Blog – Historical Geographic

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Hello Readers, Writers, Teachers, and Children!

I’d like to introduce a new series of educational articles that I call Historical Geographic. In this series, we will be covering a wide range of geographic locations, explaining geography terms, and learning a little about the history around each place.

This series will cover well-known locations, like the Nile River and Mount Everest, and introduce some places that may be new to you, such as Salar de Uyuni and the Giant’s Causeway. As always, each article will be written at around a Grade 5 reading level.

I hope you discover some new and exciting things about our amazing planet!

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Want to read more?

History – Artifacts – The Horses of St. Mark

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Quick Fix History

The Horses of Saint Mark, AKA The Triumphal Quadriga, are a set of 4 life-size bronze horse sculptures. These nearly 2000-year-old masterpieces have made an incredible journey!

Quick Fix FactsHorses of St. Mark
CastPossibly cir. 100-200 CE
Material96.67% Copper
Height
13 ft (3.96 m)

Their story begins in Constantinople where the horses were displayed as part of a quadriga at the hippodrome. Though it is not known when the horses first came to Constantinople, they were still on display there in 1204 when the city was sacked by Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade.

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The doge of Venice, Enrico Dandolo, is said to have chosen the horses personally to be taken to Venice as a victory prize. In order to transport the horses, their heads had to be removed. Collars were added to cover the damage, and the horses soon adorned the façade of Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice.

Quick Fix Terms
QuadrigaA four-horse carriage used for chariot racing
HippodromeA stadium used for horse and chariot racing
DogeChief magistrate of Venice or Genoa

The horses remained their until 1797 when Napoleon Bonaparte conquered the city and took them as a prize of his own. They were whisked away to Paris where they would crown a new monument, the Arc de Triomphe. After Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, the horses were returned to the façade of Saint Mark’s in 1815.

Where the magnificent horses will journey next is anyone’s guess, but for now, they can been seen resting just inside Saint Mark’s Basilica.

History – Culture – Great Zimbabwe

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Quick Fix History

Tucked away in the interior of southern Africa lies the ancient city of Great Zimbabwe. These ruins were once the bustling capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe.

Quick Fix FactsGreat Zimbabwe
LocationZimbabwe
PeriodAround 1000-1450 CE
PopulationUpwards of 18,000
SizeAbout 3 sq mi (7.7 sq km)

The word “Zimbabwe” means “Houses of Stone”. A fitting name since many houses, temples, and walls were built from blocks of granite. One set of ruins, known as the Great Enclosure, protected the king’s palace and boasted a massive outer wall made up of over 100,000 tons of granite!

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The farmers, craftsmen, and artisans of Great Zimbabwe lived in sophisticated round houses made from daga, a building material of clay and gravel.

Quick Fix FactsThe Great Enclosure
Height35 ft (10.7 m)
WidthUp to 17 ft (5.2 m) at the base
Length830 ft (253 m)

Gold, ivory, soapstone carvings, and ornaments of precious metals were among Great Zimbabwe’s exports, which supplied the merchants of the Swahili and helped to drive Indian Ocean trade. Chinese stoneware and glazed dishes, Persian painted bowls, and colored glass from the Middle East have all been found among the ruins of Great Zimbabwe!

Great Zimbabwe is just one of hundreds of similar ruins that are spread over an area of more than 270,000 sq mi (nearly 700,000 sq km) in modern day Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, and South Africa. These magnificent ruins are a lasting testament to African ingenuity and craftsmanship!

Who, what, or where will we discover next?

Blog – Quick Fix History

Hello Readers, Writers, Teachers, and Children! Would you like to learn more about the treasure fleets of China or the stone castles of Great Zimbabwe? What about the horses of St. Mark or the dog dance of the Hidatsa?

“Yes, but I have neither the time, nor the desire to read a history textbook!”

Well, that’s where I come in! I’ll read those books for you and condense them down to bite-sized chunks chock full of the good stuff. Each installment of Quick Fix History will take about 1-2 mins to read, so you can finally learn who Harold Bluetooth was and still get on with your day!

Check out the archives: Quick Fix History

History – People – Zheng He and China’s Treasure Fleet

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Quick Fix History

Zheng He commanded China’s navy, advised the emperor, traded with distant lands, and explored much of the Indian Ocean. But before he was Zheng He, Explorer Extraordinaire, he was just Ma He.

Quick Fix FactsZheng He
Birth NameMa He
BornSeptember 23 1371 CE
DiedApril 1443 (71 years)
BirthplaceYunnan Province China

Ma He was born into a dangerous time. He spent his early childhood in Yunnan, China, which was controlled by the Mongols. Yunnan province was recaptured by China in 1381 or 1382 CE by the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. At 11 years old, Ma He was taken prisoner and his name was changed to Zheng He. He was sent to serve the emperor’s son, Zhu Di and soon became one of the prince’s most trusted friends. Eventually, Zhu Di became emperor himself, and Zheng He commanded the navy!

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Quick Fix FactsThe 7 Voyages of Zheng He
Time Covered1405-1433 CE
Ships100-200
Crewup to 27,000

Zheng He was a great explorer, making 7 voyages across the Indian Ocean. Each voyage took about 2 years, and he visited many places including: Vietnam, Java, Sumatra, Sri Lanka, India, the Persian Gulf, Arabia, Bengal, Thailand, the Philippines, the Maldives, Borneo, and the Somali coast in Africa!

Quick Fix FactsTreasure Ships
Lengthpossibly 447 ft (136.25 m)
Width183 ft (55.78 m)
Masts6-9 each 195 ft (59.44 m) tall

The largest ships in Zheng He’s fleet were the monstrous Treasure Ships. They were bigger than a football field! These massive ships carried porcelain, silk, and lacquerware from China to trade for ivory, spices, precious stones, exotic lumber, and in one case, a giraffe! Chinese court officials thought it was a Qilin, a mythical “dragon horse”.

Quick Fix Words
LacquerwareThings like dishes, bowls, and boxes coated with lacquer for protection

Zheng He’s epic voyages of the early 15th century continue to astound and spark the spirit of exploration today!

Who, what, or where will we discover next?