Archive for the ‘History’ Category

A Yachting Life!

May 21, 2019

Today marks the anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world by yacht (1853).

  • the ship: North Star (about 2,000 tons)
  • the owner: Cornelius Vanderbilt
  • the captain: Asa Eldridge
  • departed from: New York City (May 21, 1853)
  • returned to: New York City (September 23, 1853)
  • distance covered: more than 15,000 miles

The ship actually crashed on the rocks at Corlears Hook (New York City) on the first day of the voyage and returned to dry dock for some minor repairs before resuming the journey.  Stops included:

  • Southampton
  • Copenhagen
  • Le Havre
  • Malaga
  • Leghorn
  • Rome
  • Malta
  • Constantinople
  • Gibraltar
  • Tangier
  • Madeira

Source: Famous First Facts, by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell.

Fun Fact Friday, Number 127!

May 17, 2019

The category for today’s trivial imponderable is “American history.”  Do you know . . . why the Mason-Dixon line was drawn?

No, it was not drawn to distinguish the North from the South during the U.S. Civil War, but rather, to devise a boundary in the eighteenth century between the Penn family of Pennsylvania and the Calvert family of Maryland.  In 1760, these two families agreed to have two English surveyors (Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon) to help establish this boundary which is between latitude thirty-nine degrees, forty-three minutes, fifteen seconds and thirty-nine degrees, forty-three minutes, and twenty-three seconds.  Technically, the Mason-Dixon line is not a true geometric line, but rather a series of adjoining lines.

Source: Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong, by Dr. Rod L. Evans.

Ancient History, Number Nine!

May 5, 2019

By “ancient history,” I will be referencing events from May 5th that occurred pre-1492 (i.e., before “Columbus sailed the ocean blue”).  Note: most of these will be from the medieval world (476 AD – 1492 AD) as many earlier events don’t always have specific dates.  Wow, there is a lot of ancient history for May 5th (more than 70 separate events — my apologies for the length of this post)!

