Tag Archives: South America

today’s holiday: Colombia Battle of Boyacá Day


Colombia Battle of Boyacá Day

Colombia, known as New Granada in the early part of the 19th century, was then ruled by Spain. Simón Bolívar, the leader of the independence movement in South America, began a military campaign to liberate Colombia in 1817. He achieved a major victory at the Battle of Boyacá on August 7, 1819, when he surprised the Spanish forces crossing a bridge and routed them. Colombians celebrate this national holiday with parades and festivals throughout the country. Ceremonies take place at the cemeteries where the fallen soldiers of the battle are buried. More… Discuss

Buenos Aires


Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and its largest city and port. Located on the southern shore of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of South America, it is the most heavily industrialized city of Argentina. It is a major food-processing center with huge meatpacking plants. It was first settled in the 16th century and was subordinate to the Spanish Viceroy of Peru. The criollo citizens of Buenos Aires successfully ousted the Spanish Viceroy in what year? More… Discuss

Peru


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
For other uses, see Peru (disambiguation).
Republic of Peru

  • República del Perú  (Spanish)
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: “Firme y feliz por la unión” (Spanish)
“Firm and Happy for the Union”
National seal:

Gran Sello de la República del Perú.svg

Gran Sello del Estado  (Spanish)
Great Seal of the State

 
Capital
and largest city
Lima
12°2.6′S 77°1.7′W
Official languagesa
Ethnic groups (2013[1])
Demonym Peruvian
Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic
 –  President Ollanta Humala
 –  Prime Minister Pedro Cateriano
Legislature Congress
Independence from the Kingdom of Spain
 –  Declared 28 July 1821 
 –  Consolidated 9 December 1824 
 –  Recognized 2 May 1866 
Area
 –  Total 1,285,216 km2 (20th)
496,225 sq mi
 –  Water (%) 0.41
Population
 –  2015 estimate 31,151,643 (41st)
 –  2007 census 28,220,764
 –  Density 23/km2 (191st)
57/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2015 estimate
 –  Total $403.322 billion[2]
 –  Per capita $12,638[2]
GDP (nominal) 2015 estimate
 –  Total $217.607 billion[2]
 –  Per capita $6,819[2]
Gini (2012) positive decrease 45.3[3]
medium · 35th
HDI (2014) Steady 0.737[4]
high · 82nd
Currency Nuevo sol (PEN)
Time zone PET (UTC−5)
Date format dd.mm.yyyy (CE)
Drives on the right
Calling code +51
ISO 3166 code PE
Internet TLD .pe
a. Quechua, Aymara and other indigenous languages are co-official in the areas where they predominate.

Peru (Listeni/pəˈr/; Spanish: Perú [peˈɾu]; Quechua: Piruw [pɪɾʊw];[5] Aymara: Piruw [pɪɾʊw]), officially the Republic of Peru (Spanish: About this sound República del Perú ), is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is an extremely biodiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.[6]

Peruvian territory was home to ancient cultures spanning from the Norte Chico civilization in Caral, one of the oldest in the world, to the Inca Empire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and established a Viceroyalty with its capital in Lima, which included most of its South American colonies. Ideas of political autonomy later spread throughout Spanish America and Peru gained its independence, which was formally proclaimed in 1821. After the battle of Ayacucho, three years after proclamation, Peru ensured its independence. After achieving independence, the country remained in recession and kept a low military profile until an economic rise based on the extraction of raw and maritime materials struck the country, which ended shortly before the war of the Pacific. Subsequently, the country has undergone changes in government from oligarchic to democratic systems. Peru has gone through periods of political unrest and internal conflict as well as periods of stability and economic upswing.

Peru is a representative democratic republic divided into 25 regions. It is a developing country with a high Human Development Index score and a poverty level around 25.8 percent.[7] Its main economic activities include mining, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing.

The Peruvian population, estimated at 30.4 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Europeans, Africans and Asians. The main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechua or other native languages. This mixture of cultural traditions has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.

History

Main article: History of Peru

Prehistory and Pre-Columbian period

Main article: Ancient Peru

 
Sculpted Chavin head embedded in one of the walls of the temple of

 
A Moche ceramic vessel from the 5th century depicting a man’s head

The earliest evidences of human presence in Peruvian territory have been dated to approximately 9,000 BC.[13] Andean societies were based on agriculture, using techniques such as irrigation and terracing; camelid husbandry and fishing were also important. Organization relied on reciprocity and redistribution because these societies had no notion of market or money.[14] The oldest known complex society in Peru, the Norte Chico civilization, flourished along the coast of the Pacific Ocean between 3,000 and 1,800 BC.[15] These early developments were followed by archaeological cultures that developed mostly around the coastal and Andean regions throughout Peru. The Cupisnique culture which flourished from around 1000 to 200 BC[16] along what is now Peru’s Pacific Coast was an example of early pre-Incan culture. The Chavín culture that developed from 1500 to 300 BC was probably more of a religious than a political phenomenon, with their religious centre in Chavin de Huantar.[17] After the decline of the Chavin culture around the beginning of the Christian millennium, a series of localized and specialized cultures rose and fell, both on the coast and in the highlands, during the next thousand years. On the coast, these included the civilizations of the Paracas, Nazca, Wari, and the more outstanding Chimu and Mochica. The Mochica who reached their apogee in the first millennium AD were renowned for their irrigation system which fertilized their arid terrain, their sophisticated ceramic pottery, their lofty buildings, and clever metalwork. The Chimu were the great city builders of pre-Inca civilization; as loose confederation of cities scattered along the coast of northern Peru and southern Ecuador, the Chimu flourished from about 1150 to 1450. Their capital was at Chan Chan outside of modern-day Trujillo. In the highlands, both the Tiahuanaco culture, near Lake Titicaca in both Peru and Bolivia, and the Wari culture, near the present-day city of Ayacucho, developed large urban settlements and wide-ranging state systems between 500 and 1000 AD.[18]

 
The citadel of Machu Picchu, an iconic symbol of pre-Columbian Peru

In the 15th century, the Incas emerged as a powerful state which, in the span of a century, formed the largest empire in pre-Columbian America with their capital in Cusco.[19] The Incas of Cusco originally represented one of the small and relatively minor ethnic groups, the Quechuas. Gradually, as early as the thirteenth century, they began to expand and incorporate their neighbors. Inca expansion was slow until about the middle of the fifteenth century, when the pace of conquest began to accelerate, particularly under the rule of the great emperor Pachacuti. Under his rule and that of his son, Topa Inca Yupanqui, the Incas came to control upwards of a third of South America, with a population of 9 to 16 million inhabitants under their rule. Pachacuti also promulgated a comprehensive code of laws to govern his far-flung empire, while consolidating his absolute temporal and spiritual authority as the God of the Sun who ruled from a magnificently rebuilt Cusco.[20] From 1438 to 1533, the Incas used a variety of methods, from conquest to peaceful assimilation, to incorporate a large portion of western South America, centered on the Andean mountain ranges, from southern Colombia to Chile, between the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Amazon rainforest in the east. The official language of the empire was Quechua, although hundreds of local languages and dialects were spoken. The Inca referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu which can be translated as “The Four Regions” or “The Four United Provinces.” Many local forms of worship persisted in the empire, most of them concerning local sacred Huacas, but the Inca leadership encouraged the worship of Inti, the sun god and imposed its sovereignty above other cults such as that of Pachamama.[21] The Incas considered their King, the Sapa Inca, to be the “child of the sun.”[22]

Conquest and Colonial period

 
Lima in the early 19th century, near the Monastery of San Francisco

 

 
Main façade of the Cathedral of Lima and the Archbishop’s palace

Atahualpa, the last Sapa Inca became emperor when he defeated and executed his older half-brother Huascar in a civil war sparked by the death of their father, Inca Huayna Capac. In December 1532, a party of conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro defeated and captured the Inca Emperor Atahualpa in the Battle of Cajamarca. The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. After years of preliminary exploration and military conflicts, it was the first step in a long campaign that took decades of fighting but ended in Spanish victory and colonization of the region known as the Viceroyalty of Peru with its capital at Lima, which became known as “The City of Kings”. The conquest of the Inca Empire led to spin-off campaigns throughout the viceroyalty as well as expeditions towards the Amazon Basin as in the case of Spanish efforts to quell Amerindian resistance. The last Inca resistance was suppressed when the Spaniards annihilated the Neo-Inca State in Vilcabamba in 1572.

