What Makes White's Gentlemen's Club Special?

The most famous gentlemen's club int he world, White's Gentlemen's Club, was founded in 1693 in London by Francesco Bianco ("white" in Italian). It is famous for its "betting book" where members of the club can place bizarre raindrops on anything they dream up. Once two members bet on which raindrop would beat the other down a window. No women are allowed at White's. To join the club, you must be invited by a sitting member, with the support of two other members.

A Who's Who of Maori Mythology

Quick guide: goddesses/female deities are italicized, gods/male deities are not italicized. And a lot of these gods' wives are left off.   Thanks, wikipedia, for this family tree of Maori deities!

The Bizarre Silence Of The Ottoman Emperors

It was considered unseemly for the sultan to speak too much. To allow the ruler to communicate without speaking, a form of sign language was introduced, which was used by his advisors and eunuchs.  As a result, the Ottoman Emperor spent most of his day surrounded by complete silence.

Mustafa I (1591 - 1639) found this impossible to bear and tried to have it banned, but his viziers refused to allow it. Mustafa I ended up going insane and was seen throwing coins into the sea for the fish to spend.

Why Did New Guinea Warriors Prefer Daggers Made With Human Bone?

The indigenous people of Papua New Guinea did not develop metalworking before modern contact. Instead, they fought with sharpened bone daggers. Here there was a choice: fight with daggers crafted from human thighbones or daggers crafted from cassowary thighbones -- giant, flightless, dinosaur-like birds. The preferred weapon in Papua New Guinea was human bone daggers.     And a new study suggests why: the dagger fashioned from human bone is stronger than the giant bird's thighbone, largely because of the way the warriors of New Guinea carved the weapons. The human bone daggers retained more of the natural curves of the bone, making them stronger than the flatter, less curved cassowary bone daggers. Given that cassowary daggers are easier to replace than human-bone daggers, it makes sense that the human daggers were carved with greater care to make them stronger.

An Italian Bank Is Older Than Italy

Founded in Italy in 1472 and originally a pawnshop, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena is the world's oldest surviving bank. It existed when Leonardo da Vinci was still alive!

Rioting Over Sports Is A Proud Tradition!

In 1314, King Edward II of England banned football (soccer) because two rival villages were physically brawling each other over their football games. But football survived. And so did hooliganism. Today, many English clubs have a proud tradition of throwing stones, beer bottles, and whatever else is handy at opposing teams as they visit for games. Some English clubs are even known to be better or worse to visit, because of their fans!

The English are not the only ones, of course. Anyone remember when Vancouver won hockey’s Stanley Cup in 2011 and the whole city rioted? Or this year, when Philadelphia’s football team (the other kind of football) won the 2018 Super Bowl and the whole city took to the streets?

Hawaii Has A Protected Valley, Where Its Ancient Plants Are Preserved

For the past 1,500 years, Limahuli Valley on Kauai has been a green haven, a wilderness preserved to exist just as the native Hawaiians experienced it. It is home to plant life unlike anything found in the rest of the world, with many endangered plants thriving in the valley.

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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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