Category Archives: MODERN HISTORY

The Elephants of King George III

The Elephants of King George III


The collection of exotic animals become popular during the reign of Charles III of Spain (1716- 88), and his prized Indian elephants were paraded as symbols of wealth, power and prestige.The interest aroused by these animals and the problems encountered are explored by Carlos Gomez-Centurion in “Treasures Fit for a King: King Charles III of Spain’s Indian Elephants” (“Journal of the History of Collections”, vol 22, no1, OUPI).

Did the Scottish mass-murdering cannibal Sawney Bean actually exist?

Did the Scottish mass-murdering cannibal Sawney Bean actually exist?

According to most accounts, Alexander “Sawney” Bean was a Scottish farm labourer born in about 1530 in Galloway. Soon after his marriage, and for reasons unknown, Sawney and his wife moved to live in the Bennane Cave. This cavern is over 200 metres deep and the entrance is covered by the sea at high tide. From this lair Bean ventured out to ambush, murder and rob unwary travellers. The bodies were brought back to the cave where they were butchered and eaten. Thus no evidence of the crimes was left.

Public transport under Tudors and Stuarts

Public transport under Tudors and Stuarts

The public transport at the beginning of 17th century was almost non-existent. If you wanted to risk your life, you could take a ferry across or along the Thames in London, but the watermen were notoriously rude, the river was effectively an open sewer, and the boats occasionally sank. Rich people had horses to ride and carriages to be carried in, but everyone else had to walk. All that was to change in 1643, when a Captain Baily, who had once sailed in the fleet of Sir Walter Ralegh, launched a fleet of his own.

On this day: King Phillip’s War was ended

On this day: King Phillip’s War was ended

King Philip’s War of 1675-1676 was a predictable Indian rebellion against continuing Puritan incursions into Native American lands. Though Indian attacks were vicious, they were no more so than those the Puritans had waged with less provocation.

In May of 1637, several hundred recent Connecticut Valley settlers led by English Captain John Mason, formerly of Boston’s Dorchester settlement, surprised and torched a Pequot village while its warriors were absent. The Puritans surrounded the village and shot hundreds of women, old men and children attempting to escape the flames.

Victoria Kaʻiulani, Princess of The Lost Empire

Victoria Kaʻiulani, Princess of The Lost Empire

Victoria Kaʻiulani Kalaninuiahilapalapa Kawēkiu i Lunalilo Cleghorn (1875–1899) was heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and held the title of crown princess. Kaʻiulani became known throughout the world for her intelligence, beauty and determination. Her royal status, talent and double-ancestry (Hawaiian-Scottish) kept her frequently in the press of the day, and newspaper accounts of her comings and goings throughout her life are extensive, often parallel or interconnected with those of Queen Liliʻuokalani.