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Tag archives for history

Europe’s Early Settlers Uncovered

Europe’s Stone Age settlers migrated in waves that replaced older hunter-gatherer cultures, suggests a study that looks at European DNA, both ancient and modern. The results reported in the journal, Science, answer questions about the peopling of modern-day Europe. Some of our ancestors hunted wild animals and gathered plants to survive, while others were discovering agriculture, and…

Google Doodle Focuses On Foucault’s Pendulum

Suspended from the dome of the Pantheon in Paris in 1851, the pendulum designed by Léon Foucault was a first demonstration of the Earth’s rotation. Today it is the subject of a Google Doodle honoring the French physicist and his invention. The original Foucault’s Pendulum consisted of a steel ball hung 22 feet (6.7 meters)…

Nome Sweet Home: Finding a Place to Live in Nome, Alaska

Our lodgings in Nome has a rich history… but no heat.

Lost for Decades, a Beguiling Curio from Egypt’s Royal Past

One afternoon a few years ago, a friend and I had ducked out of Egypt’s summer heat and into the luxury Semiramis Hotel in downtown Cairo in search of a foreign newspaper. As we reached the doorway of the cramped gift shop, an elderly man, well-dressed, a slight tremble to his hands, came ambling out…

New Orleans BioBlitz, 18th-Century Edition

Three thousand people explored the Louisiana swamps during BioBlitz last weekend, but an exhibit in town reveals the deep roots of the naturalist tradition in New Orleans.

From Dr. Seuss to Disney, a Surprising History of Propaganda

When I was younger, I watched a lot of the Disney Channel. My favorite content was the old-school cartoons, featuring the likes of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and gang, although the Goofy spots were my favorite. One time I caught a program about Disney’s propaganda films from World War II. Those animated shorts are rarely…

National Geographic and the National Parks: A Brief History

April 22nd through April 28th is National Park Week. It’s a celebration of the more than 400 national parks in the U.S., including canyons, forests, beaches, historic houses and battlefields. While National Geographic can’t take any credit for these spectacular places, we do take pride in our long-standing connection to the national parks, a connection that stretches back all the way to the 1800s – before either the National Geographic Society or the National Park Service even existed.

Bieber’s Anne Frank Faux Pas Has Us Wondering: What Would You Write?

Justin Bieber’s comment in the Anne Frank House guestbook has drawn condemnation for seeming to make light of the young girl’s tragic story, when other visitors’ messages pay solemn tribute to her memory.

5 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) passed away today after fighting illness for several years. She died in London, after having suffered a stroke, at 87 years old. Last December, she had undergone an operation to remove a growth from her bladder. Known as the Iron Lady for her toughness, Thatcher had served as the United Kingdom’s only…

Maria Sibylla Merian Google Doodle Shares Beauty of Nature Illustrations

One of my favorite vendors at D.C.’s Eastern Market sells illustrations of plants and animals. The intricate colored drawings harken back to a golden age of naturalism, when intrepid explorers headed out with little more than a notebook to chronicle the incredible biodiversity of our world. Of course, there are still many species yet to…

Ash “Wednesday,” “Lent,” and “February”: Surprising Word Origins

Each year in February or March, Christians around the world mark the beginning of Lent. But what does that word even mean? Or, for that matter, where in the world did we get “February”?

Photography’s Colorful History

National Geographic has long been known for photography, and National Geographic magazine has published its fair share of iconic images over its long, storied history. Of course, photography itself has a long, storied history. Did you know the first color photograph appeared in 1861? That 70% of activity on Facebook revolves around photos? Or that…

Henry Henshaw: The National Geographic Founder Who Helped Save America’s Birds

A friend of Henry Henshaw’s described him as having an “innate shyness and personal dignity,” along with a “ready wit and a whimsical sense of humor [that] gave him a most attractive personality.” Along with his quiet charm, the ornithologist was a passionate advocate for America’s birds. When he resigned as Chief of the Biological Survey in 1916, he left as his legacy not only the Migratory Bird Bill, but also the Migratory Bird Treaty with Great Britain, the mother of all subsequent pieces of international conservation legislation. He also left nearly 70 bird sanctuaries.

$450,000 In Private Donations Will Allow Excavation Of Blackbeard’s Ship To Continue

  A spur-of-the-moment donation today of $32,500 allowed the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources to meet its fund-raising goal of $450,000 to continue excavating the wreckage of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the flagship of the legendary 18th-century pirate Blackbeard. The contribution from Rita and Eric Bigham, a retired couple who divide their time between…

Why Don’t You Call it Scat, Meriwether?

  I have read numerous journals from 19th century explorers, fur trappers, and government officials for my research project with American Prairie Reserve this summer (previous posts here and here). The hope was that these sources would provide anecdotal insights into historic wildlife populations from Montana’s prairie ecosystem. In fact, these sources have been indispensable…