Thursday, 17 November 2016

History Fun Facts November 17


On This Day in 887, Charles the Fat was deposed as the Carolingian Emperor and Arnulf of Carinthia is elected as King of the East Frankish Kingdom.

Charles the Fat didn't much appreciate the name people called him, and much preferred to be known as Charles III. However, he was rather chubby. Well, huuuuge. So it wasn't as if he could move fast enough to catch those who called him THE FAT.

On This Day In History in 1558, Mary I of England died, and was succeeded by her half-sister, Elizabeth I of England.

Elizabeth-The-First-Of-Her-Name ruled all England for a Golden Age of 44 years.

She became Queen on the 17th November 1558 after her big, and very ugly, sister died (big as in older, not as in bigger, although she was plump).

Elizabeth reigned until she eventually kicked the bucket, which had a family of hedgehogs living inside, who also died, on the 24th March 1603. The Tudor Dynasty was at an end.

Her reign was the third longest reign of a British Queen (Victoria and Elizabeth-Part-Two-Never-Gonna-Give-This-Up, being top), and the Eighth longest ruling British Monarch.

During Elizabeth's Elizabethan Era, she oversaw the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the introduction of tobacco and potatoes, and the still-popular tradition of giving life-sized gingerbread men to people she liked.

She was a big fan of the sugar, was our virgin Queen. Oh, and she was a virgin. Sheesh, almost forgot to mention that little fact. She didn't bonk anyone. At all. Which is the official line and we're sticking to it.

She did have loads of marriage proposals, though, but turned them all down in favour of a marriage with England.

Makes me wanna stand up and sing God Save the Queen. Or at least Bohemian Rhapsody by the Queen. Wow, she is talented.
Elizabeth was crowned on the 15th January 1559 in a ceremony fit for a king.

However, there were no Kings available, so Elizabeth got the job.

As we all know (and this won't happen for much longer, as legislation has all ready been passed to make boys and girls equal in the line of succession), a boy will inherit the throne before a girl. Even if the girl is older.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry-Of-The-Way-Too-Many-Numbers and Anne-The-Sod-Had-Me-Head-Chopped-Off-Boleyn.

But she wasn't the eldest daughter. Nope, that went to Mary, who was the daughter of Henry-The-Eighth-Portion-Of-Steak-And-Roast-Potatoes-Didn't-Fill-Me-Up and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

So Mary got dibs on the throne first.

Although, as boys inherit the throne before girls, it actually went to their younger half-brother, Edward-I'm-A-Prince-Not-A-Pauper, son of Henry-The-Eighth-I-Am-I-Am by his third wife, Jane Seymour.

But he died. So it went to Mary. Then she died. So it went to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth was only a princess for the first two years of her life. After her mum died from a serious and fatal case of axe-to-neck, her father stripped the Princess Elizabeth of her royal title, demoting her to Lady Elizabeth instead.

If that wasn't bad enough, she also had her iPad and iPhone confiscated and could only get access to twitter by plugging a swan into next-door's WiFi and a woodpecker into the swan.

And when her big sister (who hated Elizabeth) became Queen of England, Mary stormed into Elizabeth's bedroom and pulled down all her One Direction posters.

Elizabeth was a very beautiful Queen. Well, maybe, maybe not.

It's said she had black teeth from eating too much sugar, took a bath only once a month, and wore a bucket load of white make-up, not to denote her virginity, but to hide the scars from a bout of smallpox.

So, kissing her would be like kissing one of the Aliens Sigourney Weaver romped about with. Yep, Elizabeth would be one helluva surprise on your blind date. Take mints. And air-freshener. And a life-sized gingerbread man.

On This Day in 1603, Sir Walter Raleigh went on trial for treason.

Sir Walter Raleigh was the one-time favourite of Queen Elizabeth-I-Am-Ginger-It's-Not-A-Wig. Although they did have their rocky patches in an on-off and off-on and almost Off-With-His-Head relationship.
However, when James I of England became King, things got serious.
On the 17th November, 1603, the trial began in the Great Hall of Winchester Castle.
Although, some might say, the outcome had all ready been decided. But not me. All those present approached the trial free from any preconceived ideas of Raleigh's guilt. They'd look at the evidence and decided fairly.
The main evidence against Sir Walter Raleigh at his trial consisted of a sworn confession from Henry Brooke, the 11th Baron Cobham. Incidentally, Raleigh and Cobham were best of friends. Obviously not after Raleigh found out Cobham had just stabbed him in the back. But, back in the day, they used to do a spot of ten-pin hedgehog bowling at the local pub.
Sir Walter Raleigh demanded Cobham be summoned to testify at the trial.
On the first day, Raleigh spoke quite passionately and insisted the evidence was mere hearsay: "Let my accuser come face to face and be deposed. Were the case but for a small copyhold, you would have witnesses or good proof to lead the jury to a verdict. And I am here for my LIFE."
Nothing worked. The court refused to summon Cobham and allow him to be cross-examined by Raleigh, who was acting as his own attorney. Not a great idea. But given the foregone conclusion of the outcome of the trial, it probably didn't matter.
Sir Walter Raleigh was found guilty of treason.
Sheesh, what is wrong with you guys?
Not "off with his head". King James decided to spare Raleigh's life. Instead, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London, never to be set free.
However, on the 20th of March, 1616, Raleigh walked free from the Tower.
Fun Fact: Walter Raleigh's son, Carew, was conceived and born whilst Raleigh was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
The following year, in 1617, Raleigh was pardoned by the King. He was then told to sail across the oceans in a great second expedition to Venezuela in search of El Dorado and its famous stash of gold.
And if you happen to find any dinosaurs, bring one of those back, too. Preferably a T-Rex. There're awesome.
But, alas, no gold and no dinosaurs. What a jerk.
Sir Walter Raleigh was eventually executed in an Off-With-His-Head ceremony. But that's another story.

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