Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough

Sarah Churchill was one of the most influential women in British history. A childhood friend of Queen Anne, she served as a lady of the bedchamber after Anne’s marriage, and when Anne acceded to the throne in 1702, Sarah enjoyed great favor at court along with her husband, the duke of Marlborough. She was a strong-willed woman and her influence grew until her Whig sympathies alienated Anne, who dismissed her in 1711. Who are a few of her famous descendents? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Ngondo Festival

For the majority of the Sawa, a coastal ethnic group in Cameroon, guidance comes from the Jengu water spirits. The annual Ngondo Festival is a special occasion for Sawa chiefs to petition these spirits for prophecies and warnings and to communicate those messages to a gathered assembly. The event, which lasts a few weeks, takes place on the banks of the Wouri River in the country’s most populous city, Douala. Various cultural activities accompany the discernment process of the festival. Activities preceding the water feast include traditional wrestling competitions, a canoe race, and a Miss Ngondo pageant. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Achaemenid Empire

At its height, the Achaemenid Empire reached from Macedonia to northern India and from the Caucasus Mountains to the Persian Gulf. It derives its name from Achaemenes, who is thought to have lived in the early 7th century BCE. Its greatest rulers were Cyrus II, who established the Persian Empire and from whose reign it is dated; Darius I, who secured the borders from external threats; and Xerxes I, who completed many of Darius’s public works. What event brought an end to the empire? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Codices

A codex is a manuscript book, especially of Scripture, early literature, or ancient mythological or historical annals. The oldest extant Greek codex is a biblical manuscript from the 4th century BCE. Codices were developed separately by pre-Columbian Mesoamericans after 1000 CE. The earliest type of manuscript in the form of a modern book—a collection of pages stitched together along one side—the codex replaced earlier rolls of papyrus and wax tablets. What advantages did it provide over them? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Barbados Independence Day

After having been a British colony since the 17th century, Barbados became independent on this day in 1966. A ceremony took place near the capital city of Bridgetown, during which the British flag was lowered and replaced by the Barbados flag, and the national anthem was sung. Today, festivities extend through the month of November with the National Independence Festival of the Creative Arts. On Independence Day, festivities culminate with a parade and the final appearance of performers, and exhibits of art work and photography are on display. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Blue Angels

In 1946, the US Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the Blue Angels, performed for the first time. Intended to enhance Navy recruiting and to represent American armed forces as international ambassadors of good will, the Blue Angels perform aerial demonstrations involving highly precise maneuvers while flying in formation. During the stunts, the jets can sometimes come within 18 inches of each other. Why is it that pilots in the Blue Angels squadron do not wear G-suits? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary