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A Brief History Of Chocolate From The Mayans To The Spanish

Brooke Hurbert

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The Mayans were the first people to make chocolate drinks. Xocolatl, as they called it, was a drink that was made by crushing the cocoa beans. Even though it was different from the chocolate we know today, it was consumed just like we do in modern times.

‘Bitter Water’ of the Mayans

Since the Mayans could not manufacture sugar from sugar cane, they couldn’t enjoy the sweetened drink that we have today. Instead, they mixed the cocoa bean crushes with chili pepper, then adding hot water. It was common for them to pour it from one cup to the other so there would be the formation of foam, which would look like the modern day Starbuck drinks.

The Mayans Associated Chocolate with a Gift from God

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Every Mayan had a belief that chocolate was given to them by gods. Due to this reason, every Mayan was allowed to enjoy the drink regardless of their social class. The drink was consumed every day, but all that changed when the Aztecs conquered them.

Since the growing of cocoa beans was halted after the conquest, it created a shortage which increased its worth. The only people who had the luxury of affording this drink were high priests, the wealthy, and royalty. To show how much Xocolatl was valued, it would be served in golden goblets that were only supposed to be used once.

Chocolate was used as a Medium of Exchange

The Mayans put so much value on chocolate that it was converted in the medium of exchange which is equivalent to the modern day money. However, after the Aztecs conquered the Mayans, they were forced to pay taxes using cocoa beans. Cocoa beans were also closely guarded by the new regime, but that didn’t stop the underground market from thriving.

Chocolate used in Rituals

Since there was a common belief that xocolatl had the power to alter the brain, it was used in rituals by both Aztecs and the Mayans. The Mayans would hold a ritual festival every year to honor their god Ek Chauh for the gift of cocoa. They offered blood sacrifice, cocoa beans, and ritual dancing. The Aztec held their celebration as well which involved sacrificing a noble warrior from the rival tribe to their cocoa god.

The use of Chocolate during Births and Weddings

If you attended a Mayan wedding ceremony, you would be a served with a drink made of crushed cocoa beans and corn gruel. The drink was popular, and it was impossible not to find one at a wedding. The Mayans used clear water, flowers, and cocoa seeds to anoint the newborn. However, this changed when they were converted to Catholics by the Spanish.

Healing Power of Chocolate

The Mayans held strong beliefs that xocolatl had healing powers and would be used to treat different illnesses. The Aztecs would also take the bitter drink before heading for battle, as they believed it would give them extra strength.

The Sweetened Spanish Chocolate

After the Spanish invaded and defeated the Aztecs, they were introduced to the bitter drink but were not willing to adopt it. However, when they took the seeds to Europe, the monks realized that it would taste much better if it had sugar. That’s where the modern sweet chocolate came to existence.

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Brave Babysitter Steps Up, Saves Child From Dangerous Burglar

Brooke Hurbert

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Making the decision to hand your child over to a babysitter can be a hard one. Every parent has that nagging thought that runs through their head, “What if something goes wrong?”. Jonathan Lai and his wife called on Jenna Lee Baker in order to watch their three-year-old son for an afternoon. What seemed like a regular afternoon soon turned into a nightmare situation. Keep on reading to find out how Jenny turned into a modern-day superhero!

Welcome to Irvine

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Jonathan Lai and his family are based out of Irvine, CA. As a tightly-knit family, Irvine has plenty to offer. The metropolitan area is located in Orange County, CA. The area is known for being home to some truly amazing local attractions. In fact, Irvine is considered one of the best cities to live in the entire United States, at least according to Business Insider and WalletHub! Still, that doesn’t mean that tragedy cannot strike!

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40 of the Worlds scariest bridges

Brooke Hurbert

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Everyone has a fear of something and fear of bridges is not less a fear. There are some bridges in the world which are very scary and even dangerous to cross over. These bridges in different parts of the world have set records as the most hazardous and the scariest bridges in the world. For people with fear of bridges; gephyrophobia, these are bridges you definitely want to stay away from but for the fun-loving daring people then this is an adventure you may want to venture into.

The Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado;

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This bridge found in the USA was made in 1929. During the time of its building, it did not have any wind cables which makes it very interesting. It was not until 1979 when wind cables were added to the bridge. It is in the highest suspension point in the United States which is similar to its historic significance, crossing 955 feet high over the Arkansas river. The Royal Gorge Bridge has held record as the tallest bridge up until 2001 when the Liuguanghe Bridge of China surpassed it. It spins 1260 feet over a rocky canyon.

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The Invention of Pinball

Cynthia Brooke

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Pinball is an arcade game where you score points by manipulating balls around on an inclined play field with flippers. The goal is to hit various targets without losing the ball through the drain at the bottom. Most modern pinball machines are themed—they tell a story and players complete objectives to finish the story. Pinball has been around for decades. But where did it come from?

Origins Date to 1871

In 871, the British inventor Montegue Redgrave received a patent for his game, “Improvements in Bagatelle”. Bagatelle was a game that used a table and balls, but Redgrave received the patent in order to make changes to the original game. He added a coiled spring, a plunger, inclined the playing field and made it smaller, and replaced the larger balls with marbles—all of which are features of pinball.

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Mass Production 1930s

It wasn’t until the 1930s that pinball machines appeared in mass. In 1930 and 1931, these games were countertop machines, rather than freestanding with legs as we know them today. Manufacturers began adding legs in 1932.

The first countertop pinball machine was called “Bingo”, and was produced by the Bingo Novelty Company. This was the first pinball machine manufactured by D. Gottlieb & Company. Next, the company released “Baffle Ball”, another countertop mechanical game. In 1935, they released the same game in an electro-mechanical standing version. It even had a payout.

In 1931, another countertop pinball machine was released called “Bally Hoo”. It included optional legs and was the first coin-operated pinball machine in existence. It was developed by Raymond Maloney, the founder of Bally Corporation.

The Ball Report

Origins of the Name

The game was not actually called “pinball” until 1936. The first pinball games did not have flippers, the balls were instead directed by static nails, or pins, which gave the game its name.

Features

One of the most popular pinball machines in history is “Advance”. The tilt mechanism was invented in 1934 because players had been physically lifting the machines to shake the ball around. Tilt fixed this problem.  The tilt mechanism was first used in “Advance” the pinball game made by Harry Williams.

In 1933, battery-operated pinball machines were introduced. They were first made by Harry Williams; by 1934, electric machines showed up which allowed them to offer plenty of extra features, like new sounds and lights. In 1937, the bumpers were added in a game simply called “Bumper” by Bally Hoo. Flippers were then added in 1947, in a game called “Humpty Dumpty”. Flippers were invented by Harry Mabs and incorporated into the D. Gottlieb & Company game. It used six flippers, three per side.

In the 1950s, pinball machines got flashier—they incorporated lights behind a glass scoreboard which helped highlight the scores and added two player options. In 1963, multiple balls were introduced; designed by Steve Kordek and first used in the game, “Beat the Clock”. He is also the one that moved the flippers to the bottom of the game.

Ever Changing Pinball

Pinball has continued to change with the times. Digital scoring was introduced in 1966, and 1975, the first solid-state electronic pinball machine was released. Later, in 1998, pinball machines incorporated video screens, and today, players can play pinball online.  

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