Blog Archive

A Sliver of Gold: The Swahili Coast, Pt. 1

The story begins with Arab and Persian sailors establishing trade colonies in East Africa, but its antecedents lie much earlier. Arabian, Egyptian, and Greek traders had long been making expeditions across the Red Sea and down the East African coast.
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Foreign Kings

Foreign Kings

Sometime in 862, a man by the name of Riurik first set foot in the land we now call Russia. His ancestors had long feuded with the natives of the land, but he came in peace. Indeed, he was invited by the lords of the indigenous people to come rule over them, as a foreign king, so that his impartial justice could put an end to their domestic squabbles. (more…)

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Black Sea Shipwrecks off Bulgaria

There is a recent New York Times article describing a fascinating series of discoveries off the coast of Bulgaria. These Black Sea shipwrecks have shed incredible light on ancient and medieval navigation: (more…)

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Genoa: Rival to Venice

Genoa ‘La Superba’ Part 1: Rival to Venice

The Republic of Venice earned its place in history through its consummate mastery of Machiavellian scheming and diplomacy.  Creating its trade empire amidst the ceaseless wars between Christians and Muslims in the East, agents of the Serene Republic were well-versed in playing one rival off another to their commercial advantage.  But surely as piglets shove and jostle at their mother’s teat, the Venetians had to ward off other claimants to so rich a prize as trade with the Orient.  Among all the other Italian mercantile city-states, only one was potent enough to mount a formidable challenge: the Republic of Genoa. (more…)

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Save the Saiga

Help Save the Saiga

The saiga, a species of antelope native to the Central Asian steppes, was on the brink of extinction a few years back.  Dedicated work by conservationists brought their population from a low of 50, 000 up to 250,000 in 2014.  This May, however, an epidemic began ravaging their numbers, destroying entire saiga herds. (more…)

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