Welcome to For History Lovers

As Machiavelli once said "Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results." It is these passions that we search for while delving into our history, a way of connecting to the great men and women who came before us. We reach back and learn from their mistakes and victories and gain a sense of belonging to the great cycle of life. For History Lovers is a place to explore our past and debate on the significance of major and minor historical events.

What do you think is the greatest architectural accomplishment of the ancient world?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jack the Ripper

Saturday, October 30, 2010
One of the oldest unsolved murder cases in the world, Jack the Ripper instilled fear into the heart of Victorian London and still captures our imagination today. Between August and November 1888, five prostitutes were murdered in Whitechapel, an area in the East End of London. Despite the wealth of Victorian London, the East End was a very impoverished area of the city- home to many Jewish refugees from Russia, Poland and Romania. Whitechapel also had the highest crime rate in the city. Everything about the murders seems to be shrouded in mystery, from the identity of the killer to the letters that were sent to the police. Even the number of victims is under scrutiny. It is generally accepted that there were five victims of Jack the Ripper: Mary Ann (Polly) Nichols (Aug. 31, 1888), Annie Chapman (Sept. 30, 1888), Elizabeth Stride (Sept. 30, 1888), Catherine Eddowes (also Sept. 30, 1888) and Mary Jane (Marie Jeanette) Kelly (Nov. 9, 1888). However, some sources say there were only four victims, while others say there were as many as nine. As for the matter of the letters, it is commonly believed that they were a hoax despite containing graphic details of the murders. Recently it has been thought that Tom Bulling, a journalist from the Central News Agency, wrote the letters. However, some still believe that all, or at least some, of the letters actually were written by the killer, particularly the letter that was sent to George Lusk with half a human kidney. The story of Jack the Ripper had a real effect on, not only the rest of London, but also the entire British Empire. The legend played on the fears that poverty, crime, disease and social unrest were at their doorstep, and Jack the Ripper became the personification of all these evils. For the last 120 years the case of the Whitechapel Murderer has been unsolved and this has led to many theories including hundreds of Victorian Londoners. The most accepted suspects are Montague John Druitt, Michael Ostrog, Aaron Kosminski, George Chapman, Thomas Cutbrush and more recently Dr Francis J. Tumblety. Other theorized suspects include Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward (who would later become King Edward VII), author and mathematician Lewis Carroll, Dr. T. Neil Cream, criminal Frederick Deeming, Walter Sickert, poet Francis Thompson and even an unknown woman who was dubbed Jill the Ripper.

For more Historical Mysteries check out http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-historical-mysteries.php

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Olduvai Gorge

Saturday, October 23, 2010
An Ancient lake basin in northern Tanzania, the Olduvai Gorge has yielded the remains of more than 60 hominids as well as the two earliest stone tool traditions ever found (Oldowan and Acheulian). The gorge was discovered when German entomologist Wilhelm Kattwinkel fell into it while chasing a butterfly in 1911 . This inspired Hans Reck to lead an expedition there in 1913 but his work was ended by World War I. Excavations of Olduvai began in 1931 by Lois Leakey and his wife Mary. Three separate species of hominids have been found at Olduvai over the years, including Australopithecus boisei, Homo habilis and Homo erectus. Animal remains have also been found at the site including large antelopes, elephants, hares, guinea fowl, giraffes and hipparions (extinct three-toed horses). The Olduvai Gorge contains the longest sequences of cultural remains ever found and the discoveries there have strengthened the argument that the origins of humanity are in Africa. These finds also give us an insight into how these hominids lived, like when in 1975, Mary Leakey found hominid footprints which proved that they walked on two feet, which proved to be one of the greatest paleoanthropological discoveries of the past century.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Rosetta Stone

