Friday, April 25, 2014

The Gupta Empire: India's Golden Age

Fig.1: King Chandragupta I 
showing off the classic 
"Quarter in the Ear" trick.
Every great nation has its golden age, where a stable government and a wealth of cultural achievements make life an all-around awesome experience. Examples often include England during the Elizabethan era, China under the rule of the Tang Dynasty, and Russia that one day when the temperature went above 20°F. But before all of that, India had their age of gold during the reign of the Gupta Empire from the 4th to 6th centuries AD. The strong leadership of the Gupta kings meant that citizens were able to excel in disciplines such as science, astronomy, literature, engineering, medicine, and magic tricks that impress all the ladies (fig.1). While it went downhill after the Guptas' overthrow, India has been making a comeback in recent years, hitting strides in technology, film, education, and most importantly, Miss America contests (the winner's nationality gains the right to control stock prices for that fiscal year). So let us first look at India's original golden age before they begin a new one and take our jobs.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Island

Fig.1: A quarterback's ideal offensive line.
I am on record of saying that Polynesians have never done anything exciting in the history of history. Well it takes a big man to admit when he's wrong, so please accept my apology, you fine patrons of the interweb (especially you three Polynesian patrons out there). They did one mildly interesting thing on the isolated hamlet in the South Pacific Ocean now known as Easter Island: the construction of 887 moai statues that dot the land to this day (fig.1). Their large heads, expressionless faces, and slightly pudgy bellies have become recognizable throughout the world, and are considered perfect homes for anthropomorphic cephalopods living next to pineapples under the sea. Unfortunately, the Rapa Nui civilization that sculpted these magnificent megaliths has been endangered for several centuries, with their language, traditions, and perfectly tanned bodies on the decline. We must save them before the Hawaiians and their silly hula dancing become the only Polynesians to ever accomplish anything of note!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Boston Tea Party (video)

Greetings, my few but loyal viewers. I have returned with another video history! This time I will be discussing the greatest moment involving property destruction and environmental pollution in American history: the Boston Tea Party. Arguably this event, as well as the British reaction to it, became the spark that ignited the North American colonies into a full-scale revolution, eventually ending with their independence as the United States. Plus, who doesn't love a party on a boat (especially one where you get to dump things overboard)? I hope they throw tea out of planes next!

Canned Histories: Boston Tea Party

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Isolationism in Tokugawa Japan

Fig.1: Leave me alone...or else!
Every once in while, we get in a mood where we really don't want to deal with other people and need a little "me time." Usually this passes after a short while... unless you're Japan, where your grumpy phrase lasts over two hundred years! From the 1630s until 1853, the Japanese closed its doors to the vast majority of foreign trade, diplomacy, and the latest international trends (meaning they missed out on the great "plaid fad" of the late 17th century). Even those few lucky nations with whom Japan reluctantly exchanged goods were restricted to a specific port on specific days and were required to avert their eyes to anything overtly Japanese. The rationale behind this isolation ranges from a desire to curb the growing European influence in the region, to establish control of the nation under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate, to the fact that Portuguese people have really sweaty palms which grossed everyone out. It took a defiant, meddlesome act by an American (what else is new?) to open Japan's eyes to the world around them, allowing for their transformation into an industrialized superpower. Hmm, on second thought maybe we should have just let them be...