The indigenous population dramatically collapsed due to exploitation, socioeconomic change and epidemic diseases introduced by the Spanish. Viceroy Francisco de Toledo reorganized the country in the 1570s with gold and silver mining as its main economic activity and Amerindian forced labor as its primary workforce.[23] With the discovery of the great silver and gold lodes at Potosí (present-day Bolivia) and Huancavelica, the viceroyalty flourished as an important provider of mineral resources. Peruvian bullion provided revenue for the Spanish Crown and fueled a complex trade network that extended as far as Europe and the Philippines.[24] Because of lack of available work force, African slaves were added to the labor population. The expansion of a colonial administrative apparatus and bureaucracy paralleled the economic reorganization. With the conquest started the spread of Christianity in South America; most people were forcefully converted to Catholicism, taking only a generation to convert the population. They built churches in every city and replaced some of the Inca temples with churches, such as the Coricancha in the city of Cusco. The church employed the Inquisition, making use of torture to ensure that newly converted Catholics did not stray to other religions or beliefs. Peruvian Catholicism follows the syncretism found in many Latin American countries, in which religious native rituals have been integrated with Christian celebrations.[25] In this endeavor, the church came to play an important role in the acculturation of the natives, drawing them into the cultural orbit of the Spanish settlers.

By the 18th century, declining silver production and economic diversification greatly diminished royal income.[26] In response, the Crown enacted the Bourbon Reforms, a series of edicts that increased taxes and partitioned the Viceroyalty.[27] The new laws provoked Túpac Amaru II‘s rebellion and other revolts, all of which were suppressed.[28] As a result of these and other changes, the Spaniards and their creole successors came to monopolize control over the land, seizing many of the best lands abandoned by the massive native depopulation. However, the Spanish did not resist the Portuguese expansion of Brazil across the meridian. The Treaty of Tordesillas was rendered meaningless between 1580 and 1640 while Spain controlled Portugal. The need to ease communication and trade with Spain led to the split of the viceroyalty and the creation of new viceroyalties of New Granada and Rio de la Plata at the expense of the territories that formed the viceroyalty of Peru; this reduced the power, prominence and importance of Lima as the viceroyal capital and shifted the lucrative Andean trade to Buenos Aires and Bogotá, while the fall of the mining and textile production accelerated the progressive decay of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

Eventually, the viceroyalty would dissolve, as with much of the Spanish empire, when challenged by national independence movements at the beginning of the nineteenth century. These movements led to the formation of the majority of modern-day countries of South America in the territories that at one point or another had constituted the Viceroyalty of Peru.[29] The conquest and colony brought a mix of cultures and ethnicities that did not exist before the Spanish conquered the Peruvian territory. Even though many of the Inca traditions were lost or diluted, new customs, traditions and knowledge were added, creating a rich mixed Peruvian culture.[25]

Independence

 
The Battle of Ayacucho was decisive in ensuring Peruvian independence.

 
Map of the Republic of Peru in the mid 1820s

In the early 19th century, while most of South America was swept by wars of independence, Peru remained a royalist stronghold. As the elite vacillated between emancipation and loyalty to the Spanish Monarchy, independence was achieved only after the occupation by military campaigns of José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar.

The economic crises, the loss of power of Spain in Europe, the war of independence in North America and native uprisings all contributed to a favorable climate to the development of emancipating ideas among the criollo population in South America. However, the criollo oligarchy in Peru enjoyed privileges and remained loyal to the Spanish Crown. The liberation movement started in Argentina where autonomous juntas were created as a result of the loss of authority of the Spanish government over its colonies.

After fighting for the independence of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, José de San Martín created the Army of the Andes and crossed the Andes in 21 days, a great accomplishment in military history. Once in Chile he joined forces with Chilean army General Bernardo O’Higgins and liberated the country in the battles of Chacabuco and Maipú in 1818. On 7 September 1820, a fleet of eight warships arrived in the port of Paracas under the command of general Jose de San Martin and Thomas Cochrane, who was serving in the Chilean Navy. Immediately on 26 October they took control of the town of Pisco. San Martin settled in Huacho on 12 November, where he established his headquarters while Cochrane sailed north blockading the port of Callao in Lima. At the same time in the north, Guayaquil was occupied by rebel forces under the command of Gregorio Escobedo. Because Peru was the stronghold of the Spanish government in South America, San Martin’s strategy to liberate Peru was to use diplomacy. He sent representatives to Lima urging the Viceroy that Peru be granted independence, however all negotiations proved unsuccessful.

 
San Martín proclaiming the independence of Peru. Painting by Juan Lepiani

The Viceroy of Peru, Joaquin de la Pazuela named Jose de la Serna commander-in-chief of the loyalist army to protect Lima from the threatened invasion of San Martin. On 29 January, de la Serna organized a coup against de la Pazuela which was recognized by Spain and he was named Viceroy of Peru. This internal power struggle contributed to the success of the liberating army. In order to avoid a military confrontation San Martin met the newly appointed viceroy, Jose de la Serna, and proposed to create a constitutional monarchy, a proposal that was turned down. De la Serna abandoned the city and on 12 July 1821 San Martin occupied Lima and declared Peruvian independence on 28 July 1821. He created the first Peruvian flag. Alto Peru (Bolivia) remained as a Spanish stronghold until the army of Simón Bolívar liberated it three years later. Jose de San Martin was declared Protector of Peru. Peruvian national identity was forged during this period, as Bolivarian projects for a Latin American Confederation floundered and a union with Bolivia proved ephemeral.[30]

Simon Bolivar launched his campaign from the north liberating the Viceroyalty of New Granada in the Battles of Carabobo in 1821 and Pichincha a year later. In July 1822 Bolivar and San Martin gathered in the Guayaquil Conference. Bolivar was left in charge of fully liberating Peru while San Martin retired from politics after the first parliament was assembled. The newly founded Peruvian Congress named Bolivar dictator of Peru giving him the power to organize the military.

With the help of Antonio José de Sucre they defeated the larger Spanish army in the Battle of Junín on 6 August 1824 and the decisive Battle of Ayacucho on 9 December of the same year, consolidating the independence of Peru and Alto Peru. Alto Peru was later established as Bolivia. During the early years of the Republic, endemic struggles for power between military leaders caused political instability.[31]

19th century to present

 

Between the 1840s and 1860s, Peru enjoyed a period of stability under the presidency of Ramón Castilla through increased state revenues from guano exports.[32] However, by the 1870s, these resources had been depleted, the country was heavily indebted, and political in-fighting was again on the rise.[33] Peru embarked on a railroad-building program that helped but also bankrupted the country. In 1879, Peru entered the War of the Pacific which lasted until 1884. Bolivia invoked its alliance with Peru against Chile. The Peruvian Government tried to mediate the dispute by sending a diplomatic team to negotiate with the Chilean government, but the committee concluded that war was inevitable. Chile declared war on 5 April 1879. Almost five years of war ended with the loss of the department of Tarapacá and the provinces of Tacna and Arica, in the Atacama region. Two outstanding military leaders throughout the war were Francisco Bolognesi and Miguel Grau. Originally Chile committed to a referendum for the cities of Arica and Tacna to be held years later, in order to self determine their national affiliation. However, Chile refused to apply the Treaty, and neither of the countries could determine the statutory framework. After the War of the Pacific, an extraordinary effort of rebuilding began. The government started to initiate a number of social and economic reforms in order to recover from the damage of the war. Political stability was achieved only in the early 1900s.