Sunday, October 17, 2010
The Rosetta Stone is a decree honoring king Ptolemy V carved on a black basalt stela in Greek, Demotic Egyptian and Egyptian hieroglyphs. The stone which dates back to 196 BC would have been manufactured specifically to be housed in temple but sometime during the early Christian or medieval era it was moved and used as building material for the fort in the town of Rashid (also known as Rosetta). It remained there until a French Captain by the name of Pierre Francois Bouchard found it on July 15, 1799 while he was serving in Napoleon's army in Egypt. Attempts were then made to decipher the stone first by Thomas Young and then later by Francois Champollion who is generally credited as being the translator of the Rosetta Stone. The Rosetta Stone is one of the most important artifacts ever found in Egypt as it brought life to a language that might never have been deciphered otherwise. As a lover of of the Ancient Egyptian civilization, I can scarcely imagine the cultural insights we might not have uncovered had the Rosetta Stone never been found.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

For History Lovers Is Now On Facebook!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Who Were The Hashshashin?

Thursday, July 22, 2010
To the Crusaders they were the Assassins, a fearsome sect of skilled Muslims that were  capable of killing a man in broad daylight and escaping  unharmed, and to the powerful Abbasid Caliphate they were mad men who allowed Hashish to throw them into murderous rages. The Hashshashin were established in 1090 with the building of a fortress at Alamut by Hassan-i Sabbah who was known to his followers as the Old Man. At the beginning their primary objective  was to destroy the Abbasid Caliphate by quietly executing it's most powerful members, however, when the Crusaders arrived they tried to maintain a balance of power between their enemies. Like assassins today they became hit men, killing people for hire especially if it would be beneficial to their order.  The Hashshashin were a highly trained group of sleeper commandos due mostly because of their lack of numbers  and political support. They were incredibly intelligent with each member studying, trade, science, philosophy and several different languages. Because of this they were able to infiltrate their enemies ranks and kill or intimidate their target. Their most effective form of intimidation would be to leave a dagger on their targets pillow as they slept as a sign that they weren't even safe among their own men. The Hashshashin finally met their match in 1256 when after attacking several of their strongholds, the Mongol Empire besieged Alamut.

For more information on the Hashshashin check out:


Monday, July 5, 2010

This Week in History July 5-11

Monday, July 5, 2010
  • JULY 5, 1921- The several Chicago White Sox players that were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series were put on trial. The Sox were underpaid by owner Charles Comiskey and two gamblers, Josep Sullivan and Arnold Rothstein offered players a small sum of money to throw the games. But when the gamblers refused to play the players, they could do nothing but complain and eventually the media got hold of the story. The players who became known as "The Black Sox" were all eventually acquitted, however, when judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis became commissioner he barred them from baseball.
  • JULY 6, 1942- Thirteen year old Anne Frank and her family seek refuge in a sealed off area of a warehouse in Amsterdam. The family had moved to Amsterdam from their home in Germany in 1933 to escape the Nazis. It was during her time in Holland that she began writing down her observations and thoughts of the world around her. After the war, her diary was found where she had been hiding, translated into English and published. It would become an instant best seller and would eventually be published in over 30 languages.
  • JULY 7, 1942- Heinrich Himmler, the architect of the Holocaust, decides to begin conducting medical experiments on the Jews that were held in Auschwitz. Most of the experiments were conducted on women but they tried to determine if you could use x-rays to castrate men. Hitler completely endorsed Himmler's plan on the one condition that it be kept top secret.
  • JULY 8, 1918- American writer Ernest Hemingway is wounded while carrying a companion to safety during World War I. His actions as a Red Cross ambulance driver during the war would earn him the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery. He would go on to become one of America's most treasured writers and would draw on his experiences of the war for his work.
  • JULY 9, 1948- At the age of 42, Leroy "Satchel" Paige made his debut for the Cleveland Indians of the newly integrated American League. At the time he was the most expensive pitcher in the United States. That year Paige would help lead his team to win the World Series. In 1965, Paige would become the oldest major league pitcher in the history of the game at the age of 59 years, 2 months and 18 days.
  • JULY 10, 1925- The Scopes Monkey Trial begins when high school teacher John Thomas Scopes is accused of violating Tennessee state law by teaching evolution in his classroom. On July 21, the jury came back with a guilty verdict. In 1927, the verdict was overturned, but the constitutional issues remained unresolved until 1968.
  • JULY 11, 1804- Vice President Aaron Burr shoots his main political rival, Alexander Hamilton during a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey. Burr shot Hamilton in the stomach and the bullet lodged beside his spine. He was taken back to New York but died from his injuries the next day. Burr was charged for murder but because he was the Vice President at the time he was immune from prosecution.

