The best example of Sahelian mud-brick architecture, the great mosque seems like a sandcastle rising from the Niger Inland Delta in Mali.
Originally built in the early days of the Mali Empire, the mosque also connects with the Songhai, Africa's largest and strongest empire, whose collapse came at key moment in world history.
We'll follow the fates of two great kings and see how choices made in the early 1500s echo today. And we'll eat tiguedegana, a peanut tomato stew that is just so freaking delicious.
Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sa’di. Tarikh al-sudan
Davidson, Basil, et al. A History of West Africa to the Nineteenth Century
Dorsey, James Michael. “Mud and infidels: Djenné, Mali” in the San Diego Reader
Dubois, Félix. Notre beau Niger…
French, Howard W. Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War.
Ibn Mukhtar. Tarikh al-fattash
Lonely Planet West Africa
Meredith, Martin. The Fortunes of Africa: A 5000-year History of Wealth, Greed, and Endeavour
Reader, John. Africa: A Biography of the Continent
Wilson, Joe. “In search of Askia Mohammed: The epic of Askia Mohammed as cultural history and Songhay foundational myth”
Photograph by Francesco Bandarin CC 3.0
Officially, this episode is on the amazing glowing algae living in the waters of three of Puerto Rico's bays, most notably Puerto Mosquito on Vieques, one of Puerto Rico's smaller islands. Listener and boriqueño native Roberto Cancel describes swimming in the bay on a dark night, surrounded by glowing blue waters.
But most of the episode is devoted to perhaps the most important event in world history: 1493. Not 1492, but 1493. That's the year when Christopher Columbus returned to the Americas, not as an explorer, but as a conqueror.
We discuss (and really only scratch the surface of) the impact of this second voyage. It's only the beginning, because every episode to come will exist in the new world (pun intended) created by this event.
And we have shrimp mofongo, a boriqueño specialty that blends European, African, and American in a way that exemplifies the new global world.
Bergreen, Laurence. Columbus: the Four Voyages
Diamond, Jared. Germs, Guns, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Fodor’s Puerto Rico
Loewen, James W. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything your American History Textbook Got Wrong
Mann, Charles C. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Mann, Charles C. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created
Photograph by Edgar Torres CC 3.0