The History Portal
Historia by Nikolaos Gyzis
History (from Greek ἱστορία, historia, meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term comprising past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of these events. Historians seek knowledge of the past using historical sources such as written documents, oral accounts, art and material artifacts, and ecological markers.
History also includes the academic discipline which uses narrative to describe, examine, question, and analyze past events, and investigate their patterns of cause and effect. Historians often debate which narrative best explains an event, as well as the significance of different causes and effects. Historians also debate the nature of history as an end in itself, as well as its usefulness to give perspective on the problems of the present.
Stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources (such as the tales surrounding King Arthur), are usually classified as cultural heritage or legends. History differs from myth in that it is supported by evidence. However, ancient cultural influences have helped spawn variant interpretations of the nature of history which have evolved over the centuries and continue to change today. The modern study of history is wide-ranging, and includes the study of specific regions and the study of certain topical or thematic elements of historical investigation. History is often taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies.
Herodotus, a 5th-century BC Greek historian, is often considered the "father of history" in the Western tradition, although he has also been criticized as the "father of lies". Along with his contemporary Thucydides, he helped form the foundations for the modern study of past events and societies. Their works continue to be read today, and the gap between the culture-focused Herodotus and the military-focused Thucydides remains a point of contention or approach in modern historical writing. In East Asia, a state chronicle, the Spring and Autumn Annals, was reputed to date from as early as 722 BC, although only 2nd-century BC texts have survived. (Full article...)
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The Zong massacre was a mass killing of more than 130 enslaved Africans by the crew of the British slave ship Zong on and in the days following 29 November 1781. The William Gregson slave-trading syndicate, based in Liverpool, owned the ship and sailed her in the Atlantic slave trade. As was common business practice, they had taken out insurance on the lives of the enslaved people as cargo. According to the crew, when the ship ran low on drinking water following navigational mistakes, the crew threw enslaved people overboard.
After the slave ship reached port at Black River, Jamaica, Zong's owners made a claim to their insurers for the loss of the enslaved people. When the insurers refused to pay, the resulting court cases (Gregson v Gilbert (1783) 3 Doug. KB 232) held that in some circumstances, the murder of enslaved people was legal and that insurers could be required to pay for those who had died. The jury found for the slavers, but at a subsequent appeal hearing the judges, led by Lord Chief Justice, the Earl of Mansfield, ruled against the syndicate owners, due to new evidence that suggested the captain and crew were at fault. (Full article...)
- "Daisy", sometimes referred to as "Daisy Girl" or "Peace, Little Girl", was a controversial political advertisement that aired on television as part of the Lyndon B. Johnson's 1964 presidential campaign. Though officially aired only once, it is considered one of the most important factors in Johnson's landslide victory over the Republican Party's candidate, Barry Goldwater, and a turning point in political and advertising history. A partnership between the Doyle Dane Bernbach agency and Tony Schwartz created the "Daisy" advertisement, designed to broadcast Johnson's anti-war and anti-nuclear positions. Goldwater was against the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and suggested the use of nuclear weapons in the Vietnam War, if necessary. The Johnson campaign used Goldwater's speeches to imply he would wage a nuclear war.
The commercial begins with three-year-old Monique Corzilius standing in a meadow, picking the petals of a daisy as she counts from one to ten incorrectly. After she reaches "nine", she pauses, and a booming male voice is heard counting the numbers backward from "ten", in a manner similar to the start of a missile launch countdown. A zoom of the video still focuses on the girl's right eye until her pupil fills the screen, which is then replaced by the flash and sound of a nuclear explosion. A voice-over by Johnson states emphatically "These are the stakes! To make a world in which all of God's children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die." (Full article...)
Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan ibn al-Hakam (Arabic: عبد الملك ابن مروان ابن الحكم, romanized: ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam; July/August 644 or June/July 647 – 9 October 705) was the fifth Umayyad caliph, ruling from April 685 until his death. A member of the first generation of born Muslims, his early life in Medina was occupied with pious pursuits. He held administrative and military posts under Caliph Mu'awiya I (r. 661–680), founder of the Umayyad Caliphate, and his own father, Caliph Marwan I (r. 684–685). By the time of Abd al-Malik's accession, Umayyad authority had collapsed across the Caliphate as a result of the Second Muslim Civil War and had been reconstituted in Syria and Egypt during his father's reign.
Following a failed invasion of Iraq in 686, Abd al-Malik focused on securing Syria before making further attempts to conquer the greater part of the Caliphate from his principal rival, the Mecca-based caliph Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr. To that end, he concluded an unfavorable truce with the reinvigorated Byzantine Empire in 689, quashed a coup attempt in Damascus by his kinsman, al-Ashdaq, the following year, and reincorporated into the army the rebellious Qaysi tribes of the Jazira (Upper Mesopotamia) in 691. He then conquered Zubayrid Iraq and dispatched his general, al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, to Mecca where he killed Ibn al-Zubayr in late 692, thereby reuniting the Caliphate under Abd al-Malik's rule. The war with Byzantium resumed, resulting in Umayyad advances into Anatolia and Armenia, the destruction of Carthage and the recapture of Kairouan, the launchpad for the later conquests of western North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, in 698. In the east, Abd al-Malik's viceroy, al-Hajjaj, firmly established the caliph's authority in Iraq and Khurasan, stamping out opposition by the Kharijites and the Arab tribal nobility by 702. Abd al-Malik's final years were marked by a domestically peaceful and prosperous consolidation of power. (Full article...)
SMS Schwaben ("His Majesty's Ship Swabia") was the fourth ship of the Wittelsbach class of pre-dreadnought battleships of the German Imperial Navy. Schwaben was built at the Imperial Dockyard in Wilhelmshaven. She was laid down in 1900, and completed in April 1904. Her sister ships were Wittelsbach, Zähringen, Wettin and Mecklenburg; they were the first capital ships built under the Navy Law of 1898, championed by Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz. Schwaben was armed with a main battery of four 24-centimeter (9.4 in) guns and had a top speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph).
Schwaben spent most of her career as a gunnery training ship from 1904 to 1914, though she frequently participated in the large scale fleet exercises during this period. After the start of World War I in August 1914, the ship was mobilized with her sisters as IV Battle Squadron. She saw limited duty in the North Sea as a guard ship and in the Baltic Sea against Russian forces. The threat from British submarines forced the ship to withdraw from the Baltic in 1916. For the remainder of the war, Schwaben served as an engineering training ship for navy cadets. She was retained by the Reichsmarine after the war and reactivated from 1919 until June 1920, serving as a depot ship for F-type minesweepers in the Baltic. The ship was stricken from the navy list in March 1921 and sold for scrapping in that year. (Full article...)
Regulamentul Organic (Romanian: [reɡulaˈmentul orˈɡanik], Organic Regulation; French: Règlement Organique; Russian: Органический регламент, romanized: Organichesky reglament) was a quasi-constitutional organic law enforced in 1831–1832 by the Imperial Russian authorities in Moldavia and Wallachia (the two Danubian Principalities that were to become the basis of the modern Romanian state). The document partially confirmed the traditional government (including rule by the hospodars) and set up a common Russian protectorate which lasted until 1854. The Regulamentul itself remained in force until 1858. Conservative in its scope, it also engendered a period of unprecedented reforms which provided a setting for the Westernization of the local society. The Regulamentul offered the two Principalities their first common system of government. (Full article...)
SMS Braunschweig was the first of five pre-dreadnought battleships of the Braunschweig class built for the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy). She was laid down in October 1901, launched in December 1902, and commissioned in October 1904. She was named after the Duchy of Brunswick (German: Braunschweig). The ship was armed with a battery of four 28 cm (11 in) guns and had a top speed of 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph). Like all other pre-dreadnoughts built at the turn of the century, Braunschweig was quickly made obsolete by the launching of the revolutionary HMS Dreadnought in 1906; as a result, her career as a front-line battleship was cut short.
