Things That Matter

21 Historical Facts About Mexico That Will Make You Sound Like A Genius

Mexico is one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented countries in the world. From the stereotype of the lazy panzón taking a siesta under a nopal to big misconceptions about our traditional food (repeat after me: we-do-not-really-eat-burritos) to racist representations in popular media (see Speedy Gonzalez above!), Mexico just doesn’t get a fair shake.

In order to set the record straight and to help you look super smart at fiestas, here’s 21 cool historical facts about the land South of the Rio Bravo.

1. The ancient Mayans were among the only three ancient cultures that had a notion of zero.

Credit: download.jpg. Digital image. Wikimedia Commons.

This might seem not like a big deal, but it actually is. Alongside the Mesopotamians and Indians, the Mayans reached such a level of mathematical abstraction that they could conceptualize non-existence. Smart cookies, the Mayans! They represented the zero as a shell that sort of looks like a football.

2. The war for independence was started by a priest!

Credit:miguel-hidalgo-costilla1. Digital image. Tejano Nation.

Talk about feisty men of the Church. Miguel Hidalgo, known as the father of the Independence, was a criollo priest who rebelled against the rule of the Spanish Crown. Now, even though the independence was a turning point in the formation of modern Mexico, it didn’t really translate into a better situation for the disadvantaged, among them the indigenous population that had been colonized.

3. 5 de Mayo is not a big deal in Mexico

Credit: Giphy. @dazzlejunction

Seriously: all those fiesta inspired outfits and festive drinks are fun, but the big Mexican day in the US is sort of whatever in Mexico. The date commemorates the Battle of Puebla during the Mexican-French war. The actual Independence Day is September 15. Cinco de Mayo seems to be just a pretext for some to get wasted and insultingly dress up as Mexicans (cue the poncho, sombrero and maracas).

READ: 13 Things You Should Know About Cholo Culture

4. Mexico used to own most of what is currently the Southern United States

Credit: 9718328_orig. Digital image. Latina Lista.

That’s right: Trump would have had to build his wall much farther up if General Santa Anna hadn’t sold a big portion of the Mexican territory back in 1848. Just look at this map… history would be so different if things had remained like that, eh? Texas and California, two states with vast natural resources, would have been the drivers of the Mexican economy in a parallel universe.

5. A Mexican engineer invented color TV (thank him for your sessions of Netflix and chill…)

Credit: Giphy. Anonymous.

That’s right, a Mexican engineer is responsible for one of the greatest inventions of all time: color TV! Guillermo González Camarena invented the “Chromoscopic a for television equipment” when he was only 23! Talk about an over achiever. Bien, compa!

6. A Mayan carving seems to show an ancient astronaut!

Credit: flat,750×1000,075,t.u1 (1). Digital image. Redbubble.

This archeological artifact has puzzled researchers and conspiracy theorists for years. It was found in Palenque and seems to depict king Pakal. It does look like he is driving some sort of rocket, right? We don’t know for sure, but it is really puzzling! It does look like Pakal is holding some sort of steering wheel and the bottom of the image sure looks like rocket engines ready to fire up.

7. Chocolate comes from Mexico: you are welcome.

Credit: Matilda. TriStar Pictures.

Various indigenous civilizations from today’s Mexico ate chocolate (the word comes from the Aztec chokolatl) and considered it to be a source of vigor, sexual and otherwise. Chili and corn also come from Mexico.

8. What does the Mexican flag mean?

Credit: Giphy. @kionda

Aztec legend has it that in 1323 they saw a vision of an eagle perched on a cactus eating a snake. This meant that if they found this they were to make their home at that spot. Recent research points out that the animals are symbolic: the snake is a comet, the eagle is the Sun and the cactus is a mountain.

READ: 21 Latin American Flags And The Stories Behind Them

9. Talking about the Aztecs: they buried their dead under their houses.

Credit: Tenochtitlan. Digital image. History Revealed.

Death has a different meaning in Mexican culture. The departed have a strong presence in everyday life, as evidenced by Day of the Death celebrations even today. The Aztecs used to keep their loved ones close by, literally under the house. Pictures is the great Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztex empire.

10. During colonial times society was divided by a chaste system

Credit: datos-curiosos-colonia-castas-768×398. Digital image. MXCITY.

It was as horrible as it sounds. Society in colonial New Spain was divided racially, with pure Spaniards at the top and mixed races at the bottom. Horrible.

11. Kites were prohibited in New Spain in 1774

Credit: Giphy. Anonymous.

This simple and amazing toy caused too many accidents, so the viceroy decided to ban them to avoid kids falling from roofs.

12. Pancho Villa hated alcohol

Credit: Pancho Villa. Digital image. Cultura Colectiva.

The Mexican revolutionary leader really despised booze. He thought that it was the source of all evil and destroyed many cantinas in his lifetime.

13. Women had a crucial role in the battlefield during the Mexican Revolution

Credit: Soldaderas. Digital image. Sopitas.com

Known as soldaderas, female revolutionary fighters not only cured and fed the men, but also fought and worked as spies, often arranging arms trafficking with the United States.

14. Mexico’s official name is not actually Mexico

Credit:1200px-Seal_of_the_Government_of_Mexico.svg. Digital image. Wikipedia

According to the 1917 Constitution, the country’s official name is Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Go figure!

15. Mexico’s National University is the oldest in America

Credit: UNAM.

It was founded in 1551, which makes it the oldest higher education institution in the continent and one of the oldest in the world.

