The Miraculous Seige of Peitang Cathedral

During the China Relief Expedition in 1900, US Armed Forces entered China during the Boxer Rebellion, to attempt to aid trapped US citizens and European nationals. The “Righteous and Harmonious Fists”, or simply the “Boxers” attacked the Roman Catholic Peitang Cathedral, where 3400 Chinese Christians, 55 missionaries, and 43 French and Italian sailors were seeking refuge. The cathedral was inside the Imperial City of Beijing, and thus was completely cut off from Legation Quarter, their only hope of help. It seemed like an easy capture for the 10,000 Boxer soldiers who beseiged the cathedral.

And yet...the sailors managed to hold them off. For over two months! The seige lasted from from 14 June 1900 until 16 August 1900, and while more than 400 Christian converts died, the majority survived. The Boxers blamed their failure on a “ten thousand woman flag”, woven out of pubic hair that was draped on top of the cathedral, and thus rendering the Boxers “magic” useless.

When Australia's pounds, shillings and pence were to be replaced by decimal currency in February 1966, many names for the new currency were suggested. The austral, the oz, the boomer, the roo, the kanga, the emu, the koala, the digger, the zac, the kwid, the dinkum, and the ming were all considered,before settling on the much-less-interesting "dollar".

The First Planned Town Was Older Than You'd Expect

The ancient Egyptian city of Kahun was the first planned city in the world. It was erected for the overseers and workmen employed in constructing the nearby pyramid of Al-Lāhūn, built by Sesostris II (reigned 1844–37 BCE), and it was abandoned when the pyramid was completed.

It was excavated by the English archaeologist Sir Flinders Petrie (1888–90), revealing a crisscross of streets laid out in a regular pattern. Houses were built of mud brick covered by beamed, flat mud roofs, with open courts and porticoes, and the earliest examples of a supporting wooden column.

An Amusing Zoology Experiment

In 1833, to show that vultures found their prey by sight rather than smell, naturalist John Bachman made “a coarse painting representing a sheep skinned and cut open:”

"This proved very amusing — no sooner was this picture placed on the ground than the Vultures observed it, alighted near, walked over it, and some of them commenced tugging at the painting. They seemed much disappointed and surprised, and after having satisfied their curiosity, flew away. This experiment was repeated more than fifty times, with the same result."

Mr. Bachman confirmed his results by placing a painting within two feet of a camoflaged trash heap, in his garden. The vultures came as usual, walking around the tasty-looking painting, and generally gave no evidence that they smelled the non-edible trash. Mr. Bachman concluded that vultures may possess a sense of smell, but they do not use it to find food. Given what vultures eat that is probably smart.

The Last Five Years Hottest Ever Recorded, NASA and NOAA Report

Scary, scary news. While 2018 was only the 4th hottest year ever, the last five years—from 2014 to 2018—are the warmest years ever recorded in the 139 years that NOAA has tracked global heat. (NOAA stands for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and is a section of the US Department of Commerce.)

Did You Know The US Has An Official Spanish Anthem?

In 1945, the U.S. State Department commissioned an official Spanish translation of the Star-Spangled Banner as part of an effort to redefine the US' relationship with Latin America. So the US State Department held a contest! They requested Spanish versions that fit musically while being as close to the original as possible.

In the end, the winner was "El Pendón Estrellado" by Peruvian immigrant Clotilde Arias, a New York-based composer. It has never caught on.

The first known movie censorship? Nude scenes were removed from the 1934 American film "Tarzan and His Mate." To be more accurate, nude scenes were removed from some versions of "Tarzan and His Mate." You see, three versions of the film were shown simultaneously: no nude swimming scene in conservative parts of the US, a topless swimming scene in most of the country, and a fully nude swimming scene in a few select theaters (mostly in New York City).

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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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