  • Al-Hakam I, the Umayyad emir of Spain, crushes a new revolt of Arab nobles in the Spanish city of Córdoba and increases recruitment of Berber (Moorish) mercenaries.  Some refugees from the revolt seize control of Alexandria in Egypt (814 AD).
  • King Alfred the Great, of Wessex, England, defeats the Danes of Edington (in Wiltshire).  By the Peace of Wedmore which follows, the Danish leader, Guthrum, is baptized as a Christian (878 AD).
  • Henry the Fowler, Duke of Saxony, is elected King Henry I of the Germans, the first king of the Saxon dynasty (919 AD).
  • King Lothair IV of France calls an assembly to condemn Archbishop Adalbero of Reims, who has organized a rebellion in the interests of the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto III, but it is dispersed by Hugh Capet, Duke of the Franks (985 AD).
  • Alsonso V of León is killed atthe siege of Viseu, Spain, which was lost earlier in the century to the caliphate of Córdoba.  He is succeeded by his son, Vermudo III (1027 AD).
  • King Henry of France meets Emperor Conrad II at Deville, on the River Meuse, and they make an alliance against the expansionist Count Odo II of Blois and Champagne, whose lands  straddle the border of France and the Holy Roman Empire (1033 AD).
  • After a second, this time successful, campaign in Bohemia, Emperor Henry III compels prince Bratislav to acknowledge his supremacy and surrender all his Polish conquests except Silesia (1041 AD).
  • Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, theologian and papal legate, dies (1061 AD).
  • Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, begins a campaign against King Gruffydd at Llywelyn of Wales (1063 AD).
  • King Henry IV of Germany unsuccessfully attempts to enter Rome and expel Pope Gregory VII (1081 AD).
  • Answering a call for help from Pope Gregory VII, Robert Guiscard, the Norman Duke of Apulia, expels the Germans from Rome; however, the Norman soldiers do so much damage that Gregory is forced to go into exile with them to escape popular anger (1084 AD).
  • Crusaders in the Rhineland provoke attacks on the Jews there (1096 AD).
  • King Baldwin I of Jerusalem takes the cities of Arsuf and Caesarea from the Fatimids (Shite Muslims) (1101 AD).
  • King Baldwin I of Jerusalem takes the port of Acre (present-day Akko, Israel) from the Fatimids (Shite Muslims) (1104 AD).
  • Henry of Burgandy, the first Count of Portugal, dies.  He is succeeded by his son, Alfonso Henriques (1112 AD).
  • King Baldwin II of Jerusalem defeats il-Bursuqi, Emir of Mosul, at Azaz (1125 AD).
  • Fulk V le Jeune, Count of Anjou, joins King Baldwin II  of Jerusalem and marries his daughter, Melisande; Fulk’s son, Geoffrey Plantagenet, succeeds as Count of Anjou (1129 AD).
  • King Louis VI of France invests King Stephen of England as Duke of Normandy (1136 AD).
  • Robert, Earl of Gloucester, begins a civil war in England by declaring himself for the late King Henry I’s daughter Matilde against King Stephen (1138 AD).
  • The civil war in Germany is brought to an end by a diet (legislative assembly) in Frankfurt; Conrad III Hohenstaufen, king of the Germans, grants Saxony to Henry the Lion and Bavaria to Henry Jasomirgott, brother of Leopold IV of Austria (1142 AD).
  • Conrad III Hohenstaufen, king of the Germans, and the German contingent  of the Second Crusade depart from Regensburg, Bavaria, for Constantinople in the Byzantine Empire (1147 AD).
  • Pope Alexander III, at Montpellier in France,  renews his excommunication of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (1162 AD).
  • Abd-al-Mu’min, the Mahdi (Muslim leader) and Almohad ruler of Muslim Spain and northwest Africa, dies; he is succeeded by as emir by his son Yusuf abu Ya’qub (1163 AD).
  • The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa exacts an oath from the German clergy, at Würzburg, that they will not recognize Alexander III as pope (1165 AD).
  • An army of Norman knights from Wales arrives in Ireland to support Dermot MacMurrough in his bid to regain his kingdom of Leinster, from which he was banished in 1166 (1168 AD).
  • The English soldier Robert Robert FitzStephen, Earl of Pembroke (“Strongbow”) succeeds Dermot MacMurrough as king of Leinster (1171 AD).
  • The caliph of Bahgdad recognizes Saladin as sultan of Egypt and Syria (1175 AD).
  • King Henry II of England makes his youngest son, John, lord of Ireland (1177 AD)
  • Yusuf abu Ya’qub, the Almohad emir of northwest Africa and Muslim Spain, invades Portugal (1184 AD).
  • The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa departs for Palestine from Regensburg, Bavaria, on the Third Crusade (1189 AD).
  • Bernard, Count of Anhalt, defeats Henry the Lion, the dispossessed Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, at Segeberg (1190 AD).
  • Guy of Lusignan, ruler of Cyprus and former king of Jerusalem dies; he is succeeded by his brother Amalric (1194 AD).
  • Alexius Comnenus, grandson of the former Byzantine emperor Andronicus I Comnenus, seizes the Black Sea port Trebizond (modern Trabzon, Turkey) and establishes an independent Byzantine state (1204 AD).
  • King John of England makes war on Llywelyn ap Iorworth the Great, Prince of Gwynedd (north Wales) (1211 AD).
