Future United States President Ulysses S. Grant was born Hiram Ulysses Grant. He changed his name at West Point to avoid having his military uniforms marked with initials "H.U.G."

This fresco was found in Pompeii, with its colors amazingly preserved. It survived a volcanic eruption by almost two thousand years. But it was destroyed by the recent fire at Brazil’s National Museum in Rio de Janeiro.

New Pre-Incan Mummy Found In Peru

Archaeologists working at Pachacamac, a pre-Columbian pilgrimage site and ceremonial center on the coast of Peru, have uncovered a well-preserved mummy buried sometime between 1000 and 1200 CE. They discovered the mummy bundle while excavating remains of a structure once devoted to local ancestors. When the Incan Empire later took over the area, Pachacamac was converted from a building devoted to the ancestors to a ritual healing facility. They apparently built right over the mummy, which was found perfectly undisturbed.

Men’s Hair In The 1970s Was Something Else

The 1980s gets too much attention for being a horrible, no-good, very bad time for hair. But we ignore the atrocity that was men’s hair in the 1970s! Click through the image gallery for some more egregious examples

Is This Right-Side Up?

That's Le Bateau ("The Boat") by Henri Matisse. In 1961, the Museum of Modern Art in New York hung it upside down for 47 days! The mistake was noticed by Genevieve Habert, a stockbroker, and she notified a guard. But nothing was done. So Habert got in touch with the New York Times who in turn notified Monroe Wheeler, the Museum's art director. Wheeler had the piece flipped, and it has hung right-side up ever since. Or has it?

Spanish conquerors brought bullfighting to Mexico. Second only to Spain, Mexico now has the most bullfighting rings in the world. Mexico City's Plaza de Toros México -- which literally translates as "Plaza of the Bulls" -- is the largest bullring in the world.

The Weight of Privilege

Maya rituals may have literally been weighty affairs for high-ranking rulers. During these festivities, elite officials adorned themselves with an assortment of jade pendants, mostly worn on the ears or around the neck. Heavier ones (such as a 5-pound carved head from Ucanal in Guatemala) were likely attached to a belt and would have made customary ritual dancing quite cumbersome.

It is theorized that the weight of the assembled stones, which may have totaled as much as 25 pounds, symbolized a leader’s prestige and responsibilities.

Old-School Basketball Wasn't Coach-Friendly

Basketball coaches were not allowed to talk to their players during a game until 1949, when they were finally allowed to talk with them -- but only during time-outs.

Europeans Divided Up Australia Before They Even Discovered It

In the 1500s three provinces, Beach, Maletur, and Lucach, were added to Australia. Note that the Europeans talking about Australia had not yet discovered it. Australia was a concept, a possibility, and somehow it already had named provinces. The names were corruptions of real places in Southeast Asia that were mentioned in Marco Polo's book. Later European readers mistakenly placed them south of Java, over 1,000 miles wrong. And from there, the myth took on a life of its own.

The most important of the three was Beach, which appeared on many maps with the enticing title provincial aurifera, or “gold-bearing land." Sailors often referred to the continent of Australia as "Beach."

Maletur was given the title scatens aromaibus, or a region overflowing with spices. Lucach was said as late as 1601 to have received an embassy from Java. These three places were believed to exist in Europe during the 1500s. In fact, in 1545 Spain even appointed a governor of the nonexistent Beach – a certain Pedro Sancho de la Hoz, who was one of the conquistadors of Chile.

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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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