Friday, January 29, 2016

The Twilight Samurai

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The Twilight Samurai
By starting the seventeenth century, in the period of Tokugawa Ieyasu I also known as the Edo- she was, began the slow decline of the samurai. The new shogunate centralized and unified the country definitively, imposing a dictatorship which meant, in fact, their progressive pacification. This new situation said the cancellation of the power of the samurai, then, although centuries of wars were very useful, now posed a threat to the consolidation of the new state.

They continued to allow them privileges warrior caste and their right to carry sword, but it was preventing them from direct ownership of land. This meant them leaving their fiefdoms and be forced to move to the city, bureaucratization, and enter the service of their daimyo as officers or become mere artisans or peasants. In the middle of that century they were banned, in a twist, personal duels, and at the end of the century, his martial training practices. The longest period of peace in Japan  was ending its military elite.

Many of them resisted in various ways to leave your lifestyle. Some clung to the code of values, bushido, locking himself in his world apart from society; proletarizaron others dedicated to the countryside or small industry and others became ronin, masterless samurai in which they could operate outside the law or as mere mercenaries, thus enhancing the suspicion that the authorities felt towards them. However, the isolation of Japan on foreign made ​​social structures are frozen, so the samurai continued to exist, even as a mere shadow of what it had been for centuries.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ci xi, the last great Empress of China

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Ci xi, the last great Empress of China
The Empress Dowager Cixi exercised the real power in China from 1861 until his death in 1908. When young or TzishĂ­ Cixi, the Manchu clan Yehonala, was called to the palace as a concubine, all in their lineage they felt honored and happy. The Queen Mother had reviewed more than 600 girls and Cixi was chosen as concubine fourth category to  the harem of the new emperor Xianfeng.

The official Empress Ci'an could not give Xianfeng heir he needed, something that did succeed, in 1856, Cixi; thanks to its imperial stem, rose from fourth to second degree of concubinage. The emperor died in 1861 and was succeeded on the throne the son of the concubine, Tongzhi. It was a strange death and numerous rumors about a possible involvement of Cixi. The small Tongzhi was only five years old when he came to the throne, so the concubine mother was inaugurated as the new emperor. Cixi was named Sikung - the west Emperor, while the wife of the deceased official was christened T'seungan, widow of dignity, besides the nickname Tungkung - Emperor of the East. Both mentors were erected in the new emperor-child, though Cixi was actually governing.

Cixi arranged a marriage for him with the Mongol princess Ha-Lu-Te and delegated power to Tongzhi. However, the young emperor died of smallpox soon (1871), again leaving power in the hands of the former concubine. A Tongzhi's death, his wife was pregnant. If that child had been born, the regent had been the Mongol princess and not Cixi, but as the widow of his son committed suicide, there was no heir apparent. Many voices spoke of poisoning, which became double alleged murder when he died the other regent, Ci'an.

The power for nephews
With these two deaths, all the power fell to the former mistress, now empress of the East and West. Cixi himself elected as successor to the throne a nephew of four years and it was erected again regent.

After the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), Empress regretted this decision and chose as heir to his nephew born in 1905: Puyi, who would be the future Xuantong, the last of the 22 dynasties of emperors. Cixi died on November 14, 1908, but not before having poisoned the Emperor Guangxu in order to pave the way for his chosen Puyi. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The oldest art work in America

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The oldest art work in America
The researchers at the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Florida have announced the discovery of a fragment of bone, approximately 13,000 years with an engraved image of a mastodon. This engraving is the oldest known art example of the Ice Age in America. The finding is published in the journal  Journal of Archaeological Science. The bone was discovered in Vero Beach by James Kennedy, a fossil hunter career, which took the bones and later, during cleaning, etching discovered. Aware of its potential importance, Kennedy contacted scientists at the University of Florida and the Smithsonian Museum. "This is a very exciting discovery," said Dennis Stanford, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and co-author. "There are hundreds of representations of proboscis on cave walls and carved bones in Europe, but none in the United States, until now.".

The recorded measured 7.62 centimeters long from the top of the head to the tip of the tail, and 2.54 centimeters in height from the top of the head to the bottom of the right foreleg. The fossil bone is a fragment of a long bone of a large mammal , most likely it's a mammoth or mastodon, or could be a giant sloth. As explained Barbara Purdy, an anthropologist at the University of Florida and author main research team, "there was considerable skepticism about the authenticity of the incision in the bone until it was examined exhaustively by archaeologists, paleontologists, forensic anthropologists, engineers of materials science and art specialists." The team examined the elemental composition of bones and other recorded the same deposit.

Optical and electron microscopy was also used to verify that the edges of the size showed no signs of having been recently cut or that the grooves were made ​​with metal tools. After authenticity , this rare specimen provides evidence that the inhabitants of Americas during the last Ice Age created artistic images of the animals they hunted. The engraving is at least 13,000 years old, as it is the date of the last occurrence of these animals in eastern North America.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Viking presence in North America

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Viking presence in North America
Few historians doubt today that fundasen Viking settlements in Newfoundland (Canada) 500 years before Columbus avistase America. As has happened on many occasions with the great geographical discoveries, this was caused by a combination of luck and destiny. Bjarni was a young merchant Herjolffsson Viking  Icelandic origin who had spent the winter campaign of 985-986 years in Norway. With the arrival of summer he sailed to Iceland with his boat fully loaded, ready to meet his father. When he arrived, he learned that his father had sold their properties in Iceland before heading to Greenland. Determined to follow, undertook a journey in their search after the crew of his ship ready will shew to accompany him on this adventure to land Arctic.

