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The History Channel - Encyclopedia
Category: History and Culture > History
Date & country: 02/12/2007, UK
Words: 28028


aeon
Age or immense period of time. The Gnostics used the term to indicate manifestations from God, or spirits which form a separate existence and have influence over phases in the world's progression. ...

Aequi
Italian people, originating around the River Velino, central Italy. They were turned back from their advance on Rome 431 BC and were conquered 304 BC, at the end of the second Samnite War. ...

aerial bombardment
Another name for Blitzkrieg. ...

aerial photography
Taking photographs from a high level (using an aircraft or satellite). Aerial photography enables surface features to be detected, and is used by geologists, surveyors, engineers, and...

aerial reconnaissance
Technique used primarily for the recording and interpretation of archaeological sites from the air, though at times it can also be useful in discovering new sites. In warfare, aerial reconna ...

Aertzen (or Aartsen), Pieter
(c. 1509-1575) Dutch painter. He excelled in interiors and homely scenes, though also producing historical and religious works. His Maidservant (Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels) is an original and early...

Aeschines
(389-314 BC) Athenian orator and principal rival of Demosthenes, with whom he was ambassador to Macedonia 348. His conflict with Demosthenes came to a head 330 and caused Aeschines to go into exile. He...

Aeschylus
(c. 525-c. 456 BC) Athenian dramatist. He developed Greek tragedy by introducing the second actor, thus enabling true dialogue and dramatic action to occur independently of the chorus. Ranked with Euripides and...

Aesculapius
In Roman mythology, the god of medicine, equivalent to the Greek Asclepius. ...

Aesir
The principal gods of Norse mythology - Odin, Thor, Balder, Tyr, Heimdall, and Loki. Their dwelling place was Asgard. They fought against a rival group of gods, the Vanir; as a result Njord,...

Aesop
By tradition, a writer of Greek fables. According to the historian Herodotus, he lived in the mid-6th century BC and was a slave. The fables that are ascribed to him were collected at a later date...

Aesthetic Movement
English artistic movement of the late 19th century, dedicated to the doctrine of `art for art's sake`- that is, art as a self-sufficient entity concerned solely with beauty and not with any...

aesthetics
Branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty, especially in art. It emerged as a distinct branch of enquiry in the mid-18th century. Aesthetics attempts...

Aetolia
District of ancient Greece on the northwest of the gulf of Corinth. The Aetolian League was a confederation of the cities of Aetolia formed in 370 BC and which, following the death of Alexander the...

AEW
Abbreviation for Airborne Early Warning, a military surveillance system; see AWACS and early warning. ...

affidavit
Legal document, used in court applications and proceedings, in which a person swears that certain facts are true. In England, an affidavit is usually sw ...

affiliation order
In English law, formerly a court order for maintenance against the alleged father of an illegitimate child. Under the Family Law Reform Act 1987, either parent can apply for a court order for...

affinity
In law, relationship by marriage not blood (for example, between a husband and his wife's blood relatives, between a wife and her husband's blood relatives, or between step-parent and stepchild),...

affirmation
Solemn declaration made instead of taking the oath by a person who has no religious belief or objects to taking an oath on religious grounds. The privilege of affirming was first granted to the...

affirmative action
Policy of positive discrimination to increase opportunities for certain social groups in employment, business, government, and other areas. The policy is designed to counter the effects of...

affirmative action, USA
Policy of positive discrimination pursued in the USA for the advancement of disadvantaged US citizens. First promoted by US president Lyndon Johnson's Executive Order 11246 (1965), it was furthered...

affluent society
Society in which most people have money left over after satisfying their basic needs such as food and shelter. They are then able to decide how to spend their excess (`disposable`) income, and...

Affre, Denis Auguste
(1793-1848) French cleric, Roman Catholic archbishop of Paris 1840-48, clerical reformer and defender of academic freedom. He tried to mediate between the soldiers and insurgents during the Afghan
People who are natives to or inhabitants of Afghanistan. The dominant group, particularly in Kabul, are the Pathans. The Tajiks, a smaller ethnic group, are predominantly traders and farmers in the...

Afghan Wars
Three wars waged between Britain and Afghanistan to counter the threat to British India from expanding Russian influence in Afghanistan. First Afghan War (1838-42): the British invaded Afghanistan...