  • By the Treaty of Metz, Frederick II, King of the Romans (king of Germany), recognizes King Valdemar II of Denmark’s conquests in northern Germany and the Baltic (1214 AD).
  • Frederick II, King of the Romans, makes Bern and imperial free city (1218 AD).
  • St.Francis resigns the government of his order (1220 A).
  • King Louis VIII of France declares war on King Henry III of England; he then overruns Poitui and most of Gascony north of the river Garonne (1224 AD).
  • Henry, King of the Romans (king of Germany, son of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II), concedes the “constitution in favor of the German princes,” granting them territorial sovereignty (1231 AD).
  • King Henry III of England dismisses his unpopular treasurer  Peter des Rivaux and is reconciled with the magnates during the outcry following the murder of Ricjhard the Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, in Ireland (1234 AD).
  • King Louis IX of France marries Margaret of Provence, daughter of Raymond Berengar IV of Provence (1234 AD).
  • The English soldier and politician Simon IV de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, suppresses the Gascon rebellion under Gaston de Béarn which occurs in reaction to his perceived rough-shod rule of Gascony (1251 AD).
  • A revolt in Rome, Italy, restores the imperialist Donato Brancaleone as podestà (“mayor”).  Pope Alexander IV is forced to leave (1257 AD).
  • The Italian city of Siena accepts King Manfred of Sicily as its overlord in order to have his protection against Florence (1259 AD).
  • King Rudolf I of Germany surrenders the imperial claims to lordship over the Romagna, Italy, to Pope Nicholas III (1278 AD).
  • The Scottish nationalist William Wallace leads a Scottish rising against King Edward I of England, burning an English castle and attacking one of the king’s justiciars (1297 AD).
  • Matteo Visconti negotiates a peace between Genoa and and Venice, ending their war  (since 1261) to control trade with the Byzantine Empire (1299 AD).
  • Guy of Flanders, having been deserted by all his allies, surrenders to King Philip IV of France and is imprisoned.  Flanders is placed under French governance, and is administered by Jacques de Chátillon, the uncle of the queen (1300 AD).
  • During a period of internal struggle within the propapal Guelph party, the Black faction is expelled from Florence (1301 AD).
  • Pope Boniface VIII appoints Charles of Valois, the younger brother of King Philip IV of France, captain general of the papal and Neapolitan forces (1302 AD).
  • King Edward I of England begins his seventh campaign in Scotland.  The feudal levy is summoned to Berwick, where a military progress to Elgin commences (1303 AD).
  • Frederick of Meissen defeats the Holy Roman Emperor Albert I at Lucca, Italy (1307 AD).
  • Robert I the Bruce, King of Scotland, returns from Ireland and defeats English forces in Ayrshire, Scotland (1307 AD).
  • King Philip IV the Fair of France hold another meeting of the Estates General (assembly containing representatives of the aristocracy, clergy, an commons)to uphold his proceedings against the Knights Templar (a German Christian military order) (1308 AD).
  • Robert I the Bruce, King of Scotland, raids as far as Ripon in England, exacting tribute (1317 AD).
  • By the Treaty of Paris, King Philip V of France makes peace with Robert of Flanders (1320 AD).
  • King Ludwig IV of Bavaria is crowned king of Lombardy in Milan, Italy (1327 AD).
  • King Edward III of England joins Edward Balliol at the siege of the Scottish  border town of Berwick (1333 AD).
  • The exiled King David II of Scotland  arrives in France. King Philip VI of France lodges him in the Château Gaillard, France (1334 AD).
  • King Philip VI of France buys Montpellier, France, from King James II of Majorca (1349 AD).
  • John Hawkweed begins his career as a condottiere (a soldier in a professional mercenary company with the White Company in Italy (1361 AD).
  • Parliament  repudiates the subjection of England to the papacy, agreed in May  1213 by King John of England, and annuls the payment of tribute (1365 AD).
  • An English expedition led by Henry Despenser, bishop of Norwalk, as a “crusade” on behalf of Pope  Urban VI, fails to exploit unrest in Flanders and withdraws (1383 AD).
  • Under the Treaty of Troncoso, King John I of Castile makes a marriage alliance with John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, who has abandoned his campaign in Galicia, Spain (1387 AD).
  • The Holy Roman Emperor Wenceslas IV, King of Bohemia, promulgates a public peace for southern Germany in order to end the wars between the princes and the towns (1389 AD).
  • Malik Sarvar founds the Muslim kingdom of Jaunpur, on the middle Ganges River, India (1394 AD).
  • Pir Mohammad, grandson of Timur Leng (Tamerlane), Grand Amir of the Mongols, takes the city of Multan in the Punjab (1398 AD).
  • Prince Henry of England defeats Owen Glendower, Prince of Wales, at Usk, Wales (1405 AD).
  • Queen Joanna of Naples begins operations to expel King Alfonso V of Aragon from Naples and adopts Louis III, Duke of Anjou, as her heir in his place (1423 AD).
  • The Venetians execute Francesco Carmagnola, their condottiere (mercenary) captain, after he has dealings with the Milanese, their enemies (1432 AD).
  • War breaks out between England and Scotland (1448 AD).

