California and Colorado California California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. The first Europeans in California were the Spanish explorers who arrived in the 16th century. In 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain and had control of California. Many cities in California still have Spanish names. In fact, the name California comes from a Spanish novel written in the 16th century that used the name to describe a mythical paradise. The area became a U.S. territory in 1848 after the Mexican-American War. It became a state in 1850. It is nicknamed “The Golden State.” The nickname comes from the gold rush and the state flower: golden poppies. The western border is the Pacific Ocean. The state has many diverse ecosystems. California has 1,100 miles of coastline made of beaches and cliffs. The Mojave Desert is in California and is 25,000 square miles. In the eastern part of the state is the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which contains Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in 48 states. California is also famous for forests of some of the tallest trees in the world, the redwoods, which can grow to be 380 feet tall. history.com Colorado Colorado also has a history with Spanish explorers. They were the first European explorers, and they arrived in 1858. Americans came to the area in response to a gold rush. The name Colorado comes from the Spanish explorers as well. Colorado means, “colored red.” The name was inspired by the muddy red river that flows through the state. However, there were many native people who lived in the area before the Europeans settled there, including the Ute, Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes. Colorado is famous for amazing Native American ruins preserved in the Mesa Verde National Park. Colorado is nicknamed the “Centennial State.” The nickname is because it became a state the year the U.S. turned 100, 1876. Colorado is a landlocked state in the Midwest. The western part of the state is covered in the Rocky Mountains. The tallest peak is Mount Elbert, which is 14,440 feet above sea level. The eastern part of the state is covered in grasslands. ducksters.com
Located in northern Europe, Norway is surrounded by the North Sea to its south, the Norwegian Sea to its west and north and Finland, Sweden and Russia to its east. Although Norway lies on the outskirts of Europe, it is not a member of The European Union. It is a leader in waste management with what is claimed to be the most efficient recycling plant on the planet, located in Skedsmokorset near the city of Oslo. Norway is a country with a rich history that includes Vikings, adventurers, tradesmen, artists and kings. The Vikings were fierce warriors, which enabled them to conquer many lands. They were also clever businessmen, skilled sailors, talented metalsmiths, woodworkers and amazing storytellers. Because of their sailing skills and sturdy ships, they traveled to and explored places like Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland and even North America. Vikings are credited with founding Dublin, Ireland, and Normandy, France. Many credit Vikings with inventing the comb – they made them out of antlers. They are also thought to be the first to use the magnetic compass. Here are some interesting facts about Norway: It is more than twice the size of Georgia, just slightly larger than New Mexico. Oslo is the capital of Norway. The landscape is a combination of rugged mountains, fertile valleys and plains with a coastline with many fjords. The north is arctic tundra. 27 percent of the land is forest. Most people live in the south where it is warmer. Norway has one active volcano: Beerenberg on Jan Mayen Island in the Norwegian Sea. There are approximately 5,320,000 people living in Norway. People from Norway are called Norwegians. Norway has two official languages: Bokmal Norwegian and Nynorsk Norwegian. Sami and Finnish are also common languages in Norway. Norway has many natural resources, including oil and gas, hydropower, fish, forests and minerals. Norway is the second-largest seafood exporter in the world. China is the largest. Sources: https://www.historyonthenet.com/viking-literature-stories-sagas-and-myths/ https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/no.html https://www.visitnorway.com/things-to-do/art-culture/vikings/ http://www.goodnet.org/articles/norway-now-has-most-efficient-recycling-plant-on-earth http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/6-things-we-owe-to-the-vikings https://www.livescience.com/44366-vikings-sun-compass-after-sunset.html
So far, we know that China is the world’s largest producer of peanuts and is home to the giant salamander, but there are so many more fascinating things to know about this country. Let’s take a look at a few things that make China unique: China is located in eastern Asia and has 14 countries for neighbors. Regarding land, China is slightly smaller than the United States. However, in terms of population count, China outnumbers the U.S. by 188,695,514 people! That’s a lot of people, and it results in a lot of ethnic groups, too. The Chinese government officially recognizes 56 different ethnic groups. You may have heard of a few of China’s largest cities. Beijing is the nation’s capital, but other major cities include Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangdong, Tianjin and Shenzhen — all have over 10 million people. China is also a very diverse country for languages. The various Chinese languages include Mandarin, Yue, Wu, Minbei, Minnan, Xiang, Gan and Hakka dialects. And scattered throughout the many ethnic groups are even more minority languages. Can you imagine if the United States’ regional accents were actually different languages? Would you speak the same language as your family? One of the most famous attractions in China is the Great Wall of China, but technically it’s not even one wall. It’s a series of walls that connect from construction projects that lasted about 2,000 years. A portion of the distance the wall stretches to reach actually uses natural boundaries such as rivers or mountains. The portion of the wall that is most instantly recognizable because of its preservation was constructed by the Ming Dynasty, which ruled from 1368 until 1644. For a long time, the Great Wall of China was said to be the only human-made object visible from space. As it turns out, it is not visible from the moon without the assistance of technology. That is kind of disappointing if you’re focused on the wall. But with a simple shift of focus, you’ll quickly realize how grand that makes the vast expanse of space!
