"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.

DNA Identifies Modern Czech Men As Descendants of Medieval Noblemen

The large Czech town of Uherské Hradište is believed to have been a center of the Holy Moravian Empire, which was the first major state that was predominantly West Slavic. The empire was notable for ushering in Christianity in the region after the arrival of St. Cyril and St. Methodius in 863; the Holy Moravian Empire's use of the Glagolitic alphabet invented by those saints also birthed the first ever Slavic literary culture.

Uherské Hradište itself boasted a large church and baptistery and was inhabited by dukes, noblemen, craftsmen, tradesmen, farmers, and probably slaves. A team of researchers have recently conducted a study comparing samples of DNA obtained from 75 men buried in high-status graves between the 800s and 1200s CE with 340 living men, whose last names appeared in historic registry records. In other words, the living men's last names suggest their families have been in the area of Uherské Hradište for quite a while.

Y-chromosome markers identified 18 men, out of the 340, who are descended from Great Moravian noblemen. The researchers were surprised by such a large number. It seems small, yes, until you consider that East Moravia used to border Hungary. As a liminal space between Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire it was affected by many wars, from the Thirty Years' War to World War II.


"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.

The national symbol of the Philippines is the Philippine, or monkey-eating, eagle. It is the largest of all eagles and was declared the national bird of the Philippines in 1995. It was almost too late: the eagle is critically endangered and there may be just 180 to 500 eagles remaining.

Frederick Branch was the first African-American to become an officer in the US Marine Corps. After being drafted in 1943, he applied for Officer Candidate School, but was turned down, even though President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 in 1941, which prohibited racial discrimination by any government agency. So Branch served in the Marines in a supply unit in the Pacific, where his performance earned him the recommendation of his commanding officer. Branch then attended officer's training in the Navy V-12 program at Purdue University. He was the only African-American in a class of 250. After graduating he was commissioned as a second lieutenant on November 10, 1945 -- but as the officer for a segregated unit.

The photograph is Branch with his wife.

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

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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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