Source: Volume 1 of the Chronology of World History: Prehistory — AD 1491: The Ancient and Medieval World.

“In God We Trust!”

April 22, 2019

Today marks the day (in 1864) that the phrase “in God we trust” was coined.  the two-cent piece of 1864 was the first to bear this motto.

In addition, April 22nd was the day for several other “firsts,” such as the first . . .

  • neutrality claimed by the federal government (General George Washington, 1793)
  • death penalty ban by a state (Pennsylvania [except for murder in the 1st degree], 1794)
  • Library of Congress collection ($5,000 appropriation for books and to furnish a reading room, 1800)
  • round-the-world bicycle trip (Thomas Stevens, 1884)
  • capture of a ship in the Spanish-American war (American gunboat Nashville, took Spanish ship, Buenan Ventura, 1898)
  • ice-loading machinery (William Metz Ice Company, Pittsburgh, PA, 1917)
  • orchestra from the United State to make a European tour (Symphony Society of New York, 1920)
  • nuclear-powered submarine (Nautilus, Electric Boat Company [division of General Dynamics Corporation], Groton, CT, 1955)
  • Earth Day (1970)
  • American boycott of the Olympic Games (summer Olympics, Moscow, Russia, 1980)
  • genetically altered virus approved for use in a vaccine (Department of Agriculture, to fight a form of swine herpes,  1986)
  • museum commemorating the Holocaust (U.S. Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC, 1993)
  • state law decriminalizing hemp cultivation (North Dakota, 1999)

Source: Famous First Facts by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell.

Ancient History, Number Eight!

April 2, 2019

By “ancient history,” I will be referencing events from April 2nd that occurred pre-1492 (i.e., before “Columbus sailed the ocean blue”).  Note: most of these will be from the medieval world (476 AD – 1492 AD) as many earlier events don’t always have specific dates.

  • Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus), King of the Franks 768-814 and Frankish emperor 800-814, who united much of western Europe under his rule was born.  (742 AD)
  • King Baldwin I of Jerusalem dies; he is succeeded by Baldwin II, Count of Edessa.  (1118 AD)
  • the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI has a crusade proclaimed at Bari, Italy; he dies before it can take place.  (1195 AD)
  • Richard, Earl of Cornwall, King of the Romans 1256-71, dies at Berkhampstead Castle, Hertfordshire, England.  (1272 AD)
  • Jacopo Savelli is elected Pope Honorius IV. (1285 AD)
  • Queen Joanna of France and Navarre dies.  Her son Louis, later King Louis X of France, succeeds to the kingdom of Navarre. (1305 AD)
  • Henry, Duke of Carinthia, dies.  King Ludwig IV of Bavaria confers the duchy and southern Tyrol on the Habsburgs, and northern Tyrol on his own sons, despite his promise to King John I of Bohemia that Henry’s daughter Margaret “Maultasch,” who is married to John’s son John Henry, should inherit.  (1335 AD)
  • John of Jenstein resigns as archbishop of Prague, as the outcome of a dispute between the Holy Roman Emperor Wenceslas IV, King of Bohemia, and the Bohemian clergy, whom he is attempting to subject.  At about the same time, Wenceslas, through the mediation of King Sigismund of Hungary, is obliged to allow the lords of Bohemia and Moravia control over his government.  (1396 AD)
  • King Ferdinand I of Aragon dies.  He is succeeded by his son, Alfonso V.  (1416 AD)
  • Cardinal Giovanni Vitelleschi, the commander of the papal forces in Ravenna, is murdered.  (1441 AD)

