The western honey bee (Apis mellifera) is the most common of the 7–12 species of honey bee worldwide. It is believed to have originated in either Africa or Asia, and spread naturally through Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Following human introduction into the Americas and Oceania, the species is now found on every continent except Antarctica. Humans have been collecting honey from bees for thousands of years, with evidence in the form of rock art found in France and Spain, dating to around 7000 BC. Along with other insects, the honey bee is an important pollinator, with a large number of the crop species farmed worldwide depending on it.Photograph: Martin Falbisoner
Johann Christian Bach (5 September 1735 – 1 January 1782) was a composer of the Classical era, the eighteenth child of Johann Sebastian Bach, and the youngest of his eleven sons. Bach was taught by his father and then, after the latter's death, by his half-brother C. P. E. Bach. Bach moved to Italy in 1754, and then to London in 1762, where he became known as the "London Bach". Bach's compositions include eleven operas, as well as chamber music, orchestral music and compositions for keyboard music. In 1764 Bach met Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was eight at the time, and spent five months teaching him composition. He had considerable influence on Mozart, and was later described by scholars as his "only, true teacher".
Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the world's greatest novelists. He is best known for War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), often cited as pinnacles of realist fiction. Born to an aristocratic family on 9 September [O.S. 28 August] 1828, Tolstoy was orphaned when he was young. He studied at Kazan University, but this was not a success, and he left university without completing his degree. During this time, he began to write and published his first novel, Childhood, in 1852. Tolstoy later served at the Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War, and was appalled by the number of deaths and left at the conclusion of the war. He spent the remainder of his life writing whilst also marrying and starting a family. In the 1870s he converted to a form of fervent Christian anarchism.Photograph: F. W. Taylor; restoration: Yann
Leonardo Loredan (1436–1521) was the 75th doge of the Republic of Venice from 1501 until his death. Loredan's reign began during the disastrous second Ottoman–Venetian War, which he settled with a peace treaty in 1503 at the cost of considerable loss of territory. Later that year a dispute arose between Loredan and Pope Julius II, after Venice occupied territory in the northern Papal States. This escalated into the 1509 War of the League of Cambrai in which Venice was fighting an alliance of the Pope and France. Venice was defeated, but in 1513 Loredan formed a new alliance with the French King Louis XII against Pope Julius. This resulted in a decisive victory.
Mexico is a country in North America, bordered by the United States, Guatemala and Belize, and lying between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Pre-Columbian Mexico was home to many advanced civilizations before first contact with Europeans. From 1521 it was colonized by Spain, becoming an independent state three centuries later. September 16 is the country's independence day, commemorating the Cry of Dolores, a declaration which began the Mexican War of Independence in 1810.
Portrait of Dr. Gachet refers to two portraits painted by Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh in 1890, depicting the homeopathic doctor and artist Paul Gachet. Van Gogh was staying with Gachet on the recommendation of his friend Camille Pissarro, having spent a year in a mental asylum following a breakdown. He produced more than seventy paintings during his time with Gachet, including the portraits of his host. The paintings show Gachet with a melancholy face, which Van Gogh described as "the heartbroken expression of our time", seated next to some foxgloves. The portraits of Dr. Gachet were completed just six weeks before Van Gogh shot himself and died from his wounds. The first version of the portrait sold for $82.5 million in 1990, making it at the time the most expensive painting in history. The second version, pictured here, hangs in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, France.Painting: Vincent van Gogh
John Philip Sousa (1854–1932) was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era, known primarily for American military marches. Showing great talent as a child, he mastered several instruments alongside an apprenticeship in the Marine Corps. After a period as a violinist and theater orchestra conductor, Sousa returned to the Marines for a twelve-year stint as head of the U.S. Marine Band, including two presidential inauguration balls. Later in life, he formed the Sousa Band and saw active service in World War I. He wrote a total of 137 marches, including Stars and Stripes Forever, which was designated the United States national march in 1987.Photograph: Elmer Chickering
A plough is a farm implement that turns over the upper layer of soil, bringing fresh nutrients to the surface as part of preparation for sowing seeds or planting. In early agriculture, soil was turned by hand using digging sticks and hoes. The first animal-drawn plough was the ard, with the earliest evidence of a ploughed field dating to the Indus Valley Civilisation site of Kalibangan from around 2800 B.C. Wheels were introduced by Celtic peoples during the Roman era, and the mouldboard plough, a major innovation in plough technology, was invented in the 18th century. Modern ploughs are usually reversible ploughs, mounted on a tractor.