Only 45 of today’s nations were independent before the 20th century, and only one nation can trace its independence back to before the time of Christ. Ethiopia, the East African nation formerly known as Abyssinia, has been an independent nation since at least the eleventh century B.C. Some historians claim that Ethiopia has existed as an independent nation since around the year 3000 B.C.
The four oldest companies in existence today can be found in Japan. Established in 705, 717, and 717 respectively are three Japanese hotels still in operation. The oldest company outside of Japan is a restaurant in Austria founded in 803. (I wonder if they’ve ever cleaned the refrigerator!) In the U.S., the oldest business is Stroh’s Brewery, founded in 1775; Bowne Printing started the same year.
Bacteria are known to be the longest living organisms on earth, some thought to be millions of years old. A Great Basin Bristlecone Pine in California, known as Methuselah, has been measured to be 4,838 years old — the oldest known living individual tree in the world. One Antarctic sponge in the South Polar Ocean is believed to be 1,550 years old. Some koi fish have lived more than 200 years, and many think that Bowhead Whales can live to be 211 — making them the oldest living mammals.
Lesson learned: Except when compared to the 30-minute lifespan of mayflies, the human lifespan is mighty short. Feel blessed for each day.