The chrysanthemum was brought to Japan around the beginning of the Heian period (794−1185). By the Edo period (1600 - 1868) hundreds of types of chrysanthemums were being cultivated. These pages come from Gakiku, the first picture book of chrysanthemums published in Japan, in 1691. Its beautiful illustrations and Chinese-style poems introduced readers to 100 different varieties of the flower.

Kalaw Lagaw Ya, the language spoken by central and western Torres Strait indigenous peoples, was a lingua franca before western colonization. Kalaw Lagaw Ya was the language often used by Papua New Guineans and Australians to communicate when trading or traveling.

Counting Coup Was Plains Warrior Tradition To Show Bravery

What was a "coup"? Many acts of bravery in the face of an enemy counted. Any touch to an enemy warrior, or their defensive works or even stealing their horse counted. The most prestigious "coup" was touching an enemy warrior, without harming them, and getting away without being hurt oneself. And the most daring way to do that was to sneak up to an enemy warrior, while they slept, and touch their body without getting caught. As you can imagine, that last one was pretty rare.

There were many ways of counting coups, from notched sticks to lines on one's shirt. In general practice, a warrior who won a coup was permitted to wear an undyed eagle feather in their hair. If the warrior had been wounded in the attempt, however, they had to paint the feather red.

Quaker Women Were Early Feminists

Quakers were one of the first groups to provide equal access to education and leadership skills, for both genders. The Quaker faith believed in equality between the genders. And they acted like it. Women as well as men were given education. Women as well as men could give sermons, and lead Quaker meetings. Women as well as men could run business meetings for the church. It was revolutionary stuff in the mid-1600s and 1700s!

The Interesting Accomplishment Of Hannah Callowhill Penn

Hannah Callowhill, born in 1671, was the second wife of Pennsylvania founder and proprietor William Penn. “Proprietor” means he owned the colony. And he could run it as he saw fit.

When William Penn died in 1718, his will gave control of the colony not to his son but to his widow. Though a son from Penn’s first marriage fought the will, he lost in court, and Hannah Callowhill Penn controlled Pennsylvania for six years, until her death. Although she did so through a deputy. Still, she lives on in the history books, as the only woman to control a British proprietary colony for so long.

The Grisly Chitenjo of Kyoto Immortalize Famous Warriors from Japan's Warring States Period


One of the last battles of Japan's "age of warring states" happened at Fushimi Castle, in Kyoto. What was the “age of warring states”? It is a period in Japanese history, stretching from the mid-1400s to the early 1600s, that was marked by near-constant military conflict. The period ended when Tokugawa Ieyasu came into power and established the Tokugawa shogunate, unifying Japan under a feudal system with himself at the top.

In his climb to power, Tokugawa had to subdue everyone else. And that was bloody. At one point, a vassal of Tokugawa's named Mototada were left defending Fushimi Castle with 2,000 men. Tokugawa's enemy, Ishida Mitsunari, had 40,000 men. The ending was decided before the fighting started. But Mototada did not give up, and did not surrender. A betrayal from within after 12 days of siege ended things quickly, however, and Mototada knew he was doomed. With fires raging everywhere, Mototada and his remaining three hundred and seventy warriors did what was considered honorable and noble for a defeated samurai — they committed seppuku, or ritualistic suicide./p>

Although Fushimi Castle was basically a small skirmish in a large war, its reverberations went far beyond the immediate loss of the castle. In the weeks that followed, Tokugawa Ieyasu raised an army of 90,000 and challenged Ishida Mitsunari's forces for a decisive battle at Sekigahara, which would mark the final victory of Tokugawa over, well, everyone in Japan. The Tokugawa family would rule Japan, with the emperor as a figurehead, for the next 268 years./p>

As part of the mopping-up after the warring states period, and to show everyone that Tokugawa remembered those loyal to him, Tokugawa immortalized Mototada. In 1623, the shogun had the fire-damaged Fushimi Castle dismantled. Sections of the castle that had not been burned or destroyed were salvaged. Some of the salvaged materials happened to be the floor boards upon which Mototada and his men committed suicide to avoid capture. Their blood had soaked so deep into the wood that the boards were permanently stained. Tokugawa had those boards incorporated, mainly as ceilings, into a number of castles and temples across Kyoto. They are known as chitenjo or “blood ceilings.”

The World's Oldest Photograph

It was long thought that the world's oldest photograph was taken in 1826 by Joseph Nicephore Nipce, a French inventor with the nickname "The Father of Photography." His first photograph is a blurry eight-hour exposure of a building in the French city of Le Gras. But in 2002, and even earlier photograph turned up. Who took it? Why, Nipce in 1825.     The oldest photograph in the world is a photograph of an engraving! A picture of a picture. The Flemish engraving, from the 1600s, shows a man leading a horse.

The Abandoned City of Mud and Mystics

The ruined city of Arg-e-Bam is made entirely of mud bricks, clay, straw and the trunks of palm trees. The Iranian city was originally founded during the Sassanian period (224-637 CE) and while some of the surviving structures date from before the 1100s, most of what remains was built during the Safavid period (1502-1722).     Bam prospered because of pilgrims visiting its Zoroastrian fire temple, which had been built early in the Sassanian period, and because Bam was a trading hub along the Silk Road. It was later the site of Jame Mosque, built during the Saffarian period (866-903 CE). Next to the mosque is the tomb of Mirza Naiim, a mystic and astronomer.     The city was largely abandoned since a series of invasions in the early 1800s. In 1953, work began to intensively restore Arg-e-Bam. Restoration work continued until December 26, 2003, when a massive earthquake hit the area -- an estimated 6.6 on the Richter Scale. Almost everything in Bam was destroyed. After that, restoration was given up, and today Arg-e-Bam is at the mercy of the elements.     click through the image gallery to see photographs of what Arg-e-Bam looks like today

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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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