|The Beautiful Geometry of 18th-Century Forts, Built by Britain in the American Colonies|
January 07, 2015, Slate by Rebecca Onion
The Twitter feed @bldgblog recently shared some of these images of plans for 18th-century British forts in the Americas, from the online exhibition “The Geometry of War.” The exhibition, curated by Brian L. Dunnigan, associate director and curator of maps at the University of Michigan’s William L. Clements Library, contains maps from the library’s collection.
|1795 Time Capsule Included Coins, Newspapers|
January 06, 2015, The Associated Press by Steve LeBlanc
Early residents of Boston valued a robust press as much as their history and currency if the contents of a time capsule dating back to the years just after the Revolutionary War are any guide.
When conservators at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston gingerly removed items from the box Tuesday, they found five tightly folded newspapers, a medal depicting George Washington, a silver plaque, two dozen coins, including one dating to 1655, and the seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
|Re-enactment focuses on little-known militia|
January 01, 2015, The Associated Press by Bruce Shipkowski
Two New Jersey college students are shining a bright light on a little-known militia that helped turn the tide of America’s Revolutionary War.
Rutgers-Camden University graduate students Matt White and Dave Niescior have led the effort to organize a re-enactment of the Philadelphia Associators’ overnight march from Trenton to Princeton, which took place from Jan. 2 to 3, 1777.
|A Shaker Village Finds Enterprise Is Not So Simple|
December 30, 2014, The New York Times by Brian Schaefer
Hancock Shaker Village, a cluster of historic houses, barns and shops set here amid gardens and cow pastures, has long sought to preserve the culture and traditions of the Shakers, the small but influential religious sect that became as well known for its minimalist furniture as for its social tenets of egalitarianism and pacifism.
Since the 1960s visitors have come to this living history museum to see life as the Shakers experienced it, in structured and disciplined communities that embraced a practice of celibacy that ultimately hindered their growth.
|When the Founding Fathers Were Lads|
December 30, 2014, The Associated Press by Paige Sutherland
Don’t let the powdered wigs and oil paintings fool you: Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and the other eventual Americans who changed the course of history were a ragtag band of secretive and sometimes mischievous young radicals.
Just ask Paul Revere, aka actor Michael Raymond-James, who’s part of the cast of “Sons of Liberty,” a new miniseries premiering in January on the History Channel.
|Fleeing To Dismal Swamp, Slaves And Outcasts Found Freedom|
December 28, 2014, NPR by Sandy Hausman
Most Americans know about the Underground Railroad, the route that allowed Southern slaves to escape North. Some slaves found freedom by hiding closer to home, however — in Great Dismal Swamp. The swamp is a vast wetland in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. In George Washington's time, it was a million acres of trees, dark water, bears, bobcats, snakes and stinging insects. British settlers, who first arrived in 1607, believed the swamp was haunted.
|That Debt From 1720? Britain’s Payment Is Coming|
December 27, 2014, The New York Times by Stephen Castle
Share prices went through the roof, speculation ran wild and money poured into ill-fated ventures before the boom turned, inevitably and catastrophically, to bust.
After that financial crash in 1720, called the South Sea Bubble, the British government was forced to undertake a bailout that eventually left several million pounds of debt on its books. Almost three centuries later, Britons are still paying interest on a small part of that obligation.
|History Channel's new miniseries 'Sons of Liberty' recaptures the spirit of America's past|
December 26, 2014, The Associated Press by Staff
Don't let the powdered wigs and oil paintings fool you: Samuel Adams, John Hancock and the other eventual Americans who changed the course of history were a ragtag band of secretive and sometimes mischievous young radicals.
Just ask Paul Revere, aka actor Michael Raymond-James, who's part of the cast of "Sons of Liberty," a new miniseries premiering in January on the History Channel.
|After 522 Years, Spain Seeks To Make Amends For Expulsion Of Jews|
December 25, 2014, NPR by Lauren Frayer
As night fell recently over the Spanish city of Toledo, Hanukkah candles lit up empty streets outside the medieval El Transito synagogue.
Jews prospered in medieval Spain, under Muslim and Christian rule. But that changed in 1492, when the Catholic monarchs, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, expelled them.
|2 NY state historic sites hosting holiday tours|
December 25, 2014, The Associated Press by Staff
Two state historic sites linked to New York’s role in the Revolutionary War are hosting tours after Christmas Day.
