Living Conditions in GuadeloupeSoutheast of Puerto Rico and north of Dominica lie the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe. France is a parent of this archipelago, providing systems to manage the islands’ legislation, health and education.

Top Ten Facts About Living Conditions in Guadeloupe

  1. Guadeloupe’s government runs under the French Constitution and executes authority with the French legal system. With France as the head of state, this country has no military of its own, rather it relies on their overseas French parliament to defend their borders. Ironically, the most recent conflict was the riots of 2009 which revealed the French government’s inability to deflate the cost of living on the island.
  2. The construction of new housing and low-cost residence funded by tax plans created the availability of living spaces. This is a good start to addressing the issues of living costs challenged in 2009. However, in 2011, the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies of France (INSEE) reported that 19 percent of households in Guadeloupe are still living in poverty.
  3. With an unemployment rate of 26.9 percent, the Regional Council of Guadeloupe decided to improve the job market through its Regional Scheme for Economic Development (SRDE). Their plan is to optimize access to employment through work placement programs. Satisfying Guadeloupe’s population with opportunities for wealth will feed into the country’s economy.
  4. As arable land decreases, so does Guadeloupe’s agriculture. This affects the industry which inputs 6 percent of the region’s GDP and employs 12 percent of its workers. The production can’t feed the population alone. In fact, the country imports 90 percent of its food for consumption.
  5. The urbanization rate is at an alarming 98 percent. This means, by 2030, 1,500 hectares (approximately 3,700 acres) will be needed for the construction of 19,000 units to house 50,000 dwellers. The unbalanced spread of the population creates congested urban centers.
  6. The annual expenditure on health care and medical products per habitant is 1,800 euros (approximately $2,000). Funding comes from partnerships and programs for EU members, so Guadeloupe doesn’t receive aid from international organizations such as the World Bank and U.N. entities. As a security system, laboratories, like Guadeloupe’s Pasteur Institute in Pointe-à-Pitre, report threatening cases of diseases like dengue which had a fatality ratio of 0.06 percent during the 2012-2013 outbreak. Public health authorities watch and respond to potential threats as a means to establish early warning systems.
  7. The country also follows the French education system with primary schooling from age six to 11 followed by a four-year middle school. At 15 years of age, students may take a leaving examination and begin working. Those seeking to attend a university continue into secondary school with an additional three years.
  8. The country’s history brought together a diverse ethnic culture. It is a mixture of European, Indian, African and Caribbean. As such, the people celebrate Carnival. Beyond this traditional music and dance jubilation, the Creole culture is displayed through the celebration of literature. In fact, Guadeloupe hosts the International Congress for Caribbean Writers, showcasing such work.
  9. Though French is the official language, Creole is also taught in schools to keep the country’s heritage alive. History lives in the buildings as well. Colonial sugar, banana and coffee plantations still remain. Their slave houses, also known, in Creole, as “cases,” hold presence and display the country’s roots.
  10. Travelers can visit this island via French, U.S., Canadian, British and Dutch airlines connecting to Pole Caraïbes International Airport or the other small airports on the surrounding islands. A ferry provides passage between Guadeloupe’s associated islands. The bus system services main routes but becomes scarce on Sundays in secondary routes.

These top 10 facts about living conditions in Guadeloupe depict more than French colonial power. The archipelago distinguished itself from simply taking on the French way of life. The islands have a culture of their own which is the catalyst in their tourist economy.

Crystal Tabares
Photo: Pixabay

history of the World BankThe history of the World Bank is one of change. As the world’s leading development finance institution, the World Bank has established a unique global role over its 75-year existence leading to its modern goal of poverty alleviation. Its longevity and evolution have fostered a bevy of admirers and critics, and its efficacy in achieving its goals has been a cause célèbre for members of the international development community.

