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Today's featured article

A view of the island from atop Fort Mackinac

Mackinac Island is an island covering 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) in land area, part of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located in Lake Huron, at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac, between the state's Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The island was home to a Native American settlement before European exploration began in the 17th century. It served a strategic position amidst the commerce of the Great Lakes fur trade. This led to the establishment of Fort Mackinac on the island by the British during the American Revolutionary War. It was the scene of two battles during the War of 1812. In the late 19th century, Mackinac Island became a popular tourist attraction and summer colony. Much of the island has undergone extensive historical preservation and restoration; as a result, the entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark. It is well known for its numerous cultural events; its wide variety of architectural styles, including the famous Victorian Grand Hotel; and its ban on almost all motor vehicles. More than 80 percent of the island is preserved as Mackinac Island State Park. (more...)

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Photograph of forested islands as seen from sea

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"Le pigeon aux petits pois" by Pablo Picasso

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May 20: National Day in Cameroon (1972); Independence Day in East Timor (2002); National Day of Hatred in Cambodia

Abraham Ortelius' world map

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Today's featured picture

White-fronted Bee-eater

The White-fronted Bee-eater (Merops bullockoides) is a species of bee-eater widely distributed in sub-equatorial Africa. They have a distinctive white forehead, a square tail and a bright red patch on their throat. As the name suggests, their diet consists primarily of bees and other flying insects. They nest in colonies averaging 200 individuals, digging roosting and nesting holes in cliffs or banks of earth, and have a complex social structure.

Photo: Luc Viatour

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