Mongolian Conquest

Mongolian Conquest  Mongols, a people who hailed from the grassland plateau of what is today Mongolia, in central and northeast Asia. Their lightning conquests, beginning in the early 13th century C.E., changed the face of Asia and of half of Europe. In just 25 years, the Mongols subjugated the inhabitants of more territories than the Romans had conquered in four centuries. At the apex of their power, they ruled from Korea to Hungary and from Siberia to India—the largest contiguous land empire in recorded history! Who Were the Mongols? The Mongols…

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America Discovery “Conflicting Facts”

America Discovery”Conflicting Facts” Who discovered America? Nobody really knows for sure. The answer depends greatly on how you define “discover” and “America.” After all, this vast land was populated for many centuries before Europeans even knew that it existed. Early in 1493, Christopher Columbus returned to Europe with eyewitness accounts of his first voyage to the Americas. He actually landed on the islands of the West Indies. But he was not the first European to reach this amazing new world. A band of fair-haired Scandinavians had evidently reached the North…

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History of Beer”Golden Beverage”

History of Beer”Golden Beverage” WHAT is often the dream of a really thirsty man? In many lands, whether a laborer or a businessman, he may think of a glass of his favorite golden beverage. He may imagine the rich, white head of foam and the delicious bitter taste. He may then say to himself, ‘What I would give for a glass of cold beer!’ Beer is almost as old as mankind itself. For millenniums it has kept its popularity, and in many areas it has become an integral part of…

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Olympic History

Olympic History The Olympic Games originated thousands of years ago. Believing that athletics pleased the spirits of the dead, the ancient Greeks held national festivals that mixed religion with sport. These included the Isthmian, Nemean, Olympic, and Pythian games. Of these, the Olympics were held in highest esteem, for they honored Zeus, whom the Greeks considered the king of the gods. Evidently the early Olympics featured only one event, a footrace. But in time they came to include other contests, such as chariot races and rigorous tests of endurance. Visitors…

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Historical Facts Of Chewing Gum

Historical Facts Of Chewing Gum FROM EARLY TIMES people have found enjoyment in chewing gum. The ancient Greeks chewed the resin of the mastic tree. The Aztecs chewed tzictli, or chicle, from the sapodilla tree. And the Native Americans of New England taught colonists to chew the resin of the spruce tree. In fact, in the early 1800’s, lumps of spruce resin came to be the first commercial chewing gum marketed in the United States. Later, chewing sweetened paraffin wax became popular. It is said that modern chewing gum had…

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Medieval Masters of Astronomy

Medieval Masters of Astronomy THROUGHOUT history people have been struck with awe as they gazed at the sun, the moon, and the stars. By studying the positions and movements of those celestial bodies, man has been able to mark the passing of days, months, and years. The Arabs were one of many peoples who studied the night sky. The golden age of science in the Middle East began in the ninth century C.E., and Arabic-speaking astronomers of that era were regarded as masters of astronomy. Their achievements played a crucial…

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Britain’s Greatest Inventor

Britain’s  Greatest Inventor  ROBERT HOOKE, described by his contemporaries as “the most inventive man who ever lived,” is now hailed as England’s Leonardo da Vinci. Born in 1635, Hooke was appointed curator of experiments at the Royal Society of London in 1662 and made secretary in 1677. He died in 1703. Despite his scientific prestige, however, his remains lie buried in an unknown grave somewhere in north London. In recent years scientists and historians have worked hard to restore the reputation of this “forgotten genius,” as biographer Stephen Inwood calls Hooke.…

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Medieval Masters of Mechanic

Medieval Masters of Mechanic AUTOMATION has taken over industry—especially the routine and repetitious tasks. But when did automatic, programmable devices first appear on the scene? Was it just a couple of centuries ago during Europe’s industrial revolution? You may be surprised to learn that automatic machines were invented much earlier. During the early part of the era known as the golden age of Islamic science, from the 8th to the 13th century C.E. and beyond, Middle Eastern scholars translated into Arabic scientific and philosophical texts that preserved the works of such…

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Biodiversity in Amazonia

Biodiversity in Amazonia The Amazon River basin is one of the areas in the world with the greatest known biodiversity. Over the past decade, more than 1,200 species of plants and animals—fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals—were discovered and classified there, says a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report. This means that, on average, a new species is discovered in Amazonia every three days. “The number of discoveries of new species is just amazing,” says Sarah Hutchison, WWF coordinator in Brazil, “and this does not include the many groups of insects…

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CAPOEIRA—Dance, Sport, and Martial Art

CAPOEIRA—Dance, Sport, and Martial Art “The balance and flexibility of acrobatics, the grace and strength of dance, the speed and cunning of the fight, and the rhythms of the music.” THAT is how one writer defined the essence of the Brazilian art named capoeira. According to one writer, capoeira has become “a truly global phenomenon.” Choreographer and researcher Edward Lunda calls it “a unique fusion between a dance, martial art, game, and ritual.” The New Encyclopædia Britannica describes it as a “folk dance.” How is it performed? Players and onlookers…

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INVENTION OF TELEVISION

INVENTION OF TELEVISION SOON after men learned to broadcast sound, inventors wondered if they could also transmit live pictures. To appreciate the challenge, consider how television works today. First, a TV camera focuses a scene onto a target device that “reads” the picture, similar to the way you read print. However, instead of scanning lines of letters on the page, it scans lines of spots (or pixels) in the picture. It converts what it sees into an electronic video signal that can be transmitted to another place. A receiver then…

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AEROPLANE INVENTION

AEROPLANE INVENTION FOR centuries, men dreamed of flying. But a man does not have muscles powerful enough to lift his own weight into the air. In 1781, James Watt invented a steam engine that produced rotary power, and in 1876, Nikolaus Otto furthered the idea and built an internal-combustion engine. Now man had an engine that could power a flying machine. But who could build one? The brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright had wanted to fly ever since they learned to fly kites as boys. Later, they learned engineering skills…

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