Columbus Day - Discoveries That Changed History Forever

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Our human story is filled with discoveries. Some accidental, like the penicillin, and some are always on the verge of being made. Not all discoveries are of the same significance and some changed the course of history forever. When Christopher Columbus arrived to the Americas on October 12, 1492, he probably couldn't imagine all the events that would follow.

In honour of Columbus Day, a national holiday in many countries of the Americas, here are some other discoveries that changed history forever.

Troy

The city, known mostly as the setting of the Trojan War, was discovered by Heinrich Schliemann, who dedicated most of his life to the historical places mentioned in the works of Homer. Thanks to his excavation, which started in 1871, it is now generally agreed-upon that the city Hissarlik, Turkey, is the site of ancient Troy. Following his discoveries, much was learned about Roman civilizations, and people from around the world can now enjoy the ruins of Troy and the mystical experience of being part of the Iliad and the Odyssey.

Pompeii

The Roman city of Pompeii, founded in the 7th or 6th century BC, was a major merchant town due to its geographical location. It was also depleted with culture and entertainment life. The vibrant city, along with its citizens, was buried under meters of volcanic ash in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Discovered by mistake by a farmer in 1748, the city became a popular tourisic attraction due to its tragic story and the impressive amount of architecture and artificats that were preserved, including shops, entertainment venues, and graffiti.

Rosetta Stone

Many of today's generation know Rosetta Stone as the famous language learning platform, but not many are aware of the story behind the original Rosetta Stone. Found in 1799, the stone is a granodiorite stele inscribed with 3 versions of a decree issues in Memphis Egypt on behlf of King Ptolemy V. Since the stone contains three versions, with minor differences in content, in Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Greek, and Demotic script, the stone was used as the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs. Nowadays, the stone can be found in display at the British Museum.

Terracotta Warriors

The Terracota Warriors is the collective name for the Terracota Army sculptures that were discovered on March 29, 1974 by a local farmer. The impressive collection depicts the armies of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang and includes thousands of clay soldiers. They were created with the purpose of accompanying the emperor into the afterlife. The discovery is considered one of the greatest archaelogical discoveries in the world and was declared an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Machu Picchu

Another declared UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu has long been a popular destination for travelers that come to Cuzco Peru. It is located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru, on a mountain 7,970 ft above sea level. It is an icon of Inca civilization, that was built around 1450, but was abandoned at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Its style and structure provide important historical information about the Inca culture. Though dating back to the 1450s, the site was relatively unknown until 1911, when it was brought back to international attention by the historian Hiram Binghan.

Lascaux Cave

Lascaux painting

Providing a glimpse into Prehistoric life, the complex of caves near Montignac, France, reveals hundreds of wall paintings depicting mainly animals. These extremely vivid images allowed many historians and archelogists to gather priceless information about the prehistoric way of life. The entrance to the cave was discovered by Marcel Ravidat on 1940, and provided a gateway to thousands of interpretations of everyday life and culture of people 17,000 years ago.

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