The ship served in II Squadron of the German fleet after entering service. During this period, she was occupied with extensive annual training, as well as making good-will visits to foreign countries. She also served as a flagship for most of her pre-war career. Surpassed by new dreadnought battleships, Braunschweig was decommissioned in 1913, but reactivated a year later following the outbreak of World War I. She was assigned to IV Battle Squadron, which operated in both the North Sea, protecting the German coast, and the Baltic Sea, where it opposed the Russian Baltic Fleet. Braunschweig saw action during the Battle of the Gulf of Riga in August 1915, when she engaged the Russian battleship Slava. (Full article...)
- The British farthing (derived from the Old English feorthing, a fourth part) was a British coin worth a quarter of an old penny (1⁄960 of a pound sterling). It ceased to be struck after 1956 and was demonetised from 1 January 1961.
The British farthing is a continuation of the English farthing, struck by English monarchs prior to the Act of Union 1707 which unified the crowns of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain. Only pattern farthings were struck under Queen Anne as there was a glut of farthings from previous reigns. The coin was struck intermittently under George I and George II, but by the reign of George III, counterfeits were so prevalent the Royal Mint ceased striking copper coinage after 1775. The next farthings were the first struck by steam power, in 1799 by Matthew Boulton at his Soho Mint under licence. Boulton coined more in 1806, and the Royal Mint resumed production in 1821. The farthing was struck fairly regularly under George IV and William IV. By then it carried a scaled-down version of the penny's design, and would continue to mirror the penny and halfpenny until after 1936. (Full article...)
Marcian (//; Latin: Marcianus; Greek: Μαρκιανός Markianós; c. 392 – 27 January 457) was Roman emperor of the East from 450 to 457. Very little of his life before becoming emperor is known, other than that he was a domesticus (personal assistant) who served under the commanders Ardabur and his son Aspar for fifteen years. After the death of Emperor Theodosius II on 28 July 450, Marcian was made a candidate for the throne by Aspar, who held much influence because of his military power. After a month of negotiations Pulcheria, Theodosius' sister, agreed to marry Marcian. Zeno, a military leader whose influence was similar to Aspar's, may have been involved in these negotiations, as he was given the high-ranking court title of patrician upon Marcian's accession. Marcian was elected and inaugurated on 25 August 450.
Marcian reversed many of the actions of Theodosius II in the Eastern Roman Empire's relationship with the Huns under Attila and in religious matters. Marcian almost immediately revoked all treaties with Attila, ending all subsidy payments to him. In 452, while Attila was raiding Italy, then a part of the Western Roman Empire, Marcian launched expeditions across the Danube into the Great Hungarian Plain, defeating the Huns in their own heartland. This action, accompanied by the famine and plague that broke out in northern Italy, allowed the Western Roman Empire to bribe Attila into retreating from the Italian peninsula. (Full article...)
Lieutenant General Sir Stanley George Savige, (26 June 1890 – 15 May 1954) was an Australian Army soldier and officer who served in the First World War and Second World War.
In March 1915, after the outbreak of the First World War, Savige enlisted in the First Australian Imperial Force. He served in the ranks during the Gallipoli Campaign, and received a commission. He later served on the Western Front, where he was twice recommended for the Military Cross for bravery. In 1918, he joined Dunsterforce and served in the Caucasus Campaign, during which he was instrumental in protecting thousands of Assyrian refugees. He subsequently wrote a book, Stalky's Forlorn Hope, about his experiences. After the war he played a key role in the establishment of Legacy Australia, the war widows and orphans benefit fund. (Full article...)
Wesley Kanne Clark (born December 23, 1944) is a former United States Army officer. He graduated as valedictorian of the class of 1966 at West Point and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford, where he obtained a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He later graduated from the Command and General Staff College with a master's degree in military science. He spent 34 years in the U.S. Army, receiving many military decorations, several honorary knighthoods, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Clark commanded Operation Allied Force during the Kosovo War during his term as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000. (Full article...)