How the History of the World Bank Began

The World Bank was formed in 1944 during and because of the ruin caused by World War II. Its original purpose was as a source of financing for the reconstruction of Western Europe, as countries such as France, the beneficiary of the bank’s first loan in 1947, were so devastated that no commercial lender would risk their own capital. As Europe gained its footing and could once again access capital markets, the bank shifted to a global focus including Latin America, Asia and Africa.

However, the history of the World Bank is one of not just an expanding geographical focus but of expanding policy focus. The bank’s initial projects in the 1950s-60s focused on infrastructure and reconstruction, but over the decades this mission has evolved.

The World Bank’s Growing Purpose

The creation of the bank’s International Development Association (IDA) in 1960, with a mission to provide concessional loans and grants to the world’s poorest countries, presaged a shift toward supporting the world’s least developed economies. Bank president Robert McNamara’s pivotal 1973 speech in Nairobi was considered a turning point toward what is thought to be the most important of its many modern mandates: poverty eradication. In 2013, current President Jim Yong Kim described the institution’s twin goals as eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting income growth among the poorest 40 percent of the world’s population.

To this end, the World Bank has continued to represent a formidable source of financing. Its 2017 annual report totaled commitments of $61.8 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to partner countries. For perspective, this is 57 percent greater than the 2019 President Budget for the State Department and USAID of $39.3 billion. The annual report also highlights the diversity of its initiatives, with projects ranging from support of Syrian refugees to cash transfers and nutrition services in

.

Pushback Against the World Bank

However, for an institution committed to a goal as noble as poverty eradication, the World Bank has attracted its fair share of critics. This stems from both the consequences of the Bank’s projects and questions surrounding the relevance of its strategy.

High profile projects have come under fire for decades for their unintended environmental consequences, such as the displacement of more than 60,000 Brazilians after the construction of the Bank-financed Sobradinho Dam in the late 1970s. Bank defenders would acknowledge these failures, but also cite the many safeguards implemented over the years to manage such unintended risks.

Other critics question the Bank’s relevance: in a world where private investors willingly commit over $1 trillion a year to emerging markets, is the multilateral really needed as a backstop? In stark contrast to the 1940s, financing is abundant and capital moves freely in many parts of the world. However, defenders might argue that the World Bank continues to fill financing gaps, as certain arms of the institution, such as the IDA, offer grants and concessional loans to low-income areas that cannot attract private investors seeking a profit.

Criticisms are likely to continue, but among multilateral institutions the size and clout of the World Bank in financing poverty alleviation projects are unmatched. Given its shareholders’ recent approval of a capital increase, the Bank’s financial footprint looks set to continue growing in the near future. The history of the World Bank is one of evolution, and supporters of international development hope its positive influence will continue to shape the poverty eradication landscape.

– Mark Fitzpatrick
Photo: Google

deadliest wars
As with most wars, the majority of people killed in the deadliest wars of all time are innocent civilians. Wars have been a part of human history since the dawn of time. The earliest recorded evidence of human warfare suggests that the first conflict took place around 13,000 years ago along the Egypt-Sudan border. It is believed that this conflicted erupted as a resulted of competition over resources — in this case, water. However, there are many reasons a war can develop: poverty, poor governmental leadership, civil unrest, religion, territory disputes, resources and a plethora of other factors are all responsible for most of the wars throughout human history. With that said, here is a look at the deadliest wars in history.