Afghanistan
Mountainous, landlocked country in south-central Asia, bounded north by Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, west by Iran, and south and east by Pakistan, India, and China. Government Under...

Afghanistan War
US-led military action against Afghanistan beginning 7 October 2001. This first strike in the
war on terror followed the refusal of the Taliban regime to surrender Saudi-born terrorist Osama AFL-CIO
Abbreviation for
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. ...

Afonso I
(1094-1185) King of Portugal from 1112. He made Portugal independent from León. ...

Afonso II
(1185-1223) King of Portugal 1211-23. He is noted chiefly for his endeavours to weaken the power of the clergy, in the course of which he was excommunicated, and for his code of law. ...

Afonso III
(1210-1279) King of Portugal 1248-79. His reign witnessed a notable increase in the effectiveness of royal administration, and was marked by frequent clashes with the church. ...

Afonso IV
(1291-1357) King of Portugal 1325-57. Wars with Castile and the Moors occupied most of his reign. Civil war broke out between him and his son, Pedro, as a result of the mur ...

Afonso V
(1432-1481) King of Portugal 1438-81. His father died in 1438 and, after a turbulent regency under his uncle Pedro, Afonso assumed the government in 1448. He conducted a successful campaign in Morocco against...

Afonso VI
(1643-1683) King of Portugal 1656-67, son of John IV. He was forced, on account of his alleged impotence, to abdicate 1667. He retired to Terceira where he died. ...

Africa, the scramble for
Drive by European nations to establish colonies in Africa. It began in the 1880s, and by 1914 only two African countries remained completely independent. They were Ethiopia, which had been a kingdom...

African
People who are native to or inhabitants of the continent of Africa, especially of sub-Saharan Africa. The region is culturally heterogeneous with numerous distinctive ethnic and sociolinguistic...

African art
Art of black African origin, in particular the sculpture and carving of the sub-Saharan domain, from prehistory to the art of ancient civilizations and post-imperialist Africa. Covering a vast...

African Development Bank
Organization founded 1963 to promote and finance economic development across the African continent. Its members include 51 African and 25 non-African countries. Its headquarters are in Abidja'n,...

African history
Africa is probably the continent in which humans originated (see human species, origins of). Classical connections One of...

African literature
African literature was mainly oral until the 20th century and oral traditions of proverbs, mythological narratives, and poetry persist and influence contemporary writing. There exists a wide variety...

African National Congress
South African political party, founded in 1912 as a multiracial nationalist organization with the aim of extending the franchise to the whole population and ending all racial discrimination. Its...

African nationalism
Political movement for the unification of Africa (Pan-Africanism) and for national self-determination. Early African political organizations included...

African Union
Association established in 1963 as the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to eradicate colonialism and improve economic, cultural, and political cooperation in Africa. Its headquarters are in Addis...

Afrifa, Okatakyie Akwasi Amankwa
(1936-1979) Ghanaian army officer, former head of state (from April to September 1969), and a principal leader of the coup of 1966 that overthrew Kwame Nkrumah. In 1969 he became chair of the National...

Afrika Korps
German army in the western desert of North Africa 1941-43 during World War II, commanded by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. They were driven out of North Africa by May 1943. The Korps was formed as...

Afrikaner
Inhabitant of South Africa descended from the original Dutch, Flemish, and Huguenot settlers of the 17th century. Comprising approximately 60% of the white population in South Africa, Afrikaners...

Afro-Caribbean
West Indian people of African descent. Afro-Caribbeans are the descendants of West Africans captured or obtained in trade from African procurers. European slave traders then shipped them to the...

afterlife
Belief that life does not end with death but continues in some other form or in some other place, granting some form of immortality. Belief in an afterlife of some kind is a hallmark of all...

Afwerki, Issaias
(1945) Eritrean soldier and politician, president 1993-â€Æ`. He was appointed head of Eritrea's provisional government in 1991, after Ethiopian president Mengistu was overthrown, and was then elected...

aga
Title of nobility, applied by the Turks to military commanders and, in general, to men of high station in some Muslim countries. It is possibly of Tatar derivation. ...

Aga Khan III
(1877-1957) Spiritual head (imam) of the Ismaili Muslim sect (see Islam), born in Karachi, India (now Pakistan). He succeeded to the title in 1885. He founded Aligarh University in 1910. He worked for the...

