The Unstoppable Race

Yorkshir has a 4-mile horse race called the Kiplingcotes Derby which has been held every year since 1519. That makes it the oldest annual horse race in England. According to the ancient rules, if the race ever fails to take place, it must never be run again, so the Derby's organizers have always been careful to have at least an attempt at a race every year. In 1947 (harsh winter), 2001 (foot-and-mouth disease crisis), and 2018 (heavy rain), the race was functionally canceled but a single horse was led around the course to keep the tradition alive.

Extremely Well-Preserved Ship From 400 Years Ago Found in Baltic

This particular find is an excellently-preserved example of a type of Dutch ship called a "fluit." These ships, whose earliest versions emerged in the 1500s, were unusual in being purely mercantile vessels. Other ships at the time were designed to switch between serving as cargo ships and war vessels. But the three-masted fluit had a cost-effective design, maximizing cargo capacity and minimizing the number of sailors needed to run the ship. The fluit could therefore carry double the cargo of other ships on similar routes. Though popular between 1500s and 1700s, few fluits survive today, meaning this well-preserved wreck could help teach us more about the ship that helped the Dutch build their international mercantile power.

Pushkin was Mixed Race and Proud of It

Alexander Pushkin, Russia's great father of literature, was the great-grandson of an enslaved African. Ibrahim Petrovich Gannibal was likely born in what is now Cameroon in 1696. He was kidnapped as a child and brought to Constantinople to be sold, where Tolstoy's ancestor "rescued" him (per Pushkin). Gannibal's rescuers then brought him to St. Petersburg and presented him as a gift to Peter the Great. Gannibal was made a court page, godson to the emperor, and general pet of the court. His free status was rather ambiguous. Gannibal eventually received a military education in France, and when he returned to Russia, rose to the nobility and died a general-in-chief owning hundreds of serfs.

Pushkin was proud of his ancestor. He started an uncompleted historical novel in 1827, "The Moor of Peter the Great." Pushkin himself was aware of how his appearance made other treat him, and how it influenced his view of himself. For instance, he wrote of "my Africa" in Onegin, and called American slaves "his brothers." He also owned serfs. And was labeled as having "African blood" by gossips after a famous duel.

Earthquake Fun Fact

The 1775 earthquake in Lisbon, Portugal and the tsunami that followed almost completely wiped away the city. The earthquake even caused waves on the surface of Scotland’s Loch Ness, more than 1,240 miles (2,000 km) away!

Official Signature of Ottoman Sultan Murad III

AAlthough "signature" is a rough translation of the Ottoman's word "tugra." Murad III did not literally sign all documents like this, rather, it was a symbol of his authority which was placed on all official documents and seals and coins. Each sultan chose his personal tugra immediately after their accession to the throne, and used the same format throughout their life.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the longest-reigning English monarch at 68 years on the throne. But she needs to reign for four more years to catch up with Louis XIV of France, the Sun King, who reigned for 72 years! The other two monarchs who have reigned longer, by the way, are Rama IX of Thailand (1946 - 2016) and Johann II of Liechtenstein (1858 - 1929).

Large New Study Shows Genetic Legacies of TransAtlantic Slave Trade

The study used DNA samples from 50,000 people in North America, Latin America, and Africa to trace where people were enslaved and what happened to their descendants. The scientists also examined how their results compared to slave ship manifests. Read the full article on the results

The Multi-Generational Devourer of Villages

George Washington's great-grandfather, John Washington, participated in an effort to end a Native American uprising in Virginia and Maryland in the 1670s. The uprising included members of both the Susquehannah and the Piscataway, two Algonquin tribes, and during the fighting, English colonists massacred five chief who had come to negotiate under a flag of truce. After the massacre the Susquehannahs gave John Washington an Algonquian name that translated to "town taker" or "devourer of villages" -- "Conotocarious."

In 1753, the French moved into the Ohio Valley, and began building forts. The English colonies along the Atlantic coast had also claimed that land. So George Washington offered his services to the Governor of Virginia as an envoy to carry a message to the French commander. After a month's travel into what is now Pennsylvania, Washington met with Monacatoocha of the Oneida branch of the Iroquois nation, as well as with Tanacharison from the Seneca, another Iroquois Confederacy tribe. Washington, with help from interpreters in his party, entered into negotiations and gathered information from Tanacharison about the numbers and positions of the French. It was possibly during this trip that he was given the monniker "Conotocarious," after his murderous great-grandfather.

Washington later wrote that Conotocarious, "being registered in their Manner and communicated to other Nations of Indians, has been remembered by them ever since in all their transactions during the late War [the American Revolution]."

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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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