Category Archives: HISTORY

Fur trade in Middle Ages

Fur trade in Middle Ages


Russia was the central source of furs, which were traded to western Europe, the Byzantine Empire, and Asia. While they were a luxury, furs also came to represent the social position of aristocrats and public officials. For some, furs had an almost magical quality. As an item of social status, a fur became more valuable if more pelts, or animal skins, were used.

The last royal execution in Britain

The last royal execution in Britain

James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, the eldest of Charles II’s numerous illegitimate children, lived in Holland and in 1685 attempted to claim the English throne from his uncle James II. His rebellion, the last popular uprising in England, culminated in the last pitched battle on English soil, the Battle of Sedgemoor, on 6th July 1685.

The lost colony on Roanoke Island

The lost colony on Roanoke Island

Sir Walter Ralegh was rather a poser, and a dandy. He was the man who according to legend got into the Queen Elizabeth’s good books when they first met by laying his plush new cloak over a puddle so that she would not wet her feet as she crossed the muddy road; in the town of Raleigh in North Carolina there is a motel called The Velvet Cloak. It was said at one point that he had spent 6,000 gold pieces on his shoes alone. But he was also a visionary who organized the world’s first scientific expedition, and he laid the foundations of the British Empire.

Toussaint Louverture

Toussaint Louverture

The Chateau de Joux, high in the mountainous region of Franche-Comté close to the Swiss border, was one of the great state prisons of France, along with the Bastille and the Chateau d’If (described by Dumas in The Count of Monte-Cristo). The huge fortress dates back nearly 1,000 years, its medieval walls augmented by Charles V, Vauban and finally by the young Joffre as engineer officer.

Swearing, cursing and the English law

Swearing, cursing and the English law

Statutes passed between the reigns of  James I (1603 – 1625) and George III (1760 – 1820) criminalised swearing. These laws drew careful distinctions between swearing and cursing, imposed fines or the stock, and banded the penalties according to social rank.