Aga Khan IV, (Karim)
(1936) Spiritual head (imam) of the `Ismaili` Muslim sect (see Islam). He succeeded his grandfather in 1957. ...

Agadir Incident
International crisis provoked by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, July-November 1911. By sending the gunboat Panther to demand territorial concessions from...

Agamemnon
In Greek mythology, a Greek hero of the Trojan wars, son of Atreus, king of Mycenae, and brother of Menelaus. He sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia in order to secure favourable winds for the Greek...

Agasias
(lived 1st century BC) Two Greek sculptors of Ephesus. (1) Son of Dositheus. He signed the Borghese Warrior, now in the Louvre, a sculpture of two warriors in combat, one on foot and one on horseback; it was discovered at...

Agate, James (Evershed)
(1877-1947) English essayist and theatre critic. His reviews, many of which were published, were noted for their wit, clarity, and seriousness. He wrote Ego, a diary in nine volumes published 1935-49. Born in...

Agatha, St
(lived 3rd century AD) Patron saint of Catania, Sicily. According to legend she was a member of the Sicilian nobility who refused the attentions of the Roman prefect. She was sentenced to be burnt alive, but when the...

Agee, James (Rufus)
(1909-1955) US journalist, screenwriter, and author. He rose to national prominence as a result of his investigation of the plight of sharecroppers in the South during the Depression. In collaboration with the...

ageism
Prejudice against people because of their age. Ageism often takes the form of discrimination against older job applicants. In contrast to discrimination on the basis of gender, race, or disability,...

Agent Orange
Selective weedkiller, notorious for its use by US forces during the Vietnam War to eliminate ground cover that could protect enemy forces. It was subsequently discovered to...

aggregate demand
The total demand for goods and services in the economy. When aggregate demand or spending falls over a period of one to two years, the economy tends to go into recession, while a rise in aggregate...

aggression
In politics, an unprovoked attack often involving an escalating series of threats aimed at intimidating an opponent. The actions of Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, leading to World War...

Agheila, El
Small Libyan town on the south coast of the Gulf of Sidra, south of Benghazi. A thin strip of firm ground between the sea and extensive salt marshes, it forms a natural bottleneck and so during the...

Agincourt, Battle of
Battle fought on 25 October 1415 at Agincourt during the Hundred Years' War, between Henry V of England and a much larger force of French under a divided command. Henry completely defeated the...

agitprop
Soviet government bureau established in September 1920 in charge of communist agitation and propaganda. The idea was later developed by left-wing groups in the West for the use of theatre and...

Aglaia
One of the three Graces of classical mythology. ...

AGM
Abbreviation for annual general meeting. ...

Agnes, St
Christian martyr in the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian. According to legend, at the age of 12 she was publicly humiliated and martyred in Rome for refusing the praetor's heathen son. Her...

Agnew, Spiro (Theodore)
(1918-1996) US vice-president 1969-73, a Republican. He was governor of Maryland 1966-69, and vice-president under Richard Nixon. Agnew took the lead in a campaign against the press and opponents of the...

Agni
In Hindu mythology, the god of fire, the guardian of homes, and the protector of humans against evil. ...

Agnon, Shmuel Yosef
(1888-1970) Israeli novelist. Born in Buczacz, Galicia (now part of western Ukraine), he made it the setting of his most celebrated work, Tmol Shilshom/A Guest for...

agnosticism
Belief that the existence of God cannot be proven; that in the nature of things the individual cannot know anything of what lies behind or beyond the world of natural phenomena. The term was co ...

agora
In an ancient Greek town, the public meeting place and market, equivalent to the Roman forum. The limits were marked with boundary stones, and trade there was regulated. The Agora at Athens...

Agostino di Duccio
(1418-1481) Italian sculptor. He is best known for his marble low reliefs. Among his most important works are sculptures for the facade of the oratory of San Bernardino in Perugia, central Italy. Agostino was...

Agostino Veneziano
(c. 1490-c. 1536) Venetian engraver. He was active mainly in Rome, and by engraving paintings by well-known artists helped disseminate Italian Renaissance themes and motifs throughout Europe. Originally active in...

agrarian revolution
Until the 1960s historians believed that there had been an 18th-century revolution in agriculture, similar to the revolution that occurred in industry. They claimed that there had been sweeping...

