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Monday, October 9, 2017

The Norse Exploration of North America :o

Are you wondering how I became obsessed with Vikings? Well this post is all about the historical event that made me become obsessed with them. I wrote this back in 2016, but I've decided to revise it and update it with new information straight from the Norse sagas. Plus today is Leif Ericson day, so it seems like a good time to post this. 

 I'm really into the history of the people whom the Norsemen called the "skraelings" AKA the indigenous people of the Americas. But when I started researching the Beothuk people who are native to Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, I came across information about the Norse explorer Leif Ericson's 'Vinland voyages'. 


First, lets talk a bit about the Beothuk people. As I said before, they were the native people of Newfoundland. While some indigenous people of Canada managed to retain their languages and parts of their culture despite colonialism, the Beothuk are all now all gone :( A little bit of their language still survives though, and you can learn it online although it has no native speakers.  A woman named Shanawdithit, who is considered by historians to have been the last Beothuk, learned some English and was able to write Beothuk words using the Roman alphabet. Thanks to her, and the efforts of a few others of the last Beothuks such as Shawnadithit's aunt Demasduit, we now know some words of the Beothuk language. The word 'Beothuk' itself in their language means 'the people'. Shawnadithit died in 1829 of tuberculosis. 

A portrait of Shawnadithit

FUN FACT: Some European settlers called the Beothuk people the "Red Ochre People" because they covered themselves in red ochre :D . 


Historically, the Beothuks were a semi-nomadic group. There were many subdivisions of the Beothuk based on extended family. These subgroups lived away from each other during the winter. During the summer they would join each other in coastal meeting places to arrange marriages and discuss important things like who the next leader should be. The Beothuk were the some of the first native people of Canada to come into contact with Europeans, along with the Inuit. The Europeans began to settle on the coastal regions, exactly where the summer meeting places once were. As their settlement expanded westward, they began to see the local Beothuk as threats to the settlements. Beothuks were hunted down viciously. The ones who weren't murdered died of tuberculosis or other diseases brought over from Europe. These were introduced by English settlers during the early 1700s. 

Of course, the 1700s were NOT when the settlement of the Americas, or even Canada began. Settlement of Canada was attempted by French explorer Jacques Cartier in the 1500s. It was extremely unsuccessful thanks to the fact that Cartier was so STUPID in the way he dealt with the indigenous Iroquois people. The Iroquois were really nice to him and taught him a cure for scurvy (birch tea). To express his gratitude to them for saving his life he kidnapped their chief and a bunch of other people and killed a lot of people. Later the Iroquois allied with the British and wrecked the French.
Anyway, Cartier's expeditions were quite hilarious failures but talking about them in detail would be for another post. Europeans never really became successful in starting Canada's settlement until another French guy, Samuel De Champlain, came along in 1604. Anyway, the point is, Jacques Cartier is credited for being the first European in Canada. 

The title of "first European in the Americas as a whole" is given to Christopher Columbus who was discovered lost at see by native Taino people of the Caribbean in 1492. 

WHAT I'M TRYING TO SAY IS NEITHER OF THESE PEOPLE DESERVE CREDIT. 

Because the first European in Canada was 

LEIF ERICSON

and the first European in the Americas was 

LEIF ERICSON

another fun fact is that

LEIF ERICSON

wasn't an evil scary genocidal horrible person the way columbus and cartier were.

Leif Ericson, or Leifr Airikson, will always be one of my favourite European explorers. His half-sister Freydis Ericsdottir was cool too. 

 Columbus was known for selling 9 year old girls into sex slavery. Even the Europeans of the time admitted he was a genocidal maniac. The only person who liked him was queen Isabella of Spain. 

And Cartier was just stupid.  No monarch in France liked him because he brought back 'gold' and 'diamonds' from the New World which actually turned out to be pyrite and quartz. That's where the expression 'Canadian Gold' comes from to describe something worthless.

He ended France's interest in settling Canada for almost a century. 

I'm sure Eric the Red's son was better than that. 

Anyway, the remainder of this post shall be dedicated to talking about the exciting Norse exploration of North America, which occurred 500 YEARS BEFORE COLUMBUS. 

And if any of you still believe that this is pseudo-historical nonsense, well, please go to L'anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland and see that there are indeed Viking settlements there. The Norse called that little hamlet of houses "leifsbudir" after Leif of course!
You can book a room in Valhalla lodge (named after the glorious afterlife that Viking warriors went to) in the fabled Vinland and stalk all the skraelings and Vikings there. You can even watch some cheesy white people dressed as Vikings do cool sword fighting reenactments while you're there. I haven't had the pleasure of going to northern Newfoundland myself. However, I have personally met one of the reenactment groups who perform there. THEY WERE COOL. I WISH I COULD FIND THE PICTURES I TOOK WITH THEM BUT I CAN'T :( . 

Sometimes I write fanfictions about Vikings. 

Perhaps I should start calling them the Norsemen instead of Vikings, as Norsemen is what they called themselves. It means "North men" obviously. Viking was a word of the time meaning raider or explorer. It was their occupation not ethnicity. 