Top 12 Most Deadliest Wars in History

  1. The Second Congo War
    The Second Congo War (1998-2003) was one of the deadliest wars in history and the deadliest in modern African history. This war spanned over a period of 5 years and caused the death of around 5.4 million people. Although the genocides accounted for a large number of casualties, diseases and famine caused by the war were also partially responsible.
  2. Napoleonic Wars
    The Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) pitted the French Empire and its allies against a coalition of European powers. The Napoleonic Wars refers to a series of conflicts between the French Empire and the coalitions that fought it: the War of the Third Coalition, the Fourth, the Fifth, the Sixth and the Seventh and final coalition. During this period, it is estimated that around 3.5-6 million people were killed as a direct or indirect result of the war.
  3. The Thirty Years’ War
    As the name implies, the Thirty Years’ War was fought between Catholic and Protestant states in Central Europe from 1618 to 1648. The conflicts eventually drew in the great powers of Europe, resulting in one of the longest, most destructive and deadliest conflicts in European history. It is estimated that the war was responsible for the deaths of 8 million civilians and military personnel alike.
  4. The Chinese Civil War
    The Chinese Civil War started in August of 1927 between the government-backed Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China. The massacres and mass atrocities carried out by both parties resulted in more than 8 million casualties by 1950.
  5. The Russian Civil War
    The Russian Civil War claimed the lives of more than 9 million people — 8 million of whom were civilians. The war spanned from 1917-1922 — immediately after the Russian Revolutions of 1917 — and it was fought between opposing political factions, namely the Red Army and the White Army.
  6. The Dungan Revolt
    The Dungan Revolt was a war fought between the Hans (Chinese ethnic group native to East Asia) and the Huis (Chinese Muslims) in 19th-century China during the Qing Dynasty. There were approximately 20 million war-related deaths, mostly caused by famine and migration brought about by the war.
  7. An Lushan Rebellion
    The An Lushan Rebellion was a rebellion against the Tang Dynasty of China between 755 A.D. and 763 A.D. Although it is difficult to accurately report the death toll, census reports taken the years following the war imply that around 36 million people were killed, or about two-thirds of population of the empire.
  8. World War I
    The First World War was fought between the Allies and the Central Powers. The war lasted 4 years — from 1914 to 1918 —but it was responsible for around 18 million deaths. Of the 18 million deaths, about 11 million were military personnel and about 7 million were civilians.
  9. Taiping Rebellion
    Yet another war in China, the Taiping Rebellion was another large-scale rebellion that was fought between 1850 and 1864. The war was fought between the Qing Dynasty and the Christian millenarian movement of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. Although there isn’t an exact number, most estimations have the Taiping Rebellion responsible for 20-30 million deaths.
  10. The Qing Dynasty Conquest of the Ming Dynasty
    The transition from the Qing Dynasty to the Ming dynasty was anything but peaceful. The rebellion waged for over 60 years— from 1618 to 1683 — and resulted in the deaths of 25 million people. What started as a relatively small rebellion in northeastern China ultimately resulted in one of the country’s deadliest conflicts as well as one of the deadliest wars in history.
  11. The Second Sino-Japanese War
    The Second Sino-Japanese War was waged between 1937 and 1945 between the Republic of China’s National Revolutionary Army and the Imperial Japanese Army. It is widely believed that the war began with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident and it later escalated to an all-out war that resulted in 25 million civilian deaths and over 4 million Chinese and Japanese military deaths.
  12. World War II
    World War II was a global war that spanned from 1939 to 1945. The war pitted the Allies and the Axis power in the deadliest war in history, and was responsible for the deaths of over 70 million people. Known for its genocidal campaign against the Jewish people, the war was also responsible for the deaths of more than 50 million civilians.

An End to War

As John F. Kennedy famously said, “Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.” The deadliest wars in history are all a testament to that sentiment — it is a repeating pattern with very costly end results. The last large-scale war, World War II, was responsible for the deaths of nearly 70 million people.

With the ever-advancing technology in the modern world and a booming population, the next war will undoubtedly bring about an unprecedented amount of deaths. Let history be a teacher so that we can avoid committing the same mistakes, and put an end to conflict once and for all.

– Brandon Cerda

Photo: Flickr

Facts about the Dalai Lama
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, writes in his book The Joy of Living and Dying in Peace, “the more we care for the welfare of the majority, the more we work for social welfare, the greater will be our own peace and happiness. Just as the citizens of a particular country have certain obligations as well as enjoy certain benefits, our obligation as followers of the Buddha and bodhisattvas is to benefit all sentient beings.” The Dalai Lama is a pivotal figure on the topic of spiritualism, politics and the oppressed people of the world. Learn more facts about the Dalai Lama.