Source: Volume 1 of the Chronology of World History: Prehistory — AD 1491: The Ancient and Medieval World.

Annual “March Madness” Getting Underway!

March 17, 2019

Today is “selection Sunday” and the 2019 March Madness is all set to begin next week!  Here is an infographic (courtesy of WalletHub) that show some of the interesting stats and facts from last year’s tournament.  Enjoy!  I will have a more detailed post tomorrow about “who’s in” and “who’s not.”


2018s-March-Madness-By-The-Numbers-v7

Source: WalletHub

 

Ancient History, Number Seven!

March 3, 2019

By “ancient history,” I will be referencing events from March 3rd (a very busy day historically), that occurred pre-1492 (i.e., before “Columbus sailed the ocean blue”).  Note: most of these will be from the medieval world (476 AD – 1492 AD) as many earlier events don’t always have specific dates.

  • by Treaty of Ribemont, the kingdom of Louis II the Stammerer is divided between his sons Lojis III (Francia and Neustria) and Carloman (Burgundy and Aquitaine).  (880 AD)
  • the Byzantine general Nicephorus Phocas recovers Crete from the Arabs.  (961 AD)
  • Prince Mieszko I of Poland and Margrave Hodo of the Eastern Mark submit their quarrel over territory to the judgment to the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto I.  <iesko also succeeds in keeping the Polish Christian church away from German authority.  (973 AD)
  • Prince Bolesaw II of Bohemia pays homage to the Holy Roman Emperor and German King Otto II. (978 AD)
  • Duke Pandolf I Ironhead dies and his Italian dominions are divided by his sons, Landolf IV (Capua-Benevento) and Paldolf (Salerno). (981 AD)
  • King Lothair IV of France takes Verdun, his only success in a campaign to seize Lorraine. (984 AD)
  • in an assembly at Nijmegen nodern Netherlands), Emperor Henry II establishes peace in Lorraine.  He fails, however, to enforce his authority over the rebellious nobles of Burgundy.  (1018 AD)
  • Emperor Conrad II holds a diet at Pavia, in Italy, to determine Lombard disputes, and arrests Archbishop Aribert of Milan for rebellion.  When Aribert escapes, Conrad besieges but fails to take Milan.  (1037 AD)
  • fearing Norman expansion into the Papal states, Pope Gregory VII excommunicates Duke Robert Guiscard of Apulia.  (1074 AD)
  • in a riot in Milan, Italy, Holy Roman Empire, the Patarene leaders Erlembald is murdered, and members of the sect are expelled from the city.  (1075 AD)
  • the Byzantine emperor Nicephorus III Botaneiates is deposed in facor of Alexius I Comnenus, found of the Comnenian dynasty.  (1081 AD)
  • in a council at Piacenza, Pope Urban II appeals western Europe to rescue Constantinople from the Turks.  (1095 AD)
  • Tancred, Norman leader of the First Crusade, named Prince of Galilee after the fall of Jerusalem in 1099, assumes the regency of the principality of Antioch following the capture of its Norman prince, Bohemond I (Tancred’s uncle), by the Turkish emir of Sebastea.  (1101 AD)
  • by the Treaty of Gisors, King Louis VI of France recognized King Henry I of England’s overlordship of Brittany and Maine.  (1113 AD)
  • Pope Paschal II flees from Rome as Emperor Henty V of Germany approaches and enters the city.  (1117 AD)
  • in a diet (legislative assembly) at Bamberg, the “antiking” Conrad III Hohenstaufen and his son Frederick submit to Emperor Lothair II.  (1135 AD)
  • Conrad III Hohenstaufen is elected “king of the Romans” (king of Germany) by the German nobles as Conrad III.  He is opposed by Henry the Proud, Duke of Bavaria and Saxony.  (1138 AD)
  • the empress, Matilda, widow of the late emperor Henry V and daughter of the late king Henry I of England, is proclaimed queen of England, in Winchester, by her supporters.  (1141 AD)
  • after a siege of two months, King Frederick I Barbarossa of Germany takes Tortona (a Milanese dependency) and razes it to the ground.  (1155 AD)
