Tag Archives: history

Mossel Bay: The Birthplace of Humankind

Mossel Bay

Located on the South African coast, Mossel Bay is believed to be where humans first developed many of the behaviors that differentiated us from other primates: using heat to make tools, harvesting shellfish and seafood, incorporating small blades to make more complex tools, and using dye as a decoration.

Shoreline’s South Africa Study Abroad group visited the bay and saw some of the caves where early humans built these skills.

Cave at Mossel Bay

Today, Mossel Bay continues to attract large groups of advanced primates (a.k.a. people), but this is mostly due to its warm and relatively dry climate and its beautiful Indian ocean beaches. And apparently, one place that you can stay is a train turned hostel. All of my five-year-old-self dreams come true! Sleeping in a train car on the beach! (Apparently my five-year-old self wanted to be some variety of exceedingly lucky hobo.)

Santos Train Hostel

Keep checking back for more from Shoreline’s South Africa Study Abroad group!

Mossel Bay Sunset

AW80D: Skopje, Macedonia

Stone Bridge D

In Skopje, a resident who shall remain anonymous said to Dolphie, there are now more statues than people. The capitol of Macedonia is investing in a reawakened sense of cultural heritage. Dolphie was able to visit many of these new stone and metal citizens.

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This national identity is not without controversy, however. See that statue of a guy on a horse? (You probably can’t tell, but that is 72 feet tall!) That’s Alexander the Great, who, as we all know, is from Macedonia. Except he’s from the historical Greek Kingdom of Macedon, and was born in what is now a town in Northern Greece. So is he Greek or Macedonian?

Actually, for that matter, is Macedonia really Macedonia?

This has been a contentious issue ever since Macedonia declared itself an independent country in 1991. Greece has been going to great lengths to protect what it believes to be its Macedonian heritage, even preventing the United Nations from recognizing Macedonia’s official name, the Republic of Macedonia, and instead labeling the country the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Another suggestion from Athens is that the entire country be called the Republic of Skopje.

The Washington Post got a quote from a Macedonian government official about the disagreement: “The Greeks are sorry that they are called Greece and not Macedonia. What else can I tell you?”

But Alexander the Great isn’t the only famous name that stirs up controversy among Macedonia and its neighbors.

Mother Teresa Plaque

Mother Teresa is also claimed by two countries: Macedonia and Albania. She was born in Skopje (which was then part of the Ottoman Empire), but was ethnically Albanian (there are still many ethnic Albanian citizens of Macedonia) and 24 years later moved to Albania.

These are disputes that no single Dolphin could settle. But there is also history of a less disputable nature in Skopje. People have lived in the area for at least 6,000 years, and the city itself was taken over by the Romans about 2,000 years ago.

Fort Skopje

This is Skopje Fortress. When exactly this incarnation of the fort was built is unknown, but it is at least about 400 years old. The first fort at this site was (probably) built during the reign of Emperor Justinian I (circa 550ish), who is sometimes referred to as Justinian the Great and called by some historians the Last Roman, which is also pretty awesome (and would make a great movie title, too!).

(You can see evidence of the dispute between Macedonia and Greece right here in this Google map! See how it says “Skopje, Macedonia FYROM”?)

After Macedonia, Dolphie only has one stop before returning once again to his native shores. And this time, it’s going to be personal! (You have to imagine that being said in the ominous movie preview guy’s voice.) Meaning, of course, that Dolphie’s last stop is not for business, but for pleasure. Where in the world do you think a dolphin would want to go most? (Hint: it’s in Europe.)

(Two things: 1 – AW80D stands for Around the World in 80 Dolphies, wherein we follow the international adventures of Dolphie, mascot of Shoreline Community College; 2 – Credit where credit’s due, so thanks Wikipedia, Lonely Planet, and The Washington Post, and if you’d like to see where I got my information, just click the links.)

AW80D: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a cultural melange, a place where you can find a church, a synagogue, and a mosque all in one neighborhood. It is also the site of an assassination that changed the course of history.

Almost 101 years ago, on June 28, 1914 (which was both the Archduke’s wedding anniversary and the date of an important historical battle that marked the beginning of the fall of Serbia to the Turks—a sensitive date for Serbian nationalists), the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were touring Sarajevo, part of a territory that had been annexed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to which Ferdinand was the heir.

That day, there were two attempts on his life. In the first, a bomb was tossed into his car. It rolled off without harming the occupants. The second attempt was successful: Gavrilo Princip shot the Archduke and his wife at point blank range. Both were fatally injured and died within the hour.

This assassination sparked a series of events that led to the beginning of World War I. The shot was fired here:

Assassination Spot

(For all those who didn’t know, Dolphie is a serious history buff.)

More recently, Sarajevo was under siege for almost four years during the Bosnian War for Independence (1992-1995). During this time, there was frequent shelling, which resulted in mass death and destruction. Holes in streets caused by mortar shells were filled with red resin to mark the places that people were killed, and these became the Sarajevo Roses:

By Chrisreddy at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons

By Chrisreddy at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], from Wikimedia Commons

Walking the paths of history is hungry work. Luckily, Sarajevo has a savory pastry snack that can satisfy even the hungriest dolphin: Burek.

Burek       People Eating

Burek is a savory phyllo dough pastry stuffed with meat and potatoes. Similar foods can be found anywhere that the Ottoman Empire had influence.

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(Two things: 1 – AW80D stands for Around the World in 80 Dolphies, wherein we follow the international adventures of Dolphie, mascot of Shoreline Community College; 2 – Credit where credit’s due, so thanks Wikipedia and History.com, and if you’d like to see where I got my information, just click the links.)