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The first Native American group encountered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, were the Island Arawaks (more properly called the Taino) (read more)


Featured Article: Vincent van Gogh

The Starry Night, June 1889 (The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Vincent van Gogh is one of the world's best known and most beloved artists. He is perhaps as widely known for being a madman and cutting off his own earlobe as he is for being a great painter. He spent his youth mainly in Holland. Before he dedicated himself to becoming a painter, he worked in various fields; including art dealing, preaching, and teaching. As a painter Van Gogh was a pioneer of Expressionism. He produced all of his work, some 900 paintings and 1100 drawings, during the last ten years of his life and most of his best-known work was produced in the final two years of his life. His art became his religious calling after various frustrations in trying to follow the traditional path to becoming a clergyman. Following his death, his fame grew slowly, helped by the devoted promotion of his widowed sister-in-law.

A central figure in Vincent van Gogh's life was his brother Theo, an art dealer with the firm of Goupil & Cie, who continually provided financial support. Their lifelong friendship is documented in numerous letters they exchanged from August 1872 onwards, which were published in 1914. Vincent's other relationships, with women especially, were less stable. Vincent never married nor had any children.

Popular Article: Animal

Vulpes vulpes, the red fox
Animals are a major group of organisms, classified as the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Animals are generally considered to be multicellular organisms that are capable of locomotion in response to their environment (motile), are required to ingest or eat and swallow other organisms to gain proper nutrition (heterotropic), contain within each cell genetic material organized as two sets of chromosomes within a membrane-bound nucleus (eukaryotic), develop through a blastula (hollow ball) stage, and integrate muscle tissue, nervous tissue, and collagen into their body. Their body plan becomes fixed as they develop, usually early on in their development as embryos, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on. Animals include mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, spiders, crabs, star fish, sea urchins, snails, sponges, earthworms, and many, many more.

Although scientifically humans are animals, in everyday usage, animal often refers to any member of the animal kingdom that is not a human being, and sometimes excludes insects (although including such arthropods as crabs). The common distinction made between animals and humans likely reflects the special status people accord themselves as the pinnacle of the natural world, and indeed stewards of creation, and the fact that humans also are defined in religious, spiritual, moral, social, and psychological terms. Indeed, many religions consider humans to uniquely have a soul or spirit that remains after death of the physical body.

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