Temple Magic in Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece was a mixing pot of different cultures, and thus also different religions. Each temple in a city was on its own and the more worshipers you could attract the richer the temple and the priests would become. Therefore to attract more devotees the priests would use a variety of machines to inspire awe and earn donations. Because machines like these were only available at the temples, people would believe that that particular temple was supported by the god that it represented. Many of these machines used complex principles that are not uncommon in the modern world, such as automation, magnetics, hydraulics and pneumatics. Some of the known devices include talking statues, thunder machines, automatic doors, floating chariots, an amphora that turned water into wine, and statues that performed a great array of apparent miracles. So who built all these machines? Some of the greatest scholars of their time, however, the two most prominent temple magicians were Heron of Alexandria and Phylo of Byzantium.

For More Information on Heron of Alexandria Check Out:


Monday, June 28, 2010

This Week in History June 28 - July 4

Monday, June 28, 2010
  • JUNE 28, 1914- Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated by Serbian nationalist, Nedjelko Cabrinovic while in Sarajevo, Bosnia. He was the nephew of Emperor Franz Josef and heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his death sparked the beginning of World War I.
  • JUNE 29, 1974- With her husband, President Juan Peron on his deathbed, Isabela Peron who was serving as his Vice President, is named President of Argentina. She would be the first female head of government in the Western Hemisphere, however, she was unable to gain political support and in 1976 she was deposed and imprisoned by the military for five years.
  • JUNE 30, 1520- Spanish forces under the command of conquistador, Hernan Cortes flee from the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. In what is know to the Spanish as the Night of Sadness, many Spanish soldiers drowned when a ship carrying Cortes' hoard of Aztec treasure sunk. Instead of regrouping for an attack, Cortes continued to Cuba where he fought of rivals newly arrived from Spain. He would later return to Tenochtitlan and cause the fall of the Aztec Empire.
  • JULY 1, 1867- Canada gains independence from England.During the 1860s there became a need of a Canadian federation so that common defense, a national railroad system and the smoothing over of French and English differences was possible. So on this date in 1867 the British North America Act was passed and the Dominion of Canada was established as a self-governing nation within the British Empire.
  • JULY 2, 1937- While attempting to fly around the world, Amelia Earhart and her navigator Frederick Noonan disappear near the Pacific, Howland Island. They  had radioed that they were out of fuel but the crew of the Itasca, a Coast Guard cutter sent to help Earhart's flight, couldn't pin point their location and they went down before they could reach land. The Coast Guard did a thorough search of the area but the plane, Earhart or Noonan have never been found.
  • JULY 3, 1863- The third day of the Battle of Gettysburg ends in disaster for General Robert E. Lee as he fails to break the Union line and thus brings an end to the battle. The Battle of Gettysburg would be the turning point in the American Civil War. on November 19 of the same year Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address at the dedication a new nation cemetery at the site of the battle.
  • JULY 4, 1776- The United States declares independence from Great Britain. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress signs the Declaration of Independence, one of the most famous  documents in American history. After another eight years of the American War for Independence, America became an independent nation with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This Week in History June 21-27

