Skip to main content Skip to navigation
History 105 – Matthew Unangst – Fall 2017 History 105

Climate Change

Download PDF

Throughout history we have had issues with tracking climate change because of how long the earth has existed with the how long we’ve been able to track and understand our earth. This also has a lot to do with our advances in science allowing us to understand that climate is supposed to change and goes through patterns of variation such as ice ages, droughts, floods, etc. Another way that we’ve been able to track climate is within the oceans sediments that has shown that the Earth has gone through these short spurts of climate change through history. What we have learned that has played a long term effect has been the sun because of its variations in solar emissions and volcanic eruptions that take place. These factors have all lead to what we and so many animals around the world are dealing with because with such drastic changes in the climate that we can not adapt to fast enough, leads to mass death and conditions that make it difficult to sustain healthy living.

Andrew S. Goudie and David J. Cuff, “Climate Change”, 2005, (01/23/18)

My preliminary geographical focus is areas in Africa that suffer from long droughts which destroy ecosystems and lives of farmers whom only live off of the land and when that is taken from climate they suffer drastically.

Key Terms:

Africa- It is a country that offers so many resources, that I wondered that with the changing in resources how much would they be effected.

Climate Change- This will be my main topic so I wanted to understand it on a scientific level and what truly is causing it.

Research Topic: How does Climate Change effect areas of Africa in which farming, industrial, and animals are present.


Poverty expanding and consuming more and more Africans as climate continues to change the lives of the people.

What the world is doing to help and add to climate change.

QA: When climate change reaches a certain point of no return, what are the options that the people of Africa have to fall back on.

QB: Although many nations do business and profit off of the continent of Africa, what are they doing to ensure that the resources continue to thrive and produce?

Sickle Cell Anemia: The difference between race and genetics

Download PDF


The history of studying genetic diseases is dark, and the methods in which scientists have tracked genetic disorders has come a long way. There have been recent discoveries linking diseases such as Sickle Cell Anemia with a certain gene variant. One of these telling genes was titled “APOLI1”, which was found by researchers to increases the negative effects of sickle cells on the patients kidneys.  While researching these genetic predispositions, scientists must be aware of the history of eugenics.  This pseudoscience was originated to help “clarify” and perfect human genes. This article calls for scientists to “focus on the genes important to whatever puzzle they face” rather than stereotype based on race (Velasquez, 2017).


Velasquez-Manoff, M. “What Doctors Should Ignore”. The New York Times  (2017, Dec 10). Proquest Newstream (2018, Jan 23).

STEP 4:Geographic Focus: Europe, specifically Germany

STEP 5: Eugenics: a psydoscience studying the improvement of the human genome

Epigenetic- Study of genetics not related to DNA sequences

Genome Editing- Genetic Engineering relating to specific DNA placement

Nuremberg Trials-Military trials for WWII war crimes such as sterilization

Nazism- Far right political party in Germany

STEP 6 Global Topics: The study of Genetic Engineering and avoiding Eugenics can relate to

Conflict: Genetic Engineering has its roots in German Eugenics which was founded in the second World War. These created legal conflicts.

Inequality: Genetics is often connected to race. This article is warning against racism in the medical field and stereotyping diagnosis based on the patients race.


QA: If sickle cell anemia is related to this specific genome, what percentage of the African population is it prevalent is?

QB: What other genetic diseases and variants are connected to race, and when in the genetic history did these arise?

Human Trafficking in India

Download PDF

Human trafficking in India is raising, especially in areas of poverty. Many children and more than 2/3 of women in India are being sold, and the rate of children being sold is increasing. These people are involuntarily being sold to participate in prostitution, forced labour, or a form of slavery. Along with this, more than 2/3 of women that were found by police, were in a form of prostitution by human trafficking situations. The act of human trafficking is illegal in india, and although the police are aware of the situation, they have not been able to decrease the situation as much as they would like. There are many laws in India like the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act, and the Bonded Labour Act that forbid human trafficking from being legal, but many people continue to do be involved with it. With human trafficking number raising, police, the government, and other organizations are beginning to realize, and do what they can to bring these number down.


Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan, “we cant curb human trafficking as our hands are tied: Police,” Daily News & Analysis, July 19, 2013, Proquest.


Preliminary Geographic focus: India


Wikipedia words:  Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA), Bonded Labour Abolition Act, Child Labour Act, The Juvenile Justice Act, Indian Penal Code

  1. Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA): An amendment of legislation signed in India in 1956 that abolishes prostitution in India. It also provides protection for women in these events.
  2. Bonded Labour Abolition Act: 1976, Prohibition on the practice of human trafficking and forced labour.
  3. Child Labour Act: 1986, any person below the age of 14, which states it is a criminal offence to employ a child for any work
  4. The Juvenile Justice Act: 2015, the act that says children between the ages 16-18 will not be tried as an adult in court, and a person selling a child will face 5 years in jail and fined 100,000 Indian rupee.
  5. Indian Penal Code: provides a penal code for India, section 299-377 deal with kidnapping, abduction, slavery and forces labour.


Themes: The theme of conflict can be used because it talks about the conflict that police and others trying to help these women and children are facing, when trying to catch the people who are the owners and sellers. The theme of equality can be used, because Indian women and children are being sold without any say in the matter, which goes again the inequality of some people, mainly men and women/children.


QA: There are many laws in place for the abolishment of human trafficking, what different things are the government going to do to make sure the number of women and children involved decrease?

QB: Has equality between men and women/children increased, and will it increase if human trafficking goes down?

Electric car, and Battery

Download PDF

 On 2014, Feb 24th. Tesla Motors’ CEO talk about a huge plant for electric car batteries. This is because Tesla start not satisfied with Lithium battery supply form other company. As he said Panasonic cannot support stable supply till next four month. Follow Tesla’s plan, they will reduce the price of electric batteries as they develop. This also could popularize the clean energy vehicle. Finally, he points out, many people question the battery-making capacity, Tesla’s electric battery plan would slow down this phenomenon.

Chris Woodyard, “Battery up time for Tesla: Electric car maker plans giant battery ‘gigafactory’,” Usa Today, Feb 24, 2014


Preliminary Geographic Focus: Palo Alto.CA

Wikipedia Key Words: Tesla, Inc., Tesla Gigafactory, Electric Car, lithium-ion battery, Green vehicle

Tesla, Inc.: Founded in 2003, company specializes in electric automotive, energy storage, and solar panel manufacturing.

Tesla Gigafactory: Tesla battery factory, which have three factories in Storey County, Buffalo, and Europe.

Electric CarFirst electric cars were produced in the 1880s. Due to 2018, there were over 300,000 units were sold.

lithium-ion battery: A type of rechargeable batteries. Wildly used in people’s life.

Green vehicle: Or Clean vehicle. They produce less harmful impacts to the environment than other cars.

Themes: This is a good topic to talk about environment protection. Also, it could be a topic of vehicle develop. Economic development could be including in this event.


Q1: What make people buy electric car, although it is super expansive. (now)

Q2: Why people do not develop electric car, although we know it would harmful impact to the environment. (before)

Olympic Security

Download PDF

On Friday, February 9th, Pyeongchang will become the most recent host country of the Winter Olympic Games. Amongst those gathering includes athletes from North Korea. Situated just 50 miles south of the greatest restrained border in the world will be gathering to compete for the ultimate athletic titles.  Event participants include people from North Korea.  Heavy tensions will be filling the games as nations meet up against North Korea, for nuclear missile threats have been filling the headlines in recent times.  Leader Kim Jong Un has threatened the nations athletes with the death penalty if they are caught forming any ties with the southern country, or any nation at all.  North Korean officials will be guiding the athletes through the entire Olympic process, even telling them who and who not to talk to.  Amongst the tensions between the North and South, they have agreed to march, unified, under one Korean flag for the Olympic Games.


David Rivers, “REVEALED: Kim Jong-un to send SPIES to Winter Olympics to wield EXECUTION threat,” Daily Star, Jan, 20 2018.


Preliminary Geographic Focus: Munich


Wikipedia Key Words: Munich massacre, Black September, Olympic security, Shmuel Lalkin, Der Spiegel


Munich Massacre: The Munich massacre if the name of the event that took place during the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Black September: This is the Palestinian terrorist group that the attackers claimed to be representing.

Olympic Security: This search term will be used to look at Olympic Security in different circumstances.

Shmuel Lalkin: He is the head of Israel delegation to the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Der Spiegel: The German weekly news magazine that wrote about a tip off hint weeks before the attack in Munich.


Themes: Conflict can be used to describe this topic, considering that multiple people died and it was in a fact a big conflict.  “Our shrinking world” can be used to describe this topic considering that the Olympics are supposed to be a time to bring together the globe and compete in a safe and respectful area, however more and more countries are using it as a time to solve political tensions between each other through violence.


QA: What exactly did the Germans know about this attack before it took place?

QB: How has Olympic security changed and developed over time since the Munich Massacre.


Olympic Games

Download PDF

Aftermath of the Olympics

The 2014 Winter Olympics games, held in Sochi, Russia, were the most extravagant and expensive games in the history of the Olympics; costing Russia just over $51 billion. One year after the Olympics were hosted, The Associated Press reports that many people have dropped billions of dollars’ worth of investments, two of them being Russian oligarchs. Within this same year, the $8.5 billion rail line to the mountain hardly works, a majority of housing complexes begin to crumble, buildings locked up to never be used again, businesses closing and the town inevitably left to be completely abandoned. This is not the first, or surely the last, Olympic host location to have this serious of events to occur. Events like these are making many countries across the world question if hosting large scaled games is still more financially beneficial than destructive.

Bruce Arthur, “Fresh blanket of corruption, empty venues bleak legacy” Toronto Star, February 8, 2015,

Preliminary Geographic Focus: Sochi, Russia. May change to different areas of the world, follows the Olympics.

Search Terms: Olympia*, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, abandoned Olympic venues, Rio Games


Humans and the environment: Countries are now building billion-dollar venues for the Olympics to be held at, and once the games are over, the government just leaves the buildings to rot away. This is leaving unnecessary pollution for many countries.

“Our shrinking world”: The original Olympic games were held in Olympia and spread to different locations throughout Greece. Now, the games are held from every corner of the world with some athlete traveling very far distances.

QA: When did the primary focus of the Olympics begin to transition more into making money, by the country hosting the events, than the actual events themselves?

QB: If countries continue nearly putting themselves into debt to hold the Olympics, will the games become less popular and therefore harder to find a host country?

Final Assignment

Download PDF

Mikayla Scott

The Effects of the Apartheid in South Africa

History 105 Final Project  


The South African apartheid was a tough time for the non whites. Even though the non-whites created about 80% of the population of south africa, segregation was one of the many aspects to the apartheid which made the non whites use designated racial areas. Apartheid can be defined as a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa. An example of apartheid in another country would be the modern state of Israel wanted to keep their country only for Jewish people and not allow any non-Jews to have human rights or citizenship.1

Penny Sparrow is a South African real estate agent who posted a Facebook rant comparing black people to monkeys. The post created a racial divide even though the apartheid system has ended more than two decades ago.2 Penny tried to apologize by saying her comments were not meant to be personal but then when she did a website interview, she compares blacks to monkeys again. A survey conducted for South Africans to see if they believe that racism is still a problem even though the apartheid system is no longer. 66% said they still face racism today. The democratic Alliance Party no longer accept Penny Sparrow due to her racist comments. They let go another member in the past for also being racist.