Early Settlements in Iceland

The Norse culture originated in the southern Danish peninsula in the 790s. From this time until the Norman conquest of England in 1066, northern Europe was in the period of time known as the Viking age. 

Iceland was settled by the Norsemen in about 870 AD. However, Gaelic monks and other  people had settled the island and established monasteries a bit before that. There weren't any indigenous people on the island, so Icelanders are not guilty of committing mass genocide or anything like that. I mean sure, some Greenlandic Inuit may have visited the island before Europeans, but they never stayed and such an event was never recorded. Iceland is European. It is the BEST European country. 

 NORSEMEN ARE COOLER THAN IRISH MONKS THOUGH. I'm glad they left when they saw the Norsemen or else they'd "get rekt" like the monasteries of Lindisfarne, where the very first Viking raid happened.

"Protect us, O Lord, from the wrath of the Northmen" 

~ a random monk from Lindisfarne before a Viking killed him

The Norse really needed more farmland so they eventually discovered Iceland, the land of Ice and Fire. Once it was settled they wanted even more land. 

SO THEY FOUND 

Grønland 

WHICH HAD NATIVE INUIT PEOPLE LIVING THERE 

Greenland was settled by Erik the Red, also known as Erik Thorvaldsson, which means his dad's name was Thorvald. That's how these patriarchal Norse last names work. And you guessed it, Erik the Red was the father of Leif Eriksson or Ericson or Aerikson or however you want to spell it there are like 5 ways to spell that last name. His daughter's last name was Eriksdottir. Erik the Red wasn't the first European in Greenland but he was the first to actually settle it.

It's like how Samuel De Champlain stole Jacques Cartier's title as the Father of New France. 



Erik the Red, called that because of his epic red beard and hair, settled Greenland. The Norsemen called it Grønland. BUT WE MUST CALL IT KALAALIT NUNAAT BECAUSE IT RIGHTFULLY BELONGS TO THE INUIT. 

Oh well, if the indigneous people take back their land I imagine that place will be a territorial dispute. Perhaps they can share Greenland to play skraelings vs. vikings with each other ad infinitum

Erik the Red went to Greenland after he was convicted of manslaughter and banished from Norway. Greenlanders considered him a hero and stuff. Cool. 

He slept around a lot according to sagas and soon had a son named Leif Erikson or Leif the Lucky.
He also had an illegitimate daughter named Freydis Eriksdottir. Freydis sounds liked my own name, Freya, doesn't it? Freya was a Norse goddess of love and beauty. Like me, she had two pet cats and admired the heroic dead, ruling the afterlife of Valhalla for fallen warriors. Her name translates to "noblewoman" or "queen". But before any Scandinavian people accuse me of sacrilege by taking on a goddess' name, I have to say that my parents had no idea that Freya was a Norse goddess before they named me. According to them, the name means 'beloved' in Persian. 

So I suppose you can guess where the history goes from here. Leif Ericson was the first white person to see the Americas minus Greenland right? wrong. 

The first white person to see the Americas was the Icelander Bjarni Herjolfsson in 986 A.D. He saw the distant New World when his ship was blown off course. He saw three different new lands through the icy mist. The Norse saw to it that they were named "Helluland", "Markland" and "Vinland" which are believed to have been Baffin island, Labrador, and Newfoundland respectively. 

Bjarni's tails inspired Leif to sail westward to these cool new islands. He bought Bjarni's own ship and set sail, seeking VINLAND. 

What is Vinland? 

In simple terms, it was the name the Norse gave to northern Newfoundland. But other historians debate that the Norse explorers went southward and eventually discovered a different land which was better and called it Vinland. I think this debate is stupid as there is no evidence for it. Vinland is certainly a lot more than just a name for a measly Norse settlement. It was an idea of paradise from Norse mythology. The 'vin' in Vinland has been translated to mean either "wine" or "meadow/pasture". The latter translation makes a lot more sense to me, as the Norse were always looking for more good farmland. There wasn't much in northern Europe. It only makes sense for an ideal Norse mythological paradise to contain endless farmland. Do you think Leif the Lucky was really lucky when he found that barren, rocky tip of an island teeming with skraelings? Was it really something that deserved to be call Vinland? 

It's like the Spanish idea of "El Dorado". 

"We Spaniards have a disease of the heart that can 
only be cured by gold." 

~ Hernan Cortes, conqueror of the Aztec empire 

Cortes is only second to Columbus on the list-of-historical-figures-I-would-have-murdered-for-fun. 

Vinland was also the name of the ship that Freydis Eiriksdottir sailed to Leifsbudir on the second Norse expedition to the Americas. The crew had both Greenlanders and Icelanders, but Leif didn't come.

The sagas claim the Norse were mostly lumberjacks when they visited the Americas.
 They also traded with the skraelings aka the Red Ochre people. But don't worry, the Norse didn't bring diseases. They were considered clean and well groomed by other Europeans. That is why white women always fell for those vain Vikings. Would you rather have the North-man who you can go on raids to burn down christian monasteries with or the misogynistic catholic scrub who never bathes? Please don't ask Queen Isabella of Spain this question. 

