L'Enfant, Pierre Charles (1754–1825), French-American engineer and architect who fought in the Revolutionary War and was commissioned (1791) to plan Washington, D.C.
21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Lange, Dorothea to Lilac
Léopoldville See: Kinshasa.
Lévi-Strauss, Claude (1908–90), Belgian-born French anthropologist, best known as the founder of structuralism, an analytical method whereby different cultural patterns are compared so as to examine the way they order the elements of their environment into systems.
La Paz (pop. 1,049,800), largest city and administrative capital of Bolivia (the legal capital being Sucre).
La Rochefoucauld, François, Duc de, François, Duc de (1613–80), French writer.
La Rochelle (pop. 75,800), French city on the Atlantic coast, capital of the Charente Maritime department.
La Salle, Jean See: Jean Baptiste de la Salle, Saint.
La Salle, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de (1643–87), French explorer and fur trader in North America who claimed the Louisiana territory for France.
Lange, Dorothea (1895–1965), U.S. documentary photographer.
Langland, William (1332–1400), presumed poet of The Vision of Piers Plowman, a religious allegory representing a dream-vision of the Christian life and a satire, one of the finest examples of Middle English alliterative verse.
Langmuir, Irving (1881–1957), U.S. physical chemist awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize for chemistry for his work on thin films on solid and liquid surfaces (particularly oil on water), giving rise to the new science of surface chemistry.
Langton, Stephen (c.1155–1228), English cardinal and theologian whose appointment as archbishop of Canterbury (1207) led to a quarrel between Pope Innocent III and King John.
Langtry, Lillie (Emily Charlotte Le Breton; 1853–1929), English actress.
Language (from Latin lingua, “tongue”), means by which humans express themselves vocally and communicate with others.
Lanier, Sidney (1842–81), U.S. poet and musician.
Lansing (pop. 432,674), capital of Michigan, in the southern part of the state at the junction of the Grand and Cedar rivers.
Lansing, Robert (1864–1928), U.S. international lawyer and statesman.
Lanthanide See: Rare earth.
Lanthanum, chemical element, symbol La; for physical constants see Periodic Table.
Lanzhou, or Lanchow (pop. 1,510,000), capital city of Gansu Province in northwestern China, on the Huang He River.
Lao Tzu, or Lao Tze (Old Master), legendary Chinese philosopher of the 6th century B.C., said to be the founder of Taoism and the author of Tao-te-ching.
Laocoön, in Greek mythology, priest of Apollo who warned the Trojan people not to accept the gift of the wooden horse from the Greeks, with whom they had been at war for 10 years.
Laos, officially Lao People's Democratic Republic, Southeast Asian country formerly part of French Indochina. It is bordered by China to the north, Vietnam to the east, Kampuchea to the south and Thailand and Burma to the west. It is a small country (650 mi/1,046 km-long and in places barely 50 mi/81 km-wide). The administrative capital is Vientiane. The total population is over 4,000,000. …
Lapland, region in the extreme north of Europe, the homeland of the Lapps (or Finns, as they are called in Norway).
Lapps See: Lapland.
Lapwing, or peewit (Vanellus vanellus), shore bird found in Western Europe and the British Isles.
Laramie (pop. 24,410), city in southeast Wyoming, county seat of Albany County, and the third largest city in the state.
Larceny, in law, the unlawful removal of the property of another person without the owner's consent and with intent to steal.
Larch, pine (genus Larix) that is unusual in being deciduous rather than evergreen, shedding its needles in winter, becoming completely bare.
Lardner, Ring (1885–1933), U.S. sports journalist and short-story writer.
Laredo (pop. 133,239), city in southern Texas, on the Rio Grande River.
Lares and penates, in Roman mythology, household guardian gods.
Lark, any of a family (Alaudidae) of small terrestrial songbirds of Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa.
Larkspur, any of a genus (Delphinium) of flowering plants of the buttercup family, growing mostly in the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere.
LaRouche, Lyndon Hermyle, Jr. (1922– ), U.S. political leader and thrice-unsuccessful candidate for the presidency of the United States.
