6 States That Get the Least Snow

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

6 States That Get the Least Snow

If you love the sun and warmth, you are probably looking to avoid snow on your vacations at all costs. To secure the best odds of avoiding a chilly snowfall, consider planning a trip to one of the states below. These states receive the least amount of snow each year.

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Georgia

Georgia

Credit: Sean Pavone/ iStock

How much snow Georgia sees depends on what area you visit. Some locations in northern Georgia can see up to as much as three inches of snow each year. If avoiding snow is your goal, you are better off sticking to central and southern Georgia, where less than an inch of snow a year is the norm. The higher snow totals in northern Georgia are due to the Northeastern mountain region.

Mississippi

Mississippi

Credit: Sean Pavone/ Shutterstock

If avoiding snow is your goal, many areas of Mississippi are bound to deliver. The Gulf Coast and southern regions of Mississippi all see an average of half an inch of snow or less each year. Central Mississippi is most likely to get less than an inch of snow, but northern Mississippi can occasionally get up to two inches.

The Gulf Coast of Mississippi is a popular vacation destination. The winter months offer high temperatures in the 60s. Cities throughout the Gulf Coast, such as Biloxi and Gulfport, offer a variety of holiday events throughout the winter months. Are you a country music fan? Consider checking out Martina McBride’s The Joy of Christmas tour that kicks off in Coastal Mississippi each year.

Another great winter event in coastal Mississippi is Mardi Gras. While the event may be more commonly associated with Louisiana, Mardi Gras has a 300-year history on the Gulf Coast. There are numerous Mardi Gras events that take place beginning in January and into February.

Alabama

Alabama

Credit: Sean Pavone/ iStock

The Alabama Gulf Coast and southern Alabama are a great escape from winter flurries. Most cities in these regions average .2 inches or less of snow a year. When it comes to Mother Nature, however, surprises are always possible. Some cities in Alabama have seen record snowfall amounts of over 13 inches.

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Louisiana

Louisiana

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Average snowfall throughout Louisiana is an inch or less, making this a consistently snow-free destination. Winter highs are likely to hover in the mid-60s. In addition to its temperate climate, Louisiana has one impressive draw for winter traveling: Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras has been openly celebrated in New Orleans since the 1730s. The Mardi Gras traditions began in France and then spread to French colonies. It was brought to New Orleans by a French–Canadian explorer in 1702. The traditions and celebrations have slowly grown overtime to become what New Orleanians call the “Greatest Free Show on Earth.”

The Carnival season begins on January 6, or King’s Day, kicking off a long stretch of celebrations and events. The date of Fat Tuesday changes every year and is always the day before Ash Wednesday. Bacchus and Endymion are two of the biggest parades of the season and happen the weekend before Fat Tuesday.

Florida

Florida

Credit: Sean Pavone/ Shutterstock

Summing up the average snowfall in Florida is pretty straightforward: none. In fact, it has only snowed in Florida 16 times in the entire 21st century. The reason snow is rarely seen in Florida is because the temperatures don’t drop low enough. The average high is in the mid-60s. The consistent weather and lack of winter precipitation make Florida a great destination for vacationing. In fact, Florida is the number one destination in the United States for Canadian transplants, and one in four residents in Florida are seniors.

Florida is home to a number of attractions that make it a desirable vacation destination. One of the most well-known is Disney World, and some of the winter months are the least busy at the park. Consider planning a trip in early to mid-December or January to mid-February. If you are looking for something a bit different, consider a visit to the Kennedy Space Center or Everglades National Park.

Hawaii

Hawaii

Credit: Shane Myers Photography/ Shutterstock 

Much like Florida, Hawaii’s average yearly snowfall is non-existent. It also boasts highs in the 80s and lows in the upper 60s. Weather like this should certainly make you consider saying aloha to Hawaii in the winter months. The only place you are likely to see snow in Hawaii is at the top of the state’s three tallest volcanoes.

The hardest decision about a winter trip to Hawaii is likely to be which island to visit. One big draw for Hawaii in the winter is surfing, with many popular competitions taking place along the North Shore in Oahu. Kauai, the Big Island, and Maui also offer great surfing opportunities in the winter months. If you are looking to avoid rain, consider visiting Oahu’s Waikiki Beach, Kihei on Maui, or Kona on the Big Island. These beaches are traditionally the driest during the winter season. No matter which island you choose, it is likely to be a pleasant tropical getaway in the midst of winter.

Georgia kayaker chased by 360-pound gator: ‘I just paddled’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS)

 

Georgia kayaker chased by 360-pound gator: ‘I just paddled’

ABCNews.com
WATCH News headlines today: Aug. 30, 2019

A Georgia kayaker says he could only think of paddling faster after realizing he wasn’t alone in a pond.

Bo Storey told WRDW-TV , “I just paddled and paddled. …” on Monday to get away from a 10-foot, 360 pound (163.29 kilogram) alligator that got as close as 5 feet (1.52 meters) from the back of his kayak.

News outlets report Richmond County deputies received a call from Storey saying he was being chased by the behemoth. Storey was practicing for a bass fishing tournament. Deputies arrived on the scene and wrestled the massive gator with help from hunter Trey Durant and his friend Robby Amerson.

The alligator was clearly not afraid of humans and was deemed a nuisance so it was legally killed by Durant.

7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions

When people think of high-end wine producers, regions such as Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Piedmont are the powerhouses that usually make the list. However, if you want to try something new, without significantly sacrificing on quality, consider sourcing wines from one of these seven up-and-coming wine regions.

