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.
 
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