This article is fairly recent but it still brought back some familiarity of apartheid. Penny Sparrow, a real estate agent in South Africa,  posted a racist post on her facebook that helped create a racial divide. During the time when apartheid was active, there were designated areas for certain races. In the article, there was survey stating that 60% of black south africans still face racism on a daily basis.2 In some ways this article makes me some what believe that the apartheid could come back. There needs to be more than just one race trying to make thing more equal for all.



Dixon, Robyn. “THE WORLD; Racist Rant on Facebook Hits a Nerve; In South Africa, One Woman’s Hateful Post — 21 Years after the End of Apartheid — Is Just Part of a Wave.”

2ProQuest, Los Angeles Times, 5 Jan. 2016,


In 1948, Prime Minister, Daniel F. Malan announced what the new policy of apartheid would entail. Multiple laws were soon enforced after apartheid came into effect. For example, in 1950, The Population Registration Act was put into place.It Led to the creation of a national register in which every person’s race was recorded. A Race Classification Board took the final decision on what a person’s race was in disputed cases.3

The apartheid system divided the country along racial lines and created segregation throughout the country. Contact between the whites and non whites was extremely limited as they lived two different lives away from each other.4 The whites live of life of being in superior of other races. For example, the author of the article “What Life Was Like In South Africa During Apartheid” experienced racism as she watched her mom get denied a bathroom key at a gas station after they paid for gas because the restrooms were for whites only.5 The citizenship of nonwhites was stipped and all non white political representation was abolished.6

As you know, segregation was a main aspect to apartheid. The contact between whites and non-whites was very little. Black South Africans were removed from rural areas so it could be designated to whites.7 No matter how much the non-whites protested to have equality for all races, they would be shut down. Resistance to apartheid grew bigger and bigger until leaders and activist started to get arrested. They were trying to do everything they can to make things right. It was hard for the non whites to stand up for themselves as they were on the bottom of the social class due to their inability to speak proper english. They also had trouble getting employed since most had little to no education.



3Thompsell, Angela. “The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act.” ThoughtCo. (accessed December 7, 2017).

4 Staff. “Apartheid.”, A&E Television Networks, 2010,

5Faul, Michelle. “What Life Was Like In South Africa During Apartheid.” Business Insider. December 09, 2013. Accessed December 07, 2017.

Picture Apartheid Signage, 1953

© Drum Social Histories / Baileys African History Archive / Africa Media Online


My primary source is a newspaper from 1967. Which pertained to all races of South Africa but it may have stood out more to the African South Americans. In this newspaper article, it brought attention to the fact that South African Airlines is racist but hides it by saying that all is welcomed even though that is not the case.8 For example, the author explained that the first thing that blacks would see once they arrived in johannesburg would be a racially designated sign. It’s unknown when this article was written but it was published in 1967. I would like to safely assume that the author is black because in the article he/she says  “We are black americans…”. Since the author is black, then he/she can relate to the racist actions that SAA is making. Some unspoken assumptions i can make from this article is that South African Airlines is either unaware of their racism or they intentionally choose not to address it.

In this display advertisement for South African Airlines, it exposes the truth of their racism. They tried to make it seem very welcoming to all races. Once the plane lands in johannesburg, there would be designated racial areas. There would be little to no contact between the whites and non-whites. SAA was just another organization that tried to blind the people. They would advertise to make everything seem welcoming but it reality it was all the same unequal things that non whites had to go through. Nothing has changed and the airline failed to show that.

Nelson Mandela played a major role in the end of the apartheid in south africa as he was a global advocate for human rights. Mandela was a member of the African National Congress party beginning in the 1940s, he was a leader of both peaceful protests and armed resistance against the white minority’s oppressive regime in a racially divided South Africa.9 Even though he was imprisoned for 27 years, Nelson Mandela still fought for democracy and a free society.10 In 1994, South Africa held its first democratic election where Nelson Mandela was elected the country’s first black president.11


6Mark Byrnes @markbyrnes525 Feed Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture. “Life in Apartheid-Era South Africa.” CityLab. April 17, 2014. Accessed December 07, 2017.

7Dubow, Saul. Racial segregation and the origin of apartheid in South Africa, 1919-36. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1989.

8Display ad. (1969, May 28). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from Staff. “Nelson Mandela.” 2009. Accessed December 07, 2017.


The African National Congress was first named the South African Native National Congress as it’s main goal was the maintenance of voting rights for Colored and black Africans.12 In 1952, the defiance campaign was put into place. In 1960, the ANC was outlawed and had no political say in anything. With Nelson Mandela as their leader, the ANC turned to sabotage to fight against the apartheid. Once F.W. de Klerk became president in 1989, he lifted the executions and ban on the African National Congress.

The united nations denounced apartheid which led to new changes. Post apartheid there was a new constitution written by the public and representatives. It was created so it could eliminate the unequal troubles that were caused during when apartheid was in effect. Non-racialism, non-sexism, and expansion on language are just a few of the positive changes made to the constitution. It allowed for black south africans to take a step forward to a new life of equality. They no longer had to worry about being in their designated area or keeping little contact with the whites.

Even though President F.W. de Kle beat the conservative party, they still refused to negotiate with black african americans.  The problem soon became less about race and more about which political party can take control.  Codesa allowed for the country to be placed under majority rule. The U.S soon helped South Africa to develop democracy. The democracy allowed for the country to achieve political liberalization and economic growth.

It’s been about 24 years since the apartheid has ended but there are still some problems facing south africa. For example, South Africa’s black majority and Indian minority still earn far less than their white counterparts, even after 20 years of African National Congress rule.13 Even though Nelson Mandela tried his hardest to fix the corruption and poverty in South Africa, it still remained.


10Epatko, Larisa. “How Nelson Mandela Survived His Years in Isolated South African Jail.” PBS. July 18, 2013. Accessed December 07, 2017.

11“Nelson Mandela.” September 06, 2017. Accessed December 07, 2017.

