Portugal the Portuguese Republic, is a country located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain, its territory includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments. Portugal is the oldest state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe, its territory having been continuously settled and fought over since prehistoric times; the pre-Celtic people, Celts and Romans were followed by the invasions of the Visigoths and Suebi Germanic peoples. Portugal as a country was established during the Christian Reconquista against the Moors who had invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 AD. Founded in 868, the County of Portugal gained prominence after the Battle of São Mamede in 1128; the Kingdom of Portugal was proclaimed following the Battle of Ourique in 1139, independence from León was recognised by the Treaty of Zamora in 1143.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global empire, becoming one of the world's major economic and military powers. During this period, today referred to as the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration, notably under royal patronage of Prince Henry the Navigator and King John II, with such notable voyages as Bartolomeu Dias' sailing beyond the Cape of Good Hope, Vasco da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India and the European discovery of Brazil. During this time Portugal monopolized the spice trade, divided the world into hemispheres of dominion with Castille, the empire expanded with military campaigns in Asia. However, events such as the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the country's occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, the independence of Brazil, a late industrialization compared to other European powers, erased to a great extent Portugal's prior opulence. After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established being superseded by the Estado Novo right-wing authoritarian regime.
Democracy was restored after the Carnation Revolution in 1974. Shortly after, independence was granted to all its overseas territories; the handover of Macau to China in 1999 marked the end of what can be considered the longest-lived colonial empire. Portugal has left a profound cultural and architectural influence across the globe, a legacy of around 250 million Portuguese speakers, many Portuguese-based creoles, it is a developed country with a high-income advanced economy and high living standards. Additionally, it is placed in rankings of moral freedom, democracy, press freedom, social progress, LGBT rights. A member of the United Nations and the European Union, Portugal was one of the founding members of NATO, the eurozone, the OECD, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries; the word Portugal derives from the Roman-Celtic place name Portus Cale. Portus, the Latin word for port or harbour, Cala or Cailleach was the name of a Celtic goddess – in Scotland she is known as Beira – and the name of an early settlement located at the mouth of the Douro River which flows into the Atlantic Ocean in the north of what is now Portugal.
At the time the land of a specific people was named after its deity. Those names are the origins of the - gal in Galicia. Incidentally, the meaning of Cale or Calle is a derivation of the Celtic word for port which would confirm old links to pre-Roman, Celtic languages which compare to today's Irish caladh or Scottish cala, both meaning port; some French scholars believe it may have come from ` Portus Gallus', the port of the Celts. Around 200 BC, the Romans took the Iberian Peninsula from the Carthaginians during the Second Punic War, in the process conquered Cale and renamed it Portus Cale incorporating it to the province of Gaellicia with capital in Bracara Augusta. During the Middle Ages, the region around Portus Cale became known by the Suebi and Visigoths as Portucale; the name Portucale evolved into Portugale during the 7th and 8th centuries, by the 9th century, that term was used extensively to refer to the region between the rivers Douro and Minho. By the 11th and 12th centuries, Portugallia or Portvgalliae was referred to as Portugal.
The early history of Portugal is shared with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula located in South Western Europe. The name of Portugal derives from the joined Romano-Celtic name Portus Cale; the region was settled by Pre-Celts and Celts, giving origin to peoples like the Gallaeci, Lusitanians and Cynetes, visited by Phoenicians, Ancient Greeks and Carthaginians, incorporated in the Roman Republic dominions as Lusitania and part of Gallaecia, after 45 BC until 298 AD. The region of present-day Portugal was inhabited by Neanderthals and by Homo sapiens, who roamed the border-less region of the northern Iberian peninsula; these were subsistence societies that, although they did not establish prosperous settlements, did form organized societies. Neolithic Portugal experimented with domestication of herding animals, the raising of some cereal crops and fluvial or marine fishing, it is believed by some scholars that early in the first millennium BC, several waves of Celts invaded Portugal from Central Europe and inter-married with the local populations, forming differe
Colonial Brazil comprises the period from 1500, with the arrival of the Portuguese, until 1815, when Brazil was elevated to a kingdom in union with Portugal as the United Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves. During the early 300 years of Brazilian colonial history, the economic exploitation of the territory was based first on brazilwood extraction, which gave the territory its name. Slaves those brought from Africa, provided most of the work force of the Brazilian export economy after a brief period of Indian slavery to cut brazilwood. In contrast to the neighboring Spanish possessions, which had several viceroyalties with jurisdiction over New Spain and Peru, in the eighteenth century expanded to viceroyalties of Rio de la Plata and New Granada, the Portuguese colony of Brazil was settled in the coastal area by the Portuguese and a large black slave population working sugar plantations and mines; the boom and bust economic cycles were linked to export products. Brazil's sugar age, with the development of plantation slavery, merchants serving as middle men between production sites, Brazilian ports, Europe was undermined by the growth of the sugar industry in the Caribbean on islands that European powers seized from Spain.
Gold and diamonds were mined in southern Brazil through the end of the colonial era. Brazilian cities were port cities and the colonial administrative capital was moved several times in response to the rise and fall of export products' importance. Unlike Spanish America, which fragmented into many republics upon independence, Brazil remained a single administrative unit under a monarch, giving rise to the largest country in Latin America. Just as European Spanish and Roman Catholicism were a core source of cohesion among Spain's vast and multi-ethnic territories, Brazilian society was united by the Portuguese language and Roman Catholic faith; as the only Lusophone polity in the Western Hemisphere, the Portuguese language was important to Brazilian identity. Portugal and Spain pioneered the European charting of sea routes that were the first and only channels of interaction between all of the world's continents, thus beginning the process of globalization. In addition to the imperial and economic undertaking of discovery and colonization of lands distant from Europe, these years were filled with pronounced advancements in cartography and navigational instruments, of which the Portuguese and Spanish explorers took advantage.
In 1494, the two kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula divided the New World between them, in 1500 navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral landed in what is now Brazil and laid claim to it in the name of King Manuel I of Portugal. The Portuguese identified brazilwood as a valuable red dye and an exploitable product, attempted to force indigenous groups in Brazil to cut the trees. Portuguese seafarers in the early fifteenth century began to expand from a small area of the Iberian Peninsula, to seizing the Muslim fortress of Ceuta in North Africa, its maritime exploration proceeded down the coast of West Africa and across the Indian Ocean to the south Asian subcontinent, as well as the Atlantic islands off the coast of Africa on the way. They sought sources of gold and African slaves, high value goods in the African trade; the Portuguese set up fortified trading "factories", whereby permanent small commercial settlements anchored trade in a region. The initial costs of setting up these commercial posts was borne by private investors, who in turn received hereditary titles and commercial advantages.
From the Portuguese Crown's point of view, its realm was expanded with little cost to itself. On the Atlantic islands of the Azores, Sāo Tomé, the Portuguese began plantation production of sugarcane using forced labor, a precedent for Brazil's sugar production in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; the Portuguese "discovery" of Brazil was preceded by a series of treaties between the kings of Portugal and Castile, following Portuguese sailings down the coast of Africa to India and the voyages to the Caribbean of the Genoese mariner sailing for Castile, Christopher Columbus. The most decisive of these treaties was the Treaty of Tordesillas, signed in 1494, which created the Tordesillas Meridian, dividing the world between the two kingdoms. All land discovered or to be discovered east of that meridian was to be the property of Portugal, everything to the west of it went to Spain; the Tordesillas Meridian divided South America into two parts, leaving a large chunk of land to be exploited by the Spaniards.
The Treaty of Tordesillas was arguably the most decisive event in all Brazilian history, since it determined that part of South America would be settled by Portugal instead of Spain. The present extent of Brazil's coastline is exactly that defined by the Treaty of Madrid, approved in 1750. On April 22, 1500, during the reign of King Manuel I, a fleet led by navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral landed in Brazil and took possession of the land in the name of the king. Although it is debated whether previous Portuguese explorers had been in Brazil, this date is and politically accepted as the day of the discovery of Brazil by Europeans. Álvares Cabral was leading a large fleet of 13 ships and more than 1000 men following Vasco da Gama's way to India, around Africa. The place where Álvares Cabral arrived is now known in Northeastern Brazil. After the voyage of Álvares Cabral, the Portuguese concentrated their efforts on the lucrative possessions in Africa and India
The caravel was a small maneuverable sailing ship developed in the 15th century by the Portuguese to explore along the West African coast and into the Atlantic Ocean. The lateen sails gave it the capacity for sailing windward. Caravels were used by the Portuguese and Castilians for the oceanic exploration voyages during the 15th and 16th centuries in the Age of Discovery. Prince Henry, Vasco da Gama, Christopher Columbus, Bartolomeu Dias all used caravels; the volunteers on the caravel "Matthew of Bristol", a replica of John Cabot's ship of 1497 which discovered North America, have done some research on this subject and traced the origin of the name'caravel' to the Portuguese word for a'beetle' which is'escaravalho'. The smooth appearance of the ship's hull, the result of the carvel construction is similar to the shell of a beetle; until the 15th century, Europeans were limited to coastal navigation. They used the barge or the balinger, which were ancient cargo vessels of the Mediterranean Sea with a capacity of around 50 to 200 tons.
These boats were fragile, with only one mast with a fixed square sail that could not overcome the navigational difficulties of southward oceanic exploration, as the strong winds and strong ocean currents overwhelmed their abilities. The caravel has origins in earlier Portuguese fishing boats built in the 13th century based on the medieval Islamic qarib, used in Islamic Spain; this was itself a legacy of the Byzantine καραβίς that had ruled the Mediterranean before the advent of Islam. The caravel's lateen sail, which went back at least to Roman times, was widespread in the Mediterranean; the caravel was developed in about 1451, based on existing fishing boats under the sponsorship of Henry the Navigator of Portugal, soon became the preferred vessel for Portuguese explorers like Diogo Cão, Bartolomeu Dias or Gaspar and Miguel Corte-Real, by Christopher Columbus. Its name may derive from an ancient boat type known as carabus in Latin and καραβος in Greek adopted into Arabic as qārib, indicating some continuity of its carvel build through the ages.
They were agile and easier to navigate than the barca and barinel, with a tonnage of 50 to 160 tons and 1 to 3 masts, with lateen triangular sails allowing beating. Being smaller and having a shallow keel, the caravel could sail upriver in shallow coastal waters. With the lateen sails attached, it was maneuverable and could sail much nearer the shore, while with the square Atlantic-type sails attached, it was fast, its economy, speed and power made it esteemed as the best sailing vessel of its time. The limited capacity for cargo and crew did not hinder its success; the exploration done with caravels made the Spanish possible. However, for the trade itself, the caravel was replaced by the larger carrack, more profitable for trading; the caravel was one of the pinnacle ships in Iberian ship development from 1400–1600. Due to its lighter weight and thus greater speed, the caravel was a boon to sailors. Early caravels carried two or three masts with lateen sails, while types had four masts. Early caravels such as the caravela tilhada of the 15th century had an average length of between 12 and 18 m, an average capacity of 50 to 60 tons, a high length-to-beam ratio of around 3.5 to 1, narrow ellipsoidal frame, making them fast and maneuverable but with somewhat low capacity.
Towards the end of the 15th century, the caravel was modified by giving it the same rig as a nau with a foresail, square mainsail and lateen mizzen, but not the carrack's high forecastle or much of a sternpalace, which would make it unweatherly. In this form it was sometimes known as caravela redonda, it was in such ships that Christopher Columbus set out on his expedition in 1492. In the transition to the 16th century, the Portuguese created a specialized fighting ship called the caravela redonda or square-rigged caravel to act as an escort in Brazil and in the Indies route, it had a foremast with square sails and three other masts with a lateen each, for a total of 4 masts. The hull was galleon-shaped, it is considered a forerunner of the fighting galleon; the Portuguese man o' war was named after the appearance of the man-of-war, which were in use until the 17th century. Iberian ship development, 1400–1600 Notorious - a replica caravel in Australia The History and Development of Caravels - A Thesis - George Robert Schwarz, B.
A. University of Cincinnati, Chair of Advisory Committee: Dr. Luis Filipe Vieira de Castro, May 2008 Museu da Marinha Museu da Marinha, fac-similes, Instituto Camões. Caravela Durchbruch am Kap des Schreckens dir. Axel Engstfeld, Germany 2002, 52m. ZDF
Sierra Leone the Republic of Sierra Leone, informally Salone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savanna to rainforests; the country has a population of 7,075,641 as of the 2015 census. Sierra Leone is a constitutional republic with a directly elected president and a unicameral legislature; the country's capital and largest city is Freetown. Sierra Leone is made up of five administrative regions: the Northern Province, North West Province, Eastern Province, Southern Province and the Western Area; these regions are subdivided into sixteen districts. Sierra Leone was a British Crown Colony from 1808 to 1961. Sierra Leone became independent from the United Kingdom on 27 April 1961, led by Sir Milton Margai, who became the country's first prime minister. In May 1962, Sierra Leone held its first general elections as an independent nation. On 19 April 1971, Siaka Stevens' government abolished Sierra Leone's parliamentary government system and declared Sierra Leone a presidential republic.
From 1978 to 1985, Sierra Leone was a one-party state in which Stevens' APC was the only legal political party in the country. The current constitution of Sierra Leone, which includes multiparty democracy, was adopted in 1991 by the government of President Joseph Saidu Momoh, Stevens' hand-picked successor. On 23 March 1991, a rebel group known as the Revolutionary United Front led by a former Sierra Leone army officer Foday Sankoh launched an eleven-year brutal civil war in the country, in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Sierra Leone government. In April 1992, a group of junior army officers in their twenties overthrew president Momoh from power, their leader a 25 year old captain Valentine Strasser became the world's youngest Head of State. In January 1996 Brigadier General Julius Maada Bio returned the country to multi-party democracy and the 1991 constitution was reestablished. Bio handed power to Ahmad Tejan Kabbah after his victory in the 1996 Sierra Leone presidential election.
In 1997, the military overthrew President Kabbah. However, in February 1998, a coalition of West African Ecowas armed forces led by Nigeria removed the military junta from power by force and President Kabbah was reinstated as president. Sierra Leone has had an uninterrupted democracy from 1998 to present. In January 2002, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah fulfilled his campaign promise by ending the civil war as the rebels were defeated by military force with the help and support of Ecowas, the British government, the African Union, the United Nations. 16 ethnic groups inhabit each with its own language and customs. The two largest and most influential are the Mende; the Temne are predominantly found in the northwest of the country, the Mende are predominant in the southeast. Comprising a small minority, about 2%, are the Krio people, who are descendants of freed African-American and West Indian slaves. Although English is the official language, used in schools and government administration, Krio, an English-based creole, is the most spoken language across Sierra Leone and is spoken by 98% of the country's population.
The Krio language unites all the different ethnic groups in the country in their trade and social interaction. Sierra Leone is a Muslim-majority country at about 78%, though there is an influential Christian minority at 21%. Sierra Leone is regarded as one of the most religiously tolerant states in the world. Muslims and Christians collaborate and interact with each other peacefully, religious violence is rare; the major Christian and Muslim holidays are public holidays in the country, including Christmas, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha Sierra Leone has relied on mining diamonds, for its economic base. It is among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite, is a major producer of gold, has one of the world's largest deposits of rutile. Sierra Leone is home to the third-largest natural harbour in the world. Despite this natural wealth, 53% of its population lived in poverty in 2011. Sierra Leone is a member of many international organisations, including the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the Mano River Union, the Commonwealth of Nations, the African Development Bank and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Archaeological finds show that Sierra Leone has been inhabited continuously for at least 2,500 years, populated successively by societies who migrated from other parts of Africa. The people adopted the use of iron by the 9th century and by 1000 AD agriculture was being practised along the coast; the climate changed and boundaries among different ecological zones changed as well, affecting migration and conquest. Sierra Leone's dense tropical rainforest and swampy environment was considered impenetrable; this environmental factor protected its people from conquests by the Mande and other African empires. This reduced the Islamic influence of the Mali Empire but Islam, introduced by Susu traders and migrants from the north and east, became adopted in the 18th century. European contacts within Sierra Leone were among the first in West Africa in the 15th century. In 1462, Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra mapped the hills surrounding what is now Freetown Harbour, naming the shaped formation Serra da Leoa or "Serra Leoa".
The Spanish rendering of this geographic formation is Sierra Leona, adapted and, became the country's current name. Although according to the p
A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, is used to solidify rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from the Latin fortis and facere. From early history to modern times, walls have been necessary for cities to survive in an ever-changing world of invasion and conquest; some settlements in the Indus Valley Civilization were the first small cities to be fortified. In ancient Greece, large stone walls had been built in Mycenaean Greece, such as the ancient site of Mycenae. A Greek phrourion was a fortified collection of buildings used as a military garrison, is the equivalent of the Roman castellum or English fortress; these constructions served the purpose of a watch tower, to guard certain roads and lands that might threaten the kingdom. Though smaller than a real fortress, they acted as a border guard rather than a real strongpoint to watch and maintain the border; the art of setting out a military camp or constructing a fortification traditionally has been called "castrametation" since the time of the Roman legions.
Fortification is divided into two branches: permanent fortification and field fortification. There is an intermediate branch known as semi-permanent fortification. Castles are fortifications which are regarded as being distinct from the generic fort or fortress in that they are a residence of a monarch or noble and command a specific defensive territory. Roman forts and hill forts were the main antecedents of castles in Europe, which emerged in the 9th century in the Carolingian Empire; the Early Middle Ages saw the creation of some towns built around castles. Medieval-style fortifications were made obsolete by the arrival of cannons in the 14th century. Fortifications in the age of black powder evolved into much lower structures with greater use of ditches and earth ramparts that would absorb and disperse the energy of cannon fire. Walls exposed to direct cannon fire were vulnerable, so the walls were sunk into ditches fronted by earth slopes to improve protection; the arrival of explosive shells in the 19th century led to yet another stage in the evolution of fortification.
Star forts did not fare well against the effects of high explosive, the intricate arrangements of bastions, flanking batteries and the constructed lines of fire for the defending cannon could be disrupted by explosive shells. Steel-and-concrete fortifications were common during the early 20th centuries; however the advances in modern warfare since World War I have made large-scale fortifications obsolete in most situations. Demilitarized zones along borders are arguably another type of fortification, although a passive kind, providing a buffer between hostile militaries. Many US military installations are known as forts. Indeed, during the pioneering era of North America, many outposts on the frontiers non-military outposts, were referred to generically as forts. Larger military installations may be called fortresses; the word fortification can refer to the practice of improving an area's defence with defensive works. City walls are fortifications but are not called fortresses; the art of setting out a military camp or constructing a fortification traditionally has been called castrametation since the time of the Roman legions.
The art/science of laying siege to a fortification and of destroying it is called siegecraft or siege warfare and is formally known as poliorcetics. In some texts this latter term applies to the art of building a fortification. Fortification is divided into two branches: permanent fortification and field fortification. Permanent fortifications are erected at leisure, with all the resources that a state can supply of constructive and mechanical skill, are built of enduring materials. Field fortifications—for example breastworks—and known as fieldworks or earthworks, are extemporized by troops in the field assisted by such local labour and tools as may be procurable and with materials that do not require much preparation, such as earth and light timber, or sandbags. An example of field fortification was the construction of Fort Necessity by George Washington in 1754. There is an intermediate branch known as semi-permanent fortification; this is employed when in the course of a campaign it becomes desirable to protect some locality with the best imitation of permanent defences that can be made in a short time, ample resources and skilled civilian labour being available.
An example of this is the construction of Roman forts in England and in other Roman territories where camps were set up with the intention of staying for some time, but not permanently. Castles are fortifications which are regarded as being distinct from the generic fort or fortress in that it describes a residence of a monarch or noble and commands a specific defensive territory. An example of this is the massive medieval castle of Carcassonne. From early history to modern times, walls have been a necessity for many cities. In Bulgaria, near the town of Provadia a walled fortified settlement today called Solnitsata starting from 4700 BC had a diameter of about 300 feet, was home to 350 people living in two-storey houses, was encircled by a fortified wall; the huge walls around the settlement, which were built tall and with stone blocks which are 6 feet high and 4.5 feet thick, make it one of the earliest walled settlements in Europe but it is younger than the walled town of Sesklo in Greece from 6800 BC.
Uruk in ancient Su
Republic of Florence
The Republic of Florence known as the Florentine Republic, was a medieval and early modern state, centered on the Italian city of Florence in Tuscany. The republic originated in 1115, when the Florentine people rebelled against the Margraviate of Tuscany upon the death of Matilda of Tuscany, a woman who controlled vast territories that included Florence; the Florentines formed a commune in her successors' place. The republic was ruled by a council known as the Signoria of Florence; the signoria was chosen by the gonfaloniere, elected every two months by Florentine guild members. The republic had a checkered history of counter-coups against various factions; the Medici faction gained governance of the city in 1434 under Cosimo de' Medici. The Medici kept control of Florence until 1494. Giovanni de' Medici re-conquered the republic in 1512. Florence repudiated Medici authority for a second time in 1527, during the War of the League of Cognac; the Medici re-assumed their rule in 1531 after an 11-month siege of the city.
The republican government was disestablished in 1532, when Pope Clement VII appointed Alessandro de' Medici "Duke of the Florentine Republic", making the "republic" a hereditary monarchy. The city of Florence was established in 59 B. C. by Julius Caesar. Before the death of Matilda of Tuscany in 1115, the city had been part of the Marquisate of Tuscany founded in 846 A. D; the city did not submit to her successor Rabodo, killed in a dispute with the city. It is not known when the city formed its own government independent of the marquisate; the first official mention of the Florentine republic was in 1138, when several cities around Tuscany formed a league against Henry X of Bavaria. The country was nominally part of the Holy Roman Empire. According to a study carried out by Enrico Faini of the University of Florence, there were about fifteen old aristocratic families who moved to Florence between 1000 and 1100: Amidei. Florence prospered in the 12th century through extensive trade with foreign countries.
This, in turn, provided a platform for the demographic growth of the city, which mirrored the rate of construction of churches and palazzi. This prosperity was shattered when Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa invaded the Italian peninsula in 1185; as a result, the margraves of Tuscany re-acquired its townlands. The Florentines re-asserted their independence when Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI died in 1197. Florence's population continued to grow into the 13th century, reaching a level of 30,000 inhabitants; as has been said, the extra inhabitants supported the city's vice versa. Several new bridges and churches were built, most prominently the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, begun in 1294; the buildings from this era serve as Florence's best examples of Gothic Architecture. Politically, Florence was able to maintain peace between its competing factions; the precarious peace that existed at the beginning of the century was destroyed in 1216 when two factions, known as the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, began to war.
The Ghibellines were supporters of the noble rulers of Florence. The Ghibellines, who had ruled the city under Frederick of Antioch since 1244, were deposed in 1250 by the Guelphs; the Guelphs led Florence to prosper further. Their mercantile orientation soon became evident in one of their earliest achievements: the introduction of a new coin, the florin, in 1252, it was used beyond Florence's borders due to its reliable, fixed gold content and soon became one of the common currencies of Europe and the Near East. The same year saw the creation of the Palazzo del Popolo; the Guelphs lost the reins of power after Florence suffered a catastrophic defeat at the Battle of Montaperti against Siena in 1260. The Ghibellines resumed power and undid many of the advances of the Guelphs, for example the demolition of hundreds of towers and palaces; the fragility of their rule caused the Ghibellines to seek out an arbitrator in the form of Pope Clement IV, who favoured the Guelphs, restored them to power. The Florentine economy reached a zenith in the latter half of the 13th century, its success was reflected by the building of the famed Palazzo della Signoria, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio.
The Florentine townlands were divided into administrative districts in 1292. In 1293, the Ordinances of Justice were enacted, which became the constitution of the republic of Florence throughout the Italian Renaissance; the city's numerous luxurious palazzi were becoming surrounded by townhouses built by the prospering merchant class. In 1298, the Bonsignori family of Siena, one of the leading banking families of Europe, went bankrupt, the city of Siena lost its status as the most prominent banking center of Europe to Florence. In 1304, the war between the Ghibellines and the Guelphs led to a great fire which destroyed much of the city. Napier gives the following account: The golden florin of the Republic of Florence was the first European gold coin struck in sufficient quantities to play a significant commercial role since the 7th century; as many Florentine banks were international companies with branches across Europe, the florin became the dominant trade coin of Western Europe for large scale transactions, replacing silver bars in multiples of the mark.
