Erik the Red

Erik Thorvaldsson, known as Erik the Red, was a Norse explorer, described in medieval and Icelandic saga sources as having founded the first settlement in Greenland. According to Icelandic sagas, he was born in the Jæren district of Rogaland, Norway, as the son of Thorvald Asvaldsson, he therefore appears, patronymically, as Erik Thorvaldsson. The appellation "the Red" most refers to the color of his hair and beard. Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson was Erik's son. Erik the Red's father, Thorvald Asvaldsson, was banished from Norway because of some killings, he left with his son Erik to northwest Iceland, where he died before 980. According to the Greenland saga: "There was a man called Thorvald, the father of Erik the Red, he and Erik left their home in Jæren, in Norway, because of some killings and went to Iceland, extensively settled by then. He settled in Hornstrandir in northwestern Iceland; the Icelanders sentenced Erik to exile for three years for killing Eyiolf the Foul around the year 982.

After marrying Thjodhild, Erik moved to Haukadalr. The initial confrontation occurred when his thralls started a landslide on the neighboring farm belonging to Valthjof. Valthjof's friend, Eyiolf the Foul, killed the thralls. In retaliation, Erik killed Holmgang-Hrafn. Eyiolf's kinsmen demanded his banishment from Haukadal. Erik moved to the island of Oxney, he asked Thorgest to keep his setstokkr—inherited ornamented beams of significant mystical value, which his father had brought from Norway. When he had finished his new house, he went back to get them, but they "could not be obtained". Erik went to Breidabolstad and took them; these are to have been Thorgest's setstokkr, although the sagas are unclear at this point. Thorgest gave chase, in the ensuing fight Erik slew both Thorgest's sons and "a few other men". After this, each of them retained a considerable body of men with him at his home. Styr gave Erik his support, as did Eyiolf of Sviney, Vifil's son, the sons of Thorbrand of Alptafirth; the dispute was resolved at the Thing, which outlawed Erik for three years.

Though popular history credits Erik as the first person to discover Greenland, the Icelandic sagas suggest that earlier Norsemen discovered and tried to settle it before him. Tradition credits Gunnbjorn Ulfsson with the first sighting of the land-mass. Nearly a century before Erik, strong winds had driven Gunnbjorn towards a land he called Gunnbjorn's skerries, but the accidental nature of Gunnbjorn's discovery has led to his neglect in the history of Greenland. After Gunnbjorn, Snaebjorn Galti had visited Greenland. According to records from the time, Galti headed the first Norse attempt to colonize Greenland, which ended in disaster. Erik the Red was the first permanent European settler. In this context, about 982, Erik sailed to a somewhat mysterious and little-known land that Snæbjörn galti Hólmsteinsson had unsuccessfully attempted to settle four years before, he sailed up the western coast. He reached a part of the coast that, for the most part, seemed ice-free and had conditions—similar to those of Iceland—that promised growth and future prosperity.

According to the Saga of Erik the Red, he spent his three years of exile exploring this land. The first winter he spent on the second winter he passed in Eiriksholmar. In the final summer he explored as far north into Hrafnsfjord; when Erik returned to Iceland after his exile had expired, he is said to have brought with him stories of "Greenland". Erik deliberately gave the land a more appealing name than "Iceland" in order to lure potential settlers, he explained, "people would be attracted to go there if it had a favorable name". He knew that the success of any settlement in Greenland would need the support of as many people as possible, his salesmanship proved successful, as many people became convinced that Greenland held great opportunity. After spending the winter in Iceland, Erik returned to Greenland in 985 with a large number of colonists. Out of 25 ships that left for Greenland only 14 arrived, with 11 being lost at sea; the Icelanders established two colonies on the southwest coast: the Eastern Settlement or Eystribyggð, in modern-day Qaqortoq, the Western Settlement, close to present-day Nuuk.

The Eastern and Western Settlements, both established on the southwest coast, proved the only two areas suitable for farming. During the summers, when the weather was more favorable to travel, each settlement would send an army of men to hunt in Disko Bay above the Arctic Circle for food and other valuable commodities such as seals, ivory from walrus tusks, beached whales. In the Eastern Settlement, Erik built the estate of Brattahlid, near present-day Narsarsuaq, he held the title of paramount chieftain of Greenland and became both respected and wealthy. The settlement flourished, growing to 5,000 inhabitants spread over a considerable area along Eriksfjord and neighboring fjords. Groups of immigrants escaping overcrowding in Iceland joined the original party. However, one group of immigrants which arrived in 1002 brought with it an epidemic that

Chanov housing estate

The Chanov housing projects on the outskirts of Most, north-west Bohemia, were built by the Czechoslovak Communist authorities in the late 1970s as a means of housing much of the Romany population that resided in the old royal city of Most. The city was demolished during the 1970s and 1980s to extract the brown coal deposits that lay underneath; the reconstruction of the city and the necessity to relocate the Romany population gave the Communist authorities an opportunity to attempt "to transform all inhabitants into productive and modern socialist citizens". The Communists believed that moving the Roma into modern housing would end behaviour that the Communists considered uncivilised, resolve the "Gypsy problem"; the Chánov housing is these days perceived by many Czechs as among the worst examples of ghettoization of the Czech Romany population and has been described as "the housing estate of horror", "a hygienic timebomb", "a black stain" and the "Czech Bronx". The housing estate is not in its surroundings.

The village dates back to the 13th century. Administratively, the village of Chánov falls under the administration of the town of Obrnice, whereas according to the land zoning map the Chánov housing estate is in the territory of the city of Most and is therefore under its control; the official name for the area known as Chánov is Most 15-Rudolice. A sociological study of the Romany population of the old city of Most was published in 1975, based on the results of a research survey undertaken in 1972; the description of the Romany from this study formed the basis of the Communist authorities' decision to relocate Romany families once the city had been demolished. This sociological study was commissioned by the Most city and district national committees, written by a team consisting of staff from, among others, the Marxism–Leninism Institute in Ústí nad Labem and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, while the peer reviewer of the study was from the Institute of Marxism and Leninism of the Czech Technical University in Prague.

According to historians, the published study revealed the "absolute ignorance" of the authors regarding the social-cultural system and contemporary problems of the Romany population, their attitudes and findings reflected faithfulness to the Marxist–Leninist ideology of the Communist regime during the years of "normalisation". The Office for the Documentation and the Investigation of the Crimes of Communism, the report used pseudo-science to justify the state's intention to build a Romany house estate. However, despite the questionable methodology used for the report, some of its findings were true; the study established that about 80% of the Romany who lived in Most in the 1970s moved there from impoverished encampments in Slovakia in search of work and housing during the late 1940s and the 1950s, countering the notion that Romany led a permanently nomadic lifestyle. The Communist authorities considered this a positive finding, as it raised the possibility that the Romany population would be willing to put down roots in "easily controlled urban settings".

According to the 1975 report, unlike other districts in Czechoslovakia, Romany in the Most region were concentrated in towns, a larger proportion of those living in Most were described as Category II and Category III Romany. These categories were created by the government in 1968 as a result of a national survey undertaken in 1965 of the Czechoslovak Romany population and their living conditions; this designated three categories of Romany based on how far they had adopted broader social norms and habits: Category I: Gypsies who no longer live in Gypsy centres, are well established within the general population, maintain basic standards of hygiene, try to adapt to their surroundings and to housing, the workforce and housekeeping, but who need to strengthen these habits. Families in this group live in Gypsy centres and are fit for planned dispersal. Less politely, Category III Romany were "described as'recidivists, half-wits, alcoholics', criminals and jobless or uninterested in working" and who "predominated in Most district".

