It was only during World War II -- which in Japan caused scarcity of cloth and disapproval of luxuries -- that kimonos stopped being everyday wear for most Japanese.

North-western Syria has about seven hundred "Dead Cities" or "Forgotten Cities." They include villages, towns, and some cities that were mainly abandoned between the 700s and 900s CE. Because they rest in an elevated area of limestone known as the Limestone Massif, which gets relatively little rain, the settlements are more or less still at surface level and well-preserved. There are three main groups of highlands on the Massif, each with their own Dead Cities. They provide us with insight into what life was like for prosperous agriculturalists in Late Antiquity and the Byzantine period.

The Dead Cities became a massive UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, although they have been largely inaccessible since 2013.

Why Everyone Knows The Gurkha

The Gurkha are Nepalese soldiers. In the last few centuries they have served, at various times, in the the British, Indian, and Nepalese military. Gurkha have a legacy of bravery and incredible exploits, both as units and as individuals. This anecdote is a good example of why:

When President Sukarno of Indonesia announced, in 1963, that he was going to “crush Malaysia,” British forces were sent in to oppose his attack – which meant that the Gurkhas from Nepal were called in to help. Tim Bowden, in his book, One Crowded Hour, wrote about how the Gurkhas were asked if they would be willing to jump from transport planes into combat. Surprisingly, the Gurkhas, who usually agreed to anything, provisionally rejected the plan. A cameraman, Neil Davis, told Bowden an incident that went something like this: The next day, one of the Gurkha officers sought out the British officer who made the request. “We have talked it over, and are prepared to jump under certain conditions.” “What are they?” “We’ll jump if the land is marshy or reasonably soft with no rocky outcrops.” The British officer said that the dropping area would almost certainly be over jungle, and there would not be rocky outcrops. “Anything else?” “Yes,” said the Gurkha. “We want the plane to fly as slowly as possible and no more than one hundred feet high.” The British officer told them the planes always fly as slow as possible when dropping troops, but to jump from one hundred feet was impossible, because the parachutes wouldn’t open in time. “Oh,” the Gurkha responded. “That’s all right then. We’ll jump . . . you didn’t tell us we would have parachutes.”

Cambodia’s flag is the only national flag to have a real building on it. That’s Angkor Wat, a Hindu then Buddhist temple complex built starting in the early 1100s CE.

Official Signature of Ottoman Sultan Murad III

AAlthough "signature" is a rough translation of the Ottoman's word "tugra." Murad III did not literally sign all documents like this, rather, it was a symbol of his authority which was placed on all official documents and seals and coins. Each sultan chose his personal tugra immediately after their accession to the throne, and used the same format throughout their life.

Who Contributed To The Achaemenid/Persian Empire?

Each bust comes from an Achaemenid/Persian relief, which is a pretty neat way of visualizing who made up their empire, or was in contact with them.

The first use of the word “petroleum” was by a German mineralogist in 1556. It comes from two Latin words: petra for "rock” or “stone,” and oleum, for “oil.” However, petroleum had been in use since ancient times. The ancient Sumerians found petroleum on the banks of the Euphrates River used it for various things including roadbuilding and waterproofing.

Fun Fact of the Day

By the end of the English Civil War (in the 1640s to 1651) there were Mesopotamians fighting in the monarchists' army.

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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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