Cryptid

The lovely word cryptid came to my attention in reference to the ivory-billed woodpecker. One of these birds, long believed to be extinct, was sighted in eastern Arkansas in 2004. As no subsequent sightings have been reported, the survival of the species is still disputed.

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Anatomy of a Quiet Revolution

In the fourth chapter of Half a Billion Rising: The Emergence of the Indian Women, Anirudha Dutta recounts an incident from 2009. In a village near Sehore (Madhya Pradesh), Dutta—chatting with villagers—asked a group of girls if he might photograph them.

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Blonde cargoes: Finnish children in the slave markets of medieval Crimea

A Blast From The Past

Testing a female captive's teeth in an eastern slave market. Testing a female captive’s teeth in an eastern slave market.

The horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade have left an ineradicable mark on history. In the course of a little more than three and a half centuries, 12.5 million prisoners – at least two-thirds of them men destined for a life of labour in the fields – were shipped from holding pens along the African coast to destinations ranging from Argentina in the south all the way north to Canada. It was the largest forced migration in modern history.

When we think of slavery, we tend to think of this African traffic. Yet it was not the only such trade – nor was it, before 1700, even the largest. A second great market in slaves once sullied the world, this one less well-known, vastly longer-lasting, and centred on the Black Sea ports of the Crimea. It was a huge trade in its own right; in its great years, which lasted roughly from…

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