Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Ellis Island was once the symbol of everything a new immigrant to America dreamed. When it was in operation, millions of people went through its gates and into New York City. Such luminaries as the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov and the Trapp Family Singers (of The Sound of Music fame) entered the new land here.
In 1954, Ellis Island processed its last immigrant. Since then the island was abandoned, and the buildings became largely derelict. That changed in 1990, however, when a $150 million dollar project was completed, and the center became a museum of American immigration. Ever since then, it has been open to visitors (including myself). However, it has yet to generate enough money to keep organizations such as Save Ellis Island alive.
It began to seem unlikely that the restoration of the buildings on Ellis Island could continue. Then, American Express stepped in. They contributed $100,000 to Save Ellis Island, which was "on the brink of extinction", as the New Yew York times puts it. The donation was inspired by another New York Times article describing the poor state of the organization.
Now, Save Ellis Island has been revived, and it can continue making Ellis Island a great spot for anyone interested in a key part of all world history: The migration of people.
by Rahul V., Period 8
Friday, December 17, 2010
War, as people understand it, is something that doesn’t merely end in a blink of an eye. Rather, it’s usually a long and drawn out process – a process that takes months to years to come to a finale. But the shortest war in history, the Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896, was precisely the former: a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of world history. This war, fought between the United Kingdom and the East African state of Zanzibar, lasted a mere approximate forty minutes from the Britain navy’s initial invasion.
The cause of the war came when the British-supporting ruler Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini died, resulting in succession of the throne of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash – who was not a staunch British supporter. When the United Kingdom’s demand of a new pro-British ruler was not carried out, they declared war on Zanzibar on August 27. At 9:02, the British navy started their bombardment on the palace and its forces. The palace consequently caught on fire, disabling the artillery and crippling their movement. Some 1,000 pro- British Zanzibar citizens raided the palace and the flag was shot down. A cease fire took place at 9:40.
About 500 of the sultan’s forces were suffered casualties while only one lone British sailor was injured. Britain’s victory marked the beginning of direct British control over Zanzibar. Still, in light of all the wars that took place, the Anglo-Zanzibar War was nothing more than a blip in the grand scheme of things.
by Grace Z., Period 8
Credited with ending the wars between Catholics and Protestants,
French King Henry IV was perhaps one of France’s most popular
monarchs. His popularity, however, would not prevent his assassination
in 1610 by a devoted catholic, Francois Ravaillac, who slashed the
king’s throat when his coach was stuck in traffic. His body was buried
with other kings, but would eventually be dug up by revolutionaries
who chopped off his head and through it in a pit.
For several centuries the head’s location was unknown until it
resurfaced in 1919 and was auctioned off. However, identifying the
head has remained impossible until recently. Using modern day
technology and techniques such as radiocarbon dating and forensic
science, researchers have determined the head is definitely Henry’s.
Using the same techniques it may now be possible to identify the
remainder of the bodies in the basilica of Saint Denis. King Henry’s
head will be returned to the basilica sometime next year.
by Liam S., Period 8
New archeological evidence provides insight on the dietary habits of
Chinese over 2500 years ago. Along with other artifacts, ancient Chinese
cuisine was found in a cemetery, perfectly preserved in the desert region
between east and central China. The foods unearthed included noodles,
porridge, oblong and round cakes of various sizes and a sheep’s head.
Researchers chemically analyzed the noodles, porridge and cakes and
concluded that they were created from millet. Millet was probably the staple
crop in Northwest china because of its drought resistance and ability to
prosper in poor soils. The early Chinese where possibly among the worlds
first bakers and noodle makers, possibly even predating Egyptians. This is
interesting because it is rare to see baked goods in Chinese cuisine during
any time period. Also the almost perfectly preserved bodies that the food
was buried with resembled Europeans more than Asians. The bodies had light
colored hair, deep eyes, and protruding noses. Nearby another research group
found noodles, only 4000 years old, that were yellow in color and looked
similar to La-Mian noodles as seen in the picture
Dennis O Period 7
Thursday, December 16, 2010
For some time, Cleopatra VII has been considered the only female pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty. However, one of her lesser known ancestors, Queen Arsinoë II may have also held the title of a female pharaoh approximately 200 years prior to Cleopatra VII’s reign. Maria Nilsson, of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, theorized that Arsinoë could be another female pharaoh. Born to Ptolemy I, Arsinoë married her first husband, then her half brother, and finally her full brother Ptolemy II, with whom she reigned with. She and he shared equal rule of Egypt. Her royalty was determined by her crown, based on the height, position, and pictorial elements. Her existence and reign challenges the assumptions of an almost strictly patriarchal society. When Arsinoë died around the age of 45, she acquired a cult following and her crown was adopted by Cleopatra III and VII, showing that she was a powerful ruler worth modeling after.
by Jen Y., Period 8
Angkor vanished at its height, and no one knew the reasons until recently. The city was extremely religious, and Buddhism eventually took over from Hinduism. But the temples still stand. This complete change switched up the government and changed royal authority. Here is where the stories of how it fell begin. Some say that because of this change the royal court left, others say that the economics of the place failed; still others believe that something might have led to a rebellion. None of these are completely true, but all are contributing factors. The center stage of their down fall was really something that helped them rise though: water. The people of Angkor had waterways, canals, and reservoirs that helped them conserve water during dry seasons. The widely excepted reason for why they fell now is that because of an extremely wet season, or year. It pushed beyond the amount of water the canals could hold and destroyed the carefully planed water system. Scholars went to the canals of Angkor and discovered their secrets, the reason for the fall of something so powerful.
by Sarah O., Period 8
Recently, a mummified head found in the basilica of Saint Denis was identified as the head of the popular Henry IV. A team of experts had been working diligently, using forensic and anthropological strategies to uncover the mystery behind it. Henry IV, surprisingly enough, was loved by his people, and is credited with ending the wars between the Catholics and the Protestants. Ironically, he was stabbed to death by Catholic fanatic Francois Ravaillac. However, in 1793, his head was chopped off after his tomb was raided by revolutionaries, and was sold on the black market. It resurfaced in 1919, it was constantly being auctioned off for private collections. After performing some radiological tests on it, the dating was found to be from about 1450 and 1650 which matched his lifespan. In addition, a piercing was found on the head, and it is known that Henry IV had his right ear pierced. Molds of the head, old scars, and facial blemishes all match the physical characteristics of Henry IV. In respect for the loved king, a funeral service will be held for him next year, including his head being placed where it rightfully belongs.
by Rylan Y., Period 8
by Danny O., Period 8