Knox’s Headquarters in Vails Gate in Orange County is the site of the historic Ellison House, where Gen. Henry Knox of the Continental Army had his HQ during the last two years of the war.
|On the trail of Hernán Cortés|
December 20, 2014, The Economist by Staff
THE state of Veracruz, on the Gulf coast, is Mexico at its most fertile. Along the tropical coastline, vast sugar-cane plantations shimmer in the heat. Climb the mountains towards the balmier state capital of Jalapa and the landscape changes into a canopy of coffee plants and orange trees, with cattle and horses grazing. Mexicans will tell you that this natural bounty is the essence of their country. What many fail to realise, though, is that until 500 years ago none of these crops or animals existed in Mexico. Veracruz was the gateway through which they entered, and it was Spaniards who brought them.
|10 Things You May Not Know About Charles Darwin|
December 12, 2014, History.com by Christopher Klein
February 12 is Darwin Day, a global celebration of science and reason held on the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth in 1809. To commemorate Darwin Day, check out 10 things you may not know about the famed evolutionary biologist.
|Time Capsule Removed From Massachusetts Statehouse|
December 11, 2014, The Associated Press by Rodrique Ngowi
Crews removed a time capsule dating back to 1795 on Thursday from the granite cornerstone of the Massachusetts Statehouse, where historians believe it was originally placed by Revolutionary War luminaries Samuel Adams and Paul Revere among others.
The small time capsule is believed to contain items such as old coins, documents, newspapers and a metal plate that was owned by Revere. Secretary of State William Galvin speculated that some of the items could have deteriorated over time.
|500-Year-Old Chinese Tomb Yields Opulent Clothes From Ming Dynasty|
December 10, 2014, NBC News by Staff
Archaeologists in China have unearthed a husband-and-wife tomb dating to the Ming Dynasty that contains extraordinarily well-preserved clothing decorated with elaborate designs. The 500-year-old tomb contained a wooden coffin for the husband and another for his wife, laying side by side within an outer coffin.
...Based on the design and artifacts, archaeologists believe that the tomb was built around the time of the Jiajing emperor, who reigned from 1521 to 1567.
|Scientists reveal parchment's hidden stories (w/ Video)|
December 08, 2014, PhysOrg by Staff
Millions of documents stored in archives could provide scientists with the key to tracing agricultural development across the centuries, according to new research completed at Trinity College Dublin and the University of York.
...Researchers used these state-of-the-art scientific techniques to extract ancient DNA and protein from tiny samples of parchment from documents from the late 17th and late 18th centuries. The resulting information enabled them to establish the type of animals from which the parchment was made, which, when compared to genomes of their modern equivalents, provides key information as to how agricultural expansion shaped the genetic diversity of these animals.
|Mona Lisa may have been da Vinci's Chinese mother: Italian historian's comments spark online frenzy|
December 03, 2014, AFP by Staff
The Mona Lisa may have been a Chinese slave and Leonardo da Vinci's mother, according to an Italian historian whose comments on the famous painting sent online commentators into a frenzy.
Hong Kong-based historian and novelist from Italy, Angelo Paratico, told the South China Morning Post on Wednesday that "on the back of Mona Lisa, there is a Chinese landscape and even her face looks Chinese".
|Aztec manuscript under the microscope|
November 28, 2014, The Guardian (UK) by Vahé Ter Minassian
It was May 1826 and France was celebrating the first anniversary of the coronation of Charles X. French troops had occupied Spain; Mexico had gained its independence and Latin America was in turmoil. But, sitting in his office in the library of the National Assembly, deputy-curator Pierre-Paul Druon was feeling pleased. For the past 30 years this former Benedictine monk had laboured to track down rare works and add them to the 12,000 items inherited from the French Revolution and now entrusted to parliament. Never before had he had the opportunity to acquire such a treasure, even if the source of the Nahuatl manuscript he purchased for 1,300 gold francs at auction was unknown and two of its pages were missing. He was, nevertheless, convinced of its worth.
The document, in its present state, is 14 metres long, comprising 36 fan-folded sheets, each 39 sq cm. It details the cycles of two calendars, one divinatory, the other solar, used by the Aztecs before the Spanish conquest led by Hernán Cortés in 1519. It represents several hundred brightly coloured figures and creatures, each of particular significance.
|US cathedral may become museum to the slave trade|
November 27, 2014, The Associated Press by Michelle R. Smith
A plan to open what would be the nation's only museum centered on the trans-Atlantic slave trade would focus on the Episcopal Church's role in its history and the sometimes-buried legacy of slavery in northern states like Rhode Island.
The museum at the shuttered Cathedral of St. John, a church where slaves once worshipped, would explore how the church benefited from the trade and helped bring it to an end, said Bishop Nicholas Knisely of the Diocese of Rhode Island.
|155 Years Later, Darwin's Manuscripts Are Going Digital|
November 26, 2014, Popular Science by Alissa Zhu
Charles Darwin may be a household name now, but we haven’t always had the theory of natural selection. On November 24, 1859, he published On the Origin of Species as a culmination of nearly three decades of research after his journey on the H.M.S. Beagle. Happy 155th anniversary of On the Origin of Species!
Now it’s easier than ever to understand Darwin’s original thoughts on evolution with digital archives made public by the Darwin Manuscripts Project. The project, founded in 2003, is a collaboration between the American Museum of Natural History, Cambridge University Library, and other organizations to digitally archive all of Darwin’s works.
|Shakespeare Folio Discovered in France|
November 25, 2014, The New York Times by Jennifer Schuessler
First folios of Shakespeare’s plays are among the world’s rarest books, intensely scrutinized by scholars for what their sometimes-minute variations — each copy is different — reveal about the playwright’s intentions.
Now a previously unknown folio has surfaced at a small library in northern France, bringing the world’s known total of surviving first folios to 233.
|The Charge of the Light Brigade, 160 Years Ago|
November 24, 2014, History.com by Jesse Greenspan
On October 25, 1854, the commander-in-chief of British troops during the Crimean War issued an ambiguous order that his subordinates misinterpreted, resulting in the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade against a heavily defended Russian position. Facing artillery and musket fire on three sides, British cavalrymen were slaughtered in droves as they galloped headlong down the so-called “valley of death.” Yet because they maintained discipline amid the chaos and even managed to briefly scatter the Russians, the British public glorified them. One participant would later describe it as “the most magnificent assault known in military annals and the greatest blunder known to military tactics.”
|Native Americans get the chance to tell their side of the Pilgrim story|
November 17, 2014, Public Radio International by Christopher Woolf
Before the horrors of African slavery came to America’s shores, there was another kind of slave trade on the continent. The victims of this one were Native Americans.
A new exhibition that opened Friday in Plymouth, Massachusetts, highlights this other slave history. It’s an integral part of the town’s preparations for the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims' arrival in 1620, and it focuses on the story of one man in particular: Squanto.
|South Korean buys Napoleon's hat for 1.9m euros|
November 16, 2014, BBC (GB) by Staff
A South Korean collector has paid 1.9m euros ($2.4m; £1.5m) at auction for a hat worn by French Emperor Napoleon.
The two-pointed hat, a style widely worn by military officers at the time, was apparently donned by Napoleon during the Battle of Marengo in 1800.
It was later offered as a gift to Napoleon's veterinarian.
|Bell of captain’s ship recovered from Franklin Expedition|
November 06, 2014, The Globe & Mail (Canada) by Kim Mackrael
arks Canada has retrieved a bronze bell from the wreck of HMS Erebus, one of two ships lost during Sir John Franklin’s doomed expedition in search of the Northwest Passage.
The bell was found resting on the upper deck of the ship, surrounded by underwater plant life but in good condition. An arrow, used to signify property of the British Royal Navy, is still visible on the exterior along with 1845 – the year the Franklin expedition began.
|'Demon Traps' Found in 17th-Century English House|
November 06, 2014, Discovery News by Rossella Lorenzi
English archaeologists have discovered “demon traps” under the floorboards of one of Britain’s most important historic houses.
Consisting of carved intersecting lines and symbols, the witch marks were found in a bedroom at Knole, a huge, stately home in Kent which is considered one of the country’s most precious historic houses.
Acquired by the Archbishops of Canterbury in the 15th century and gifted to Henry VIII and remodeled in the 17th century by the Sackville family, the house was the birthplace of poet and gardener Vita Sackville-West and the setting for Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando.