What Was The Maratha Empire?

Sandwiched between the decline of one great empire, and the rise of another, the Maratha Empire lasted just under 150 years. Here’s the story of those 150 years.

What Is A Hobgoblin?

It means "an object that inspires superstitious dread or apprehension." Shakespeare's Puck, from his play A Midsummer Night's Dream, is described as a hobgoblin. "Puck" itself is associated with the mischevious and supernatural. The Welsh have the pwca, the Irish the púca, both potentially harmful or helpful depending on their whim. Early Anglo-Saxons named many places in southern England "puc" -- like Pucehole, Pucanwylle, and Pokshudde -- if they suspected it could be home to evil spirits.

A New Take On The Old Borgias

Modern historical research suggests that Pope Alexander IV -- the famous Borgia pope -- was not in fact the father of Cesare, Juan, Lucrezia, and Joffre Borgia. Which goes against centuries of received knowledge.

Spanish conquerors brought bullfighting to Mexico. Second only to Spain, Mexico now has the most bullfighting rings in the world. Mexico City's Plaza de Toros México -- which literally translates as "Plaza of the Bulls" -- is the largest bullring in the world.

This Puritan Had An Odd Phobia

John Bunyan, a popular Puritan preacher and author of "The Pilgrim's Progress," developed a fear that ringing church bells would "fall with a swing" and kill him. So he listened to their harmonies from further away. He started by standing at the steeple doorway, but he eventually moved out of the church entirely "for fear the steeple should fall on my head."

Apparently, Spain and France Are Great at Keeping Treaties

In 1659, when Louis XIV of France and Philip IV of Spain met to sign the Treaty of the Pyrenees following the Thirty Years’ War, they did so on Pheasant Island, an uninhabited island in the Bidasoa river between their two nations. Ever since, the island has remained under joint sovereignty. That's been 300 years of keeping this treaty, for those counting at home. Note that only one country has sovereignty at any given time. The island is governed alternately by Spain and France, changing hands every six months.

The Longest War In World History... Sort Of

The Peloponnesian War ended in 1996. The bloody conflict between Athens and Sparta had stopped in 404 B.C. without an official peace pact, so after 2,500 years the cities decided to sign a symbolic agreement. It read, “Today we express our grief for the devastating war between the two key cities of ancient Greece and declare its end.”

Where In The World Has France Invaded?

We focus too much on the British Empire. Let's give France its colonizing, imperialist due.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • >
  • Leave us a message

    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

    Website design and coding by the Amalgama

    About us X