After several days at sea, they were surrounded by a dense fog that made ​​them lose their way. When the sky cleared, they saw on the horizon the gently hilly and forested profile of an unknown land. Bjarni and his men did not know where they were, but they were all clear that this coast was not of the frozen landscape of Greenland. For several days they sailed parallel to shore without actually landing. Driven by strong winds, the boat  reached a rugged region dominated by large glaciers. From there, Bjarni gave the order to bow to the east and in just four days of fast navigation they came to Greenland, where they finally felt safe.

Bjarni trip was discussed by his contemporaries, some of whom criticized his fearful attitude by not daring to disembark in that unknown land. But we should remember that the young Viking was a merchant and not a scout . The account of his voyage sparked the adventurous spirit of the Vikings, eager to reach those regions located west. It was not long until he tried again. Refers to Article landing in Vinland, Jose Luis Hernandez Garvi. More information on the subject in the latest issue Very History, dedicated to Vikings. The invaders who came from the cold.

Thus came the ancestors of today's Native Americans on the mainland

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Thus came the ancestors of today's Native Americans on the mainland
They entered the continent into a single "wave" and not several, as was believed, now about 23,000 years ago. A study reported in the journal Science argues that the first settlers of America penetrated the continent into a single "wave" and not several, as previously thought, now about 23,000 years ago. There is a strong controversy about when and how the ancestors of native  Americans came to the New World from Siberia and explains the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), one of the centers engaged in the research led by the University of Copenhagen (Denmark). Archaeological evidence argued that the first settlers have stepped American lands between 23,000 and 15,000 years . And it is accepted that the ancestors of Native Americans are descendants of Siberian, who crossed the Bering Land Bridge. But, date and pattern of population displacement data were unknown so far. To shed light on these issues, they have been sequenced and compared genomes of ancient and modern people of America, Siberia and Australia. The results pointed to emigration in the last glacial maximum of Siberian America. The evidence that multiple waves give input has been ruled out in this study . The common Siberian origin for Native Americans is the right that the researchers have been able to certify description.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Maharaja and dancer

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The Maharaja and dancer
The story of the young Spanish that ended up belonging to the Indian aristocracy. Ana Delgado and her husband, Maharaja Jagatjit Singh, which would divorce in 1925. If, as Pascal said, the fate of men is related to their passions, the first great illusion of Anita Delgado would dance from an early age, contrary to the will of his father.

"One of my earliest memories was coffee Chestnut, Century Plaza in Malaga, where my parents worked, which were of good family, but come down for bribes and squandering of ancestors." With these words describe Anita Andalusian part of his childhood would end at age 14 when, for economic reasons, the family decided to close the family business and go to the capital of Spain in search of a better life.

At the Madrid  unknown, Anita and her sister Victoria convince Dona Candelaria, her mother, to take some dance classes to make them remember their homeland, as a condition not count the secret to Don Angel. However, the "mischief" would be revealed when both sisters were hired to work teloneras with Mata Hari and Pastora Imperio, the new Kursaal theater opened its doors the same month who married King Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia of Battenberg (May 31, 1906).

Madrid dressed in their finery and the Kursaal who prepared new scenarios to delight the illustrious guests . Bullfights, receptions, dinners. And a parade of floats that people crammed the streets of Madrid. So, on a sidewalk, Anita and Victoria watched the parade as excited in a story. Before her, and after the caravan carrying the Prince of Wales, a silver chariot stopped; the most fantastic and beautiful of the occupied Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala, who wore a turban wrapped in magnificent turquoise.

For some reason the coach was detained in that place longer than necessary, while Anita would not stop watching this man who had also nailed his gaze in her eyes . He gave her a gentle smile that made ​​her shiver. His spell would last until the vehicle tore up a prince  who, surprisingly, it would still look back trying not to lose sight of the young.

That same night the Kursaal premiered his new show to lavish guests. Among them was the ruler of Kapurthala he was taken aback to see the girl again. Then, he took an interpreter to make his name Anita in an economic proposition. Disgusted by the audacity, the Andalusian offended the intermediary would tell her not traded in his body . Far from being indignant, Maharaja insisted his goal, even after leaving for Paris. From there, he did not cease in the effort to fulfill their desires were becoming hotter.

Given the continuing negative, Jagatjit Singh, he sent one of his bodyguards to Madrid with a marriage proposal. That was not liked by the Delgado family, the prince saw only thirty-four, the intention of adding a wife over the hundred and twenty he already had. However, Valle Inclan, Julio Romero de Torres and painter Oroz, Kursaal regulars decided mediate political issues-for too long to recount here, and sort out the "harem" that so preoccupied Anita. The prince was Kapurtala willing to give up all his wives by his passion to Anita and the wedding was held on January 28, 1908.