At its peak in 1637, the Dutch East India Company was valued at US$ 7.9 trillion. That’s adjusted for inflation. US$ 7.9 trillion is the value of the top 20 highest valued companies in the world today -- yes, including Apple and Microsoft.

The First Female War Correspondent

Margaret Full was a well-educated native of Massachusetts in the early 1800s. Born in 1810, she joined the New York Tribune as its literary critic in her early 30s and quickly amassed a following. She became something of a celebrity in her native New England, and was popular enough that she became the first woman allowed access to the library at Harvard College! (Which says more about Harvard than about Full, unfortunately.) She argued for equal access to education for women, prison reform, and the abolition of slavery.  Her views ended up in a book, "Woman in the Nineteenth Century" in 1845.

One year later, the New York Times sent Fuller to Europe as its first female correspondent, for her to cover the democratic revolution in Italy led by Giuseppe Mazzini. There, she fell in love with revolutionary Giovanni Ossoli, giving birth to their child -- scandalously without marrying Ossoli. The three were en route back to America in 1850 when their ship foundered off Fire Island, New York, drowning all three. Her friend, writer Henry David Thoreau, searched the beach for Fuller's personal effects but none were ever found.

That's A New Level Of Famous

Victor Hugo was a star in his own lifetime. To such a degree that they renamed a street in Paris for him -- while he still lived there. Such idolatry was usually reserved for those who had already died. Instead, many fans took great delight in writing letters to the author, addressed "Victor Hugo, en son avenue, Paris." So, in English: "Victor Hugo, His Avenue, Paris."


"No one in their country ever ploughs a field or touches a plough-handle. They are all without fixed abode, without hearth, or law, or settled mode of life, and keep roaming from place to place, like fugitives, accompanied by the wagons in which they live."

Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus, describing the Huns when they first appeared to the Roman world in the 300s CE (Res gestae 31.2.10)

Where are Witches?

A belief in witches -- and consequently witch-hunts -- have been found in every single inhabited continent of the world, and most of the peoples who have lived on it. But belief in witches is not entirely universal: the largest witch-free area is Siberia, covering about a third of the northern hemisphere, and the ancient Egyptians were notable for their lack of belief of witchcraft and embracing magic, instead of fearing magic.

Archaeologists in the Swiss city of Zurich have found a 5,000-year-old door. The door was part of a settlement of "stilt houses" which have been frequently found near lakes, and started appearing about a thousand years after agriculture and animal husbandry were first introduced to the pre-Alpine region. The solidly constructed door was likely to keep out much of the cold wind blowing across Lake Zurich. Made of poplar wood, with well-preserved hinges, the rings in the boards date the door to about 3,063 B.C.E. That might make it the oldest door in Europe!

Caligula, the Roman emperor who was ... mentally challenged ... tried to emulate Alexander the Great by riding horseback across a bridge of boats over the Naples Bay. And he did it dressed in a breastplate Caligula had stolen from Alexander's tomb.

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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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