The Mystery of the Chachapoya Disappearance

As the Incas expanded their empire, they forcibly removed rebellious tribes to maintain a region’s stability. The Chachapoyas of northern Peru, known as the Warriors of the Clouds, were thought to have disappeared after Incan conquest and forcible removal in the 1400s. However, a new genetic and linguistic study has revealed that pockets of the population living there today retain genetic links to ancient Chachapoyas. Contrary to historical accounts, the Chachapoyas were apparently able to survive dispersal and assimilation after the Inca conquest.

Who Ran Korea During The Choson Period?

Scholar-Officials (sadaebu or sonbi) represent the highly educated ruling class that emerged during the Choson dynasty (1392-1910 CE) of Korea. The founder of the Choson dynasty, Yi Songgye adopted Neo-Confucianism - the modified teachings of the early Chinese philosopher Confucius to establish new principles for Korean governance. Implementing a competitive Confucian examination system to select civil servants, early Choson kings created a class of government officials who were familiar with Chinese and Korean historical and literary classics. Their new system was modeled on the older Chinese one. The new class of scholar-officials challenged aristocratic families that had monopolized power during the previous Koryo period (935 - 1392 CE).

Salt Holder Shows Two Worlds' Collision

This saltcellar is both an extraordinary example of skilled workmanship and an artifact that epitomizes a singularly important convergence of cultures. In the second half of the 1400s, the Portuguese were slowly exploring further and further down the western coast of Africa. Portuguese explorers and traders were particularly impressed by the skill of West Coast ivory carvers. Many commissioned beautiful art pieces to bring home.

This particular carving combines both European and African aesthetics and forms. It was made by Sapi in what is today Sierra Leone. The four snakes, associated by the Sapi with mystical wealth, appear to confront four growling dogs. According to regional traditions, dogs are considered spiritually astute animals able to see spirits and ghosts that are invisible to humans. There are also nods to European sensibilities. The roses, for instance, and the animated nature of the carvings.

Where Do Piggy Banks Come From?

Contrary to popular belief, the piggy bank is not a European invention. Many terracotta piggy banks have been found on Java. Most are in the form of a pig, as the fat animal evoked associations with wealth. The slot for coins is still visible on the back of this example, which was made sometime from 1300 to 1500 CE.

Courtesy of the Rijksmuseum

The Weird Family History of Iceland

Iceland has a population of 332,529 that for hundreds of years has been largely isolated from the rest of the world. Inbreeding is a constant concern due to the country’s small size, and the migration of most of the population into the capital city. Luckily, the country has been literate since its founding, and because of its small population and isolation, we have marriage and birth records pretty much since the founding of the island. Everyone's family tree is known. It is pretty neat -- every Icelander today can trace their heritage back to which founding settlers they come from.

And to help prevent inbreeding today, an app was developed: Islendiga-App (English: App of Icelanders). The whole giant Icelandic family tree is on the app, and people can check to see if they are related. Its slogan is “Bump the app before you bump in bed.”

The Unlikely Queen

Queen Isabella of Castile, half of the famous pair Isabella and Ferdinand of Castile and Aragon, was never supposed to be queen. She was born in 1451 to King John II of Castile. He already had an heir, the twenty-six-year-old Henry, from his first marriage. And two years after Isabella, a second son was born, Alfonso. Isabella was third in line behind two men. Fate happened in such a way that both died without children, though, and Isabella was suddenly heir to the throne. Well, Henry had a daughter. But rumor had it she wasn't his true, legitimate daughter, and Isabella took the throne instead after a little bit of war.

Some of the World's Largest Pre-Columbian Rock Art - Seen For The First Time In Centuries

Thanks in part to historically low water levels, researchers have been able to document a large corpus of rock art located along a section of Venezuela’s Orinoco River known as the Atures Rapids. Drone photography recorded most of the engravings for the first time, which include scenes of humans, animals, and cultural traditions. One massive panel contains 93 individual characters across 3,200 square feet of rock. Although still unsure of the engravings’ dates, experts believe they were created in both the pre-Columbian and colonial periods

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    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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