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
  • JUNE 21, 1788- The United States Constitution was ratified thus making it law. The US Constitution is the oldest constitution still in use around the world today.
  • JUNE 22, 1986- Diego Maradona scores two goals for Argentina to lead his team to victory over England in the World Cup semi-finals. The first of those goals would become known as the "Hand of God" goal which the officials failed to see that it came off his hand. The second goal was named the best goal in World cup history in 2002.
  • JUNE 23, 1940- Adolf Hitler tours Paris, France. While in the French capital, Hitler visited Napoleon's tomb and even moved the French Emperor's son to lie beside his father. He also ordered the destruction of two war monuments, one to General Charles Mangin and one to British nurse, Edith Cavell.
  • JUNE 24, 1995- President Nelson Mandela cheers the South African Springboks to a Rugby World Cup win against the New Zealand All Blacks. The year before Mandela became the first president to be elected in a completely representational democratic election and had been attempting to bridge the gap between black and white South Africans after apartheid. Mandela's appearance at the tournament was regarded as the greatest moment in World Cup history in 2007.
  • JUNE 25, 1876- Lieutenant Colonel George Custer leads 200 men into battle against 3,000 Native Americans lead by Chief Crazy Horse and Chief Sitting Bull at the Battle of Little Bighorn (also known as Custer's Last Stand). Within an hour, Custer's battalion were completely wiped out with only one survivor, a horse named Comanche. The Battle of Little Bighorn would be the most decisive Native American victory in the Plains Indians War.
  • JUNE 26, 1541- Francisco Pizarro, the Governor of Peru and the man who conquered the Inca civilization was assassinated by Spanish rivals in Lima. One of the most famous conquistadors of his time, he had allied with Diego de Almagro when he heard of the great wealth of the Incas. However after two unsuccessful expeditions, Pizarro secured a guarantee that he and not Almagro  would become Governor as well as receive most of the expedition's profits. In 1541, Almagro's followers hired a group of men to kill Pizarro and shortly afterwards, Almagro's son was proclaimed Governor of Peru.
  • JUNE 27, 1939- One of the most famous scenes in film history is shot featuring Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable. The film was Gone With the Wind, the line "Frankly my Dear, I don't give a damn." The scene was alternately shot without the word "damn" in case the censors wouldn't allow the curse. The film would be released on December 15, 1939 after two and a half years in production. It would go on to be nominated for over twelve Oscars, winning nine of those nominations including Best Picture.

Monday, June 21, 2010

List of Medieval Titles in Order of Power and Influence

Monday, June 21, 2010

  • Emperor/ Empress
  • King/ Queen
  • Grand Duke/ Grand Duchess or Grand Prince/ Grand Princess
  • Prince/ Princess
  • Duke/ Duchess
  • Marquess/ Marchioness or Marquis/ Marquise
  • Margrave/ Margravine
  • Count or Earl/ Countess
  • Viscount/ Viscountess
  • Baron/ Baroness
  • Baronet/ Baronetess
  • Knight/ Lady or Dame
  • Esquire or Squire
  • Gentleman
  • Peasants
  • Serfs
For more information on these titles check out:

Monday, June 14, 2010

This Week in History June 14-20

Monday, June 14, 2010
  • JUNE 14, 1777- The Stars and Stripes is adopted by Congress as the official flag of the United States of America. One hundred years later the anniversary of the flag became the first ever Flag Day, an observance that is still celebrated today.
  • JUNE 15, 1215- King John of England signs the Magna Carta as a means to seal peace with his barons and ensure their feudal rights as well as maintaining the laws of the nation and upholding the freedom of the church. The signing of the Magna Carta paved the way for the democratic system in England that still exists today.
  • JUNE 16, 1963- Soviet Cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman to be sent into space. She spent 71 hours and did 48 orbits aboard Vostok 6, before returning to earth.
  • JUNE 17, 1885- The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York. A gift from France, the statue was shipped in over 200 crates and by October of the same year Lady Liberty would be on display to anyone entering the harbor.
  • JUNE 18, 1812- James Madison signs the declaration of war against Great Britain thus beginning the War of 1812. After two and a half years of fighting the Americans managed to reassert their independence.
  • JUNE 19, 1953- In the midst of Cold War paranoia, U.S. Army engineer, Julius Rosenberg and his wife Ethel were executed by the American government. They were suspected of selling information to the Soviets about the atomic bomb and became the first American citizens to be convicted and executed for espionage.
  • JUNE 20, 1943- Britain launches the first shuttle bombing raid of World War II over sites in Italy and Germany. Unknown to the British, Operation Bellicose, took out an assembly line that created V2 rockets, thus saving themselves unwittingly from retaliation from the powerful rockets.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Origins of Football (Soccer)

