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Highlight on History: Cinco de mayo

Highlight on History: Cinco de mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a date that commemorates the Battle of Puebla, Mexico of 1862 in which the Mexican troops triumphed over the French army.  To understand this date better it is necessary to understand a little of the history of Mexico.  In 1821 Mexico gained independence from Spain. However, the Mexican government had incurred large debts with France among other […]

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Cultural Corner: Llamas

Cultural Corner: Llamas

The llama is a domesticated animal that has played an important role in South American culture for thousands of years. Pre-Columbian indigenous cultures used their soft wool to make clothing especially in Peru. The clothing worn by the indigenous populations features geometric patterns and beautiful vibrant colors. The clothing also often shows the village people come from. Ponchos, blankets and […]

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Cultural Corner: Chupacabra

Cultural Corner: Chupacabra

This creature was first reported in Puerto Rico in 1995 when eight animals were discovered dead each with three puncture wounds to the chest. The animals were said to have been found with no blood in their bodies. A similar incident happened a few months later, also in Puerto Rico. In the following years similar sightings were reported throughout Latin […]

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Cultural Corner: Alebrijes

Cultural Corner: Alebrijes

Alebrijes are a popular type of Mexican folk art that made out of papier-mâché, wood and harder carton materials that feature mythical creatures. They are very popular in Oaxaca, a region on the West Coast, that has long been known for it’s amazing art scene. This area produces a special type of alebrije made out of the local copal tree, which is said to have […]

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Cultural Corner: Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats of Bolivia

Cultural Corner: Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats of Bolivia

The Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat. It is approximately 10,000 km² or 4000 mi.² in size. It is found in the southwest of Bolivia at 12,000 feet above sea level. Bolivia is a landlocked country located in south America. Bolivia has approximately 11,000,000 people and is a pluralistic society. There are people of Spanish, African and Asian descent as well as the local indigenous and mestizo population. The Salar de Uyuni is one of Bolivia’s most popular tourist destinations.

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Grammar Tips: Spanish Affirmatives and Negatives

Spanish and English differ in that Spanish uses double or even triple negatives and the meaning stays negative. Once any one part of the sentence is in the negative the entire sentence must stay in the negative!

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Biography: El Cid

Biography: El Cid

El Cid was the nickname given to Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, a military leader born in 1043 near Burgos, Spain. El Cid is derived from the Arabic word sayyid meaning sir or lord. Rodrigo was born into a noble family and was raised in the court of King Ferdinand the Great (1015-1065).  As a young man he served the king’s son, Sancho II and ascended to the level of commander when Sancho became king in 1065.  He quickly became famous for his military prowess in particular in several campaigns against the Muslim Kingdoms in southern Spain in the area known as Al-Andaluz, modern day Andalusia.

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Cultural Corner: La Catrina

Cultural Corner: La Catrina

The image of La Catrina can be seen all over Mexico in particular during the festivities of Day of the dead. She takes the form of an elegantly dressed Lady from the turn of the 20thCentury. She wears one of the enormous hats that were in fashion at the time including a large feather but her face is that of a grinning skeleton.

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Cultural Corner: Mexican Flag

Cultural Corner: Mexican Flag

The flag of Mexico was developed in 1821, the year in which Mexico became independent from Spain. The flag has changed several times since 1821, with the most recent design adopted in 1968. From the beginning it has presented three vertical stripes in green, white and red, since these were the colors of the National Liberation Army of Mexico. In addition, there is the symbol of an eagle that appears in the middle in the white stripe.

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Biography: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Biography: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was a German poet and theater director. He wrote many poems, dramas and prose literature. He is known worldwide today. As a child, Goethe lived with his family in Frankfurt and received a very good education. He also studied many languages. Later on he studied law, though he only wanted to write and as such […]

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