In June 1992, farmers started draining ponds in Longyou County, Quzhou prefecture, Zhejiang province, China. Only to realize that they were not ponds at all but drowned caverns, apparently created during the Ming Dynasty. So far there have ben 36 such man-made caves found in 1 square kilometer. They contain rooms, halls, pillars, beds, bridges, and pavilions. When they were made and why remains a mystery, however, since no historical document mentions them.

How Old Is This?

This is a view of the Amber Fort, built by the Raja Man Singh I, a Rajasthan ruler under the Mughal Empire (ruled 1589 – 1614). It was later significantly updated by his descendant Jai Singh I.

The most widely published authors of all time are a god, a man, and a woman. The Christian Bible is the first most-sold "author," followed by Williams Shakespeare then Agatha Christie.

This giant bull sculpture (nandi in Hindu) was carved from a single boulder as part of the lead-up to a major Hindu temple at the top of the Chamundi Hills. The nandi was constructed in 1659 during the time of Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar (1659 - 1673) the Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore.

The photograph with the man standing near for size was taken in 1895.

Jack of All Trades

During the Edo Period in Japan (1600−1868), firefighters primarily worked as steeplejacks -- people who climb tall structures such as apartment buildings or and steeples in order to carry out repairs. This meant that firefighters got paid when they put out fires, but they also got paid when fires damaged tall buildings and repairs were needed. The result? Multiple known cases of firefighters setting fires to create business for themselves. It was enough of a problem that the shogunate to issue warning ordinances and executed some offending firefighters.

The Takeaway Rembrandt

The famous painter Rembrandt's portrait of Jacob de Gheyn from 1632 is nicknamed the Takeaway Rembrandt because it is quite small and easily stolen. It has in fact been stolen 4 times since 1966! That is the most recorded thefts of a single painting.

Palmanova, Italy

The city's historic center is enclosed in a late-Renaissance star fort which is still visible and preserved. The fort has nine points plus a moat and three gates. The settlement, and the fort around it, was built by the Venetian Republic in 1593. At the time it was the height of military defensive technology. Which was needed because being located on the eastern edge of Venetian territory, it was expected to be attacked by the Ottoman Empire.

Set of Painted Folding Screens from Japan's Edo Period

Circa 1600 - 1630. At least eight varieties of trees have been identified in the screens, reflecting a growing interest at that time among educated Japanese in natural history classification. The circular vermilion seals, reading "I'nen," that you can see on the extreme left and right panels of this screen show they were painted by Kyoto painter Tawaraya Sotatsu (active circa 1600-1640) or someone from the several generations of his followers who used his seal.

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    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!

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