Thursday 14 July 2011



New European empires: 16th century AD

Since the fall of Rome, there has been no empire based in Europe which extends outside the continent. This situation changes abruptly in the 16th century, when Spain and Portugal become the pioneers in a new era of colonization.

The Iberian peninsula is well poised at the time for this leap into the unknown.
In their great voyages of discovery, in the 15th century, the Portuguese have developed ocean-going skills which are eagerly copied by their Spanish neighbours. Spain's internal conflicts of recent centuries have recently been resolved with the union of Castile and Aragon and then, in 1492, the conquest of Granada.

Two voyages in the 1490s lay the foundations for the future empires. Columbus, sailing west for Spain, stumbles upon America in 1492. Vasco da Gama, adventuring south and east for Portugal, reaches India in 1498.
Spaniards in a new world: 16th century AD

The half century after Columbus's voyage sees a frenzy of activity in the new world (part exploration, part conquest, part colonization) as the Spanish scramble and struggle to make the most of their unexpected new opportunities.

By 1506 the entire continental shore of the Caribbean Sea has been explored from Honduras to the mouth of the Orinoco. Known at first as Tierra Firme (a phrase applied to the isthmus of Panama), it is believed to be part of the coast of Asia - until Vespucci's furthest journey south gives him a different impression, which becomes gradually accept.......

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Qutub Minar-History

     Qutub-Minar in red and buff standstone is the highest tower in India. It has a diameter of 14.32m at the base and about 2.75m on the top with a height of 72.5m.

     Qutb-u'd-Din Aibak laid the foundation of Qutab Minar in AD 1199. The minar was said to have been built to celebrate the victory of Mohammed Ghori, the invader from Afghanistan, over the Rajputs in 1192. He raised the first storey, to which were added three more storeys by his successor and son-in-law, Shamsu'd-Din IItutmish (AD 1211-36). All the storeys are surrounded by a projected balcony encircling the Minar and supported by stone brackets, which are decorated with honeycomb design, more conspicuously in the first storey.

    Numerous inscriptions in Arabic and Nagari characters in different places of the Minar reveal the history of Qutb. According to the inscriptions on its surface it was repaired by Firoz Shah Tughlaq (AD 1351-88) and Sikandar Lodi (AD 1489-1517).

      Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, to the northeast of Minar was built by Qutbu'd-Din Aibak in AD 1198. It is the earliest mosque built by the Delhi Sultans. It consists of a rectangular courtyard enclosed by cloisters, erected with the carved columns and architectural members of 27 Hindu and Jain temples, which were demolished by Qutbu'd-Din Aibak as recorded in his inscription on the main eastern entrance.

    Later, a lofty arched screen was erected and the mosque was enlarged, by Shamsu'd- Din IItutmish (AD 1210-35) and Alau'd-Din Khalji. The Iron Pillar in the courtyard bears an inscription in Sanskrit in Brahmi script of 4th century AD, according to which the pillar was set up as a Vishnudhvaja (standard of Lord Vishnu) on the hill known as Vishnupada in memory of a mighty king named Chandra. A deep socket on the top of the ornate capital indicates that probably an image of Garuda was fixed into it.
The Tomb of IItutmish (AD 1211-36) was built in AD 1235. It is a plain square chamber of red sandstone, profusely carved with inscriptions, geometrical and arabesque patterns in Saracenic tradition on the entrances and the whole of interior. Some of the motifs viz., the wheel, tassel, etc., are reminiscent of Hindu designs. Ala 'i- Darwaza, the southern gateway of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque was constructed by Alau'd-Din Khalji in AH 710 (AD 1311) as recorded in the inscriptions engraved on it. This is the first building employing Islamic principles of construction and ornamentation.

     Alau'd-Din Khalji commenced Ala'i Minar, which stands to the north of Kutub-Minar, with the intention of making it twice the size of earlier Minar. He could complete only the first storey, which now has an extant height of 25 m. The other remains in the Qutab complex comprise Madrasa, graves, tombs, mosque and architectural members.

