This week in 930 CE, the chieftains of Iceland established the Althing, which remains the country’s parliament. It’s the world’s oldest surviving legislature. Northmen (sometimes called Vikings) had arrived on the island about 60 years before, and now they set about to govern themselves – meeting outdoors at a place called Thingvellir, which means “assembly
This week in 1494, the Spanish and Portuguese Empires signed the Treaty of Tordesillas—brokered by the Pope. The treaty divided the globe between the two great powers, fifty-fifty. The Treaty of Tordesillas drew a line through the Atlantic, from pole to pole. New lands (non-European countries) to the West belonged to Spain. That gave it
This week in 1683, the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology opened in Oxford. It was the world’s first university museum and was named after Elias Ashmole, who in 1677 had given Oxford University what became the museum’s first collection. Construction also began in 1677. The current museum building was finished in 1845. That first
A virus circles the world, killing 1% of the population or more, particularly the elderly … and people just go about their business. Even in countries that understand contagion, no one healthy stops working, and neither do most of the sick. In fact, if you suggest staying home, most people think you’re crazy. Why manufacture
- Published in History General
This week in 1260, Kublai Khan became ruler of the Mongol Empire. Grandson to the well-known Genghis Khan, Kublai was the empire’s fifth Khagan, or Great Khan. Kublai succeeded to the throne after the death of his eldest brother, Mongke. The latter died in 1259 without naming a successor, and almost immediately Kublai’s younger brother,
I am very proud to announce that my second novel, Secrets of Hominea, just won an award: Distinguished Favorite in the Juvenile category of the Independent Press Awards. Secrets of Hominea is a magical novel for middle grade readers (4th through 8th grade), using fantasy to teach history and science. My first novel, The Jericho River, won several awards, including first place at
This week marks the traditional reckoning date for the fall of Troy, in 1183 B.C. The ancient Greeks calculated the date centuries later, and it may not be far off. Whatever the timing, the city’s fall offers a frightening warning for our world in 2020. We know about Troy because of a blind ancient Greek
Last week, I posted this article that had 3 real theories on the origins of April Fool’s Day, and 3 fake theories. Below are the 3 true theories: 1. In 1582, France switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, which moved New Year’s Day from March to January. People who still celebrated in March were mocked as
Historians debate the origins of April Fool’s Day, with three possible explanations. Which of the following are real; which three are actual theories for the holiday’s origin? In 1582, France switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, which moved New Year’s Day from March to January. People who still celebrated in March were mocked
This week in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published her anti-slavery novel, UNCLE TOM’S CABIN. Beecher Stowe was a teacher at Hartford Female Seminary in Connecticut. She originally published her most famous work as a 40-week serial in “The National Era,” an abolitionist periodical. Publisher John Jewett saw potential and proposed that Stowe turn the serial
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