Introduction :: Malawi Background From the late 15th to the 18th centuries, a prosperous Kingdom of Maravi – from which the name Malawi derives – extended its reach into what are now areas of Zambia and Mozambique. British missionary and trading activity increased in the area around Lake Malawi in […]

Introduction :: Libya Background Berbers have inhabited central north Africa since ancient times, but the region has been settled and ruled by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Persians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Vandals. In the the 7th century, Islam spread through the region; in the mid-16th century, Ottoman rule began. The Italians […]

Introduction :: Jamaica Background The island – discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 – was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a […]

Introduction :: Indonesia Background The archipelago gradually adopted Islam between the 13th and 16th centuries. The Dutch began to colonize Indonesia in the early 17th century; Japan occupied the islands from 1942 to 1945. Indonesia declared its independence shortly before Japan’s surrender, but it required four years of sometimes brutal […]

Introduction :: Ukraine Background Ukraine was the center of the first eastern Slavic state, Kyivan Rus, which during the 10th and 11th centuries was the largest and most powerful state in Europe. Weakened by internecine quarrels and Mongol invasions, Kyivan Rus was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and […]

Introduction :: Uganda Background British influence in Uganda began in the 1860s with explorers seeking the source of the Nile and expanded in subsequent decades with various trade agreements and the establishment of the Uganda Protectorate in 1894. The colonial boundaries created by Britain to delimit Uganda grouped together a […]

Introduction :: Taiwan Background First inhabited by Austronesian people, Taiwan became home to Han immigrants beginning in the late Ming Dynasty (17th century). In 1895, military defeat forced China’s Qing Dynasty to cede Taiwan to Japan, which then governed Taiwan for 50 years. Taiwan came under Chinese Nationalist (Kuomintang, KMT) […]

Introduction :: Turkey Background Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later honored with the title Ataturk or “Father of the Turks.” Under his leadership, the country adopted radical social, legal, and political reforms. After a […]

Introduction :: Switzerland Background The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, subsequently modified in 1874 to allow […]

Introduction :: Philippines Background The Philippine Islands became a Spanish colony during the 16th century; they were ceded to the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American War. In 1935 the Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth. Manuel QUEZON was elected president and was tasked with preparing the country for independence after […]