3 Fascinating Facts about Chocolate

3 Fascinating Facts about Chocolate

By Kaz Bosali

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

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.

To learn more, watch our 3 part documentary, ‘Ultimate Blitzkrieg: The WW2 Battle of Crete‘ that tells the story if The Battle of Crete’s invasion, occupation and evacuation.

Covid-19: Australian Borders

Covid-19: Australian Borders

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.

Written by Ian Cross, edited by Kaz Bosali

Travelling to Australia During the Pandemic

Travelling to Australia During the Pandemic

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.

Mosques in the Islamic World

Mosques in the Islamic World

Written by Ian Cross

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.

Under the Spotlight: The Pacific

Under the Spotlight: The Pacific

Written by Ian Cross, edited by Kaz Bosali

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:

Read our article ‘Great Explorers: Pacific‘, that includes the explorations of the famous James Cook.

Watch our Globe Guide trailer ‘Eco Trekking The Pacific Islands’ here.

Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand

Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand

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.

The Significance of Ramadan

The Significance of Ramadan

This month, millions of Muslims around the world will observe the month of Ramadan. It’s one of the five pillars of Islam and sees followers abstain from drinking liquids, sex and smoking and they’re expected to fast during the daylight hours.

It’s the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and Ramadan places an emphasis on charity, community, worship and faith. As it’s time of appreciation, connection to one’s faith and community, charity and prayer are also emphasised and particularly encouraged. Followers hope that it’s a month of consciousness, reflection and nourishment of the soul. When the sun goes down, they can then break their fast with a meal ‘iftar’.

The end of Ramadan is marked with Eid, a 3-day period of festivities and it’s the time to cave in to life’s culinary pleasures: great food surrounded by your family and friends. This year due to Covid-19, it is likely to be a different affair for Muslims celebrating around the world.

To all our Muslim readers, Ramadan Mubarak!

If you enjoyed this article, then check out our documentary presented by the lovely Mehreen Baig. She looks at the motivations and challenges facing the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims during their greatest month of the year. Click here to watch.

By Kaz Bosali

3,000 old ‘lost golden city’ of ancient Egypt discovered

3,000 old ‘lost golden city’ of ancient Egypt discovered

It has been dubbed the most important find since the unearthing of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the 1920s by experts. Almost a century on, we’re still uncovering hidden artefacts, treasures and in this instance a city!

Egyptology experts have said that Aten is the largest city ever to be uncovered (so far), labeled as the ‘lost golden city’ and is located close to Luxor. Among the finds are statues of Queen Tiye, the wife of Amenhotep III who ruled for almost 40 years from 1390 – 53 BCE.

Jewellery, pottery, a bakery and sewing equipment were also reportedly found, offering glimpses into the everyday life of ancient Egyptians.

This find adds to another astonishing breakthrough into our understanding of ancient Egypt. The treasures and everyday items from back then still captivate audiences today thousands of years after.

Learn more about the awe-inspiring ancient Egyptian tombs and temples along the banks of the river Nile with our Tough Boats: Egypt Down The Nile show.

Check out our Empire Builders: The Ancient Egyptians episode to travel through time and appreciate 3000 years of ancient Egyptian history through the amazing stories of ten of its most famous and spectacular buildings.

Written by Kaz Bosali

Ancient Egyptian Mummies Paraded in Cairo Spectacle

Ancient Egyptian Mummies Paraded in Cairo Spectacle

A historic parade took place in Cairo, the capital city of Egypt to relocate 22 ancient rulers to the Museum of Egyptian Civilisation under tight security.

The 22 pharoahs, 18 kings and 4 queens, were transported to their new home in the chronological order of their reign in specially made vehicles. Amongst the monarchs, included the infamous King Ramses II.

The initiative is a bid to encourage tourism in Egypt. Although we may be living in Covid times, you can still experience Egypt the virtual way!

Explore some of the most spectacular ancient Egyptian tombs and temples along the banks of the river Nile with our Tough Boats: Egypt Down The Nile show.

Check out our Empire Builders: The Ancient Egyptians episode to travel through time and appreciate 3000 years of ancient Egyptian history through the amazing stories of ten of its most famous and spectacular buildings.

Written by Kaz Bosali