The Cimbri and the Teutones c.120 BC-101 BC

In 1891, farm workers digging in a peat bog at Gundestrup in the far north of Jutland, Denmark, discovered a large silver cauldron. The cauldron was decorated with spectacular scenes of Celtic More »

The Obelisks of Ancient Egypt

One of the oldest and most iconic structures of ancient Egypt is the obelisk. A rising tower of stone, it was designed to astound mortals with its height and impress the immortals More »

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 »

 

Who was Alexander Selkirk?

Who was Alexander Selkirk?

Cast away on a desert island, surviving on what nature alone can provide, praying for rescue but fearing the sight of a boat on the horizon. These are the imaginative creations of Daniel Defoe in his famous novel Robinson Crusoe. Yet the story is believed to be based on the real-life experience of sailor Alexander Selkirk, marooned in 1704 on a small tropical island in the Pacific for more than four years, and now archaeological evidence has been found to support contemporary records of his existence on the island.

On this day – 16th May

On this day – 16th May

1770   Marie Antoinette, at age 14, married the future King Louis XVI of France, who was 15.

1881   In Germany the first electric tram for the public started service.
1920   Joan of Arc was canonized in Rome
1960   A Big Four summit in Paris collapsed due to the American U-2 spy plane incident.

Magna Carta

Magna Carta

Magna Carta (Latin for “Great Charter”) is one of the most celebrated documents in English history. At the time it was the solution to a political crisis in Medieval England but its importance has endured as it has become recognised as a cornerstone of liberty influencing much of the civilized world.

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.