The annual Pidakala battle of Kairuppala

Every April, the people of Kairuppala, a village in Andhra Pradesh state, Southern India, engage in an epic cow dung cake (or Pidakala) battle that often leaves dozens injured. The reason? They believe the tradition brings them good health and prosperit, and, in addition, locals believe the battle brings rains to the village. According to the legend, Lord Veerabhadra Swamy, a fearsome form of the Hindu god Shiva, and the Goddess Bhadrakhali fell in love and decided to marry. In order to tease his beloved, Veerabhadra Swamy declared that he…

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Le Mort Homme: a memorial to the soldiers who died in the bloody battles to control Verdun in World War I

In World War I, the battle of Verdun was a really brutal battle that lasted from February 21 to December 18, 1916. Each meters around the French city was fought over by hundreds of thousands of French and German soldiers, and more from the farthest reaches of the European empires. There was 302 days of bloodshed, and historians still argue over how many actually died, with some estimates claimed near a million, from both sides. Even after the battle, technically won by the French, the story of Verdun wasn’t over:…

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Lepanto: the battle that saved Europe

Considered by many to have been the most important naval engagement in human history, the Battle of Lepanto was fought on this day, October 7, 1571. In short, It saved the Christian West from defeat by the Ottoman Turks. In the battle, which lasted about five hours, more than 30,000 Muslim Turks and 8,000 Christians lost their life. Not until the First World War would the world again witness such carnage in a single day, and the battle was also remarkable as the last and greatest engagement with oar-propelled vessels.…

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Battle of Cajamarca: how 200 conquistadors conquered an empire of 10 million

The Inca people named their empire “Land of the Four Quarters” or Tahuantinsuyu and in 1533 it was the largest in the world: It covered 2,500 miles and stretched from southern Colombia in the north to central Chile in the south. Between 1200 and 1300 AD, in the valley of Cusco, an increase in temperatures allowed the Inca to inhabit ever higher altitudes and produce agricultural surpluses, and infact astonishing site of Machu Picchu is evidence of this. In addition, the empire successfully built a road network of 14,000 miles…

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