Top 15 facts About the Dalai Lama

  1. The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born on July 6, 1935, and was originally named Lhamo Dhondup. He was one of five children born to a peasant family in Taktser, a village northeast of Tibet.
  2. Gyatso grew up in Tibet’s ancient Potala Palace in Lhasa after being found at age two to be the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama. In 1939, he took the throne in Potala, and two years later, at the age of six, he became a monk.
  3. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. Dalai Lamas are the reincarnations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who chose to reincarnate in order to serve people.
  4. Dalai Lama means Ocean of Wisdom. This was put to the test for Tenzin Gyatso, as in 1950, the Dalai Lama was asked to assume full political power as Head of the Tibetan Government while the country was being threatened by China.
  5. One of the more unique facts about the Dalai Lama is that he was forced into exile in 1959 following China’s military occupation of Tibet. His official residence was moved to Dharamsala in northern India. Dharamsala is now the seat of the Tibetan Government.
  6. In 1987, the Dalai Lama presented a five-point peace plan at the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in Washington, D.C., as a first step toward resolving the future status of Tibet. This plan called to designate a Tibetan zone of peace, end the massive influx of Chinese into Tibet, restore fundamental human rights, end China’s dumping of nuclear waste in the country and urge negotiation on the relations between Tibetan and Chinese people.
  7. Of the 15 facts about the Dalai Lama, his dedication to preserving the lives of his people is perhaps the most recognized. On Dec. 11, 1989, the Dalai Lama gave his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize due to his ceaseless goodwill and desire for communication with China as opposed to conflict, as well as his humanitarian work.
  8. The institution of the Dalai Lama is relatively young. There have been thirteen previous Dalai Lamas, and the first two were given their titles posthumously. Buddhists believe the first reincarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion was Gedun Drub, who lived from 1391 to 1474.
  9. Following the death of a Dalai Lama, it has traditionally been the responsibility of the High Lamas and the Tibetan government to find the reincarnation. The search for the 14th Dalai Lama took four years.
  10. The current Dalai Lama is extremely interested in the sciences. He has a particular fondness for ecology and believes that working toward the preservation of the planet embodies the ideals of Buddha.
  11. The fourteenth Dalai Lama is unique in that he is the first Dalai Lama to have visited the U.S. and traveled the western world.
  12. He is also unique in that he has suggested the line of reincarnation may cease entirely. In 2015, he made comments to the New York Times to that effect, fearing that the Chinese government will use the issue of succession to split Tibetan Buddhism, with one successor named by the exiles and one by the Chinese government.
  13. China regards the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist. Chinese police in Tibet urge locals to report suspected supporters of the Dalai Lama and his “evil forces” in Tibet. China has become increasingly worried about how Tibet is portrayed throughout the world and are attempting to dissolve Tibetan culture. Tashi Wangchuk, an activist, could face 15 years in jail for promoting the use of the Tibetan language in schools.
  14. Mercedes-Benz issued an apology to Chinese consumers on Feb. 6, 2018 for an Instagram post showing one of its luxury cars along with a quote from the Dalai Lama. The quote: “Look at the situations from all angles, and you will become more open.” Instagram has been blocked in China since 2014.
  15. In 1995, the Dalai Lama named a boy in Tibet as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama. The Panchen Lama is the second highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism. Upon learning this, China put the boy under house arrest and installed another in his place.

These 15 facts about the Dalai Lama showcase the plight of Tibet and the tenacious tenderness of its spiritual leader. Tenzin Gyatso is the only Dalai Lama to have been exiled from his own country. He is no longer allowed to freely visit his own place of birth. Even though the people of Tibet support him and would gladly start an uprising to take back their country, he has urged them not to in order to maintain peace and preserve the lives of his people. He holds true to his teachings of openness and communication, as well as his dedication as a follower of the Buddha to benefit all sentient beings.

