I confess that when I saw Tristan da Cunha among the nominations for Place of the Year, I had no idea where it was, but once I got out my atlas, I was intrigued. Colloquially known as Tristan, the eight-mile-wide island is the most remote inhabited place in the world: it lies 1,200 miles east of the nearest inhabited island, Saint Helena, and a full 1,500 miles east of the nearest continental land, South Africa.
With the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the collapse of the empire in 1889, Brazil’s population of color was basically abandoned. Many left the plantations that had been their only home and began to move south to the developing urban areas of Brazil.
The 2016 battle for the White House has been contentious and historical. Someone new will be occupying the White House come January, and who exactly it will be is still up in the air.
We continue our reflection on 2016 with a more in depth look at the nominees for Place of the Year. Previously, we introduced our readers to the nominees simply as a list. Now, we’d like to go a bit more in-depth with each of the nominees.
Quite a lot has happened in 2016. The year has flew by with history making events such as the Brexit, the Presidential election in the United States, and the blockade of Aleppo to name a few.
Just before noon on 25 April 2015, a violent 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal, killing almost 9,000 people and injuring more than 23,000. Hundreds of aftershocks followed. Entire villages were razed, destroying communities and leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless.
With the devastating earthquake in Nepal on 25 April 2015, not only humans but also gods became shelterless. The famous Car Narayan or Fourfold Vishnu Temple in Patan is one of the many temples that completely collapsed. It was constructed in the classical Newar “pagoda” style with two pyramidal roofs and an inner ambulatory by a local ruler, Purandara Simha, in 1565.
This July, a NASA space probe completed our set of images of the planets, at least as I knew them growing up. New Horizons, a probe that launched back in 2006, arrived at Pluto and its moons, and over a very brief encounter, started to send back thousands of images of this hitherto barely known place.
Nepal has had an extraordinarily eventful 2015. It has been rocked by catastrophic earthquakes and burdened by a blockade from India, but it has also (finally) passed a new constitution and elected its first female head of state, Bidya Devi Bhandari, who took office in October.
With the ballots cast and the year winding down, we recognize Nepal as Oxford’s Place of the Year 2015. The country came into the global spotlight back in April, when a devastating earthquake took over 9,000 lives and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Months later, critics point at the slow-moving recovery process that has still a far way to go before Nepal can resume normal operations.
Earlier in the year, Greece faced some unsettling economic troubles. The country voted on a referendum that would decide whether they would pull their membership from the European Union (and thus, the union’s currency and economic system). It’s a wonder to think that this country, less than a decade ago, was among one of the richer nations.
This week, we’re shining the spotlight on another one of our Place of the Year 2015 shortlist contenders: Cuba.
As voting for the Place of the Year 2015 continues, we would like to take a moment to highlight one of the shortlist nominees: Nepal.
Thank you to those of you who participated in the voting period for our Place of the Year 2015 longlist. The top five contenders have moved on to the next round into our shortlist, and we need your help again. If you’re interested about each place and why each has been nominated for Place of the Year 2015, read back on our previous blog post. Vote for your pick in this year’s shortlist by 30 November. The Place of the Year 2015 will be announced 3 December.
Last year in 2014, Ukraine made its way into our Place of the Year shortlist, garnering 19.86% of votes. Though Scotland beat out Ukraine for the top spot (with its impressive 37.98% of votes out of five on the shortlist), that by no means undermines everything this Eastern European country has gone through. Serhy Yekelchyk, author of The Conflict in Ukraine: What Everyone Needs to Know, reflects on how Ukraine has transformed in recent years.
You don’t need to follow the news too closely to know that 2015 has been a roller coaster of a year. Last week we announced our longlist for Place of the Year 2015, but since then some of you have been asking, “why is x included?”, or “why is y worth our attention?”