RECENT EVENTS

Climate Change Drove Late Assyrian Empire Ebb and Flow: Study
November 14, 2019
Climate change helped contribute to the last rise and the eventual fall of the might Assyrian Empire, researchers say. The researchers collected samples from stalagmites in Kuna Ba cave, near Nineveh, the heart of the ancient Assyrian Empire. The researchers found that the last great rise of the Assyrians coincided with a period of unusually wet weather, during which crops would have flourished and created an environment in which an empire could maintain a stable populace. By contrast, the demise of the empire took place in a period of great drought, during which crops and, ultimately, people would have starved, creating conditions ripe for unrest.

Bolivian Interim President Seeks New Elections, Appeals for Calm
November 13, 2019
Jeanine Anez Bolivia's interim president, Jeanine Añez, tried to restore calm to a country wracked with political tension and violence in the wake of the resignation of President Evo Morales. Morales resigned last week amid allegations of voter irregularity. Añez, the Senate second vice-president, was first in the line of succession according to the country's constitution and on November 12 declared herself president. She said that the country would have new elections as soon as possible and urged calm, as reports surfaced of violent acts committed by Morales supporters in the wake of their leader's departure. The military stood behind her, stepping in to head off violent protests from Morales supporters. Adding to the confusion, lawmakers who belong to the Emboldened Movement for Socialism sought to use their two-thirds majority membership in parliament to pass resolutions declaring the departure of Morales and the elevation of Añez as unwarranted and illegal.

Teen Climate Activist Sailing back to Europe for Climate Conference
November 13, 2019
Greta Thunberg sailing home Famed climate activist Greta Thunberg has a ride home, thanks to a couple who are well-known on YouTube.

Thunberg, who had addressed the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September, and had traveled around the U.S. and Canada, was on her way to Chile, to attend the COP25 Climate Change Conference in Santiago. The U.N. decided the change venues for the December conference because of civil unrest in Chile. The new venue was announced as Madrid, in Spain. Thunberg, who refuses to fly in protest against carbon emissions, spoke out on Twitter for help. Answering were an Australian couple, Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carausu, who are sailing around the world with their baby, Lennon. Also onboard is professional yachtswoman Nikki Henderson.

Agreement Ends Chicago Teachers Strike
November 9, 2019
The Chicago teachers strike has ended, after a contentious two weeks punctuated by large marches, lengthy negotiations, and plenty of missed school study time and sports playoffs contests. School resumed Friday. In all, teachers were out of school for 11 schooldays. The $1.5 billion agreement hammered out by the city and the teachers union still needs approval from the 25,000 members of the union; a vote is expected soon. A contingent of 700 elected delegates issued a tentative acceptance of the agreement on Wednesday. The agreement stipulates that only five of the 11 days will be made up, tacked on to the end of the school year in June. Teachers will be paid for those five days but not the other six. The salary increase is 16 percent, to be phased in over five years. The city agreed to place a nurse and a social worker in every city public school within five years and to implement phased hiring of new staff for the neediest schools, with principals making the call on what type of staff is needed. Another concession won by the union was a guarantee of nap time for children in pre-kindergarten classes.

Bolivian President Morales Resigns, Calls for New Elections
November 10, 2019
Bolivian President Evo Morales Bolivians will have another chance to vote in presidential elections just a month after the last one, after their president has stepped down. The embattled President Evo Morales made the announcement after the 35-member Organization of American States (OAS) recommended that the results of the October 20 election be thrown out. The OAS report found evidence of voting irregularities in counting and computer systems. In particular, the report noted that vote counting was halted with 84 percent of the votes counted and Morales appearing to be heading to a runoff with his opponent, Carlos Mesa, and when the vote tallying resumed after a full day of delay, the result showed Morales with a 10-point victory. The country's electoral rules call for one candidate to get at least 50 percent of the vote or have a 10-percentage lead over the nearest opponent. Polls leading up to the election showed that Mesa and Morales were running neck-and-neck. Morales resigned and also removed the members of the electoral council who had overseen the disputed election.

