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  • Ways of Life in North America c. 1515

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    The indigenous lifestyles of North America were primarily determined by climate. Where temperatures and/or rainfall were low, hunter-gatherers were the norm, elsewhere agriculture featured more prominently. There were, however, numerous exceptions. In the Northwest, the sheer abundance of natural resources underpinned the unparalleled development of a settled, hierarchical society based... More
  • Well of Badr 624

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    After his flight from Mecca to Medina in 622, Muhammad began to raid Meccan caravan routes. In 624, he learnt of a particularly large and well-laden caravan heading back from Syria. He gathered his forces for an ambush at Badr, where caravans would stop for refreshment at a string of... More
  • Welsh Castles 1276–1283

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    In 1276, Edward I of England began a campaign against Gwynedd after Llywelyn, prince of Wales, refused to pay homage. Edward’s army marched towards Gwynedd in 1277 and quickly subdued its Welsh vassals as many were unhappy under Llywellyn’s rule. Llywelyn was forced to sign away lands to become English... More
  • Welsh Industry 1640–1850

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    Prior to the 1640s small-scale metal and coal mining were practised in Wales, a mostly rural region. There was a fledgling coal export industry in south Wales and Aberystwyth between the 16th and 17th centuries. This was helped by the English Civil War (1642–49), which boosted local economies. During the... More
  • West Africa 1850–75

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    The gradual abolition of the slave trade in the early 19th century left both the colonial powers and their procurer African coastal states seeking new commercial outlets. For the colonies, much depended on the energies of individual administrators. George Maclean in the British Gold Coast, and Louis Faidherbe in French... More
  • West Indies 1525 to 1650

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    The Spanish colonization of the Americas was driven by an implacable pursuit of wealth, in particular gold. Accordingly, they settled only the main islands of the Caribbean, as entreports for the trade with the mineral rich mainland. To man their operations, they enslaved the native American populations, but when these... More
  • West Indies 1650–1763

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    The phenomenon of piracy in the Caribbean grew out of the practice of buccaneering, whereby the colonial authorities issued ‘letters of marque’ to privateers to raid and loot the ships and ports of whichever rival they were currently fighting. France’s first base in the Caribbean, Tortuga, began as a privateer... More
  • West Indies 1763–1830

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    By 1763, after the Seven Years’ War, Britain had damaged the economic base of the sugar producing colonies in the Spanish and French West Indies. Britain had successfully captured the French and Spanish sugar plantation islands, apart from French Santa Domingo (Saint Dominigue). After the 1763 Paris Treaty, the British... More
  • West Indies 1830–1910

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    By 1830, all that remained of the Spanish territories in the West Indies were Puerto Rico and Cuba. Spain was confronted with rebellious colonies in the early 19th century and tried to pacify Cuba and Puerto Rico by giving them representation in the Spanish parliament in Madrid. This was reversed... More
  • West Indies Slave Revolts 1791-1848

    West Indies Slave Revolts 1791–1848

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    Slave revolts in Central America and the Caribbean were frequent. In Haiti a major revolt in 1791 continued until the French banned slavery in 1794. Its leader, former slave Toussaint Louverture, became the leader of the new country of Haiti, the first state to arise from a slave rebellion. The... More
  • West Indies: Exploration to 1525

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    After his discovery in 1492 of what he believed to his dying day to be Asia, Columbus completed three further voyages to the Caribbean, establishing the Spanish hub for future ventures at Santo Domingo on Hispaniola, visiting most of the major islands, exploring the coast of Central America and discovering... More
  • Western Europe c. 1330

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    The battle of Rio Salado (1340) fought near Seville in Spain was a crushing defeat for the Marinids, the Moroccan dynasty that supported the kingdom of Granada, by the combined Christian armies of Portugal and Castile. It marked the final Muslim attempt to extend their control in European west beyond... More
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