Larva, metamorphic stage of development in some animals in which the young are noticeably different in feature and behavior from their parents.
Larynx, specialized organ of the respiratory tract used in voice production.
Las Campanas Observatory See: Mount Wilson Observatory.
Las Casas, Bartolomé de (1474–1566), Spanish missionary in Central America.
Las Vegas (pop. 741,459), city in southwestern Nevada, seat of Clark County.
Laser, device that produces an intense beam of light with a precisely defined wavelength.
Laski, Harold Joseph (1893–1950), English political therorist and economist, active in the Fabian Society and the Labour Party.
Lassen, Mount, volcano in Lassen Volcanic National Park, northeastern California.
Lasso, Orlando di (1532–94), Flemish Renaissance singer, choirmaster, and composer of a wide range of more than 2,000 sacred and secular works.
Last Supper, the final passover meal held by Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem before his crucifixion.
Latakia, or Al-Ladhiqiyah (pop. 234,000), principal seaport city in western Syria, on the Mediterranean Sea, about 110 mi (177 km) north of Beirut.
Lateran, district of southeastern Rome, given to the church by Emperor Constantine I in 311.
Lateran Treaty, concordat between the papacy and the government of Italy, signed 1929 in the Lateran palace and confirmed by the 1948 Italian constitution.
Latex, milky substance extracted from various plants and trees that serves as the source of natural rubber.
Lathrop, Julia Clifford (1858–1932), U.S. social worker, founder of the first U.S.
Latimer, Hugh (c.1490–1555), English Protestant martyr and Reformation leader.
Latin, Indo-European language of the Italic group, language of ancient Rome, and ancestor of the Romance languages.
Latin America, 33 independent countries and 13 other political entities in Central and South America where Romance languages are spoken: Spanish in most of Latin America; Portuguese in Brazil; and French in Haiti. Sometimes the term includes Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana in South America, and, less often, also all the Caribbean islands. The population growth of almost 2% per year is o…
Latin-American literature, literature of the Spanish-speaking countries of the Western Hemisphere. It also includes Brazil, where the native language is Portuguese, not Spanish. The literary period began with the explorations in the 1400s and lasted some 300 years. The earliest literature was written by soldiers and missionaries describing new lands and civilizations. Hernando Cortés, the c…
After the death of Augustus, Roman writers demonstrated new styles. The works of Seneca, Lucan, and Petronius' Satyricon are of this era. The Satyricon is considered the first Latin novel. Other notable writers are the historian Tacitus and Pliny the Younger. The foundations of Christian Latin literature were laid during the 4th and 5th centuries by church fathers like Augustine, Jerome, an…
Latitude, distance from the equator, measured in degrees, of any point on the surface of the earth.
Latium, historic region of Italy, “the cradle of the Roman people,” extending from the Tiber River to the Alban Hills.
Latrobe, Benjamin Henry (1764–1820), English-born U.S. architect and engineer.
Latter-day Saints, The Church of Jesus Christ of See: Mormons.
Latvia (Republic of), independent country, bordering on the Baltic Sea (west), between Estonia (north), Russia (east), and Lithuania (south). Its capital is Riga. It is a lowland country, covering some 24,938 sq mi (64,589 sq km), with a moderate continental climate. Nearly a third of the people are Russians, but the majority are Latvians, an ancient Baltic people. Minorities include Byelorussians…
Laud, William (1573–1645), archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 and a chief advisor of Charles I.
Laudanum See: Opium.
Laue, Max Theodor Felix von (1879–1960), German physicist awarded the 1914 Nobel Prize for physics for his discovery of X-ray diffraction in crystals.
Laughing gas See: Nitrous oxide.
Laughton, Charles (1899–1962), English-born actor, a U.S. citizen from 1950.
Laureate See: Poet laureate.
Laurel, family (Lauraceae) of evergreen trees and shrubs that grow in the tropics and subtropics.
Laurel (pop. 21,897), city in southeast Mississippi, seat of Jones County.
Laurel and Hardy, famous comedy team of Hollywood films.
Laurencin, Marie (1885–1956), French painter and printmaker, designer of textiles, clothing, and stage decorations for the Ballet Russe and the Comédie Française.