 The Vikings were also way less sexist than Christians and there were just as many female raiders as male ones. The Norse also had pretty hair and were the first Europeans to use combs. 
Exceptionally well preserved Viking combs from a site in Russia. Many Vikings settled in and assimilated into Russian culture.

Some Norse combs also have really pretty designs carved on their handles. 

So they traded with the natives but never actually settled there. But perhaps they had the intention of doing so. Why else would they have established Leifsbudir? 

Why the Vikings left their settlement in Newfoundland: Two possible reasons why


1: Conflict with the natives

There have been accounts that say that the Vikings treated the indigenous people well. They didn't pillage, rape, or kill them. They merely traded. However, there have been also accounts that say that the Vikings did exactly the opposite of that and were as brutal, savage, and genocidal as any other European explorers were. The Beothuk and other indigenous people of the area may have fought and expelled the Vikings. Some people suggest that the Vikings tried giving the natives cow's milk. There is no proof for that but it's a funny story: 

Most Native Americans are lactose intolerant (I have a really weird sense of humor. Sorry I laughed really hard when I typed that for some reason.) The indigenous people started having whatever problems lactose intolerant people have when you give them creamy, thick, raw, stinky milk from the plump udders of Norwegian cows. 

Please, don't start randomly going up to Native American people and asking them if they are lactose intolerant. 


They were colonist cows though so alternately they might have been undernourished tiny cows who can't really produce good quality milk. The indigenous people thought they were being posioned, and so launched an attack on the weird pale blue-eyed aliens who had given them the elixir.


 In my opinion, if conflict with the natives was the reason why the Vikings abandoned Leifsbudir, it probably didn't involve lactose intolerance. It was probably just a war started after the Norse might have done something really Cartier-level idiotic. The good part is that if the Vikings were genocidal and evil, at least they were deported. Who wants to speak Old Norse and have their country capital be Leifsbudir, which may have one day become a sprawling metropolis of over 100,000 people instead of a handful of rugged Norsemen, who knows? 


2: Conflict among themselves


The Vikings might have left North America not because of the natives, but because of conflict with each other. The Greenlanders and Icelanders in Freydis Eriksdottir's crew didn't have much of a reason to like each other.After restlessly dwelling in Leifsbudir, they all might have gone mad, surrounded by endless skraeling-filled forest. Arguments broke out between the Icelandic and Greenlandic crew. Freydis herself was an ill-tempered Greenlander. A battle started in which both sides may have massacred each other. Whoever survived left Vinland forever. This would explain why only one ship returned back from the voyage. Originally there were supposed to be two, the Vinland and a smaller one. 


But no one really knows why they left.


Reasons why you might still dislike the Vikings 


and Leif Ericson:



1) HE CONVERTED TO ChRisTianiTY in his later days *gAsps*

By this time, Christianity was spreading in the Viking world like a plague. Leif converted on a trip to Iceland. :(

2) It's hard to say whether he was violent and genocidal or not. The sagas are difficult, contradictory, even. Did he merely trade with the Beothuk, or try to exterminate them? We may never know.

3) The Vikings had shown their greed for land by taking over Greenland. Maybe they wanted to do the same with Newfoundland?

4) If the intention of the Vikings was to take over Newfoundland, then the only thing that made them unsuccessful was the lack of biological warfare. 


5) 
The Norse term "skraeling" which they called the indigenous could be taken as highly offensive. It might have meant "savage". The modern Icelandic word "skraelingi" has a similar meaning.

What you can do now that you are obsessed with the Vikings and probably will be for at least a week 

Historical fiction books and tv shows 

By the way, if you read about any culture enough you will become obsessed with it. It's kinda inevitable, so don't feel bad if you now find yourself in a Viking obsession phase. You can indulge in Rick Riordan's new series on Norse mythology, or a very similar series called "The Blackwell Pages" by Kelly Armstrong and Melissa Marr. I've met both authors in person at a book convention. They are awesome and the Blackwell Pages series is amazing, probably better than the Riordan Norse mythology series although less cool than the Greco-Roman series he has written. Also check out "Sword Song" by Rosemary Sutcliffe , a story about a boy named Bjarni banished from Norway for manslaughter (how similar to the Fate of Erik the Red!) who becomes a mercenary. There is also a female part-skraeling character ;D . Check out "The Dream Carvers" and "Eiriksdottir" by Joan Clark and of course the Irish-Canadian tv series "The Vikings".

and remember, Scandinavian folk music is very good so you might want to make a new dank mixtape: 




That's all. 







Indigenous Peoples' day, Leif Ericson day, Canadian Thanksgiving, and Columbus day

Since we have four holidays today that are somewhat related to one another, I'm going to briefly talk about what I think of them. Lets start with the one I like the most.

Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day! (which should really be EVERY DAY :D ) 

October 9th is Indigenous People's Day. It's recognized by a lot of American cities. In Canada, National Aboriginal Day is on June 21st in the whole country. This year, Los Angeles will be celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day for the first time. Guess which organization that I'm obsessed with has been protesting in LA for years to make that happen.  


Leif Ericson Day
His name is spelled in a variety of ways. "Leifr Aeirikson" is probably the most accurate spelling but that's so extra. This Viking explorer established a settlement in northern Newfoundland 500 years before Columbus without committing mass genocide. I've always wanted to visit L'Anse aux meadows (the name of the ruins of the Viking settlement, which used to be known as Vinland). There is a very good chance he probably did kill some indigenous people, although there is no way of knowing for sure as the Norse sagas that have information on this were written way after the actual event happened. Please check out my blog post on the history of Norse exploration in the Americas (I know a lot about it. Trust me. Plus it's a super interesting topic. http://freyathefrypan.blogspot.ca/2016/01/the-norse-exploration-of-north-america-d.html .

Thanksgiving (in Canada. Americans celebrate it in some really weird time in November or something?) 
Now we're in the territory of holidays that I really don't like. It's important to remember however that Canadian thanksgiving is related to the traditional European harvest festivals. American thanksgiving is all about the pilgrims raiding and destroying a Pequot village, which led to the governor of Bay Colony creating the Thanksgiving holiday, you can read more about it here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/nicole-breedlove/thanksgiving-pequot-massacre_b_4337722.html

Columbus day
eew. Where to begin? First of all, EVEN MANY EUROPEANS IN COLUMBUS' TIME THOUGHT COLUMBUS WAS BAD. He was a mass murderer and sold children into sex slavery. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT'S BAD. Don't be stupid and say "we can't judge historical figures by modern standards" HE WAS THROWN IN JAIL BY THE KING OF SPAIN FOR USING BARBARIC ACTS OF TORTURE. He had no accomplishments worth celebrating anyway because Leif Ericson sailed to the Americas 500 years BEFORE Columbus without committing mass genocide. I still can't believe people celebrate this. 

Welp yeah that's all for today's rant.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Mexica (Aztec) version of the bulletproof vest

Alright fam, so you've probably heard of Kevlar, a high-strength material used in bulletproof vests. It was invented by Europeans of course... without a doubt. However, here's a fun fact. Did you know that the Aztecs actually came up with bulletproof vests too? This was completely by mistake. Here's a picture I stole from Mexicolore, which is a really cool website that you should go on. I think I might add that to my link list. 



As you can see, it's basically thick cotton padding that was worn by soldiers. The cloth frame would be soaked in salt water to maker it really hard and then "paper-mached" into a thick vest and left in the sun to dry. You'll be surprised how effective this was. It could stop spears thrown by the atlatl and later they found out it could also stop the Spanish musket shots too.

In case you didn't know, the atlatl was basically a device used to make spear throwing more effective and deadly. It wasn't invented by the Aztecs but it was used a lot by them, and the word atlatl comes from the Nahuatl language. It's actually a super old invention from prehistoric times. The Australian aborigines also had their own version of it called a woomera (I may do a post on them soon lol as an off-topic fun post even though they're not native american. They're kinda my second favourite culture now). So yeah, the atlatl/woomera can go like 80 miles per hour xD . That's what the vests were originally meant to stop. But then they found out that they were bULLeT ProOF too! WhOa!

So anyway, the Europeans began to use the same type of technology. They found out that this type of bullet proof vest was also more comfortable than their steel armor. Armor was changed forever. 

You can learn about other epic Aztec innovations in this Ted talk I did: http://youtu.be/1DVWVlkAKuA
Note: copy paste the link into your browser if it doesn't work :P thanks fam. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Synopsis and Excerpt from “The Turtle Island Explorer”

Here you can check out the synopsis and excerpt of my upcoming novel, The Turtle Island Explorer.



