Things That Matter

It Turns Out Everyone Should Be Obsessed With Teens Portraying Moments In History On Tik Tok

It’s easy to shrug off the rising craze of Tik Tok as another social media trend for a new generation. After all Gen Zers have taken to the app in the same ways that Millenials quickly obsessed over apps like SnapChat and Instagram. But the fun social media video app which has launched millions of videos showing users lip-syncing and performing comedy and talent videos is proving itself as a platform that’s ready to cross generations. Even ones that are hundreds of years apart. 

Recently, a fun trend being shared by Tik Tok teens online has been reiterating moments in history through a more light-hearted lense. From moments in history that explore the Atlantic slave trade to U.S. history teens on TikTok are lighting up the app with facts and lessons.

Colonization Of The Continent of Africa, 1400s

Taking some of the more tragic moments in our world history and simplifying them for their audiences, are generally the usual approach to most of these videos. We love the way this Tik Tok in particular calls out the involvement of Great Britain, France, Spain and Portugal in the colonization of the continent of Africa in the 1400s.

European Age Of Exploration/ Invasion, 1405 – present

This clever Tik Tok teen used music and editing to describe the invasion of the Americas and the destruction of the Indigenous populations in the area. There’s no doubt that the arrival of Europeans in the Americas and continent of Africa brought various diseases including smallpox, the bubonic plague, cholera, chickenpox, and the common cold. While at times the spread of these diseases were by mistake, it wasn’t always accidental. At the Siege of Fort Pitt in 1763,  the British gave items as gifts to Indigenous people that had come from a smallpox infirmary in hopes of spreading the diseases to tribes.

Henry VIII Has His Marriage T Catherine of Aragon Annulled In Favor of Anne Boleyn, 1533

This hilarious Tik Tok pretty accurately conveys the drama that went down when the King of England decided he wanted to make his mistress his wife. Spanish princess Catherine of Aragon didn’t see what she had coming when she married her second husband Henry VIII. The young queen. Though she’d been married to the king for 24 years, he had their marriage annulled. 

Reign of Catherine The Great of Russia, 1762-1796

This Tik Tok portraying the life of and reign of Catherine The Great of Russia truly does cut the story down pretty quickly, but we have to acknowledge who fun and sweet it is.

The Boston Tea Party, 1773

https://www.tiktok.com/@jylecrennan/video/6662720347848051973?refer=embed

This hilarious reiteration of the Boston Tea Party of 1773 will make your side split. The infamous moment in U.S. history is accurately captured, though with extreme brevity, in this Tik Tok clip that shares how the British attempted to help the East India Company from its debts by putting taxes on tea sent to the U…

The Boston Tea Party AGAIN because these teens love 1773

It seems the Boston Tea Party actually tends to be kind of a thing in the world of Tik tok. 

Election of U.S president William McKinley, 1896

Ah the election of U.S. President William McKinley. This fun portrayal of his election ends up ultimately being a great reminder of the fact that corruption has effected our elections for decades and its not just Trump.

German Occupation Of Belgium, 1914

It’s pretty hilarious how this Tik tok user was able to take an iconic moment in reality television to use it to portray an actual reality in World History. Of course, the  German occupation of Belgium was much more destructive than it was catty, which this Tik Tok tends to imply.

The Establishment Of The League Of Nations, 1919

We also love how accurately this Tik Tok user portrays a defining moment in U.S. allyship and support. 

Attack On Pearl Harbor, 1941

And of course, this moment perfectly portrays how a massive flub affected the way in which the U.S. entered World War II.

An Ancient Mayan Book That Was Discovered By Archeologist Is Being Called The Oldest Book In The Americas

Culture

An Ancient Mayan Book That Was Discovered By Archeologist Is Being Called The Oldest Book In The Americas

hyperallergic / Instagram

Something pretty exciting is happening in Mexico. Yes, the Popocatépetl is erupting again. All of that volcanic activity is ejecting new life into the old world of Aztec and Mayan civilization. As you may recall, archeologists recently discovered a thousand-year-old Mayan palace located 63 miles west Cancún in Yucatán, Mexico. Before that, the  National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) also found hundreds of archaeological artifacts nearby the Yucatán that, as experts put it, contain “invaluable information related to the formation and fall of the ancient City of Water Sorcerers, and who were the founders of this iconic site.” This year a new study confirmed that a gold bar found in 1981 in a Mexico City park was part of the Aztec treasure that was stolen by Hernan Cortes and the Spanish conquistadors 500 years ago. It feels like our ancestors are trying to tell us something. 

After decades of research, experts concluded in 2016 that a book they found years ago, in fact, is a 900-year-old authentic astronomy guide from the Mayan period. The book is called the Grolier Codex, and archaeologists say this is the oldest book found in the Americas.

Credit: hyperallergic / Instagram

One of the reasons the authenticity was always questioned is due to the backstory of how the book was found in the first place. According to ArsTechnica, the Grolier Codex was found by a Mexican collector named Josué Sáenz in 1966. Sáenz said that “a group of unknown men offered to sell the book to him, along with a few other items found “in a dry cave” near the foothills of the Sierra de Chiapas.” 

What made this book even more fascinating, yet troubling, was that Sáenz said the men told him if he took the book, he wouldn’t be able to show it to anyone. Others then told Sáenz that the book was a fake, but did allow archaeologist Michael Coe to show the book in New York. He later would give the book to the Mexican government.

The 10-page book is said to be an insightful guide into astronomy and how the Mayans kept track of the sun and the planets. It was their early forms of calendar-keeping.