Laurentian Plateau See: Canadian Shield.
Laurier, Sir Wilfrid (1841–1919), first French-Canadian prime minister of Canada (1896–1911).
Lausanne (pop. 117,500), city in western Switzerland, on the north shore of Lake Geneva.
Lava, molten rock rising to the earth's surface through volcanoes and other fissures, or the same after solidification.
Laval (pop. 284,200), city in Quebec province, southeastern Canada, part of the Montreal metropolitan area.
Laval, Pierre (1883–1945), French politician who collaborated with the Germans in World War II.
Lavender (Lavandula vera), shrub of the mint family, cultivated for its aromatic flowers that, along with the leaves, are used for medicinal purposes.
Laver, Rod (Rodney George Laver; 1938– ), Australian tennis player.
Laveran, Charles Louis Alphonse (1845–1922), French army physician.
Lavoisier, Antoine Laurent (1743–94), French scientist, foremost in the establishment of modern chemistry.
Law, body of rules governing the relationships between the members of a community and between the individual and the state. In England, the British Commonwealth, and the United States, the law is based upon statute law, or laws enacted by legislative bodies such as Congress, and upon common law, the body of law created by custom and adherence to rules derived from previous judgments. The other mai…
Law enforcement, method used by the various levels of government to regulate social conduct.
Law of the land See: Due process.
Lawn tennis See: Tennis.
Lawrence of Arabia See: Lawrence, T(homas) E(dward).
Lawrence, D.H. (David Herbert Lawrence; 1885–1930), English author.
Lawrence, Ernest Orlando (1901–58), U.S. physicist awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize for physics for his invention of the cyclotron and his studies of atomic structure and transmutation.
Lawrence, James (1781–1813), U.S. naval officer.
Lawrence, T(homas) E(dward) (1888–1935), called Lawrence of Arabia, English scholar, writer, and soldier, legendary guerrilla fighter with the Arabs against the Turks in World War I.
Lawrencium, chemical element, symbol Lr; for physical constants see Periodic Table.
Lawson, Ernest (1873–1939), U.S. impressionist painter.
Laxative, drug or food taken to promote bowel action and to treat constipation.
Lazarus, in the New Testament, brother of Mary and Martha of Bethany, who was restored to life by Jesus 4 days after his death (John 11:1–44; 12:1–5); also in the New Testament, beggar at the rich man's gate in a parable (Luke 16:19–25).
Lazarus, Emma (1849–87), U.S. poet best known for the sonnet, “The New Colossus,” engraved at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
Le Carré, John (David John Moore Cornwell; 1931– ), English author of novels of international espionage, including The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974), The Little Drummer Girl (1983), and The Russia House (1989).
Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret; 1887–1965), Swiss-born, French-trained architect, a founder of the international style.
Le Havre (pop. 199,400), French seaport on the English Channel and the Seine River.
Le Mans (pop. 148,400), city in northwestern France on the Sarthe and Huisne rivers, dating from pre-Roman times.
León, medieval kingdom of northwestern Spain, including the provinces of León, Salamanca, and Zamora.
Le Nôtre, André (1613–1700), French landscape architect.
Le Sage, Alain René (1668–1747), French novelist and dramatist.
Leacock, Stephen Butler (1869–1944), Canadian writer, scholar, and humorist.
Lead, chemical element, symbol Pb; for physical constants see Periodic Table.
Lead monoxide See: Litharge.
Lead pencil See: Graphite.
Lead poisoning, cumulative chronic disease caused by excessive lead levels in tissues and blood.
Leadwort See: Plumbago.
Leaf, green outgrowth from the stems of higher plants; the main site of photosynthesis.
Leaf insect, any of about 25 species of herbivorous, tropical, usually nocturnal insects of the family Phylliidae, whose green, ribbed, and veined wings and flat shape make them appear leaflike.
Leaf miner, name for many species of insect, including flies, moths, wasps, caterpillars, beetles, and weevils, whose larvae infest and feed within leaves.
Leaf-monkey See: Colobus; Langur.
Leafhopper, about 70 genera and over 700 species of slender, sucking insects of the family Cicadellidae.
League of Nations (1920–1946), the first major international association of countries, set up after World War I.
League of Women Voters, nonpartisan organization with about 125,000 members in the United States and Puerto Rico, founded in 1920 by members of the National American Women Suffrage Association.
Leakey, family name of English archeologists and anthropologists.
Leander See: Hero and Leander.
Leaning Tower of Pisa, white marble bell tower, or campanile, in Pisa, Italy.
Lear, Edward (1812–1888), English artist and writer, best known for his limericks and nonsense rhymes, such as “The Owl and the Pussy-Cat” (1871).
Learning, the process by which behavior is modified through experience and practice. All animals are capable of learning. Humans far surpass all these in the ability to learn, especially in the ability to acquire a language. Psychologists do not agree about how learning takes place, but certain principles seem clear. The simplest type of learning is the formation of conditioned reflexes in this pr…
Learning disabilities, conditions or factors that hinder one's comprehension or impairs one's ability to use standard educational tools and methods. An inability to perform in the school environment at the same level as one's peers can be the result of an inherited condition causing mental retardation, a developmental defect, a physical handicap such as impaired hearing or vis…
Leather, animal hide or skin preserved by tanning.
Leathernecks See: Marine Corps, U.S.
Leavenworth (pop. 33,656), city in northeastern Kansas, on the Missouri River.
Lebanon, small republic of about 3,8 million people in southwest Asia, on the Mediterranean, bordered by Syria on the north and east and Israel on the south. Modern Lebanon is the only Arab State with a large Christian community. The capital is the free port of Beirut. Since the Civil War and subsequent conflicts (beginning in the 1970s), the strong financial and trade industries have weakened as …
Lecithin See: Soybean.
Lederberg, Joshua (1925– ), U.S. geneticist awarded (with G.W.
Lederman, Leon Max (1922– ), U.S. physicist who was part of a team that won the 1988 Nobel Prize.
Lee, Charles (1731–82), American major general in the Revolutionary War.
Lee, Francis Lightfoot (1734–97), American patriot and revolutionary leader.
Lee, Harper (1926– ), U.S. author whose only novel, To Kill A Mockingbird (1960), won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
Lee, Henry (1756–1818), American cavalry officer in the Revolutionary War (known as “Light Horse Harry”) and father of Confederate Civil War general Robert E.
Lee Kuan Yew (1923– ), prime minister of Singapore 1959–90.
Lee, Richard Henry (1732–94), American Revolutionary statesman.
Lee, Robert Edward (1807–70), U.S. general and commander of the Confederate Army in the Civil War. His father, Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee, was a noted cavalry leader during the Revolutionary War, and 2 other Lees were among the signers of the Declaration of Independence. During the Mexican War (1846–48), Lee served brilliantly on the headquarters staff. After the war…
Lee Teng-hui (1923– ), Taiwanese president (1990– ), became interim president of Taiwan in 1988 as a result of the death of President Chiang Kai-shek.
Leech, annelid (segmented) worm (class Hirudinea) with a prominent attachment sucker at the posterior end and another sucker around the mouth.
Leechee See: Litchi.
Leeds (pop. 721,800), city in western Yorkshire, northern England.
Leek (Allium porrum), relative of the onion, originating in the Middle East.
Leeuwenhoek, Anton van (1632–1723), Dutch microscopist who made important observations of capillaries, red blood corpuscles, and sperm.
Leeward Islands, chain of about 15 islands and many islets in the West Indies, northernmost group of the Lesser Antilles.
Legion, principal unit of the Roman army, having between 3,000 and 6,000 infantry with attached cavalry.
Legion, American See: American Legion.
Legion, Foreign See: Foreign Legion.
Legionnaires' disease, severe lung infection. Legionnaires' disease appeared in 1976 when 182 delegates attending an annual convention of the American Legion in Philadelphia contracted a severe respiratory infection. Of 147 of those hospitalized, 90% developed pneumonia and 29 died. All had stayed in, or visited, the same hotel during the 4-day convention. Five months later, t…
Legislature, representative assembly empowered to enact, revise, or repeal the laws or statutes of a community.