Re-enacting America's Largest Slave Uprising
November 8, 2019
German Coast Slave Revolt re-enactmentA group of determined volunteers donned period clothing, some marched and others rode horses, and all got into the spirit of historical re-enactment as about 500 people commemorated America's largest slave uprising with a 26-day march. Retracing the route taken by the 19th-Century slaves, the volunteers chanted "Freedom or Death" and other inspirational slogans as they walked along a levee on a two-day, 26-mile journey that began near La Place and ended in New Orleans. This time around, the idea was to celebrate the people who risked their lives in a desperate bid for freedom. Capping the journey was a celebration in New Orleans' Congo Square, in Louis Armstrong Park. Leading the re-enactment was a New York-based artist named Dread Scott (an echo of the famous slave whose lawsuit reached the U.S. Supreme Court).

Venezuela Expels More Diplomats as Barter Proliferates
November 10, 2019
Venezuela has ordered the expulsion of El Salvador's diplomats, a day after El Salvador President Nayib Bukele expelled Venezuela's diplomatic representatives, bringing to 55 the number of countries that have rejected the embattled presidency of Nicolas Maduro. Bukele further said that he and his government would accept a diplomatic mission from Venezuela's opposition leader, Juan Guaido, who appointed himself interim president earlier this year after the country's top legislative body deemed Maduro's 2018 re-election unofficial. Maduro succeeded longtime leader Hugo Chavez as president in 2012 and was elected again six years later.

Meanwhile, in the cities and towns, Venezuelans struggled to buy staples such as a food and gasoline. In fact, many motorists reported having to resort to barter, trading food for gasoline, because of a steep drop in the value and even the availability of the bolivar, the national currency.

Climate Change Study Required in Italian Schools
November 9, 2019
Italy has announced plans to require its students to study climate change and sustainable development, making it the first country in the world to do so. Beginning in September 2020, students in all levels of Italian public schools will study climate-change-related materials for 33 hours during the school year, or about one hour a week. Many teachers already address such topics, but the study of those topics will be a requirement, Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti announced. In addition, the Ministry said, teachers of other subjects–such as geography, mathematics, and physics–will be asked to include sustainable development ideas where possible.

More New Entrants into National Toy Hall of Fame
November 8, 2019

Coloring book Magic: the Gathering Matchbox cars
Another three toys have joined the ever-growing numbers of inductees in the National Toy Hall of Fame. The 2019 entrants are the coloring book, Magic: the Gathering, and Matchbox cars. That brings the total of toys inducted into the Hall to 63.

U.S. Officially Starts Paris Climate Agreement Pullout
November 4, 2019
As promised, the U.S. Government has announced that it is withdrawing the nation from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that the U.S. had notified the United Nations. The U.S., along with 194 other countries, signed the climate agreement, committing to cut greenhouse gas emissions up to 28 percent by 2030. Part of the provisions put in by all of those countries was the ability to opt out. If a country wanted to do that, it had to wait four years from the date of the signing of the original agreement. And then, the exit process is not trigged until a further year after that. (Coincidentally or not, that date is one day after the 2020 presidential and congressional elections.) U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to pull out of the accord in 2017. So far, no other country has indicated that it will leave the Paris Agreement. The U.S. is the world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, trailing only China.

Stonehenge Builders Lived Just a Mile Away, Archaeologists Say
November 2, 2019

As it turns out, the people who built Stonehenge didn't live very far away. Archaeologists have found more than 70,000 stone tools at Blick Mead, a site just a mile away from the iconic stone circle monument in Wiltshire. Also known as Vespasian's Camp, the site predates the Romans and nearly Aurochs cave paintingeveryone else, with settlements dating to about 6000 B.C. The settlement was at that time next to a river, which was on a large flood plain that would have been home to a large number of auruchs, a type of cattle that is now extinct. Among the finds at the dig have been aurochs skulls and bones, situated in a particular way, suggesting that they were placed there with a certain amount of reverence, if not part of a ceremony. Radar scans of underground layers of soil revealed a 30-foot-long structure that had the remains of cattle prints in it, another sign of the role that such animals played in the society of the people who settled there. Similar findings have been announced at Stonehenge itself.

