From the 13th to the 16th centuries, the long bow, a bow longer than the four-foot regular bow, was the official weapon of the British army. It could fire off 10 to 12 arrows a minute and was almost as powerful as the crossbow. Be assured, it won many a war during those days and […]
The Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo kept tight restrictions on emigration during his reign. With his death in 1961, emigration became a way of life. In the last two decades, about 20,000 Dominicans per year have been legally admitted to the United States. Not by coincidence, 20,000 is the legal limit for immigration from any one […]
Covered wagon trains in the old West could travel one to two miles per hour, or the equivalent of a toddler’s walking speed. They could go about a hundred miles in a seven-day week of travel, but many devout people refused to travel on Sunday, slowing them down even further.
Black Fraternities. Alpha Phi Alpha (1906) Kappa Alpha Psi (1911) Omega Psi Phi (1911) Phi Beta Sigma (1914)
Both czar or Tsar (Russia) and kaiser (Germany) were derived from the name of Julius Caesar, leader of ancient Rome. Czar is a title used to designate certain monarchs or rulers, and is a Slavic term with Bulgarian origins which is derived from the word Cæsar, meaning Emperor in the European medieval context. The first […]
Revolution soon drove Spain off the mainland of the Americas. By 1825, all of Spain’s colonies in South America and Central America had rebelled and won their independence. Mexico became independent in 1821. All that was left of Spanish America were the West Indian colonies of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Both of these would be […]
Why is the Return of the Buffalo an important symbol to Plains Indians and When was the Inter-Tribal Bison Cooperative formed?
In 1991, on a chilly day in February, leaders from 19 tribes came together in the Black Hills of South Dakota to discuss what they could do to bring back the buffalo. During the meeting, the Inter-Tribal Bison Cooperative was formed. This group helps tribes raise their own buffalo herds, which now include more than […]
The Chinese were the first to use toilet paper by recycling paper that had already been used for other purposes. How do we know this? Because a court official wrote in 589 A.D. that he was careful not to use documents with “quotations from the great writers.” Before that? Well, there were leaves, rocks, or […]
Who were the Friends of the Forty-Niners and Why did the Pimas welcome the arrival of miners travelling west?
In 1848, gold was discovered in California. The next year, thousands of hopeful non-Indian miners, nicknamed Forty-Niners, traveled west to seek their fortunes. The trip was difficult, particularly for those on the southern wagon route that passed through the hottest, driest lands in the Southwest. Many hungry, thirsty forty-niners found relief in the lands of […]
In the Northwest, great forests of cedar trees provided Native Americans with an ideal building material. The trunks of these trees could be easily split into planks as long as 40 feet. Using these planks, Native Americans built large, sturdy wooden houses that were well suited to their rainy climate. Plank houses were clustered to […]
Not really, but it is hard to tell because race is such a fuzzy word. When someone talks about race, the speaker is distinguishing groups of people based on some standard he or she thinks is important and physically inherited. In the United States, people usually talk about the races as white, black (or African […]
There have been quite a few Cuban baseball players. Cuban American Tony Oliva, for example, was a star hitter and later coach for the Minnesota Twins beginning in 1964. Other Cuban American ball players have included Preston Gomez, Mike Gonzalez, and Vic Powers.
Theoretically, Pocahontas would have been 12 when she saved John Smith’s life. However, it’s somewhat questionable that the incident ever took place. In an earlier book, John Smith never mentioned the incident. It was only after Pocahontas gained fame and adoration in England as an Indian “princess” that Smith suddenly began telling the story about […]
No, a cow probably did not cause the Chicago fire in 1871, although the fire did start in the O’Leary’s barn. There’s no reason to believe the fire was anything more than the result of an extraordinary dry spell of weather mixed with the practice of keeping dry wood chips around as a cheap source […]
Most of the Algonquian lived in a region full of rich, well-watered land, ideal for growing crops, such as beans and squash. Corn was especially important to the Algonquian living along the mid- and southern Atlantic Coast. This one crop made up almost half of their diet. With much of their lands covered by rich […]
Belying the common image of the Hispanic American as a hired hand in someone’s factory or field, Latinos are more likely than ever to run their own companies. As of 1992, Hispanic Americans owned 862,605 businesses-5 percent of all the businesses in the country. California, Texas, and Florida have especially high numbers of Hispanic-owned business. […]
While the Maya civilization was in decline, the Toltec came to power in what is now central Mexico. United under the leader Mixcoatl, they established a vast empire in the region. A warlike people, the Toltec not only dominated other groups, they also set about building a great civilization. Led by Mixcoatl’s son, Topiltzin, Toltec […]
Before the Navajo came to the Southwest, they lived by hunting game and gathering plants. Few wild animals and plants, however, lived in their new hot, dry homeland. To survive, they looked to the Pueblo Indians and learned by their example how to farm corn and squash. Pueblo people who moved to Navajo lands to […]
Who was Mary McLeod Bethune and What was her contribution to the civil rights movement and education?
