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[Mp4] How horses changed history?

People have been captivated by horses for a long time. They appear more than any other animal in cave paintings dating back 30,000 years.

 

But how did horses make the journey from wild animals to ones humans could hitch themselves to and even ride, determining the fate of civilizations and dramatically altering history?

 

Equids originally evolved in North America. Sometime after 4 million years ago, ancient equid species began trotting across the Bering land bridge. Eventually, they spread through Eurasia and into Africa, diversifying into the lineages that would lead to modern-day horses, donkeys, and zebras.

 

Early humans, including generations of the first people to live in the Americas, hunted wild horses, sometimes fashioning their bones into tools.

 

Then, between 15,000 and 5,000 years ago, likely because of a changing climate, hunting by humans, and competition with bison, horses disappeared from the American archaeological record.

 

But they’d be back eventually.

 

In the meantime, on the other side of the world around 2,000 BCE, something very consequential happened: people on the western Eurasian steppe domesticated horses. By then, people in western Asia had already domesticated many animals and begun using some of them to pull carts. But, because horses were generally faster and more difficult to control, steppe people developed a bridle-and-bit system and chariots with lighter, spoked wheels. Horses were soon integrated into many ancient cultures.

 

In contrast with horse-drawn charioteering, horseback riding appears to have been less common at first. Archaeological evidence suggests that people who did mount horses during this early stage did so without structured saddles or stirrups. This sometimes altered or damaged the skeletons of riders and horses alike.

 

People continued breeding for less aggressive horses with greater endurance and weight-bearing abilities. And they developed techniques and tools for improved control and comfort.

 

After around 1000 BCE, cavalry appeared in combat across much of Asia. Riders of steppe and desert cultures became renowned for their prowess on horseback.

 

Ceremonial horse sacrifice also made its way into the funerary traditions of some cultures. One royal Scythian burial site from around the 9th century BCE contained the remains of approximately 200 horses fitted with riding gear.

 

Officials in ancient China recognized how advantageous horses were for their neighbors and some coveted larger numbers of them for their own empire.

 

Around 100 BCE, the Chinese emperor reportedly ordered a 30,000-man army west that laid siege to a city and had its king killed – all for 3,000 of the so-called “heavenly horses” of Ferghana.

 

Between the 4th and 8th centuries CE, steppe horsemen spread riding technologies like stirrups across cultures. And nomadic groups eventually coalesced into unstoppable forces on horseback.

 

The Mongol Empire rose to power in the 13th century, and raided, traded, and toppled empires over previously unthinkable distances. They developed a horse-backed postal relay system that stretched more than 60,000 kilometers.

 

Their imperial successes relied on the well-being of their horses – and leaders knew it. In 1252, before launching his next military campaigns, Möngke Khan sent officials ahead to prohibit cattle grazing so there’d be plentiful pastureland for their steeds.

 

Horses continued to spread, eventually spurring equestrian empires reaching a south of the Sahara. By the mid-14th century, the Mali Empire was said to have had a cavalry of more than 10,000 that controlled some 1 million square kilometers of West Africa.

 

And by 1500, horses were finally reintroduced to the Americas. They appear to have escaped Spanish control rapidly as Indigenous people from the Pampas to the Great Plains exchanged them via expansive trade networks.

 

Colonization and trade spread horses even further around the globe. And well into the 20th century they were a widespread and essential means of travel and transport.

 

This didn’t come without problems: issues of hygiene and animal welfare emerged, especially in cities.

 

And many human hubs transformed with the introduction of non-living modes of transport, like the automobile.

 

Nevertheless, people have maintained their multifaceted relationships with horses – riding, herding, racing, or admiring them – from the steppes of Mongolia to the prairies of Montana, ever since.

