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History in Focus: The Austro-Hungarian Empire

Well, it's been a while since we had a maps/photo-only post so here it goes!

In case you don't know, the Austro-Hungarian empire was a constitutional monarchist union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in Central Europe. The union was a result of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, under which the House of Habsburg agreed to share power with the separate Hungarian government, dividing the territory of the former Austrian Empire between them.

The Austrian and the Hungarian lands became independent entities enjoying equal status. Austria-Hungary was a multinational realm and one of the world's great powers at the time. The dual monarchy existed for 51 years until it dissolved on 31 October 1918 at end of World War I. Three decades after its dissolution, most of former Austria-Hungary became part of the Soviet Union or the East Bloc countries.

The realm comprised modern-day Austria, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Rep…

Matam al Ajam al Kabeer - A short history

Since it is the month of Muharram over here in Bahrain, the processions of Muharram are ongoing. For those who are not aware, Muharram is a month of mourning for Muslims of the Shia sect, and commemorates the death of Imam Hussain.

These processions have quite a history in Bahrain, occurring annually for the past centuries. These processions are organised by matams (or husseinya, as they are sometimes called), which are congregation halls. At least one matam exists in each village in the country, and these matams are numerous, especially in the old districts of Manama. The primary focus of this post is on a particular matam; Matam Al Ajam al-Kabeer.

(I wrote this part on Wikipedia already)

The Matam:

Matam Al-Ajam Al-Kabeer (Arabic:مأتم العجم الكبير) is the first Ajam (who are Persians in Bahrain) matam in Bahrain. The matam was founded in the Fareej el-Makharqa by Abdul Nabi Al Kazerooni, a rich Persian merchant.Himself an immigrant from the Dashti region of Iran, he organised proces…

A Brief History of the Great Syrian Revolt (1925-1927)

Women in History: A Gallery

Continuing with the theme of women's history, often a-times, I believed that the best way of portraying a situation was through photos and pictures. Better yet through videos too. Below are photos taken from all aspects of history, showcasing women's role in history.

A women's march in Kabul, Afghanistan, in the early 1980s.
 Elin Wägner (Swedish writer, journalist, feminist, teacher, ecologist and pacifist)  standing next to 351,454 signatures demanding women get the right to vote in Sweden. Photo taken in 1914.
Women Suffragists picketing the White House in 1917  Christian woman of Zahleh (middle) and two Christian women of Zgharta, Lebanon - 1873. Native American women with their children visit the USS Bear, Bering Sea. Circa 1900. Group of Bedouin women and children in Palestine region, ca.1890s. A Palestinian women begs for her husband's life as Phalangist militiamen attack La Quarantaine refugee camp. Lebanon circa. 1976. Canadian Women's Army Corps in 1944…

Women in History - The Story of Jeanne Geneviève Labrosse

Jeanne Geneviève Labrosse was a French woman who lived from 1775 to 1847. Why is she important, you might ask? She was the first woman to jump from a balloon with a parachute, from an altitude of 900 meters.

Why on earth would she jump? Well, she did marry André-Jacques Garnerin, a hydrogen balloonist and inventor of the frameless parachute!

Though she started flying on a balloon on her own in 1798, she is most famous for being, on October 12, 1799, the first woman to make a parachute descent (in the gondola), from an altitude of 900 meters.

She was one of the earliest women to fly in a balloon but keep in mind, she wasn't the first; Élisabeth Thible had made a free flight in 1784, and Citoyenne Henri had flown with Garnerin on July 8, 1798, four months earlier to Jeanne's attempt in 1798.

On October 11, 1802, she filed a patent application on behalf of her husband for:
"a device called a parachute, intended to slow the fall of the basket after the balloon bursts. I…

Women in History: Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a Polish-born physicist and chemist and one of the most famous scientists of her time. Together with her husband Pierre, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1903, and she went on to win another in 1911.

Early Life:

Marie Curie was born in Warsaw in modern-day Poland on Nov. 7, 1867. Her parents were borth teachers, and she was the youngest of five children. As a child Curie took after her father, Ladislas, a math and physics instructor. She had a bright and curious mind and excelled at school. But tragedy struck early, and when she was only 11, Curie lost her mother, Bronsitwa, to tuberculosis.

A top student in her secondary school, Curie could not attend the men-only University of Warsaw. She instead continued her education in Warsaw's "floating university," a set of underground, informal classes held in secret. Both Curie and her sister Bronya dreamed of going abroad to earn an official degree, but they lacked the financial resources to pay f…

Women in History: My Thoughts

A caring mother, a smart sister, a gorgeous wife, a loving daughter – Ask a man a hundred years ago what they thought a woman is and that’s likely the answer you’d get. What about history? Let’s put aside all these Lords and Misters for a minute and examine the real unsung heroes of history. In my humble opinion, women do not get the credit they deserve and (to put it quite eloquently) that is completely unacceptable, whether by today’s standards or then. Because of this rather Draconian practice of snubbing women from the pages of history, I thought that it would’ve been a good (ish) idea to launch a ‘Women’s History Month’ (yes, I know that’s in March) to coincide with InternationalBreast Cancer Awareness Month.

Explain To Me: The Thousand Yard Stare

Chances are that, if you read about wars and the effect it has on soldiers, you may have inadvertently seen the "Thousand Yard Stare". The first sign of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in many cases, it defined as "a vacant or unfocused gaze into the distance, seen as characteristic of a war-weary or traumatized soldier", by Oxford dictionaries

The origin of the phrase comes from Time magazine's publishing a painting titled "Marines Call It That 2,000 Yard Stare", made by World War II artist and correspondent Tom Lea, although it was not explicitly called that. The painting is a 1944 portrait of a Marine at the Battle of Peleliu in Palau (Pacific theater). About the real-life Marine who was his subject, Lea said:
He left the States 31 months ago. He was wounded in his first campaign. He has had tropical diseases. He half-sleeps at night and gouges Japs out of holes all day. Two-thirds of his company has been killed or wounded. He will retur…

Gamal Abdel Nasser: History Figure of the Month (September 2012)

Who was Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein? A colonel in the Egyptian army in the early 20th century.

Why is he notable? Because he led the 1952 Egyptian Revolution that overthrew the Muhammed Ali (not the boxer!) dynasty and by doing so, drastically changed the Middle Eastern political scene forever.

He was an Arab Nationalist and believed in Pan-Arabism (that is, the unification of Arab states into a single country). During his terms in office, he oversaw the outbreak of the Suez Crisis, the Six-Day war and the "War of Attrition".

He co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement (group of states which are not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc) alongside Yugoslavia's Tito Indonesia's Sukarno, Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah and India's Jawaharlal Nehru.

He was also the president of the short-lived United Arab Republic (a union with Syria that lasted from 1958-1961).

Life, the Revolution and Egyptian Presidency:

Gamar Abdel Nasser was born in Bakos, Alexandria, Egypt…