"a prized Belgian racing pigeon named Armando was recently sold for $1.4 million to a Chinese bidder"
Armando is considered the best long-distance racing pigeon "of all time,"
Pigeon racing for money was first recorded in the later years of the Ming Dynasty, which lasted from 1368 to 1644. As the sport became popular, European pigeons were imported to China.
But in the subsequent Qing era, which ended in 1912, it was banned because the nation's rulers feared that organized groups -- even pigeon fanciers -- might get together and plot regime change.