This is the "Tamil Bell," a bronze bell found in New Zealand in approximately 1836. It was being used as a pot to boil potatoes by Māori women near Whangarei. It has an inscription running around the rim in Old Tamil. Translated, it says "Muhayideen Baksh’s ship’s bell." Some argue that it is proof that Indians (from India) had contact with Polynesians before Europeans. But others argue it is evidence of widespread Polynesian trading networks, or it was simply discarded by a visiting Portuguese ship, as the Portuguese had trade relationships with, and colonies in, India.

The national symbol of the Philippines is the Philippine, or monkey-eating, eagle. It is the largest of all eagles and was declared the national bird of the Philippines in 1995. It was almost too late: the eagle is critically endangered and there may be just 180 to 500 eagles remaining.

Whiro, Lord of Darkness

In Maori mythology, Whiro is the embodiment of darkness and evil. He is the son of the sky father and earth mother, and brother and enemy of Tāne, god of the forests and birds. After a long and bitter war between the brothers, Tāne was victorious. Whiro and his followers were forced to go to the underworld where he reigns.

But Whiro is not quietly retired. He is viewed as a relentlessly active god, always trying to harm humans as they are the descendants of Tāne, especially through his Maike brethren, the personified forms of sickness and disease. Many offerings were made to Whiro, unsurprisingly.

Aborigines whose language in the Yolŋu Matha linguistic family, in Australia, often practiced exogamy, marrying outside their group. This meant mothers and fathers would speak different languages of Yolŋu Matha -- deliberately -- so the child would grow up speaking at least two languages.

This was actually a good thing, because there are about six languages in the Yolŋu Matha family, some mutually intelligible, divided into about thirty clan varieties and perhaps twelve different dialects, each with its own Yolŋu name. Having groups where members could speak multiple languages presumably helped groups communicate, and survive.

When women got the vote, around the world. New Zealand was first, and Saudi Arabia was most recent -- although women still do not have full voting rights there, as they may only vote or run for office in municipal elections not national elections.

Yams Were Independently Domesticated In Three Places

Here is a map of average region yam production today. Can you guess the three places where yams were first domesticated?

Answer: South America, West Africa, and Papua New Guinea!

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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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