Internal struggles after the war were followed by a period of stability under the Civilista Party, which lasted until the onset of the authoritarian regime of Augusto B. Leguía. The Great Depression caused the downfall of Leguía, renewed political turmoil, and the emergence of the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA).[34] The rivalry between this organization and a coalition of the elite and the military defined Peruvian politics for the following three decades. A final peace treaty in 1929, signed between Peru and Chile called the Treaty of Lima, returned Tacna to Peru. Between 1932 and 1933, Peru was engulfed in a year-long war with Colombia over a territorial dispute involving the Amazonas department and its capital Leticia. Later, in 1941, Peru became involved in the Ecuadorian-Peruvian War, after which the Rio Protocol sought to formalize the boundary between those two countries. In a military coup on 29 October 1948, Gen. Manuel A. Odria became president. Odría’s presidency was known as the Ochenio. Momentarily pleasing the oligarchy and all others on the right, but followed a populist course that won him great favor with the poor and lower classes. A thriving economy allowed him to indulge in expensive but crowd-pleasing social policies. At the same time, however, civil rights were severely restricted and corruption was rampant throughout his régime. Odría was succeeded by Manuel Prado Ugarteche. However, widespread allegations of fraud prompted the Peruvian military to depose Prado and install a military junta, led by Ricardo Pérez Godoy. Godoy ran a short transitional government and held new elections in 1963, which were won by Fernando Belaúnde Terry who assumed presidency until 1968. Belaúnde was recognized for his commitment to the democratic process. In 1968, the Armed Forces, led by General Juan Velasco Alvarado, staged a coup against Belaúnde. Alvarado’s regime undertook radical reforms aimed at fostering development, but failed to gain widespread support. In 1975, General Francisco Morales Bermúdez forcefully replaced Velasco, paralyzed reforms, and oversaw the reestablishment of democracy.

 
Areas where the Shining Path was active in Peru

Peru engaged in a brief successful conflict with Ecuador in the Paquisha War as a result of territorial dispute between the two countries. After the country experienced chronic inflation, the Peruvian currency, the sol, was replaced by the Inti in mid-1985, which itself was replaced by the nuevo sol in July 1991, at which time the new sol had a cumulative value of one billion old soles. The per capita annual income of Peruvians fell to $720 (below the level of 1960) and Peru’s GDP dropped 20% at which national reserves were a negative $900 million. The economic turbulence of the time acerbated social tensions in Peru and partly contributed to the rise of violent rebel rural insurgent movements, like Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and MRTA, which caused great havoc throughout the country. Concerned about the economy, the increasing terrorist threat from Sendero Luminoso and MRTA, and allegations of official corruption, Alberto Fujimori assumed presidency in 1990. Fujimori implemented drastic measures that caused inflation to drop from 7,650% in 1990 to 139% in 1991. Faced with opposition to his reform efforts, Fujimori dissolved Congress in the auto-golpe (“self-coup”) of 5 April 1992. He then revised the constitution; called new congressional elections; and implemented substantial economic reform, including privatization of numerous state-owned companies, creation of an investment-friendly climate, and sound management of the economy. Fujimori’s administration was dogged by insurgent groups, most notably Sendero Luminoso, which carried out terrorist campaigns across the country throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Fujimori cracked down on the insurgents and was successful in largely quelling them by the late 1990s, but the fight was marred by atrocities committed by both the Peruvian security forces and the insurgents: the Barrios Altos massacre and La Cantuta massacre by Government paramilitary groups, and the bombings of Tarata and Frecuencia Latina by Sendero Luminoso. Those incidents subsequently came to be seen as symbols of the human rights violations committed during the last years of violence.

 
Lima, 2009.

During that time in early 1995, once again Peru and Ecuador clashed in the Cenepa War, but in 1998 the governments of both nations signed a peace treaty that clearly demarcated the international boundary between them. In November 2000, Fujimori resigned from office and went into a self-imposed exile, avoiding prosecution for human rights violations and corruption charges by the new Peruvian authorities. Since the end of the Fujimori regime, Peru has tried to fight corruption while sustaining economic growth.[35]

A caretaker government presided over by Valentín Paniagua took on the responsibility of conducting new presidential and congressional elections. Afterwards Alejandro Toledo became president in 2001.

On 28 July 2006 former president Alan García became President of Peru after winning the 2006 elections. In May 2008, Peru became a member of the Union of South American Nations.

On 5 June 2011, Ollanta Humala was elected President.

Government and politics

Main article: Politics of Peru

 
Congress sits in the Palacio Legislativo in Lima.

Government

Main article: Government of Peru

Peru is a Presidential representative democratic republic with a multi-party system. Under the current constitution, the President is the head of state and government; he or she is elected for five years and can only seek re-election after standing down for at least one full term and during his term.[36] The President designates the Prime Minister and, with his or her advice, the rest of the Council of Ministers.[37] Congress is unicameral with 130 members elected for five-year terms.[38] Bills may be proposed by either the executive or the legislative branch; they become law after being passed by Congress and promulgated by the President.[39] The judiciary is nominally independent,[40] though political intervention into judicial matters has been common throughout history and arguably continues today.[41]

The Peruvian government is directly elected, and voting is compulsory for all citizens aged 18 to 70.[42] Congress is currently composed of Gana Perú (47 seats), Fuerza 2011 (37 seats), Alianza Parlamentaria (20 seats), Alianza por el Gran Cambio (12 seats), Solidaridad Nacional (8 seats) and Concertación Parlamentaria (6 seats).[43]

Foreign relations

 
The VI Summit of the Pacific Alliance: President of Peru, Ollanta Humala is first from the right.

Peruvian foreign relations have historically been dominated by border conflicts with neighboring countries, most of which were settled during the 20th century.[44] Recently, Peru disputed its maritime limits with Chile in the Pacific Ocean.[45] Peru is an active member of several regional blocs and one of the founders of the Andean Community of Nations. It is also a participant in international organizations such as the Organization of American States and the United Nations. Javier Pérez de Cuéllar served as UN Secretary General from 1981 to 1991. Former President Fujimori’s tainted re-election to a third term in June 2000 strained Peru’s relations with the United States and with many Latin American and European countries, but relations improved with the installation of an interim government in November 2000 and the inauguration of Alejandro Toledo in July 2001 after free and fair elections.

Peru is planning full integration into the Andean Free Trade Area. In addition, Peru is a standing member of APEC and the World Trade Organization, and is an active participant in negotiations toward a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

Military and law enforcement

Main article: Peruvian Armed Forces

The Peruvian Armed Forces are the military services of Peru, comprising independent Army, Navy and Air Force components. Their primary mission is to safeguard the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. As a secondary mission they participate in economic and social development as well as in civil defense tasks.[46] Conscription was abolished in 1999 and replaced by voluntary military service.[47] The armed forces are subordinate to the Ministry of Defense and to the President as Commander-in-Chief.

