Why Were The Terms "Axis" and "Allied" Used For World War II?

The terms "Axis" and "Allies" were in use by each side even before World War II. Mussolini began using the term "axis" in 1923 when he was trying to secure political support from the Weimar Republic against Yugoslavia and Belgrade's French ally during the Italo-Yugoslav Fiume Crisis. To roughly translate his Italian, Mussolini declared that "there is no doubt that the axis of European history passes through Berlin" (non v'ha dubbio che in questo momento l'asse della storia europea passa per Berlino). When Japan was added to the international alliance Tokyo was added to the "axis." (Picture a line going north from Rome through Germany, over the North Pole, and landing in Tokyo.) In Italian literature, you will sometimes find it referred to as The RoBerTo Axis, Rome-Berlin-Tokyo.

Allies has a less interesting history. It was simply reused from the last war.

Victorians Also Loved Sensationalized Murders

During the Victorian Era, not-unusual collectibles were figurines of serial killers. Examples include the Red Barn Murder, the Murders at Stanfield Hall, the Bermondsey Horror, and William Palmer, who was nicknamed “The Prince of Poisoners.”

A History of Marshmallows

Marsh mallow, or Althea officinalis, is a plant indigenous to Eurasia and Northern Africa. We know ancient Egyptians mixed marshmallow sap with nuts and honey. Though no one knows what it tasted like! For thousands of years, to make a sweet remedy for sore throats or simply a sweet, marsh mallow's root sap was boiled, strained, whipped, and sweetened. Marshmallows had to be created by hand, poured and molded into something similar to what we eat today. Because marshmallows were so time-consuming to create they remained available only to the elite.

In the late 1800s two revolutions happened in marshmallow history, which together created the new "starch mogul" system. First, confectioners started using marshmallow molds made of modified cornstarch. At the same time, they replaced the mallow root with gelatin, creating a much more stable form of marshmallow. The new starch mogul system was pioneered in France. It quickly crossed the Atlantic, catching on the USA in the early 1900s. The marshmallow-covered sweet potato casserole was invented in 1917, along with putting marshmallows in hot cocoa. And in 1927, a recipe for s'mores appeared in a Girl Scouts handbook.

In 1948, the American Alex Doumak created and patented the extrusion process, once again revolutionizing marshmallow-making. His process involves taking the marshmallow ingredients and running them through tubes. Afterwards, ingredients are cut into equal pieces, and packaged for sale. In the 1950s the newly cheap marshmallows were hugely popular in the US.

What Animal Is This?

Your guess is as good as any, because we do not know! The claws, fangs, and spots are cat-like, while the hindquarters resemble two seahorse tails. Moche, 525-550 CE.

A Lost Cemetery for Enslaved Persons Rediscovered In Florida

At a Tallahassee golf course, near the 7th hole, has been found a cemetery dating to the days of the American Civil War. With a naked eye can be seen barely-there depressions in the grass. But thanks to continued local remembrance of a graveyard for enslaved persons in the area, and a report based on historical records made to the country club, an archaeological team from the National Park Service brought ground-penetration radar (GPR) to the site in 2019 to investigate. The GPR detected roughly 40 graves. They were the right shape, and the right depth, to be graves. The finding was then confirmed by human remains detection dogs.

Based on historical records, the graveyard has been connected with a plantation owned by the family of Edward Houston. The Houstons were a prominent slave-owning family in Savannah, Georgia. When Tallahassee was being settled by white colonists, two Houston family members purchased a half square mile in 1826. The records demonstrate that this would not have been a graveyard for white residents of the plantation, for the family. It would have been a final resting place for the enslaved persons who worked the plantation.

At this time, there are no plans to excavate in the cemetery, and disturb the dead. Efforts are focused on finding descendants of those who might be buried there.

Old Mountains vs Young Mountains

The 145 million years is a little arbitrary, but it makes for a fun and unusual way to look at the world. Are your mountains young or old?

The Tiwanakus Expanded Their Minds

A 1,000-year-old bag found in southwest Bolivia has a very impressive collection of items to use with mind-altering substances. It includes two snuff tablets, a snuff tube with attached braids of human hair, a pouch made from three stitched-together fox snouts, and spatulas made from what appears to be llama bones. Analyses have revealed the items contain traces of tobacco, coca, the raw materials for a psychoactive snuff called vilca or cebil, and ayahuasca. Interestingly, the plant materials came from a variety of ecosystems suggesting either a wide-ranging traveler or a large trading network. The bundle was found in a cave in 2010 and radiocarbon dates to between 905 and 1170 CE. That date range matches the declining period of the Tiwanaku culture, which had once dominated much of the southern and central Andes. For the Tiwanaku, hallucinogens were an important aspect of religious observance.

In 1993, Tennessee minister Horace Burgess was praying when God told him, “If you build a treehouse, I’ll see that you never run out of material.” He set to work and spent the next 12 years building a house 97 feet tall, unofficially the largest in the world. The house was closed in 2012 because it didn’t follow building and fire safety codes, and in October 2018 it burned to the ground. Burgess told the New York Times that in some ways this was a relief. Though it had been important to him for decades, “It’s always been a pain,” he said.

In 1849, part of a fossilized arm bone belonging to an extinct giant turtle was found in a New Jersey streambed. It belonged to an Atlantochelys mortoni, who lived during the upper Cretaceous period, about 75 million years ago. From tip to tail it would have been ten feet (3 m) long! That's larger than any living turtle species. And in 2012, the other half of the arm bone was found by an amateur paleontologist in New Jersey. Which is especially amazing since the 1849 specimen was the first example of the genus and the species, and the older bone was also without a match of any kind.

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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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