The first use of the word “petroleum” was by a German mineralogist in 1556. It comes from two Latin words: petra for "rock” or “stone,” and oleum, for “oil.” However, petroleum had been in use since ancient times. The ancient Sumerians found petroleum on the banks of the Euphrates River used it for various things including roadbuilding and waterproofing.

In the 2000 Olympics, the Greek runner Konstantinos Kenteris won gold in the 200 meter dash. This made Kenteris the first Greek athlete to win an Olympic sprinting event since Dionysius of Alexandria in 269 CE.

Origin of Stonehenge's Stones Found

We have now identified 50 of the 52 sarsen stones at Stonehenge as coming from a quarry about fifteen miles away. You probably know about the roughly 5,000-year-old Neolithic-period henge monument on England's Salisbury Plain. The new study used a combination of geochemical and statistical analyses, and a multidisciplinary team of archaeologists and geologists identified a chemical signature for the megaliths, including all 15 standing stones that form the site's iconic inner horseshoe.

Fun Fact of the Day

By the end of the English Civil War (in the 1640s to 1651) there were Mesopotamians fighting in the monarchists' army.

Depiction, by an unknown Vietnamese artist, of the French capture of the town of Hưng Hóa (in today’s Phú Thọ, Vietnam) on April 12, 1884. The taking of the town was a major victory in France’s Tonkin Campaign (1883–86) to take northern Vietnam and turn it into a French protectorate. France also created a protectorate in Annam (central Vietnam) after a nationalist uprising there in 1885.

A stork shot by a hunter in Germany in 1822 was found with a Central African spear piercing its throat, providing scientists with the first evidence for extremely long-distance bird migration.

A Constitutional Fracas in Luxembourg

According to the national constitution, the Grand Duke (or Duchess) of Luxembourg "sanctions and promulgates the laws" passed by Parliament. The last time the Luxembourg monarch had refused to sign was in 1912 for an education bill. So the system seemed to be working fine: the parliament passes laws and the royal head of state sanctions them.

But in December of 2008, Grand Duke Henri announced he would not sanction a newly-created law on euthanasia, and no one quite knew what to do. So it was announced by Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker that a constitutional amendment would be brought forward which removed the word "sanction" from the constitution. Instead, the Grand Duke or Duchess "promulgates the laws." So, technically, the head of state’s signature is still required on all laws. But it is an automatic function of their office and does not indicate the ruler's agreement with the law. Grand Duke Henri's attempt at a moral stand merely resulted in the removal of what little power he might have previously possessed.

FIFA prevented women's soccer from growing and competing with their men's games by banning association member stadiums from holding women's matchs. For 50 years! The ban was in place from 1921 to 1971.

Can You Guess This Animal?

Answer: dragon! It is a dragon-shaped jade pendant from the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, dating to China in the 300s to 200s BCE.

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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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