Searching for: "Charles River Editors"

  • Charles River Editors

    Even after the British took control of Egypt, knowledge about the Nile remained sparse, most importantly the source of the river, and exploration all over the continent took place among adventurers of various nationalities. Other countries also sought to get a foothold on the continent, to the extent that near the end of the 19th century, Otto von Bismarck, the German chancellor, brought the plenipotentiaries of all major powers of Europe together to deal with Africa's colonization in such a manner as to avoid provocation of war. This event, known as the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, galvanized a phenomenon that came to be known as the Scramble for Africa. The conference established two...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Wedged in the North Caucasus mountain range and bordering the Caspian Sea, Dagestan is a true meeting point of cultures, religions and geopolitical rivalries. A crossroad between east and west, Dagestan has been vitally important at different times for various powers in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, and even between different religious and ethnic groups. In spite of all that, and in large measure because of it, Dagestan’s society is a composite of these rivalries over the centuries. Today, Dagestan is part of the Russian Federation, but its history happens to be both indicative and idiosyncratic of the region’s fascinating and complex development. Dagestan shares many...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The ambitious and fearless emperors who built the legendary Roman Empire from scratch, the broad-shouldered and bronzed gladiators with their iconic plume helmets and glinting swords, and elaborate parties attended by toga-wearing Romans fueled by alcohol, violence, orgies, and other godless acts all paint a picture of Roman life. Indeed, many people are well-versed with these unique scenes of Roman history, but few are familiar with the equally riveting years preceding the dawn of the Roman Republic, and even less people are acquainted with the fabled Seven Hills sitting east of the Tiber River – the core geographical components of Rome, and the very foundations that the Eternal City was...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    If the world had a navel, it would be the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth where one can still stand on dry land. The photographs of this unique lake seem to be taken from a science fiction movie, or a land devastated after a nuclear holocaust. To others, the fluffy shores could remind them of Antarctica although it is in one of the warmest spots on the planet. Its white, creamy masses, scattered along golden beaches, are not ice floes or frozen water, but effervescent salt formations. The famous Jordan River, where the Hebrew people entered the Promised Land and Jesus was baptized, flows into the lake, but the basin is so deeply sunk into the face of the planet that the waters never...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    One of the men most responsible for the closing of the frontier was John Wesley Powell, arguably the best-known American explorer after Lewis and Clark. He was lionized for a long portion of his life and vilified for another. Powell was a competent man, self-confident and able to instill confidence in his abilities to lead, and his expeditions helped Americans better understand the West, an impressive achievement for the son of English immigrants who wanted him to become a Methodist preacher. Instead, he became America’s most influential scientist, without the kind of academic training required to rise to that position today. As if the achievements alone weren’t enough, he managed...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Exploration of the early American West, beginning with Lewis and Clark’s transcontinental trek at the behest of President Thomas Jefferson, was not accomplished by standing armies, the era’s new steam train technology, or by way of land grabs. These came later, but not until pathways known only to a few of the land’s indigenous people were discovered, carved out, and charted in an area stretching from the eastern Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, and the present-day borders of Mexico and Canada. Even the great survey parties, such as Colonel William Powell’s exploration of the Colorado River, came decades later. The first views of the West’s enormity by white Americans were...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    There was no shortage of targets for thieves in the West, and some infamous criminals struck dozens of times. Billy the Kid was rumored to be responsible for 21 deaths, and Jesse James was involved in holding up at least 19 banks, trains, and stagecoaches with his vicious gang, resulting in the deaths of some 20 men. The Sam Bass Gang, captained by another hot-tempered gunslinger and seasoned bandit who terrorized the Midwest, as well as the Lone Star State, carried out what is now remembered as the largest heist in the history of the Union Pacific Railroad, fleeing with $65,000 in gold coin and valuables (equivalent to approximately $1.5 million today). Few could compare to the frightening...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    "Had I just 10,000 Cossacks, I would have conquered the whole world." - Napoleon Bonaparte The history of Ukraine is a fascinating story of how cultures, political systems, religions, and power have met, intersected, morphed, and expanded. The region was relatively sparsely populated for much of ancient history, a wilderness of rivers, forests, and steppes, but that does not detract from the rich historical development of the region. A huge area, Ukraine is wedged between the continents of Asia and Europe, and its position as a crossroads ensured there was fierce competition for influence there. Historians have called the formation of Ukraine the "establishment of a unity among three...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    He was the only sitting member of the House of Representatives elected President to date, but he served only about half a year in the office. He was the second president in less than 20 years felled by an assassin’s bullet. Yet James A. Garfield, a man little known outside his own party before his “dark-horse” nomination by the Republican Party in 1880, was significant in a number of ways. Garfield’s short term marked the first entrance of a “reformist” strain into the presidency that sought to root out corruption and political favoritism in government. Much of what we know as the modern federal bureaucracy has its roots in Garfield’s advocacy of a professional civil service...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Shortly after Emperor Hadrian came to power in the early 2nd century CE, he decided to seal off Scotland from Roman Britain with an ambitious wall stretching from sea to sea. To accomplish this, the wall had to be built from the mouth of the River Tyne – where Newcastle stands today – 80 Roman miles (76 miles or 122 kilometers) west to Bowness-on-Solway. The sheer scale of Hadrian’s Wall still impresses people today, but as the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the late 5th century, Hadrian’s Wall was abandoned and Roman control of the area broke down. Little is known of this period of British history, but soon the Anglo-Saxons – who had been harassing the Saxon Shore as...