History

Juneteenth Emancipation Day Celebration, June 19, 1900, Texas (Photo: Wikimedia/Mrs. Charles Stephenson (Grace Murray))

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth celebrates the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it is the oldest such commemoration.

Ulrich von Liechtenstein once toured Southern Europe on a jousting trip, referred to as “The Journey of Venus”. He dressed as a woman and alledgedly broke 307 lances. For each knight that broke a lance on him he gifted them a gold ring. (Pixabay/clarencealford)

Ulrich von Liechtenstein: Was he Real?

Ulrich von Liechtenstein was made famous by Heath Ledger in the film A Knight’s Tale. Did you know he was a real person? His real life exploits were arguably more outrageous than those portrayed by Hollywood.

Indo-European languages in Europe. Note that the borders are not country borders. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Iolaafi)

The Proto-Indo-Europeans: The Lost Culture Connecting Europe to India

In Indian mythology, the god Indra rescues the world by killing an evil serpent with a thunderbolt. In Norse mythology, Thor famously slays the serpent Jörmungandr with thunder. This similarity is one tantalizing clue to the fact that the mythologies and languages of Europe and India share a common source—a lost culture about which we know little, but owe much.

Mad Jack Churchill (far right) leads a training exercise, sword in hand, from a Eureka boat in Inveraray, Scotland. (Photo: Wikimedia/War Office)

Mad Jack Churchill, Sword-Wielding Nazi Slayer

Mad Jack Churchill was the only soldier during World War Two credited with dispatching an enemy with a longbow. If his longbow wasn’t handy Mad Jack was just as comfortable with a Scottish broadsword.

The Bob Semple Tank used corrugated iron instead of armour plating. Fortified by 6 bren guns it housed a crew of 8. Only 3 were ever built for a total cost of £10,225. (Photo: YouTube/New Zealand Archives)

The Bob Semple Tank: Worst Tank Ever

When his country needed him Bob Semple stepped forward. Some wished he hadn’t bothered. Fearing Japanese invasion, New Zealand desperately needed to boost an armoured force which only numbered 6 Bren gun carriers in the whole country. The Bob Semple Tank was born.

The countess, having taken a dose of laudanum nears death, and is kissed by her sickly child held towards her by an elderly maid; her father slips her ring from her finger. Engraving by Louis Gérard Scotin after William Hogarth, 1745. (Source: Science Museum, London)

Laudanum: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Super Drug

In an era before the invention of aspirin, painkillers and sleeping tablets, to be in pain was a thoroughly unpleasant experience. Laudanum’s medical role, as a tool for pain management in sickness and end-of-life care, was crucial.

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