Eighteen for Eighteen

In eighteen years of military service, Napoleon Bonaparte had eighteen horses shot out from under him!

The Moon Star Flag: How Turkey’s Flag Came To Be

The Turkish national flag is mostly red, with a white star and a crescent in the center. Ottoman Sultan Selim III formalized the look in 1793, but the flag is actually much older.

The crescent-and-star combination has been used in Turkey since Hellenistic times (400s to 100 BCE). It likely came from ancient Mesopotamian iconocraphy. Ancient depictions of the symbol always show the crescent with horns pointing upward and with the star placed inside the crescent, for reasons that have been lost to time. When it came to Turkey, they gave it their own meanings. For Byzantium the moon symbolized Diana, also known as Artemis, the patron goddess of the city.

In 1453, when the city was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, the flag remained unchanged. With time, it became not just Istanbul’s flag but the Ottoman flag, with its design formalized in 1793 and its status as national flag formalized in 1844. Turks affectionately call the flag "ay yildiz" -- the "moon star" flag.

Many nations that were once part of Ottoman Empire adopted the star-and-crescent when they gained independence, including Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria. In the 1900s the symbol became associated with not just the Ottomans, but with Islam in general, and many states that were never part of the Ottoman Empire adopted it too, including Pakistan, Malaysia, and the Maldives. Pretty amazing that an ancient Mesopotamian symbol is flown around the world today.

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.


"Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose - a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye."

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (née Godwin). She was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer -- and you probably know her as the author of the 1818 novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus.

The World's Derpiest Incense Burner

I mean, just look at its face! This is a porcelain Japanese incense burner in the form of a dog. Circa 1750 to 1800

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.”

Only One British Governor Sided With The American Revolutionaries

Mr. Johnathan Trumbull, governor of Connecticut, was the lone governor. He was promptly elected as the new state's governor, and was re-elected every year of the war. Trumbull was a friend and adviser of General Washington throughout. He dedicated the resources of Connecticut to the fight for independence, and Washington declared him "the first of the patriots."

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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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