Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Quickie research tool

I can't remember how I originally stumbled across the Library of Congress Federal Research Division Country Studies website but it's a neat little tool for country background. Since it was sponsored by the Department of the Army with the intent "to focus primarily on lesser known areas of the world or regions in which U.S. forces might be deployed", there aren't entries on Canada or Australia, for example (although I would worry if suddenly one shows up!). But if you want a concise history of, say, Bhutan, well there you go. A quick look at a few of the entries would lead me to believe that most of the studies date from 10-15 years ago, so the political/social sections are likely useless, but the geography and history sections should be of some interest. For example, you guys all might already know that
"Bantu peoples apparently moved to Comoros before the fourteenth century, principally from the coast of what is now southern Mozambique; on the island of Nzwani they apparently encountered an earlier group of inhabitants, a Malayo-Indonesian people. A number of chieftains bearing African titles established settlements on Njazidja and Nzwani, and by the fifteenth century they probably had contact with Arab merchants and traders who brought the Islamic faith to the islands."
but I didn't.

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