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Showing posts from January, 2012

The Great Hedge of.... India ?

I assure you, this isn't a gag. The British built it as a Customs barrier across India (then called the British Raj) to help enforce the infamous 'Salt tax' (You might remember Gandhi's famous Salt March ?). Construction was believed to have started in or around 1803 (though as Custom houses, instead of a hedge!)

A colleague of mine online shared this (thanks Imperial !).

The hedge was made primarily of Indian plums , was 12 feet high, 14 feet thick and stretched for a good 2,500 miles! It was primarily used to prevent smugglers from smuggling salt from the coastal areas to interior India and beyond (in order to keep the Salt Tax alive). It actually worked for about a century or so, remaining as a barrier from Punjab to the Bay of Bengal.

Though I don't have enough time to post any more right now, I direct you to the Wikipedia page if you're intrigued.

Guest Post: A Brief History of Australia

Announcing my first guest poster on my blog, @Mariamauva , a colleague and fellow tweep (who also has her very own blog!) , who wrote this post about the history of Australia (yup, she's an Aussie-o-phile !) This is it :

Australia, officially known as the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere, which takes up the majority of the continent Oceania. It was originally inhabited by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, who were thought to have arrived from Asia to Australia during the Ice Age, at around 70,000 BC.

They hunted with wooden spears, and occasionally with stone and bone blades. Alongside to mammals, they hunted snakes, lizards, ducks, parrots, cockatoos and emus. They spoke more than a hundred languages and dialects, and their lifestyle and cultural traditions varied from region to region. Asian and Oceanic mariners were in contact with the indigenous Australians, centuries before the Europeans did.

The first recorded European contact was in M…

Why was King John the most unpopular monarch in English History ?

The title of this post is self-explanatory. And here's why John (reigned from 1199-1216) was so unpopular:

Under his reign, the English lost the land of Normandy to the French (Normandy had been under English control since the time of William the Conqueror). In fact, he was nicknamed "Lackland" because of this.
He was excommunicated from the Church by the Pope in 1209 (this made him even more unpopular)
His fiscal policies: He made people pay very high taxes 
John was a very bad fighter (he was nicknamed "Softsword" too!), and in those times, a bad warrior made a bad king.
John murdered his own nephew for fear of him leading a rebellion against John.
The barons (who were Normans) revolted against him because of the above reasons, and after deciding that he was a bad king (especially after realizing how he spent tax money).
Perhaps the most significant of all his failures (and the most humourous), he lost the original Crown Jewels in a swamp, in Eastern England. But, i…

Freshen Up With Archaeology Friday (Post IV)

As always, the realm of archaeology has been bustling this past week and here's the lowdown:

 Archaeologists Uncovering the Heart of Ancient Aelia Capitolina:

Recent excavations by a team of archaeologists just west of Jerusalem's famous Western Wall and Plaza are illuminating scholars while raising new questions about 2nd Century AD Jerusalem.

Under the directorship of Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, Alexander Onn, Shua Kisilevitz and Brigitte Ouahnouna of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the systematic excavations were conducted between 2005 and 2010 and revealed a major Roman-constructed thoroughfare that sliced through the heart of 2nd century Jerusalem, the period that followed the downfall of the First Jewish Revolt and saw the transformation of the city into a newly Romanized city, renamed Aelia Capitolina.

A detailed article about their discoveries has been published in an article entitled Layers of Ancient Jerusalemin the January/February 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeo…

Explain To Me : Ireland's 20th Century History

A country I find intriguing is Ireland. For some reason, it reminds distinctively of Bahrain (perhaps my readers could point out why ?) so I had thought it would be fair to post an essay about Ireland in the 20th Century.
Ireland's British problem (or Britain's Irish problem) has been a dominant theme of United Kingdom politics between 1914-1922 and since 1969 (refer to The Troubles). In September 1914, a political solution to British-Irish relations seemed to have been made.

A Home Rule Act, granting limited self government, was passed by the Westminster Parliament but was suspended for the duration of the First World War. However, by 1922, Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State.

The latter was a state within the British Empire with internal self-government. These political developments occurred mainly because of the effects of a failed armed rebellion (known as the Easter Rising) against British rule made by extreme Nationalists in Dublin i…

Freshen Up With Archaeology Friday (Post III)

Lots have been going on in the past week so let's get down to it.

Orcadian temple predates Stonehenge by 500 Years:Archaeologists have discovered a Stone age temple on the island of Orkney (to the north of Britain) that seems to predate the legendary Stonehenge! Archeologists have so far found undisturbed artefacts including wall decorations, pigments and paint pots, which are already increasing their understanding of the Neolithic people.

Experts believe the huge outer wall suggests the site was not domestic, while the layout of the buildings has reinforced the view it might have been a major religious site. Archaeologists think the temple was built 500 years before Stonehenge, regarded as the centre of Stone Age Britain.

However, only 10% of the site at Ness of Brodgar has been excavated and it could be years before the scale and age of the discovery is fully understood.
 It sits close to the existing Ring of Brodgar stone circles and the standing stones of Stenness, near…