Anderson Valley, California, U.S.A.

Credit: Balaraman Arun/Shutterstock

Given its remote location several hours north of San Francisco, the Anderson Valley doesn’t see as many vineyard hoppers as Napa and Sonoma. That doesn’t mean the wines aren’t worth it, though. The cool climate has shown tremendous success with both pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, perfect as well for producing French-style sparkling wines. Today, Anderson Valley produces some of the best sparkling wines in the country.

Rias Baixas, Spain

Credit: Pabkov/Shutterstock

Rias Baixas is located along the Galician coast in Spain. There are a number of small inlets, called rias, where you’ll find nutrient-rich waters. The water plays a big role in making Rias Baixas wine so delicious. One wine variety that has shown significant success is albariño, a white wine with a nice blend of minerality and acidity.

Finger Lakes, New York, U.S.A.

Credit: Albert Pego/Shutterstock

New York is one of the largest wine producers in the country, thanks in part to the Finger Lakes region that is producing some phenomenal cool-climate wines, especially rieslings. There are more than 200 brands of rieslings produced in the Finger Lakes region alone. Impressive for a wine region that only really established itself in the early 1980s.

Kakheti, Georgia

Credit: Ruslan Kalnitsky/Shutterstock

The country of Georgia has been producing wines since at least 6,000 B.C., based on archaeological excavations that uncovered qvevri, a traditional winemaking vessel that allowed ancient winemakers to ferment wine underground. Today, wines produced in this mountainous region of Georgia utilize both traditional and modern techniques. UNESCO has since recognized the importance of the qvevri winemaking tradition, adding it to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

Credit: Areej Khaddaj/Shutterstock

Lebanon is another place where winemaking traditions date back quite a ways. Even in modern times, Lebanese wineries have faced their share of challenges, including Château Musar, which still managed to produce wine throughout the horrific civil war that tore Lebanon apart between 1975 and 1990. When the war ended, there were only around five wineries left in Lebanon. By 2014, that number had jumped to almost 50. While French grapes primarily dominate here, there are some local Lebanese wine grapes like merwah and obaideh present.

Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

Credit: Sherry V Smith/Shutterstock

When most people think about Mexico and drinks, they probably picture tequila, mezcal and beer, not wine. Mexico is bucking the stereotypes and demonstrating that it has areas that are capable of producing award-winning wines as well. The mountainous terrain helps cool the hot summer days, allowing the grapes to flourish.

Texas Hill Country, Texas, U.S.A.

Credit: MaxBaumann/iStock

The hot and dry climate of Texas is not the ideal condition you’d think of for an up-and-coming wine region, but Texas Hill Country is producing some pretty incredible wines, especially big reds. The climate is working well for varietals like tempranillo, syrah and tannat.

3 Places to Visit for an Authentic Southern Experience

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Places to Visit for an Authentic Southern Experience

Just like any other country, the United States is made of distinctive regions that include their own cuisine, dialect, and mannerisms. One of the most well-known areas is the American South. The South is known for its hospitality, tasty food, and unique culture. And if you’re dying for a true Southern experience that captures the region’s diversity, then you need to visit these three places.

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Credit: meunierd / Shutterstock.com

South Carolina is known for many things, but one of the most authentic aspects of its Lowcountry region is that of the Gullah culture. The Gullah (or Geechee) people were a segment of West Africans from present-day nations such as Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia who were brought to the United States and worked as slaves in South Carolina. However, they managed to maintain much of their original culture even during their enslavement and through emancipation. And to this day, their descendants have continued to preserve that culture through their cuisine, language and traditions.

Saint Helena Island is a popular vacation spot for families, but it’s also a prime place to immerse yourself in Gullah culture. Make your first stop at the Penn Center National Historic Landmark. The former school now serves as a museum and historical site offering some of the best preserved African-American historical records and artifacts in the South. After you’ve gotten your fill of history, get a literal taste of Gullah cuisine when you drop by Gullah Grub. Owned and operated by Bill Green, a Gullah descendant, you’ll enjoy a variety of delicious traditional Gullah chicken and seafood dishes.

Natchez, Mississippi

Credit: fdastudillo / iStock

Southern history is a dichotomous one, and Natchez is the perfect example of this reality. Before it was a city, the land was once home to the Natchez Indians until their numbers fell and the nation was absorbed into other nations like the Cherokee and Muskogee. In the 18th and 19th century, the city served as a critical terminus port for traders along the Mississippi River. And although its history is closely intertwined with American slavery and the Civil War, Natchez is also home to several pivotal moments and leaders from the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

Today, the city embraces its diverse history with over 20 different historical sites. You can discover more about the city ranging from Natchez’s Native American roots at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indiansto its involvement in the rise of rock ‘n roll and blues at the Delta Music Museum. After exploring the city’s rich history, you can see it through a local’s eyes by shadowing a local business owner. The tourism site, Visit Natchez, campaign “Natchezians and Natchoozians” encourages a featured local to share his or her favorite haunts and what makes the city of Natchez special in their eyes.

Dahlonega, Georgia

Credit: chadscc / iStock

When most people think of the South, they focus on the Antebellum period of the lower southern states. But Appalachian culture is also a major part of the South and deserves attention as well. Dahlonega, Georgia, is a historic town in the Peach State that was also the very first gold rush town in the nation. Located an hour north of Atlanta, the town is also a popular stop in Georgia’s wine country. This means you have plenty of excuses to drop by and drink in the local culture — pun intended.

