1. The Olmecs. You know, these guys just don't get enough credit. It's all Inca this, Aztec that. Fuck them! These dudes were rockin' it some 2300 years before the birth of that Jewish hippie carpenter fella. Mathematics, writing, astronomy, government, religion--they were innovators in all of these. Without the discoveries the Olmecs made, the Mayans would have never been what they were. Much like there would have never been a "Benson" without "Soap". Remember, when looking for a gift, an Olmec Head makes "an extravagant present! A mad, unthinkable, impossible present! A frabulous, grabulous, zip-zoom-zabulous present!"
2. Benito Suarez is one a long line of dudes around the world to oversee the overthrow of French occupation. He went on to become the only indigenous person to serve as President of Mexico.
3. The Zimmerman telegram is one of the overlooked causes of US involvement in World War I. Those dirty Krauts, looking to strike the good ole USA first, proposed to Mexico that if they were to attack us, the Germans would help them gain back lands completely fairly stolen from Mexico by the earlier more pugnacious US Preisdents (ah, Polk, you glorious, evil bastard). The English got their hands on the telegram, gave it to the US, presumably while saying, "What's all this then?" The Mexicans rightfully decided that siding with Germany was probably not a great long term solution, and turned down the offer. by the time they did, the US had officially entered the war against Germany.
Our Next, Qualifer, sadly, is Ghana. But I also see this as an opportunity to learn something about a place that up until now has held very little interest to me. Who knows? Maybe they did something really cool that only the nerds at wikipedia know about.
1. Ghana was the first sub-Saharan European colony to gain independence, and they did so against the British (the colony was the Gold Coast) , so that would be a fun match up, if it should happen. there is little doubt that in the struggle for independence, and forming a state from essentially imaginary English made borders, Kwame Nkrumah deserves the lion's share of the credit. His bio is pretty fascinating. I mean, how many African country-builders get their college degrees at Penn? I'd bet less than 10, easy.
2. Due to reasons I'm not wholly willing to put the time into learning, a good chunk of Ghana which should be rainforest isn't, despite being surrounded by rainforest. The name of this phenomenon is the Dahomey Gap.
3. Ghana is named after The Ghana Empire, which was located to the North of current Ghana, and existed from about 750-1240 C.E. in 1067, according to reports, the Empire could field a 200,000 man army.