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Shortly after Emperor Hadrian came to power in the early 2nd century CE, he decided to seal off Scotland from Roman Britain with an ambitious wall stretching from sea to sea. To accomplish this, the wall had to be built from the mouth of the River Tyne – where Newcastle stands today – 80 Roman miles (76 miles or 122 kilometers) west to Bowness-on-Solway. The sheer scale of the job still impresses people today, and Hadrian’s Wall has the advantage of being systematically studied and partially restored. Of course, the masterful architecture of the wall belied the fact that it was built for defense, because Scotland (known as Caledonia to the Romans) was never fully conquered or...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Many of the first artists in the West were assigned to exploration and geological parties, working as archivists and obedient to demands of cold accuracy. However, a few were driven by an imaginative mix of real events and fantastical visions to whet the appetite of Eastern consumers and preserve their own nostalgia on canvas. Among the artists who developed a passionate relationship with the West to one degree or another, two remain iconic in the modern day. Charles Marion Russell, a Missourian drawn to the Montana country, expressed a general empathy for the Native American tribes and the American cowboy. New Yorker Frederic Remington held the advantage in education and talents as a...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    For a period of just under 100 years, the city of Mari in northern Mesopotamia-eastern Syria was one of the most, if not the most, important cities in the Near East. Mari was ruled by a dynasty of powerful Amorite kings who were not afraid to use their military power to keep subordinate provinces in line and their enemies at bay, but more often, they relied upon a combination of diplomacy and trade to establish their dominance. Founded by semi-nomadic Amorite tribes, Mari was gradually transformed over the span of centuries from a sleepy stop along the Euphrates River to the premier power in Near East during the early 2nd millennium BCE. It remained a relatively obscure city for quite some...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The lackluster Allied showing on Sicily and the escape of most of the island's garrison encouraged Hitler to alter his plans and defend Italy vigorously. With its rugged mountain ridges, deep valleys, and numerous rivers, Italy contained tens of thousands of natural defensive positions. The Wehrmacht exploited these to the full during the ensuing campaign, bogging down the Anglo-American armies in an endless series of costly, time-consuming engagements. Even the rank and file German soldiers showed a clear awareness of the Italy's strategic significance: "'The Tommies will have to chew their way through us inch by inch,' a German paratrooper wrote in an unfinished letter found on his corpse...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    The short war between a confederation of Native American tribes under Little Turtle’s leadership has been referred to by many names, including the Northwest Indian War, the Ohio War, and the Miami War, but it is probably best known as Little Turtle’s War. Before Little Turtle’s War, it was believed that the U.S. did not need a professional army; that ordinary citizens would take up arms in times of threat and serve in militias as they had done in the fight against the British. After this war, the U.S. government was forced to recognize the need for a professional standing army. The country was thus fundamentally changed by Little Turtle’s War, the cause of which was mainly due to...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    "The Dodo never had a chance. He seems to have been invented for the sole purpose of becoming extinct and that was all he was good for." - Willy Cuppy, 19th century American humorist and literary critic At one point or another, just about everyone has heard of the dodo bird, which is almost universally described as a cuddly, whimsical creature renowned for its alleged stupidity. This prehistoric avian had been known for hundreds of years before it was made popular around the world in Lewis Carroll's 1865 classic, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The character, the Dodo, satirized the author himself - according to pop culture lore, Carroll, whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson,...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    In the span of scarcely more than a half century, the West developed from a handful of scattered fur trapping enterprises predominantly inhabited by males to a region full of burgeoning rustic communities, and before the government’s official “closure” of the frontier as a lawless expanse, Western societies were essentially living apart from traditional American rule of law. What judicial structures were at work across the West were erratic, often willing to exercise extremes without evidential justification, and manipulated by major corporate interests of the day, most notably cattle. The demand for choice land involved not only quantity of acreage, but controlled access to lakes,...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Of all the Americans who became renowned for expeditions to the West, few were as famous – or infamous - as John Charles Fremont, whose work produced some of the region’s most detailed maps and propelled him to national fame. Among other things, he taught mathematics to midshipmen on a Navy warship on a long cruise off South America, served as governor of two states and a Senator for one, was court-martialed for insubordination, issued the first emancipation proclamation, and eloped with the daughter of a powerful U.S. Senator. Today, Fremont is best known for leading five expeditions west, three of which were official U.S. expeditions and two of which were private. On his third...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    A white seabird with a teal beak dappled with pink and orange colors and a set of apple-red webbed feet hops from one branch to another with all the grace of a toddler learning to take his first steps. Not far from this charming bird, the red-footed booby, a majestic lizard the size of a plump house cat with coral-pink scales and black stripes, scuttles across the earth and ducks underneath a shrub for some much-needed shade. Feet away from the aptly-named pink iguana, a scolopendra centipede lies in wait. The long, slender insect, about the size of a large twig, has a chocolate-colored, ribbed shell for a body, its fiery orange-tipped legs piercing into the sand as it scours its...read more

  • Charles River Editors

    Over the last 2,000 years, ambitious men have dreamed of forging vast empires and attaining eternal glory in battle, but of all the conquerors who took steps toward such dreams, none were ever as successful as antiquity’s first great conqueror. Leaders of the 20th century hoped to rival Napoleon’s accomplishments, while Napoleon aimed to emulate the accomplishments of Julius Caesar. But Caesar himself found inspiration in Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE), the Macedonian king who managed to stretch an empire from Greece to the Himalayas in Asia by the age of 30. It took less than 15 years for Alexander to conquer much of the known world. When Alexander crossed the Hellespont in 334...read more