– Sam Bramlett

Photo: Flickr

history of the world bank

The history of the World Bank begins in 1944. Founded as an international financial institution, the World Bank’s official goal is poverty reduction. The World Bank was established to finance projects that strengthen economic sectors for developing countries.

The function of the World Bank is providing low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants pave the way for improved education, healthcare and infrastructure for countries emerging from poverty and conflict.

The Changing History of the World Bank

The World Bank officially began in 1946 when the first loan was given to France under strict limitations. One such requirement had France remove government members associated with Communism. With $250 million loaned to France, the World Bank began its credibility as a lender.

Initially, the World Bank aimed to assist European countries devastated by World War II. However, concerned voices of leaders from around the world helped shift the World Banks’s role as a support system for the world.

The history of the World Bank shows that the focus soon shifted to major infrastructure projects. Loans provided to developing countries went towards resources, training and developmental necessities to ensure financial sustainability.

In the 1970s the World Bank’s priorities shifted once again to focus on the elimination poverty. The World Bank focused on people driven projects regarding agricultural development, education of health and sanitation as well as rural and urban development.

As of December 2017, the World Bank is shifting once again. Jim Yong Kim, President of World Bank, announced that the World Bank will no longer invest in oil and gas projects. Instead, it will focus on the One Planet climate summit in Paris. Kim believes environmental policies and energy access will improve countries in terms of sustainability.

The history of the World Bank continues to shift as the needs of the world changes in order to meet the needs of communities.

– Jennifer Serrato

Photo: Flickr

Less than 100 years ago, millions of innocent Greeks were killed or deported in what is known as the Greek Genocide. In the Asia Minor region of Turkey, the Ottoman Empire felt it was being threatened by the indigenous Greek people. As a result, the Empire enacted a systematic genocide to rid the nation-state of the Greek contaminants. During the nine-year genocidal period, the Turks and the Ottoman government set out to exterminate the Christian Greek population that resided in the Ottoman Empire. These are ten facts about the Greek Genocide that set the pace for the future of the Ottoman Empire.

  1. The Balkan War, from 1912 to 1913, was the true initial marker for the Christian Greeks’ bleak future. Between these two years, four territories in the Balkans (Serbia, Bugaria, Montenegro and Greece) were successfully freed from Ottoman rule. After the war, the Ottoman Empire feared it would lose more power. The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), an ultranationalist group of Young Turks, ultimately took over the Ottoman Empire with the goal of completing total Turkification throughout the Empire, or a full cultural shift to Turkic culture.
  2. The indigenous Greek people were seen as a threat to the Ottoman Empire before and during World War I. The Ottoman Empire feared that the Christian Greek population would attempt to aid the Empire’s enemies during the war, causing its defeat. Additionally, the Empire believed the Christian Greeks were tainting the population and would ruin the integrity of the current Muslim-majority nation-state. Therefore, the Empire opted for a solution to this problem: genocide.
  3. The Ottoman Empire began to target the indigenous Greek population in order to accomplish its goal of full Turkification. The Greek Genocide took place from 1914 to 1923, beginning a year after the Balkan War and aligning with the events of World War I.
  4. Ottoman Greek men of ages 21 to 45 were sent to concentration camps to work for the Turks. Working around the clock with little to no food, hundreds perished in the camps.
  5. Greek children were kidnapped and forced to conform to Turkish society. Villages were pillaged and burned to the ground.
  6. Deportations were issued in the Dardanelles and Gallipolli regions of Asia Minor. The Greek inhabitants of the western coastline of Asia Minor were sent to Muslim villages, where they had to either convert to Islam or be killed. The rest of the Christian Greek population was sent to the interior lands, where they would be exposed to harsh winter weather, starvation and illness.
  7. Approximately 3.5 million Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians died during this nine-year period.
  8. The Ottoman Empire was among the four Central Powers to lose in World War I. After the loss, leaders of the CUP Party were sentenced to death for their role in the organized Greek genocide.
  9. In 1922, the Ottoman Empire collapsed and became the New Republic of Turkey. A year later, the Greek Genocide ended.
  10. There are three remembrance days for the Greek Genocide: April 6 for the Eastern Thrace region, May 19 for the Pontus region and September 14 for Asia Minor.

