What went so terribly wrong with Venezuela
A childhood dream comes true
The story of the Mecklenburg grocer's apprentice Heinrich Schliemann sounds like a fairy tale. But it is true.
Everything in his young life has gone wrong so far. His mother dies early. The father a pastor - is a drinker. He takes his talented son out of school at the age of 14 so that he is no longer in the bag. The following years in Fürstenberg are pure hell for the boy. He reaches for the first chance to escape this life. A friend of his mother's gives him some money. For this, Heinrich buys a South America passage on a merchant ship. In Venezuela he wants to start from scratch.
But he remains unlucky! The ship gets caught in a terrible storm off the Dutch island of Texel. Heinrich was only able to save himself with a narrow margin. But he doesn't want to go home. So the authorities give the shipwrecked two guilders. With that he comes to Amsterdam and finds a job as an office messenger there. In just 6 months he teaches himself English, after another six months he speaks perfect French. Over the years he will be able to speak 22 languages! A global company hires the language genius. And the miracle of his rise begins.
At the age of 46 he has a fantastic fortune of 11 million guilders! Enough to make his childhood dream come true. He changes his life. With special permission from the French Ministry of Culture, he became a student in Paris in 1866 - the oldest in the country. His work is called Ithaca, the Peloponnese and Troy. Here Schliemann surprises the public with his theory: Old Troy is close to the village of Hisarlik! The archaeologists only laugh at the outsider. Because Troy - that's just a fairy tale! Schliemann doesn't care about ridicule. From 1870 he started working with local workers. And on June 17th, 1873 Schliemann's finest hour comes! He peeled gold cups and silver jugs from the ground, as well as elaborate bracelets and earrings. Schliemann is certain: He has found Priam's treasure! When this becomes known, he is no longer considered a rich fool, but becomes the most famous man of his time!
In 1890, cardiac death ripped Schliemann from his restless work. Today we know: The great hobby excavator was often wrong. Be Priam's treasure came from a much older culture. But no one can dispute his main merit: his faith has brought back to light a culture that was sunken more than 3000 years ago!
I. Answer the questions:
- What does Schliemann's story sound like?
- What was his father?
- Why did Schliemann no longer go to school at the age of 14?
- How did Schliemann prove himself on a merchant ship?
- How did he get into Amsterdam?
- How many languages did Schliemann speak?
- How did Schliemann surprise the public?
- When did Schliemann's finest hour come?
- What is Schliemann's main merit?
II. Explain the following terms and use them to form your own sentences:
lying on the bag- linguistic genius- unlucky person- great hour- bring to daylight- outsider- shipwrecked- children's dream.
III. Use the following phrases to express the text:
- sound like a fairy tale- go wrong- take from school- be pure hell- reach for the first chance- give some money- buy a South America passage-
- Unlucky ones - get caught in a storm - save yourself in a tight spot - give shipwrecked people money - come to Amsterdam - find a job - master 22 languages - hire the linguistic genius
- have a fantastic fortune- fulfill his childhood dream- 1866 student will surprise the public- laugh at the outsider- get to work- shell out of the ground- become the most famous man- tear from his restless work- dispute his main income.
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