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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Viking Women

This is a very interesting article about Viking Women. This is a quote from it: 'On the other hand, women were respected in Norse society and had great freedom, especially when compared to other European societies of that era. They managed the finances of the family. They ran the farm in their husband's absence. In widowhood, they could be rich and important landowners. The law protected women from a wide range of unwanted attention'. http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/society/text/women.htm 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Joan of Arc

On 30 May 1431 Joan of Arc was burned. Joan was mentally ill. She heard voices. But for a time the French king found her useful. If she claimed God sent her and the French soldiers believed her that suited her fine. But she was eventually captured. For a time she was held prisoner by the Duke of Luxembourg (an ally of the English). He offered to hand her over to the French in return for a ransom. They said 'thanks, but no thanks'. She had outlived her usefulness. So he sold her to the English instead http://www.localhistories.org/joan

Christopher Marlowe

On 30 May 1593 the great playwright Christopher Marlowe was killed in an argument www.localhistories.org/marlowe 

Monday, 29 May 2017

Toast

On 29 May 1919 Charles Strite patented the pop up toaster. Thank you Mr Strite. Believe it or not in 1978 they made a song about toast. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJmKStqugMc 

Bank Holidays

Happy birthday bank holidays. Monday 29 May 1871 was the first ever bank holiday in Britain. www.localhistories.org/holidays

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Guillotine

Happy birthday Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, born 28 May 1738. He proposed that there should be a swift and humane method of executing people in France. The French Assembly agreed to his idea in 1791 and the first decapitating device was built. The first person to be executed by the new machine was Nicolas Jacques Pelletier in 1792. The guillotine was last used in France in 1977. www.localhistories.org/pun.html 

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Copernicus

One of the greatest Poles, Mikolaj Kopernik died on 24 May 1543. Most of us know him better as Nicolaus Copernicus www.localhistories.org/copernicus 

Monday, 22 May 2017

Roman Women

Evolution in Ancient Greece

The Ancient Greeks invented the idea of evolution 2,500 years before Darwin. They could not explain how or why evolution happens. Darwin was the genius who discovered the mechanism - natural selection. Some Ancient Greek ideas were completely wrong. Nevertheless they were brilliant thinkers. http://launchistory.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/theory-of-evolution-in-ancient-greece.html 

Friday, 19 May 2017

Emily Davison

In 1913 a suffragette named Emily Davison ran onto a race course. She was hit by a horse and killed. Germaine Greer argues she did not help the cause of women's suffrage: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-politics/10089541/Emily-Davison-was-she-really-a-suffragette-martyr.html 

Monday, 15 May 2017

Machine Gun

On 15 May 1718 James Puckle patented the first machine gun. However it was not a successful invention. In the 19th century many people experimented with machine guns. In 1862 Richard Gatling invented the Gatling gun. However the first really successful machine gun was the maxim gun, invented by Hiram Maxim in 1884. It was adopted by the British army in 1889. www.localhistories.org/weaponshist.html 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Edward Jenner

On 14 May 1796 Edward Jenner vaccinated a boy against smallpox. He wasn't the first to vaccinate but he popularised the smallpox vaccine. www.localhistories.org/jenner

Monday, 8 May 2017

Joan of Arc

On 8 May 1429 the French, inspired by Joan of Arc broke the English siege of Orleans. It was a turning point in the Hundred Years War which ended with England losing all territory in France except Calais. Joan of Arc was a great woman of the Middle Ages even though she was a whack job who heard voices. www.localhistories.org/joan.html 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Germany surrenders

On 7 May 1945 the Germans signed a document of surrender. The Second World War officially ended at one minute past midnight on the night of 8-9 May 1945. www.localhistories.org/nazigermany 

Friday, 5 May 2017

First American in Space

On 5 May 1961 Alan B Shepard became the first American in space www.localhistories.org/space  He made a 15 minute sub orbital flight reaching a height of 116 miles and lasting 15 minutes.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Catherine the Great

Happy birthday Catherine the Great (2 May 1729)

Peter III became Tsar in 1762 but he reigned for only a few months. Supporters of his wife Catherine assassinated him in 1762. She became known as Catherine the Great.

Although she liked to be seen as an enlightened despot and she corresponded with philosophers like Voltaire and Diderot many of Catherine's subjects were poor and oppressed. In 1773 man named Yemelyan Pugachev led a rebellion. The rebellion had considerable success but it was finally crushed in 1774. Pugachev was brought to Moscow in an iron cage. He was beheaded and his body was cut into quarters. Afterwards, in 1775, Catherine reformed local government. In 1785 she gave the gentry (wealthy landowners) a charter (a document granting or confirming certain rights).

Meanwhile Russia expanded in the 18th century. Russia fought a successful war with the Turks in 1768-1774. As a result the Russians gained land by the Black Sea. In 1783 Russia took the Crimea. The Turks lost still more territory after a war in 1787-1791. Meanwhile Russia took parts of Poland. In 1772 Russia, Prussia and Austria helped themselves to a slice of Polish territory each. Russia and Prussia helped themselves to more Polish territory in 1793. Finally in 1795 Russia, Prussia and Austria divided up what was left of Poland between them.

During the 18th century Russian territory and population greatly increased. Russia's new territory in the south was called New Russia and many people migrated there. Meanwhile Russians settled in the east. Russian industry also grew at this time and foreign trade expanded rapidly. By the time Catherine died in 1796 Russia was very powerful.