SMS Derfflinger was a battlecruiser of the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) built in the early 1910s during the Anglo-German naval arms race. She was the lead ship of her class of three ships; her sister ships were Lützow and Hindenburg. The Derfflinger-class battlecruisers were larger and featured significant improvements over the previous German battlecruisers, carrying larger guns in a more efficient superfiring arrangement. Derfflinger was armed with a main battery of eight 30.5 cm (12 in) guns, compared to the 28 cm (11 in) guns of earlier battlecruisers. She had a top speed of 26.5 knots (49.1 km/h; 30.5 mph) and carried heavy protection, including a 30-centimeter (11.8 in) thick armored belt.
Derfflinger was completed shortly after the outbreak of World War I in 1914; after entering service, she joined the other German battlecruisers in I Scouting Group of the High Seas Fleet, where she served for the duration of the conflict. As part of this force, she took part in numerous operations in the North Sea, including the Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby in December 1914, the Battle of Dogger Bank in January 1915, and the Bombardment of Yarmouth and Lowestoft in April 1916. These operations culminated in the Battle of Jutland on 31 May – 1 June 1916, where Derfflinger helped to sink the British battlecruisers HMS Queen Mary and Invincible. Derfflinger was seriously damaged in the action and was out of service for repairs for several months afterward. (Full article...)
Air Marshal Sir Peter Roy Maxwell Drummond, (2 June 1894 – 27 March 1945) was an Australian-born senior commander in the Royal Air Force (RAF). He rose from private soldier in World War I to air marshal in World War II. Drummond enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1914 and the following year saw service as a medical orderly during the Gallipoli campaign. He joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1916 and became a fighter ace in the Middle Eastern theatre, where he was awarded the Military Cross and the Distinguished Service Order and Bar. Transferring to the RAF on its formation in 1918, he remained in the British armed forces for the rest of his life.
Between the wars, Drummond saw action in the Sudan—earning appointment as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire—and was posted to Australia on secondment to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Director of Operations and Intelligence. In Britain, he commanded RAF stations Tangmere and Northolt. Ranked air commodore at the outbreak of World War II, he was Air Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder's Deputy Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief RAF Middle East from 1941 to 1943. Drummond was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1941 for his services in the Middle East, and knighted in the same order two years later. He was twice offered command of the RAAF during the war but the RAF was unwilling to release him to take up the position. Britain's Air Member for Training from 1943, Drummond was killed in a plane crash at sea in 1945. (Full article...)
John Adair (January 9, 1757 – May 19, 1840) was an American pioneer, soldier, and politician. He was the eighth Governor of Kentucky and represented the state in both the U.S. House and Senate. A native of South Carolina, Adair enlisted in the state militia and served in the Revolutionary War, during which he was twice captured and held as a prisoner of war by the British. Following the War, he was elected as a delegate to South Carolina's convention to ratify the United States Constitution.
After moving to Kentucky in 1786, Adair participated in the Northwest Indian War, including a skirmish with the Miami Chief Little Turtle near Fort St. Clair in 1792. Popular for his service in two wars, he entered politics in 1792 as a delegate to Kentucky's constitutional convention. Adair was elected to a total of eight terms in the state House of Representatives between 1793 and 1803. He served as Speaker of the Kentucky House in 1802 and 1803, and was a delegate to the state's Second Constitutional Convention in 1799. He ascended to the United States Senate to fill the seat vacated when John Breckinridge resigned to become Attorney General of the United States in the Cabinet of Thomas Jefferson, but failed to win a full term in the subsequent election due to his implication in a treason conspiracy involving Vice President Aaron Burr. After a long legal battle, he was acquitted of any wrongdoing; and his accuser, General James Wilkinson, was ordered to issue an apology. The negative publicity kept him out of politics for more than a decade. (Full article...)
