The Gran Chaco or Dry Chaco is a sparsely populated and semi-arid lowland natural region of the Río de la Plata basin, divided among eastern Bolivia, western Paraguay, northern Argentina and a portion of the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, where it is connected with the Pantanal region. This land is sometimes called the Chaco Plain; the name Chaco comes from a word in Quechua, an indigenous language from the Andes and highlands of South America. The quechua word chaqu meaning "hunting land" comes from the rich variety of animal life present throughout the entire region; the Gran Chaco is about 647,500 km ² in size. It is located west of the Paraguay River and east of the Andes, is an alluvial sedimentary plain shared among Paraguay and Argentina, it stretches from about 17° to 33° South latitude and between 65° and 60° West longitude, though estimates differ. The Chaco has been divided in three main parts: the Chaco Austral or Southern Chaco, south of the Bermejo River and inside Argentinian territory, blending into the Pampa region in its southernmost end.
Locals sometimes divide it today by the political borders, giving rise to the terms Argentinian Chaco, Paraguayan Chaco and Bolivian Chaco. The Chaco Boreal may be divided in two: closer to the mountains in the west, the Alto Chaco, sometimes known as Chaco Seco, is dry and sparsely vegetated. To the east, less arid conditions combined with favorable soil characteristics permit a seasonally dry higher-growth thorn tree forest, further east still higher rainfall combined with improperly drained lowland soils result in a somewhat swampy plain called the Bajo Chaco, sometimes known as Chaco Húmedo, it has a more open savanna vegetation consisting of palm trees, quebracho trees and tropical high-grass areas, with a wealth of insects. The landscape is flat and slopes at a 0.004 degree gradient to the east. This area is one of the distinct physiographic provinces of the Parana-Paraguay Plain division; the areas more hospitable to development are along the Paraguay and Pilcomayo Rivers. It is a great source of timber and tannin, derived from the native quebracho tree.
Special tannin factories have been constructed there. The wood of the palo santo from the Central Chaco is the source of oil of guaiac. Paraguay cultivates mate in the lower part of the Chaco. Large tracts of the central and northern Chaco have high soil fertility, sandy alluvial soils with elevated levels of phosphorus and a topography, favorable for agricultural development. Other aspects are challenging for farming: a semi-arid to semi-humid climate with a six-month dry season and sufficient fresh groundwater restricted to one third of the region, two thirds being without groundwater or with groundwater of high salinity. Soils are erosion prone once the forest has been cleared. In the central and northern Paraguay Chaco, occasional dust storms have caused major top soil loss; the Chaco was occupied by nomadic peoples, notably the various groups making up the Guaycuru who resisted Spanish control with success, of the Chaco from the 16th until the early 20th century. Prior to national independence of the nations that compose the Chaco, the entire area was a separate colonial region named by the Spaniards as Chiquitos.
The Gran Chaco had been a disputed territory since 1810. It was supposed to be part of Argentina and Paraguay, although a bigger land portion west of the Paraguay River had belonged to Paraguay since its independence. Argentina claimed territories south of the Bermejo River until Paraguay's defeat in the War of the Triple Alliance in 1870 established its current border with Argentina. Over the next few decades, Bolivia began to push the natives out and settle in the Gran Chaco, while Paraguay ignored it. Bolivia sought the Paraguay River for shipping oil out into the sea, Paraguay claimed ownership of the land; this became the backdrop to The Gran Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia over supposed oil in the Chaco Boreal. Argentine Foreign Minister Carlos Saavedra Lamas mediated a cease fire and subsequent treaty signed in 1938, which gave Paraguay three quarters of the Chaco Boreal and gave Bolivia a corridor to the Paraguay River with the ability to use the Puerto Casado and the right to construct their own port.
In the end, no oil was found in the region. Mennonites immigrated into the Paraguayan part of the region from Canada in the 1920s; these immigrants created some of the largest and most prosperous municipalities in the deep Gran Chaco. The region is home to over nine million people, divided about evenly among Argentina, Bolivia and including around 100,000 in Paraguay; the area remains underdeveloped, In the 1960s, the Paraguayan authorities constructed the Trans-Chaco Highway and the Argentine National Highway Directorate, National Routes 16 and 81, in an effort to encourage
The tropics are the region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. They are delimited in latitude by The Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at 23°26′12.4″ N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere at 23°26′12.4″ S. The tropics are referred to as the tropical zone and the torrid zone; the tropics include all the areas on the Earth where the Sun contacts a point directly overhead at least once during the solar year - thus the latitude of the tropics is equal to the angle of the Earth's axial tilt. The tropics are distinguished from the other climatic and biomatic regions of Earth, which are the middle latitudes and the polar regions on either side of the equatorial zone; the tropics contain 36 % of the Earth's landmass. As of 2014, the region is home to 40% of the world population, this figure is projected to reach 50% by the late 2030s. "Tropical" is sometimes used in a general sense for a tropical climate to mean warm to hot and moist year-round with the sense of lush vegetation.
Many tropical areas have a wet season. The wet season, rainy season or green season is the time of year, ranging from one or more months, when most of the average annual rainfall in a region falls. Areas with wet seasons are disseminated across portions of the subtropics. Under the Köppen climate classification, for tropical climates, a wet-season month is defined as a month where average precipitation is 60 millimetres or more. Tropical rainforests technically do not have dry or wet seasons, since their rainfall is distributed through the year; some areas with pronounced rainy seasons see a break in rainfall during mid-season when the intertropical convergence zone or monsoon trough moves poleward of their location during the middle of the warm season. When the wet season occurs during the warm season, or summer, precipitation falls during the late afternoon and early evening hours; the wet season is a time when air quality improves, freshwater quality improves and vegetation grows leading to crop yields late in the season.
Floods cause rivers to overflow their banks, some animals to retreat to higher ground. Soil nutrients erosion increases; the incidence of malaria increases in areas. Animals have survival strategies for the wetter regime; the previous dry season leads to food shortages into the wet season, as the crops have yet to mature. However, regions within the tropics may well not have a tropical climate. Under the Köppen climate classification, much of the area within the geographical tropics is classed not as "tropical" but as "dry", including the Sahara Desert, the Atacama Desert and Australian Outback. There are alpine tundra and snow-capped peaks, including Mauna Kea, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Andes as far south as the northernmost parts of Chile and Argentina. Tropical plants and animals are those species native to the tropics. Tropical ecosystems may consist of tropical rainforests, seasonal tropical forests, dry forests, spiny forests and other habitat types. There are significant areas of biodiversity, species endemism present in rainforests and seasonal forests.
Some examples of important biodiversity and high endemism ecosystems are El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, Costa Rican and Nicaraguan rainforests, Amazon Rainforest territories of several South American countries, Madagascar dry deciduous forests, the Waterberg Biosphere of South Africa, eastern Madagascar rainforests. The soils of tropical forests are low in nutrient content, making them quite vulnerable to slash-and-burn deforestation techniques, which are sometimes an element of shifting cultivation agricultural systems. In biogeography, the tropics are divided into Neotropics. Together, they are sometimes referred to as the Pantropic; the Neotropical region should not be confused with the ecozone of the same name. "Tropicality" refers to the geographic imagery that many people outside the tropics have of that region. The idea of tropicality gained renewed interest in modern geographical discourse when French geographer Pierre Gourou published Les Pays Tropicaux, in the late 1940s.
Tropicality encompasses at least two contradictory imageries. One is that the tropics represent a Garden of a heaven on Earth; the latter view was discussed in Western literature—more so than the first. Evidence suggests that over time the more primitive view of the tropics in popular literature has been supplanted by more nuanced interpretations that reflect historical changes in values associated with tropical culture and ecology, although some primitive associations are persistent. Western scholars theorized about the reasons that tropical areas were deemed "inferior" to regions in the Northern Hemisphere. A popular explanation focused on the differences in climate—tropical regions have much warmer weather than northern regions; this theme led some scholars, including Gourou, to argue that warmer climates correlate to primitive indigenous populations lacking control over nature, compared to northern popul
Rio Grande Valley
The Rio Grande Valley is an area located in the southernmost tip of South Texas. It lies along the northern bank of the Rio Grande; the four-county region consists of Hidalgo, Cameron and Starr counties. It is one of the fastest growing regions in the United States, with its population having jumped from about 325,000 people in 1969 to more than 1,300,000 people by 2014; some of the biggest cities in the region are: Brownsville, Weslaco, Pharr, McAllen, Mission, San Juan, Rio Grande City. The Rio Grande Valley is not a true valley, but a floodplain, containing many oxbow lakes or resacas formed from pinched-off meanders in earlier courses of the Rio Grande. Early 20th-century land developers, attempting to capitalize on unclaimed land, utilized the name "Magic Valley" to attract settlers and appeal to investors; the Rio Grande Valley is called El Valle, the Spanish translation of "the valley", by those who live there. The residents of the Rio Grande Valley no longer refer to the area as "El Mágico Valle del Río Grande", but as "The Valley”.
The main region is within four Texan counties: Starr County, Hidalgo County, Willacy County, Cameron County. As of January 1, 2012, the U. S. Census Bureau estimated the population of the Rio Grande Valley at 1,305,782. According to the U. S. Census Bureau in 2008, 86 percent of Cameron County, 90 percent of Hidalgo County, 97 percent of Starr County, 86 percent of Willacy County are Hispanic; the largest city is Brownsville, followed by McAllen. Other major cities include Harlingen, Mission, Rio Grande City, Weslaco and Pharr; the Rio Grande Valley experiences a warm and fair climate that brings visitors from many surrounding areas. The east side of the region experiences a humid subtropical climate, becomes more arid as one heads west; the Valley is one of the southernmost areas of the continental United States, with only a small stretch of southern Florida laying at a lower latitude than the city of Brownsville. The region shares a similar climate to that of peninsular Florida. Due to its southerly location, the lower Rio Grande Valley tends to be warm in comparison to northern areas.
While having average temperatures that land the region a semi-tropical climate, the lower Valley only misses tropical climate status by a few degrees. Furthermore, the area lays in a transitional climate zone. Due to this, the lower part of the region has been known to sustain tropical plants such as flame trees, Cuban Royal palms, coconut palms. Temperature extremes range from triple digits during the summer months to freezing during the winter. Taking into consideration the region’s warm weather, periods of triple-digit weather occur much more than those with freezing temperatures. While the Valley has seen severe cold events before, such as the 2004 Christmas snow storm, the region only experiences temperatures at or below freezing; these happen less near the coast, where in some cases, never see temperatures below 35-40 degrees. Arctic cold fronts bring colder weather to the region but tend to dissipate with daytime heating; the Rio Grande Valley’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico makes it a target for hurricanes.
Though not impacted as as other areas of the Gulf Coast of the United States, the Valley has experienced major hurricanes in the past. Hurricanes that have made landfall in or near the area include: Hurricane Beulah, Hurricane Allen, Hurricane Gilbert, Hurricane Bret, Hurricane Dolly, Hurricane Alex. Having an flat terrain, the Valley experiences the catastrophic effects of tropical cyclones in the form of flooding. Due to threats of storm surge, the impending impact of tropical cyclones results in the closing of the Queen Isabella Causeway and voluntary -or sometimes mandatory- evacuations of the city of South Padre Island and coastal Cameron and Willacy counties. Severe weather in the Rio Grande Valley occurs during the spring months. While the area doesn’t see intense severe thunderstorm and tornado events like in the northern part of the state of Texas, the South Texas region is not immune to hail and supercell events that result in brief tornado touchdowns; the Lower Rio Grande Valley encompasses landmarks that attract tourists, popular destinations include: Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park.
The Valley is a popular waypoint for tourists visiting northeast Mexico. Popular destinations across the border and Rio Grande include: Matamoros, Nuevo Progreso, Río Bravo, Reynosa, all located in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas; the Valley attracts tourists from the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Mexico, D. F.. First Lift Station Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge Hugh Ramsey Nature Park Los Ebanos Ferry, last hand-operated ferry on the Rio Grande La Lomita Historic District Fort Brown Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site Resaca de la Palma Rancho de Carricitos USMC War Memorial original plaster working model, located on the campus of the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen Museum of South Texas History the County Court House and Jail, built in the late 19th century Battle of Palmito Ranch, location of the last battle of the Civil War Brownsville Raid Battle of Resaca de la Palma The V
Tropical rainforests are rainforests that occur in areas of tropical rainforest climate in which there is no dry season – all months have an average precipitation of at least 60 mm – and may be referred to as lowland equatorial evergreen rainforest. True rainforests are found between 10 degrees north and south of the equator. Within the World Wildlife Fund's biome classification, tropical rainforests are a type of tropical moist broadleaf forest that includes the more extensive seasonal tropical forests. Tropical rainforests can be characterized in two words: wet. Mean monthly temperatures exceed 18 °C during all months of the year. Average annual rainfall is no less than 1,680 mm and can exceed 10 m although it lies between 1,750 mm and 3,000 mm; this high level of precipitation results in poor soils due to leaching of soluble nutrients in the ground. Tropical rainforests exhibit high levels of biodiversity. Around 40% to 75% of all biotic species are indigenous to the rainforests. Rainforests are home to half of all the living plant species on the planet.
Two-thirds of all flowering plants can be found in rainforests. A single hectare of rainforest may contain 42,000 different species of insect, up to 807 trees of 313 species and 1,500 species of higher plants. Tropical rainforests have been called the "world's largest pharmacy", because over one quarter of natural medicines have been discovered within them, it is that there may be many millions of species of plants and microorganisms still undiscovered in tropical rainforests. Tropical rainforests are among the most threatened ecosystems globally due to large-scale fragmentation as a result of human activity. Habitat fragmentation caused by geological processes such as volcanism and climate change occurred in the past, have been identified as important drivers of speciation. However, fast human driven habitat destruction is suspected to be one of the major causes of species extinction. Tropical rain forests have been subjected to heavy logging and agricultural clearance throughout the 20th century, the area covered by rainforests around the world is shrinking.
Tropical rainforests have existed on earth for hundreds of millions of years. Most tropical rainforests today are on fragments of the Mesozoic era supercontinent of Gondwana; the separation of the landmass resulted in a great loss of amphibian diversity while at the same time the drier climate spurred the diversification of reptiles. The division left tropical rainforests located in five major regions of the world: tropical America, Southeast Asia and New Guinea, with smaller outliers in Australia. However, the specifics of the origin of rainforests remain uncertain due to an incomplete fossil record. Several biomes may appear similar-to, or merge via ecotones with, tropical rainforest: Moist seasonal tropical forest Moist seasonal tropical forests receive high overall rainfall with a warm summer wet season and a cooler winter dry season; some trees in these forests drop some or all of their leaves during the winter dry season, thus they are sometimes called "tropical mixed forest". They are found in parts of South America, in Central America and around the Caribbean, in coastal West Africa, parts of the Indian subcontinent, across much of Indochina.
Montane rainforests These are found in cooler-climate mountainous areas, becoming known as cloud forests at higher elevations. Depending on latitude, the lower limit of montane rainforests on large mountains is between 1500 and 2500 m while the upper limit is from 2400 to 3300 m. Flooded rainforests Tropical freshwater swamp forests, or "flooded forests", are found in Amazon basin and elsewhere. Rainforests are divided into different strata, or layers, with vegetation organized into a vertical pattern from the top of the soil to the canopy; each layer is a unique biotic community containing different plants and animals adapted for life in that particular strata. Only the emergent layer is unique to tropical rainforests, while the others are found in temperate rainforests; the forest floor, the bottom-most layer, receives only 2% of the sunlight. Only plants adapted to low light can grow in this region. Away from riverbanks and clearings, where dense undergrowth is found, the forest floor is clear of vegetation because of the low sunlight penetration.
