Until recently, many people, even some scholars, believed that Africa had no written language until the arrival of the European colonizers. But Timbuktu proves that to be false. While Europe was still in the Middle Ages, the scholars of Timbuktu created hundreds of thousands of manuscripts in beautiful calligraphy (decorative handwriting) that discuss every possible subject: astronomy, poetry, mathematics, medicine, botany, religion, law, politics, and history. These manuscripts, which date back to the 1100s, are fragile and written on dried animal skins. The residents of Timbuktu guarded them in their homes for centuries.
In 2012, their existence was threatened by an invading group of jihadis (jee-hah-dees), warriors from a branch of Al Qaeda, the group responsible for the 9/11 attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center in 2001. They set fire to 4,200 manuscripts they found. But thanks to a brave group of librarians and their helpers, all the other manuscripts, 377,000 in total, were evacuated to safety.
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From golden frogs to big cats to colorful birds, the national animals of Central America represent the geography and cultures of the region. For a quick sampling of creatures plain and beautiful, common and rare, read on.
31 Countries Biosphere
The Trifinio Fraternidad Biosphere Reserve is located at a spot where El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras converge. A biosphere is the layer of planet Earth where life exists.
THE LEGEND OF THE QUETZAL BIRD
A Mayan Tale retold by Pat Betteley illustrated by Amanda Shepherd
Semana Santa GUATEMALA'S HOLY WEEK
What if Easter preparations meant dyeing sand, collecting pine needles, and staying up all night to work on an art project that you knew would be ruined the very next day? Well, welcome to Guatemala’s Semana Santa, or Holy Week.
The Maya are groups of people who live in parts of Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. Their ancestors created a great society. At its peak, from 600-900 C.E., the Maya civilization was more advanced than its neighbors in the Americas.
Playing Games Honduras-style
Would you play the same games in Honduras that you do in the United States? You might. Children in Honduras enjoy many of the same games North Americans do. They go fishing and shoot baskets. They play sandlot baseball—called bate (BAH tay). They fly kites and ride bikes. Their parents may go horseback riding or play golf or tennis.
LIVING A LONG LIFE IN THE Blue Zone
Most people would like to live as long a life as possible. No one really knows why some people live longer than others, but did you know that where you live can play a big part in how many years you’ll be alive? If you live in a Blue Zone, chances are that you will live much longer than people in other parts of the world.
ATTENTION WORLD: Belize Saves Their Coral Reef
Sea turtles float in clear waters, colorful corals hug the ocean floor, and aquatic animals glide among the mangrove roots. Welcome to the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, the second-largest coral reef in the world (Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is number one). Several years ago, this reef was in crisis, heading toward destruction. But the people of Belize fought back to save their reef’s health.
The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a 51-mile long canal that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
This is Central America!
It’s time to visit Central America. But first, it helps to know exactly where Central America is. Despite its name, it is the southernmost part of North America, which can seem a little confusing. It makes up most of the isthmus dividing the Pacific Ocean from the Caribbean Sea. An isthmus is a narrow strip of land that connects two larger landmasses and has water on both sides.
CHER BEGS FRAIL MOM TO MOVE IN!
She’s terrified of living without feisty 94-year-old
FRIHA ABDELMAJID: RURAL LIFESTYLE IN MOROCCO
FRIHA ABDELMAJID: RURAL LIFESTYLE IN MOROCCO
B&B: FINN PROPOSES TO STEFFY
Hot on the heels of the revelation that Finn, not Liam, is the father of Steffy’s baby, the good doctor has a very important question to ask the woman he loves. “When he was racing to Malibu to stop Steffy from leaving, Finn made one stop to pick up a precious heirloom,” winks his portrayer, Tanner Novlan. “In this moment, after he tells Steffy that he’s the father, Finn makes the most of it.”
JULIA'S TRIAL SEPARATION
Leaving hubby after endless bickering and he’s delighted
Dakota & Chris: MALIBU WEDDING!
THE PERFECT SPOT! CHR IS MARTIN AND DAKOTA JOHNSON FINALLY MOVE IN TOGETHER — AND GETTO WORK PLANNING AN INTIMATE CEREMONY ON THE GROUNDS OF THEIR $12.5 MILLION MANSION.
MICHELLE: CLEAN UP, YOUR ACT BARACK!
Her $175M divorce ultimatum!
Malina Moye Means Business
RIGHTEOUS TOURING TIPS FROM A LIFELONG ROAD WARRIOR
Food & Drink
Taste of the Holidays
This 1972 Chevelle Malibu is Finally Out of Storage!
The Seed of the Universe
Move over quinoa. There’s a “new” ancient grain in town—fonio, a hearty, gluten-free species from West Africa introduced to America by Yolélé Foods.