Friday, July 21, 2017
This is entry #4 of the C.A.N. World Factbook, returning after a near-three year hiatus during which thankfully nothing really changed in the world (wait, who became the U.S. President?!). Today, we are looking at a European country that pretty much been on a downslide since 1659: Spain. Nevertheless, its culture, language, and cuisine continues to have a large impact on other nations all over the world, even if a good chunk of Spain itself wants nothing to do with it. As they say: the pain of Spain causes quite the brain drain!
C.A.N. World Factbook: Spain
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Welcome back to Crusades Month, where they, just like the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, only got worse and worse as they continued to churn them out! Here is a history of the last two "numbered" crusades, which came to an end not just due to ambivalence about restoring Christianity to the Holy Land, but also because you were lucky to find someone from the time period that could count any higher than nine.
By the late 1200s, the crusading spirit had been alive in Europe for nearly two hundred years, and like many other things that are that old, it was really starting to get rotten and moldy. No crusade had seen any long-term military success since the First one, and those guys were long dead (with or without the abbreviated lifespan of the Medieval Age). The Crusader Kingdoms that were left behind were falling apart; the Kingdom of Jerusalem had not even included the city of Jerusalem since 1187, with Acre remaining as the only stable Christian city in the Holy Land. Even the Byzantine Empire that was destroyed by the wayward Fourth Crusade had come back to reclaim Constantinople in 1261, meaning the Crusaders couldn't even hold on to places were Christianity already reigned supreme. Nevertheless, Europeans still longed to see the land they read about (or, let's be honest, accepted their seemingly infallible priest's word about) in the Bible be rid of the scourge of Islam. (Not that I think there's anything wrong with Islam! So please don't hurt me!) And so two more numbered crusades would be called in the late 1260s by two European kings. Unfortunately they would be half-hearted crusades, so they will each be half-heartedly discussed in the same history (hey, if they're not going to put everything they have into this, why should I?).
|Fig.1: Even this guy was dead a |
hundred years before the Eighth
and Ninth Crusades.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
|Fig.1: Africa in the late 19th century was like a game of Bingo: |
not a lot of free spaces.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
|Fig.1: If only Liliuokalani had a hula-dancer|
tattooed on her arm, which she could make
dance by flexing her bulging muscles.
The future queen was born in 1838 and named Lydia Lili'u Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamaka'eha, which makes me feel grateful for the shortened twelve-letter version we use now. She was named by King Kamehameha's sister who was suffering from an eye infection and obviously had nothing else on her mind at the time, since "Lili'u Loloku Walania" means "smarting, tearful, burning pain" (there's one than one way to scar a child, I suppose). Hawaiians liked to practice informal adoption during this time, and Lydia (as she was called before her reign, to the saving grace of my typing fingers) was given to the family of Chieftain Abner Pākī, who had no children of his own. As a result of Pākī's position as King Kamehameha's top adviser, Lydia grew up around the Hawaiian royal family and received the best education (alongside the best views of the ocean, of course). Her prestige only increased when her biological family also became influential among the ruling elite. Must be nice to have not one, but two sets of rich parents.