Nine long years and 3.5 million lost souls later, the Ottoman Empire had officially ended its bloody crusade. Though its efforts to continue the massacres were passed on to the next leadership, the Empire was unable to strongly execute its plans. Many poor decisions led to the collapse of the five-century Ottoman rule, and while the Empire will not be remembered fondly, the lives of those lost in the Greek Genocide will be.

– Brianna Summ

Photo: Flickr

Facts About the Ustase GenocideMost people know little about or have never heard of the Ustase – a Croatian, racist, Nazi-like movement formed in 1929 that ruled Croatia during World War II. Modeled after the Italian fascists, the Ustase sought to separate Croatia from Yugoslavia in order to attain Croatian independence and create a “pure” Croatian state, using genocide to rid the country of “impure” people. This dark period for Croatia resulted in the Ustase genocide.

Top 10 facts about the Ustase Genocide:

  1. The targets of the Ustase genocide were mainly Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. These groups were also the main targets of the German Nazi genocide (the Holocaust).
  2. Initially, the Ustase’s enacted race laws against the groups they saw as non-Croatian and who they felt threatened Croatian identity, much like how the Nazi’s established race rules against those who weren’t considered pure Germans.
  3. Additionally, like the German Nazi’s, the Ustase also established concentration camps to carry out their ethnic cleansing. The largest was Jasenovac where the Ustase murdered around 70,000 to 100,000 people.
  4. The Jewish population of Croatia was practically eliminated – almost all of the 40,000 Jews that resided in Croatia were murdered.
  5. It is estimated that about 30,000 Croatian Gypsies were murdered as well. The most number of deaths comes from the Serbs killed by the Ustase; it is estimated (on the low end) that 300,000 to 400,000 Serbs were murdered in the Ustase genocide. Some reports estimate that around 750,000 Serbians perished.
  6. The leader of the Ustase movement, Ante Pavelic, fled to South America after the end of World War II in 1945. He eventually moved to Spain and died in 1959 at the age of 70 and was never prosecuted for his crimes.
  7. The racism in Croatia did not end after the end of World War II, it continued into the later twentieth century with Serbs still being persecuted and even murdered as late as 1991.
  8. Even the United States was complicit in the continued racism in Croatia. The Assistant US Secretary of State who served as the American Ambassador to Germany during the beginning of the Yugoslav War, Richard Holbrooke, represented the US view that “The Serbs started this war.”
  9. Unlike the German concentration camps, which most often used gas chambers to murder the innocent people they targeted, the Ustase genocide was carried out through much more brutal means. Croatian Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies were cruelly beheaded, drowned and murdered in other barbaric and torturous ways.
  10. Even the German Nazis noticed the brutality of the Ustase. A Gestapo report to Heinrich Himmler from 1942 stated, “The Ustaše committed their deeds in a bestial manner not only against males of conscript age but especially against helpless old people, women and children.”

The shocking cruelty of the Ustase genocide has gone forgotten but should be remembered as an example of the senseless tragedy that occurs from allowing nationalism and racism to fester rather than rooting it out immediately.

Mary Kate Luft

Photo: Flickr

the Albigensian crusadeNot many people have heard of the Albigensian Crusade, but if you have, you know that this event was much like a real-life episode of Game of Thrones. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the Albigensian Crusade.