Synopsis
Chief Mikinak Pikawakanagan, the leader of a prestigious Native American rights organization, believes that the key to decolonization and liberation lies in learning from what indigenous societies were like before the arrival of Europeans. After gathering the research of scientists from all over the world, Mikinak manages to perfect a time machine he calls 'the Turtle Island Explorer'. Now two brave volunteers are faced with a frightful assignment: to test out Mikinak's creation. They learn the hard way that the universe punishes those who dare to play with time.
Excerpt from chapter 5
"I have but only praise and wholehearted support for it. Indigenous people have been an inspiration to all oppressed peoples in the world. Your manifesto does a wonder job of addressing the injustices that your people face."
Mikinak felt uncomfortable. Taharka's facial expressions weren't matching his kind words. What was he hiding?
"Very well then. What about the machine?"
Here Taharka paused and bit his lower lip, as if restraining himself from bursting out something disrespectful.
"Forgive me, chief, but I think it is extremely ridiculous and has caused me to lose all the faith I had in your movement. I am very disappointed that you would pursue the creation of such a thing. You don't believe in Christianity, the religion that was forced upon your people, so why would you believe in such an impossible and foolish thing as this?"
"That will be enough" snapped one of Mikinak's followers.
Mikinak turned to his disciple. "No, no, Tecumseh. Let Taharka continue. He has raised a valid concern. The Turtle Island Explorer is indeed a very ambitious invention."
"Your people live in terrible conditions on reservations. They are constantly discriminated against. Their sacred sites are being trespassed on by the American government. Why aren't you addressing these problems? Why are you wasting your time?" Taharka demanded.
"We have fought for the rights of our people, believe me. No one shows up more at protests that we do. No one raises as much money with fundraising efforts."
"My apologies, chief. I didn't mean to say that you don't do anything for them, but this project is just so weird."
"But if it were possible, would you not agree that it would be the key to solving many of the problems of both my people and yours and so many others?"
"Of course, if we want to revert back our communities to how they were hundreds of years before, nothing could be more valuable. Any knowledge of our history before European contact would only help to empower us all."
Before anyone could run to assist the old man, chief Mikinak flew over to the other side of the room with inhuman speed and grabbed the end of the large black cloth that covered the creation.
"Then here is your answer! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Turtle Island Explorer!"
He unveiled the creation and smiled at the huge collective gasp that came from his followers and Taharka.
"Neters! A machine like this can only be a time machine!"
Everyone felt power radiating from the creation and they knew it was true.
"Indeed, and I have sent for a brave man, the regional IPLP chairman of the Eastern Woodlands, to test it out! He shall be here any minute now."
Taharka was stunned with awe. Chief Mikinak was generally very pleased to have an ally like him.
The Turtle Island Explorer will soon be available for reading on Amazon Kindle for a very low price, and for free to anyone who follows this blog. Please also follow my Facebook page to keep up to date with my books: facebook.com/freyaabbasauthor

An Ancient village in British Columbia is older than Egypt's pyramids

It's quite well known that indigenous people have lived in the Americas for a super long time, but how long exactly? Archaeologists believed it was for around 12,000 years, but now they've discovered the ruins of an ancient settlement on Triquet island, northwest of Victoria, British Columbia which is 14,000 years old. They have unearthed lots of Ice Age weapons, fish hooks, etc. You can read more here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/14000-village-discovered-triquet-island-british-columbia-canada-oldest-settlment-north-america-a7673726.html This is why indigenous people have every right to be outraged when they have to negotiate land rights with European settlers, who've only been here for a few centuries. Indigenous people have been here for longer than we've thought. Britain has only been occupied by people for 12,000 years. This discovery proves that indigenous people have been in the Americas for longer. Australian aboriginals have also been in Australia for longer than people have been in Britain, making them the oldest continuous culture on earth. Welp. That's all I have to say. Have a gr8 day everyone.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

This is exactly what an ancient Peruvian queen looked like


The Moche civilization of Peru (100-700 AD) was long thought by historians to be a patriarchal society. This belief was shattered in 2005, when a female mummy known as "the Lady of Cao" was found among buried gold treasures. In July2017, archaeologists have been able to reconstruct what this powerful ruler looked like. 3D imaging technology and forensics archaeology, along with a study of the skull which took 10 months, have now yielded this epic result. 

My favourite thing about this awesomeness is that most indigenous people today still look like this. People are always talking about them being mixed with Europeans, trying to get indigenous people to not associate with the glorious civilizations their ancestors created, but the truth is they're still the same people. They can see themselves in this 1700 year old face. Colonizers settling here hasn't made a huge impact on their genetics. After all, Europeans have only been here for around 500 years and they've been here for at least 12,000. 

You can read more about this epic archaeological discovery here: 
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-40502368 

By the way, check out this super cute Hetalia-inspired drawing of Incas <3 :="" font="" nbsp="">

If you have a DeviantArt account, pleade +watch OldSting, the artist, for more! 

That's all for today, fellow wannabe historians! 

And remember: 

ama sua ama llulla ama quella


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

6 Foods you didn't know were from the Americas

Alright, so this post is going to be about foods that you didn't know were cultivated by indigenous people for thousands of years before the Columbian Exchange, which started with Columbus' first voyage to the Americas in 1492. The Columbian Exchange was the movement of the following things between the 'Old World' (Asia, Europe and Africa) and the New:

  • Crops- the focus of this post
  • Animals- such as horses that were introduced to the New World, plus many exotic birds from the Americas were taken to Europe. For example, the Cuban Amazon parrot was given to Queen Isabella as a gift from Columbus. 
  • People- for example, European colonists and African slaves arrived in the Americas. A few Native Americans were abducted and taken to Europe.  
  • Culture- and religion too, which in many cases was forced on the local population. 
  • DISEASES- bEWAre.
  • Technology and ideas- pretty complicated to explain but super interesting. 


Alright so I'll get on with it soon, but first there is a pressing question that we must answer: Has my art improved in 4 years?

 I'll let you be the judge of that! 


