Bronze statue of Guan Yu, a general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. After he died in 220 CE his deeds entered popular folklore. Guan Yu was deified as early as the Sui Dynasty (581–618 CE) and also became considered a bodhisattva. Today he is god of war, loyalty, and righteousness. This bronze statue dates to the Ming Dynasty, 1400s - 1500s CE.

Asian Metal Found in Alaska Reveals Trade Centuries Before European Contact

A bronze buckle and metal bead found in Alaska, and dating to between 700 and 900 years ago, were smelted in East Asia out of lead, copper, and tin. Among the artifacts are a fishing lure with eyes made of iron (top), a copper fish hook (bottom right), a belt buckle (bottom, second from right) and a needle (bottom). They are evidence of cross-Pacific trade which connected the American arctic with its Asian counterpart. European contact in the area dates to only 300 years ago. The artifacts were found in the remains of a dwelling which was part of a cluster of sites inhabited by the Thule, ancestors of the modern Inuit, on Cape Espenberg in Alaska.

Recording Abu Simbel’s Move, 1964-1968

Built more than 3,000 years ago, Abu Simbel contains two temples, carved into a mountainside. The larger of the two temples contains four colossal statues of a seated pharaoh Ramesses II (1303-1213 BCE) at its entrance, each about 69 feet (21 meters) tall. About 3,300 years later, when the Aswan Dam was to be built to control the flooding of the Nile River, the temples were threatened. Their location would be beneath the water of the lake created by the dam. UNESCO stepped in to save Abu Simbel and many more ancient Egyptian sites by disassembling and reassembling them, very carefully, above the waterline. Click through the image gallery to see photographs of the historic move.

Czar Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia, was also the last acknowledged leader of a nation-state to lead troops into battle. A little into World War I, he took formal command of the Russian troops, and led them into battle in 1915.

La Pola, as Policarpa (or maybe Apolonia) Salavarrieta is a national hero in Colombia, and graces their 10,000 pesos note. The fifth of nine children, Salavarrieta was orphaned by smallpox at age 6 and grew up in the Spanish colony of New Granada (what is today Colombia and Panama). She grew up just as her nation was being born. La Pola became involved with the patriot movement thanks to her family's involvement in her hometown of Guadas; there is evidence of her activities starting when she was about 15, in 1810. La Pola only escalated her anti-royalist activities once she moved to present-day Bogotá with her brother.

In the capital city, La Pola and her brother worked as "servants" at Andrea Ricaurte's home, the center of intelligence gathering and resistance in the capital. Because her revolutionary sympathies were unknown in Bogotá she could move freely through the city and its social groups. Offering her services as a seamstress to the wives and daughters of royalists and officers, she overheard conversations, collected maps and intelligence on their plans and activities, identified who the major royalists were, and found out who were suspected of being revolutionaries. She also worked to recruit badly-needed soldiers for the revolutionary cause and smuggled them out of the city.

Eventually she came under suspicion. But there was not sufficient evidence to arrest her. In 1817, though, her luck ran out. La Pola’s lover, Alejo Sabaraín, and others were caught making their way to the plains to join the rebels. And worse, they were found with signed evidence of La Pola’s counterintelligence efforts on them. She was arrested and sentenced to death by firing squad. La Pola is famous for staying up the whole night before her execution, cursing the Spaniards and predicting their defeat in the revolution. On the scaffold, she is reported to have shouted "I have more than enough courage to suffer this death and a thousand more! Do not forget my example!" She died just 22 years old.

The Man Who Inspired The Phase "Smart Aleck"

Alec Hoag was a prominent criminal in New York in the 1800s. Hoag’s wife, Melinda, disguised herself as a prostitute, and when she was busy distracting potential ... patrons ... her husband pickpocketed them. The problem with this scheme is that Melinda was easily identifiable as the lady the patrons had been busy with while being robbed. So clever Alec gave the police a portion of the profits from the stolen goods.

He decided that since this was going so well, he should up the stakes. He had Melinda bring the marks to a prepared apartment. They would be directed to leave their clothes in a particular corner, which was next to a concealed panel, so Alec could reach in undetected and go through their pockets. After robbing patrons, he would burst into the room (using the door) and accuse the man of sleeping with his wife. The adulterer would pick up their clothes and escape without noticing that some of their possessions were gone. Alec called this "the Panel Game."

But Alec eventually overreached. He thought he was making a fine living, and the police were cutting into that, so why keep paying off the police? The problem being, of course, that the police knew their names, faces, and their illegal scheme, plus the police were now pissed off at them. Alec and Melinda were promptly arrested. The officers mockingly referred to him as “smart Alec" and the phrase quickly entered common usage.

This is a cooking vessel from Japan dating back to 2,500 BCE! Archaeologists call this kind of vessel “fire-flame,” ka’en in Japanese, because their tops resemble flames. No one knows why the design was created, or what it actually represents. Pots like this were used by making holes in the ground, starting fires in the holes, then placing the pots onto the fires in the holes. As a result, bottoms often deteriorated and this particular vessel's bottom is a replacement.

The Proper Fork For Consuming Human Flesh

Fiji society traditionally practiced cannibalism. And forks with a distinctive four-pronged look, or "iculanibokoloa," were reserved for chief's usage during cannibal feasts. This particular example was recorded as being given to an ethnographer by Kandavu Levu, the grandson of the last ‘King’ of Fiji. The grandson was probably Ratu Penaia Kadavulevu, whose grandfather, Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau, was succeeded as Tui Viti (roughly translated as 'King' of Fiji) by Queen Victoria in 1874 when Fiji became a Crown Colony.

DNA from Stone Age ‘chewing gum’ tells an incredible story

For the first time, scientists used 5,700-year-old saliva from a piece of chewed pitch to sequence the complete human genome of an ancient hunter gatherer. Plus the world of microbes that lived inside her. What they found was enough to make a guess about what she looked like, too. Read full National Geographic article here

Chinese Map of the Eastern Hemisphere, 1799

  What do you notice the map includes? I was surprised by what appears to be the tip of Greenland on the upper left-hand corner!

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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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