Voices from Russia

Thursday, 22 November 2012

22 November 2012. RIA-Novosti Infographics. Thanksgiving Day Tradition and History


Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November. The history of this holiday goes back to one of the first English settlements in America in 1620. Escaping from religious persecution, a group of English Puritans known as “Pilgrims” set off on a dangerous journey, they hoped to find long-awaited freedom in the New World. Their first year in their new homeland was very severe. The settlers had to endure hunger, cold, misery, and disease. After a harsh winter, during which about half of the group died, they learned from neighbouring Indians how to grow corn and other crops adapted to local conditions, to distinguish edible from poisonous plants, which springs had drinkable water, and where the best hunting trails and fishing spots were. In autumn 1621, the colonists gathered a good crop for which they have decided to thank the Lord with a festive meal. This was the first-ever Thanksgiving Day. For a long time, it was an unofficial holiday. However, in 1789, the first US President, George Washington, proclaimed Thanksgiving Day a national holiday, and he requested the Congress to set a date, 26 November, a Thursday. Later, the date of the holiday changed, but one thing remains unchanged… the respect and consideration that Americans give to a date that’s closely connected with their faith and history.

22 November 2012




Wednesday, 15 August 2012

15 August 2012. RIA-Novosti Infographics. The Discovery of America! The Route of Columbus’ First Expedition


On 2 August 1492, three vessels sailed from the Spanish harbour town of Palos de la Frontera… the Santa Maria (flagship), Pinta, and Niña. The ships of Christopher Columbus were seeking a new route to the East Indies, but another much more exciting and wonderful discovery awaited them. On 12 October 1492, Europeans first set foot on dry land in the Americas, on an island off the coast of South America. All told, Columbus’ ships had 100 crewmen. It is interesting to note that “Niña” was actually a nickname. In reality, the caravel’s name was Santa Clara. “Niña” in Spanish translates to “Babe”. The Niña was 17.3 metres (57 feet) in length and 5.6 metres (18.5 feet) in the beam; it could accommodate a crew of up to 40.

So far, academics fight over the controversial question of which island Columbus first discovered. He himself named the island that the flotilla made landfall as Isla San Salvador. Researchers do agree that it was one of the Bahamas, in the Lucayan Archipelago. It’s unclear, however, which of the islands that it was… it could equally be Watling Island or the island of Samana Cay.

3 August 2012



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