African-American history

Hi there guys. I would like to share with you some information that might be useful for you to know more about the African-American citizens.

In this link, you would find a really extensive “Black history timeline”

You will get to know how the first African slaves were brought to USA, how all started and how all continued up to almost the present.

There are also some links that takes you to different sections such as Videos (you will find videos on Martin Luther King, Jr, Nelson Mandela, Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin to name a few), Photos (with diverse topics such as African-American Firsts Athletes, Black Comedians and so on), Study Guides (in here you will find background information, activity ideas, and discussion questions about people who were inspirational for the wolrdwide culture) and a game that was really hard for me because I lack the necessary historical information about African-American people.

In summary, this webpage it’s amazingly outstanding for educational purposes!



Claudia Ferradas

Here some information about Claudia Ferradas on the oncoming conference in Argentina

Claudia is an experienced presenter and ELT author who travels the world as a teacher educator. She has run training sessions and participated in conferences in South America, the Caribbean, the USA, Europe and South East Asia.  She holds an MA in Education and Professional Development from the University of East Anglia, UK, and a PhD in English Studies from the University of Nottingham.  In Argentina, where she is based, she is a lecturer at the Instituto de Enseñanza Superior en Lenguas Vivas and the Instituto Superior del Profesorado “Joaquín V. González”, Buenos Aires, and in the MA programme in Literatures in English at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza. In the UK, Claudia is a Visiting Fellow and research supervisor at the School of Languages, Leeds Metropolitan University, and an Associate Trainer with NILE (Norwich Institute for Language Education). She also teaches in the “Máster Oficial en Enseñanza del Inglés como Lengua Extranjera” at the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Spain.

Claudia often works as a consultant, materials designer and facilitator for the British Council and has co-chaired the Oxford Conference on the Teaching of Literature on five occasions. She has also worked as Project Manager for the Penguin Active Readers Teacher Support Programme.


and also a video so we can peek the way she talks and the variety in her vocabulary (which it is extensive, by the way)

The Story of Human Rights

Impresionante video sobre la historia de los derechos humanos.

En inglés y sin subtitulos. (Los tiene pero son “beta”)


Además, mas info recopilada por mi.

What are human rights?

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law , general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.

Universal and inalienable

The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law. This principle, as first emphasized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948, has been reiterated in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions. The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, for example, noted that it is the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems.

UNICEF/ HQ04-0734/Jim HolmesUN Photo/John IsaacUN Photo/John Isaac

All States have ratified at least one, and 80% of States have ratified four or more, of the core human rights treaties, reflecting consent of States which creates legal obligations for them and giving concrete expression to universality. Some fundamental human rights norms enjoy universal protection by customary international law across all boundaries and civilizations.

Human rights are inalienable. They should not be taken away, except in specific situations and according to due process. For example, the right to liberty may be restricted if a person is found guilty of a crime by a court of law.

Interdependent and indivisible

All human rights are indivisible, whether they are civil and political rights, such as the right to life, equality before the law and freedom of expression; economic, social and cultural rights, such as the rights to work, social security and education , or collective rights, such as the rights to development and self-determination, are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. The improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others. Likewise, the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others.

Equal and non-discriminatory

UNICEF photoNon-discrimination is a cross-cutting principle in international human rights law. The principle is present in all the major human rights treaties and provides the central theme of some of international human rights conventions such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The principle applies to everyone in relation to all human rights and freedoms and it prohibits discrimination on the basis of a list of non-exhaustive categories such as sex, race, colour and so on. The principle of non-discrimination is complemented by the principle of equality, as stated in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Both Rights and Obligations

Human rights entail both rights and obligations. States assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfil human rights. The obligation to respect means that States must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights. The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. The obligation to fulfil means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights. At the individual level, while we are entitled our human rights, we should also respect the human rights of others.







Stonehenge is surely Britain’s greatest national icon, symbolizing mystery, power and endurance. Its original purpose is unclear to us, but some have speculated that it was a temple made for the worship of ancient earth deities. It has been called an astronomical observatory for marking significant events on the prehistoric calendar. Others claim that it was a sacred site for the burial of high-ranking citizens from the societies of long ago.

