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 More »

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 More »

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 More »

‘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. More »

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 More »


On this day – 15th May

On this day – 15th May

1718   London lawyer James Puckle patents the machine gun

1829   The US Congress designates the slave trade as piracy
1918   The world’s first regular air mail service begins between Washington and New York
1957   Britain’s first H-bomb is dropped on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean
1988   The USSR begins evacuating troops from Afghanistan

Montezuma II – the last ruler of the Aztecs of Mexico

Montezuma II – the last ruler of the Aztecs of Mexico

Montezuma II, the 9th huey tlatoani (great speaker) of the Aztecs of Mexico, came to power in 1502 at the time of both triumph and danger for the Aztec realm. The empire was larger then ever, and Montezuma himself was one of the most powerful and intriguing figures in its history. He changed the previous meritocratic system of social hierarchy and widened the divide between pipiltin (nobles) and  macehualtin (commoners) by prohibiting commoners from working in the royal palaces.

Elizabethan England

Elizabethan England

Many must have predicted a bleak future for England when the 22 year old princess Elizabeth succeeded her half sister Mary Tudor to the throne. The government was a disarray, and the treasury was empty. The circumstances of Elizabeth’s birth to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn had placed her in the centre of controversy between Catholics and protestants who threatened at any moment to take up arms in the defense of their beliefs.