Tuesday 12 July 2011



To understand the complex history of Jews in Russia,
one must begin with a fundamental distinction, often effaced in the
historiography and popular memory, between Russia as a state—the Russian
Empire, the Soviet Union, and since 1991, the Russian Federation—and the
geographically much smaller entity of ethnic Russia. Until the 1720s, there
were essentially no Jews in the Russian Empire except for travelers and
migrant merchants, and the Russian state forbade Jews from settling in its
interior, out of
Christian hostility. 
A group of Jewish soldiers in the tsarist army,
Troitskossovsk, 1887. (YIVO Archives)
It was only
in the early
decades of the
century, when the
rulers of the
Russian Empire
started to expand
westward, after
more than a
century of
eastward inroads
and annexation
(into territories in
which Jews did not
live), that Jews began to move into areas of the Russian Empire—not Russia
proper. Thus, after Peter the Great conquered the areas connecting Muscovy
and the Baltic Sea, and especially after Catherine the Great colluded with
Prussia and Austria to divide and annex the Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth (1772, 1793, 1795), the Russian Empire gradually included
the largest Jewish population in the world—a reality that persisted until the
division of this territory in the aftermath of World War I. In this century and
a half, however, the vast majority of Jews did not live in ethnic Russia itself
but in the Lithuanian, Belorussian, and Ukrainian provinces of the Russian
Empire, and in the Kingdom of Poland, a region controlled by the tsars but
not formally annexed to the empire. Throughout the nineteenth century, and
especially in its latter half, Jews with special privileges settled legally in
Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and other Russian cities, where they were joined
by larger numbers of Jews living there illegally. In the Soviet period, at first
hundreds of thousands and then millions of Jews migrated to the interior
provinces of Russia, particularly to the capital cities of Moscow and
Leningrad. The substantial presence of Jews in these cities (with Leningrad
reverting to its imperial name of Saint Petersburg) and in other parts of
Russia continued in the post-Soviet period. .........

Mongol history

History of Mongol Empire

Mongol Empire
biggest land empire in history
1279 - 1368

Mongol Empire was the biggest land empire in history. Its territory extended from the Yellow Sea in eastern Asia to the borders of eastern Europe. At various times it included China, Korea, Mongolia, Persia (now Iran), Turkestan, and Armenia. It also included parts of Burma, Vietnam, Thailand, and Russia.

The Mongols, who eventually became known as the Tatars, were the most savage conquerors of history. But this vast empire helped increase contacts between peoples of different cultures. Migrations fostered these contacts and promoted trade. Roads were built to connect Russia and Persia with eastern Asia. Many Europeans came to China, and Chinese went to Russia and other parts of Europe. Printing and other Chinese inventions such as paper, gunpowder, and the compass may have been introduced to the West during Mongol times.......

Monday 11 July 2011



First steps: AD 1497-1600

England makes tentative first steps towards establishing a presence beyond the ocean in the same decade as Spain and Portugal, the 1490s. In 1497 Henry VII sends John Cabot on an expedition across the Atlantic to look for a trade route to China. The explorer probably reaches Newfoundland, but his journey provides no lasting result (apart from a theoretical claim to Canada, and news of the rich fishing potential in north Atlantic waters).

During the 16th century, when English seamen are honing their skills, Drake and his colleagues find it more profitable to raid the Spanish main as privateers than to go to the expense of transporting colonists across the Atlantic.
The exception is Walter Raleigh, who sponsors two attempts to settle a colony on Roanoke Island, off the coast of what is now north Carolina. Both are disastrous. The colonists left there in 1585 are soon desperate to return, and are brought back to England by Drake in 1586.

Another group of settlers is brought to the island in 1587, a year which sees the first child born in America to English parents. She is called Virginia Dare (Virginia, in honour of England's virgin queen, is the name given to the colony). But when an English ship next visits the island, in 1590, no trace remains of any member of this pioneering community.
The next attempt to establish English colonies in America comes in 1606, with the founding of two companies for the purpose.............

