1. Why were the pyramids built?
The pyramids are huge monumental tombs for pharaohs and nobility. The Egyptian believed that dead people’s spirits could live on after death if their bodies were carefully preserved. It was especially important to preserve the bodies of dead pharaohs (Egyptian Kings) and other nobles. Their spirits would help the Kingdom of Egypt to survive. So they made dead bodies into mummies, and buried them in these splendid tombs along with clothes, jewels and models of everything they would need in life after death.

2. What are pyramids made of?
They are made of hard, smooth lime stone. Top quality stone was used for the outer casting; poor quality stone and rubble were used for the inner core.

3. Why was the river Nile so important?
It is because Egypt got hardly any rain. But every year the Nile flooded the fields along its banks, bringing fresh water and rich black silt, which helped crops grow. Farmers dug irrigation channels to carry water to distant lands.

4. Who dropped the first Atomic Bomb?
On August 6, 1945, the USA bombed Hiroshima in Japan, killing 66,000 people instantly and injuring another 69,000. By using this terrible new weapon on Japan, the USA together with its allies Britain, France and the Soviet Union hoped to bring World War Second (WW2 1939-45) to an end. Japan was the strongest ally of Adolph Hitler, ruler of Nazi Germany.

5. Who shot dead the Russian Czar?
Russian Rebels called Bolsheviks shot dead the Czar. In 1918, after the Russian Revolution (1917), they killed the whole Russian royal family and set up a Communist Government instead.

6. Who made Five-Year Plans?
Joseph Stalin, the Russian Communist leader who ruled from 1934 to 1953. He re-organized the country in a series of Five-Year Plans. He built thousands of new factories, took land away from ordinary people and divided it into vast collective farms. Critics of his policies were often killed.

7. When did the first trains run?
Horse-drawn railway wagons had been used to haul coal, ore and stone from mines and quarries since the 16th Century, but the first passenger railway was opened by George Stephenson in the North of England in 1825. Its locomotives were powered by steam. People rode standing in open carriages.

8. Who were the ‘Vikings’?
They were the raiders from the sea. They were from Norway, Denmark and Sweden. They were the warriors who terrorized the people of Europe. The Vikings made raids from Scotland to Italy, killing, burning and carrying away what they could. It was hard to make a living in the cold Viking homelands, so Viking men raided wealthier lands. However, not all Vikings were raiders. Some travelled to new places to settle, and many were hunters and farmers, who never left home.

9. How many languages are spoken today?
Around 6000 languages are spoken in the world today. Some are spoken by very few people. Less than 500 people in Latvia speak a language called ‘Liv’. One African language, Bikya, could have only one surviving speaker. The world’s most spoken language is ‘Chinese’, which is used every day by 1.2 billion people. English is the world’s most widespread language, spoken by 470 million people.

10. Who invented ‘Silk’?
The Chinese were the first people to make silk from the cocoon s of silkworms, thousands of years ago. Today silk may be used to make beautiful Indian wraps called ‘Saris’ and Japanese robes called ‘Kimonos’.

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