And depending on the time of year, there are a variety of festivals that will help you appreciate the town’s picturesque location and backstory. In the fall you can drop in for the Gold Rush Days Festival that celebrates the town’s historic roots or the Dahlonega Trail Fest that highlights outdoor activities centered around their location in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

5 things you never knew about the Civil War

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

5 things you never knew about the Civil War

A study of the history of the United States is incomplete without reference to the Civil War. The Civil War (1861–1865) set American against American. It has been the cause of the greatest number of documented episodes in the history of the United States.

Civil War trivia asserts that the conflict between the United States and 11 Southern States was the deadliest war on American soil. It claimed about 620,000 soldiers’ lives and about 2 percent of the total population of the time. Civil War history, historians, and aficionados have written many books, articles and reenacted battle sagas.

What caused the Civil War?

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This is a question many still debate in the public domain, with several schools of thought asserting their views. However, James McPherson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, provides a more explicit narrative of what caused the war. According to him, “The Civil War started due to uncompromising differences between the Northern States, mainly the free and slave states over the power of the national government to disallow slavery in the territories that had not yet become states.”

In the 1860 election, Abraham Lincoln ran on a pledge to block the institution of slavery in the territories. In retaliation, a Confederate States of America was created by seven Deep South states that separated from the Union. During the Lincoln Administration, the Confederate secession from the Union was invalidated, and the legality was never fully established. They feared that it would discredit democracy by creating a dangerous example that would lead to the dissolution of the United States into individual countries.

What were the bloodiest battles of the Civil War?

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The Battle of Gettysburg

  • Location: Pennsylvania
  • Casualties figure: 51,112 (U.S. 23,049/C.S. 28,063)
  • Date: July 1-3, 1863

The Battle of Chickamauga

  • Location: North Georgia
  • Casualties figure: 34,624 (U.S. 16,170/C.S. 18,454)
  • Date: September 19-20, 1863

The Battle of Chancellorsville

  • Location: Virginia
  • Casualties figure: 30,099 (U.S. 17,278/C.S. 12,821)
  • Date: May 1-4, 1863

The Battle of Spotsylvania

  • Location: Virginia
  • Casualties figure: 27,399 (U.S. 18,399/C.S. 9,000)
  • Date: May 8-19, 1864

The Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg)

  • Location: Maryland
  • Casualties figure: 26,134 (U.S. 12,410/C.S. 13,724)
  • Date: September 17, 1862

The Battle of the Wilderness

  • Location: Virginia
  • Casualties figure: 25,416 (U.S. 17,666/C.S. 7,750)
  • Date: May 5-7, 1864

The Battle of Second Manasas

  • Location: Virginia
  • Casualties figure: 25,251 (U.S. 16,054/C.S. 9,197)
  • Date: August 29-30, 1862

What caused casualties of the Union Army during a battle?

Credit: Willard / iStock

According to Mark Hughes in The New Civil War Handbook, the causes of casualties of the Union Armies during battles are:

  • Musketry – 50.6%
  • Unknown – 42.1%
  • Cannon – 5.7%
  • Pistol/Buckshot – 1.2%
  • Saber – 0.2 %
  • Bayonet – 0.2%

How many soldiers fought and died in the Civil War?

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The total number of soldiers deployed from both armies of the North and South were 2,128,948 and 1,082,119 respectively. By the end of the war, the total number of soldiers that died from both sides was approximately 620,000. However, a recent study put the figure closer to 850,000.

How much pay did the soldiers receive?

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There are discrepancies in the amounts white and black union soldiers received as salaries until 1864, when Congress rectified it. White Union soldiers collected $13 a month, while their black counterparts got $7 a month. The Confederate Army paid their soldiers $11 a month. It was common that they sometimes went for long stretches with no pay.

The United States has since remained united after the Confederates called for a ceasefire in April 1865. Civil War history reports that the total number of people that both armies lost within those four years remains the second highest in the history of the nation.

10 U.S. States With the Largest Populations

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

10 U.S. States With the Largest Populations

America is home to more than 328 million people, but did you know that more than 53 percent live in just 10 states?

Naturally, these 10 states are home to the country’s biggest urban centers. The most popular states are, for the most part, located along the United States’ borders, giving rise to the term “flyover states” to refer to the more sparsely populated interior states.

The following population estimate numbers were obtained from the most recent count by the U.S. Census, which was completed in 2018.

10. Michigan

Credit: pawel.gaul / iStock

With 9,995,915 residents, Michigan beats out New Jersey by more than 900,000 people to slide into the tenth spot. The auto industry in Detroit has historically been linked to population growth in the Great Lakes State. While that industry has downsized considerably, cheap real estate has recently attracted home-hungry millennials to the state.

9. North Carolina

Credit: traveler1116 / iStock

About 10,383,620 people call the Tarheel State home. There are lots of reasons North Carolina has grown to be such a populous state, including its temperate climate, prestigious universities, and a relatively low cost of living. Perhaps chief among them is the favorable business climate, which has drawn many employers to the state and jobs to boot. Forbes named North Carolina the Best State for Business two years in a row (2017 and 2018).

8. Georgia

Credit: Sean Pavone / iStock

The Peach State is home to 10,519,475 people. Like North Carolina, its population blossomed between 2010 and 2018, growing a robust 8.57 percent. Close to half of the state residents, more than 5.8 million people, live in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metro area. The next biggest metro area, Augusta, is home to 600,000.