One of the main incentives for them to move to the industrial north of Bohemia from Slovakia was better access to better housing. They were therefore attempting to improve their standard of living, yet the apartments the migrants acquired were the lowest quality - the oldest and most dilapidated apartments in the historic centre of old Most. However, the Romany themselves were satisfied with these flats and considered them suitable, as the location offered more opportunities than they were used to in terms of public utilities and transport, parks and other amenities, they had a low level of rent, a maximum of CSK150. This was low compared to the average family income of CSK1,500-2,500 per month, a quarter of all Romany families earned more than CSK3,701 per month; the researchers in 1972 focused on the housing culture of the local Romany and in particular the visual presentation of their apartments. This indicated that though most lived in apartments in a bad state of repair, two-thirds had well-equipped and well maintained premises

Yangtze Normal University

Yangtze Normal University is a full-time, comprehensive university under the administration of the Chongqing Municipal Government of the People's Republic of China. The campus is in Fuling District, at the conjunction of the Yangtze and Wu Rivers, the historic capital of the ancient Ba Tribe, it is the only teachers college in the ecological and economic zone of the Three Gorges Reservoir Area and the minority area in Southeast Chongqing. The university has two campuses, occupying an area of 1,700 acres, with a built area of 400,000 square meters; the history of the university dates back to 1901 during the reign of the Guangxu Emperor in the late Qing dynasty, as the Fuling Official Academy of Classical Learning. It was founded as a college in 1982, was renamed Fuling Teachers College in 1993, promoted to university status in 2001 by merging Fuling Teachers College and Fuling Education Institute. In 2006, Fuling Normal University changed its name to Yangtze Normal University with the ratification of the Ministry of Education.

The university has received some honorable awards in recognition of its campus facilities, forestry programs and its commitment to community services, such as “Civilized School in Chongqing”, “Chongqing 100 Top Afforested Units”, “National 400 Top Afforested Units”, “Advanced Units of Social Practice Activities by National Higher School Students” and “Advanced Units of Protecting Mother River”. Fuling Teachers College is the setting of Peter Hessler's memoir River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze and published after he served as a U. S. Peace Corps volunteer from 1996 to 1998. At that time, Fuling Teachers College was in the Jiangdong area, while now it is in the newly built Lidu neighborhood. Fuling Teachers College, as well as Yantze Normal University were in Fuling's Jiangdong area until the 2000s. Nowadays, Fuling Teachers College, with Yangtze Normal University, are in the Lidu neighborhood; the Jiangdong campus serves as a dormitory for the elderly. There is a full-time enrollment of over 13,200 students, who can share a variety of teaching and laboratory facilities with a value over 50 million Yuan.

The university has 1,320 faculty and staff, including 720 full-time teachers, of whom 160 are associate professors, 41 are professors. Furthermore, there are more than 100 doctors and master's degree holders, 20 part-time professors and 4 foreign teachers; the university has made great strides in its research specialties. It comprises 18 departments; the programs fall into eight disciplines: literature, law, engineering and science of management and historiography. There are five key disciplines of the university level: Modern Chinese Literature, Ancient Chinese Literature, Education of Marxist Theory and Education in Ideology and Politics, Physical Chemistry, Condensed Matter Physics. There are 11 research institutes in the university, including the “Three Gorges Culture and Customs Research Center”, the “Wujiang Economic and Culture Research Center” and the “Primary Education Research Center”, it is the only Center of Preparatory Courses for Ethnic Minority Education in Chongqing and is the Research Center of Immigration Training for the Three Gorges Area, the Center for Teacher Training for Primary and Middle School in Chongqing and the key research center for Humanities and Social Sciences in Chongqing.

Since 2001, more than 70 students have received national awards in National English Contest for College Students, National Mathematics Contest in Modeling, National Teaching Skills Contest for the English Majors of Higher Normal Schools and National Applied Information Technology Contest. Since 1982, more than 30,000 students have graduated from this university and become the backbone teachers and the leaders in schools in Southeast Chongqing. Since 2001, the university has trained over 7000 teachers for primary and middle school in Chongqing; this is a tremendous contribution to local social development. At the same time, the university has trained many qualified teachers for Tibet and the minority area in Southeast Chongqing; the library, equipped with an electronic reading-room with 120 seats, has a collection of over 1,000,000 books and 160,000 copies of E-books, subscribes to more than 2,000 Chinese and overseas periodicals. Additionally, there is a biochemistry experiment building, a complex laboratory building, a teaching building for art students, an education and training center, an athletic field with a 400-meter standard track, a gymnasium, a basketball hall.

Website of Yangtze Normal University