Saturday, January 5, 2008

People of the world

As the first humans spread across the world during prehistoric times, some settled at the margins of deserts, others at the edge of the frozen Arctic, and others still in the green depths of tropical rain forests. Over a long time, the climate, the amount of sunlight, the type of food available and many other factors affected the physical appearance if these isolated groups of people, and gave them distinct characteristics.

When did the races appear?
Modern humans, Homo Sapiens, emerged about 100 000 years ago and spread through Europe, Africa and Asia. Among skeletons from this period, different human traits have been recognised. So, a separation into races must have begun at a still earlier date, through no one can say exactly when they diverged. Genetic studies show that all people come from one common human stock, and that differences relate only to things such as skin colour, hair type and facial features.

Why are some people white and some black?
As early human spread around the world, groups settled in different climate zones. In hot, tropical areas, a high level of the dark skin pigment melanin protects the skin from strong sunshine, so people with plenty of melanin survived there better than people with pale skin. In cooler, cloudy climates, where the Sun is weaker, it is an advantage for skin to absorb more sunshine, which provides Vitamin D, so skin with less melanin is better.

In the frozen north
The Inuit are a Mongoloid people of the Arctic regions. Their traditional life revolved around fishing and hunting seal and walrus among the ice floes, and over thousands of years they adapted physically to their surroundings. Their eyes are particularly narrow because their upper eyelids have developed a special fold of skin to protect their eyes from glare from the snow. A thick layer of flesh on their bodies provides insulation from the cold.

Melting pot
There are five main racial groups in the world. Although each groups originated in a particular area, they soon spread across the world.

Tag :people
Tag :races
Tag :skins

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fighters and bombers
Aircraft were first used in the First World War to spot enemy artillery positions. Fighter planes were invented soon afterwards, followed later in the war by the first bombers. During the Second World War, mass bombing of cities caused them to blaze like huge bonfires. In 1945, a single atom bomb dropped by the Allies on the Japanese city of Hiroshima killed or injured 130 000 people. Modern bombers and fighters are fitted with computer that navigate at supersonic speeds and calculate the positions of targets while on the move.

Tag :fighters and bombers

Friday, December 14, 2007

Siege mentality
In medieval times, town and castles were built with heavily fortified stone walls, towers, and walls within walls, to make them easier to defend, but attackers found all kinds of ways to breach the walls.

Own Goal
Underwater warfare began in the 19th century. The effective submarine attack was made in 1864, during the Confederates H.L Hunley fired a ram torpedo and sank an enemy ship. Unfortunately, the explosion blew up the submarine, too.

Tag :defender built
Tag :submarine attack

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

When was gunpowder invented?
Gunpowder is made by mixing saltpetre (potassium nitrate) with sulphur and powdered charcoal. A formula was published in AD 1044 in the Chinese Complete Compendium of Military Classics. In the 12th century, the Arabs used gunpowder to fire arrows from guns. Cannon, in which gunpowder is used to fire a cannonball, were in use in Europe from 1326.

Machine-age war
The machine gun, invented in 1884 by an American engineer called Hiram Maxim, eventually ended the supremacy of cavalry on the battlefield as horsemen were mown down in droves. During the First World War, the tank, an armour-plated gun turret mounted on caterpillar tracks, made its first appearance. The name 'tank' was a codeword invented by British officials, who wanted to keep their new weapon a secret. They hoped people would think they were talking about a water tank.

Tag :gunpowder
Tag :machine gun

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Stone Age men hunted with flint axes and club, which they sometimes used for fighting each other, too. The development of metalworking led to finer weapon with sharper cutting edges. Ancient Mesopotamian soldiers wielded bronze swords and spears, and tougher, more damaging weapons made of iron appeared around 1000 BC. Wars tend to be won by the side that has the more advanced weapons.

When did people first ride horses in battle?
Horses were first tamed around 2000 BC by nomads on the Asian steppes. Long afterwards, these warrior horsemen struck terror into neighbouring civilisations and their riding skills were copied by their enemies. Egyptian pharaohs went into battle in horse-drawn chariots, and the Roman army included cavalry. The invention of stirrups around AD 400 allowed cavalrymen to carry lances and swords. By the Middle Ages, mounted knights fought in heavy chainmail, plate armour and visored helmets.

Tag :warfare history