16. Mexico has 37,266 registered archeological sites!

Credit: Panoramic_view_of_Teotihuacan. Digital image. Wikipedia.

What is now Mexico was populated with numerous indigenous civilizations that left behind amazing ruins that little by little reveal the richness of their culture.

17. Smallpox defeated the Aztecs

Credit:1200px-Aztec_smallpox_victims. Digital image. Wikipedia.

Sure, the Spanish conquistadores had superior weaponry but the Aztec Empire put up a good fight. However, the Aztecs were not prepared for their toughest enemy: smallpox. This virus killed hundreds of thousands as the Aztecs did not have the antibodies to fight it.

18. During the US-Mexico war in the 19th century an Irish-American battalion switched sides and joined the Mexicans!

Credit: 753063. Digital Image. Mas MX

Known as Saint Patrick’s Battalion, a group of Irishmen soldiers realized that they identified with the Mexicans and joined the fight against the US. Something similar happened in Haiti, where Polish soldiers rebelled against the French Army and fought oppression alongside the Haitians.

19. The first printing press in North America was brought to Mexico

Credit:printingpress. Digital image. CHW2 World History

That’s right, printed world culture in North America wasn’t born in the United States, but in 1539 New Spain. The printing press became a key component for evangelization in the new continent.

20. Hollywood actor Anthony Quinn was Mexican!

Credit: Viva Zapata! Twentieth Century Fox.

Even though most think that the epitome of Hollywood rough masculinity was American, he was in fact born in Chihuahua and his full name was Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca.

21. And so is absolute bombshell Lupita Nyong’o

Credit: Twitter. @Lupita_Nyongo

The amazing Oscar winner has dual Kenyan-Mexican nationality. She was born in Mexico City during her father’s tenure at a Mexican university. She proudly wears her double nationality wherever she goes. Lupita, hermana, eres mexicana!

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This Mexican College Student Is Going Viral For Breeding the Largest Bunnies In the World

Things That Matter

This Mexican College Student Is Going Viral For Breeding the Largest Bunnies In the World

Photo via yakinkiro/Instagram

Look out Bad Bunny. There’s another breed of bunny in town that’s taking the internet by storm. A college student in Mexico recently went viral for the oddest thing. He has genetically engineered a strain of rabbits to be the largest in the world.

21-year-old Kiro Yakin has become a viral sensation after internet users have seen him with pictures of the giant bunnies he genetically engineered.

Yakin, a student at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla on the Xicotepec campus, is studying veterinary and animal husbandry. He began his experimentation by breeding two unique rabbit types together. The Flemish Giant rabbit and other, longer-eared bunnies that Yakin happened to notice. As a result, his monster-bunny was born.

According to Yakin, his experimental bunnies grow up to 22 pounds  Flemish Giant, while the average Flemish giant weighs 15 pounds. But make no mistake, Yakin’s bunny experiment was no accident. “It takes an average of 3 to 4 years to reproduce this giant species,” he told Sintesis.

Yakin’s ultimate goal is to breed a rabbit that can grow up to 30 pounds. “I am currently studying genetics to see how to grow this breed of giant rabbits more,” he said.

Yakin, who has had a soft spot for rabbits since he was a child (pun intended), now cares for a whopping fifty giant rabbits out of his parents’ home.

Luckily, his parents are supportive enough of his dream that they support their son (and his bunnies) financially. “I have the financial support and support of my parents to buy food a week for all 50 giant rabbits,” Yakin told Sintesis.

But he also admitted his project has a long way to go. “So far I have not set aside the time or budget that is required to start the project more seriously,” he said.

The only thing that’s preventing Yakin from committing all his time and energy to creating even bigger bunnies is–what else?–money.

Photo via yakinkiro/Instagram

Although he already submitted a proposal to his university to try and expand his research, as of now, he is self-financed. However, Yakin makes a bit of extra cash by selling the giant bunnies to private customers.

His ultimate goal though, is to open up a large, professional farm where he can breed and cross-breed his bunnies to his heart’s content.

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Chloe Zhao Makes Historical Oscar Win By Becoming First WOC And Second Woman To Win Best Director

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Chloe Zhao Makes Historical Oscar Win By Becoming First WOC And Second Woman To Win Best Director

In its 93 years, the Academy Awards has only ever recognized only seven women in the category of Best Director. This is despite the fact that women have had a long and lasting presence in film history. This year, two women were honored with nominations at the Oscars this year. Emerald Fennell was nominated for her work on “Promising Young Woman” starring Carey Mulligan.

This year, Chloe Zhao, the director of “Nomadland” became the second woman in history to win the best directing award in nearly 100 years.

She is also the first woman of color to win the award.

Zhao won Best Director at the Oscars and became the first woman of color to win the award.

“When I was growing up in China, my dad and I would play this game. We would memorize classic poems and text and try to finish each other’s sentences,” Zhao explained during her acceptance speech.

She went on to recite a line of poetry in Chinese and then translated it in English, “People at birth are inherently good.”

“I have always found goodness in the people I met,” she said. “This is for anyone who has the faith and courage to hold onto the goodness in themselves.”

In addition, Zhao won directing awards from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and the Directors Guild of America.

Despite the presence of women in the entertainment industry, only seven women have been nominated for awards.

American filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director for her 2009 film The Hurt Locker. Directors Lina Wertmuller (“Seven Beauties”), Jane Campion (“The Piano”), Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”), and Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) are the only other female directors to have ever been nominated for the best-directing award.

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