    1. The crusade began in 1209
      The Albigensian Crusade was a 20-year-long endeavor, lasting from 1209 until 1229.
    2. Pope Innocent III started the crusade against the Cathars
      The Cathars were a religious group that rejected the traditional Roman Catholic Church. They committed themselves to the Cathari religious movement, which dominated southern France in the 1200s. The Cathars believed in a dualistic cosmology that partially adapted Catholic thought into a religion of their own and was thus considered heretical.
    3. The Albigensian Crusade took place in southern France
      The geographical scope of the crusade stretched across southern France: Avignon, Castelsarrasin, Termes and Toulouse.
    4. Catharism was virtually eliminated
      The crusade eventually eradicated Catharism by the end of the 13th century.
    5. Crusaders were instructed to have no mercy and no discretion
      During the capture of Béziers, a key Cathar territory in southern France, the papal legate was asked how to distinguish between Cathars and Christians, and allegedly responded “Kill them all. God will know his own.” Everyone in the south of France was at risk of being considered a heretic simply because of where they lived.
    6. Crusaders believed in “crusade indulgence”
      It was believed that “crusade indulgence” officially absolved sins and ensured that no punishment would be issued in the afterlife. The Albigensian Crusade was very popular among soldiers because they believed their sins would be forgiven for taking part in the crusade.
    7. The crusades morphed into a holy war
      By the 12th century, crusading was dedicated to removing religious diversity. The Roman Catholic Church considered the practice of other religions a threat to human salvation. Crusades branched out from those against Muslims and pagans in the Baltic region to the perceived threat of the Cathars.
    8. Pope Innocent III started the crusade but didn’t finish it
      After spearheading the crusade, Pope Innocent III was murdered while trying to recruit an ally. It is generally believed that the count of Toulouse, Raymond VI, murdered the pope after he tried to recruit the count to join the war effort.
    9. Royal intervention ended the crusade in 1229
      Despite papal inception, King Louis VIII brought the Albigensian Crusade to an end in 1229 after officially restoring control over the region.
    10. There were over one million deaths
      It is estimated that at least one million innocent lives were lost throughout the course of the 20-year crusade. Some Cathars were even burned at the stake.

Even though the Albigensian Crusade came to an end in 1229, it led to further persecution of heretics in the following century, including the infamous Spanish Inquisition and various other crusades. Though they occurred many centuries ago, these persecutions and deaths are part of the numerous human rights violations that have taken place throughout history.

Sloan Bousselaire

Photo: Google


Civil wars are scattered throughout world history as power struggles that have torn governments apart. From the U.S. in the 19th century, to Spain, Korea and Vietnam in the 20th century, the division of power in a country is nothing new. Usually, that division is split between two sides, north and south. Going back almost 2 thousand years, the Three Kingdoms’ War was unique for featuring a three-way tie for power. Here are 10 facts about the Three Kingdoms’ War:

    1. The Three Kingdoms’ War took place in China, ultimately driving the country into three warring regions as they engaged in a makeshift civil war.
    2. The Three Kingdom’s War took place between the Han Dynasty and the Jin Dynasty, starting in the year 220 AD and lasting until 280 AD.
    3. Although the Three Kingdom’s War lasted for a period of 60 years, the origins of the conflicts go back further than 220 AD, to 189 AD. At that time, the Han emperor died and a young emperor was placed on the throne.
    4. Many generals were unhappy with the new emperor and were dismayed at the influence that eunuchs had in the role of government. The young emperor was eventually ousted and replaced, but the fighting and political tension continued to grow. Civil wars broke out and divided the country into three kingdoms.
    5. The Three Kingdoms were the Wei Kingdom, the Shu Kingdom and the Wu Kingdom. The Wei Kingdom was led by Cao Pi, who controlled the northern part of China; the Shu Kingdom was led by Liu Bein, who controlled the southwestern part of China; and the Wu Kingdom was led by Sun Quan, who controlled the southeastern part of China.
    6. Of the Three Kingdoms, the Wei Kingdom had the strongest military. Located north of the Yangtze (Yellow) River, the Wei Kingdom was unable to conquer the other two kingdoms. The two kingdoms in the south, the Shu and Wu, formed an alliance out of military strategy to keep the Wei contained to the north.
    7. The Wei Kingdom was overthrown as the Jin Dynasty emerged in 265 AD. After conquering the north, they turned their sights south and gradually took over the Shu and Wu kingdoms, declaring victory in 280 AD. The Jin dynasty lasted until 420 AD.
    8. This period of fighting was responsible for one of the deadliest periods in China’s history. During the Han Empire, China boasted a population of 54 million, but during the Jin Empire, their population fell to 16 million. This population loss was a result of ongoing fighting and internal displacement brought on by war.
    9. Despite the fighting and death tolls, innovation thrived. This period is credited with the invention of gunpowder for weaponry. Additionally, irrigation systems were updated while shipbuilding increased to meet the demands of the trade from the growing Silk Route.
    10. The history of the war was immortalized in the book The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. This popular historical fiction was written by Luo Guan Zhong. The exact publication year is unknown but is speculated to have been written between 1279 and 1644.