The National Police of Peru is often classified as a part of the armed forces. Although in fact it has a different organisation and a wholly civil mission, its training and activities over more than two decades as an anti-terrorist force have produced markedly military characteristics, giving it the appearance of a virtual fourth military service with significant land, sea and air capabilities and approximately 140,000 personnel. The Peruvian armed forces report through the Ministry of Defense, while the National Police of Peru reports through the Ministry of Interior.

Regions

Clickable map of the regions of Peru

Peru is divided into 25 regions and the province of Lima. Each region has an elected government composed of a president and council that serve four-year terms.[48] These governments plan regional development, execute public investment projects, promote economic activities, and manage public property.[49] The province of Lima is administered by a city council.[50] The goal of devolving power to regional and municipal governments was among others to improve popular participation. NGOs played an important role in the decentralisation process and still influence local politics.[51]

Regions

Sunflowers


Sunflowers

The sunflower is a plant native to the New World and common throughout the US. Its stem can grow up to 10 ft (3 m) tall, and its flower head, commonly having yellow rays, can reach 1 ft (30 cm) in diameter. The sunflower was domesticated around 1000 BCE in the Americas, where the Incas venerated it as an image of their sun god, and it reached Europe in the 16th century. It is valued today for its oil-bearing seeds that can be made into bread. The sunflower is the state flower of what US state? More… Discuss

article of the day: El Dorado


El Dorado

El Dorado—Spanish for “the gilded man”—is the fabled city of gold and jewels believed by the 16th-century Spanish and other Europeans to exist somewhere in South America. The legend supposedly originated from the Chibcha people of Colombia, who each year anointed a chieftain and rolled him in gold, which he then ceremonially washed off in a sacred lake, casting offerings of emeralds and gold into the waters. Who were some of the explorers who searched for El Dorado, and where did they look? More… Discuss

today’s holiday: Hostos Day (2015)


Hostos Day (2015)

Eugenio Maria de Hostos (1839-1903) was a Puerto Rican philosopher and patriot who became a leader of the opposition to Spanish colonial rule in the 19th century. He campaigned for the education of women in Brazil, and his books on law and education triggered reforms in other Latin American countries. He even sponsored the first railroad between Chile and Argentina, across the Andes Mountains. The anniversary of his birth is observed as a public holiday in Puerto Rico on the second Monday in January. More… Discuss

today’s holiday: Carnival of Blacks and Whites (2015)


English: Blacks and Whites Pasto Carnival Play...

English: Blacks and Whites Pasto Carnival Players Français : Joueurs du Carnaval des Blancs et Noirs de Pasto en Colombie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carnival of Blacks and Whites (2015)

The Carnival of Blacks and Whites, held each year in Pasto, Colombia, is one of the oldest Carnival celebrations in South America. The Carnival officially opens on January 4 with a parade commemorating the arrival in Pasto of the Castañeda family, who are presented as a zany group overburdened with luggage, mattresses, and cooking equipment. The following day is the Day of the Blacks. Using special paints and cosmetics, revelers paint themselves and their friends black. Festivities continue on January 6 with the Day of the Whites, in which white paints and cosmetics are used. More… Discuss

Amazing seven year old sings Gloomy Sunday/Billy Holiday (Angelina Jordan) Eng sub


Amazing seven year old sings Gloomy Sunday/Billy Holiday (Angelina Jordan) Eng sub

Ancient Easter Islanders Mingled with South Americans


Ancient Easter Islanders Mingled with South Americans

Easter Island is perhaps best known for its mysterious, monolithic stone statues that have been the subject of countless investigations, but the ancient Polynesian people who populated the island are also a focus of study. Easter Island is separated from South America by 2,300 miles (3,700 km) of ocean, ostensibly leaving its population fairly isolated prior to the arrival of Westerners in 1722. However, genetic analysis shows that the islanders had intimate contact with native South Americans sometime between 1300 and 1500, suggesting that a migration route between Polynesia and the Americas had been established by this period. More… Discuss

today’s holiday: La Fiesta de Agua


La Fiesta de Agua

The Water Festival in San Pedro de Casta, Lima Department, Peru, accompanies the annual cleaning and maintaining of the river canals. The town mayor goes to the cave where Pariapunko, a deity of water, is believed to reside and implores him to flood the community with fresh water. Then La Toma, the gate that holds back the Carhuayumac River, is opened, and the water is allowed to course through the newly repaired canals. A procession of horsemen follows the path of the water as it makes its way to the gorge of Carhuayumac. More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Vasco Núñez de Balboa Reaches Pacific Ocean (1513)


Vasco Núñez de Balboa Reaches Pacific Ocean (1513)

Balboa was a Spanish conquistador who, while fleeing creditors, hid on a vessel and wound up in Panama. Once there, he founded the Panamanian colony of Darién, the first stable settlement on the South American continent, and won the friendship of the indigenous people—which was unusual given the cruelty of most conquistadors. Balboa then crossed the Isthmus of Panama and reached the Pacific Ocean, claiming it and all shores washed by it for the Spanish crown. What did he call this ocean? More… Discuss

‘s birthday: todayAlexander von Humboldt (1769)


Alexander von Humboldt (1769)

A German naturalist and explorer, Humboldt traveled extensively and made observations and discoveries too numerous to count. Among other things, he discovered the connection between the Amazon and Orinoco river systems, surmised that lack of oxygen causes altitude sickness, studied the ocean current off the western coast of South America that was known for a time as the Humboldt Current, and added to an understanding of the development of the Earth’s crust. To what did he devote his final years? More… Discuss

today’s holiday: Uruguay Independence Day


Uruguay Independence Day

This national holiday commemorates the declaration of independence of Uruguay from Portuguese rule on this day in 1825. By 1828, Uruguay was officially autonomous. Patriotic ceremonies are held in the capital city of Montevideo, with speeches and the singing of the national anthem. More… Discuss

today’s birthday: James Lick (1796)


James Lick (1796)

A piano maker by training, Lick spent many years in South America before returning to the US in 1848. He settled in San Francisco, where he soon abandoned the piano-making trade in favor of real estate. Shortly after his arrival, gold was discovered in the region, and Lick made a fortune in the housing boom that followed. The wealthiest man in California at the time of his death, he left most of his estate to social and scientific causes. Under what scientific instrument is he buried? More… Discuss

Seals, Not Europeans, Brought Tuberculosis to New World


Seals, Not Europeans, Brought Tuberculosis to New World

Genetic tests have cast doubt on the long-held belief that Europeans arriving in the Americas in the 15th century introduced tuberculosis to the New World. The new evidence, collected from ancient Peruvian skeletons that predate the Europeans’ arrival by about 500 years, suggests it was not humans at all but seals that first brought TB to the Americas. Researchers hypothesize that seals picked up the disease from infected humans in Africa, where TB originated, and then carried it across the ocean to the Americas, where they were hunted and eaten, thereby transmitting the disease to humans there. More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Thor Heyerdahl Lands in Polynesia (1947)


Thor Heyerdahl Lands in Polynesia (1947)

Heyerdahl was a Norwegian adventurer with a passion for cultural anthropology. After a trip to Polynesia convinced him that Polynesian culture bore traces of South American cultures, he built a raft—the Kon-Tiki—and sailed it from South America to Polynesia to demonstrate the possibility of such contact. While his book about the voyage was an international bestseller, anthropologists have largely dismissed his theories. Why did he deliberately burn his ship during a 1978 expedition? More… Discuss

The Culture of Yerba Mate: Tradition, tradition, tradition


<b>SOLD!</b> \"Labyrinth\" Mate Gourd & Bombilla, By Javier Zinna
 

The most traditional way to drink yerba mate is like the Indians did – from a cup (gourd) and straw (bombilla). Genuine mate drinkers say a well “cured” mate contributes to the good taste of the drink. Also by using the cup and straw it forcibly removes far more of the valuable nutrients which yerba mate has to offer. Other methods do not. You will need to try your own combination of cups and straws as yerba mate will taste differently in each type. Each person must experiment to find which best suits his taste. !Yerba Mate cups can be made from many different types of material. These include the natural gourd, wood, horns, ceramic, glass or metal.