Niagara Falls Scow Moves a Century after Running Aground
November 2, 2019
Niagara Falls stuck boat An iron boat that ran aground near Niagara Falls has finally moved, 101 years later. The 80-foot-long dumping scow on a dredging mission broke loose from a tugboat just above Horseshoe Falls on the afternoon of Aug. 6, 1918, and ran aground 600 feet from shore. The U.S. Coast Guard and local authorities rescued the two men onboard, who opened dumping doors before they left, which slowed the boat so it wouldn't be borne away by the current. On Halloween 2019, however, heavy weather and heavy current combined in moving the boat from its century-old moorings, flipping it on its side and moving it more than 160 feet downriver, closer to the edge of the falls.

Babe Ruth-signed Baseball Expected to Fetch $50,000 at Auction
November 3, 2019
Babe Ruth signed baseball 1915 World Series A baseball signed by the one of the sport's most larger-than-life characters, Babe Ruth, is going up for auction. Ruth, who gained most fame by hitting 714 home runs during his career, began as a pitcher, playing for the Boston Red Sox and helping them win the World Series in 1915 and in 1918. (He was later traded to the Yankees, an event that triggered stories of the "Curse of the Bambino".) The ball is from that year's World Series and has 27 other autographs, including that of another Hall of Famer, Tris Speaker. Dick Hoblitzel, a former Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds first baseman who was Ruth's teammate in 1914–1918, had the ball, and his family has put the ball up for auction as part of the Fall 2019 Classic Auction by Leland's auction house. The Matawan, N.J.-based Leland's says that the Babe Ruth-signed baseball is expected to sell for at least $50,000.

IN DAYS GONE BY

The Mayflower Compact
The Mayflower Compact, thought to be one of the forerunners of the Constitution, was signed on November 11, 1620, by 41 men aboard the Mayflower, the ship that had brought the Pilgrims to America.

Route 66: Roadway to the West
Route 66 is an iconic east-west highway that connects Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif., and traces the development of the United States. Opened on Nov. 11, 1926, the 2,448-mile network of paved roads was a main artery of motorized movement of people and goods for several decades, until being replaced by the interstate highway system. Today, Route 66 exists as a curiosity, a set of tourist destinations, and a reminder of how America grew.

Famous Libel Trial in Early America
The history of libel in American can be traced directly to one man: John Peter Zenger. Zenger was a printer, the publisher of the New York Weekly Journal. He stood accused of printing comments that were critical of the British governor of New York, William Cosby. Zenger's trial, and its result, made history in the British colonies and are still studied today.

Articles of Confederation Adopted
The Articles of Confederation, the blueprint for the United States's first representative government, were approved by a majority of the states on Nov. 15, 1777. The Articles gave most powers to the individual states, a setup that would cause many headaches in keeping the peace and harmony. Still, the Articles contained many of the principles found later in the Constitution.

Find out more about this famous first document and how much of it survived in the document that forms the basis of the U.S. government today.


A History of Federal Impeachment in the United States

Impeachment is a process that can result in the removal from office of a high-ranking government official. The concept has its roots in England, where the first recorded impeachment took place in 1376. The impeachment of English officials was sporadic and ended in the 19th Century. America's Founding Fathers included the concept in the U.S. Constitution. Article II, Section 4 reads thus:

"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors."