Sunday 10 July 2011

The World Trade Center History

The World Trade Center

Height: 1,368 and 1,362 feet (417 and 415 meters)
Owners: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Architect: Minoru Yamasaki, Emery Roth and Sons consulting
Engineer: John Skilling and Leslie Robertson of Worthington, Skilling, Helle and Jackson
Ground Breaking: August 5, 1966
Opened: 1970-73; April 4, 1973 ribbon cutting
Destroyed: September 11, 2001
The World Trade Center was more than its signature twin towers: it was a complex of seven buildings on 16-acres, constructed and operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). The towers, One and Two World Trade Center, rose at the heart of the complex, each climbing more than 100 feet higher than the silver mast of the Empire State Building.

Construction of a world trade facility had been under consideration since the end of WWII. In the late 1950s the Port Authority took interest in the project and in 1962 fixed its site on the west side of Lower Manhattan on a superblock bounded by Vesey, Liberty, Church and West Streets. Architect Minoru Yamasaki was selected to design the project; architects Emery Roth & Sons handled production work, and, at the request of Yamasaki, the firm of Worthington, Skilling, Helle and Jackson served as engineers.

The Port Authority envisioned a project with a total of 10 million square feet of office space. To achieve this, Yamasaki considered more than a hundred different building configurations before settling on the concept of twin towers and three lower-rise structures. Designed to be very tall to maximize the area of the plaza, the towers were initially to rise to only 80-90 stories. Only later was it decided to construct them as the world's tallest buildings, following a suggestion said to have originated with the Port Authority's public relations staff......

Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary History

History of Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary

Sultanpur area on the Farukhnagar Gurgaon road was a low lying marshy area which used to get inundated during monsoons. The collected brackish water attracted a large variety of animals and aquatic plants which in turn attracted migratory as well as a variety of resident birds. Earlier this was a favourit hunting grounds of the rich and famous around Delhi and the rulers of the small principalities in the area excelled in the sport of waterfowl hunting. Dr. Salim Ali, the doyen of Indian Ornithology is largely responsible for converting this hunting grouonds to a Bird Sanctuary. He was a frequent visitor till the last days. It was officially declared a Bird Sanctuary in 1971, thanks to the keen interest of Dr. Ali. In 1991, the Sanctuary was upgraded into a National Park.
Location: Gurgaon District of Haryana, India
Distance: Approximately 46 km from Delhi
Established In: 1971
Best Time to Visit: October to June
Main Attractions: Resident and migratory birds, wild animals, etc

Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is one of the most popular excursions for the people residing in Delhi. Situated at a distance of hardly 46 km from the national capital, the bird sanctuary comes under the state of Haryana. Established in the year 1971, as a bird sanctuary, the protected area was later given the status of a national park in 1991. Sultanpur National Park is sprawled over an area of approximately 143 sq km and provides a natural habitat to the local birds as well as those who migrate here every year......

Solan History

Solan History

Solan district is one of the twelve districts of Himachal Pradesh state in northern India. Solan town is the administrative headquarters of the district. The district occupies an area of 1936 km².

The district in its present form comprises of the erstwhile princely states of Bhagal, Bhagat, Kunihar, Kuthar, Mangal, Beja, Mahlog, Nalagarh and parts of Keonthal and Kothi and hilly areas of composite Punjab State which were merged in Himachal Pradesh on the Ist November, 1966 on the reorganisation of composite Punjab on the linguistic basis. Most of these princely state as per history were subjected to the onslaught of Gorkha invasion from the year 1803 to 1805. it was in the year 1815 that after th gorkhas lost to the Britishers, these states were freed and restored tot he respective rulers.

Rishikesh history

History of Rishikesh

Rishikesh or Hrishikesh has got its name from the God Vishnu, who appeared as Lord Rishikesh to Rabhya rishi after his austerities. It is also believed that Lord Rama did penance here on the advice of Sage Vashishtha to kill the demon king Ravana. His younger brother Laxman or Lakshman crossed the Ganga river using a jute rope bridge, which later got the name Lakshmana or Laxman Jhula. There is a Laxman temple as well as Ram, Bharat & Shatrughna temples present in Rishikesh on the banks of Ganga near Lakshman Jhula.

