Although it originated in the Americas, some (Western) scholars in the 1800s claimed corn is an Old World crop. Some went so far as to falsify documents that claimed to be pre-contact references to corn by Europeans. As you can guess their attempts did not work.

Georgian men wearing traditional horse-riding gear at a community gathering. In the Georgia Governorate, Russian Empire, circa 1890

The Colored Hockey League was the first organized in 1895. Between 1895 and the early 1930s, all-Black ice hockey teams on Canada's eastern seaboard played for mixed audiences as they challenged each other and vied to win the Colored Hockey Championship. The Colored Hockey League pre-dates the National Hockey League by 20 years, and also pre-dates the more famous Negro Baseball League of the United States.

"On March 29th, the night of mi-careme, a masked ball was in progress, the chabut in full swing. Suddenly, the gayest of the harlequins collapsed, cold in the limbs, and, underneath his mask, ‘violet-blue’ in the face. Laughter died out, dancing ceased, and in a short while carriage-loads of people were hurried from the redoute to the Hotel Dieu to die, and to prevent a panic among the patients, were thrust into rude graves in their dominoes. Soon the public halls were filled with dead bodies, sewed in sacks for want of coffins. Long lines of hearses stood en queue outside Pere Lachaise. Everybody wore flannel bandages. The rich gathered up their belongings and fled the town. Over 120,000 passports were issued at the Hotel de Ville. "

An April 1832 letter written by Heinrich Heine, a German writer and poet. He was witnessing the coming of cholera in Paris. The letter is now known for how it eerily imitates Edgar Allen Poe's short story, "The Red Masque of Death," which came out ten years later. Interestingly, Poe had already seen similar scenes one year earlier in 1831, when cholera first arrived in his home of Baltimore, across the Atlantic in the United States.

An Accidental World Tour

A Japanese sailing ship travelling from Nagoya to Tokyo in 1832 was blown off course. Two years later the missing ship appeared in the area of today's Washington state on the west coast of North America. It had not mast and no rudder.

Of 14 crew members only 3 had survived the accidental ocean crossing of 5,000 miles. Their names were Iwakichi, Kyukichi, and Otokichi. They were first discovered by Makah, who briefly imprisoned them before they were sent to For Vancouver in the British colony of Canada. They were then sent on to London and eventually China, where the "three kichis" became a pawn in international relations with Japan. Part of the reason they could not be sent straight home was that at the time, Japan had been a "closed" country for 200 years, with extremely limited interactions with any outsiders.

Maria Ann Smith -- or as you might know her, Granny Smith -- propagated the ancestor of all modern Granny Smith apples from one tree near Sydney, Australia in 1868.

Sea lions, walruses, and seals are members of the pinniped clade. The name comes from Latin "pinna" for fin, and "ped" for foot. So basically "flipper feet" or "fin feet."

Yup'ik Mask of a Bear Spirit

The Yup'ik Eskimo of western Alaska believe that everything has a spirit (or soul) — people, animals, and things. All participate in an endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. The boundaries between the spirit world and the real world, and between the human world and the world of animals, are not always clear.

Masks with hoops around the mask manifest shamanic visions of the spirit world. The center is, of course, the bear spirit. The encircling hoops are called ellanguat, which means pretend cosmos or universe. The rings around the mask therefore represent movement between the human and supernatural worlds. The outer feathers represent stars or snowflakes. Finally, the circular holes signify a passageway between worlds, the opening in the Sky World through which Tunghak, Keeper of the Game, allows animals to pass from the spirit world to the world of humans, to replenish the supply of game.

The Yup'ik have seasonal festivals that honor the spirits of animals hunted during the previous year. Often, the festivals include masked dances.

History In Space

The asteroids sharing Jupiter’s orbit around the sun fall into two large groups. When working to correctly calculate their orbits, astronomer Johann Palisa started the convention to call one group of asteroids “Trojan” and the other “Greek.” And asteroids in each group are given names from their respective groups -- Achilles for a Greek asteroid, for instance.

However, the asteroids 617 Patroclus and 624 Hektor were named before the Greek/Trojan rule was suggested, resulting in a Greek spy in the Trojan camp and a Trojan spy in the Greek camp.

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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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