Legume, any of nearly 17,000 species of plant of the pulse or pea family (Leguminosae) including peas, beans, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts, fodder plants such as clover, alfalfa, and cowpeas, and hardwoods such as ebony, locust, mahogany, and rosewood.
Lehár, Franz (1870–1948), Hungarian composer of Viennese-style light opera.
Lehmann, Lotte (1888–1976), German-born U.S. soprano.
Lehmbruck, Wilhelm (1881–1919), German sculptor noted for his images of pathos and heroism of spirit.
Lehn, Jean-Marie (1939– ), French chemist and university professor who was part of a team that won the 1987 Nobel Prize for chemistry.
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm von (1646–1716), German philosopher, historian, jurist, geologist, and mathematician, codiscoverer of the calculus, and author of the theory of monads.
Leicester (pop. 285,400); important historic and industrial city in central England known for hosiery, shoes and machinery products.
Leicester, Robert Dudley, Earl of (1532–88), favorite of Elizabeth I of England.
Leiden, or Leyden (pop. 115,400), city in western Netherlands, center for science and light industry, particularly printing and textiles.
Leipzig (pop. 507,800), city in eastern Germany, former capital of Leipzig district.
Lemming, Arctic rodent, about 3–6 in (7–15 cm) in length, closely related to the vole.
Lemon (Citrus limon), small evergreen tree that produces sour yellow fruits that are rich in vitamin C.
Lemur, family of cat-sized primates found only on Madagascar and small islands nearby, related to primitive ancestors of the whole primate group of monkeys and apes.
Lend-lease, program by which the United States sent aid to the Allies in World War II, during and after neutrality.
Lendl, Ivan (1960– ), Czechoslovakian-born U.S. tennis player.
Lenin, V.I. (1870–1924), Russian revolutionary, founder of the Bolshevik (later Communist) Party, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, and founder of the Soviet state. Born Vladimir llyich Ulyanov, Lenin became a revolutionary after his older brother was executed (1887) on charges of plotting to assassinate the tsar. By then a follower of the ideas of Karl Marx, Lenin was arrested an…
Leningrad (pop. 4,468,000), second largest city and chief port of the RF, on the Gulf of Finland, and former Russian capital (as St. Petersburg, 1712–1914, and Petrograd, 1914–24). It was founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter I (Peter the Great). Linked by its port with western Europe, it rapidly became a cultural and commercial center. Industrial expansion during the 19th century was follow…
Lennon, John (1940–1980), rock musician, a founding member of the Beatles.
Lenoir, Jean Joseph Étienne (1822–1900), French inventor.
Lens, transparent substance, usually glass, having 2 opposite surfaces, either both curved or one curved and one straight, used for refraction, (changing the direction of light rays).
Lent (from Old English lencten, “spring”), period of 40 days dedicated by Christians to penitential prayer and fasting as a preparation for Easter.
Lentil (Lens culinaris), leguminous plant grown in warm parts of the Old World.
Lenya, Lotte (1900–81), Austrian-born U.S. singer and actress.
Leo, name of 13 popes. Saint Leo I (c. 400–461), an Italian, r. 440–461. Called “the Great,” he suppressed heresy and established his authority in both the West and East. He persuaded the barbarian leaders Attila (in 452) and Genseric (in 455) not to destroy Rome. Saint Leo III (d. 816), a Roman, r. 795–816. He crowned Charlemagne “Emperor of the Romans…
Leonard, Sugar Ray (Ray Charles Leonard; 1956– ), U.S. boxer.
Leonardo da Vinci See: Da Vinci, Leonardo.
Leoncavallo, Ruggiero (1858–1919), Italian opera composer.
Leonidas I (d.480 B.C.), king of Sparta.
Leopard (Panthera pardus), big cat similar to the jaguar, with a yellow coat marked with black rosettes, or with black fur (the panther).
Leopard cat See: Ocelot.
Leopardi, Giacomo (1798–1837), Italian poet and philosopher, foremost writer of his time.