Click here to learn more about Yerba Mate Gourds

How do I CURE my Yerba Mate Gourd

  • Pyrography is the art of decorating wood or other materials (in this case a Yerba Mate gourd) with burn marks resulting from the controlled application of a heated object such as a poker. It is also known as pokerwork or wood burning.
    Pyrography means “writing with fire” and is the traditional art of using a heated tip or wire to burn or scorch designs onto natural materials such as wood or leather. Burning can be done by means of a modern solid-point tool (similar to a soldering iron) or hot wire tool, or a more basic method using a metal implement heated in a fire, or even sunlight concentrated with a magnifying lens. Pyrography is also a traditional folk art in many European countries, including Hungary, as well as countries such as Argentina in South America.

    • Javier Zinna is one of the greatest mate gourds artisan in Argentina. He is currently living in Misiones, the land of Yerba Mate. Last year the FAM (Feria Artesanías Mercosur) held a contest among the exhibitors who chose their best work to compete. Javier won it. It is a great honor to have his works back in our catalog.

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Matepiece: Yerba Mate


matepiece: Yerba Mate

matepiece: Yerba Mate

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Yerba mate (from Spanish [ˈʝeɾβa ˈmate]; Portuguese: erva-mate [ˈɛɾvɐ ˈmatʃe]) is a species of the holly (family Aquifoliaceae), with the binomial name of Ilex paraguariensis.


Yerba_mate_young_plant (Ilex Paraguariensis)

Yerba_mate_young_plant (Ilex Paraguariensis)

Yerba mate (from Spanish [ˈʝeɾβa ˈmate]; Portuguese: erva-mate [ˈɛɾvɐ ˈmatʃe]) is a species of the holly (family Aquifoliaceae), with the binomial name of Ilex paraguariensis.

It is well known as the source of the beverage called mate, Chimarrão, Tererê (or Tereré) and other variations, traditionally consumed in subtropical South America, particularly northeastern Argentina, Bolivia, southern Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.[1] It was first used and cultivated by the Guaraní people and in some Tupí communities in southern Brazil, prior to the European colonization. It was scientifically classified by the Swiss botanist Moses Bertoni, who settled in Paraguay in 1895.

Yerba mate, erva mate, mate, or maté
Ilex paraguariensis
Ilex paraguariensis
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Aquifoliales
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Genus: Ilex
Species: I. paraguariensis
Binomial name
Ilex paraguariensis
A. St. Hil.

Use as a beverage

Main article: Mate (beverage)

Steaming mate infusion in its customary gourd

The infusion, called mate in Spanish-speaking countries or chimarrão in south Brazil, is prepared by steeping dry leaves (and twigs) of the mate plant in hot water rather than in boiling water. It is consumed similar to a tea, more traditionally hot, but sometimes cold.

Drinking mate with friends from a shared hollow gourd (also called a guampa, porongo or mate in Spanish, or cabaça or cuia in Portuguese, or zucca in Italian) with a metal straw (a bombilla in Spanish, bomba in Portuguese) is a common social practice in Uruguay, Argentina and southern Brazil among people of all ages.

Yerba mate is most popular in Uruguay, where people are seen walking on the street carrying the “mate” and “termo” in their arms and where you can find hot water stations to refill the “termo” while on the road. In Argentina, 5 kg (11 lb) of yerba mate is consumed each year per every man, woman, and child, while in Uruguay, the largest consumer of mate per capita, 10 kg (22 lb) of yerba mate is consumed per person per year.[5]

The flavor of brewed mate resembles an infusion of vegetables, herbs, and grass, and is reminiscent of some varieties of green tea. Some consider the flavor to be very agreeable, but it is generally bitter if steeped in boiling water. Flavored mate is also sold, in which the mate leaves are blended with other herbs (such as peppermint) or citrus rind.[6]

In Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, a toasted version of mate, known as mate cocido (Paraguay), chá mate (Brazil) or just mate, is sold in teabags and in a loose leaf form. It is often served sweetened in specialized shops or on the street either hot or iced with fruit juice or milk. In Argentina and southern Brazil, this is commonly consumed for breakfast or in a café for afternoon tea, often with a selection of sweet pastries.

An iced, sweetened version of toasted mate is sold as an uncarbonated soft drink, with or without fruit flavoring.[7][better source needed] In Brazil, this cold version of chá mate is specially popular in South and Southeast regions, and can easily be found in retail stores in the same cooler as soft-drinks.[8] Mate batido, which is toasted, has less of a bitter flavor and more of a spicy fragrance. Mate batido becomes creamy when shaken. Mate batido is more popular in the coastal cities of Brazil, as opposed to the far southern states, where it is consumed in the traditional way (green, consumed with a silver straw from a shared gourd), and called chimarrão.and in Argentina, this is called cimarrón.[9]

In Paraguay, western Brazil (Mato Grosso do Sul, west of São Paulo) and the Litoral Argentino, a mate infusion is also consumed as a cold or iced beverage and called tereré or tererê (in Spanish and Portuguese, respectively), and is usually sucked out of a horn cup called guampa with a bombilla. Tereré can be prepared using cold or iced water (the most common way in Paraguay) or using cold or iced fruit juice (the most common way in Argentina). The “only water” version may be too bitter, but the one prepared using fruit juice is sweetened by the juice itself. Medicinal herbs, known as yuyos, are mixed in a mortar and pestle and added to the water for taste or medicinal reasons. Tereré is most popular in Paraguay, Brazil, and the Litoral (northeast Argentina).[10]

In the Rio de la Plata region, people often consume daily servings of mate. It is common for friends to convene to matear several times a week. In cold weather, the beverage is served hot and in warm weather the hot water is often substituted with lemonade, but not in Uruguay. Children often take mate with lemonade or milk, as well.[citation needed]

As Europeans often meet at a coffee shop, drinking mate is the impetus for gathering with friends in Argentina, southern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Sharing mate is ritualistic and has its own set of rules. Usually, one person, the host or whoever brought the mate, prepares the drink and refills the gourd with water. In these three countries, the hot water can be contained in a vacuum flask, termo (appropriate for drinking mate in the outside) or garrafa térmica (Brazil), or in a pava (kettle), which only can be done at home.[citation needed]

The gourd is passed around, often in a circle, and each person finishes the gourd before giving it back to the brewer. The gourd (also called a mate) is passed in a clockwise order. Since mate can be rebrewed many times, the gourd is passed until the water runs out. When persons no longer want to take mate, they say gracias (thank you) to the brewer when returning the gourd to signify they do not want any more.[citation needed]

During the month of August, Paraguayans have a tradition of mixing mate with crushed leaves, stems, and flowers of the plant known as flor de Agosto[11] (the flower of August, plants of the Senecio genus), which contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Modifying mate in this fashion is potentially toxic, as these alkaloids can cause a rare condition of the liver, veno-occlusive disease, which produces liver failure due to progressive occlusion of the small venous channels in the liver.[12]

In South Africa, mate is not well known, but has been introduced to Stellenbosch by a student who sells it nationally. In the tiny hamlet of Groot Marico in the northwest province, mate was introduced to the local tourism office by the returning descendants of the Boers, who in 1902 had emigrated to Patagonia in Argentina after losing the Anglo Boer War. It is also commonly consumed in Lebanon, Syria and some other parts of the Middle East, as well as amongst communities of expatriate from the Southern Cone.[13]

Chemical composition and properties

Xanthines

Yerba mate contains three xanthines: caffeine, theobromine and theophylline, the main one being caffeine. Caffeine content varies between 0.7% and 1.7% of dry weight[14] (compared with 0.4– 9.3% for tea leaves, 2.5–7.6% in guarana, and up to 3.2% for ground coffee);[15] theobromine content varies from 0.3% to 0.9%; theophylline is present in small quantities, or can be completely absent.[16] A substance previously called “mateine” is a synonym for caffeine (like theine and guaranine).