7. Ohio

Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

The perennial swing state of Ohio has 11,689,442 million residents. While many of its traditional Rust Belt cities like Cleveland, Dayton, and Akron have seen shrinking populations, the capital city of Columbus has boomed, growing more than 11 percent since 2010.

6. Illinois

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Buoyed by Chicago, the country’s third-most populous city, The Land of Lincoln is home to 12,741,080 people. Of all the states in the top 10, Illinois is the only one that actually shrunk during the last eight years. The state shed 0.71 percent of its population, the equivalent of over 90,000 people.

5. Pennsylvania

Credit: ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

The Quaker State grew at a snail’s pace of 0.82 percent over the last eight years, but it was enough to take the fifth-place spot from Illinois. Pennsylvania is now home to an estimated 12,807,060 people.

4. New York

Credit: FilippoBacci / iStock

From the top of the Adirondacks to the hot dog stands of Coney Island, about 19,542,209 people call the Empire State home. A big chunk of them, about 44 percent of the state’s population, live in close proximity to each other in New York City.

3. Florida

Credit: Mia2you / Shutterstock.com

Florida is the second-fastest growing state on the list, boosting its population by 13.27 percent over the last eight years. That brings the state’s total population to about 21,299,325 people. A steady flood of retiring Baby Boomers has given a bump to the Sunshine State’s growth.

2. Texas

Credit: Art Wager / iStock

Everything is bigger in Texas, including population growth. The Lone Star State is the fastest-growing state in the country, expanding its population at a rate of 14.14 percent since the last census tally and is now home to 28,701,845 million people.

Texas’ growth is powered by its cities. Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas all have a spot in the top 10 most populous cities in the country. Austin is right behind in 11th place. All told, some 6 million Texans live in it four biggest cities.

1. California

Credit: Chones / Shutterstock.com

Apparently, everybody wants to move to California, and for good reason. Not only is the California economy the largest in the nation, but if California were a country, it would have the fifth largest economy in the world.

The Golden State grew more than 6 percent from 2010 to 2018, reaching a population of 39,557,045 people. It is also the third-largest state by area, covering more than 163,000 square miles. That gives California even more room to grow.

Some people, however, think California should be broken up into three smaller states. Activists came close to getting a referendum to break up California on the ballot in 2018. Proponents argued that the proposal would allow all residents to obtain better infrastructure, better education, and lower taxes, according to venture capitalist Tim Draper who sponsored the failed measure. It would also give the people more representation in the U.S. Senate, giving the population within its boundaries six senators instead of just two.

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3 Places to Visit for an Authentic Southern Experience

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Places to Visit for an Authentic Southern Experience

Just like any other country, the United States is made of distinctive regions that include their own cuisine, dialect, and mannerisms. One of the most well-known areas is the American South. The South is known for its hospitality, tasty food, and unique culture. And if you’re dying for a true Southern experience that captures the region’s diversity, then you need to visit these three places.

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Credit: meunierd / Shutterstock.com

South Carolina is known for many things, but one of the most authentic aspects of its Lowcountry region is that of the Gullah culture. The Gullah (or Geechee) people were a segment of West Africans from present-day nations such as Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia who were brought to the United States and worked as slaves in South Carolina. However, they managed to maintain much of their original culture even during their enslavement and through emancipation. And to this day, their descendants have continued to preserve that culture through their cuisine, language and traditions.

Saint Helena Island is a popular vacation spot for families, but it’s also a prime place to immerse yourself in Gullah culture. Make your first stop at the Penn Center National Historic Landmark. The former school now serves as a museum and historical site offering some of the best preserved African-American historical records and artifacts in the South. After you’ve gotten your fill of history, get a literal taste of Gullah cuisine when you drop by Gullah Grub. Owned and operated by Bill Green, a Gullah descendant, you’ll enjoy a variety of delicious traditional Gullah chicken and seafood dishes.

Natchez, Mississippi

Credit: fdastudillo / iStock

Southern history is a dichotomous one, and Natchez is the perfect example of this reality. Before it was a city, the land was once home to the Natchez Indians until their numbers fell and the nation was absorbed into other nations like the Cherokee and Muskogee. In the 18th and 19th century, the city served as a critical terminus port for traders along the Mississippi River. And although its history is closely intertwined with American slavery and the Civil War, Natchez is also home to several pivotal moments and leaders from the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

Today, the city embraces its diverse history with over 20 different historical sites. You can discover more about the city ranging from Natchez’s Native American roots at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indiansto its involvement in the rise of rock ‘n roll and blues at the Delta Music Museum. After exploring the city’s rich history, you can see it through a local’s eyes by shadowing a local business owner. The tourism site, Visit Natchez, campaign “Natchezians and Natchoozians” encourages a featured local to share his or her favorite haunts and what makes the city of Natchez special in their eyes.

Dahlonega, Georgia

Credit: chadscc / iStock

When most people think of the South, they focus on the Antebellum period of the lower southern states. But Appalachian culture is also a major part of the South and deserves attention as well. Dahlonega, Georgia, is a historic town in the Peach State that was also the very first gold rush town in the nation. Located an hour north of Atlanta, the town is also a popular stop in Georgia’s wine country. This means you have plenty of excuses to drop by and drink in the local culture — pun intended.

And depending on the time of year, there are a variety of festivals that will help you appreciate the town’s picturesque location and backstory. In the fall you can drop in for the Gold Rush Days Festival that celebrates the town’s historic roots or the Dahlonega Trail Fest that highlights outdoor activities centered around their location in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions

When people think of high-end wine producers, regions such as Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Piedmont are the powerhouses that usually make the list. However, if you want to try something new, without significantly sacrificing on quality, consider sourcing wines from one of these seven up-and-coming wine regions.