This more open quality permits the easy movement of larger animals such as: ungulates like the okapi, Sumatran rhinoceros, apes like the western lowland gorilla, as well as many species of reptiles and insects. The forest floor contains decaying plant and animal matter, which disappears because the warm, humid conditions promote rapid decay. Many forms of fungi growing here help decay the plant waste; the understory layer lies between the forest floor. The understory is home to a number of birds, small mammals, insects and predators. Examples include leopard, poison dart frogs, ring-tailed coati, boa constrictor, many species of Coleoptera; the vegetation at this layer consists of shade-tolerant shrubs, small trees, large woody vines which climb into the trees to capture sunlight. Only about 5% of sunlight breaches the canopy to arrive at the understory causing true understory plants to grow to 3 m; as an
Baja California Peninsula
The Baja California Peninsula is a peninsula in Northwestern Mexico. It separates the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California; the peninsula extends 1,247 km from Mexicali, Baja California in the north to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur in the south. It ranges from 40 km at its narrowest to 320 km at its widest point and has 3,000 km of coastline and 65 islands; the total area of the Baja California Peninsula is 143,390 km2. The peninsula is separated from mainland Mexico by the Gulf of the Colorado River. There are four main desert areas on the peninsula: the San Felipe Desert, the Central Coast Desert, the Vizcaíno Desert and the Magdalena Plain Desert; the land of California existed as a myth among European explorers. The earliest known mention of the idea of California was in the 1510 romance novel Las Sergas de Esplandián by Spanish author Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo; the book described the Island of California as being west of the Indies, "very close to the side of the Terrestrial Paradise.
Following Hernán Cortés' conquest of Mexico, the lure of an earthly paradise as well as the search for the fabled Strait of Anián, helped motivate him to send several expeditions to the west coast of New Spain in the 1530s and early 1540s. Its first expedition reached the Gulf of California and California, proved the Island of California was in fact a peninsula; the idea of the island persisted for well over a century and was included in many maps. The Spaniards gave the name Las Californias to the peninsula and lands to the north, including both Baja California and Alta California, the region that became parts of the present-day U. S. states of California, Utah and parts of Colorado and Wyoming. 1532: Hernán Cortés sends three ships north along the coast of Mexico in search of the Island of California. The three ships disappear without a trace. 1533: Cortés sends a follow-up mission to search for the lost ships. Pilot Fortún Ximénez leads a mutiny and founds a settlement in the Bay of La Paz before being killed.
1539: Francisco de Ulloa explores both coasts. 1622: A map by Michiel Colijn of Amsterdam showed California as a peninsula rather than an island. Previous maps show the Gulf terminating in its correct location. 1690s–1800s: Spanish settlement and colonization in lower Las Californias, the first Spanish missions in Baja California are established by Jesuit missionaries. 1701: Explorations by Eusebio Kino expanded knowledge of the Gulf of California coast. Kino did not believe. 1767: Jesuits expelled. 1769: Franciscans go with the Portola expedition to establish new missions in Alta California. Control of the existing Baja missions passes to the Dominican Order. 1773: Francisco Palóu's line demarcates Franciscan and Dominican areas of mission control. 1804: Las Californias divided into Alta and Baja California, using Palóu's line. 1810–1821: Mexican War of Independence 1821: First Mexican Empire, Baja California Territory established, covering Baja California Peninsula. 1847: The Battle of La Paz and the Siege of La Paz occurs, as well as several other engagements.
1848: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo cedes Alta California to the United States. As a U. S. territory it receives the California Gold Rush, causing increased maritime traffic along the peninsula. 1850: California admitted to U. S. statehood. 1853: William Walker, with 45 men, captures the capital city of La Paz and declares himself President of the Republic of Lower California. Mexico forces him to retreat a few months later. 1930–31: The Territory of Baja California is further divided into Northern and Southern territories. 1952: The North Territory of Baja California becomes the 29th State of Mexico, Baja California. The southern portion, below 28°N, remains a federally administered territory. 1973: The 1,700 km long Trans-Peninsular Highway, is finished. It is the first paved road; the highway was built by the Mexican government to improve Baja California's economy and increase tourism. 1974: The South Territory of Baja California becomes the 31st state, Baja California Sur. The province of the Californias was united until 1804, in the Spanish colonial Viceroyalty of New Spain, when it was divided into Alta and Baja California.
The two Californias division was kept after Mexican independence in 1821. The Spanish Baja California Province became Mexican Baja California Territory, remained a separate territory until 1836. In 1836, the Siete Leyes constitutional reforms reunited both Californias in the Departamento de las Californias. After 1848, the Baja California Peninsula again became a Mexican territory when Alta California was ceded to the United States. In 1931 Baja California Territory was divided into southern territories. In 1952, the "North Territory of Baja California" became the 29th State of Mexico as Baja California. In 1974, the "South Territory of Baja California" became the 31st state as Baja California Sur; the northern part is the state of Baja California. The citizens of Baja California are named bajacalifornianos. Mexicali is the capital; the southern part, below 28° north, is the state of Baja California Sur. The citizens of Baja California Sur are named sudcalifornianos. La Paz is its capital
European colonization of the Americas
The European colonization of the Americas describes the history of the settlement and establishment of control of the continents of the Americas by most of the naval powers of Western Europe. Systematic European colonization began in 1492, when a Spanish expedition headed by the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sailed west to find a new trade route to the Far East but inadvertently landed in what came to be known to Europeans as the "New World", he ran aground on the northern part of Hispaniola on 5 December 1492, which the Taino people had inhabited since the 9th century. Western European conquest, large-scale exploration and colonization soon followed. Columbus's first two voyages reached the Bahamas and various Caribbean islands, including Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Cuba. In 1497, Italian explorer John Cabot, on behalf of England, landed on the North American coast, a year Columbus's third voyage reached the South American coast; as the sponsor of Christopher Columbus's voyages, Spain was the first European power to settle and colonize the largest areas, from North America and the Caribbean to the southern tip of South America.
The Spaniards began building their American empire in the Caribbean, using islands such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola as bases. The North and South American mainland fell to the conquistadors, with an estimated 8,000,000 deaths of indigenous populations, argued to be the first large-scale act of genocide in the modern era. Florida fell to Juan Ponce de León after 1513. From 1519 to 1521, Hernán Cortés waged a campaign against the Aztec Empire, ruled by Moctezuma II; the Aztec capital, became Mexico City, the chief city of what the Spanish were now calling "New Spain". More than 240,000 Aztecs died during the siege of Tenochtitlan. Of these, 100,000 died in combat. Between 500 and 1,000 of the Spaniards engaged in the conquest died; the areas that are today California, New Mexico, Texas, Missouri and Alabama were taken over by other conquistadors, such as Hernando de Soto, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. Farther to the south, Francisco Pizarro conquered the Inca Empire during the 1530s.
The de Soto expedition was the first major encounter of Europeans with North American Indians in the eastern half of the United States. The expedition journeyed from Florida through present-day Georgia and the Carolinas west across the Mississippi and into Texas. De Soto fought his biggest battle at the walled town of Mabila in present-day Alabama on October 18, 1540. Spanish losses were 148 wounded; the Spaniards claimed. If true, Mabila was the bloodiest battle fought between red men and white in the present-day United States; the centuries of continuous conflicts between the North American Indians and the Anglo-Americans were secondary to the devastation wrought on the densely populated Meso-American and Caribbean heartlands. Other powers such as France founded colonies in the Americas: in eastern North America, a number of Caribbean islands and small coastal parts of South America. Portugal colonized Brazil, tried colonizing the eastern coasts of present-day Canada and settled for extended periods northwest of the River Plate.
The Age of Exploration was the beginning of territorial expansion for several European countries. Europe had been preoccupied with internal wars and was recovering from the loss of population caused by the Black Death. Most of the Western Hemisphere came under the control of Western European governments, leading to changes to its landscape and plant and animal life. In the 19th century over 50 million people left Western Europe for the Americas; the post-1492 era is known as the period of the Columbian Exchange, a widespread exchange of animals, culture, human populations and communicable disease between the American and Afro-Eurasian hemispheres following Columbus's voyages to the Americas. Henry F. Dobyns estimates that before European colonization of the Americas there were between 90 and 112 million people in the Americas. Norse journeys to Greenland and Canada are supported by archaeological evidence. A Norse colony in Greenland was established in the late 10th century, lasted until the mid 15th century, with court and parliament assemblies taking place at Brattahlíð and a bishop located at Garðar.