Jeffery Silvey

Photo: Flickr


War is often not discreet, pretty or humane. War tends to ravage countries, level cities and devastate families. War is abusive, destructive, and aggressive; but war looks for solutions. War is the last means to an end, the final attempt to solve a problem that no other solution has been able to solve. That being said, war involves everyone, from soldiers and sailors to mothers and children. The death toll can be high. Here is a list of the 10 largest wars fought on Earth based on the number of people who gave their lives fighting.

  1. The American Civil War from 1861 to 1865. This war was fought between the North (Union) and the South (Confederacy) based on issues surrounding slavery and extending the U.S. westward. According to a recent study by the Civil War Trust approximately 850,000 soldiers died due to “combat, accident, starvation, and disease during the Civil War.”
  2. The Soviet War in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. The Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan and attempted to support a pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. By means of taking over cities and highways, the Soviets quickly took control but the rebellion was immediate and widespread. During the course of the nine-year occupation an estimated total of nearly 1,125,000 Afghani civilians and troops, Mujahideen fighters and Soviet soldiers were killed.
  3. The Vietnam War from 1955 to 1975. The Vietnam War began as a result of the U.S.’s strategy to contain the spread of communism throughout the world during the Cold War. It is estimated that between the U.S. and its allies 64,000 lives were lost, between North Vietnam and its Communist allies 1.1 million lives were lost. As for civilian casualties, the official estimate is 2 million people. Totaling the death tally at just fewer than 3.2 million lives.
  4. The Napoleonic Wars from 1803 to 1815. Fought during Napoleon Bonaparte’s imperial rule over France as a means to extend his empire, this war resulted in over 6.5 million people dead.
  5. The Thirty Year’s War from 1618 to 1648. Based off of its name, this war raged on uninterrupted for thirty years, making it the longest continuous war in modern history. In total including civilians, the death toll was 8 million.
  6. Taiping Rebellion from 1850-1864. The Taiping Rebellion was a “radical political and religious upheaval that was…the most important event in Chino in the 19th century.” And according to Britannica, it claimed at least 20 million lives.
  7. The Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945. This war fought between China and Japan before and during World War II resulted in nearly 23 million lives.
  8. World War I from 1914 to 1918. After the assassination of Franz Ferdinand set off a chain of events that lead to the “Great War,” the end result in lives lost on both Allied and Central Powers sides was 37 million.
  9. The Mongol Conquests from 1206 to 1368. This war resulted in not only the significant expansion of the Mongol Empire but also the loss of 60 million lives.
  10. World War II from 1938 to 1945. WWII touched every corner of the Earth. That is why it is number one on this list of 10 largest wars. Every continent and ocean were involved in some way or another resulting in the staggering death total of 72,468,900 lives lost.

War can positively bolster the economy and national pride. Larger empires can exploit its gains to solve political issues. However, the notion of war is a dark one and this list of the 10 largest wars demonstrates that even if there is light at its end, the devastation and loss of life are unfortunate consequences to achieve peace.

Karyn Adams

Photo: Flickr