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Great Empires of North America, Part 5: The League of Peace and Power

They created North America’s first  democracy, and played chess with European empires. Meet the Northeast’s unstoppable native confederacy. He was called the Peacemaker – and people would later say he was born of a virgin. Driven to anguish by his people’s ceaseless cycle of warring, kidnapping and torture, he “set his teeth together,” and wandered […]

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Great Empires of North America, Part 4: People of the Pyramid

Their culture, religion and cities welded the American Southeast into a single mighty civilization. Meet the empire builders of medieval Missouri. The Great Sun was dead. As a gray dawn broke over the city’s towering pyramids, a procession of mourning priests and nobles paraded through the courtyard, bearing gifts for their king’s tomb. A cadre […]

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Great Empires of North America, Part 3: Citadels of Ancient Colorado

From cliffside fortresses, they controlled a sprawling trade network — and hoarded wealth beyond dreams. Meet the merchant princes of the ancient Southwest. When we hear terms like “invasion” and “first contact” in American history, we naturally think of European colonialism — and with good reason. The Spanish arrival in New Mexico  devastated indigenous populations, […]

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Great Empires of North America, Part 2: Exodus to Arizona

They raised mighty mud-brick cities, and built a trade empire spanning the Southwest. Meet Arizona’s desert lords. The people had been walking in the desert for many days. When they’d departed from northern Mexico on their great northward migration, they’d been more than a hundred strong – men, women and children, well-practiced at surviving in […]

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Great Empires of North America, Part 1: The Old World

They built astronomical observatories and innovative farming systems — and we don’t even know their names. Meet the first great civilizations of Native American history. Nearly four thousand years ago — as the city of Babylon was first growing into a metropolis and Egypt’s Middle Kingdom was in full swing — a group of hunters […]

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The Most Haunting Scene I Can Imagine

Michelle Stone wrote me a wonderful note in response to my article, “Time’s Orphans Have Names.” Here’s what she said: My fascination with this started when, as a child growing up in Zimbabwe, I used to run and play amongst the ancient stone walls of the magnificent Zimbabwe Ruins. There is nothing more hauntingly beautiful or […]

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