Preliminary limited studies of mate have shown that the mate xanthine cocktail is different from other plants containing caffeine, most significantly in its effects on muscle tissue, as opposed to those on the central nervous system, which are similar to those of other natural stimulants.[citation needed] The three xanthines present in mate have been shown to have a relaxing effect on smooth muscle tissue, and a stimulating effect on myocardial (heart) tissue.[citation needed]

Mineral content

Yerba mate also contains elements such as potassium, magnesium and manganese.[17]

Health effects

As of 2011 there has not been any double-blind, randomized prospective clinical trial of mate drinking with respect to chronic disease.[18] However, yerba does contain polyphenols, which may benefit the immune system,[19][20] relieve allergies,[21] reduce the risk of diabetes and hypoglycemia in mice,[22] contain compounds that, when extracted from green tea burns more calories,[23] acts as an appetite suppressant and weight loss tool,[24][25] increases the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the heart,[26] may reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes,[27] increases mental energy and focus,[28][29] improves mood,[30] and promotes a deeper sleep, however sleep may be affected in people who are sensitive to caffeine.[28][31]

Lipid metabolism

Some non-blinded studies have found mate consumption to be effective in lipid lowering.[18] Studies in animals and humans have observed hypocholesterolemic effects of Ilex paraguariensis aqueous extracts. A single-blind controlled trial of 102 volunteers found that after 40 days of drinking 330 mL / day of mate tea (concentration 50g dry leaves / L water), people with already-healthy cholesterol levels experienced an 8.7% reduction in LDL, and hyperlipidemic individuals experienced an 8.6% reduction in LDL and a 4.4% increase in HDL, on average. Participants already on statin therapy saw a 13.1% reduction in LDL and a 6.2% increase in HDL. The authors thus concluded that drinking yerba mate infusions may reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases.[32]

Cancer

Any hot consumption of mate is associated with oral cancer[33] esophageal cancer, cancer of the larynx,[34] and squamous cell of the head and neck.[35][36] Studies show a correlation between temperature and likelihood of cancer, making it unclear how much a role mate itself plays as a carcinogen.[34]

A study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer showed a limited correlation between oral cancer and the drinking of large quantities of “hot mate”.[37] Smaller quantities (less than 1 liter daily) were found to increase risk only slightly, though alcohol and tobacco consumption had a synergistic effect on increasing oral, throat, and esophageal cancer. The study notes the possibility that increased risk could be credited to the high (near-boiling) temperatures at which the mate is consumed in its most traditional way, the chimarrão. The cellular damage caused by thermal stress could lead the esophagus and gastric epithelium to be metaplastic, adapting to the chronic injury. Then, mutations would lead to cellular dysplasia and to cancer.[38] While the IARC study does not specify a specific temperature range for “hot mate”, it lists general (not “hot”) mate drinking separately, but does not possess the data to assess its effect. It also does not address, in comparison, any effect of consumption temperature with regard to coffee or tea.

Obesity

Few data are available on the effects of yerba mate on weight in humans and further study may be warranted.[39]

Mechanism of action

E-NTPDase activity

Research also shows that mate preparations can alter the concentration of members of the ecto-nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase (E-NTPDase) family, resulting in an elevated level of extracellular ATP, ADP, and AMP. This was found with chronic ingestion (15 days) of an aqueous mate extract, and may lead to a novel mechanism for manipulation of vascular regenerative factors, i.e., treating heart disease.[40]

Antioxidants

In an investigation of mate antioxidant activity, there was a correlation found between content of caffeoyl-derivatives and antioxidant capacity (AOC).[41][42] Amongst a group of Ilex species, Ilex paraguariensis antioxidant activity was the highest.[41]

History

Main article: History of yerba mate

Yerba mate growing in the wild

Mate was first consumed by the indigenous Guaraní and also spread in the Tupí people that lived in southern Brazil and Paraguay, and became widespread with the European colonization.[citation needed] In the Spanish colony of Paraguay in the late 16th century, both Spanish settlers and indigenous Guaranís, who had, to some extent, before the Spanish arrival, consumed it.[citation needed] Mate consumption spread in the 17th century to the River Plate and from there to Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru.[citation needed] This widespread consumption turned it into Paraguay’s main commodity above other wares, such as tobacco, and Indian labour was used to harvest wild stands.[citation needed]

In the mid 17th century, Jesuits managed to domesticate the plant and establish plantations in their Indian reductions in Misiones, Argentina, sparking severe competition with the Paraguayan harvesters of wild stands.[citation needed] After their expulsion in the 1770s, their plantations fell into decay, as did their domestication secrets.[citation needed] The industry continued to be of prime importance for the Paraguayan economy after independence, but development in benefit of the Paraguayan state halted after the War of the Triple Alliance (1864–1870) that devastated the country both economically and demographically.[citation needed] Some regions with mate plantations in Paraguay became Argentinean territory.[citation needed]

Lithograph of José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, a 19th-century ruler of Paraguay, with a mate and its respective bombilla

Brazil then became the largest producer of mate.[43] In Brazilian and Argentine projects in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the plant was domesticated once again, opening the way for plantation systems.[citation needed] When Brazilian entrepreneurs turned their attention to coffee in the 1930s, Argentina, which had long been the prime consumer,[44] took over as the largest producer, resurrecting the economy in Misiones Province, where the Jesuits had once had most of their plantations. For years, the status of largest producer shifted between Brazil and Argentina.[44]

Now, Brazil is the largest producer, with 53%, followed by Argentina, 37% and Paraguay, 10%.[4]

There is a Parque Historico do Mate, funded by the State of Parana, Brazil, to educate people on the sustainable harvesting methods needed to maintain the integrity and vitality of the oldest wild forests of mate in the world.[3]

Nomenclature

The name given to the plant in Guaraní, language of the indigenous people who first cultivated and enjoyed mate, is ka’a, which has the same meaning as “herb”.[citation needed] Congonha, in Portuguese, is derived from the Tupi expression, meaning something like “what keeps us alive”, but a term rarely used nowadays.[citation needed] Mate is from the Quechua mati,[45] a word that means container for a drink, infusion of an herb, as well as gourd.[46] The word mate is used in both, Portuguese and Spanish languages.[citation needed]

The pronunciation of yerba mate in Spanish is [ˈʝe̞rβ̞ä ˈmäte̞][45] The accent on the word is on the first syllable, not the second as might be implied by the variant spelling “maté”.[45] The word hierba is Spanish for “herb”; yerba is a variant spelling of it which was quite common in Argentina.[47] (Nowadays in Argentina “yerba” refers exclusively to the “yerba mate” plant.[47]) Yerba mate, therefore, originally translated literally as the “gourd herb”, i.e. the herb one drinks from a gourd.[citation needed]

The (Brazilian) Portuguese name is either erva-mate [ˈɛʁvɐ ˈmätʃi] (also pronounced [ˈɛrvɐ ˈmäte] or [ˈɛɾvɐ ˈmätɪ] in some regions), the most used term, or rarely “congonha” [kõˈɡõȷ̃ɐ], from Old Tupi kõ’gõi, which means “what sustains the being”.[48] It is also used to prepare the drinks chimarrão (hot), tereré (cold) or chá mate (hot or cold). While the chá mate (tea) is made with the toasted leaves, the other drinks are made with green leaves, and are very popular in the south of the country and Mato Grosso. Most people colloquially address both the plant and the beverage simply by the word mate.[8]

Both the spellings “mate” and “maté” are used in English, but the latter spelling is never used in Spanish where it means “I killed” as opposed to “gourd”.[49] There are no variation of spellings in Spanish.[45] The addition of the acute accent over the final “e” was likely added as a hypercorrection, indicating that the word and its pronunciation are distinct from the common English word “mate“.[50][51][52][53][54]

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TODAY’S HOLIDAY: FEAST OF SAN ISIDRO OF SEVILLE


Feast of San Isidro of Seville

St. Isidro, or Isidore, (c. 560-636) was born in Cartagena, Spain, and eventually became bishop of Seville. In Río Frío, Colombia, April occurs in autumn and is typically very dry. On San Isidro’s feast day, April 4, townspeople process the saint’s image around the streets in the hope that he will help bring rain. The procession takes two steps forward, then one step backward, and so on, with the idea that if it drags out long enough, some rain may fall before the festivities end. If no rain falls, those who had been singing praises to St. Isidro may begin to insult and swear at him. More… Discuss

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ARTICLE: THE AMAZON RAINFOREST


The Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest, which encompasses 2.7 million square miles (7 million sq km), extends into nine South American nations. The rainforest boasts 2.5 million species of insects and is home to an extraordinary diversity of birds, mammals, and other wildlife, likely including many unknown species. Since the 1960s, the effects of economic exploitation on the region’s ecology and the destruction of the rainforest have generated worldwide concern. What is the deforested land usually used for?More… Discuss

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TODAY’S HOLIDAY: ARGENTINA NATIONAL DAY OF MEMORY FOR TRUTH AND JUSTICE


Argentina National Day of Memory for Truth and Justice

This is a public holiday in Argentina that commemorates all those who lost their lives or otherwise suffered under the National Reorganization Process, a military dictatorship that seized power in Argentina on March 24, 1976. The junta held power for eight years, and in that time, at least 30,000 citizens were kidnapped, tortured, and executed for their political views. Around the country, art exhibitions, poetry readings, prayer services, and other cultural events are dedicated to remembering the events of March 24 and its aftermath. More… Discuss

 

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SAINT OF THE DAY March 23: ST. TORIBIO ALFONSO DE MOGROVEJO


SAINT OF THE DAY

March 23 Saint of the Day

ST. TORIBIO ALFONSO DE MOGROVEJO
March 23: Bishop and defender of the rights of the native Indians in Peru, … Read More

March
23

 

 

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THIS DAY IN THE YESTERYEAR: FERDINAND MAGELLAN REACHES THE PHILIPPINES (1521)


Ferdinand Magellan Reaches the Philippines (1521)

Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Spain on September 20, 1519, with five vessels and about 265 men. Sighting the South American coast near Pernambuco, he searched for a suspected passage to the South Sea and ultimately discovered the strait that bears his name. On March 6, 1521, Magellan reached the Marianas and 10 days later the Philippines, where he was killed in a battle with the natives. How many of Magellan’s original crew members returned to Spain alive in 1522? More… Discuss

 

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Venezuela says CNN can stay, a day after saying ‘get out’ – CNN.com


Venezuela says CNN can stay, a day after saying ‘get out’ – CNN.com.

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TODAY’S HOLIDAY: FIESTA OF SAN BLAS


Fiesta of San Blas

San Blas (Saint Blaise) is the patron saint of Paraguay, and his feast day, February 3, is observed throughout the country. Asunción and other large cities host religious processions, and the smaller villages often have bullfights on this day. Flowers, ribbons, and paper money (attached to the tail) adorn the bull. Because this event is a humorous commentary onbullfighting, rather than a real bullfight, the goal is not to kill the bull. Instead, bullfighters try to grab hold of the bull and remove the money from its tail without getting hurt. More… Discuss

 

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Flashmob – Bolero de Ravel na Pinacoteca de São Paulo, Brasil, Conservatoire de Paris, GURI & EMESP



Project of Marine Gandon, Ghislain Roffat & Pierre-Olivier Schmitt

During three weeks, between August and September of 2013, musicians of the Conservatoire de Paris (CNSMDP) were in Sao Paulo for pedagogical activities with teachers and students of Tom Jobim EMESP and Guri. The exchange is the result of a partnership between the Santa Marcelina Cultura and the prestigious french Institution. One of the results of the project was the execution of Ravel’s Bolero in the shape of a flashmob, at the Pinacoteca do Estado, on 14th September.

Durante três semanas, entre agosto e setembro de 2013, músicos do Conservatório de Paris estiveram em São Paulo para atividades pedagógicas com professores e alunos da EMESP Tom Jobim e do Guri. O intercâmbio é fruto de parceria entre a Santa Marcelina Cultura e a prestigiada instituição francesa. Como um dos resultados deste intercâmbio, surgiu o flashmob Bolero de Ravel na Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo.

 

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TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: MANUELA SÁENZ (1797)


Manuela Sáenz (1797)

Until recently, Sáenz’s contributions to the South American independence movement were largely overlooked. For eight years, she dedicated herself to the cause—and to her lover, revolutionary leader Simón Bolívar, whom she once saved from an assassination attempt. For that, he nicknamed her Libertadora del Libertador, or Liberator of the Liberator. Bolívar’s death in 1830 left Sáenz vulnerable to his opponents, and she was exiled and left destitute. What honor was she accorded in 2010? More…Discuss

 

This Day in the Yesteryear: DAY OF THE COLOMBIAN WOMAN (1967)


Day of the Colombian Woman (1967)

Not much is definitively known about Policarpa Salavarrieta‘s early years. Even her name is subject to conjecture. What is undisputed—and secured her a place in the annals of Colombian history and, in 1967, a day commemorating her heroism—is that she sacrificed her life trying to secure Colombia’s independence; she was executed on November 14, 1817, for her activities on behalf of the revolution. Aside from the day of remembrance, what other honors has the Colombian government accorded her? More… Discuss

 

AMAZONIA: LAST CALL (The lungs of the Planet are getting to small for the Planet’s survival)



Ep. 3.THE VOICE OF THE JUNGLE: The protection of Indian cultures, headed by Sidney Pssuelo. This series travels across Brazilian landscapes by way of one of the main links still binding the essence of humanity with the Earth: the Amazon. The filming of the first point of contact with an isolated race, the Zos, the encroachment on areas of the Amazonian forest previously uncaptured on film, the evidence relating to the development of the illegal trafficking of species or the recording of the immeasurable value of Brazil’s natural spaces; these are just excerpts from the series. The underlying theme is the conflict between the development and conservation of one of the key natural areas underpinning the stability of the planet.

 

Bob Dylan – Hurricane (original) and yes: LYRICS!


BOB DYLAN LYRICS

“Hurricane”

Pistols shots ring out in the barroom night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall
She sees the bartender in a pool of blood
Cries out “My God they killed them all”
Here comes the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For something that he never done
Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

Three bodies lying there does Patty see
And another man named Bello moving around mysteriously
“I didn’t do it” he says and he throws up his hands
“I was only robbing the register I hope you understand
I saw them leaving” he says and he stops
“One of us had better call up the cops”
And so Patty calls the cops
And they arrive on the scene with their red lights flashing
In the hot New Jersey night.

