The world is currently enjoying the much needed sportsmanship and global connection that the Tokyo Olympics 2020 games have offered us following a difficult year and a half from Covid-19.
It’s brought the world together, after it was postponed from last year. The Olympic games are now a tradition that the world enjoys but few appreciate the rich and amazing history behind the Olympics. The following are 3 facts you (probably) didn’t know about the Olympics.
It was invented as a homage to the god Zeus
Starting in 776 BC, the Olympics were invented as a way of worshipping the god Zeus. It was held in his temple at Olympia, which had a 12.4 m statue of Zeus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
The winners were awarded differently
The athletes at the time were not competing for the coveted gold, silver or bronze medals as a visual representation of their triumph against their competitors!
The ancient Greeks were fighting for an olive wreath. This particular olive wreath was special because it was picked from the tree behind the statue of Zeus, which was made of wood and covered in gold and ivory.
Emperor Theodosius stopped the games from continuing
The games started in 776 BC and were held every four years – until 393 AD. In a bid to promote Christianity and ban paganism, Emperor Theodosius abolished the Olympic games. This lasted until the 19th century when the games were revived. The games would now be held every four years, and the first game of 1896 was held in Greece’s capital Athens.
And this is a tradition that has remained till this day; a wonderful way that has enabled the world to put their differences aside and enjoy the games.
To learn more about Ancient Greece, read our study guide here.
Beer is a staple in pubs, social gatherings and celebrations, but few appreciate – or can comprehend the complex and long history behind this iconic beverage. The following are 3 mind blowing facts about beer in the ancient world.
Beer was first discovered around 10,000 – 5,000 BC
It was around the time when humans transitioned from gathers and started settling into tribes when farming became a way of life, and barley was one of the grains farmed.
Beer was safer to drink than water
It was more nutritious than the bread made and even the drinking water that was available around 2,000 BC. You were more likely to get ill drinking water than beer.
It has been used for celebrations for thousands of years
As early as the Bronze Age, the people were aware of alcohol’s ability to relax the drinker. It was also used in wedding traditions! The father of the bride would make a month’s worth of beer for his new son in law following the wedding.
Beer is now a part of our lives, but our ancestors got there first and embraced it in their culture and lives.
China is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the summer of 1921. The party has been the sole governing party of the People’s Republic of China since its founding in 1949.
The party was founded in 1921 with the assistance of Russian Bolsheviks who came to power after the 1917 October Revolution.
From 1927 to 1950, the CCP fought a civil war against the Kuomintang’s Nationalist Government but it temporarily ceased its hostilities in order to form a short-lived alliance with the Nationalists to fight a war against Japan between 1937 and 1945.
In 1949, it emerged victorious when the CCP’s Chairman, Mao Zedong, proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China and the Nationalists Republic of China government retreated to Taiwan. Since then, the CCP has been the sole ruling party in the country.
Chocolate! A guilty pleasure for all of us, and a treat for those with a sweet tooth. What most people don’t appreciate is that it has a rich history and the industry that it has evolved into. Here are 3 facts on chocolate that will leave your mind blown.
Humans discovered chocolate 4,000 years ago
Our love affair with chocolate began when the Olmecs (in present-day Southern Mexico and Central America), cracked the code on how to eat the bitter seed cacao, where it grew in abundance.
Chocolate has been used as medicine
Who says chocolate is unhealthy! Due to the sugar content, this might be unexpected but it’s true. It has ingredients and properties that can aid the body in the healing process. Throughout history, it has been prescribed to underweight patients to help them gain weight, and it has components that’ve been used to soften extremely dry skin.
Chocolate is a multibillion pound industry
It seems little has changed in the 4,000 years as our love of chocolate shows no signs of slowing down and is increasing year on year. The chocolate industry globally is worth an estimated $130 billion and 40-50 million people rely on chocolate as their livelihood.
If this isn’t enough, our documentary showcases the history from the very beginning, to the industry it spurred and how it was embraced by the world. Watch The Story of Chocolate here.
To read our study guide on a comprehensive history of chocolate, click here.
80th Anniversary of Battle of Crete
This week marks the 80th anniversary of the decisive battle in World War 2.
In May 1941, 14,000 German paratroopers supported by nearly a thousand aircraft were dropped on the island in a unique blitzkrieg operation. An airborne invasion of this scale would never be repeated. Several thousand elite paratroopers, the pride of the Nazi Luftwaffe strikeforce, were killed and hundreds of planes lost in 10 days of fierce fighting. Despite the huge cost, the Germans defeated 30,000 British, Australian and New Zealand troops supported by Greek partisans.
It had a devastating impact on all sides and led to a four year German occupation of the Greek island of Crete.
Australia’s tough border policy – in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, which denies entry and exit from the country for all but a few – is known as ‘Fortress Australia’ and the country is now being described as the “Hermit Kingdom”.
To some commentators, this stance is drawing reminders to the country’s harsh history of locking people up! Explore our program A Short History of Convict Australia, which examines how 160,000 British and Irish convicts were incarcerated in Australia over a period of 80 years.
Outraged tourist operators are describing Australia as the the Hermit Kingdom of the South Pacific – given its extreme anti Covid-19 measures and ongoing closed borders in the face of the pandemic.
They say the “lucky country” could lapse into semi permanent isolation.
Have a read of our article, ‘Extreme Australia‘. Australia is a land of extremes. Extreme nature, weather ranging from scorching desert hear to below freezing, extreme geographical wonders, vast landscapes, hair-raising history and colorful characters that make it such a fantastic destination. Check out our list of Australia’s extremes here.
The Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem is home to one of the holiest sites in Islam. It is also the only famous mosque that lies in disputed or contested territory. As tensions once again erupt in the Holyland, check out our guide to the world’s must see mosques here.
We list 10 of the most beautiful mosques in the world. From the stunning architecture to the intricate geometric tiling and ancient calligraphy, a visit to one of these places of worship is sure to take your breath away! Give it a read here.
During the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Pacific Region has remained relatively virus free compared to the rest of the world.
A combination of isolation and strict border measures has meant that the region has been off limits to the rest of the world. Previous pandemics have caused a huge loss of life for indigenous populations throughout the pacific islands and Australia.
Check out our content on the continent, that we’ve come to call the Pacific Bubble:
The 25th of April each year marks Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand, the biggest wartime commemoration event and an important day. This annual national day marks the anniversary of the first military operation by Australian and New Zealand soldiers in the First World War in 1915.
The term Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, a group of fighters who landed at Gallipoli Cave in the Allies’ bid to capture the Gallipoli peninsula from the Ottoman Empire.
The battle lasted for eight months and resulted in heavy losses on both sides including 8,000 Australian soldiers.
Anzac Day honours the sacrifices made by the soldiers and commemorates their lives. More than a century on, it’s come to be a source of pride, patriotism and a day of great importance.
To learn more about Australia and New Zealand’s involvement and their losses in the world war, check out our three part ‘Ultimate Blitzkrieg – The WW2 Battle of Crete’ documentary here.
Read our article on The Gallipoli Campaign on its 100th anniversary here.
Read about the Kokoda Trail, the first time when Australia’s national security was threatened.
Read our study guide on World War 1 and what caused it here.
We have three study guides on World War 2 for you to enjoy. To learn about the Battle of Crete, click here. Have an in-depth understanding of WWII in Europe here. And specifically, click here to read about WWII in the Pacific.