Africa, African Great Lakes Region, Eastern Africa, Rwanda

Rwanda – Lake Kivu, the Exploding Kind

From Wikipedia, “This lake (Lake Kivu) has a chance of erupting every 1000 years.”

Okay, good to know.

Um….    WHAT ? ! !!!

Lake Kivu is illustrated on the back of our banknote from Rwanda, and enlarged in detail below that.

Rwanda banknote, 2003, back. Lake Kiva is pictured on the back of this 2003 Rwandan banknote.
Detail showing Lake Kivu, Rwanda, African Great Lakes region

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia, Indonesia, Island Nations, Maritime Southeast Asia, Southeast Asia

Indonesia – Krakatau, West of Java

In a well regarded analysis, the Volcano Krakatau, featured on our Indonesian banknote, was determined to be the inspiration for the notorious Norwegian impressionist painting, “Scream”.

The blood red sky in the 1893 painting is considered to be recollected, by the Norwegian painter, from the August 27, 1883 volcanic eruption, whose sound was heard 3000 miles away, and whose pressure wave was recorded around the world.  See the fuller article in Sky and Telescope here.

 

Indonesia 100 Rupiah banknote, 1992, back.

Krakatau.  The volcanic explosion is one of the largest, if not the largest, in recorded history.  It was 13,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, and lifted 6 cubic miles of earth into the air.

A famous error occurred in Hollywood’s recollection of the event in the move fanfared as “Krakatoa, East of Java.”  Well, the truth is, it’s to the West.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detail from front of 100 Rupiah Indonesia banknote, featuring the traditional Pinisi sailboat used by Indonesia for centuries.
Indonesia 100 Rupiah banknote, 1992, front.
Central America, El Salvador, North America

El Salvador – Volcano Izalco – The Lighthouse of the Pacific (10 colones)

 

El Salvador, 10 colones banknote, back, Volcan de Izalco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

detail showing Volcan de Izalco, back of 10 colones banknote, El Salvador

Izalco was little more than a curious hole in the ground in a cornfield.  The farm was on the southern slopes of the old Santa Ana volcano, and the hole, or “vent”, was at 1300 meters above sea level.  Wisps of black sulfuric smoke would occasionally arise but not seem out of the ordinary on the slopes of a volcano.  And then one day in 1770, Izalco was born.

Fiery spurts and flowing mounds of lava issued from the side of that old mountain, and El Salvador’s youngest volcano began to build its own mountain.  Lava flowed down the slope up to 7 kilometers and hardened.  More lava flowed and hardened on top of the previous flow.  More lava and more lava flowed, and layer upon layer hardened, and the young volcanic cone began to rise.  One hundred meters, two hundred meters, three hundred meters, the new mountain rose from the slopes of the old.  Its eruptions were almost continuous.  As its elevation grew its incandescent night time displays of fire became visible from further and further out at sea.  Izalco became a reliable night time  guide for seagoing vessels to the port of Acajutla in El Salvador.  “Faro de Pacifico”, the Lighthouse of the Pacific, it was christened.

Five hundred meters, six hundred meters, our volcano continued to grow.  Eruptions were almost continuous with just brief interruptions for two hundred years.  So many people wanted to see the volcano that a hotel with a vantage point was planned and construction began.  Six hundred twenty meters, six hundred thirty meters, six hundred forty meters and hotel construction neared its conclusion.   Six hundred fifty meters and the hotel was finished.  And so was Izalco.  It is a curious feature of history that the volcano which erupted almost continuously should stop just when the hotel was completed.  But so it was.  Izalco has not erupted since 1966.  But it is still visited and climbed by many intrepid travelers.

detail from El Salvador banknote

Detail of the forests at the foot of the volcano.  Izalco is El Salvador’s youngest volcano.  The cone rises without vegetation from the forest below.

 

 

 

Illustration from “The Little Prince”, the beautiful novella from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, with Izalco, the volcano on Asteroid 325 (It’s real name).

Our volcano is featured in the beautiful tale of Le Petite Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  It was inspired by his El Salvadoran wife Consuelo.

 

 

 

 

detail from back of 10 colones banknote, El Salvador, National Coat of Arms, featuring five volcanoes

The national coat of arms features 5 volcanoes.  These five symbolize the five member states of the United Provinces of Central America, formed July 1, 1823.

Projected on a staff above the volcanoes is a Phrygian cap, an ancient symbol of liberty.  The five flags are upheld with indigenous wooden war spears with obsidian points.

The motto below is “Dios, Union, Libertad”.

 

 

 

detail from front of 10 colones banknote, El Salvador

The old worlds and new worlds are depicted on the front of the 10 colones banknote.

 

 

 

detail from front of 10 colones banknote, El Salvador

The Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, the three sailing ships that constituted the expedition of Christopher Columbus, are depicted sailing to the new world from the old world.

 

For mores stories from Central America on this website, click here.

El Salvador, 10 colones banknote, front, featuring Christopher Columbus sailing to the New World from the Old World.

 

 

 

Africa, African Great Lakes Region, Eastern Africa, Rwanda

Gorillas of Rwanda

Eastern Gorillas, detail from Rwanda (1988) 1000 franc banknote

These wonderful creatures inhabit the volcano regions of Rwanda.  They are vegetarians and generally eat leafy green foliage and therefore prefer the dense mountain rainforests and subalpine forests of Rwanda.  The men are black furred and giant, weighing 350 to 450 pounds and standing 5’6” upright.  The women are half to 2/3s their size.  The old men grey noticeably with age until they are recognized as silverbacks.  The silverbacks lead stable and cohesive family groups held together by long time bonds between the men and women.  They are community oriented rather than territorial.  The men defend their women and children, and the silverbacks will defend their clan to the death if required.  Women bear children on average of once every three or four years and their time of pregnancy is about 8 1/2 months.  Newborns have pinkish grey skin and begin to crawl around nine weeks.  The children are weaned when they are about 3 ½ years old.      

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda, detail from (1989) 100 franc Rwanda banknote

The clans are diurnal, foraging and traveling by day and sleeping by night, when they create nests usually on the ground by folding the dense vegetation over themselves.  Generally they forage in the morning and the late afternoon, preserving a the midday for a time of rest.  This midday rest is a time for the building and reinforcement of relationships.  Mutual grooming reinforces their social affections and keeps their fur clean from parasites.  The children play, wrestling and running and summersaulting, and the silverbacks and women often join them. 

They are normally gentle and quite shy.  Conflicts are generally resolved by intimidating displays and threatening behaviors that rarely lead to violence.  But when two clans meet, if the conflict is not resolved by threats, the silverbacks may fight to the death.

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Rwanda 1000 francs (1988)

 

Rwanda (1988) 1000 francs banknote