This is the "Tamil Bell," a bronze bell found in New Zealand in approximately 1836. It was being used as a pot to boil potatoes by Māori women near Whangarei. It has an inscription running around the rim in Old Tamil. Translated, it says "Muhayideen Baksh’s ship’s bell." Some argue that it is proof that Indians (from India) had contact with Polynesians before Europeans. But others argue it is evidence of widespread Polynesian trading networks, or it was simply discarded by a visiting Portuguese ship, as the Portuguese had trade relationships with, and colonies in, India.


"Any trooper who is not dead by thirty is a coward, and I don't expect to exceed that length of time."

French cavalry general Antoine de Lasalle to his hussars. de Lasalle was an officer during the Revolutionary and Napoleonice wars who distinguished himself at Austerlitz, Eylau, and Stettin, and who saved Marat's life at Heilsberg. Nicknamed "The Hussar General" he had a reputation as a daring adventurer. He was shot and killed, riding at the head of his men, at the Battle of Wagram in 1809. de Lasalle was thirty-three years old.

Mendelssohn’s Wedding March became popular after it was played on January 25th, 1858 at the wedding of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Victoria.


"Never do today what you can do tomorrow. Something may occur to make you regret your premature action."

Aaron Burr (1756 – 1836) American politician and vice president who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel and was, for a separate reason, charged with treason but found not guilty.

Whiro, Lord of Darkness

In Maori mythology, Whiro is the embodiment of darkness and evil. He is the son of the sky father and earth mother, and brother and enemy of Tāne, god of the forests and birds. After a long and bitter war between the brothers, Tāne was victorious. Whiro and his followers were forced to go to the underworld where he reigns.

But Whiro is not quietly retired. He is viewed as a relentlessly active god, always trying to harm humans as they are the descendants of Tāne, especially through his Maike brethren, the personified forms of sickness and disease. Many offerings were made to Whiro, unsurprisingly.

A Shady Portrait Of The Greatest English Playwrite(s)

"Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare Playing at Chess." Unfortunately, this painting's authenticity has been subject to debate for more than a century. It became widely known only in 1878, when the painting was purchased for $18,000 by Colonel Ezra Miller; note this is more than two hundred years after both its subjects were dead. Already suspicious. Then, the authenticating documents were lost in a fire 17 years later. Meaning investigation of the documents, and modern forensic analyses, are impossible.

Supporters claim that it was painted by Karel van Mander (1548-1606), and in the best possible case, the painting would give us new likenesses of Jonson and Shakespeare painted by a contemporary. But a biography of van Mander, probably written by his brother, makes no mention of this painting, nor of the artist ever visiting London. Further, Shakespeare here appears younger than Jonson, but in fact he was eight or nine years older.

The Princess Who Smoked Cigars

Born in Austria on February 26, 1836, to a Hungarian count and an Austrian princess, Pauline Clémentine von Metternich-Winneburg zu Beilstein eventually became famous in Paris, where she had significant social and cultural influence. When her husband Prince de Metternich (who happened to be her uncle as well) was appointed the Austrian Ambassador to Napoléon III’s court in 1859, the twenty-three year-old moved to France, where she quickly adopted the Parisian lifestyle. In French high society, Pauline became famous for her ready wit, her fashion-forward style, and her cigars. Most women of her status could not dream of smoking cigars, but Pauline could get away with it, somehow charming many of her contemporaries with her "shocking" habits including Napoléon III’s wife, the Empress Eugénie. Many, of course, disapproved. But Pauline's friendships in high places kept her important -- and accepted -- in Parisian high society.

Pauline’s penchant for eccentricity and rule-breaking translated into her wardrobe, which became a regular talking point in the fashion and society columns. Englishman Charles Frederick Worth was Pauline's dressmaker and she enjoyed debuting his more out-there sartorial innovations. In fact, Princess Pauline introduced Worth to his most famous client, her dear friend Empress Eugénie.

The princess (and her prince) fled Paris during the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. After the war, Napoléon III was out of power, as was his court where Pauline had thrived. The House of Worth survived the power transition and remained at the forefront of high society, but Pauline did not, and she lived a quiet, private life until her death in 1921.

When women got the vote, around the world. New Zealand was first, and Saudi Arabia was most recent -- although women still do not have full voting rights there, as they may only vote or run for office in municipal elections not national elections.


"Legend: a lie that has attained the dignity of age."

H.L. Mencken, an American journalist, cultural critic, and satirist (1880 - 1956)

The New York Post, which was created by Alexander Hamilton in 1803, is the longest-running newspaper in the United States.

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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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