12The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “African National Congress (ANC).” Encyclopædia Britannica. June 16, 2017. Accessed December 07, 2017.

Picture © Museum Africa / Africa Media Online


Prejudice is still a major problem in South Africa. Even the legal barriers are lifted, their is still a racial line that exists. In 2012, a survey was conducted where they found out that 43 percent of south africans don’t interact with someone of another ethnicity.13 Most of the time when there is interaction between different ethnic groups, it’ll be on a professional level.

The apartheid left some trust issues between different racial groups. The apartheid was devastating to many of South Africa. Especially to Non white South Africans as they struggled to live a peaceful and equal life.The apartheid finally came to an end with the help of the the activist and other countries. Even though the apartheid is over, South Africa still have many issues to fix before they can become a country of equality.



13Pinzow, Daniel. “The Effects After the End of Apartheid.” Synonym. Accessed December 07, 2017.

North Korean change throughout history

Download PDF

Is the Korean war over?

July 27, 1953 was a day history changed forever. Most people believe that the war ended between South Korea and North Korea; which is false. Till this day the war continues. Some people call this the “cold war” or a “pause”. A border was created to separate the communist country, North Korea, from the democratic country, South Korea. The border is known as the 38th parallel. The article Brennan,Christopher “North Korea fires missiles post ‘fire & fury’.”, discusses the chain of events that has occurred that has shaped the reputation North Korea has today [1]. They use fear as a tactic to gain and have control as a dominant communist country. North Korea fires missiles frequently towards the country of Japan, which eventually leads to more cost out of everyone’s pocket. They spend their funding to build their offensive weapons, meanwhile other countries build defensive weapons to prepare for the worst. It all started from the beginning when Democratic People’s Republic of Korea proclaimed, with Kim Il-sung installed as a leader 1948 [2]. From that point on a new leadership culture was implemented. From 1953 to present day a lot has changed.

North Korea is and has always been a country that did their own thing without considering the effects of the other countries. The way their government works, it doesn’t matter what the people want and how they feel; it only matters what the government, and especially what the leader wants. This is referred to as “Dictatorship.” This kind of leadership lead to the South declaring independence, sparking North Korean invasion and the Korean War in 1950. [3] The effects with that will lead to death of over 250,000 lives (U.S. & South Korea) [4]. After the war was put on pause with a peace agreement, the 38th parallel was created to divide the two feuding countries. Even till this day we have twenty four seven security around the border incase the war breaks out again.

Death of Kim Il-sung lead to a chaos in the future of their country. The next person in line for that position was succeeded by his son Kim Jong-il. Having a bloodline to carry on the legacy that was built. His role for this position was questionable no one was sure what his intentions were. In 1998 North Korea fired its first long-range missile. During the peace agreement over the years North Korea’s missile firing capability increased every year. With that, it caused a striking of more fear, anger and the questioning of the fate of their future. [5] Questioning his leadership, no one knew what kind of leader he would be. It turned out he was exactly the same as his father the founder of the dynasty.

As a result of missile firing so frequently countries nearby are forced to react. For example in the article “UN chief condemns North Korea missile test ahead of UN meeting”supports my claim that each time a missile is fired the South Korea and Japan go in complete defensive mode. They shut down schools, businesses and infrastructures. Living in complete fear knowing that you might not survive this. The effects of this leads to the United States and Allied countries figuring out how to stop them. There is only two things we can either prepare for the outcome of the missile by protecting ourselves like we have been doing or take the offensive action to North Korea and end the tyranny.[6] So for these reasons this is why it’s costing other countries more money for defense systems.

 North Korea Propaganda

In 2011 Kim Jong-il died, his throne was succeeded by his youngest son Kim Jong-Un. It can be seen in this present day that his youngest son has carried on the bureaucratic government system that was installed by Kim Il-sung the founder of this tyranny. The relationship between all of the Kim Jong leaders, they have one thing in common which is, the treatment of their people. [7] Ever since the first leader was installed in 1948, till this day their lifestyles and inhumane treatment of the people are similar. Koh, B.C. In the Journal “Ideology and Political Control in North Korea.” supports the claim on North Korea corrupt political policy and harsh treatment of their own people. The people of North Korea are unaware of the present day world. They lack the knowledge about their history, current events, basic human rights and just everything else outside of the world. The North Korean regime assured to conceal and distort knowledge from their people. If people were to rebel and question the regime they would be taken away and never to be seen. It is believed that they are taken away and forced to work in labor camps or to be killed. [8]


Since the first missile was fired in 1998 the missile capability has increased. For that reason, it created more tension throughout the world. In fear that the war might break out again. In July 2017, Pyongyang test fires a long-range missile into the Sea of Japan, with some experts stating the missile could potentially reach Alaska. [9]  Newly, elected President Honorable Donald J. Trump claimed that if they continue to fire missiles the U.S. would step in and take action. After that statement, North Korea has been stayed quiet fearing that the U.S. might actually strike first. If there were to be a World war III it would be all cyber and nuclear warfare. Why waste ground troops if you can just fire missiles?


  Children in North Korea Starving

Many problems are occurring inside the country of North Korea. One of the biggest problem they have been facing in the past, which still today is famine. It is reported that roughly eighteen million people are not getting enough food. The main reason for that is because the current leader Kim Jong-Un is spending their fundings to build weapons to advance their military. [10] Another factor that plays into the role of famine is Kim Jong-Un “Pleasures.” His passion for building unnecessary things like ski resorts, amusement parks and hotels only to be used by himself and close government officials. All these reasons are why the people of North Korea are starving. All the money spent on building those could have been used to feed the people. The only solution to fix this problem is to implement a positive change by cutting back on buying things that won’t benefit the economy. In the article “NORTH KOREA’S KIM JONG UN IS STARVING HIS PEOPLE TO PAY FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS” it is reported that 10.5 million people, or 41 percent of the total population, are undernourished.” Which is almost less than half of the population.