Leopold, Aldo (1886–1948), American outdoors enthusiast, naturalist, and conservationist.
Lepidoptera See: Butterfly; Moth.
Leprosy, or Hansen's disease, chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae and chiefly found in tropical zones.
Lepton, one of the 4 classes of elementary particles (the others are bosons, measons, and baryons).
Lerner, Alan Jay (1918–86), U.S. lyricist and dramatist.
Lesbos, Greek island in the Aegean Sea, near Turkey.
Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, hereditary metabolic disorder, affecting the central nervous system.
Lesotho (formerly Basutoland), land-locked kingdom surrounded by, and economically dependent on, the Republic of South Africa. Part of the great plateau of South Africa, Lesotho lies mainly between 8,000 ft (2,439 m) and 11,000 ft (3,353 m). In the east and the north is the Drakensberg mountain range. The chief rivers are the Orange River and its tributaries. Annual rainfall averages less than 30 …
Lespedeza, any of a genus (Lespedeza) of shrublike plants and herbs characterized by 3-parted leaves and smooth edges.
Lesseps, Ferdinand Marie de (1805–95), French diplomat and engineer who conceived the idea for the Suez Canal.
Lessing, Doris (1919– ), British novelist, raised in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), who has dealt perceptively with the struggles of intellectual women for political, sexual, and artistic integrity.
Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim (1729–81), German playwright, critic, and philosopher.
Lethe (Greek, “forgetfulness”), in Greek mythology, river in Hades.
Lettuce, popular garden plant (genus Lactuca) of the composite family.
Leucippus (c.400 B.C.), Greek philosopher who developed the theory of atomism (from Greek atamos, “uncuttable”).
Leukemia, common name for any of various cancerous diseases of the blood or bone marrow, characterized by malignant proliferation of white blood cells.
Leutze, Emanuel Gottlieb (1816–68), U.S. historical painter.
Lever, simplest type of machine, consisting of a rigid beam supported at a stationary point (the fulcrum) so that a force applied to one point of the beam can shift a load at another point.
Levi-Montalcini, Rita (1909– ), U.S. scientist, shared the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine (1986) with Stanley Cohen for their discovery (1952–53) of a natural substance that stimulates the growth of nerve cells.
Levine, James (1943– ), U.S. pianist and conductor.
Levites, in ancient Israel, tribe descended from Levi, son of Jacob.
Leviticus, book of the Old Testament, third of the 5 books of the Pentateuch, traditionally ascribed to Moses.
Lewis, C(live) S(taples) (1898–1963), British author, literary scholar, and defender of Christianity.
Lewis and Clark expedition, first overland expedition to the northwest Pacific coast (1804–06), under the command of Meriwether Lewis (1774–1809) and William Clark (1770–1838), with Sacagawea, the Native American wife of an expedition member, acting as interpreter and guide.
Lewis, Francis (1713–1802), New York delegate to the Continental Congress (1774–79) and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Lewis, John L. (1880–1969), U.S. labor leader, president of the United Mine Workers of America, 1920–60.
Lewis, Meriwether (1774–1809), American explorer and commander of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which penetrated to the Northwest Pacific coast 1803–06.
Lewis, Sinclair (1885–1951), U.S. novelist, best known for 5 novels presenting a devastatingly critical view of life in the Middle West.
Lewis, Wyndham (1882–1957), controversial English painter, critic, and writer, the founder of the vorticism movement, which simplified forms into machinelike angularity.
Lewiston (pop. 88,141), second largest city in Maine, first settled in 1770.
Lexington (pop. 348,428), second largest city in Kentucky, in the bluegrass region in the north central part of the state.
Lexington, Battle of See: Revolutionary War in America.
Leyden See: Leiden.
Leyden jar, simplest and earliest form of capacitor, a device for storing electric charge, developed at the University of Leiden, Holland, in the 18th century.
Lhasa (pop. 105,900), capital and largest city of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.
Lhasa apso, small dog, 10 in (25 cm) high, that originated in Tibet as a watchdog.
Li Bo, Li Po, or Li Bai (A.D. 701–762), considered one of China's foremost poets.
