How long is this necklace?

Answer: just under 15 feet long (4.9 meters)! This Philippines “kamagi” necklace actually 12 necklaces strung together. The places where each necklace comes together is marked by small, colored stones. The individual necklaces are pretty impressive on their own. Because they are made of smooth, interlocking beads the necklaces are flexible, almost snakelike (as you can see in the second photo).

Cleopatra Was Not The Last Woman To Reign Over Egypt

That distinction goes to Shajar al-Durr (? – 1257 CE). Described as a beautiful, pious and intelligent woman, she was Sultan of Egypt for three months. Which sounds really bad, but thankfully, she was not assassinated. Shajar al-Durr was the widow of the previous Ayubbid sultan. When he was assassinated (sorry, someone had to be assassinated, I guess) the sultan's personal troops, the Mamluks, decided to place Shajar al-Durr on the throne. That makes Sultan Shajar the official end of the Ayubbid sultanate, as well as the last woman to rule Egypt.

But things went wrong quickly, as the caliph of the Abbaside Caliphate refused to recognize her dominion over the country which was technically a fiefdom within the caliphate. So the Mamluks married Shajar to their next choice of ruler, Izz al-Din Aybak, and Shajar abdicated to pass the throne to him. Which marked the official beginning of the Mamluk Sultanate! Shajar therefore oversaw the end of one political power, and lived to see the beginning of the next. More than Cleopatra can say.

How Big Was That Empire?

Now you can compare all the largest empires that have ever existed, by geographic area. Thank you modern geography!

Potatoes Aren't Just For Eating

The Incas used potatoes for several things other than food, including healing broken bones, preventing indigestion, and measuring time based on how long a potato took to cook!

Koreans invented moveable type made of durable metal in the 1200s CE. The oldest existing book made from moveable metal type is the Jikji a collection of Buddhist teachings, hymns, eulogies, and poetry. It was compiled by a Korean Buddhist monk named Baegun, and printed in 1377.

The Country of a Million Rice Fields

King Mangrai ruled a kingdom in today's northern Thailand in the late 1200s. Called Lan Na, or "the country of a million rice fields," it is mainly known today for its capital city of Chiang Mai. Founded in 1296 by King Mangrai, the city had a number of auspicious attributes. Presiding over the city was the scared mountain of Doi Suthep, to the west, and the Ping River flowed through the city before joining the Nan River to the south. After its founding by King Mangrai, the city attracted traders and the prosperity that follows. It became known as the 'city of 12 languages.' A moniker that conveys wealth and a cosmopolitan flair. Lan Na was the local hub for the rich surrounding countryside and hill villages, and goods produced there were sent south along the Ping River to be sold in the great city of Ayutthaya and beyond.

Prosperity brings its own problems, though. Burmese king Bayinnaung marched into Chiang Mai as a conqueror in 1558, and that was the end of Lan Na. But its beautiful remains continue to attract tourists.

This beautiful art piece depicts a shaman's raptorial bird spirit, by combining flat painting and clay modeling. Click through the image gallery to see all of its sides. The bird's head, including the raptor's deadly pointed beak, and the tips of its wings and tail protrude from the vessel. Around them, the artist painted the spirit's wings and tail feathers, as well as human forms on either side. Each of the two figures grasps a staff topped by a human skull. Nicaragua, circa 1000 - 1350 CE.

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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