In their September edition in 1896, National Geographic magazine published this photograph with the caption "The Recent Earthquake Wave on the Coast of Japan." A tsunami had hit on the evening of June 15, 1896. Unfortunately, it was both dark and raining that evening, so few people were outside to see the water recede and warn the villages. National Geographic reported that "A few survivors, who saw it advancing in the darkness, report its height as 80 to 100 feet."

Cleopatra remains fascinating, 2,047 years after her death. To date, she has been the subject of five ballets, seven films, forty-five operas, seventy-seven plays, and innumerable paintings.

Patricia Bath was a scientist long before she became one by profession. She won several science awards as a high school student. She then went off to college and received her B.A. from Hunter College in Manhattan in 1964. Then it was off to medical school: she earned her medical degree in 1968 from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and then returned to New York for further training. Bath became the first black ophthalmology resident at New York University in the early 1970s. And she had a daughter while finishing off her residency! Pretty impressive, so far. But Bath's invention of the Laserphaco Probe a decade later was what really put her name in the history books. She invented an amazing new procedure, far ahead of its time—the tiny surgical device used lasers to disintegrate cataracts from within the eyes of patients, helping to fix a major public health problem. Bath was also the first African-American female doctor to receive a medical patent for her device and procedure.

In the 1880s, a baboon named Jack worked as the assistant to a paraplegic signalman for nine years on a South African railroad. Jack was paid in brandy and never made a mistake.

The Short-Lived Republic of Formosa

In the aftermath of the First Sino-Japanese War and the Treaty of Shimonoseki, Japan had been given control over Taiwan by the Chinese. Without asking the Taiwanese. They were understandably not happy with being handed over to a foreign country. So, in May 1895, Taiwan declared its independence from Japan, calling their new country the Republic of Formosa. Japan wanted their first colony, and they were prepared to fight for it. Plus, Japan had been modernizing and had this modern, big army with modern, big weapons. And they knew little Formosa had neither. The invasion was on!

Messages were sent out, pleading for international recognition and support. (France did send a battleship and some officers to talk with the republic’s leaders.) However, the international support never came and the Formosans were soundly defeated by the Japanese military in a matter of months, most of it by June the same year. The Republic of Formosa lasted from May 23, 1895 to October 21, 1895. Taiwan remained a Japanese colony until 1945.

Have you heard of the Moosleute? Dwarflike "moss people," they live in the forest of Germany. If treated well Moosleute will heal people, and for some reason, offer good advice. They're like folktale's Ask Amy.

What’s A King To A Caesar?

From 27 BCE to 1946 CE, someone, somewhere in Europe has had a title “Caesar.” The czar of Russia, the kaiser of Germany...many, many European titles were just local derivatives of “Caesar.”

The last Caesar was Tsar Simeon II of Bulgaria, who was removed from office in 1946 by the Soviets. He’s still alive, too!

In Mesoamerica children are warned about El Coco. A shapeless, hairy monster, it kidnaps and devours children. So they had better listen to their parents!

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    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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