Mawsynram (pronounced maw-sin-rum) is a city in the East Khasi Hills district in northeastern India. It is known as the wettest city in the world. India has two seasons: a wet season and a dry season. During the dry season, there is very little rain. During the rainy season, the country is slammed by huge rainstorms. This seasonal change is due to monsoons, or the seasonal change in winds. From October to April, the wind blows from the northeast, and it is dry. From May to September, the wind blows from the southwest, and it brings torrential rain. This yearly change is important for agriculture all over India. Mawsynram received 1,000 inches of rain in 1985, which is a world record. In an average year, the town receives around 467 inches of rain. Most of this rain comes during the wet season. This area has a short dry season — from December to February. During the dry season, India may still receive 1.2 inches of rain a month. This huge amount of rain is due in part to the location of the city where the mountains and hills make many strong winds converge in one area. The dry season is difficult because it can be hard to find enough water to drink and complete daily chores. In 1995, five feet of rain fell in 24 hours. June and July are the two rainiest months and bring an average of 275 inches of rain. New York City gets 60 inches of rain a year. Because rain is such a huge part of daily life, work can’t stop just because there is a storm. Instead, the residents of Mawsynram have learned to live with the weather. They have special umbrellas called knups. They look almost like shells, but they are woven from bamboo and banana leaf. Workers wear them on their heads and they curve over to cover most of the body. When people wear them they are protected by the rain and can still work using both their hands. For more information visit the following sites: theatlantic.com indiatimes.com huffingtonpost.com
Bulgaria is a country in Eastern Europe. It is named after the first people that settled it, the Bulgars. They settled in the area around 200 AD. Bulgaria was first united in the 600s AD. It became a kingdom in 893 AD. Bulgaria has always been a small country, and since its beginning, it has been threatened by much stronger and larger neighbors. The first invaders came from the Byzantine Empire in 1018. The Ottoman Empire ruled for the longest period: 500 years. After World War II, the area was controlled by the Soviet Union. The Bulgarians reclaimed their independence in 1989. Bulgaria has a population of 7,741,000. The capital is Sofia. The official language is Bulgarian, but Turkish and Roma are also popular. The currency is the Lev. The area is 42,855 square miles, slightly larger than Tennessee. The main river is the Danube. 83 percent of the population is Orthodox Christian. 12 percent of the population is Muslim. Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007. Bulgaria is one of the least-densely populated countries in Europe. Bulgaria borders the Black Sea. The country is famous for producing yogurt and rose oil. It takes 1,000 roses to make 1 gram of rose oil. Rose oil is often used in perfume. The highest point in Bulgaria is 2,925 meters above sea level at Musala. The Danube is the main river. One-third of Bulgaria is forest. Sofia is the second oldest city in Europe; it was founded 7,000 years ago. The European Union, or the EU, is a group of European countries that have all agreed to share similar rules. People can move freely between the countries without special passports or permission. Goods can also be transported between the countries without extra taxes. Sharing these special rules allows the countries to improve their economies together. They can trade easily, and citizens can easily move to different countries for jobs or family.
Italy Italy is a European country famous for many things. It is known for its food, history and art. Italy has a long history with some of the world’s most powerful societies. The Greeks and Etruscans emerged in Italy around 800 BCE. For hundreds of years, Italy was made of small city-states. One of these city-states was called Rome. That single city-state grew into the Roman Empire, which conquered all the Italian Peninsula and much more land beyond. After Rome fell in 395 A.D., Italy was divided and ruled by foreign tribes. It reunited into a single country in 1861. • On a map, Italy looks like a boot kicking a small ball. • The small ball is the island of Sicily. • Italy is a peninsula, which means water surrounds it on three sides. • It is surrounded by the Adriatic Sea, the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. • The capital is Rome. • Rome is the biggest city in Italy and has a population of 2.6 million. • Rome is nicknamed “Eternal City.” • The population of the country is 61.6 million. • The money is the euro. • The language is Italian. • The area of the country is 116,324 square miles. • There are four major rivers: Po, Adige, Arno and Tiber. • The top of Italy is in the Alps mountain range. • The bottom of the boot also has mountains. They are called The Apennines. • There are three active volcanoes in Italy: Vesuvius, Etna and Stromboli. • Italy surrounds two of the world’s smallest countries. These two countries are San Marino, the oldest republic in the world, and Vatican City in Rome. The people of Italy have played a very important role in human history. The Greeks and Romans developed different kinds of art, government, philosophy and science. Italy was also the heart of the Renaissance and revolutionized philosophy, science and art. A recent discovery from Italy may change the way we think about human history again. Researchers found a 130,000 to 170,000-year-old Neanderthal skeleton in a cave in Italy. The oldest Neanderthal fossil ever found is 200,000 years old, but this skeleton is special because scientists have been able to extract Neanderthal DNA from the right shoulder blade. The skeleton was originally found in 1993, but technology has only recently been able to extract the DNA, making this the oldest Neanderthal DNA ever extracted. This skeleton is also one of the most intact ever found.
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia is a region between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers in southwestern Asia. Today the region is part of Turkey, Syria and Iraq. This region is famous because it is where civilization was first started by the first people who lived there: the Sumerians. The Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers make the land fertile, but getting enough water was still a problem. Instead of relying on the rare rains, the Sumerians invented irrigation. They dug canals to move water from the rivers to large areas of land. The rivers provided a steady supply of water. Artificial irrigation allowed people to start farming in this region without relying on rainfall. The farms could produce so much food that not every person had to farm to survive. Some people could farm, and others could trade, build and invent. • Mesopotamia is a Greek word that means “between two rivers.” • The Sumerians were the first people to live in Mesopotamia, and they lived in a bunch of small city-states. Each city had its own king who ruled the city and the farms around it. • The Akkadians united all the small city-states into one large empire and changed the main language of the area called Akkadian. • The Babylonians came next in the region. • They created the most powerful city: Babylon. The Babylonians spread their empire across the Middle East. • The Babylonians created the oldest written law in the world: The Code of Hammurabi The Hammurabi Code is an important part of the history of Mesopotamia. It is named after the Babylonian King who created it: Hammurabi. This King ruled from 1792 to 1749 B.C.E. We know about the code because 282 laws were recorded on large clay tablets. These clay tablets were spread all over Babylon so that the citizens would know the rules of the land. The laws covered issues like trade, theft, trade, divorce and slavery. For more information visit the following sites: http://www.ancient.eu/Mesopotamia/ http://www.ducksters.com/history/mesopotamia/ancient_mesopotamia.php https://www.britannica.com/place/Mesopotamia-historical-region-Asia ?
The La Brea Tar Pits is a National Natural Landmark that is in the middle of downtown Los Angeles in California. The tar pits were discovered by the Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola in August 1769. Tar pits are created when crude oil from deep in the ground seeps through the surface soil. The sun will evaporate part of the oil, and all that is left is a very thick, sticky and heavy tar or asphalt. • Another name for the area is Rancho La Brea; it is Spanish for “the tar ranch.” • The Page Museum is located at the pits and displays many of the fossils that have been found there. • It has the largest and most diverse collection of extinct ice age plants and animals. • Native Americans used the tar to waterproof baskets and canoes. • Between 1870 and 1890, a family mined and sold the asphalt. • Fossils were rst recorded in the pits in 1875. • In 1916, the area was donated to Los Angeles County so the area could be preserved and explored. • Scientists have found living bacteria in the tar. • Some of the species found are so different from what lives in the area today because 40,000 years ago the area was cooler and wetter. • There are still excavations and projects nding fossils. • Pit 91 is a long-term excavation e ort that the museum sta has been working on for 40 years. • They still work on it every summer. • Tar pits usually form in pools. Sometimes dust, leaves and other debris can cover the tar pits so that they look like regular ground. Animals will wander into these areas and get stuck in the thick substance. Scientists also noticed that most of the fossils in the pit are carnivorous. This is interesting because there are usually 90 percent more herbivores than carnivores in an area. It is thought that entire packs of animals might chase prey into the pits and then the predators and the prey would get stuck and preserved in the pits. The second largest group of animals found was the scavengers. These animals may have also gotten stuck trying to eat the animals already caught in the tar.
Australia The first humans to live in Australia arrived there about 50,000 years ago. They are called the Aborigines. They settled along the coastal areas. Europeans did not make it to Australia until much later. The Dutch landed in 1606 but decided not to stay. Captain James Cook, the British Naval captain, discovered the continent Aug. 23, 1770, and the British started settling there in 1788. The British established small settlements in Australia and claimed the country as a colony. Many of the rst Europeans who came to make a life in Australia at rst were forced to move there. Australia was a penal colony, which means that most of the people sent there were prisoners. This practice ended around the 1860s. As more people moved to Australia, settlements expanded. Now the country has 22,507,617 people living in it. • The full name is the Commonwealth of Australia. • The capital is Canberra. • The o cial language is English. • It contains 2,969,906 square miles. • It is a country and a continent. • The Outback is the largest desert in Australia. • The Great Artesian Basin, which is in Australia, is the largest groundwater source in the world. • There are unique animals in Australia like the kangaroo, echidna, koala and platypus. • There are 36 types of poisonous funnel-web spiders and 20 types of venomous snakes in Australia. Australia is an incredibly unique place, different from anywhere else in the world. In the northeastare lush and dense rainforests full of incredible animals and plants. There are three types of rainforests in Australia: the tropical, subtropical and broadleaf. Most of the people live in the southeast and southwest. There is also the Outback, perhaps the region for which Australia is most famous. Very few people live in this area because the climate is so di cult and extreme. It is hot and there are not many plants or water sources. There is also a large mountain range called The Great Divide that is 2,300 miles long. Because of the many different environments in Australia, there are also many different types of animals, some of which are poisonous. The 516 national parks in Australia help to protect all these plants and animals. For more information, visit the following sites: http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/History/Australia-history.htm http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/countries/australia/#koala-closeup-tree.jpg http://www.kids-world-travel-guide.com/australia-facts.html
Where in World Is Poland The first people to permanently live in Poland were the Slavs. They moved there in the Middle Ages. For many years, the people living in Poland lived as separate tribes. In 966 A.D., the tribes were united by Chief Mieszko, who then became the prince of Polska. He was a chief of one of the Slavic tribes. Poland grew even further in the 1500s when it joined with Lithuania and officially became a commonwealth. The next few hundred years were dif cult for Poland. There were many wars and invasions. In fact, Poland did not officially exist between the Russian Empire, the kingdom of Prussia and the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy. In 1939, Poland was again invaded, this time by Nazi Germany. After World War II,Poland was again a nation, but it wasn’t truly independent. It became a communist satellite state of the Soviet Union. It covers 120,728 square miles. The capital and largest city is Poland.Most people in Poland are Roman Warsaw The currency is the Zloty. The language is Polish. It is the ninth largest country in Europe. The national symbol is the white eagle. The population is over 38 million people. The highest point in Poland is Rysy in the Tatra Mountains, it is 8,199 feet tall. Thirty percent of Poland is covered in forest. The major rivers are the Vistula and Oder. There are more than 1,300 lakes in Poland Most people in Poland are Roman Catholic Poland is in Central Europe. Even though Poland has been conquered many times throughout its history, the people have always been able to preserve their culture and identity by sticking together and fighting for what they believe in. The Polish are famous for their resistance ghting. In World War II, they had a government in exile and the Polish people helped to fight against the Nazis. In 1980, the people of Poland came together and even ended communism peacefully with a movement called “Solidarity.” Now Poland is an independent democracy in the European Union. For more information visit the following sites: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/countries/poland/#poland-warsaw.jpg http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/countries/poland.html http://www.timeforkids.com/destination/poland
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