Pepi I Meryre (also Pepy I) was an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh, third king of the Sixth Dynasty of Egypt, who ruled for over 40 years at the turn of the 24th and 23rd centuries BC, toward the end of the Old Kingdom period. He was the son of Teti, the founder of the dynasty and ascended the throne only after the brief intervening reign of the shadowy Userkare. His mother was Iput, who may have been a daughter of Unas, the final ruler of the preceding Fifth Dynasty. Pepi I, who had at least six consorts, was succeeded by his son Merenre Nemtyemsaf I, with whom he may have shared power in a coregency at the very end of his reign. Pepi II Neferkare, who might also have been Pepi I's son, succeeded Merenre.
Several difficulties accumulated during Pepi's reign, beginning with the possible murder of his father and the ensuing reign of Userkare. Later, probably after his twentieth year of reign, Pepi faced a harem conspiracy hatched by one of his consorts who may have tried to have her son designated heir to the throne, and possibly another conspiracy involving his vizier at the end of his reign. Confronted with the protracted decline of pharaonic power at the expense of the emerging dynasties of local officials, Pepi reacted with a vast architectural program involving the construction of temples dedicated to local gods and numerous chapels for his own cult throughout Egypt, reinforcing his presence in the provinces. Egypt's prosperity allowed Pepi to become the most prolific builder of the Old Kingdom. At the same time, Pepi favored the rise of small provincial centres and recruited officials of non-noble extraction to curtail the influence of powerful local families. Continuing Teti's policy, Pepi expanded a network of warehouses accessible to royal envoys and from which taxes and labor could easily be collected. Finally, he buttressed his power after the harem conspiracy by forming alliances with Khui, the provincial nomarch of Abydos, marrying two of his daughters, Ankhesenpepi I and Ankhesenpepi II, and making both Khui's wife Nebet and her son Djau viziers. The Egyptian state's external policy under Pepi comprised military campaigns against Nubia, Sinai and the southern Levant, landing troops on the Levantine coast using Egyptian transport boats. Trade with Byblos, Ebla and the oases of the Western Desert flourished, while Pepi launched mining and quarrying expeditions to Sinai and further afield. (Full article...)
SMS Niobe was the second member of the ten-ship Gazelle class of light cruisers that were built for the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) in the late 1890s and early 1900s. The Gazelle class was the culmination of earlier unprotected cruiser and aviso designs, combining the best aspects of both types in what became the progenitor of all future light cruisers of the Imperial fleet. Built to be able to serve with the main German fleet and as a colonial cruiser, she was armed with a battery of ten 10.5 cm (4.1 in) guns and a top speed of 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph). The ship had a long career, serving in all three German navies, along with the Yugoslav and Italian fleets over the span of more than forty years.
Niobe served in both home and overseas waters in the Imperial Navy, serving in a variety of roles, including as a flotilla leader for torpedo boats, as a scout for the main fleet, and as a station ship with the East Asia Squadron. After the outbreak of World War I, the ship joined the vessels tasked with defending Germany's North Sea coast. By late 1915, she was withdrawn from active service and used as a headquarters ship for various commands. She was disarmed in 1917, but as one of the cruisers permitted to the postwar Reichsmarine (Navy of the Realm) by the Treaty of Versailles, she was modernized and rearmed in the early 1920s. (Full article...)
- The Rhodes Colossus is an iconic editorial cartoon of the Scramble for Africa period, depicting British colonialist Cecil John Rhodes as a giant standing over the continent, after his announcement of plans to extend an electrical telegraph line from Cape Town to Cairo. Rhodes is shown in a visual pun as the ancient Greek statue the Colossus of Rhodes, with his right foot in Cape Town and his left in Cairo, illustrating his broader "Cape to Cairo" concept for British domination of Africa.
- A drawing of the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary (Agnus scythicus), a zoophyte of Central Asia. Botanist Henry Lee described it as both a true animal and a living plant, although he did allow for the possibility that the lamb was the fruit of the plant. The lamb was believed to have blood, bones, and flesh like that of a normal lamb. It was connected to the earth by a stem similar to an umbilical cord that propped the lamb up above ground. The cord could flex downward allowing the lamb to feed on the grass and plants surrounding it. Once the plants within reach were eaten, the lamb died, at which point its cotton-like wool would be harvested and used to make textiles.
