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.

There exist a type of playground called "adventure playgrounds" where supplies are provided for children to build whatever they wish. They were inspired by the first adventure playground in Emdrup, Copenhagen. It was started in 1943 when the town was under German occupation. Parents were concerned that their children's innocent play would be interpreted as acts of sabotage by German soldiers. So the idea of a designated play space was born. Emdrup's playground had three components: a vacant lot, donated scraps, and a single adult supervisor. The adult supervisor -- not builder, not administrator -- has been credited with the playground's success. They could assist children when asked, but otherwise let children pursue their own projects without adult interference.

How The Dutch Killed Catholics To Maintain Trade With Japan

Even after Japan began its formal policy of isolationism in 1639, the Dutch continued to be allowed to trade through the port of Nagasaki. They were notably... pliable... traders. Basically, the Dutch would do whatever was needed to maintain good relations and keep trading flowing. For example:

“...In 1640 a Dutch trading party was allowed to stay [in Nagasaki] after the expulsion of the Spanish and Portuguese. The ‘Hollanders’ assured their hosts of the relative pliancy of their brand of Christianity, demonstrating their good Protestant faith by firing a few shells at the Japanese Catholics huddled in Hara Castle.”

Their actions meant that the Dutch had exclusive access to Nagasaki for over a century. Japan also kept trading relations open with their much closer neighbors the Ryūkyū Kingdom, Korea, and Russia through the ports of Satsuma, Tsushima and Matsumae (respectively).

During the Second World War, the Soviet Union used more women in combat than any other country. The most famous today were their snipers. Of the women who joined the Red Army, 2,484 were trained as snipers. Of those, only around 500 survived the war. This photograph was taken during combat, of sniper Liza Mirovna. Her number of kills varies, from 34 to "more than a hundred." She died in September 1943.

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.

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    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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