Rishikesh has been the centre of spiritual and religious activities since ancient times. This place situated on the right bank of the river Ganga is surrounded on all sides by beautiful hills.Rishikesh is the gateway for pilgrimage to Badrinath and Kedarnath.Rishikesh is also referred as the yoga capital of the world and it houses a number of ashrams offering yoga and meditation courses. This famous pilgrimage spot is also noted for its traditional and cultural performances, exotic cuisine and many other enriching unique factors which fascinates the tourists coming here giving them a wonderful experience. Its serene and holy atmosphere inspires the pilgrims with pious thoughts. It is around Rishikesh where sages, seers or the rishis and munis in ancient times practiced severe penance and meditation.Rishikesh is also an interesting places for those who adventure as passion for in recent times, it is developing as a place of adventure tourism like white water rafting.

Nainital History

Nainital History

According to an ancient belief, Nainital was the site where one of Parvati’s eyes fell. When Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva, the Hindu Destroyer of the Universe, died, Shiva was filled with grief and carried her corpse wherever he went. Parts of Parvati’s body fell on Earth, and her eye fell in Nainital, forming a large crater that became Naini Lake. In fact, Naini Lake derives its name from the Hindi word, naina, which means ‘eye’.

¤ Discovery of Nainital

Nainital remained ‘undiscovered’ till 1839, when a sugar maker called P Barron found the huge lake amidst forested mountains. Following an intuition, Barron met the local chief, and tried to convince him to relinquish his claim on the region. But Barron had to handle this cleverly.
He took the chief for a boat ride on the lake, and offered him two options: either he give up Nainital, or drown in the lake. The chief’s common sense prevailed, and he signed a deed right then, abdicating his control over Nainital. The British built villas around the lake, and made Nainital their summer capital, along with Mussoorie.

¤ Massive Distruction Faced By The Region

Nainital suffered a drastic reversal on 18 September, 1880. The hill at the northern end of the lake on which stood the Victoria Hotel, was washed away by two days of incessant rain. Landslides crushed houses in their path, burying people alive.
Soon after, the hill over the Victoria Hotel collapsed, crushing a rescue team of soldiers and civilians. More than 150 people died in the landslides, after which the area was flattened, and is now known as the Flats.

 Nainital is referred to in the ‘Manas Khand’ of the ‘Skanda Purana’ as the Tri-Rishi-Sarovar,the lake of the three sages ,Atri,Pulastya and Pulaha who were reputed to have arrived here on a penitential piligrimage, and, finding no water to quench their thirst dug a hole and siphoned water into it from Mansarovar the sacred lake in Tibet.

The Second important mythological reference to Nainital is as one of 64 ‘Shakti Peeths’.These centres were created wherever parts of charred body of Sati fell ,when Lord Shiva was carrying around her corpse in grief .It is said that the left eye (Nain) of Sati fell here and this gave rise to patron deity of town Nainital . It is said that the lake is formed in the emerald eye shape . Naina Devi temple is located at the northern end of the lake . Thus name of Nainital derivated from Naina and the tal (Lake).

mossoorie history

history of mossoorie

Initially Mussoorie was constructed as a shooting lodge in 1825 when an adventurous British military officer Captain Young and Mr. Shore, the resident Superintendent of Revenues at Dehradun explored the nearby regions of the present site. Soon Mussoorie became a popular holiday resort and a hill station because of its undying charm of its beauteousness. In 1827 a sanitorium was built at Landour, which later became a large cantonment. In 1901 the population of Mussoorie was 6461 which rose to 15,000 in the summer season when the people from plains visited here in order to escape the hot and sultry conditions. The number of tourists visiting Mussoorie kept on increasing every year and thus Mussoorie became popular day by day. Previously, Mussoorie was approachable by road from Saharanpur (93 km) away. Accessibility became easier in 1900 with the railway coming to Dehradun, thus shortening the road trip to 34 km. In present date Mussoorie is very well connected by all means of transportation. Mussoorie is one of the most frequently visited hill station and holiday spot and has very few competent tourist spots. After the discovery of Musoorie, this hill station gradually developed as a centre of tourism, education, business and beauty.

The locals often refer the town as “Mansoori” rather than Mussoorie. The name Mussoorie is often attributed to a derivation of 'mansoor', a shrub which were found in abundance in the area. The locals often refer the town as Mansoori rather than Mussoorie. Mussoorie is a gateway of the Yamunotri and Gangotri shrines.