History : Mar-Apr 2016
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY 95 Next Issue HAMILTON: RISE TO GREATNESS YOUNG, BRILLIANT, and brash—Alexander Hamilton was America’s first self-made man. Before becoming a war hero, a Founding Father, and the first secretary of the treasury, Hamilton overcame the stigma of illegitimacy and poverty through sheer will and innate genius. The harsh conditions of his childhood in Nevis, a tiny island in the Caribbean, make his life’s accomplishments more impressive by revealing how much this remarkable man had to overcome to leave his mark on the world. ALAMY/ACI TOMBS OF UR: SPLENDOR AND HORROR IN 1922 Leonard Woolley began digging at the site of Ur, in modern-day Iraq, the ancient city believed to be the birthplace of Abraham. The graves he found yielded not only artifacts such as this bull carved on a harp but also chilling clues about Sumerian burial rites. The royal tombs contained not only the kings of Ur but also the remains of soldiers and women, entombed alive with their deceased sovereigns. PHOTOAISA Birth of an Empire In the days following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 b.c . , Rome’s elite vied for control of the capital, a struggle that would scar the empire forever. Caterina Sforza: Warrior Princess A central player in the political turmoil and artistic ferment of the Renaissance, the beautiful Italian noblewoman personally led her troops against the vengeful Borgia family. Numbers on the Nile Long before Pythagoras in Greece, ancient Egyptians were developing complex mathematical solutions to count their wealth, tax their citizens, and build the pyramids. The Last Days of the Aztec In just two years, the Aztec Empire was utterly destroyed by the conquistador Hernán Cortés, whose diplomacy and ruthlessness opened up the New World to Spanish rule.