Wednesday, 28 September 2016

This Day In History September 28

HISTORY FUN FACTS SEPETEMBER 28th

This Day In History in 48BC, Pompey the Great, became less great, after he was assassinated.
 
A few days ago he fled after being defeated by Julius Caesar. After losing the battle, he donned a dress, worked as a hooker for a while, and eventually worked his way to Egypt.
 
Pompey thought he could raise an army in Egypt, or at least get a decent milk bath.
 
Not what happened.
 
King Ptolemy of Egypt, the brother and husband of Cleopatra, had Pompey killed and beheaded as a gift for Caesar.
 
I'm pretty certain it's not the sort of gift that would be appreciated by Julius Caesar, but that's a tale for another day.
 
This Day In History in 935, Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia was murdered by his brother.
 
Good King Wenceslaus looked out on the feast of Stephen and WHAM, he was stabbed to death by his brother, Boleslaus, and three of his companions.
 
And he wondered why he was called Boleslaus the Cruel.
 
It was actually during the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian that the Good King Wenceslaus was killed.
 
But, not all was lost.
 
After Wenceslas was murdered, he was elevated to the rank of Saint, and declared King. He also became the patron saint of the Czech state, and, of course had a Christmas Carol written about him.
 
On This Day In History in 1066, William the Conqueror invaded England.
 
Wonder how that will go? Watch out for the Battle of Hastings, a semi-full report of a fabulous tea party between William the Conqueror and Harold-Got-An-Itchy-Eye.
 
On This Day in 1928, Sir Alexander Fleming saw something icky.
 
Yep, by chance Fleming noticed a bacteria-killing mould growing on a bench. Don't ask what he had been doing on that bench the night before, but as a result of his depravity, he discovered Penicillin.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

This Day In History September 27th

HISTORY FUN FACT for SEPTEMBER 27th

On This Day In History in 1066 William the Conqueror set sail from the River Somme on his journey to England for the Norman Conquest.
 
Did You Know: William the Conqueror is also known as King William I (Borg designation: first of four).
 
But, did you also know: Before he was called William the Conqueror, he was called William the Bastard.
 
Yes, William was a bastard.
 
Not only in the "Your Mummy not married to your Daddy" kind of way, as his father was the Duke of Normandy and his mother was the unmarried hussy daughter of a bloke who played with dead bodies, but also in the "You’re a complete and utter..." type of way.
 
Mainly because he invaded England. Sheesh, what a complete and utter....
 
William-The-Conker-Player invaded England in 1066 with his Norman army, which has since become known as the Norman Invasion.
 
Yep, he invaded England with an army made up entirely of people called, "Norman."
 
Most Brits think he did this just because he was a complete and utter ... bad man.
 
However, he actually had a claim to the English throne.
 
Edward the Confessor, who was William's cousin, had named William as his successor, but Harold-Got-Something-In-My-Eye got to the throne first and claimed Baggsie-No-Returns.
 
William-The-Complete-And-Utter-Expert-Conker-Player was furious, so invaded England.
 
 
This Day In History in 1601  Louis XIII of France was born.
 
King Louis XIII was part of the House of Bourbon, where all those lovely chocolate crème biscuits come from. He became King of France at the age of eight after his father, King Henry IV of France was assassinated.
 
Louis XIII couldn't rule the kingdom as a kid, because think of the havoc. And all the chocolate biscuits. However, as much chaos as a kid could cause as a King, his mother, Marie De' Medici, caused more.
 
So much so, that the young King wrestled power from his mother, who was acting as Regent for her son, in 1617, and exiled her. For good measure and to teach her a lesson, he executed all of her followers.
 
There were many rumours about Louis XIII during his reign regarding his sexuality. However, there is no evidence he was playing hide the sausage with his favourite courtier, Carles d'Albert, or in fact Henri Coiffier de Ruze, the Marquis of Cinq-Mars. And no evidence he was tickling the fancy with Francois de Baradas either. Or any of the others.
 
As I also said, Louis XIII became King of France after his father, Henry IV of France, was assassinated.
 
King Henry had been raised a protestant. When he became King of France in 1589, he was pretty much forced to convert to Catholicism, due to France being a catholic country, and them placing nipple clamps on him until he agreed.
 
Everyone was happy about the King's sudden and unexpected change of religion, except for the protestants. They were not. At all.
 
It also appeared that Spain wasn't happy. Mainly with Henry, who they didn't like as he didn't share any of his chocolate biscuits with them. Spain kept pestering Henry, who finally had enough and declared war. My biscuits. My lovely crème biscuits. You not get none of these fabulous Bourbon Crème Biscuits.
 
