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Showing posts from February, 2013

History in Focus: Taiwan in the early 20th Century

Taiwan is an island state situated in East Asia and for the much of the early half of the 20th century, the island was controlled by Japan. Following the end of World War II, the island eventually came into the control of China (though officially, the details are murky, with Japan still exercising sovereignty over the island until 1952. See here). As a result of the Communist takeover of mainland China, the previous government relocated to Taipei in Taiwan and continue to stay there since.

During the latter half of the 20th century, Taiwan has experienced rapid economic growth and industrialization and is now an advanced industrial economy.

 In the 1980s and early 1990s, Taiwan evolved into a multi-party democracy with universal suffrage. Taiwan is one of the Four Asian Tigers and a member of the WTO and APEC. The 19th-largest economy in the world,its advanced technology industry plays a key role in the global economy.

 Taiwan is ranked highly in terms of freedom of the press, health…

Remembering an Artist: Jean-Paul Laurens

Jean-Paul Laurens (28 March 1838 – 23 March 1921), was a French painter and sculptor, and one of the last major exponents of the French Academic style.

Born in Fourquevaux, he was a pupil of Léon Cogniet and Alexandre Bida. Strongly anti-clerical and republican, his work was often on historical and religious themes, through which he sought to convey a message of opposition to monarchical and clerical oppression. His erudition and technical mastery were much admired in his time, but in later years his highly realistic technique, coupled to a theatrical mise-en-scène, came to be regarded by some art-historians as overly didactic. More recently, however, his work has been re-evaluated as an important and original renewal of history painting, a genre of painting that was in decline during Laurens' lifetime. 

Laurens was commissioned to paint numerous public works by the French Third Republic, including the steel vault of the Paris City Hall, the monumental series on the life of Saint …

Skeleton Found Confirmed to be Richard III

Now if you are well versed in the archaeology world, you'd know that for the past week or two, people from all walks of life (myself included) tuned in to a press conference organised by the University of Leicester. What for? 

On the 24th of August 2012, the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council, in association with the Richard III Society, announced that they had joined forces to begin a search for the remains of King Richard. On 5 September 2012, the excavators announced that they had identified a male body located under a public car park, many speculated this belonged to the King.

But first, you might be wondering who Richard III was.

Richard III (born 2 October 1452 – died 22 August 1485) was the King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 during the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field was the decisive battle of the Wars of the …

Freshen Up With (a very special) Archaeology Sunday

Better late than never, right?

Oldest Stone Hand Axes Found:
Scientists have unearthed and dated some of the oldest stone hand axes on Earth. The ancient tools, unearthed in Ethiopia in the last two decades, date to 1.75 million years ago. 
The tools roughly coincided with the emergence of an ancient human ancestor called Homo erectus, and fossilized H. erectus remains were also found at the same site, said study author Yonas Beyene, an archaeologist at the Association for Research and Conservation of Culture in Ethiopia.

Collectively, the finding suggests an ancient tool-making technique may have arisen with the evolution of the new species.

This discovery shows that the technology began with the appearance of Homo erectus," Beyene told LiveScience. "We think it might be related to the change of species." 
The findings were described Jan. 28 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,

Human ancestors used primitive tools as…

Honouring a Legend: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

It's Art and Culture month once again on the blog (in case you missed last year), a time when we appreciate the visual and musical wonders of art that our ancestors and contemporaries have given us. 

Now recently, I've developed a thing for classical music and seeing as it was absent last year (unfairly!), it deserves to start at #1 here. Though I'm sure most of you are familiar with the likes of Beethoven and Bach, quite a handful (aside from well-versed classical music enthusiasts) would recall the likes of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the great Russian composer. If you haven't heard of him, I don't blame you. If you haven't heard his works before, you should sit in a corner and think about what you've done.

Short Biography:
(From Wikipedia)

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (7 May 1840 – 6 November 1893) was a Russian composer whose works included symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets, chamber music, and a choral setting of The Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Some of…