Credit: kushkatan / Instagram

ArsTechnica said the book was written during trying times — the late Mayan period. Brown University social scientist Stephen Houston described how each picture in the book offered critical information that Mayans needed for day-to-day duties. 

The images are of “workaday gods, deities who must be invoked for the simplest of life’s needs: sun, death, K’awiil—a lordly patron and personified lightning—even as they carry out the demands of the ‘star’ we call Venus. [The Dresden and Madrid Codices] both elucidate a wide range of Maya gods, but in Grolier, all is stripped down to fundamentals,” Houston said. 

What’s also fascinating about the timing of the book’s confirmation is that Michael Coe, the Yale anthropologist, who decoded the text, died last year at the age of 90.

Credit: kushkatan / Instagram

The New York Times wrote in his obit that Coe was instrumental at deciphering Mayan code and giving the Mayans credit for their work when many wrote off the images as just that. 

In “Breaking the Maya Code” (1992), he theorized that anthropologists had never given the Maya adequate credit for their linguistic advances because of what he called ‘quasi-racism,’ or an ‘unwillingness to grant the brown-skinned Maya a culture as complex as that of Europe, China or the Near East.'”

As we previously noted, a more recent discovery was made just this week. A gold bar that was found in a park in Mexico City in 1981 was finally determined to be an authentic Aztec treasure.

Credit: National Institute of Anthropology and History

It’s quite fascinating to see that just because artifacts are found, doesn’t necessarily mean they can be authenticated by archeologists with a snap of a finger. Their research takes years, sometimes decades. 

The National Institute of Anthropology and History said they used special equipment to research the gold bar including an X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) which is “a proven multi-elemental technique of high sensitivity, non-destructive, non-invasive and extremely fast.” 

With so many recent discoveries, we can only imagine what other types of treasures are still buried underneath the ancient lands of Mexico.

READ: Mexico’s Popocatépetl Volcano Erupted And Now People Think The World Is Coming To An End

For Martin Luther King Day, Let’s Not Forget His Right Arm And Civil Rights Pioneer Coretta Scott King

Fierce

For Martin Luther King Day, Let’s Not Forget His Right Arm And Civil Rights Pioneer Coretta Scott King

ouie.devdesign / Instagram

This year marks the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. To honor the many fearless and historical women who made strides for the rights of women and minorities, People magazine is looking back on them through a new series called #SeeHer Story. The new digital video series airs on PEOPLE.com and @PeopleTV social handles and is headed up by Katie Couric Media. 

This week, the new series has put a spotlight on the life and times of civil rights activist Coretta Scott King in honor of her husband Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. In the new video, the series highlights her work and contribution to the Civil Rights Movement and lifelong activist as a leader in her own right.

In the new series, King is hailed as a fearless leader in the Civil Rights Movement.

King, who had been born in 1927 in Marion, Alabama, has long been celebrated for her work as an author, activist and civil rights leader in the movement to advocate for African-American equality. Later in her life, years after her husband’s assassination, she broadened her fight for quality to include the advocacy of LGBTQ+ rights and the opposition of apartheid. 

Throughout her life, King faced racism but her eyes were opened to it at a young age as girl growing up in the south in the town of Marion, Alabama. As People reports, King was subjected to the physical threat of racism when her family home was destroyed by arsonists.

Education became a defining aspect of Coretta’s life. 

Having been born into a family whose paternal great-matriarch had been a former slave, education proved to be an essential requirement in her family home in her early ears. During a speech at Antioch College, Coretta once quoted her mother as having said, “My children are going to college, even if it means I only have but one dress to put on.” She went onto study political activism at Antioch University and later music at  New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. It was during her time as a student that Coretta met Martin Luther King, Jr., then a theology student. There, the two students bonded over their interest in Ghandi and his practice of nonviolent protests and the two later married in 1953. 

Soon after they wed, they moved to Montgomery and found themselves thrust into the Civil Rights Movement. 

By 1955, King and her husband had taken on leadership positions in the protests that came about after Rosa Parks protest. 

After giving up her dreams to become a classical singer so that she could support her husband, Coretta watched her husband become a full-time pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in 1954.

“We found ourselves in the middle of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Martin was elected leader of the protest movement. As the boycott continued, I had a growing sense that I was involved in something so much greater than myself,” Coretta said in the video created by People. During their fight for equality, King and her husband faced extreme acts of racism and violence. In 1955, just months after the birth of their child, Yolanda, the Kings were targeted when a gunshot went through the front door of their home. In 1956, the family’s  front porch was destroyed by a homemade bomb. At the time  Coretta had been home with her  daughter and a family friend. Two years later, in 1958 King’s husband, Martin, had been stabbed while he’d been signing copies of his book.

Still, the couple would not be deterred. The two stood side by side as her husband continued to lead peaceful protests and give  speeches. King herself led a series of her own demonstrations by conducting concerts.

Then, in 1968, Coretta’s husband was shot and killed. 

After her husband’s death,  King had been left a widow and the single mother of four children. In the years after her husband’s death, King gave speeches advocating for civil rights speaking about her husband’s ideals. Eventually King took up her husband’s torch and broadened her fight to include women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, economic issues, world peace and apartheid.

“The world is in dire need of a spiritual awakening which will make those eternal values of love, justice, mercy and peace meaningful in our time,” Coretta said of her work in the clip by People.

Later in her life, King founded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center and continued to extend her activism and worked to fight for nuclear disarmament. 

During her life and after it, Coretta has been celebrated for her work in keeping her husband’s legacy alive. She fought for the creation of Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, which thanks to King is observed today in all fifty states.