King Henry IV had many people try to kill him over the years. And not just the entirety of Spain. Pierre Barriere tried to assassinate him in August 1593. And then in December 1594 Jean Chatel tried. Both were unsuccessful.
 
It wasn't until the 14th of May 1610, when another assassin by the name of Francois Ravailla thought he'd have a go, that the King of France died. He was stabbed in the Rue de La Ferronnerie. Which, I believe, and I'm not great on anatomy, is the upper portion of the left butt cheek.

Monday, 26 September 2016

HISTORY FUN FACTS - September 26th

This Day In History in 46BC, Julius Caesar dedicated a temple to Venus Genetrix, fulfilling a promise he made at the Battle of Pharsalus.
 
Venus was the Roman Goddess of Sex. Also love, beauty, fertility, victory and desire. So, basically all of the dwarves except Grumpy.
 
The Battle of Pharsalus was during the Civil War where Caesar was trying to gain control of Rome from his nemesis, Gnaeus Pompey.
 
The Battle of Pharsalus was a battle Julius Caesar should have lost. He was greatly outnumbered, in a foreign land cut off from his supplies, with a starving army.
 
Pompey's army was twice the size with plenty of food and a local population happy to pleasure his soldiers.
 
Pompey wanted to wait out Caesar, but he was under pressure from the senators, who wanted a quick victory so they could return to their hookers in Rome.
 
Battle commenced and Caesar showed his skill. With Venus at his side, he won a decisive victory over Pompey.
 
Pompey, embarrassed by his defeat, abandoned his men and fled the camp dressed as a peasant women on the Game. After a small diversion at a local village where, thanks to his dress, he was able to earn a few coins, he escaped Caesar's soldiers. Well, for a while. 
 
This Day In History in 1087, William II was crowned King of England.
 
King William, the second after the first, was the third son of William I of England, otherwise known as William the Conqueror. Or, depending who you spoke to, William the Bastard.
 
William II was King of England until his death in 1100 when he was killed by an unfortunate encounter with an arrow whilst out hunting.
 
Of course, it was a totally innocent encounter and rumours that William's younger brother, Henry, deliberately had him shot, are completely untrue.
 
It's not as if Henry fled the forest with all of the men, who were not so loyal to William, and rushed to Winchester to secure the Royal Treasury the same day. And it's not as if once he had done that, he hurried to London two days later to be crowned King of England before either archbishop could arrive.
 
Oh, he did. That's awkward.
 
After King William II had been shot and his men abandoned the body in the forest and scarpered, it was later found by a peasant and then transported to Winchester Cathedral for burial.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

This Day In History - September 25th

HISTORY FUN FACTS SEPTEMBER 25th

This Day In History, September 25th, 1793, Fletcher Christian was born.
 
Fletcher Christian is best known for his role in the Mutiny on the Bounty when he took over William Bligh's ship HMS Bounty on the 28th April, 1789, after visiting the paradise island of Tahiti.
 
Fletcher Christian and his men, keen to return to the warm bosom of Tahiti, to see some more bosoms, wrestled control of the ship from the rightful captain, William Bligh, who obviously had seen enough of women's fun bags to last a lifetime.
 
There are varying accounts of Fletcher Christian's death. It seems he died of natural causes whist committing suicide after he went insane and was murdered by the mutineers who remained with him, and then killed by the Tahitians. All in all, a pretty bad day.
 
This Day in History in 1951, Mark Hamill was born.
 
Mark Hamill was born in Oakland, California and raised as a spoilt brat on Tatooine, whose only job was to fix the generators.
 
And he couldn't even do that.
 
Instead, he abandoned his family in a time of need to search for some droids. This led directly to his Aunt and Uncle being horribly murdered by Klingons. Nice going, Mark.
 
His parents were Anakin Skywalker, who became terribly misunderstood as an adult, and Padmé Amidala, who liked to groom 10-year-old boys.
 
Of course, Mark Hamill went on to be a successful actor with a leading role in Star Wars as Luke Snogged-His-Sister Skywalker.
 

Friday, 23 September 2016

History Fun Facts September 23rd

HISTORY FUN FACTS - SEPTEMBER 23rd
 
This Day In History in 1759, King Ferdinand VI of Spain was born.
 
King Ferdinand VI was the fourth son of Philip V and his first wife, Maria Luisa of Savoy as a result of a spillage on a drunken night celebrating the successful mating of their pet female hedgehog and the next door neighbour's Yorkshire terrier.
 
For some reason, the dog didn't walk right after that encounter.
 
King Ferdinand died on August 10th, 1759, thirteen years after he became King of Spain, and almost a year to the day, give or take a few weeks, that his wife, Barbara, died.
 
He was endlessly devoted to his precious Barbara and took her death hard. It broke his heart. After her death, up until his own death, which is when he died, King Ferdinand didn't do anything at all.
 