In fact, with the collapse of the Bonsignori family, several new banking families sprang up in Fl
Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago of 21 islands and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, 354 km offshore from the Brazilian coast. The archipelago's name is a corruption of the name of the Portuguese merchant Fernão de Loronha, to whom it was given by the Portuguese crown for services rendered regarding wood imported from Brazil. Only the homonymous main island is inhabited; the archipelago's total area is 26 km2. Administratively the islands are a unique case in Brazil of a special "state district", not part of any municipality and is administered directly by the government of the state of Pernambuco; the state district's jurisdiction includes the remote Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago, located 625 kilometres northeast of Fernando de Noronha. 70% of the islands area were established in 1988 as a national maritime park. In 2001, UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage Site because of the importance of its environment, its time zone is UTC−02:00 all year round. The local population and travelers can get to Noronha by plane from Natal.
An "environmental preservation" daily fee is charged from tourists upon arrival by Pernambuco State administration, while another fee is paid once to have access to the National Park attractions. The islands of this archipelago are the visible parts of a range of submerged mountains, it consists of 21 islands and rocks of volcanic origin. The main island has an area of 18 km2, being 3.5 km wide at its maximum. The base of this enormous volcanic formation is 756 metres below the surface; the volcanic rocks are of variable though silica-undersaturated character with basanite and phonolite among the lava types found. The main island, from which the group gets its name, makes up 91% of the total area; the central upland of the main island is called the Quixaba. The United Nations Environment Programme lists 15 possible endemic plant species, including species of the genera Capparis noronhae, Ceratosanthes noronhae, Cayaponia noronhae, Moriordica noronhae, Cereus noronhae, Palicourea noronhae, Guettarda noronhae, Bumelia noronhae, Physalis noronhae, Ficus noronhae.
The islands have two endemic birds -- the Noronha vireo. Both are present on the main island. In addition there is an endemic subspecies of Zenaida auriculata noronha. Subfossil remains of an extinct endemic rail have been found; the archipelago is an important site for breeding seabirds. An endemic sigmodontine rodent, Noronhomys vespuccii, mentioned by Amerigo Vespucci, is now extinct; the islands have two endemic reptiles, the Noronha wormlizard, Amphisbaena ridleyi, the Noronha skink, Trachylepis atlantica. The life above and below sea is the main attraction of the island. Sea turtles, cetaceans and many other species are observed; the climate is tropical, with two well-defined seasons for rainfall, if not temperature. The rainy season lasts from February to July; the temperature ranges, both diurnal and monthly, are unusually slight. Many controversies mark the discovery of the archipelago by Europeans. At least three names – São Lourenço, São João, Quaresma – have been associated with the island around the time of its discovery.
Based on the written record, Fernando de Noronha island was discovered on August 10, 1503, by a Portuguese expedition and financed by a private commercial consortium headed by the Lisbon merchant Fernão de Loronha. The expedition was under the overall command of captain Gonçalo Coelho and carried the Italian adventurer Amerigo Vespucci aboard, who wrote an account of it; the flagship of the expedition hit a reef and foundered near the island, the crew and contents had to be salvaged. On Coelho's orders, Vespucci anchored at the island, spent a week there, while the rest of the Coelho fleet went on south. In his letter to Soderini, Vespucci describes the uninhabited island and reports its name as the "island of St. Lawrence", its existence was reported to Lisbon sometime between and January 16, 1504, when King Manuel I of Portugal issued a charter granting the "island of St. John" as a hereditary captaincy to Fernão de Loronha; the date and new name in the charter has presented historians with a puzzle.
As Vespucci did not return to Lisbon until September 1504, the discovery must have been earlier. Historians have hypothesized that a stray ship of the Coelho fleet, under an unknown captain, may have returned to the island to collect Vespucci, did not find him or anyone else there, went back to Lisbon by itself with the news; the captain who returned to Lisbon with the n