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Blog by James Blake Wiener

China's Tang Dynasty Golden Age

China's Tang dynasty golden age is routinely described as one of the most brilliant eras in Chinese history. Under Tang rule and leadership, China became the wealthiest, most populous, and most sophisticated civilization on earth. While exerting...
John Hawkins
Definition by Mark Cartwright

John Hawkins

Sir John Hawkins (1532-1595 CE) was an Elizabethan mariner, merchant and naval administrator who has the inglorious (if not wholly accurate) record of being England’s first slave trader. In the 1560s CE Hawkins trafficked slaves...
Wolof Empire
Definition by Mark Cartwright

Wolof Empire

The Wolof (aka Jolof or Djolof) Empire was a state on the coast of West Africa, located between the Senegal and Gambia rivers, which thrived from the mid-14th to mid-16th century CE. The empire prospered on trade thanks to the two rivers...
Kingdom of Saba
Definition by Joshua J. Mark

Kingdom of Saba

Saba (also given as Sheba) was a kingdom in southern Arabia (region of modern-day Yemen) which flourished between the 8th century BCE and 275 CE when it was conquered by the neighboring Himyarites. Although these are the most commonly accepted...
Canaan
Definition by Joshua J. Mark

Canaan

Canaan was the name of a large and prosperous ancient country (at times independent, at others a tributary to Egypt) located in the Levant region of present-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel. It was also...
Mali Empire
Definition by Mark Cartwright

Mali Empire

The Mali Empire (1240-1645 CE) of West Africa was founded by Sundiata Keita (r. 1230-1255 CE) following his victory over the kingdom of Sosso (c. 1180-1235 CE). Sundiata’s centralised government, diplomacy and well-trained army permitted...
Bronze Age Collapse
Definition by Joshua J. Mark

Bronze Age Collapse

The Bronze Age Collapse (also known as Late Bronze Age Collapse) is a modern-day term referring to the decline and fall of major Mediterranean civilizations during the 13th-12th centuries BCE. The precise cause of the Bronze Age Collapse...
Pirates in the Ancient Mediterranean
Definition by Joshua J. Mark

Pirates in the Ancient Mediterranean

Piracy, defined as the act of attacking and robbing a ship or port by sea, had a long history in the ancient Mediterranean stretching from the time of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten (r. 1353-1336 BCE) and throughout the Middle Ages (c. 476-1500...
Oyo Empire
Definition by Mark Cartwright

Oyo Empire

The Oyo Empire flourished from the 17th to 19th century CE in what is today southwest Nigeria. The Oyo forged an empire thanks to their formidable cavalry units and so came to dominate other Yoruba peoples of the region. The Oyo Empire...
Punt
Definition by Joshua J. Mark

Punt

The Land of Punt is described in ancient Egyptian texts as "the land of the gods" and a region rich in resources. In the decades after Jean-Francois Champollion first deciphered Egyptian heiroglyphics in 1822 CE, and western...