While we can’t say with any degree of certainty what it was for, we can say that it wasn’t constructed for any casual purpose. Only something very important to the ancients would have been worth the effort and investment that it took to construct Stonehenge.

The stones we see today represent Stonehenge in ruin. Many of the original stones have fallen or been removed by previous generations for home construction or road repair. There has been serious damage to some of the smaller bluestones resulting from close visitor contact (prohibited since 1978) and the prehistoric carvings on the larger sarsen stones show signs of significant wear.

Construction of the Henge
In its day, the construction of Stonehenge was an impressive engineering feat, requiring commitment, time and vast amounts of manual labor. In its first phase, Stonehenge was a large earthwork; a bank and ditch arrangement called a henge, constructed approximately 5,000 years ago. It is believed that the ditch was dug with tools made from the antlers of red deer and, possibly, wood. The underlying chalk was loosened with picks and shoveled with the shoulderblades of cattle. It was then loaded into baskets and carried away. Modern experiments have shown that these tools were more than equal to the great task of earth digging and moving.

The Bluestones
About 2,000 BC, the first stone circle (which is now the inner circle), comprised of small bluestones, was set up, but abandoned before completion. The stones used in that first circle are believed to be from the Prescelly Mountains, located roughly 240 miles away, at the southwestern tip of Wales. The bluestones weigh up to 4 tons each and about 80 stones were used, in all. Given the distance they had to travel, this presented quite a transportation problem.

Modern theories speculate that the stones were dragged by roller and sledge from the inland mountains to the headwaters of Milford Haven. There they were loaded onto rafts, barges or boats and sailed along the south coast of Wales, then up the Rivers Avon and Frome to a point near present-day Frome in Somerset. From this point, so the theory goes, the stones were hauled overland, again, to a place near Warminster in Wiltshire, approximately 6 miles away. From there, it’s back into the pool for a slow float down the River Wylye to Salisbury, then up the Salisbury Avon to West Amesbury, leaving only a short 2 mile drag from West Amesbury to the Stonehenge site.

Construction of the Outer Ring
The giant sarsen stones (which form the outer circle), weigh as much as 50 tons each. To transport them from the Marlborough Downs, roughly 20 miles to the north, is a problem of even greater magnitude than that of moving the bluestones. Most of the way, the going is relatively easy, but at the steepest part of the route, at Redhorn Hill, modern work studies estimate that at least 600 men would have been needed just to get each stone past this obstacle.

Once on site, a sarsen stone was prepared to accommodate stone lintels along its top surface. It was then dragged until the end was over the opening of the hole. Great levers were inserted under the stone and it was raised until gravity made it slide into the hole. At this point, the stone stood on about a 30° angle from the ground. Ropes were attached to the top and teams of men pulled from the other side to raise it into the full upright position. It was secured by filling the hole at its base with small, round packing stones. At this point, the lintels were lowered into place and secured vertically by mortice and tenon joints and horizontally by tongue and groove joints. Stonehenge was probably finally completed around 1500 BC.

Who Built Stonehenge?
The question of who built Stonehenge is largely unanswered, even today. The monument’s construction has been attributed to many ancient peoples throughout the years, but the most captivating and enduring attribution has been to the Druids. This erroneous connection was first made around 3 centuries ago by the antiquary, John Aubrey. Julius Caesar and other Roman writers told of a Celtic priesthood who flourished around the time of their first conquest (55 BC). By this time, though, the stones had been standing for 2,000 years, and were, perhaps, already in a ruined condition. Besides, the Druids worshipped in forest temples and had no need for stone structures.

The best guess seems to be that the Stonehenge site was begun by the people of the late Neolithic period (around 3000 BC) and carried forward by people from a new economy which was arising at this time. These “new” people, called Beaker Folk because of their use of pottery drinking vessels, began to use metal implements and to live in a more communal fashion than their ancestors. Some think that they may have been immigrants from the continent, but that contention is not supported by archaeological evidence. It is likely that they were indigenous people doing the same old things in new ways.

As Legend Has It
The legend of King Arthur provides another story of the construction of Stonehenge. It is told by the twelfth century writer, Geoffrey of Monmouth, in his History of the Kings of Britain that Merlin brought the stones to the Salisbury Plain from Ireland. Sometime in the fifth century, there had been a massacre of 300 British noblemen by the treacherous Saxon leader, Hengest. Geoffrey tells us that the high king, Aurelius Ambrosius, wanted to create a fitting memorial to the slain men. Merlin suggested an expedition to Ireland for the purpose of transplanting the Giant’s Ring stone circle to Britain. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, the stones of the Giant’s Ring were originally brought from Africa to Ireland by giants (who else but giants could handle the job?). The stones were located on “Mount Killaraus” and were used as a site for performing rituals and for healing. Led by King Uther and Merlin, the expedition arrived at the spot in Ireland. The Britons, none of whom were giants, apparently, were unsuccessful in their attempts to move the great stones. At this point, Merlin realized that only his magic arts would turn the trick. So, they were dismantled and shipped back to Britain where they were set up (see illus. at right) as they had been before, in a great circle, around the mass grave of the murdered noblemen. The story goes on to tell that Aurelius, Uther and Arthur’s successor, Constantine were also buried there in their time*.

Present Day Stonehenge
Situated in a vast plain, surrounded by hundreds of round barrows, or burial mounds, the Stonehenge site is truly impressive, and all the more so, the closer you approach. It is a place where much human effort was expended for a purpose we can only guess at. Some people see it as a place steeped in magic and mystery, some as a place where their imaginations of the past can be fired and others hold it to be a sacred place. But whatever viewpoint is brought to it and whatever its original purpose was, it should be treated as the ancients treated it, as a place of honor .

The modern age has not been altogether kind to Stonehenge, despite the lip service it pays to the preservation of heritage sites. There is a major highway running no more than 100 yards away from the stones, and a commercial circus has sprung up around it, complete with parking lots, gift shops and ice cream stands. The organization, English Heritage, is committed to righting these wrongs, and in the coming years, we may get to see Stonehenge in the setting for which it was originally created. Despite all its dilapidation and the encroachment of the modern world, Stonehenge, today, is an awe-inspiring sight, and no travel itinerary around Britain should omit it.




Magna Carta

The Magna Carta was signed in June 1215 between the barons of Medieval England and King John. “Magna Carta” is Latin and means “Great Charter“. The Magna Carta was one of the most important documents of Medieval England.

It was signed (by royal seal) between the barons and John at Runnymede near Windsor Castle. The document was a series of written promises between the king and his subjects that he, the king, would govern England and deal with its people according to the customs of feudal law. Magna Carta was an attempt by the barons to stop a king – in this case John – abusing his power with the people of England suffering.

The Magna Carta of 1215

Why would a king – who was meant to be all powerful in his own country – agree to the demands of the barons who were meant to be below him in authority ?

England had for some years owned land in France. The barons had provided the king with both money and men to defend this territory. Traditionally, the king had always consulted the barons before raising taxes (as they had to collect it) and demanding more men for military service (as they had to provide the men). This was all part of the Feudal System.

While kings were militarily successful abroad, relations between the kings and the barons were good. John was not successful in his military campaigns abroad. His constant demands for more money and men angered the barons. By 1204, John had lost his land in northern France. In response to this, John introduced high taxes without asking the barons. This was against feudal law and accepted custom.

John made mistakes in other areas as well. He angered the Roman Catholic Church. The pope, angered by John’s behaviour, banned all church services in England in 1207. Religion, and the fear of Hell, were very important to the people including the barons. The Catholic Church taught the people that they could only get to Heaven if the Catholic Church believed that they were good enough to got there. How could they show their goodness and love of God if the churches were shut ? Even worse for John was the fact that the pope excommunicated him in 1209. This meant that John could never get to Heaven until the pope withdrew the excommunication. Faced with this, John climbed down and accepted the power of the Catholic Church giving them many privileges in 1214.

1214 was a disastrous year for John for another reason. Once again, he suffered military defeat in an attempt to get back his territory in northern France. He returned to London demanding more money from taxes. This time the barons were not willing to listen. They rebelled against his power. The barons captured London. However, they did not defeat John entirely and by the Spring of 1215, both sides were willing to discuss matters. The result was the Magna Carta.

What did the Magna Carta bring in?

All 63 clauses of the document can be found on:

The document can be divided into sections :

The first clauses concern the position of the Catholic Church in England.

Those that follow state that John will be less harsh on the barons.

Many of the clauses concern England’s legal system.

Magna Carta promised laws that were good and fair. It states that everyone shall have access to courts and that costs and money should not be an issue if someone wanted to take a problem to the law courts.

It also states that no freeman will be imprisoned or punished without first going through the proper legal system. In future years the word “freeman” was replaced by “no one” to include everybody.

The last few sections deal with how the Magna Carta would be enforced in England. Twenty five barons were given the responsibility of making sure the king carried out what was stated in the Magna Carta – the document clearly states that they could use force if they felt it was necessary. To give the Magna Carta an impact, the royal seal of King John was put on it to show people that it had his royal support. This is the largest red seal at the bottom of the Magna Carta above. In detail it looked like this :

King John’s royal seal

Mary, Queen of Scots (1542 – 1587)

Queen of Scotland from 1542- 1567 and queen consort of France from 1559 – 1560, Mary’s complicated personal life and political immaturity eventually led to her execution by Elizabeth I.

Mary was born in December 1542 in Linlithgow Palace, the only child of James V of Scotland and his French wife, Mary of Guise. Her father’s death soon after she was born left her queen. She was initially betrothed to Henry VIII’s son, but the Scottish parliament broke the agreement and Henry ordered a series of savage raids into Scotland known as ‘The Rough Wooing’. Mary was sent to France and raised at the court of Henry II. In April 1558, she was married to Francis, Henry’s son. Francis became king in 1559 but died the next year. A widow at 18, Mary returned to Scotland where she faced many challenges. As a Roman Catholic she was regarded with suspicion by her Protestant subjects. She accepted the Protestant-led government and initially ruled with moderation.

In 1565, Mary married her cousin the Earl of Darnley. Their relationship quickly soured, particularly after the murder in March 1566 of Mary’s secretary, David Rizzio, by Darnley and a group of nobles. Darnley and Mary’s son James was born in June 1566, but this did not improve their relationship. In February 1567, there was an explosion at the house where Darnley was staying and he was killed. Three months later, Mary married the Earl of Bothwell, chief suspect in Darnley’s murder.

This turned the Scottish nobility against Mary. Bothwell was exiled and Mary forced to abdicate in July 1567. In 1568, her supporters were defeated in battle and she fled to England seeking refuge from her cousin, Elizabeth I. Mary had a strong claim to the English throne and therefore posed a threat to Elizabeth, who had her imprisoned. Over the next 19 years, she became the focus of numerous plots to assassinate Elizabeth and put Mary on the English throne. The discovery in 1586 of the Babington plot convinced Elizabeth that, while she lived, Mary would always be a danger. Mary was tried and condemned to death in October 1586. Elizabeth prevaricated over signing the death warrant, but eventually relented and Mary was executed on 8 February 1587. Her son James was to succeed Elizabeth in 1603.

The history of Bath

The Legend

The City of Bath is one of the most fascinating cities in the country. First and foremost it is well known for its Roman remains. Hadrian’s Wall in the north of England and the Roman baths in this city are the most outstanding Roman remains in the country. The City of Bath has originated and developed around its hot spring waters, hence its name. It is a city with a remarkable variety of Roman, medieval and Georgian architecture. It also has much in common with the nearby Cotswolds; its architectural gems are of the same golden coloured stone.

The origins of the city are shrouded in mystery and legend. Two of the city’s spas have statues of Bladud, son of Hudibras, the eighth king of the Britons. Legend would have it that it was he who founded the city in 863 BC. According to the legend, after contracting leprosy, he was banished from court and lived as a swineherd in the marshes. One of the pigs also contracted leprosy but was cured after wallowing in the mud near the springs. Prince Bladud did the same and he, too, was cured and returned to court.

When he became king he moved his court to the place of his cure and called it Aquae Sulis, Waters of the Sun. So goes the legend.

