Who Was The First Person To Reach The North Pole?

American Frederick Cook claimed to have reached the North Pole in 1908. American Robert Peary claimed to have done so the next year. Cook’s account was widely declared unproven in 1909, and Peary became the celebrated adventurer who conquered the North Pole. But recent analyses of Peary's journal suggest he did not actually make it.

Which means that in 1948, the Soviets became the first (confirmed) humans to reach the North Pole when they airlifted a team in.

Up to 5% of the world's population died due to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 - 1920. In comparison, World War I killed about 2% and took 4 years to do so.

The Neo-Incan State You've Never Heard Of

The last (widely accepted) Incan emperor retreated to the highland jungles of the once-large empire, and built a new capital called Willkapampa. It remained the remote capital of a much-smaller Incan state from 1539 to 1572. After decades of continuous guerilla fighting and four rulers, Willkapampa was conquered by a Spanish army. The last Incan leader Túpac Amaru was pursued, captured, and beheaded in Cuzco's central square.

The remains of Willkapampa has never been conclusively identified.

NY State Museum Transfers Ownership of Leader's Pipe Tomahawk to Seneca Nation of Indians

For a little good news: the New York State Museum has officially transferred ownership of a pipe tomahawk to the Seneca Nation. It was given by President George Washington to the respected Seneca leader and diplomat Cornplanter, at one of several meetings between United States and Iroquois Confederacy leaders in the years 1792 to 1794.

The pipe tomahawk eventually entered the New York State Museum’s collection in 1851 as a gift from Seneca diplomat Ely Parker. Sometime between 1947 and 1950 the object went missing -- and showed up in private collections. It moved around owners for nearly 70 years until an anonymous donor returned the pipe tomahawk to the State Museum in June 2018. And now the museum is returning it to the original gift recipient.

Fishermen in Argentina's Greater Buenos Aires region keep making an unusual catch: prehistoric shells of armadillo ancestors. In October of 2019, a group of fishermen found a mostly intact shell which has been dated to over 10,000 years old. On Christmas Day of 2015, Jose Antonio Nievas found a shell in mud by a stream in his farm.

Both turned out to be glyptodonts' shells. Glyptodonts were not a single species, but an animal genus containing seven known species, among them the ancestors of modern armadillos. Glyptodonts had large, heavy shells and armored tails which they could use as clubs. They emerged in South America no earlier than 35 million years ago, and went extinct around the end of the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago. Whether or not their extinction was related to humans’ arrival on the continent around the same time... well, that’s still up for debate.

Only one British Prime Minister has ever been assassinated. Spencer Percival was shot on May 11th, 1812 by John Bellingham, a Liverpool merchant. Bellingham who had been imprisoned in Russia and believed he was due compensation from the British government, but whose petitions had been denied for 2 years.

Kʼinich Janaabʼ Pakal, or "Pakal the Great" reigned over the Maya city-state of Palenque in the Late Classic period, from July of 615 to August of 683 CE. His 68-year-reign is the fourth-longest verifiable reign in history. It is also the longest in the history of the Americas.

Why Were The Terms "Axis" and "Allied" Used For World War II?

The terms "Axis" and "Allies" were in use by each side even before World War II. Mussolini began using the term "axis" in 1923 when he was trying to secure political support from the Weimar Republic against Yugoslavia and Belgrade's French ally during the Italo-Yugoslav Fiume Crisis. To roughly translate his Italian, Mussolini declared that "there is no doubt that the axis of European history passes through Berlin" (non v'ha dubbio che in questo momento l'asse della storia europea passa per Berlino). When Japan was added to the international alliance Tokyo was added to the "axis." (Picture a line going north from Rome through Germany, over the North Pole, and landing in Tokyo.) In Italian literature, you will sometimes find it referred to as The RoBerTo Axis, Rome-Berlin-Tokyo.

Allies has a less interesting history. It was simply reused from the last war.

Victorians Also Loved Sensationalized Murders

During the Victorian Era, not-unusual collectibles were figurines of serial killers. Examples include the Red Barn Murder, the Murders at Stanfield Hall, the Bermondsey Horror, and William Palmer, who was nicknamed “The Prince of Poisoners.”

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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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