  • Pope Adrian IV places an interdict on Rome, forcing the Romans to banish Arnold of Brescia, the antipapal leader of their commune, and make peace with the Pope.  (1155 AD)
  • the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa makes an alliance against Sicily with the Italian cities of Pisa and Genoa.  (1162 AD)
  • King Stephen III of Hungary dies; Bela III succeeds him.  (1173 AD)
  • King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem dies; he is succeeded by his young nephew, Baldwin V.  (1185 AD)
  • King Philip II of France releases King Richard I the Lion-Hearted of England from his betrothal to his sister Alice at Messina, Sicily.  (1191 AD)
  • King Philip II of France takes possession of the county of Peronne, which formerly belonged to the Count of Flanders who had recently died on crusade.  (1192 AD)
  • Saladin, Sultan of Egypt and Syria dies; he is succeeded by his sons al-Azid in Egypt and al-Afdal in Syria.  (1193 AD)
  • the English barons refuse to fight for King John of England in France.  (1205 AD)
  • King Henry III of England makes peace with Llywelyn ap Iorwerth the Great, Prince of Gwynedd (north Wales), at Worcester, England.  (1218 AD)
  • Pope Innocent IV sends an embassy of friars to the Mongol court, hoping to convert them and make an alliance against the Muslims.  (1248 AD)
  • there are rising against King Conrad IV of Germany and Sicily in the Italian kingdom of Sicily.  (1251 AD)
  • at an assembly of Welsh princes, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd assumes the title of prince of Wales.   He now has possession of Anglesey, Snowdonia, and Powys.  He also enters into a defensive alliance with the controlling barons of Scotland.  (1258 AD)
  • Jacopo Contarino, Doge of Venice, dies.  He is succeeded by Giovanni Dandolo.  (1279 AD)
  • Sciarra Colunna attacks a convoy of papal treasure.  (1297 AD)
  • King Philip IV of France publishes La Grande ordonnance/The Great Order for “the reform of the kingdom” in response to baronial pressure.  (1303 AD)
  • Prince Daniel of Moscow, who has extended his state by conquest, dies.  He is succeeded by his son, Juri.  (1303 AD)
  • the Scots submit to King Edward I of England in a parliament at St. Andrews, Scotland.  (1304 AD)
  • Guy, Count of Flanders, dies and is succeeded by his son, Robert of Bethune.  (1305 AD)
  • Pope Urban V makes peace with Bernabo Visconti, ruler of Milan, Italy, to the advantage of the latter.  (1364 AD)
  • the Irish parliament establishes the Statute of Kilkenny, which proibits the intermarriage of English and Irish individuals and orders other measures designed to divide the two nationalities.  (1366 AD)
  • John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, claims the throne of Castile on his standing as the son-in-law of King Pedro I of Castile.  King Henry II of Castile besieges Lisbon Portugal, in order to compel King Frerdinand I of Portugal to abandon his alliance with John of Gaunt.  (1372 AD)
  • Gian Galeazzo Visconti, ruler of Milan, Italy, takes possession of the town of Asti in northern Italy.  (1378 AD)
  • Queen Joanna I of Naples surrenders to Charles of Durazzo, Albania, and is imprisoned and executed.  (1382 AD)
  • the forces of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, ruler of Milan, invade Mantuan territory.  (1397 AD)
  • Giovanni Bentivoglio proclaims himself lord of Bologna in Italy.  (1401 AD)
  • Francesco di Gonzaga of Mantua dies.  He is succeeded by his son, Giovanni Francesco di Gonzaga.  (1407 AD)
  • Gabriel Conodulmer is elected as Pope Eugenius IV.  (1431 AD)
  • the Nicaean emperor, John VIII Palaeologus and a Greek delegation arrive to attend the General Council of Ferrara in Italy to obtain support from the West.His attendance leads to the agreement uniting the Eastern and Western churches, rejected by his subjects.  (1438 AD)