The House has begun impeachment proceedings more than 60 times, but only 19 have resulted in full impeachments. Two U.S. Presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, have been impeached; both were acquitted by the Senate, Johnson in 1868 and Clinton in 1998. A third President, Richard Nixon, resigned in the face of impeachment proceedings. Another President, John Tyler, was the target of impeachment proceedings with regard to the fiery debate over states' rights, but the full House did not approve the measure.


ANCIENT EGYPT

Farming in Ancient Egypt One of history's oldest civilizations is that of Ancient Egypt. Start here for a basic overview.

The Nile River and its famous floods gave rise to much prime farmland and many prime settlements. The Ancient Egyptians had various ways to deal with the annual river flooding, such as creating irrigation canals and drainage ditches. They used a water-raising device called a shadoof, one of many innovations in agriculture.

Find out more about the ancient Egyptians:

  • Ramses II at Abu Simbel
    Ramses II

    Akhenaten

    Tutankhamen
    Trace the development of this ancient powerhouse civilization, from the first pharaoh, Narmer, through the glory days of the empire and the famous warriors Ramses II and Thutmose III, who was so successful that he was known in later times as the "Napoleon of Ancient Egypt," to the very last pharaoh, the exotic Cleopatra.
  • Read the story of Djoser, the pharaoh who behind the construction of the first Pyramid, the Step Pyramid, and of the more famous Pyramids, at Giza, and the ingenious methods that the Ancient Egyptians used to transport those massive blocks of stone from quarry to building site and then put them into place with precision.
  • Who were the Hyksos? Was it an invasion or more of an ancient corporate takeover?
  • It wasn't all kings and wars and big building projects. People lived out their daily lives doing what was needed to survive as well. Find out more about daily life in Ancient Egypt.
  • Isis Religion informed nearly every part of life for the Egyptians in ancient times. Find out more about their gods and how they were worshiped and just how important your daily conduct was to your chances in the afterlife.
  • Egyptians worshiped many gods. At times, they had a chief god. In one monumental interlude in the long polytheistic history of the civilization, they worshiped just one god, Aten. This was the monotheistic revolution of Akhenaten, who built his own royal capital at Amarna.
  • Of a similar ambition was Hatshepsut, the famous female pharaoh who ruled with an iron grip for more than two decades.
  • The Egyptians wrote in pictures. Find out more about the symbol characters known as hieroglyphs and how, because of the patience of later archaeologists, the Rosetta Stone revealed the secrets of that language.


COLONIAL AMERICA

Jamestown: First English Colony in America
Explorers had been landing in America for some time before English settlers arrived in what is now Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. But it was in that spot on the James River that English colonization began and with it, the history of America.

The Pilgrims: Voyage to Freedom
Follow the Pilgrims as they sail across the Atlantic Ocean, from England to America, in search of religious freedom. See who they meet when they land in New England. Find out about the first Thanksgiving.

The 13 American Colonies
This fun, illustrated article describes the 13 American Colonies in detail, from economics to religion to agriculture to revolution. Also includes a clickable map with links to individual descriptions of each colony and a list of the first European settlements in North America. Outstanding resource!

Farming in the 13 American Colonies
The focus is on agriculture in this look at how the colonists farmed and what they grew. See wheat turn into flour!

Religion in the 13 American Colonies
In colonial America, how you worshipped depended on where you lived. See how each colony taught religion and where they gathered for worship.

Education in the 13 American Colonies
Did colonial schools really keep girls out? Find out this and more in this entertaining look at education in colonial times.

Food in the 13 American Colonies
What did the colonists eat and how did they get it? This fun, illustrated article tells you.

Parks and Fun in the 13 American Colonies
Did colonial kids play? If so, what games did they play? This article has the answers for you. Some things haven't changed.




Significant Sevens are the highest, the lowest, the deepest, the farthest, the oldest, the youngest, and a host of other lists in economics, geography, history, and much more.

Cultural Icons are the instantly recognizable monuments, landforms, buildings, and many other kinds of landmarks that define a people, place, or culture.

 

 

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Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2019
David White