 

Source: TED-Ed

WORD BANK:

WORD BANK:

captivated /ˈkæp.tɪ.veɪ.tɪd/ (adj): mê hoặc

hitch /hɪtʃ/ (v – informal): cưỡi, quá giang

determine sth /dɪˈtɜː.mɪn/ [C1] (v): quyết định cái gì

fate /feɪt/ [B2] (n): số phận

civilization /ˌsɪv.əl.aɪˈzeɪ.ʃən/ [C2] (n): nền văn minh

alter sth /ˈɒl.tər/ [B2] (v): làm thay đổi

evolve /ɪˈvɒlv/ [C1] (v):  tiến hóa

trot /trɒt/ (v): chạy

diversify /daɪˈvɜː.sɪ.faɪ/ (v): đa dạng hóa

lineage /ˈlɪn.i.ɪdʒ/ (n – formal): dòng dõi

bison /ˈbaɪ.sən/ (n): bò rừng bizon

archaeological /ˌɑː.ki.əˈlɒdʒ.ɪ.kəl/ (adj): thuộc về khảo cổ học

consequential /ˌkɒn.sɪˈkwen.ʃəl/ (adj): rất quan trọng

steppe /step/ (n): thảo nguyên

domesticate /dəˈmes.tɪ.keɪt/ (v): thuần hóa

chariot /ˈtʃær.i.ət/ (n): xe ngựa kéo (2 bánh)

spoke /spəʊk/ (n): nan hoa (bánh xe)

integrate into /ˈɪn.tɪ.ɡreɪt/ [C1] (v): hòa nhập vào

charioteer /ˌtʃær.i.əˈtɪər/ (n): người đánh xe ngựa

mount /maʊnt/ [C2] (v): cưỡi (ngựa)

saddle /ˈsæd.əl/ [C2] (n): yên (xe, ngựa)

stirrup /ˈstɪr.əp/ (n): bàn đạp chân

skeleton /ˈskel.ə.tən/ [B2] (n): bộ xương

alike /əˈlaɪk/ [B2] (adv): cũng như con ngựa.

breed /briːd/ [B2] (v): lai tạo

weight-bearing ability /ˈweɪtˌbeə.rɪŋ əˈbɪl.ə.ti/ (n): khả năng chịu trọng tải

cavalry /ˈkæv.əl.ri/ (n): kỵ binh

renowned /rɪˈnɑʊnd/ (adj): nổi tiếng

prowess /ˈpraʊ.es/ (n): năng lực

ceremonial /ˌser.ɪˈməʊ.ni.əl/ [B1] (adj): mang tính nghi lễ

funerary /ˈfjuː.nər.ə.ri/ (adj): tang lễ

remains /rɪˈmeɪnz/ [B2] (n): hài cốt

official /əˈfɪʃ.əl/ [C2] (n): quan chức

covet /ˈkʌv.ɪt/ (v): thèm muốn

emperor /ˈem.pər.ər/ [C1] (n): hoàng đế

reportedly /rɪˈpɔː.tɪd.li/ [C2] (adv): được cho là

lay siege to sth /siːdʒ/ (v): vây hãm cái gì

nomadic /nəʊˈmæd.ɪk/ (adj): du mục

coalesce /kəʊ.əˈles/ (v): hợp nhất

topple /ˈtɒp.əl/ (v): lật đổ

postal /ˈpəʊ.stəl/ [C1] (adj): thuộc về bưu thiếp

relay /ˈriː.leɪ/ (n): đội chuyển tiếp

imperial /ɪmˈpɪə.ri.əl/ (adj): thuộc về đế quốc

cattle /ˈkæt.əl/ [B1] (n): gia súc

graze /ɡreɪz/ (v): chăn thả

pastureland /ˈpɑːs.tʃər lænd/ (n): đồng cỏ

steed /stiːd/ (n): ngựa (có người cưỡi)

spur /spɜːr/ [C2] (v): thúc đẩy

equestrian /ɪˈkwes.tri.ən/ (adj): trên lưng ngựa

indigenous /ɪnˈdɪdʒ.ɪ.nəs/ (adj): bản địa

expansive /ɪkˈspæn.sɪv/ (adj): rộng lớn

colonization /ˌkɒl.ə.naɪˈzeɪ.ʃən/ (n): quá trình thuộc địa hóa

animal welfare /ˈæn.ɪ.məl ˈwel.feər/ (n): phúc lợi động vật

hub /hʌb/ (n): trung tâm

multifaceted /ˌmʌl.tiˈfæs.ɪ.tɪd/ (adj): nhiều mặt

herd /hɜːd/ (v): chăn


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