Liège (pop. 195,400), city and cultural center on the Meuse River in eastern, French-speaking Belgium.
Liana, any climbing vine with roots in the ground, most often found in tropical forests.
Libel, false and malicious statement in permanent form, such as in writing or on film, tending to injure the reputation of a living person, or blacken the memory of the dead.
Liberal Party, British political party, powerful from about 1832 to 1922.
Liberal Republican Party, U.S. political party formed in 1872, during the administration of President Ulysses S.
Liberalism, political philosophy that stresses individual liberty and equality of opportunity.
Liberia, independent republic on the west coast of Africa, with a land area slightly larger than the state of Ohio. It has a coastline of over 300 mi (483 km) on the Atlantic Ocean. Liberia is the oldest republic in Africa. It originated from the efforts of American philanthropists who in 1822 organized the first settlement of freed American black slaves near the place where the capital, Monrovia,…
Libertarian Party, U.S. political party that upholds the unfettered right of private property and a laissez-faire, free-market economy, and opposes restrictions on individual rights.
Liberty Bell, historic bell housed near Independence Hall, Philadelphia.
Liberty Island, in New York Bay, it is the home of the Statue of Liberty.
Liberty Party, antislavery political party founded in 1839 by James G.
Library, collection of books, manuscripts, films, musical recordings, and other materials arranged in convenient order for use but not for sale. The earliest libraries were kept by the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia; inscribed clay tablets have been found going back to about 3500 B.C. The first public library in Greece was established in 330 B.C. The most famous library of the ancient world was be…
Library of Congress, U.S. national library located east of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Libya, independent Arab republic in North Africa, consisting of 10 administrative divisions that occupy an area of 685,524 sq mi (1,775,500 sq km). Less than 10% of Libya's land is fertile, most of the remainder being part of the Sahara Desert. The exploitation of oil resources (discovered in the late 1950s) provides the wealth that is transforming Libya from a poor peasant nation in…
Lichee See: Litchi.
Lichen, name given to plants that consist of algae living in association with fungi.
Lichtenstein, Roy (1923–97), U.S. painter prominent in the Pop Art movement of the early 1960s.
Licorice, European herb (Glycyrrhiza glabra) with blue flowers and lemon yellow roots that contain a juice used as a flavoring.
Lidice (pop. 500), village in the northwestern Czech Republic.
Lidocaine, drug used as a local or block anesthetic, which bars pain in specific areas of the body.
Lie, Trygve (1896–1968), Norwegian political leader, first secretary-general of the United Nations, 1946–53.
Liechtenstein, European principality in the Alps, between Switzerland and Austria.
Life, despite the lack of any generally accepted definition of life, physiologists regard as living any system capable of eating, metabolizing, excreting, breathing, moving, growing, and reproducing, and able to respond to external stimuli.
Life expectancy, number of years a person in a particular population group is expected to live, based on actuarial calculations.
Ligament, band of strong fibrous tissue connecting bones at a joint or serving to hold body organs in place.
Light, the portion of electromagnetic radiation that the human eye can see. To be seen, light must have a wavelength between 400 and 750 nanometers, a range known as the visible spectrum. The eye recognizes light of different wavelengths as being of different colors, the shorter wavelengths forming the blue end of the visible spectrum, the longer the red. The term light is also applied to radiatio…
Light bulb See: Edison, Thomas Alva; Electric light.
Light, invisible See: Infrared rays; Ultraviolet rays.
Light meter, device that measures the intensity of light.
Lighthouse, tower with a light at its head, erected on or near a coast or on a rock in the sea, as a warning to ships.
Lightning, discharge of atmospheric electricity resulting in a flash of light in the sky.
Lightning bug See: Firefly.
Lignum vitae, either of 2 species (Guaiacum officinale and G. sanctum) of flowering evergreen tree of the West Indies, Mexico, and Florida.
Ligurian Sea, portion of the Mediterranean Sea enclosed by the Italian regions of Liguria and Tuscany in the north and east and the French island of Corsica in the south.
Lilac, shrub or small tree (genus Syringa) whose pyramids of small, sweet-scented flowers cap heart-shaped leaves.