History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools. Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. To God I speak Spanish, to women Italian, to men French, and to my […]
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Tis the season to wonder why Christmas is celebrated when it is. The unfortunate answer is that we don’t really know, and with no consistent clues in the Bible, all we have is speculation. Thankfully, we do at least know who declared 25th December as Christ’s birthday.
Read More Who Decided that Christmas Would be Celebrated on 25th December?
Sometimes, forgettable incidents in history refuse to bow down and be overlooked. One way this happens is when the seriousness of the incident is pushed aside by a silly but memorable title. Enter the Pastry War of the 1830s. Otherwise known as the First Franco-Mexican War – but who would have remembered that? – this […]
Read More This Week in History: The Pastry War Breaks Out
William Crockford was born in 1776, in a run-down area of London called Temple Bar. His father was a fishmonger, like his father before him, and Crockford carried on in the trade for a while. This being the 1700s, and his family being dirt-poor, he was given very little education. By every imaginable standard, he […]
Read More How an illiterate fishmonger became king of London’s gambling scene
This week, over 150 years ago, the United States Congress passed legislation that declared the Civil War was being fought over the reunion of the states, not to abolish slavery.
Read More This Week in History: Congress Declares the Civil War has Nothing to do With Slavery
Wang Mang was born in 45 BCE to an incredibly elite family that had married into the Chinese imperial lineage so successfully his cousin was the emperor by the time he was a teenager. Mang was determined and ruthless, and he wanted the throne for himself. He murdered the 13-year-old emperor in 5 CE and […]
Read More China’s Controversial Socialist Emperor
Almost 250 years ago this week, morning turned to night for the states of New England as darkness descended. New Englanders had noticed something seemed wrong in the days building up to May 19th, 1780. The sky had appeared yellow, and the sun had turned blood red. But that was nothing compared to what happened […]
Read More This Week in History: New England Goes Dark
Thor Heyerdahl was a man who lived for excitement. At the age of 22, he sailed to the volcanic Marquesas islands. Less than a decade later, he was fighting Nazis with the Free Norwegian Forces. But it was his long-held belief in an ancient link between South America and Polynesia that got him fired up […]
Read More The Adventurers who Crossed Half the Pacific in a Raft
This week, American millionaire and amateur golfer Eben Byers died after drinking radioactive water for years.
Read More This Week in History: Golfer who Drank 1,400 Bottles of Radioactive Water Dies