Anderson Valley, California, U.S.A.

Credit: Balaraman Arun/Shutterstock

Given its remote location several hours north of San Francisco, the Anderson Valley doesn’t see as many vineyard hoppers as Napa and Sonoma. That doesn’t mean the wines aren’t worth it, though. The cool climate has shown tremendous success with both pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, perfect as well for producing French-style sparkling wines. Today, Anderson Valley produces some of the best sparkling wines in the country.

Rias Baixas, Spain

Credit: Pabkov/Shutterstock

Rias Baixas is located along the Galician coast in Spain. There are a number of small inlets, called rias, where you’ll find nutrient-rich waters. The water plays a big role in making Rias Baixas wine so delicious. One wine variety that has shown significant success is albariño, a white wine with a nice blend of minerality and acidity.

Finger Lakes, New York, U.S.A.

Credit: Albert Pego/Shutterstock

New York is one of the largest wine producers in the country, thanks in part to the Finger Lakes region that is producing some phenomenal cool-climate wines, especially rieslings. There are more than 200 brands of rieslings produced in the Finger Lakes region alone. Impressive for a wine region that only really established itself in the early 1980s.

Kakheti, Georgia

Credit: Ruslan Kalnitsky/Shutterstock

The country of Georgia has been producing wines since at least 6,000 B.C., based on archaeological excavations that uncovered qvevri, a traditional winemaking vessel that allowed ancient winemakers to ferment wine underground. Today, wines produced in this mountainous region of Georgia utilize both traditional and modern techniques. UNESCO has since recognized the importance of the qvevri winemaking tradition, adding it to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

Credit: Areej Khaddaj/Shutterstock

Lebanon is another place where winemaking traditions date back quite a ways. Even in modern times, Lebanese wineries have faced their share of challenges, including Château Musar, which still managed to produce wine throughout the horrific civil war that tore Lebanon apart between 1975 and 1990. When the war ended, there were only around five wineries left in Lebanon. By 2014, that number had jumped to almost 50. While French grapes primarily dominate here, there are some local Lebanese wine grapes like merwah and obaideh present.

Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

Credit: Sherry V Smith/Shutterstock

When most people think about Mexico and drinks, they probably picture tequila, mezcal and beer, not wine. Mexico is bucking the stereotypes and demonstrating that it has areas that are capable of producing award-winning wines as well. The mountainous terrain helps cool the hot summer days, allowing the grapes to flourish.

Texas Hill Country, Texas, U.S.A.

Credit: MaxBaumann/iStock

The hot and dry climate of Texas is not the ideal condition you’d think of for an up-and-coming wine region, but Texas Hill Country is producing some pretty incredible wines, especially big reds. The climate is working well for varietals like tempranillo, syrah and tannat.

Georgia: Truth, Knowledge, History Of This South West Asian Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK)

 

Georgia

Introduction The region of present-day Georgia contained the ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Kartli-Iberia. The area came under Roman influence in the first centuries A.D. and Christianity became the state religion in the 330s. Domination by Persians, Arabs, and Turks was followed by a Georgian golden age (11th-13th centuries) that was cut short by the Mongol invasion of 1236. Subsequently, the Ottoman and Persian empires competed for influence in the region. Georgia was absorbed into the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Independent for three years (1918-1921) following the Russian revolution, it was forcibly incorporated into the USSR until the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. An attempt by the incumbent Georgian government to manipulate national legislative elections in November 2003 touched off widespread protests that led to the resignation of Eduard SHEVARDNADZE, president since 1995. New elections in early 2004 swept Mikheil SAAKASHVILI into power along with his National Movement party. Progress on market reforms and democratization has been made in the years since independence, but this progress has been complicated by two ethnic conflicts in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These two territories remain outside the control of the central government and are ruled by de facto, unrecognized governments, supported by Russia. Russian-led peacekeeping operations continue in both regions.
History The territory of modern-day Georgia has been continuously inhabited since the early Stone Age. The classic period saw the rise of the early Georgian states of Colchis and Iberia, which laid the foundation of Georgian culture and eventual statehood. The proto-Georgian tribes first appear in written history in the 12th century BC.[14] Archaeological finds and references in ancient sources reveal advancement of early Georgian political and state formations – their urban heritage and advanced metallurgy and goldsmith techniques that date back to the 7th century BC and beyond.[15] In the 4th century BC a unified kingdom of Georgia – an early example of advanced state organization under one king and the hierarchy of aristocracy, was established.[16]

Christianity came to Georgia with its first missionaries and it was declared the state religion as early as AD 337. The conversion to Christianity provided a great stimulus to literature and the arts and helped to unify the country. Early and medieval Christian scholarship, the links with the rest of the Christian world and dynamic exchange with the Islamic world, together with the development of national literature and the political consolidation of the state in the 11th century AD culminated in a true renaissance in the 12-13th centuries AD.[17]

This early Georgian renaissance, which preceded its European analogue by several hundred years, was significant and was characterized by magnificent secular art and culture, the flourishing of a romantic- chivalric tradition, breakthroughs in philosophy, and an array of political innovations in society and state organization, including religious and ethnic tolerance. The Golden age of Georgia left a legacy of great cathedrals, romantic poetry and literature, and the epic poem “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”. This Golden Age was interrupted at its peak by the Mongol Invasion in the 13th century AD Throughout the next six centuries, Georgia was conquered by repeated invasions by Persians and Turks, resulting in the disintegration of the Georgian state into several small kingdoms. Due to this national crisis, in 1783 Georgia signed the Treaty of Georgievsk with the Russian Empire, placing the eastern Georgian kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti under the Russian protectorate. Despite Russia’s commitment to defend Georgia, it rendered no assistance when the Turks invaded in 1785 and again in 1795. This period culminated in the 1801 Russian annexation of remaining Georgian lands and the deposing of the Bagrationi dynasty.

A few decades later, Georgian society produced a modernist nationalistic elite which united Georgian society around the dream of the restoration of their once glorious state. In 1918, this dream was fulfilled and the Democratic Republic of Georgia (1918-1921) was established. This democratic experiment was short-lived, as in 1921 Georgia was occupied by Bolshevik Russia. Georgia was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1922. Georgia gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and, after a period of civil war and severe economic crisis, Georgia was mostly stable by the late 1990s. The bloodless Rose Revolution of 2003 installed a new, pro-Western reformist government that aspired to join NATO and attempted to bring the secessionist territories back under Georgia’s control. These efforts resulted in a deterioration of relations with Russia, in part because of the continued presence of Russian troops. As of 2007, most Russian military forces have been withdrawn, with the last remaining base in Batumi handed over to Georgia in 2007.[18]

Georgia in antiquity

Ancient Georgian Kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia

Two early Georgian kingdoms of late antiquity, known to ancient Greeks and Romans as Iberia (Georgian: იბერია) in the east of the country and Colchis (Georgian: კოლხეთი) in the west, were among the first nations in the region to adopt Christianity (in AD 337, or in AD 319 as recent research suggests.).

In Greek Mythology, Colchis was the location of the Golden Fleece sought by Jason and the Argonauts in Apollonius Rhodius’ epic tale Argonautica. The incorporation of the Golden Fleece into the myth may have derived from the local practice of using fleeces to sift gold dust from rivers. Known to its natives as Egrisi or Lazica, Colchis often saw battles between the rival powers of Persia and the Byzantine Empire, both of which managed to conquer Western Georgia from time to time.

In the last centuries of the pre-Christian era, the area, in the form of the kingdom of Kartli-Iberia, was strongly influenced by Greece to the west and Persia to the east.[19] After the Roman Empire completed its conquest of the Caucasus region in 66 B.C., the kingdom was a Roman client state and ally for nearly 400 years.[19] In A.D. 330, King Marian III’s acceptance of Christianity ultimately tied the kingdom to the neighboring Byzantine Empire, which exerted a strong cultural influence for several centuries.[19]

The early kingdoms disintegrated into various feudal regions by the early Middle Ages. This made it easy for Arabs to conquer Georgia in the 7th century. The rebellious regions were liberated and united into a unified Georgian Kingdom at the beginning of the 11th century. Starting in the 12th century AD, the rule of Georgia extended over a significant part of the Southern Caucasus, including the northeastern parts and almost the entire northern coast of what is now Turkey.

Although Arabs captured the capital city of Tbilisi in A.D. 645, Kartli-Iberia retained considerable independence under local Arab rulers.[19] In A.D. 813, the prince Ashot I also known as Ashot Kurapalat became the first of the Bagrationi family to rule the kingdom: Ashot’s reign began a period of nearly 1,000 years during which the Bagrationi, as the house was known, ruled at least part of what is now the republic.

Western and eastern Georgia were united under Bagrat V (r. 1027-72). In the next century, David IV (called the Builder, r. 1099-1125) initiated the Georgian golden age by driving the Turks from the country and expanding Georgian cultural and political influence southward into Armenia and eastward to the Caspian Sea.[19]

Medieval Georgia

Kingdom of Georgia at peak of its military dominance, 1184-1225

The Georgian Kingdom reached its zenith in the 12th to early 13th centuries. This period has been widely termed as Georgia’s Golden Age or Georgian Renaissance. The revival of the Georgian Kingdom was short-lived however, and the Kingdom was eventually subjugated by the Mongols in 1236. Thereafter, different local rulers fought for their independence from central Georgian rule, until the total disintegration of the Kingdom in the 15th century. Neighbouring kingdoms exploited the situation and from the 16th century, the Persian Empire and the Ottoman Empire subjugated the eastern and western regions of Georgia, respectively.

The rulers of regions which remained partly autonomous organized rebellions on various occasions. Subsequent Persian and Osman invasions further weakened local kingdoms and regions. As a result of wars against neighbouring countries, the population of Georgia was reduced to 250,000 inhabitants at one point.

Within the Russian Empire

In 1783, Russia and the eastern Georgian kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti signed the Treaty of Georgievsk, according to which Kartli-Kakheti received protection by Russia. This, however, did not prevent Tbilisi from being sacked by the Persians in 1795.

On December 22, 1800, Tsar Paul I of Russia, at the alleged request of the Georgian King George XII, signed the proclamation on the incorporation of Georgia (Kartli-Kakheti) within the Russian Empire, which was finalized by a decree on January 8, 1801,[20][21] which was confirmed by Tsar Alexander I on September 12, 1801.[22][23] The Georgian envoy in Saint Petersburg reacted with a note of protest that was presented to the Russian vice-chancellor Prince Kurakin.[24] In May 1801, Russian General Carl Heinrich Knorring dethroned the Georgian heir to the throne David Batonishvili and instituted a government headed by General Ivan Petrovich Lasarev.[25]

The Georgian nobility did not accept the decree until April 1802 when General Knorring compassed the nobility in Tbilisi’s Sioni Cathedral and forced them to take an oath on the Imperial Crown of Russia. Those who disagreed were arrested temporarily.[26]

In the summer of 1805, Russian troops on the Askerani River near Zagam defeated the Persian army and saved Tbilisi from conquest.

Democratic Republic of Georgia, 1918-1921

In 1810, after a brief war,[27] the western Georgian kingdom of Imereti was annexed by Tsar Alexander I of Russia. The last Imeretian king and the last Georgian Bagrationi ruler Solomon II died in exile in 1815. From 1803 to 1878, as a result of numerous Russian wars against Turkey and Iran, several territories were annexed to Georgia. These areas (Batumi, Akhaltsikhe, Poti, and Abkhazia) now represent a large part of the territory of Georgia. The principality of Guria was abolished in 1828, and that of Samegrelo (Mingrelia) in 1857. The region of Svaneti was gradually annexed in 1857–59.

Brief independence period and Soviet era

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia declared independence on May 26, 1918 in the midst of the Russian Civil War. The parliamentary election was won by the Georgian Social-Democratic Party, considered to be a party of Mensheviks, and its leader, Noe Zhordania, became the prime minister. In 1918 a Georgian–Armenian war erupted over parts of Georgian provinces populated mostly by Armenians which ended due to British intervention. In 1918–19 Georgian general Giorgi Mazniashvili led a Georgian attack against the White Army led by Moiseev and Denikin in order to claim the Black Sea coastline from Tuapse to Sochi and Adler for independent Georgia. The country’s independence did not last long, however. Georgia was under British protection from 1918-1920.

In February 1921 Georgia was attacked by the Red Army. Georgian troops lost the battle and the Social-Democrat government fled the country. On February 25, 1921 the Red Army entered the capital Tbilisi and installed a puppet communist government led by Georgian Bolshevik Filipp Makharadze, but the Soviet rule was firmly established only after the 1924 revolt was brutally suppressed. Georgia was incorporated into the Transcaucasian SFSR uniting Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The TFSSR was disaggregated into its component elements in 1936 and Georgia became the Georgian SSR.

The Georgian-born communist radical Ioseb Jughashvili, better known by his nom de guerre Stalin (from the Russian word for steel: сталь) was prominent among the Russian Bolsheviks, who came to power in the Russian Empire after the October Revolution in 1917. Stalin was to rise to the highest position of the Soviet state.

From 1941 to 1945, during World War II, almost 700,000 Georgians fought as Red Army soldiers against Nazi Germany. (A number also fought with the German army). About 350,000 Georgians died in the battlefields of the Eastern Front. Also during this period the Chechen, Ingush, Karachay and the Balkarian peoples from the Northern Caucasus, were deported to Siberia for alleged collaboration with the Nazis. With their respective autonomous republics abolished, the Georgian SSR was briefly granted some of their territory, until 1957.

The Dissidential movement for restoration of Georgian statehood started to gain popularity in the 1960s.[28] Among the Georgian dissidents, two of the most prominent activists were Merab Kostava and Zviad Gamsakhurdia. Dissidents were heavily persecuted by Soviet government and their activities were harshly suppressed. Almost all Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia (the Georgian parliament).

On April 9, 1989, a peaceful demonstration in the Georgian capital Tbilisi ended in a massacre in which several people were killed by Soviet troops. This incident launched an anti-Soviet mass movement, soon shattered, however, by the in-fighting of its different political wings. Before the October 1990 elections to the national assembly, the Umaghlesi Sabcho (Supreme Council) — the first polls in the USSR held on a formal multi-party basis — the political landscape was reshaped again. While the more radical groups boycotted the elections and convened an alternative forum (National Congress), another part of the anticommunist opposition united into the Round Table—Free Georgia (RT-FG) around the former dissidents like Merab Kostava and Zviad Gamsakhurdia. The latter won the elections by a clear margin, with 155 out of 250 parliamentary seats, whereas the ruling Communist Party (CP) received only 64 seats. All other parties failed to get over the 5%-threshold and were thus allotted only some single-member constituency seats.

On April 9, 1991, shortly before the collapse of the USSR, Georgia declared independence. On May 26, 1991, Zviad Gamsakhurdia was elected as a first President of independent Georgia. However, Gamsakhurdia was soon deposed in a bloody coup d’état, from December 22, 1991 to January 6, 1992. The coup was instigated by part of the National Guards and a paramilitary organization called “Mkhedrioni”. The country became embroiled in a bitter civil war which lasted almost until 1995. Eduard Shevardnadze returned to Georgia in 1992 and joined the leaders of the coup — Kitovani and Ioseliani — to head a triumvirate called the “State Council”.

In 1995, Shevardnadze was officially elected as a president of Georgia, and reelected in 2000. At the same time, two regions of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, quickly became embroiled in disputes with local separatists that led to widespread inter-ethnic violence and wars. Supported by Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia achieved and maintained de facto independence from Georgia. More than 250,000 Georgians were ethnically cleansed from Abkhazia by Abkhaz separatists and North Caucasians volunteers, (including Chechens) in 1992-1993. More than 25,000 Georgians were expelled from Tskhinvali as well, and many Ossetian families were forced to abandon their homes in the Borjomi region and move to Russia.

In 2003, Shevardnadze was deposed by the Rose Revolution, after Georgian opposition and international monitors asserted that the November 2 parliamentary elections were marred by fraud.[29] The revolution was led by Mikheil Saakashvili, Zurab Zhvania and Nino Burjanadze, former members and leaders of Shavarnadze’s ruling party. Mikheil Saakashvili was elected as President of Georgia in 2004.

Following the Rose Revolution, a series of reforms was launched to strengthen the country’s military and economic capabilities. The new government’s efforts to reassert the Georgian authority in the southwestern autonomous republic of Ajaria led to a major crisis early in 2004. Success in Ajaria encouraged Saakashvili to intensify his efforts, but without success, in the breakaway South Ossetia.

Geography Location: Southwestern Asia, bordering the Black Sea, between Turkey and Russia
Geographic coordinates: 42 00 N, 43 30 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 69,700 sq km
land: 69,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundaries: total: 1,461 km
border countries: Armenia 164 km, Azerbaijan 322 km, Russia 723 km, Turkey 252 km
Coastline: 310 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: warm and pleasant; Mediterranean-like on Black Sea coast
Terrain: largely mountainous with Great Caucasus Mountains in the north and Lesser Caucasus Mountains in the south; Kolkhet’is Dablobi (Kolkhida Lowland) opens to the Black Sea in the west; Mtkvari River Basin in the east; good soils in river valley flood plains, foothills of Kolkhida Lowland
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Mt’a Shkhara 5,201 m
Natural resources: forests, hydropower, manganese deposits, iron ore, copper, minor coal and oil deposits; coastal climate and soils allow for important tea and citrus growth
Land use: arable land: 11.51%
permanent crops: 3.79%
other: 84.7% (2005)
Irrigated land: 4,690 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 63.3 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 3.61 cu km/yr (20%/21%/59%)
per capita: 808 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: earthquakes
Environment – current issues: air pollution, particularly in Rust’avi; heavy pollution of Mtkvari River and the Black Sea; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil pollution from toxic chemicals
Environment – international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: strategically located east of the Black Sea; Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them
People Population: 4,646,003 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 16.7% (male 413,506/female 364,407)
15-64 years: 66.6% (male 1,489,081/female 1,605,021)
65 years and over: 16.7% (male 311,098/female 462,890) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 38 years
male: 35.5 years
female: 40.4 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.329% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 10.54 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 9.37 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -4.45 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.14 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.135 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.928 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.672 male(s)/female
total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 17.36 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 19.42 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 15.01 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 76.3 years
male: 73 years
female: 80.07 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.42 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 3,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Georgian(s)
adjective: Georgian
Ethnic groups: Georgian 83.8%, Azeri 6.5%, Armenian 5.7%, Russian 1.5%, other 2.5% (2002 census)
Religions: Orthodox Christian 83.9%, Muslim 9.9%, Armenian-Gregorian 3.9%, Catholic 0.8%, other 0.8%, none 0.7% (2002 census)
Languages: Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azeri 6%, other 7%
note: Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (2004 est.)

Air Force Plane Belonging To 156th Air Wing Of Puerto Rico Has Crashed Killing 5

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF YAHOO NEWS)

 

Military cargo plane crashes in Georgia, killing 5

RUSS BYNUM

,

Associated Press
Military cargo plane crashes in Savannah, Georgia
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PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. (AP) — An Air National Guard C-130 cargo plane crashed Wednesday onto a busy highway after taking off from a Georgia airport, killing at least five National Guard members from Puerto Rico, authorities said.

Black smoke rose into the sky from a section of the plane that appeared to have crashed into a median on the road outside Savannah, Georgia. Firefighters later put out the blaze.

Capt. Jeff Bezore, a spokesman for the Georgia Air National Guard’s 165th Air Wing, said the crash killed at least five people. He said he couldn’t say how many people in total were on the plane when it crashed around 11:30 a.m.

Senior Master Sgt. Roger Parsons of the Georgia Air National Guard told reporters the cause of the crash was unknown and authorities were still working to make the crash site safe for investigators.

“Any information about what caused this or any facts about the aircraft will come out in the investigation,” he said.

The plane had just taken off from the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport when it crashed, Parsons said.

The Air Force said the plane belonged to the 156th Air Wing out of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico National Guard Spokesman Maj. Paul Dahlen told The Associated Press that all those aboard were Puerto Ricans who had recently left the U.S. territory for a mission on the U.S. mainland. He said initial information indicated there were five to nine people aboard the plane, which was heading to Arizona. He did not have details on the mission.

“We are saddened by the plane accident that occurred today in Georgia,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said in a tweet. “Our prayers are with the families of the Puerto Rican crew.”

The plane crashed onto state highway Georgia 21, about a mile from the airport, said Gena Bilbo, a spokeswoman for the Effingham County Sherriff’s Office.

“It miraculously did not hit any cars, any homes,” Bilbo said. “This is a very busy roadway.”

The crash caused a big fireball and scattered debris over a large area, Bilbo said.

A photo tweeted by the Savannah Professional Firefighters Association shows the tail end of a plane and a field of flames and black smoke as an ambulance stood nearby.

The only part of the plane that remained intact was the tail section, said Chris Hanks, the assistant public information officer with the Savannah Professional Firefighters Association. The tail section was sitting on the highway and the ground in front of it was black and littered with debris, he said.

Savannah’s Air National Guard base has been heavily involved in hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. In September 2017, it was designated by the Air National Guard as the hub of operations to the island in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the base announced at the time.

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport said on social media that some flights were being affected though the crash happened off its property. The airport advised passengers to check with their airline for updated flight information.

___

Associated Press writers Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Jeff Martin in Atlanta have contributed to this report.

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