Meanwhile far away in another part of town
Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are driving around
Number one contender for the middleweight crown
Had no idea what kinda shit was about to go down
When a cop pulled him over to the side of the road
Just like the time before and the time before that
In Patterson that’s just the way things go
If you’re black you might as well not shown up on the street
‘Less you wanna draw the heat.

Alfred Bello had a partner and he had a rap for the corps
Him and Arthur Dexter Bradley were just out prowling around
He said “I saw two men running out they looked like middleweights
They jumped into a white car with out-of-state plates”
And Miss Patty Valentine just nodded her head
Cop said “Wait a minute boys this one’s not dead”
So they took him to the infirmary
And though this man could hardly see
They told him that he could identify the guilty men.

Four in the morning and they haul Rubin in
Take him to the hospital and they bring him upstairs
The wounded man looks up through his one dying eye
Says “Wha’d you bring him in here for ? He ain’t the guy !”
Yes here comes the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For something that he never done
Put in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

Four months later the ghettos are in flame
Rubin’s in South America fighting for his name
While Arthur Dexter Bradley’s still in the robbery game
And the cops are putting the screws to him looking for somebody to blame
“Remember that murder that happened in a bar ?”
“Remember you said you saw the getaway car?”
“You think you’d like to play ball with the law ?”
“Think it might-a been that fighter you saw running that night ?”
“Don’t forget that you are white”.

Arthur Dexter Bradley said “I’m really not sure”
Cops said “A boy like you could use a break
We got you for the motel job and we’re talking to your friend Bello
Now you don’t wanta have to go back to jail be a nice fellow
You’ll be doing society a favor
That sonofabitch is brave and getting braver
We want to put his ass in stir
We want to pin this triple murder on him
He ain’t no Gentleman Jim”.

Rubin could take a man out with just one punch
But he never did like to talk about it all that much
It’s my work he’d say and I do it for pay
And when it’s over I’d just as soon go on my way
Up to some paradise
Where the trout streams flow and the air is nice
And ride a horse along a trail
But then they took him to the jailhouse
Where they try to turn a man into a mouse.

All of Rubin’s cards were marked in advance
The trial was a pig-circus he never had a chance
The judge made Rubin’s witnesses drunkards from the slums
To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum
And to the black folks he was just a crazy nigger
No one doubted that he pulled the trigger
And though they could not produce the gun
The DA said he was the one who did the deed
And the all-white jury agreed.

Rubin Carter was falsely tried
The crime was murder ‘one’ guess who testified
Bello and Bradley and they both baldly lied
And the newspapers they all went along for the ride
How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool’s hand ? 
To see him obviously framed
Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land 
Where justice is a game.

Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties
Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise
While Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten-foot cell
An innocent man in a living hell
That’s the story of the Hurricane
But it won’t be over till they clear his name
And give him back the time he’s done
Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

 

 

Tupac Amaru II


Tupac Amaru II

Born José Gabriel Condorcanqui, Tupac Amaru II was a leader of the indigenous people of Peru who adopted name of the last Inca leader, a man executed by the Spaniards for leading a rebellion in 1572. After failing to persuade officials to improve living and working conditions for indigenous Peruvians, Amaru II led a rebellion against Spain in 1780. He was soon captured and brutally executed. His entire family was also killed, with the exception of his 12-year-old son. What became of him? More… Discuss

Dimitre Peev – Anon – Spanish Romance


“Romance Anónimo” (Anonymous Romance) is a piece for guitar, also known as “Estudio en Mi de Rubira” (Study in E by Rubira), “Spanish Romance”, “Romance de España”, “Romance of the Guitar”, “Romanza” and “Romance d’Amour” among other names.
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_(song)

Its origins and authorship are currently in question. It is suspected of originally being a solo instrumental guitar work, from the 19th century. It has variously been attributed to Antonio Rubira, David del Castillo[1], Francisco Tárrega, Fernando Sor, Daniel Fortea, Miguel Llobet, Antonio Cano, Vicente Gómez and Narciso Yepes. The Anónimo (anonymous) part of its name has been incorporated over the years due to this uncertainty. The question of authorship has probably been propagated by three main reasons: the lack of claim by its true author, the desire to avoid paying copyright fees, and the desire of publishing companies to claim the lucrative copyright of this world-famous song.[2]

The style of the piece is that of the Parlour music of the late 19th century in Spain or South America, having a closed three-part form: the first in the minor key and the second being in the major key, with the third being a restatement of the first.

Today’s Birthday: Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807)


Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807)

Garibaldi is considered an Italian national hero for his role in the Risorgimento, the movement to liberate and unify Italy. In 1848, after having spent time in South America learning guerilla warfare tactics, he returned to Italy to fight for its independence. He fought Austria in Milan and France in Rome. In 1860, he raised an army of 1,000 and attacked Sicily. By the end of his campaign, he commanded 30,000 men, with whom he seized Naples, before handing all of southern Italy over to whom? More… Discuss

In the News: New Uncontacted Tribe Observed in Amazon


New Uncontacted Tribe Observed in Amazon

The Brazilian government has confirmed the existence of an uncontacted tribe of about 200 individuals in a southwestern area of the Amazon rainforest. After the clearings where they live were identified by satellite, airplane expeditions were mounted to verify the discovery and collect more information about the group without disrupting its way of life. These revealed that the tribe lives in four large, straw-roofed buildings and grows corn, bananas, peanuts, and other crops. It is estimated that the Amazon is home to at least 68 uncontacted tribes. More… Discuss

To Your Health, Drink Green and Yerba Maté Tea: Your Body Will Thank You For It


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This Blog does not endorse, at this time any alternative medical treatment and  is based only on its author’s observations made as a result of consuming both green tea and yerba maté tea, following the popular search engines and articles available in the internet. These observations were confirmed by personal health care professionals. I hope you will check with your doctor too, and that consuming tea, will prove a beneficial to your general health

George.

Yes folks: You heard me blog about yerba maté, and green tea.
Why would I do that ?
I don’t sell it, I only try to bring the good news to  people, like back home, about it because of its therapeutic properties, when prepared right, and it is the most effective diuretic year around, while sugar-free, which is a great benefit for reducing the blood glycemic index and cholesterol level. So let’s say one suffers from diabetes, type II (adult Onset), and with all the medication administered the blood glucose levels are high. Yerba maté cleanses the blood (the lymphatic system, helping the kidneys to eliminate toxins, including extra amounts of glucose.) In few days you will experience a more restful sleep, a better blood circulation to the extremities, and a lighter body, just from the diuretic effect. At the same time, the tea has minerals and antioxidants so it is a good nutrient, both sugar and fat-free.

The big secret about preparing the infusion is this: Unlike black tea , for yerba maté tea, allow the water to cool 2-3 minutes before making the  tea.

Since I drink several cups of tea daily, I prefer ( so I learned from the videos on You-Tube) to make it in my 12 cups coffeemaker. Not only that, but i mix it with green tea Both loose, and benefit from the compounded health effects. The temperature of the coffeemaker is just right (180 – 185 °F), to avoid bitter taste and destruction of the antioxidants present in both green tea and yerba maté.

Just like with green tea there are several companies from South America commercializing Yerba Mate, I like Tarragui sin palo, because of the fresh aroma as the leaves are dried naturally and because it was the first brand I tried  about a year ago.
Have a cup of yerba maté tea, today.