History

Saving the Potato in its Andean Birthplace

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 10, 2002   View Article

The Spanish conquistadors toppled the Inca Empire in the 16th century in their quest for silver and gold. They returned to Europe with a different sort of earthly nugget dug from the elaborate terraces sculpted into the sides of the Andes—the potato.

Potatoes have since spread to nearly 150 countries around the world; hundreds of millions of tons are grown annually, and the potato has become a staple in the world’s diet.

A Reason to Give Thanks: The Return of the Wild Turkey

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 21, 2001   View Article

As millions of Americans gather around the table with family and friends on Thursday, wild turkeys may be the ones with the most thanks to give. A century ago, with a population of only 30,000, the large birds were on the road to extinction. Today, they number 5.4 million.

“The recovery of the wild turkey is definitely a success story,” said Bart Semcer, chair of the Sierra Club’s National Wildlife and Endangered Species Committee in Washington, D.C. “They are part of America’s heritage, and the American people came together to recover the species.”

Delphic Oracle’s Lips May Have Been Loosened by Gas Vapors

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 14, 2001   View Article

The oracle of Delphi in Greece was the telephone psychic of ancient times: People came from all over Europe to call on the Pythia at Mount Parnassus to have their questions about the future answered. Her answers could determine when farmers planted their fields or when an empire declared war.

The Pythia, a role filled by different women from about 1400 B.C. to A.D. 381, was the medium through which the god Apollo spoke.

Book Report: Search for Queen of Sheba Lures Writer to Arabian Desert

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 18, 2001   View Article

The Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon takes up 13 lines of the Bible. Those lines created a legend that has spawned thousands of pages of literature, sculptures, paintings, circus acts, operas, and even a restaurant in Houston, Texas.

But did the queen really exist?

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach