Info:Main Page

New World Encyclopedia integrates facts with values.

Written by online collaboration with certified experts.

Did you know?

The village of Lidice was destroyed and its people killed in retribution for the killing of one of Hitler's leaders (read more)

Featured Article: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882) was America's most beloved nineteenth-century poet, rivaling in popularity the contemporary English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson. Influenced by the romantic novelists James Fenimore Cooper and Washington Irving, Longfellow helped to fashion a national literature based on American myths, history, and landscapes in poems such as "The Song of Hiawatha," "Paul Revere's Ride," "The Courtship of Miles Standish," "The Village Blacksmith," and "Evangeline." By the end of his life, Longfellow was among the best known Americans in the world.

With vivid imagery, and rhyming, diction, and meter that made his verse easy to memorize, Longfellow's works penetrated popular culture to an unprecedented degree. His poems were recited in parlors and classrooms and at civic ceremonies, while schoolchildren celebrated his birthday as if it were a national holiday. Some of his lines, such as "Ships that pass in the night," have entered into contemporary English usage and inspired composers such as Franz List, Edward Elgar, Felix Mendelssohn, and Charles Ives. Longfellow also authored the first American translation of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, and was one of the five members of the group known as the Fireside Poets.

Longfellow was influenced by his Unitarian beliefs, his association with New England Transcendentalists, and the Romantic literary movement he encountered in Europe. He believed that the vitality and originality of American literature must depend upon the nation's natural environment and distinct history, as opposed to the long-standing cultural and social traditions that informed European literature.

Popular Article: Agriculture

Farmlands in Hebei province, China.
Agriculture (a term which encompasses farming) is the process of producing food, feed, fiber, fuel, and other goods by the systematic raising of plants and animals. Agricultural products have been a main stay of the human diet for many thousands of years. The earliest known farming has been found to have derived from Southeast Asia almost 10,000 years ago. Prior to the development of plant cultivation, human beings were hunters and gatherers. The knowledge and skill of learning to care for the soil and growth of plants advanced the development of human society, allowing clans and tribes to stay in one location generation after generation. Because of agriculture, cities as well as trade relations between different regions and groups of people developed, further enabling the advancement of human societies and cultures. Agriculture has been an important aspect of economics throughout the centuries prior to and after the Industrial Revolution. Sustainable development of world food supplies impact the future of globalization and the long-term survival of the species, so care must be taken to ensure that agricultural methods remain in harmony with the environment.

Agri is from Latin ager ("a field"), and culture is from Latin cultura, meaning "cultivation" in the strict sense of "tillage of the soil." A literal reading of the English word yields: "tillage of the soil of a field." In modern usage, the word "agriculture" covers all activities essential to food, feed, and fiber production, including all techniques for raising and processing livestock. The term agriculture may also refer to the study of the practice of agriculture, more formally known as agricultural science. The history of agriculture is closely linked to human history, and agricultural developments have been crucial factors in social change, including the specialization of human activity.

Agriculture is by far the most common occupation, employing 42 percent of the world's laborers. However, agricultural production accounts for less than five percent of the gross world product (an aggregate of all gross domestic products).