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
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
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 1558, Elizabeth Tudor was declared queen of England and Ireland, following the untimely death of her half-sister, Queen Mary. Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VIII by his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Her first and most important job as queen was to marry and produce an heir. Her sister Mary had
On this day in 1610, Louis XIII was crowned King of France, following the assassination of his father, Henry IV. The new king was only nine, so his mother, Marie de’ Medici, ruled as regent. Her mismanagement, however, along with widespread hostility toward her Italian favorites, led the teenage Louis XIII to take over in
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