Wannabehistorian1491's art circa 2013 anno domini 


 NOW

This was a normal everyday occurrence in the shady alleyways of Tenochtitlan. Just kidding. Pears aren't even native to the Americas. However, many surprising crops are. Obviously maize and quinoa are both native to the Americas (everyone knows that), but here are some crops and foods you wouldn't expect:


  • The Dragonfruit (or Pitaya) Lots of people think these are from Asia, but they actually originate in Southern Mexico. The Mayan word for them was "wob". I've made a post on it in detail which you can read here. 

  • Potatoes No, they're not from Ireland. They were first cultivated in the Andean region. National Potato day is celebrated every year in Peru.
  • Guavas I didn't know these were from Central America O_o ... but maybe because I'm just dumb.
  • Turkey Many people around the world don't know they're from the Americas. Take a look at this awesome comic by Itchy Feet (a webcomic about travel and linguistics). As you can see, people think it is from random af places when it is actually from North America. Since I think it is stupid that the Americas aren't just considered one super large continent, I think Indians come close enough when they think it's from Peru. 

  • Sunflowers Although the crop was commercialized by Russia, sunflower seeds were eaten by many Native American tribes and are from here. The flag of the Hopi nation has sunflowers on it:
  • Tomatoes What would Italian cuisine be without them? They were once thought to be poisonous, but now they're used in a lot of things we eat today, like ketchup.


                                                           I hope you enjoyed this post :D 












Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Atahualping Challenge is the coolest new social media trend

When the Spaniards met the Inca emperor Atahualpa, they showed him a Bible. Legend has it that Atahualpa tossed it away like it was nothing. Today people in Peru are reenacting this. It's a really creative and awesome way for them to support indigenous resistance. 





via GIPHY

Of course, there are stupid people that are overly offended by this. It's just a historical reenactment though :D . It's also rejecting religious indoctrination, promoting indigenous resistance, and raising awareness of the fact that the Spaniards used religion as an excuse to kill thousands of people. Just because people may get offended by this doesn't mean it's bad. Seeing this social media trend actually made my day and I thought it was the coolest thing ever, some of my Christian friends even said the same. If you're a follower of this blog, chances are you will probably agree with me and think this is awesome as well. 

Well, have a nice day fellow wannabe historians ;D 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

This story about Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl has more feels in it than Romeo and Juliet

Alright, so this legend is Mexica (Aztec) and has been passed down from generation to generation. There are quite a few different versions, so I'm just going to stick to the coolest one. They're all really similar anyway. This story is about the mountains Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl, which overlook the valley of Mexico, and why they are shaped the way they are. Popocatépetl is an active volcano and Iztaccihuatl is a very low volcano which has been inactive for thousands of years and which some say is in the shape of a woman sleeping on her back.



The story that I'm about to tell you is extremely romantic and will give you the feels if you're that sort of person, so I suggest you get a box of tissues and some soothing hot chocolate before you start reading it. Chances are that if you've cried at the end of the Shakespeare play "Romeo and Juliet", you'll cry even more after hearing this. 


Once upon a time, there was a princess named Iztaccíhuatl and a warrior named Popocatépetl who were i n  l o v e . However, Iztaccihuatl's father did not want them to get married. So he told Popocatepetl that he would let the warrior marry Iztaccihuatl if he returned from battle with the head of some person that Iztaccihuatl's father hated. The emperor assumed and hoped Popocatepetl would just die. 

I like this drawing because she's like "noooo don't leave me" and he's like "I'm sorry but I must." The artist's name is Nadine Takvorian.



While Popocatepetl was away, the emperor assumed he would die, so he arranged for a bunch of other suitors for his daughter. One of these suitors gave Iztaccihuatl the false message that Popocatepetl had died. Upon hearing this, Iztaccihuatl killed herself with a dagger. 
This is me at this point in the story.

Soon Popocatepetl came back victorious with the head of the enemy, but he was devastated upon learning  that Iztaccihuatl had died. He needed some way to honour her, so he carried her body into the mountains. 

Credits to Nadine Takvorian 

He stood there watching Iztaccihuatl and soon the gods turned the star-crossed lovers into mountains so that they could be together forever. That's why the volcano of Iztaccihuatl resembles a d e A d woman. Every time Popocatepetl remembers his beloved, the volcano smokes. That's the soul of Popocatepetl calling out to Iztaccihuatl or something like that. 

IDK who the artist is

It's a really moving story *coNSumEd by FEeLs*. What do you think of it? Does it remind you of anything that has happened in your love life? Were you once involved in a forbidden romance? Thanks for checking out this blog and be sure to follow!


Monday, July 3, 2017

The Legend of the Piasa Bird and a rant on pseudo-historical "theories"

Have you ever heard a pseudo-historical 'theory'? This can be like someone claiming the Olmecs were black just because those Olmec heads supposedly had African looking features. Yeah right xD I don't think so. Other hilarious pseudohistory includes claiming that various ancient civilizations were descended from aliens or saying that everything that happened in the Bible is fact.