In comparison, the first two leaders Kim Jong-ll and Kim Jong-il had one thing in common which was someone to carry on the legacy. What is different from the past to present day is, that the current leader Kim Jong-Un doesn’t have any kids or blood relative to carry on the dynasty that was first built in 1948. Not having anything to lose might play into what the future would be like. Who knows he is thinking he might be make a careless decision before he dies. No one knows for sure what his plans are.

Servicepersons of the Ministry of People’s Security met on August 10, 2017 to express full support for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) government statement, in this photo released on August 11, 2017 by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang.


The war between North and South Korea on July 27, 1953 may have ended the war formally, but informally, they are still going at it against each other. And now North Korea is going against other countries, still today. The countries are spending more and more money to defend their own country and to fix the damages that have been caused by the missiles that North Korea has shot at them or around their areas. Everything has technically been settled formally but there are a lot of things that North Korea has been doing informally to the other countries which don’t start wars, but always get so close to starting wars

Then again a question that is asked by many today is “Why don’t we stop them?” It is just one country but there are many factors that play into just starting a war. There will always be two different point of views. People in the U.S. might be up to supporting the war. Meanwhile, others may feel that it isn’t their problem for them to get involved. There is not a right or wrong in this debate, is it worth risking American lives to stop the Kim dynasty from continuing on? In the past, the U.S. and allied countries didn’t want to get involved because North Korea was not impacting other countries with what they did. As time goes on, they are starting to have an affect on other countries with what they do. It’s been 64 years since the country of Korea split into North and South. As well as, families being split up for 64 years. South Korea has been requesting for their people to be able to meet with their family who are in the communist side North Korea. But the North refuse to allow that from happening. In the article “Second Korean family reunion in North” it says that when they are allowed to meet “About 250 people have been allowed to travel from the south for three days of meetings at Mount Kumgang resort.” which people are selected through a lottery based on age. North Korea restricts gatherings often because they want full control and be able to supervise the whole thing. [11]

One of the most important tactic North Korea cherishes and rely on most is their propaganda. They allow visitors to see what North Korea is like but when they do. They show hospitals, schools and expensive things. The whole point of that is to show that they are a powerful country and the people in North Korea are living a good life and their economy is running great. In the article “Kim Jong Un’s bizarre North Korea propaganda” shows images in which supports the claim where North Korea wants everyone to believe that they are a perfect country. [12]

The history and the roots of North Korea is reflected in present day today. Not much has changed throughout time. North Korea’s bureaucratic government system that was installed by Kim Il-sung. His leadership styles and ambitions has made a big impact in the world today. His legacy continues till this day, by blood. It could even continue for centuries more in the future. The country most powerful weapon is “fear.” People fear that one day they could just break off the peace agreement. With a result of that who knows what the world will be like. If there were to be a war, everyone would be affected in some way.  While they continue with reckless acts such as firing missiles and bombs over their boarder’s. It will lead the negative impact in their own economy and have an affect the countries around it. With that, even worse, it could lead to World War III.



[1]  Brennan, Christopher. “North Korea fires missiles post ‘fire & fury’.” August 26, 2017, July 2003

[2] “NorthKorea Profile timeline.” August 17, 2017

[3] “NorthKorea Profile timeline.” August 17, 2017

[4] “Korean War casualties” October 14. 2017

[5]Wayne Snow, “NORTH KOREA: Armed and dangerous: [Home Edition],” The Atlanta Journal July 2003 :

[6] “UN chief condemns NKorea missile test ahead of UN meeting,” St. Louis Post. Feb. 7, 2017

[7] Koh, B.C. “Ideology and Political Control in North Korea.” The Journal of Politics32 (August 1970): 655-74

[8] Kim, Suzy. Everyday life in the North Korean revolution: 1945-1950

[9]  “North Korea Profile timeline.” August 17, 2017

[10]  Silva, Cristina “NORTH KOREA’S KIM JONG UN IS STARVING HIS PEOPLE TO PAY FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS” March 23, 2017 January 5, 2014

[11] Second Korean family reunion in North October 24 2015,

[12] Kim Jong Un’s bizarre North Korea propaganda” December 6, 2017


  1. Picture 1:

2. Picture 2:

3. Picture 3:

Foreign Involvement in the Cuban Economy

Download PDF

Cuba’s foreign relations have always been a dubious predicament. With the political changes occurring throughout Latin America, many countries including Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina, have been drawing economic and political support from Cuba. In 2014 the United States and Cuba began re-establishing diplomatic relations but Raul Castro’s government has been cynical about negotiations. Since then the number of Cuban protestors that have been beaten and jailed has doubled. Many Cubans have been fleeing their economically failing country to Latin America or to the United States seeking amnesty. Cuban hierarchy is still unwilling to normalize relations with the United States, their now most vital line of support and Cuba’s only hope for stabilizing their economy. [1]

The history of Cuba’s economy during the 20th century is a complex recipe with multiple countries hands in the mixing bowl. Fidel Castro’s’ flawed communist government has been the central blame for the decrease in Cuban economic growth, but there are other foreign economic factors that contributed even more so. By following the history of Cuban trade and economic policies it becomes clear that it was the United States and Soviet Union’s foreign involvement in the Cuban economy that caused Cuba’s economic crisis that continues now in the 21st century.

“Truly, sugar is king in Cuba; for, however sugar goes, so goes Cuba.” [2] To understand the collapse of the Cuban economy it is necessary to understand the history of Cuba’s economy before 1959 and the production its most profitable commodity export during the 20th century, sugar. Cuban production of sugar during the 20th century was greatly increased due to the industrialization of production and Cuba’s largest sugar customer to the north, the United States. Cuban sugar exports to the U.S. were regulated by the U.S. Congress under a quota system that guaranteed Cuban sugar a consistent major market for raw sugar. The profitability of sugar production became the focus of Cuba’s labor force and Cuban capital investment with 161 sugar mills in operation in 1946 and 10% of produced sugar being processed in Cuban refineries. [3] This, however, caused deterioration in Cuba’s ability to be self-sufficient making Cuba reliant on foreign imports. [4] Before the end of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, 50% of Cuban sugar and 59% of total Cuban goods were exported to the U.S. and 76% of Cuban imports came from the U.S. [5] This reliance on the United States for trade would be a detriment after the end of the Cuban revolution.

Figure 1. Sugar Cane Field (n.d.)

Cuba had support from the Soviet Union before President Fulgencio Batista was removed from power but it was very minimal. With Fidel Castro as the new leader of the Cuban government, the Soviet Union relations with Cuba greatly increased. Cuba began receiving discounted crude oil from the Soviet Union, they had no means to refine the oil in order to then resale it. In 1960 Castro began by asking U.S. companies to process the oil but no deals but the already wary United States government would not have U.S. companies processing Soviet oil. In response, the Cuban government nationalized the U.S. oil companies in Cuba for refinement of their Soviet crude oil and later took control of a majority of U.S. businesses and capital investments within Cuba [6]. In October of 1960, the United States set a partial trade embargo against Cuban imports. The embargo greatly decreased U.S. exports to Cuba. According to journalist E.W. Kenworthy of the New York Times “In 1958, these American exports amounted to $546,200,00. In 1959, the first year of the Castro Government, they dropped to $436,706,00. Before today’s embargo order, they were expected to be no more than $250,000,000, this year.” [7] This became the first of many actions by the U.S. against the Cuban economy and Castro’s regime.

Figure 2. Cuban Prime Minister, Fidel Castro, arriving at MATS Terminal, Washington D.C. (1959)

After the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and rising tension between the two countries, the U.S. Congress passed the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 prohibiting government aid to Cuba and allowing for a potential total embargo with Cuba. In 1962 a total economic embargo of Cuban goods was enacted with few exceptions but these exceptions were ruled void in the mid-1960. Following the Cuban missile crisis, in 1963 travel directly from the U.S. to Cuba was banned. Eventually, all economic benefits, political ties, immigration and even much of the tourism was dismantled between the United States and Cuba. The effects of the embargo and sanctions against Cuba were felt immediately due to the mass interconnectivity of both countries’ economies. Cuba lost their largest consumer of sugar and other Cuban goods. Much of the equipment used for sugar production was American made and Cuban’s could no longer purchase the necessary replacement parts. Castro’s relationship with the Soviet Union was the only possibility for sustaining the Cuban economy. Once again Cuba would have no other option but to put all trust into the Soviet Union into maintaining the Cuban economy. [8]

Before 1959 there was little to no trade occurring between the Soviet Union and Cuba but that drastically changed when Castro’s new Cuban government took power. With the United States imposing an embargo on Cuban imports, the Soviet Union became Cuba’s new primary sugar customer purchasing over 24 million tons between 1965 and 1970. [9] Castro shifted mass amounts of the labor force and production technology into Cuba’s sugar industry aiming to achieve higher harvest yields because once again Cuba had a guaranteed market for their sugar production. The issue was the mass production of a single cash crop for the entire country was not enough to sustain Cuba’s economy or its food supply and this was not addressed until the Soviet Union intervened and began advising government officials on the future of the Cuban economy. [10]

Besides exporting sugar, Cuba had an agreement with the Soviet Union to resell the provided discounted oil to other countries throughout Central and South America. Cuba became reliant on the Soviet Union to the sustain the country by providing subsidies and shipping over gifts of goods such as food, medicine, weapons, machinery and other Soviet Union produced goods. Through the 60s and 70s Cuba became more and more involved in the Soviet bloc and in 1972 Cuba became a member of COMECON (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance). The Cuban people benefited with Soviet funding for education initiatives for youth up through university. The Soviet Union also funded infrastructure and equipment to expand Cuba’s industrial operations and even provided technical training for Cubans. Every year more and more Soviet funding supported the Cuban economy reaching almost $6 billion dollars in subsidies by the end of the 1980s. [11] Cuba was able to still thrive with the support of the Soviet Union despite the U.S. trade embargo making some Americans argue that the trade embargo was no longer effective. Journalist Jon Nordheimer for the New York Times wrote in his January 3rd, 1979 article that, “Washington has thus far resisted pressure to drop its trade embargo on Cuba, an embargo that today has greater symbolic significance than the practical purpose for which it was intended when first imposed.” [12] Despite the embargo no longer having the same effect at the height of the Soviet subsidization of Cuba’s economy that it did in the early 60s, the Cuban economy would once again feel the effect of the embargo after the fall of the Soviet Union.

The fall of the Berlin Wall symbolized the fall of the Soviet Union and for Cuba a fall of their economy. With the Soviet Union dismantled the Cuban economy lost all of its Soviet subsidies. Cuba’s economy was based on its discounted Soviet oil, Soviet business interests, and sugar production which was no longer profitable with their primary customer gone and the U.S. trade embargo still being sustained. The Cuban government found themselves in a similar situation to when the U.S. first enacted the trade embargoes but this time there was no other country to look towards for support. Similar to Cuba’s economic relations with the U.S. prior to the embargo, Cuba became so economically intertwined and dependent on imports with the Soviet Union that the Cuban economy did not have the resources to be self-sufficient. In the end, it was the people of Cuba that suffered the most and took the biggest hit from the Cuban economic crisis. [13]

Health and in Cuba drastically decreased after 1989. Food supply importation from the Soviet Union decreased and resulted in a 40% drop in the average calorie intake for Cuban citizens. The average life expectancy during the Cold War in Cuba actually increased by 12.2 years but by the end of the 90’s the Cuban mortality rate rose by 13%. The United States inflicted harsher sanctions on medicine and medical supplies being exported to Cuba. Cuba had well trained medical professionals as a result of Castro’s and the Soviet’s education initiative but there was a large shortage of medical supplies. The Cuban government was able to maintain their countries health by promoting disease prevention which was successful in avoiding outbreaks; however, prevention could not help the increase in malnutrition. The collapse of the Soviet Union that caused the collapse of Cuban economy has become a humanitarian crisis. [14]

Havana, Cuba (n.d.)

Cuba’s current economy can be visualized by the scene in Havana, a city tattered and falling apart filled with early Cold War era technology and automobiles. There is hope for Cuba’s economy as relations between the United States and Cuba are becoming positive and beneficial in the last decade. The Cuban government is still wary of future economic relations with the United States because it was, in fact, the U.S. economic interest and involvement that put Cuba into a position of trade dependency that when trade was eliminated Cuba was forced to become dependent on Soviet subsidization. The United States and Soviet Union’s involvement in Cuban economics resulted in Cuba’s continued lack of economic self-sufficiency.  In order to continue the reconstruction of a good neighbor foreign policy, the Cuban embargo must be removed by the United States entirely and Cuba must be willing to accept the terms of a new trade agreement for the sake of their citizens and their economy.

Endnote Citations:

[1] Guillermo Martinez,”Cuba needs economic help, but government is inflexible,” South Florida Sun-Sentinel,17 December 2015, ProQuest.

[2] Donald R. Dyer, “Sugar Regions of Cuba.” Economic Geography, Vol. 32, No. 2 (1956): 177-184. JSTOR.

[3] Dryer, Sugar Regions of Cuba, 178

[4] Julia Sweig, Cuba, What Everyone Needs To Know Third Edition (Oxford University Press 2016)

[5] Sweig, Cuba, 75-76

[6] Sweig, Cuba, 77

[7] W. Kenworthy, “U.S. Puts Embargo on Goods to Cuba; Curbs Ship Deals.” New York Times (New York, NY), Oct 20, 1960. ProQuest.

[8] Sweig, Cuba, 88-89

[9] Sweig, Cuba, 71

[10] Sweig, Cuba, 68

[11] Sweig, Cuba, 70

[12] Jon Nordheimer, “Cuba Arrives at Fork in the Road: To U.S. Or Africa,” New York Times (New York, NY), Jan 03, 1979. JSTOR.

[13] Richard Schechner, “Cuba: Lift the American Embargo Now.” TDR (1988-) 38, no. 2 (1994): 7-9. JSTOR.

[14] Paul K. Drain, and Michele Barry. “Fifty Years of U.S. Embargo: Cuba’s Health Outcomes and Lessons.” Science, New Series, 328, no. 5978 (2010): 572-73, JSTOR.


Figure 1. Sugar Cane Field (n.d.)

Figure 2. Cuban Prime Minister, Fidel Castro, arriving at MATS Terminal, Washington D.C. (1959)

Figure 3. Havana, Cuba (n.d.)

The Cane Toad Invasion of Northern Australia

Download PDF

Rhinella marina, more commonly known as the cane toad, is a highly invasive species of toad that is native to South America but has been introduced to many different islands to control various pests. While it was a success in some places, in Australia the toads quickly became a major problem that remains today. The invasion of the cane toad across Australia beginning in 1935 has had a drastic impact on Australia. The factors that caused this problem began even before the toads were released. This problem is largely due to a lack of research, ignoring complaints from the public, and several of the toad’s natural adaptations.

Figure 1: Grey Backed Beetle

The problem began in early 1900’s when the Grey Backed and Frenchi Beetles began attacking the sugar cane fields in Australia. These beetles are native to Australia, where they naturally feed on the weeping fig tree, but when settlers began cutting down the forests to grow sugar cane the beetles were forced to begin feeding on the sugar cane.1 Farmers did everything they could to control the beetles, from fumigation, to light traps, to picking the beetles off the cane by hand. Despite all of this work the beetles continued to get worse and worse. The Australian Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations was constantly looking for new solutions to the beetles. In 1932 the Bureau decided to send Arthur Bell to the Fourth Congress of the International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists in Puerto Rico. While he was there, Arthur Bell saw a presentation by Raquel Dexter about the use of cane toads to control pests in sugar cane. At this point the cane toad had already been introduced to several places around the world and was generally a success. After the presentation, many people from other countries began making immediate plans to import the toads, but Arthur Bell decided to go back to Australia and think about it for awhile before making a decision.2


Figure 2: Walter Froggatt

Three years later, cane toads were finally in Australia. In 1935, while Arthur was still thinking about the toads, another employee of the Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations, Reg Mungomery had imported 101 cane toads from Hawaii. These toads were kept in captivity and their offspring were later released into the cane fields. The first toads were released in the districts of Mulgrave and Hambledon.3 Since the toads had been so successful on islands in other parts of the world, no one thought it was necessary to do much research on their potential impact in Australia.4 Almost immediately after they began releasing the toads, the bureau began receiving a variety of complaints from the public. These complaints included dogs that had been poisoned by attempting to eat the toads, livestock that got sick after drinking toad infested water, and bees that were being eaten by cane toads.5,6

Reg Mungomery and the rest of the Bureau quickly dismissed all of these concerns as unimportant or imagined, but Walter Froggatt of the New South Wales Naturalist Society was not going to give up. He began writing articles for local newspapers and magazines denouncing the cane toad as a danger and calling for the release of cane toads to be banned. Reg attempted to fight back by publishing a paper about the benefits of cane toads and how progress is almost always met with resistance. Despite his efforts, the Federal Health Department still banned the release of the cane toads in new areas beginning in December of 1935.7, 8

Figure 3: Reg Mungomery

After the Federal Health Department passed the ban, Reg Mungomery began doing everything he could to get it repealed. He began writing papers to get everything Froggatt had said dismissed, and he began doing research to prove that cane toads were not dangerous. By October of 1936, his work had paid off and the ban was lifted. The Bureau began releasing toads again and Reg continued to expect great results, but as time went on they began to lose their optimism. While the cane toads were helping with some garden pests, they had a negligible effect on the cane beetles because the beetles spent relatively little time on the ground, and since the toads could not climb, they could not reach very many of the beetles. In 1940, the Bureau finally admitted that the cane toads had been a complete failure. The invasion of cane toads had begun.

Figure 4: The progress of the invasion from 1940 to 1980

Even after the Bureau had stopped releasing cane toads, they continued to multiply and spread across northern Australia. One of the main reasons cane toads were able to spread so quickly was their extremely high reproductive rate. A single female can lay up 60,000 eggs each year.9

In Australia, these toads also have virtually no predators due to the poison glands on their shoulders. These glands secrete bufotoxins, which can cause multiple symptoms such as nausea, rapid heartbeat, and even death. This poison causes a rapid decline in some of the larger predators whenever the cane toads invade a new territory due to the predators attempting to eat the toads and then being poisoned. Some of the affected predators are larger snakes, goannas, and quolls. After the toads have been in an area for a longer period of time, some of these populations begin to recover through different ways. The snakes often evolve to have smaller heads, because snakes with smaller heads survive due to their inability to swallow a toad large enough to kill them. Researchers have also found that by training captive quolls not to eat the cane toads, the quolls can then survive in the wild and even pass that knowledge on to their offspring.10,11

Another trait that has allowed the cane toads to spread so quickly and so far, is that they will eat almost anything they can swallow. This includes not only a wide variety of insects but also, small rodents, reptiles, and amphibians, including younger cane toads. Cane toads are even able to eat stinging insects such as honey bees without getting stung. Their willingness to eat almost anything has lead to people dropping items such as bottle caps and lit cigarette butts in front of the toads just to watch them eat them.12,13 

As the cane toads spread further and further across the country, the public began to dislike them more and more. Groups dedicated to eradicating the toads began springing up everywhere the toads had invaded. Killing toads became almost like a sport. This hatred is strongest in places that have just been, or are about to be, invaded. In places that have had cane toads for a while, people’s animosity towards the cane toad begins to lessen, they do not generally start to like the toads, but they do learn to put up with them.14 This dislike of cane toads has lead to a variety of attempts to control or eradicate them.

One of the biggest problems researchers have faced when trying to control the cane toads is their high reproductive rate. Even if they kill a large portion of the population, the toads will quickly be replaced.15 Since the government has not yet found an effective method of control, they largely rely on the public to prevent the toads from spreading. One method that has been used to control the spread of cane toads is educating the public in areas that have not been invaded so that they can identify and get rid of any cane toads they find. Another method was cane toad trapping contests in the Northern Territory. The government has also set up inspection stations along the border of the invaded areas, to make sure there are no toads being inadvertently transported. Unfortunately none of these methods have worked to stop the invasion; however, researchers are still working to find new ways of controlling them.

One of these potential methods is releasing sterile male cane toads, similar to how they control mosquitoes with sterile males. Another control method being researched is a cane toad specific virus, but it will likely be a long time before this is ready because researchers must be absolutely certain of all potential impacts the virus could have on native amphibians before they release it. It may also be possible to find a cane toad specific toxin that could be used with baits or trap or even in water where they breed. Researchers have also been testing if changes to roadside vegetation could slow down the spread of cane toads.These are just a few of the many potential control methods for cane toads.16, 17

There have been a variety of factors that allowed the cane toads to invade Australia and continue to spread. These factors include a lack of research, ignoring complaints from the public, the toad’s natural adaptations, and many failed attempts to control their spread. This is all very important because the cane toad was imported as a biological control agent but it went horribly wrong. Since we still import organisms for biological control, we must look at past failures in order to learn from our mistakes and ensure nothing like this ever happens again.


  1. Stephanie Lewis, Cane Toads, An Unnatural History(New York: Double Day, 1989), 4-5.
  2. Lewis, Cane Toads, 7-9.
  3. Lewis, Cane Toads, 13-20.
  4. C.S. “An Ally to Beat the Beetle: Giant Toads Imported for the Cane Fields.” The Queenslander, June 27, 1935, accessed November 11, 2017, Trove.
  5. “Will Giant Cane Toads Menace Beekeeping?” Maryborough Chronicle, April 23, 1947, accessed November 29, 2017, Trove.
  6. Lewis, Cane Toads, 21.
  7. Lewis, Cane Toads, 21-23
  8. “Australia’s Imported Toad Becoming a Pest?” Tweed Daily, January 4, 1936, accessed December 12, 2017, Trove.
  9. Lewis, Cane Toads, 38.
  10. Richard Shine, “The Ecological Impact of Invasive Cane Toads in Australia,” The Quarterly Review of Biology 85 (2010): 263-264, JSTOR.
  11. Reuben Keller, Marc Cadotte, Glenn Sandiford, Invasive Species in a Globalized World (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2015), 27-31.
  12. Lewis, Cane Toads, 34-37.
  13. “Toads Menace Beekeeping”
  14. Keller, Cadotte, and Sandiford, Invasive Species, 31-33.
  15. “Taming the Toad,” Targeted News Service, May 30, 2013, accessed December 12, 2017, Proquest.
  16. “A Review of The Impact and Control of Cane Toads in Australia with Recommendations for Future Research and Management Approaches,” Vertebrate Pests Committee, last modified June 1, 2005,
  17. Gregory P. Brown et al, “Toad on the road: Use of roads as dispersal corridors by cane
    toads (Bufo marinus) at an invasion front in tropical Australia,” Biological Conservation, 133(206): 88-94, Science Direct.


Figure 1: Grey Backed Cane beetle,

Figure 2: Walter Froggatt,

Figure 3: Reg Mungomery,

Figure 4: The progress of the cane toad invasion,