- The Mayor of Jerusalem Hussein al-Husayni (centre) meets with soldiers of the British Egyptian Expeditionary Force on December 9, 1917, under the white flag of surrender. The Battle of Jerusalem had begun the day before, but the Turkish forces in the city were no match against the British forces. A Turkish counterattack on December 25 was also repulsed, confirming the capture of Jerusalem by the Allies.
- Poster credit: Breuker & Kessler, Co.
- A baseball team composed mostly of child laborers from an Indiana glassmaking factory, as photographed by Lewis Hine in August 1908. Hine (1874–1940) was an American sociologist who promoted the use of photography as an educational medium and means for social change. Beginning in 1908, he spent ten years photographing child labor for the National Child Labor Committee. The project was a dangerous one, and Hine had to disguise himself – at times as a fire inspector, post card vendor, Bible salesman or industrial photographer – to avoid the factory police and foremen.
- An 1899 photochrom showing Temple Square, a 10-acre (4.0 ha) complex located in the center of Salt Lake City, Utah, US. The location is owned by and serves as headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was selected by Church president Brigham Young in 1846. Temple Square is home to several buildings; depicted here are the Salt Lake Temple, Salt Lake Tabernacle and Salt Lake Assembly Hall.
- Machu Picchu, with the peak Huayna Picchu behind it. Perhaps the most famous Inca site, Machu Picchu is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru. It was probably built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti in the 15th century, but abandoned soon after during the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Although known locally, it was unknown to the outside world before being brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham, and it is now an important tourist attraction.
- Map credit: Nicolas de FerA 1691 French map of Kamianets-Podilskyi, Ukraine, depicting the city's old town neighborhood and castle, surrounded by the winding Smotrych River. It was originally part of Kievan Rus' and annexed into the First Polish Republic, but at the time of the map's creation, the city was part of the Ottoman Empire. It shortly returned to Poland and later became part of the Russian Empire with the Second Partition of Poland in 1793.
- The check used for the Alaska Purchase, issued on August 1, 1868, and signed by US Secretary of State William H. Seward. For a total of $7.2 million, the United States government purchased Russian America from the Russian Empire (represented here by Russian Minister to the United States Eduard de Stoeckl). The lands involved became the modern state of Alaska in 1959.
- A color visual interpretation of the digital signal in the Arecibo message, sent in 1974 from the Arecibo Observatory. Broadcast into space via frequency modulated radio waves at a ceremony to mark the remodeling of the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, the message consisted of 1,679 binary digits, approximately 210 bytes, transmitted at a frequency of 2,380 MHz. It was aimed at the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, some 25,000 light-years away, and contains information related to mathematics, chemistry, and astronomy.
- Engraver: George J. Verbeck, after Thérèse van Duyl Schwarze
Restoration: Lise BroerA 1901 etching of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, based on an 1898 painting of her in her coronation robe. Having assumed the throne at the age of ten after the death of her father, King William III, Wilhemina ruled for fifty-eight years (1890–1948), longer than any other Dutch monarch. In 1948 she abdicated in favor of her daughter Juliana, thereafter making few public appearances until the country was devastated by the North Sea flood of 1953.
- A late nineteenth century photo of the partially excavated Great Sphinx of Giza, with the Pyramid of Khafre (left) and the Great Pyramid of Giza (right) behind it. The Sphinx is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom in the reign of the pharaoh Khafra.
- Jews captured by SS and SD troops during the suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising are forced to leave their shelter and march to the Umschlagplatz for deportation. The SD trooper pictured second from the right, is Josef Blösche, who was identified by Polish authorities using this photograph. Blösche was tried for war crimes in Erfurt, East Germany in 1969, sentenced to death and executed in July of that year.
- The Finnish markka was the currency of Finland from 1860 to 2002. The currency was divided into 100 pennies and was first introduced by the Bank of Finland to replace the Russian ruble at a rate of four markkaa to one ruble. The markka was replaced by the euro on 1 January 2002 and ceased to be legal tender on 28 February later that year.