Agricola, Gnaeus Julius
(40-93) Roman general and politician. Born at Forum Julii (Fréjus) in Provence, he became consul in 77, and then governor of Britain 78-85. He extended Roman rule to the Firth of Forth in Scotland and in...

agricultural revolution
See agrarian revolution. ...

agriculture, 19th-century British
After a period of depression following the Napoleonic Wars, agriculture developed rapidly during the 19th century. The landed interests countered the post-war slump in agriculture with protective...

Agriculture, Department of
US government department of the executive branch established in 1861 to regulate and promote agriculture. It now operates numerous programmes in research, planning, natural resources and...

agriculture, medieval
In the Middle Ages, the open-field system system of communal farming was prevalent in England during the Saxon period and under the feudal system of landholding which became dominant after the...

Agrippa, Marcus Vipsanius
(c. 63-12 BC) Roman general and admiral. He was instrumental in the successful campaigns and rise to power of the emperor Augustus. He commanded the victorious fleet at the Battle of Actium and married Augustus'...

Agrippina, the Younger
(AD 15-59) Influential member of a Roman imperial family, sister of Caligula, mother of Nero, and wife of her uncle Claudius, all Roman emperors. She was suspected of poisoning Claudius, having previously...

Aguinaldo, Emilio
(1869-1964) Filipino revolutionary leader. He became a militant nationalist on Luzon island during the 1890s and led a year-long insurrection against the Philippines' Spanish colonial rulers in 1896, which...

Aguiyi-Ironsi, Johnson
(1925-1966) Nigerian politician and soldier, head of state in 1966. He commanded the Nigerian contingent during the UN involvement in the Congo from 1960, and was appointed commander-in-chief in 1965. He...

AH
In the Muslim calendar, abbreviation for anno hegirae. ...

Ahab
(c. 875-854 BC) King of Israel. His empire included the suzerainty of Moab, and Judah was his subordinate ally, but his kingdom was weakened by constant wars with Syria. By his marriage with Jezebel, Princess of...

Ahasuerus
Name of several Persian kings in the Bible, notably the husband of Esther. Traditionally it was also the name of the Wandering Jew. ...

Ahern, Bertie Patrick Bartholemew
(1951) Irish politician, Taoiseach (prime minister) from 1997, leader of Fianna Fáil from 1994. After the May 1997 election he formed a minority coalition government with the Progressive Democrats as...

Aherne, Caroline
(1963) English comedian, writer, and actor. She co-wrote and acted in both The Mrs Merton Show (1995), a chat show in which she plays a pensioner who excels in insulting her guests, and the resulting...

Ahidjo, Ahmadou
(1924-1989) Cameroonian politician, president 1960-82. He became president following the amalgamation of most of the British Cameroons with the French Cameroons in 1960, and was re-elected to that post in...

ahimsa
In Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, the doctrine of respect for all life (including the lowest forms and even the elements themselves) and consequently an extreme form of nonviolence. It arises in...

Ahlberg, Allan
(1938) English writer of numerous children's books, many of which were illustrated by his wife, Janet, who died in 1994. Having trained as a teacher, Ahlberg's work takes advantage of his knowledge of...

Ahmad Shah Durrani
(1724-1773) Founder and first ruler of Afghanistan. Elected shah in 1745, he had conquered the Punjab by 1751 and defeated the Maratha people's confederacy at Panipat, Punjab, in 1761. ...

Ahmadiyya
Islamic religious movement founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908). His followers reject the doctrine that Muhammad was the last of the prophets and accept Ahmad's claim to be the Mahdi and...

Ahmed, Nazir
(1955) Pakistani-born British Labour working peer, created in 1998, one of three Muslim members of the House of Lords. Elected to Rotherham Council in 1990, he was the founder of the British Muslim...

Ahoms
People who first named the province of Assam, northeast India, ruling from the 13th century until the Burmese invaded at the end of the 18th century. ...

Ahriman
In Zoroastrianism, the supreme evil spirit, lord of the darkness and death, waging war with his counterpart Ahura Mazda (Ormuzd) until a time when human beings choose to lead good lives and Ahriman...

Ahtisaari, Maarti
(1939) Finnish diplomat and politician, president 1994-2000. Prior to being chosen as the Social Democratic Party presidential candidate, he was undersecretary general of the Un ...

Ahura Mazda
In Zoroastrianism, the spirit of supreme good. As god of life and light he will finally prevail over his enemy, Ahriman. ...