Category Archives: HISTORY

The baby who provoked a revolution

The baby who provoked a revolution

The birth of a male heir to James II of England made possible a permanent Catholic dynasty. Several Protestants echoed Mary and Anne’s doubts that the baby had been smuggled into the bedchamber in the warming pan in front of over forty witnesses — not all of whom were ‘papists’. In order to prevent a Catholic succession, seven Protestant nobles invited William, Prince of Orange to invade the country. Mary backed her husband against her father.

Red Indians and how to tame them

Red Indians and how to tame them

The Elizabethans’ colonial voyages brought them into contact with a people very different level of civilisation from their own—the ‘Indians’ of the New World, as is illustrated by the account written in 1588 by Thomas Harriot  1, the eminent mathematician, astronomer and explorer.

  1. Thomas Harriot (Oxford, ca. 1560 – London, 2 July 1621) — or spelled Harriott, Hariot, or Heriot — was an English astronomer, mathematician, ethnographer, and translator. He is sometimes credited with the introduction of the potato to the British Isles. Harriot was the first person to make a drawing of the Moon through a telescope, on 26 July 1609, over four months before Galileo. After graduating from St Mary Hall, Oxford, Harriot travelled to the Americas, accompanying the 1585 expedition to Roanoke island funded by Sir Walter Raleigh and led by Sir Ralph Lane. Harriot was a vital member of the venture, having translated and learned the Carolina Algonquian language from two Native Americans, Wanchese and Manteo. On his return to England he worked for the 9th Earl of Northumberland. At the Earl’s house, he became a prolific mathematician and astronomer to whom the theory of refraction is attributed.

Mormons in search of Promised Land, 1846-69

Mormons in search of Promised Land, 1846-69

The Mormons have been described as the most systematic, organised, disciplined and successful pioneers in American history. For over 20 years they were one of the main forces driving the settlement of the America West. The Mormons were remarkable also in migrating as a whole community, unlike the individualists and opportunists who made up the majority of the settlers of the West.

‘Alien’ citizens in the Medieval England

‘Alien’ citizens in the Medieval England

Thousands of foreigners poured into England in the Middle Ages. Similar like today, they have been attracted to England by job opportunities or possibility to study. Finding these everyday immigrants is no easy task. The English state had no comprehensive way of regulating immigration in the Middle Ages, and although it is often used the labels ‘denizen’ or ‘alien’, it had no standard means of defining these categories. 

Napoleon Bonaparte’s relatives after he lost power in France

Napoleon Bonaparte’s relatives after he lost power in France

What happened to Napoleon Bonaparte‘s relatives after he lost power in France? They could not stay in France but, perhaps surprisingly, they came to little harm – with the exception of Napoleon’s brother-in-law, Joachim-Napoléon Murat. Murat fled to Corsica after Napoleon’s fall. He was executed in Naples sin 1815. Famously, his last words were: “Soldiers! Do your duty! Straight to the heart but spare the face. Fire!”