Source: Volume 1 of the Chronology of World History: Prehistory — AD 1491: The Ancient and Medieval World.

First Native American Newspaper!

February 21, 2019

Today marks the day (in 1828) the first Native American newspaper was published.  The Cherokee Phoenix, a bilinguual weekly newspaper (English and Cherokee), was published between February 21, 1828 through October 1835.  It was published in New Echota, Georgia (capital of the Cherokee nation), and printed using the Cherokee writing symbols that were invented by Sequoyah (Sikwayi).

In addition, February 21st was the day for several other “firsts,” such as the first . . .

  • telegrapher who was a woman (Sarah G. Bagley, Lowell, MA, 1846)
  • Burglar alarm (installed by Edwin Thomas Holmes, Boston MA, 1858)
  • execution for slave trading carried out by the federal government (hanging of Nathaniel Gordon, Tombs prison, New York City, 1862)
  • dentist who was a woman to obtain the D.D.S. degree (Lucy B. Hobbs, Ohio College of Dental Surgery, Cincinnati, OH, 1866)
  • telephone directory (New Haven, CT, 1878)
  • bacteriology laboratory (Hoagland Laboratory, Brooklyn, NY, 1887)
  • transcontinental airplane flight made within 24 hours (William Devoe Coney, San Diego, CA, to Jacksonville, FL, 1921)
  • camera exposure meter (William Nelson Goodwin, Weston Electrical Instrument Corporation, Newark, NJ, 1932)
  • instant camera (Polaroid [Edwin Herbert Land], 1947

Source: Famous First Facts by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell.

Fun Fact Friday, Number One Hundred Thirteen!

February 8, 2019

The category for today’s trivial imponderable is “world history.”  Do you know . . . Cleopatra’s nationality?

Despite being the daughter (eldest) of an Egyptyian King, Ptolemy XIII (ruler of Egypt during Julius Caesar’s reign), Cleopatra was not Egyptian.  In reality, she was part Macedonian, park Greek, and part Persian.

Source: Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong, by Dr. Rod L. Evans.

Ancient History, Number Six!

January 27, 2019

By “ancient history,” I will be referencing events from Janjary 27th, that occurred pre-1492 (i.e., before “Columbus sailed the ocean blue”).  Note: most of these will be from the medieval world (476 AD – 1492 AD) as many earlier events don’t always have specific dates.

  • King Henry IV of Germany is defeated at Flarchheim and compelled to abandon Saxony.  (1080 AD)
  • the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa takes and destroys the Italian town of Crema, near Cremona.  (1160 AD)
  • Florence V, Count of Holland, is murdered after renouncing the Anglo-German pact.  (1295 AD)
  • the Black faction of the propapal Guelph party, which has seized power in Florence, sentences its opponents the Whites (including the poet Dante) to death or exile. (1302 AD)
  • the “bad parliament” meets in Englad and reverses the acts of the “good parliament,” and grants a poll tax of four shillings on everyone over the age of 14 to fund the continuation of the French wars. (1377 AD)
  • King Alfonso V of Aragon joins the league against Milan. (1426 AD)

Source: Volume 1 of the Chronology of World History: Prehistory — AD 1491: The Ancient and Medieval World.