“If you imagine French cuisine as a tree,” says food historian Emmanuel Perrodin, “the leaves are in Paris, but the roots reside in Marseille”—fed by 2,600 years of migrations from the Mediterranean and beyond.
Sudan’s capital Khartoum is the gift of not one but two Niles—the White and the Blue—at whose meeting point arose a three-part metropolis.
He wrote the first book in English by an author of Indian origin and opened London’s first Indian restaurant, but he is remembered most along England’s south coast for his therapeutic steam baths.
Of six men who set out from Denmark in 1761, disease took five; only Carsten Niebuhr—mapmaker and empathic observer—returned, and he published what became a foundation of European scientific knowledge of Arabia.
The eighth most-studied language in US schools and universities today is Arabic. That would please Edward E. Salisbury of Yale, who in 1841 became the country’s first full professor of Semitic languages—nearly 200 years after North America’s first Arabic class was offered at Harvard.
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