All 17 of the colossal Olmec stone heads found have chubby cheeks and flat noses. Many Mexican people still have those features today.
Now, aside from being laughable because they aren't based on any evidence, most pseudo historical statements are actually really racist and people who promote them don't realize the damage they are doing. By saying that the Olmecs were black you're offending Mexicans and other indigenous people by taking away a part of their heritage. You're also making it seem as if Africans don't have plenty of other things they should be proud of. The same is true when you insult an ancient civilization by saying it had something to do with aliens. And people who think everything that happened in the Bible is fact? At least consider that the Bible has been modified and translated for hundreds of years. There's no way everything in it is even what was originally intended to be there.

Oh yeah and lets not get started about what race the ancient Egyptians were. Why does everyone have to say they were either all white or all black? Can't we just accept that Kemet was mixed?

So why did I start off my post with ranting about pseudohistory? Well because I've noticed that Native Americans never really get anything out of pseudohistory. There are plenty of eurocentrics and afrocentric theories, but no indigenous-centric theories. I hate ALL pseudohistory of course, but I suppose they are good for getting a good laugh out of and writing fanfiction and alternate history on. The danger only comes when people actually start believing in the interesting fantasies as truth. So if we're going to say that pseudohistory is valuable because it allows us to be creative, then I suppose we should add some indigenous-centric "theories" to the pile. Yay!

I've discussed this with a really good indigenous internet friend of mine, and she seemed to approve of the idea. So lets do this!

So lets say that the Mexica/Aztec god Quetzalcoatl was responsible for introducing civilization to the Old World. This is why some of the art and mythology of the Middle East totally resembles the Piasa bird:


I mean this obviously looks like a griffin or a sphynx or a dragon or something, right? Ugh the only reason why no one is believing this theory now is because I'm saying Native Americans were the original people who came up with this. If I reversed it, people would be more okay with it. 

All jokes aside, here is the legit myth behind the Piasa Bird... 

Just because the religion/spirituality of indigenous people was more scientific, doesn't mean they didn't have some cool mythology :D This one comes from the Illini people from the upper Mississipi River valley.



Alright so the Piasa bird was this huge scary creature with deer antlers, wings, fish scales and eagle talons that was said to have come from over the eastern sea (omg this actually helps support the pseudohistorical theory I came up with). Its name means "bird that devours men" in the Miami-Illinois language. It was said to have terrorized and sp00ked everyone in the early days of the Illini confederation until a brave archer named Terahionawaka and the village chief, Ouatoga, figured out how to defeat it. Ouatoga told Terahionawaka that the underside of the dragon-bird thingy's body was completely unprotected by its scales. So Terahionawaka fired arrows dipped in poison at the birb and then the birb died R.I.P. 

Our sources for this myth

Murals were painted of this creature on limestone cliffsides above the Mississipi river. These no longer survive today thanks to the Mississipi Lime Company from the 1870s (that really really sucks ugh because the old mural was really epic and was older than 900 CE and was created possibly by the Cahokian civilization). However, a replica mural has been painted in Alton, Illinois based on descriptions of the original murals which is open as a tourist attraction today. The first European to see the original mural was the French explorer Jacques Marquette in 1673, who came up with the pseudohistorical theory that Native Americans could never have been the ones who painted it because apparently the painting was soooo good that even French artists would find it difficult or something like that. In 1836, the professor John Russell was able to find out more about the Piasa bird, including the story behind it that local indigenous people told. What really sucks is that some folklorists believe John Russell made everything up. So who knows?

By the way, here is an AMAZING DeviantArt drawing by LittleFireDragon that shows how the dragon is the most universal mythological creature: http://fav.me/d47yd2r make sure you read the description.

It's so beautiful *_* 

Have a gr8 day!~ 




Sunday, July 2, 2017

Kokopelli- the humpbacked flute player and venerated fertility deity of the Southwest


It's about time I got serious with this blog, so now I've recreated it entirely and even changed the name to reflect my interests better. I'm wannabehistorian1491. That shall be my nickname on the internet from now on. I originally started this blog when I was 10, which explains the awkward name this blog used to have. But now I'm going to become legit. You can now access this website with the URL www.wannabehistorian1491.tk  as well as the previous address it used to have. This is to avoid losing followers. I've also changed the appearance of this blog greatly. The background is now a tiled kokopelli design. 

Kokopelli was a deity of southwest native americans, such as the Hopi, Zuni, Apache, Navajo, and Pueblo people. Depictions of Kokopelli have been found on pottery as well as on prehistoric American rock carvings. He loves music and can be seen playing a very ancient Anasazi flute. He's also a trickster god like Loki from Norse mythology and is associated with agriculture, pregnancy, rain, childbirth and fertility. He's humpbacked because he carries seeds on his back. So why did I use Kokopelli to represent this blog? Well because in addition to being a fertility god, Kokopelli was the deity that ruled over creativity. I think that makes it have a more special meaning for me.




Monday, June 26, 2017

Canada 150 DOs and DON'Ts



Hi there guys! Sorry I haven't updated the blog much recently. Sorry that all my posts begin with "Sorry I haven't updated the blog much recently". Well now that the summer vacation is almost here, I'm making plans of what to do with my life when there is no school to look forward to (ye so I'm lowkey a nerd). My grandparents have also recently come to visit from India. I really want to show them what Canada is all about by taking them to some iconic historical sites and all, and of course a huge part of that will be telling them stuff about Canada's indigenous people. 