This picture shows a 20-markka banknote issued in 1862, as part of the first issue of markka banknotes (1860 to 1862), for the Grand Duchy of Finland, then an autonomous part of the Russian Empire; 1862 was also the first year of issue for this particular denomination. The banknote's obverse depicts the coat of arms of Finland on a Russian double-headed eagle, and was personally signed by the director and the cashier of the Bank of Finland. The text on the obverse is in Swedish, whereas the reverse is primarily in Russian and Finnish.
- An Iranian astrolabe, handmade from brass by Jacopo Koushan in 2013. Astrolabes are elaborate inclinometers used by astronomers, navigators, and astrologers from classical antiquity, through the Islamic Golden Age and European Middle Ages, until the Renaissance. These could be used for a variety of purposes, including predicting the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars; determining local time given local latitude; surveying; triangulation; calculating the qibla; and finding the times for salat.
Did you know...
- ... that the Soviet Tupolev Tu-142 (pictured) maritime patrol aircraft was developed in response to the American UGM-27 Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missile?
- ... that Harry Powers said that watching his victims die was more fun than a brothel?
- ... that the effort put forth by the subject of Miró's 1937 Naked woman climbing a staircase and her heavy limbs are thought to reflect the tragedy of the Spanish Civil War?
- ... that 49% of German military losses happened in the last 10 months of the Second World War in Europe?
- ... that Thomas Edison lost a fortune in his ore-milling company, but "had a hell of a good time spending it"?
- ... that American McCaull Comic Opera Company actress May Yohé, once the owner of the Hope Diamond, died poor?
- ... that Egyptian political cartoonist Ahmad Nady took part in the 2011 Egyptian revolution, drawing cartoons while he demonstrated?
- ... that finds unearthed at the Israelite Tower in Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter attest to the Babylonian sack of the city in 586 BCE?
Featured biography – show another
Isabeau of Bavaria (or Isabelle; also Elisabeth of Bavaria-Ingolstadt; c. 1370 – September 1435) was queen of France between 1385 and 1422. She was born into the House of Wittelsbach as the only daughter of Duke Stephen III of Bavaria-Ingolstadt and Taddea Visconti of Milan. At age 15 or 16, Isabeau was sent to the young King Charles VI of France; the couple wed three days after their first meeting.Isabeau was honored in 1389 with a lavish coronation ceremony and entry into Paris. In 1392, Charles suffered the first attack of what was to become a lifelong and progressive mental illness, resulting in periodic withdrawal from government. The episodes occurred with increasing frequency, leaving a court both divided by political factions and steeped in social extravagances. A 1393 masque for one of Isabeau's ladies-in-waiting—an event later known as Bal des Ardents—ended in disaster with the King almost burning to death. Although the King demanded Isabeau's removal from his presence during his illness, he consistently allowed her to act on his behalf. In this way she became regent to the Dauphin of France (heir apparent), and sat on the regency council, allowing far more power than was usual for a medieval queen. (Full article...)
On this day
- 1648 – The second treaty of the Peace of Westphalia was signed, ending both the Thirty Years' War and the Dutch Revolt, and officially recognizing the Dutch Republic and the Swiss Confederation as independent states.
- 1795 – As a result of the Third Partition of Poland, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth ceased to exist as an independent state, with its territory divided between Austria, Prussia, and Russia.
- 1889 – Sir Henry Parkes, Premier of the Colony of New South Wales, gave a speech in which he called for the federation of the six Australian colonies.
- 1931 – The George Washington Bridge (pictured), connecting New York City to Fort Lee, New Jersey, and today the world's busiest motor-vehicle bridge, was dedicated.
- 1964 – A military court acquitted generals Dương Văn Đức and Lâm Văn Phát of leading a coup attempt against South Vietnamese leader Nguyễn Khánh.
It is of the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it.— Aristotle, 4th-century Greek philosopher
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