He took no interest in the kingdom or his royal duties and, much to the embarrassment and horror of his servants, wandered around the palace and the local park unshaven and undressed.
 
On This Day in History in 1913, Roland Garros became the first person to fly in a plane across the Mediterranean sea.
 
One can only assume he was the pilot. Or there would have been another person who could claim that accolade. And then it wouldn't have been so impressive.
 
It was a big thing back in the day, to fly non-stop across the Mediterranean, and Roland Garros became world famous as a result. His achievement was even greater than you realise, as he was playing tennis at the time.
 
Roland Garros might have been a famous French aviator, but he was also a fan of tennis and played every day.
 
The French Open tennis championships, one of the four Grand Slams, are played at the Roland Garros stadium, named after the famous French pilot.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

History Fun Facts September 21st

HISTORY FUN FACTS - SEPTEMEBR 21st

On This Day In History in 1411, Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York, was born.
 
He is most famous for being unknown amongst British school children even though all of them will know his name. He is the Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain, the mnemonic to remember the colours of the rainbow (Red-Orange-Yellow-Groot-Bilbo-Indigo-Viagra).
 
Richard of York was almost a king, just a few more days and ... dead. Not king. Dammit.
 
As the great-grandson of King Edward III (on his father's side) and the great-great-great-grandson of the same King on his mother's side, he had a claim to the English throne. And didn't he know it.
 
During the reign of King Henry VI (two Henrys before the one everyone knows), the King went bonkers-wacko-Jacko. Richard stepped in to fill the void and served as Lord Protector.
 
This worked semi-well for the country, but it royally pissed off Henry's wife, Margaret of Anjou, who wanted to be the ruler herself.
 
Put all this together in a pot and let it simmer for a few months and wham, you have one heck of a Game of Thrones. Except this one didn't have any dragons.
 
And thus began the War of the Roses.
 
Skip ahead and Richard agreed to give up the throne of England, right after a failed attempt to take it. The peace agreement agreed that Richard would be agreeable and agree to a treaty. He did. It stated he'd give up the fight and would become King of England after Henry VI died.
 
Sounds reasonable.
 
However, a few weeks later, Richard died. Dammit. Almost had that darned crown.
 
It should be noted, Richard of York may not have become King of England himself, but his two sons did: Edward IV (the father of the Princes in the Tower) and Richard III (the one who killed the Princes in the Tower and who got killed by a car park).
 
On This Day in 1745, Sir John Cope and his Hanoverian army were defeated by Prince Charles Edward Stuart and his Jacobite forces at the Battle of Prestonpans.
 
It was the first major victory for the Jacobites in the Jacobite rising, a rising of Jacobites being Jacobiting. Fancy a bite, Jack? Sure, got any haggis? You make me sick. Bite me, Jack.
 
Basically Charles Stuart, also known as The Young Pretender, or Bonnie Prince Charlie, was trying to get back the throne his grandfather, James II, lost back in 1688.
 
Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite Rising lasted only ten minutes, much to the disappointment of his wife, as the pills wore off.
 
He had similar experience with the battle. It only lasted 10 minutes as well.
 
On This Day in 1792, The National Convention in France declared France a republic and abolished the absolute monarchy.
 
Heads are going to roll for that.
 
On This Day in 1937, The Hobbit, by J RRRRRRR Tolkien, was published for the first time. It tells a tale of a children's book with only a few pages being turned into three bloated movies just to fleece money out of cinema goers.
 
On This Day in 1981, Sandra Day O'Connor was unanimously approved by the United States Senate as the first ever female Supreme Court Justice.
 
On This Day in History in 1993, Boris Yeltsin, the Russian President, suspended parliament, and abandoned the constitution, triggering the Russian Constitutional Crises of 1993.
 
And that's why there should be an App on your phone to stop you texting people when you're drunk.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

History Fun Facts September 20th

HISTORY FUN FACTS - SEPTEMBER 20th

On This Day in history in 1486 Arthur Tudor was born.
 
Arthur Tudor was the Prince of Wales and also the eldest son of King Henry VII of England. As the eldest son of the King, he was also the heir apparent.
 
Plans for Arthur's marriage started at the age of three, because any self-respecting three-year-old needs a wife. It wasn't until he was eleven-years-old that he was formally betrothed. Although they waited until he was 15-years-old before he actually married.
 
And the lucky lady was Catherine of Aragon.
 
Wait a minute, that name sounds familiar. Wasn't she the wife of King Henry VIII?
 
Something icky is coming.
 
Which is what Arthur said to his new wife on their wedding night.
 
Soon after they were married, they moved into Ludlow Castle in Shropshire. Life was good for Arthur Tudor. Newly married, madly in love, and heir to the throne of England. Soon he would be King of the greatest nation on ...
 