The hot springs that have given Bath its name have been rushing to the surface at a constant temperature of 50°C since time immemorial. They were certainly known to the Celts but it was only with the arrival of the Romans that the spas grew in fame and prosperity, attracting high ranking officers in the Roman army from all over Europe.

The town was firmly established in the first two decades of the Roman invasion of AD 43 and it was the Romans who gave the name to the original town: Aquae Sulis and it was they who built the temple which incorporated in its name (“Sul Minerva”) the religious beliefs of Romans and Celts alike. One important archaeological find was the head of Sul, the Celtic sun god.

Around this health resort the Romans built a temple and a forum and the city began to expand around these focal points and was later circumscribed by the building of the town walls.

When the Roman Empire began to collapse and the Roman armies left England, as in the rest of the country, what they had constructed in Bath also fell into decay. The Saxons were, of course, aware of the existence and importance of the town but their limited knowledge and expertise meant that the springs were neglected. They gradually became covered in alluvial mud and hidden from sight for over a thousand years to be rediscovered only towards the end of the 19th century. The town, however, continued to develop: in around 760 King Offa founded an Abbey dedicated to St Peter and in which Edgar was crowned king. This event alone is sufficient proof of the enormous importance of Bath at that time.

The Norman conquest brought to a halt the development of the town and it was almost destroyed during the conflicts between William Rufus and his barons. Another attempt to revive the town, which again proves its importance, was when Rufus invited the Bishop of Bath and Wells to move the episcopal seat to Bath and construction began on the cathedral, which was much larger than the present Abbey. At the same time interest was revived in the spring waters and Bath became recognised as a centre of healing. This brought great prosperity to the town. Bath also benefited from of the wealthy wool trade that characterised the surrounding Cotswolds area in general.

The popularity of the baths, however, was also the cause of their decline. The people that flocked to the waters were poor and could not afford alternative treatment. The Baths deteriorated rapidly and it is reported that they actually became a health hazard rather than a source of cure for illnesses. It was the antiquary John Leland who noted this unfortunate decline. In 1533 he wrote of the Cross Bath that it was “much frequentid of people diseased with lepre, pokkes, scabbes and great aches”. Not a very healthy situation for a health resort!

Further attempts at a revival of the town came with a series of royal visits: Queen Elizabeth I came in 1574 and so did Queen Anne, wife of James I in 1613 and then there were also frequent visits by Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I.

The town was to undergo a further setback in its fortunes during the Civil War when the town was occupied first by Royalists and later by the Parliamentarians. It was at the outbreak of the Civil War that the walls of the town were rebuilt.

The final process in the definitive economic recovery of Bath came with the arrival of the Swansea-born dandy Richard ‘Beau’ Nash, Bath’s most distinguished citizen. When he was appointed Master of Ceremonies, an office whose duty it was to regulate the social life of the town, Bath became the centre of the social life of the nation and was visited by many fashionable people. This new impetus created the need for the construction of numerous buildings of architectural interest to reflect the wealth of the newcomers.

The fashionable life of the town and the development of its architecture went hand in hand. The most prominent architects responsible for the excellent monuments of artistic beauty are the Woods, John Wood a Yorkshire architect, his son, also John, and Ralph Allen. Allen, a successful businessman, bought the Combe Down stone quarries and he and John Wood together in their respective spheres of influence transformed the town. On the death of his father John Wood the younger carried on this partnership.

The role of Bath as social centre of England lasted as long as Nash was alive. After his death the social enthusiasm of the city gradually but inexorably petered out. In recognition of his contribution to the development of the city a statue to Nash was erected in 1752 in the Pump Room. The last house he lived in still stands and is now a restaurant.

It was under the influence of Nash that the the city was transfromed into a fashionable spa. He left his indelible mark on the urban development in Bath in the form of many grandiose buildings of architectural excellence. The most prominent of these are undoubtedly Royal Crescent completed in 1774 by John Wood the younger and the Circus built by both father and son over a period of twenty years.

A number of important figures have had connections with Royal Crescent and Circus: Sir Isaac Pitman lived at No. 12, Royal Crescent and Sheriden eloped with Elizabeth Linley from No. 11. William Pitt lived in what is now Nos. 7 and 8, Gainsborough at No. 17 and David Livingstone at No. 13.