"You philosophers are lucky men. You write on paper and paper is patient. Unfortunate Empress that I am, I write on the susceptible skins of living beings."

Catherine the Great of Russia (lived 1729-1796, ruled 1762-1796).

A Stunning Soviet Map of NYC

The USSR military had extremely accurate maps of almost the entire world. This is their 1982 map of New York City, with Lower Manhattan in the upper right-hand corner, and Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in the mid-left side. The map even includes the dimensions, and building materials, of the bridges.

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.

A Cute Accident

https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1344536&partId=1

The Country of a Million Rice Fields

King Mangrai ruled a kingdom in today's northern Thailand in the late 1200s. Called Lan Na, or "the country of a million rice fields," it is mainly known today for its capital city of Chiang Mai. Founded in 1296 by King Mangrai, the city had a number of auspicious attributes. Presiding over the city was the scared mountain of Doi Suthep, to the west, and the Ping River flowed through the city before joining the Nan River to the south. After its founding by King Mangrai, the city attracted traders and the prosperity that follows. It became known as the 'city of 12 languages.' A moniker that conveys wealth and a cosmopolitan flair. Lan Na was the local hub for the rich surrounding countryside and hill villages, and goods produced there were sent south along the Ping River to be sold in the great city of Ayutthaya and beyond.

Prosperity brings its own problems, though. Burmese king Bayinnaung marched into Chiang Mai as a conqueror in 1558, and that was the end of Lan Na. But its beautiful remains continue to attract tourists.

The First Artificial Sweetener Was Ancient

The Romans discovered that if they boiled grape juice in lead pots, it produced an even-sweeter drink. They did not know why it worked. But they knew they liked the result. Of course, today, we know that it was the lead in the pots that was getting into the juice and making that sweet taste. Delicious, but dangerous.

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.

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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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