After graduating from Moody Bible Institute in 1895 (where she had been the only black student), Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) taught at Haines Institute in Georgia. In 1904 she traveled to Daytona Beach, Florida, to establish a school for young black women, despite having only $1.50 in her pocket. Using money raised from selling sweet […]
Many Puerto Ricans on the island are poor by comparison to other Americans. Puerto Rico’s 1995 per capita gross product of $7,662 was about a third of the average U.S. citizen’s income on the mainland. However, Puerto Rico is well-off by Latin American standards. For example, Puerto Rico’s per capita gross product is nearly twice […]
The reason Knights abandoned chain mail for plate armor during the Middle Ages was simple. Have you ever seen what a crossbow can do? It’s not pretty. It could shoot through the thin metal pieces of chain mail and straight through the leather. So plate mail was invented to protect against the crossbow, primarily. But […]
Both Eurasian and Native American legends told of a spring or river that could restore youth and vitality to aging conquistadors. Since Juan Ponce de León was in his fifties, this sounded pretty good. He landed in Florida near present-day Daytona Beach in 1513 and searched high and low for the magic waters, but they […]
By the 1930s, the Buffalo Soldiers had been reduced to tending horses. In 1944 the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry Regiments were deactivated, and the Buffalo Soldiers no longer existed. But in 1958, the Ninth and Tenth Regiments were reactivated, and today, the First and Second Tank Battalions of the Tenth Cavalry at Fort Knox, Kentucky, […]
The first European woman in America was Francesca Hinestrosa of Spain. She joined her husband on de Soto’s expedition from Florida through Georgia and the Carolinas and then west, across the Appalachians toward the Mississippi. She was killed in an attack by Chickasaw warriors in 1541. Later, in 1565, Spanish women helped settle Saint Augustine […]
By the early 1800s, writing had became an important part of the black struggle for freedom. It gave blacks a way to defend themselves publicly and share information quickly. In 1793, Thomas Gray, Absalom Jones, and Richard Allen (1760-1831), three prominent black leaders in Philadelphia, published long essays denouncing those who supported slavery and treated […]
It took the Mayflower 66 days to get from England to Cape Cod, New England. That meant the boat was traveling at about two miles per hour throughout the trip, which isn’t too bad considering the strong Gulf Stream and the stormy weather during the September/October season. One hundred years later, the fastest clippers were […]
The 1990 census listed four tribes with populations of more than 100,000: the Cherokee at 308,000, the Navajo at 219,000, the Ojibwa (also known as the Chippewa) at 104,000, and the Sioux at 103,000. In addition to about 31,000 Native Americans, Alaska is the home of people from two other native groups, the Inuit (44,000) […]
On his first voyage in 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered both Cuba and Hispaniola, two of the four large West Indian islands known as the Greater Antilles. The other two are Jamaica and Puerto Rico. His first colony was founded on Hispaniola, an island that today is divided into the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island’s […]
Charlayne Hunter-Gault is known to millions of Americans as the national correspondent for the Public Broadcasting System’s (PBS) MacNeil/ Lehrer News Hour. In January 1961, she was one of two black students to enter the University of Georgia, which had been ordered by a federal court to desegregate. When the two arrived at the school, […]
One of the greatest delicacies of the Northwest Native American diet was the oil of the tiny eulachon fish. Native American fishermen placed their eulachon catch in large covered pits for several days. They then boiled the fish and scooped up the oil that collected on the surface. Used to season dried fish, fruits, and […]
By the early 1960s, African Americans were frustrated by daily life in the cities. Black and other minority communities were called “inner cities.” In these thickly populated slum areas, or ghettos, there were high crime rates, high unemployment, a lack of health services, poor garbage collection, overcrowding, discriminatory consumer practices, and police brutality.
As a result of the actions of the 1960s, blacks made their biggest gains since slavery. Through the Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity programs, qualified blacks were recruited by colleges and the job market. Reverend Jesse Jackson, a protégé of Martin Luther King Jr., founded People United to Save Humanity (PUSH), a black self-help group […]
Firecrackers were invented in China totally by accident. Thousands of years ago, it’s speculated, some unsuspecting peasant in China ran out of wood for his fire and decided to pull down some bamboo and use it to keep his blaze going. Surprisingly, when the fire heated the green bamboo, the air and sap inside boiled […]
Clyde Barrow the gangster wrote a fan letter to Henry Ford about his cars. On April 10, 1934, Barrow sat down and addressed a letter to Mr. Ford from a hideout where he and Bonnie Parker were holed-up in Florida. The letter, stamped “Received” by the Ford Motor Company three days later, read, mistakes and […]
London’s famous fog is air pollution. It’s been a problem in London for almost 1,000 years, beginning at a time in history when wood supplies started running out. The people of the city began using sea coal for heat and cooking, which wasn’t very efficient and produced an abundance of smoke in the air. At […]
In August 1911, a group of non-Native Americans came upon a thin and tired Native American man as he tentatively emerged from the foothills of Mount Lassen in northern California. He was the last surviving member of the Yahi tribe, most of whom had been killed either by non-Native Americans or the diseases they carried. […]