South America was the Amazon rain forest. Many people lived there in small groups, hunting and gathering or [...]

Caribbean history – South America

By | 2017-09-08T11:05:01+00:00 September 8th, 2017|History, South America|

Arawak or Carib woman swimming with her kids ca. 1580 AD Arawak people had conquered the Caribbean islands about 300 BC. Then about 1200 AD, Carib people started trying to conquer the Arawak. In the middle of this process, with some islands Carib and others still Arawak, the first European invaders showed up to conquer them all. When Christopher [...]

Brazil and colonization – South American history

By | 2017-10-14T14:53:57+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 [...]

The human body in medieval and modern science

By | 2017-09-06T23:14:25+00:00 September 6th, 2017|Biology, Science|

Chinese drawing of the organs (about 1200) Between the Middle Ages and modern times, doctors have learned a lot of new things about how human bodies work. The Islamic doctor Al-Tabari, in the early 800s, learned that light bounces off objects into your eyes. Al-Tabari's student Al Razi figured out that a fever is your body's way of fighting illness, not [...]

Thanksgiving – American holidays

By | 2017-08-14T23:41:41+00:00 August 14th, 2017|North America, Religion|

Map of Wampanoag village at Plymouth Bay in 1613 AD,just before the Puritans arrived. See the growing crops around each house? Beginning about 100 AD, when they started farming their food, all throughout the middle and eastern parts of North America, people celebrated the Green Corn Ceremony every fall when the corn got ripe. This was a harvest [...]

American history after colonization

By | 2017-08-13T09:54:03+00:00 August 13th, 2017|History, North America|

Venetian trade bead from the 1400s AD Just about 1500 AD, many, many people in North America began to die from mysterious diseases like smallpox and measles that nobody in North America had ever seen before. Soon people saw that they were catching these diseases from European sailing men who had come to the Atlantic coast to trade knives and [...]

Early Modern Spain – Philip II

By | 2017-08-05T11:53:17+00:00 August 5th, 2017|History, Modern Europe|

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 if that wasn't enough, [...]

Early Modern France – Henry IV

By | 2017-08-05T11:45:49+00:00 August 5th, 2017|History, Modern Europe|

Henry IV of France In 1589 AD, Catherine de Medici died in France, and her last son, Henry III, was killed a few months later. Henry III had no sons, and his 36 year old cousin, Henry IV, became the next king of France. Henry was a Protestant, but he converted to being Catholic in order [...]