Alright so it just so happens that Canada's 150th anniversary of confederation is coming up. I'm probably the least patriotic person you will ever meet and I actually hate the governments of all countries (though I love all their cultures but more on that later), but even I couldn't help but feel a little excited. I mean, it's a once in a lifetime event. The federal government is going to spend half a billion dollars on it and there will be discounts everywhere to visit museums, historic sites, etc. For a Seeker of High Culture like me, that sounds pretty terrific. It would just be such a waste to stay at home and rant on my blog about how Canada is guilty of genocide and should be using all that money to pay reparations while it is instead flaunting everything it stole from indigenous people. So I just wanted to say that there's a good and a bad way to approach this dilemma. I bet you no one who follows this blog likes the idea of Canada 150, but my disciples please remember that we must learn to make the most of even the worst situations. So, read on. 






DO:
  • Get educated on what this celebration is all about if you don't know much about the history of confederation already. Yes I'm talking about grade 7 history when you learned all about John A. MacDonald's vision of uniting British North American colonies a mari usque ad mare. Please don't be one of those people who are like all into the celebration but don't know what the Charlottetown Conference was. Please. We need to be better than some Americans are on July 4th. 

  • View the day not as a measure of how far we've come as a nation, but how far we still have to go. 

  • Remember that patriotism is stupid. No exceptions. Not even Mexican patriotism even though Mexico>Life. Oops. 

  • Remember that Canada is what it is because of the genocide of First Nations people.

  • Take advantage of the discounts to popular tourist attractions. See if you qualify for a FREE Discovery Pass http://www.commandesparcs-parksorders.ca/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=22953&urlLangId=-1&productId=524528 . 

DON'T:

  • Skip reading this brilliant article by Pamela Palmeter, Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson university: 

Canada 150 is a celebration of Indigenous genocide

This year, the federal government plans to spend half a billion dollars on events marking Canada's 150th anniversary, prompting a great deal of debate about its historical treatment of Indigenous peoples. The majority of Canadians don't have all the facts about that, while First Nations continue to live the crisis-level effects of that legacy. Perhaps Canada should cancel its celebrations and undertake the hard work necessary to make amends.

MARCH 29, 2017
 
5:43 PM







  • Say anything that would imply you think Canada is in any way "better" than other countries. 
  • Do anything degenerate. Like actually, I think you know what I mean by now and I can trust you now, right? I can unleash you upon the world now with no regrets. 
Alright so now that that's out of the way I want to take a few more moments to just talk about my life and what my plans are for the summer. I want to talk about some novels I will be working on. You may have heard a bit about them if you've been checking out my writing page which u can click here to see. One of them is about two communists who time travel back to the Aztec civilization and try to introduce their ideals to the MexiCa WorLd. It also doubles as a bildungsroman tale of a Mexica teenager who is trying to discover her views on politics, love, and all the rest of that sort of stuff that we try to figure out at this age. The other one I'll be working on is a sequel to the book I wrote that won NaNoWriMo 2016. If you want to read that award winning book, go to the writing page of this blog or click here. It's about a huge cultural revolution that occurs and basically, I don't want to spoil it. But the sequel I will be writing will be on what happens after the revolution. The protagonists are trying to establish a World Government, kinda like the United Nations except that it actually has power. This way leaders will make decisions keeping the good of the citizens of the whole world in mind instead of just of their nation. I'm an anarchist as far as I don't believe in countries, but the world is my country and I would be patriotic to a government that actually benefits the world. 

Other random af stuff I'll be doing over the summer: 
  • Learning to play the harmonica so that I can perform a duet with Vickyish. 
  • Learning to play the bansuri (Indian bamboo flute) 
  • Practicing playing the regular flute 
  • Practicing playing the recorder even though recorders are gross 
  • Practicing playing the trumpet 
  • Making lots of art, possibly even venture into making a comic book. Who knows? 
  • Celebrating my birthday
  • Writing novels
  • "celebrating" Canada 150 ;D 
  • some activism related to aboriginal rights (I'll keep you posted on this for sure so that you know I'm being legit.) 
  • updating this blog regularly 
  • Working at a summer job which will be tutoring people who are learning English O_o 
  • Studying math, physics, chemistry and biology in advance so that I don't die in grade 11
  • Possibly studying history and philosophy for the fun of it 
  • Reading a bunch of random af books. Possibly just anything I can get my hands on, including everything from degenerate YA fiction to "The Republic" by Plato. I'm not picky when it comes to books and I'll post some of my Goodreads reviews if any of you are interested. Ideally I would want to finish reading the Mexica Movement's recommended book list, but they are a bit hard to find. It doesn't help that a few of the books on that list are out of print. About time they wrote a compact manifesto, not that I wouldn't want to read everything else as well. 
Alright well that's it. 

have an awesome summer, everyone!