The remains of a Norse settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, were discovered in 1960 and were dated to around the year 1000. L'Anse aux Meadows is the only site accepted as evidence of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact, it was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1978. It is notable for its possible connection with the attempted colony of Vinland, established by Leif Erikson around the same period or, more broadly, with the Norse colonization of the Americas. Early explorations and conquests were made by the Spanish and the Portuguese following their own final reconquest of Iberia in 1492. In the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, ratified by the Pope, these two kingdoms divided the entire non-European world into two areas of exploration and colonization, with a north to south boundary that cut through the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern part of present-day Brazil. Based on this treaty and on early claims by Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa, discoverer of the Pacific Ocean in 1513, the Spanish conquered large territories in
World Wide Fund for Nature
The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961, working in the field of the wilderness preservation, the reduction of human impact on the environment. It was named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States. WWF is the world's largest conservation organization with over five million supporters worldwide, working in more than 100 countries, supporting around 1,300 conservation and environmental projects, they have invested over $1 billion in more than 12,000 conservation initiatives since 1995. WWF is a foundation with 55% of funding from individuals and bequests, 19% from government sources and 8% from corporations in 2014. WWF aims to "stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature." The Living Planet Report is published every two years by WWF since 1998. In addition, WWF has launched several notable worldwide campaigns including Earth Hour and Debt-for-Nature Swap, its current work is organized around these six areas: food, freshwater, wildlife and oceans.
WWF has been accused by BuzzFeed News, Kathmandu Post, the Rainforest Foundation Fund and Survival International of protecting paramilitary forces funded by the organization to fight poaching that have engaged in human rights abuses despite an internal report acknowledging them in 2015. They have attacked African and South Asian villages, torturing and killing villagers. Investigators revealed that the WWF engaged in cover ups and lobbied to release rangers when they were arrested; the Conservation Foundation, a precursor to WWF, was founded in 1948 by Fairfield Osborn as an affiliate of the New York Zoological Society with an aim of protecting the world's natural resources. The advisory council included leading scientists such as Charles Sutherland Elton, G. Evelyn Hutchinson, Aldo Leopold, Carl Sauer, Paul Sears, it supported much of the scientific work cited by Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, including that of John L. George, Roger Hale, Robert Rudd, George Woodwell; the idea for a fund on behalf of endangered animals was proposed by Victor Stolan to Sir Julian Huxley in response to articles he published in the British newspaper The Observer.
This proposal led Huxley to put Stolan in contact with Max Nicholson, a person who had had thirty years experience of linking progressive intellectuals with big business interests through the Political and Economic Planning think tank. Nicholson thought up the name of the organization. WWF was conceived on 29 April 1961, under the name of World Wildlife Fund, its first office was opened on 11 September that same year in Morges, Switzerland. WWF was conceived to act as a funding institution for existing conservation groups such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and The Conservation Foundation. Godfrey A. Rockefeller played an important role in its creation, assembling the first staff, its establishment was marked with the signing of the "Morges Manifesto", the founding document that sets out the fund's commitment to assisting worthy organizations struggling to save the world's wildlife: They need above all money, to carry out mercy missions and to meet conservation emergencies by buying land where wildlife treasures are threatened, in many other ways.
Money, for example, to pay guardians of wildlife refuges.... Money for education and propaganda among those who would care and help if only they understood. Money to send out experts to danger spots and to train more local wardens and helpers in Africa and elsewhere. Money to maintain a sort of'war room' at the international headquarters of conservation, showing where the danger spots are and making it possible to ensure that their needs are met before it is too late. Dutch Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld helped found the World Wildlife Fund, becoming its first President in 1961. In 1963, the Foundation held a conference and published a major report warning of anthropogenic global warming, written by Noel Eichhorn based on the work of Frank Fraser Darling, Edward Deevey, Erik Eriksson, Charles Keeling, Gilbert Plass, Lionel Walford, William Garnett. In 1970, along with Duke of Edinburgh and a few associates, Prince Bernhard established the WWF's financial endowment The 1001: A Nature Trust to handle the WWF's administration and fund-raising.
1001 members each contributed $10,000 to the trust. Prince Bernhard resigned his post after being involved in the Lockheed Bribery Scandal. WWF has set up operations around the world, it worked by fundraising and providing grants to existing non-governmental organizations, based on the best-available scientific knowledge and with an initial focus on the protection of endangered species. As more resources became available, its operations expanded into other areas such as the preservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of natural resources, the reduction of pollution, climate change; the organization began to run its own conservation projects and campaigns, by the 1980s started to take a more strategic approach to its conservation activities. In 1986, the organization changed its name to World Wide Fund for Nature, while retaining the WWF initials. However, it continued at that time to operate under the original name in the United States and Canada; that year was the 25th anniversary of WWF's foundation, an event marked by a gathering in Assisi, Italy to which the organization's International President HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, invited religi