George III was Britain’s king during the American Revolution. Research during the last five years has revealed a surprise about the king. In 1783, as the Revolutionary War drew to a close, he almost abdicated—as revealed by a draft abdication speech in his own hand, recently discovered. The king’s speech blames the loss of the
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 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
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 1521 saw the opening of the Diet of Worms: the great meeting of the princes of the Holy Roman Empire to address the turmoil created by Martin Luther. Luther was a clergyman and professor who had repeatedly criticized the Church and attacked its doctrines. His aggressive and outspoken writings had found sympathetic
This week in 1801, astronomer-priest Giuseppe Piazzi discovered a new astronomical body between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. He named it Ceres Ferdinandea. Ceres was the ancient Roman goddess of agriculture and motherhood – the Latin version of the Greeks’ Demeter, mother of Hades’ wife Persephone. So in choosing Ceres, Piazzi followed tradition: naming astronomical bodies after Roman
This week in 1773, the Sons of Liberty disguised themselves as Native Americans, boarded British ships in Boston Harbor, and dumped 342 chests of tea into the water. The Boston Tea Party escalated the colonists’ struggle against the Tea Act, which the British Parliament had passed in May, imposing a tax on tea. The colonists
This week in history, in 1522, the Spanish carrack Victoria returned home with just eighteen crew-members. She had completing the first circumnavigation of the globe. The expedition had begun in 1519 with five fully-crewed ships under the command of Ferdinand Magellan. During the long journey across the Atlantic and Pacific and beyond, most of the
Dear friends, My new novel just went on sale! Secrets of Hominea is a magical middle grade fantasy: a tale of giants, gnomes, queens, and adventurers — and of science and history. It’s for readers age 9 to 14. I hope you’ll buy a copy and help spread the word. You can get a paperback
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