Saturday, June 12, 2010
While the world turns its attention to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, I have decided to delve into the history of the beautiful game. While the exact origins of the game are unknown, both the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and  Romans as well as the Chinese and Japanese all had their own ball games, some of which were played with the feet. From there it expanded into Europe and flourished in England particularly throughout the medieval period. The Medieval version of football would be nearly unrecognizable to modern footie fans, as the pitch could be any size and each team could field hundreds of players as contests were usually between two villages and everyone was involved, even on occasion women. These matches were typically violent affairs with players frequently being punched, kicked and even stabbed as well as considerable damage to fences, hedges, fields and even houses and buildings when the game traveled. Football was banned in England between 1324 and 1667 but the ban was difficult to enforce and by the 18th century the mostly rural game had reached London. The establishment of what we know as football today is owed mostly to the British public school system in the 16th century who decided it was too dangerous for school children to play the game in the current form. From then onward the game went from being a mob game to a structured game with a specific set of rules. Within the next few hundred years the game continued to grow first with the invention of football clubs and competitions and then modern air filled balls and finally modern passing tactics. Beginning in Cambridge in 1848 new sets of rules began emerging as the game began splitting into different variations, some of these include Sheffield Rules, Australian Rules, Association Football (the modern game) and Rugby. Football would later be split again, this time in North America with the beginning of American Football in the 20th century. Today football is the most played and watched sport in the world and the World Cup is humanity's most treasured sporting event.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vlad Dracula... Patriotic Hero or Ruthless Villain?

Thursday, June 10, 2010
History has told us that Vlad Dracula (also known as Vlad the Impaler) was a merciless ruler who savagely tortured anyone who got in his way, yet most of what we know of the Wallachian prince comes in the form of propaganda fliers printed by his most hated enemy, the Ottoman Turks. These fliers have told us of forests of impaled corpses and untold thousands of tortured men, women and children and of wars and uprisings against the great Turkish army, but can they truly be believed? How can we possibly know that the Turks didn't greatly exaggerate his deeds to drum up support against him? We will probably never know the real truth about one of history's most colorful characters but while most of the world has taken the Turkish viewpoint, thanks in part to Bram Stoker's version of Dracula, many Romanian's still treasure the bravery of their great hero today.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Riddle of the Sphinx

Tuesday, June 8, 2010
The first thing you need to know about the Sphinx is that it is not an entirely Egyptian creature. Greeks, Phoenicians and Syrians all used the animal as a powerful symbol and it was the Greeks who came up with the myth about the Riddle of the Sphinx. The Greeks believe that if you crossed the path of the Sphinx it would pose the question "what walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three in the evening." If you could not answer the sphinx would devour you but if you could the beast would destroy itself. The Greek myth states that the only man to walk away from the Sphinx alive was Oedipus who came up with the correct answer "Man." We crawl when we are young then walk on two feet and finally end our lives walking with a cane.

Welcome to For History Lovers

As Machiavelli once said "Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results."  It is these passions that we search for while delving into our history, a way of connecting to the great men and women who came before us. We reach back and learn from their mistakes and victories and gain a sense of belonging to the great cycle of life. For History Lovers is a place to explore our past and debate on the significance of major and minor historical events. 
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