Monday, August 08, 2005


When Asoka, a convert to Buddhism from Hinduism, sent Mahendra and Princess Sanghamittha as missionaries to Ceylon about 251 BC, they converted

Topeka Constitution

The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 had opened the two territories to settlement under the “popular sovereignty” doctrine—that is, the settlers themselves were supposed to decide the slavery question within their borders

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Coin, Switzerland

The coinage of Switzerland illustrates its varying fortunes. First there was the gold money of the Merovingian kings, among whose mints were Basel, Lausanne, St. Maurice-en-Valais, and Sitten (Sion). The silver deniers that Charlemagne made the coinage of the empire were issued by fewer mints. The dukes of Swabia began to strike at Zürich in the 10th century, and the empire

Monday, July 25, 2005


(Spanish: “one who goes before”), representative of the kings of Castile (Spain) who in the early European Middle Ages headed military expeditions and, from the reign of Ferdinand III (1217–52) until the 16th century, held judicial and administrative powers over specific districts. Greater adelantados (adelantados mayores) served as appeal judges and in times of war were responsible

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Israel, Cultural institutions

Israel has a rich and varied range of cultural institutions, including major libraries, an art institute and artists' colonies, art museums, institutes for archeology and folk life, theatres, concert halls and performing arts centres, and movie houses. A thriving film industry has emerged. In 1953 the Israeli government established the Academy of the Hebrew Language

Friday, July 08, 2005


An imaginary creature regarded as an embodiment of absolute absurdity. François Rabelais in Gargantua uses the phrase à la venue des cocquecigrues to mean “never.” Charles Kingsley in The Water Babies has the fairy Bedonebyasyoudid report that there are seven things he is forbidden to tell until “the coming of the Cocqcigrues.” The word is of French origin.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


City, northwestern Honduras. Situated in the highlands at an elevation of 1,837 feet (559 m), it is located near the headwaters of the Aguán River. Although its founding date is uncertain, it was first mentioned in 1684. It is now a commercial and manufacturing centre in a fertile agricultural area. Coffee, tobacco, livestock, and timber are the principal products of the region. In the

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Fish Sauce

In Southeast Asian cookery, a liquid seasoning prepared by fermenting freshwater or saltwater fish with salt in large vats. After a few months time, the resulting brownish, protein-rich liquid is drawn off and bottled. It is sometimes allowed to mature in the sun in glass or earthenware bottles before use. Called nam pla in Thailand, nuoc nam in Vietnam, patis in the Philippines,