Topic: South America
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South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) is a British Overseas Territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia Island and a chain of smaller islands known as the South Sandwich Islands. South Georgia is 165 kilometres (103 mi) long and 35 kilometres (22 mi) wide and is by far the largest island in the territory. The South Sandwich Islands lie about 700 kilometres (430 mi) southeast of South Georgia. The territory's total land area is 3,903 km2 (1,507 sq mi). The Falkland Islands are about 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) west from its nearest point.
No permanent native population lives in the South Sandwich Islands, and a very small non-permanent population resides on South Georgia. There are no scheduled passenger flights or ferries to or from the territory, although visits by cruise liners to South Georgia are increasingly popular, with several thousand visitors each summer.
The United Kingdom claimed sovereignty over South Georgia in 1775 and the South Sandwich Islands in 1908. The territory of "South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands" was formed in 1985; previously, it had been governed as part of the Falkland Islands Dependencies. Argentina claimed South Georgia in 1927 and claimed the South Sandwich Islands in 1938.
Argentina maintained a naval station, Corbeta Uruguay, on Thule Island in the South Sandwich Islands from 1976 until 1982 when it was closed by the Royal Navy. The Argentine claim over South Georgia contributed to the 1982 Falklands War, during which Argentine forces briefly occupied the island. Argentina continues to claim sovereignty over South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
Toothfish are vital to the islands' economy; as a result, Toothfish Day is celebrated on 4 September as a bank holiday in the territory.
- "South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands" | 2021-08-16 | 18 Upvotes 18 Comments
The Jesuit reductions were a type of settlement for indigenous people specifically in the Rio Grande do Sul area of Brazil, Paraguay and neighbouring Argentina in South America, established by the Jesuit Order early in the 17th century and wound up in the 18th century with the banning of the Jesuit order in several European countries. Subsequently, it has been called an experiment in "socialist theocracy" or a rare example of "benign colonialism".
In their newly acquired South American dominions, the Spanish and Portuguese Empires had adopted a strategy of gathering native populations into communities called "Indian reductions" (Spanish: reducciones de indios) and Portuguese: redução (plural reduções). The objectives of the reductions were to impart Christianity and European culture. Secular as well as religious authorities created "reductions".
The Jesuit reductions were Christian missions that extended successfully in an area straddling the borders of present-day Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina (the triple frontera) amongst the Guaraní peoples. The reductions are often called collectively the Río de la Plata missions. The Jesuits attempted to create a "state within a state" in which the native peoples in the reductions, guided by the Jesuits, would remain autonomous and isolated from Spanish colonists and Spanish rule. A major factor attracting the natives to the reductions was the protection they afforded from enslavement and the forced labour of encomiendas.
Under the leadership of both the Jesuits and native caciques, the reductions achieved a high degree of autonomy within the Spanish colonial empire. With the use of native labour, the reductions became economically successful. When the incursions of Brazilian Bandeirante slave-traders threatened the existence of the reductions, Indian militias were set up, which fought effectively against the Portuguese colonists. However, directly as a result of the Suppression of the Society of Jesus in several European countries, including Spain, in 1767, the Jesuits were expelled from the Guaraní missions (and the Americas) by order of the Spanish king, Charles III. So ended the era of the Paraguayan reductions. The reasons for the expulsion related more to politics in Europe than the activities of the Jesuit missions themselves.
The Jesuit Rio de la Plata reductions reached a maximum population of 141,182 in 1732 in 30 missions in Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. The reductions of the Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos in eastern Bolivia reached a maximum population of 25,000 in 1766. Jesuit reductions in the Llanos de Moxos, also in Bolivia, reached a population of about 30,000 in 1720. In Chiquitos, the first reduction was founded in 1691 and in the Llanos de Moxos in 1682.
The Jesuit reductions have been lavishly praised as a "socialist utopia" and a "Christian communistic republic" as well as criticized for their "rigid, severe and meticulous regimentation" of the lives of the Indian people they ruled with a firm hand through Guaraní intermediaries.
- "Jesuit Reduction" | 2021-10-22 | 13 Upvotes 1 Comments
Ayahuasca is a South American (pan-Amazonian) psychoactive brew used both socially and as ceremonial spiritual medicine among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin. It is a psychedelic and entheogenic brew commonly made out of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, the Psychotria viridis shrub or a substitute, and possibly other ingredients. A chemically similar preparation, sometimes called "pharmahuasca", can be prepared using N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and a pharmaceutical monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), such as isocarboxazid. B. caapi contains several alkaloids that act as MAOIs, which are required for DMT to be orally active. Ayahuasca is prepared in a tea that, when consumed, causes an altered state of consciousness or "high", including visual hallucinations and altered perceptions of reality.
The other required ingredient is a plant that contains the primary psychoactive, DMT. This is usually the shrub P. viridis, but Diplopterys cabrerana may be used as a substitute. Other plant ingredients often or occasionally used in the production of ayahuasca include Justicia pectoralis, one of the Brugmansia (especially Brugmansia insignis and Brugmansia versicolor, or a hybrid breed) or Datura species, and mapacho (Nicotiana rustica).
- "Ayahuasca" | 2021-12-05 | 15 Upvotes 8 Comments
Kon Tiki Expedition
The Kon-Tiki expedition was a 1947 journey by raft across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands, led by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl. The raft was named Kon-Tiki after the Inca god Viracocha, for whom "Kon-Tiki" was said to be an old name. Kon-Tiki is also the name of Heyerdahl's book, the Academy Award-winning 1950 documentary film chronicling his adventures, and the 2012 dramatized feature film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Heyerdahl believed that people from South America could have reached Polynesia during pre-Columbian times. His aim in mounting the Kon-Tiki expedition was to show, by using only the materials and technologies available to those people at the time, that there were no technical reasons to prevent them from having done so. Although the expedition carried some modern equipment, such as a radio, watches, charts, sextant, and metal knives, Heyerdahl argued they were incidental to the purpose of proving that the raft itself could make the journey.
Heyerdahl's hypothesis of a South American origin of the Polynesian peoples, as well as his "drift voyaging" hypothesis, is generally rejected by scientists today. Archaeological, linguistic, cultural, and genetic evidence tends to support a western origin for Polynesians, from Island Southeast Asia, using sophisticated multihull sailing technologies and navigation techniques during the Austronesian expansion. However, there is evidence of some gene flow from South America to Easter Island.
The Kon-Tiki expedition was funded by private loans, along with donations of equipment from the United States Army. Heyerdahl and a small team went to Peru, where, with the help of dockyard facilities provided by the Peruvian authorities, they constructed the raft out of balsa logs and other native materials in an indigenous style as recorded in illustrations by Spanish conquistadores. The trip began on April 28, 1947. Heyerdahl and five companions sailed the raft for 101 days over 6,900 km (4,300 miles) across the Pacific Ocean before smashing into a reef at Raroia in the Tuamotus on August 7, 1947. The crew made successful landfall and all returned safely.
Thor Heyerdahl's book about his experience became a bestseller. It was published in Norwegian in 1948 as The Kon-Tiki Expedition: By Raft Across the South Seas, later reprinted as Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft. It appeared with great success in English in 1950, also in many other languages. A documentary motion picture about the expedition, also called Kon-Tiki, was produced from a write-up and expansion of the crew's filmstrip notes and won an Academy Award in 1951. It was directed by Heyerdahl and edited by Olle Nordemar. The voyage was also chronicled in the documentary TV-series The Kon-Tiki Man: The Life and Adventures of Thor Heyerdahl, directed by Bengt Jonson.
The original Kon-Tiki raft is now on display in the Kon-Tiki Museum at Bygdøy in Oslo.
- "Kon Tiki Expedition" | 2021-12-30 | 27 Upvotes 1 Comments