Civilization As We Know It May Have Started Because Of Beer

Civilization started because of agriculture — that much is known. But what if agriculture started because of beer?

Beer Glasses Hands

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Around 6,000 years ago, ancient Sumerians living in the Fertile Crescent recorded the first known instance of purposeful beer brewing. The grain-based beverage has since become integral to countless cultures around the world, inspiring men to risk their lives for distribution, inciting riots in the streets of New York City and bringing international renown to cultural events like Oktoberfest.

But there’s a theory that beer holds an even more important place in history, that civilization itself owes its very existence to the beverage — the “beer before bread” theory.

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Everything You Know About Cinco De Mayo Is Dead Wrong

If you walk into just about any bar in the United States on May 5, chances are that someone in there will be celebrating “Mexican Independence Day.” Not only are these people likely drunk, they’re also wrong.

In the words of Alfonso Sumano, Regional Director of the Mexican Tourism Board in New York, “It is a big celebration of Mexican pride, and we’re OK with that, as long as everyone knows that it’s not related to Mexican independence.”

That said, let’s look at some other Cinco de Mayo facts we all need to get straight:

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Cinco De Mayo Poster

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16th. - Wikimedia Commons

Mexican Independence Day Anniversary

Thus, September 16 is a much more universally celebrated holiday than Cinco de Mayo. - Wikimedia Commons

Battle Of Puebla

What Cinco de Mayo does celebrate is the victory of the Mexican army over occupying French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Within and around Puebla, “Cinco de Mayo” is known as El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (the Day of Puebla Battle). - Wikimedia Commons

Puebla Carnival Heujotzingo

Because of this, Cinco de Mayo, in Mexico, is most celebrated in Puebla, and is honored more so with battle reenactments and military parades than with tequila. - Wikimedia Commons

Benito Juarez President

Benito Juarez (above) was Mexico’s president during the first Cinco de Mayo, leading the country in the years after their historic victory. - Wikimedia Commons

Chicano Art Movement

Because of economic hardships from other wars waged, it was Juarez who was forced to suspend repayment of Mexico's debts to France, Spain and England. This caused those countries to launch the invasion that soon led to the Battle at Puebla. - Wikimedia Commons

Cinco De Mayo Facts Folklorico

Juarez's order delayed repayment for two years. Spain, Britain and France responded by sending naval forces demanding reimbursement. - Wikimedia Commons

Puebla City Mural

Spain and Britain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew forces, but France invaded, seeking repayment and land rights. - Wikimedia Commons

El Dia De La Batella De Puebla

A French army of 6,000 faced strong resistence in Peubla where a small, ill-equipped Mexican army of about 2,000 defeated the French and ultimately stopped the invasion. - Wikimedia Commons

Ignacio Zaragoza General

Ignacio Zeragosa, who led the Mexican army during the Battle at Puebla, lost about 100 men. The French lost nearly 500.

Emperador Maximillian Mexico

However, the victory of Cinco de Mayo was short-lived. France's Napoleon III sent 30,000 troops one year later and took over Mexico City, installing Maximilian (above) as ruler. - Wikimedia Commons

Battle Of Puebla Mexico

Though Abraham Lincoln sympathized with Mexico during the French invasion, he took a neutral stance due to the ongoing conflict of the Civil War. - Wikimedia Commons

Maximillian Execution Mexico

But with the help Mexico did receive from the U.S. military, they eventually expelled the French and executed Maximillian in 1867. - Wikimedia Commons

Cinco De Mayo Facts Puebla

This ultimate victory, and the Battle at Puebla in particular, restored national pride in a war-torn Mexico. - Wikimedia Commons

Napolean Iii French Invasion

If that victory had not come, the consequences could have impacted both the U.S. and Mexico immeasurably. Napoleon III (above) had plans to establish Mexico as a base to support the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. - Wikimedia Commons

Cinco De Mayo President Bush

Many historians believe that if it were not for the Mexican victory during the Pueblo Battle, the Confederates would have won the Civil War and changed the fate of the United States forever. - Wikimedia Commons

Puebla City Mexico

Despite the historic implications of this battle, Cinco de Mayo is not a federal holiday in most of Mexico. - Wikimedia Commons

Baile Folklorico Mexico

In fact, it is, in many ways, a bigger deal in the U.S. Cinco de Mayo’s appropriation by America stems from a time when the U.S. was trying to appeal to — and win over — the increasing Mexican population living in the country. - Wikimedia Commons

Chicano Movement Chicago

For example, Franklin Roosevelt likely boosted Cinco de Mayo’s popularity within the United States by enacting the “Good Neighbor Policy” in 1933 to improve relations with Latino countries. - Wikimedia Commons

Cry Of Dolores Mexican Independence

Three decades later, the Chicano movement spread Mexican-American pride nationwide, increasing the holiday’s popularity even more. - Wikimedia Commons

Cinco De Mayo Celebration

And today, Hispanics make up 17% of the US population (55 million) “making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority,” according to the US Census. - Wikimedia Commons

San Antonio Celebration

Thus it's not exactly surprising that there are now more Cinco de Mayo festivals in the United States than there are in Mexico. - Wikimedia Commons

Traditional Dance Mexico

Typically, a Cinco de Mayo festival in the United States consists of live Mariachi music, traditional Mexican food and drink, and plenty of dancing. - Flickr

Mariachi Cinco De Mayo Facts

Mariachi music dates back to the early 19th century. The instruments used in a typical Mariachi performance are guitars, bass guitars, viheulas, trumpets, violins, and occassionally a harp. - Wikimedia Commons

Mariachi Baile Folklorico

The traditional dance often seen during Cinco de Mayo celebrations is called Baile Folklorico, literally “folkloric dance.” There are variations, but in the Jalisco style, women wear bright, ruffled skirts and men wear charro (cowboy) clothing and sombreros. - Flickr

Young  Cinco De Mayo

Cinco de Mayo's present association with binge drinking is the result of savvy ad campaigns. Mexican migration really took off in the 1980s and brought millions of young Mexicans into the United States. To many American alcohol corporations, this meant a huge business opportunity. - Flickr

Agave Tequila Production

Tequila shots are often the drink of choice for Cinco de Mayo, but quality tequila is made from 100% agave nectar, and aged tequilas known as anejo or reposado are intended to be sipped slowly and savored, not consumed as quickly as possible, as it so often is by Americans on Cinco de Mayo. - Wikimedia Commons

Agave Tequila Collection

In fact, the United States consumes twice as much tequila as Mexico (tequila's country of origin). - Wikimedia Commons

Mole Poblano Sauce

On the food side of things, despite what Americans think, tacos and burritos aren’t the preferred choice for a traditional Cinco de Mayo celebration. Rather, enchiladas, tamales, and mole poblano make up more traditional dishes as they require more hands--and thus more family interaction--to execute successfully. - Wikimedia Commons

Avocados Guacamole Dish

According to the California Avocado Commission, more than 87 million pounds of avocados (175 million individual avocados) are consumed on Cinco de Mayo every year. - Flickr

Folklorico Dancers Mexico

The largest Cinco de Mayo festival is in Los Angeles. It is called Fiesta Broadway and draws in hundreds of thousands of people every year. - Wikimedia Commons

Chihuahua Cinco De Mayo

In Arizona, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated throughout Phoenix and surrounding cities. In Chandler, Cinco de Mayo festivities include an annual Chihuahua race. - Flickr

Group Folklorico Performance

Multiple cities in the United States celebrate Cinco de Mayo with weekend-long festivals, including Denver, Chicago, Portland and San Diego. - Wikimedia Commons

Skydiving Cinco De Mayo

At the Abottsford Skydiving Center in Vancouver, Canada, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated a little differently: skydiving, music, and food make up the festivities, but not necessarily in that order. - Pixabay

Large Mariachi Group

In the Cayman Islands, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated not with a Mariachi, but with an annual air guitar competition instead. - Wikimedia Commons

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Photo Of The Day: The Original Ronald McDonald Is Unrecognizable — And Terrifying

Original Ronald Mcdonald

The original Ronald McDonald. You probably don’t want fries with that. Image Source: Imgur

McDonald’s has had some memorable fiascos in their 60-plus-year reign as fast food king, but it seems the people behind the Golden Arches always find a way to regroup and return even stronger than before. And this is especially true of the face of the business himself: Ronald McDonald.

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The Science Behind Why We Crave Junk Food

If you’ve ever wondered why we crave junk food, you might want to take a closer look at the way your brain really works.

Junk Food Science Header Donuts

Image Source: Pixabay

When we’re being constantly bombarded with warnings about the dangers of processed foods, why are the unhealthiest snacks consistently flying off the shelves? The answer is partly to do with willpower and cost, but it mostly revolves around how your brain interprets junk food — from its journey as a mere craving to the way it melts in your mouth when you indulge.

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