He died six months later.
 
Bummer.
 
Apparently Arthur didn't, as that was why Henry VIII was given permission to marry Catherine of Aragon. They had never consummated their marriage.
 
Henry became heir apparent after his brother, Arthur, died.
 
And along with the title of Prince of Wales, Henry inherited the wife.
 
Most wouldn't want to stir their brother's yoghurt, but 16th century England was a different time. Marriages bred alliances, and England needed a strong alliance. Marriages also bred heirs, and England needed a male heir to continue the royal line.
 
Catherine would give the dashing Henry a male heir. For sure. Almost certainly.
 
Unfortunately, the first born was a girl. And an ugly one at that. They named her Mary. Because that's the name you give to ugly children. But a male would follow. Definitely. Probably. Oh, this isn't going to end well, is it?
 
Upon the death of his father, Henry became King of England as Henry-Of-The-Many-Numbers.
 
After years of trying, mostly in the doggy position, but occasionally mid-cartwheel, Catherine of Aragon couldn't pop out a boy child. They obviously didn't eat enough garlic.
 
The ever increasing waistline of Henry VIII got annoyed with the lack of a boy, and the serious lack of cake, and sought comfort with a bit of rough. That bit of rough and tumble was Anne Boleyn, who wouldn't tumble with the increasingly rough of Henry-Ate-All-The-Pies, unless they were married.
 
Clever girl.
 
So, in 1536, Henry VIII petitioned to divorce his ex-brother's ex-wife, Catherine of Aragon, on the grounds that Arthur did indeed do the diddly-squat with his wife.
 
Bummer.
 
Which is probably the reason they didn't produce a male heir.
 
On This Day in history in 1881. Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as President of the United States, the morning after James A. Garfield's death.
 
Not many presidents go into office being hated and come out being respected and liked, but Arthur did.
 
On This Day in 2001 George of the Jungle, the lesser Bush, addressed a joint session of Congress, after smoking a joint, declaring a war on Yorkshire Terriers.
 
After a quick poke from the magical unicorn that escorted him everywhere, he quickly amended his statement and declared a "War on Terror."
 
On This Day In History in 2011, history is made, when the United States military ends the policy of "Don't ask, don't tell."
 
It meant that gay men and women were allowed to serve openly for the first time.
 
Don't forget to like and share. More History Fun Facts tomorrow.

Monday, 19 September 2016

History Fun Facts September 19th

HISTORY FUN FACTS SEPTEMBER 19th

On This Day In History in 1356 King John II of France was captured by the English forces of Edward, the Black Prince, who was white, during the Battle of Poitiers.
 
As a child, King John II of France wasn't fed his mother's milk, but was made to suckle on the nipples of frogs and snails for nourishment. This may account for what happened after he was captured and imprisoned by the English.
 
During his captivity, France suffered. And it suffered a lot. Not least with the Black Death, which eliminated half the population.
 
King John (which really doesn't sound very French if you ask me), enjoyed a regal lifestyle as a prisoner in London. He was given the freedom to travel and was even allowed to buy his own horses, pets, clothes, and was fed five course banquets at every mealtime.
 
He even had his own astrologer and court band. Not kidding. That was all true. His people starved and died by the tens-of-thousands, but he partied until the early hours of the morning and then slept all day.
 
The prison system hasn't really changed much in England since that time.
 
King John II was released to find money for his ransom and returned to France for the funds. Upon seeing the state of the country, he decided to return to captivity in England, where he lived in a lavish lifestyle until his death a few months later.
 
On This Day in 1676, Jamestown was destroyed by fire.
 
The settlement of Jamestown in Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in America.
 
During the Bacon Rebellion, which had nothing to do with the tasty meat cut from a pig's arse, but more to do with Nathaniel Bacon, who was fed up with pig jokes, was burned to the ground.
 
On This Day in 1692, Giles Corey was pressed to death after refusing to plead guilty in the Salem Witch trials.
 
It wasn't deliberate, but my sister sat on him.
 
On This Day In History in 1846, two French shepherd children Melanie Calvat and Maxumin Giraud experienced a Marian apparition on a  mountaintop near La Salette, France.
 
After shouting wolf a few times and no one coming to their rescue, the two children smoked some pot and started hallucinating. The sheep they were shepherding also took to the doobies and had a dream they were pole dancing in a Turkish fast food establishment.

On This Day In History in, September 20th, 1881, James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States of America died.

Check out The Assassination of President James A. Garfield: Murdered by a bloke in a dress

President James A. Garfield: Assassinated by a bloke in a dress

The Assassination of President James A. Garfield

On This Day In History in, September 19th, 1881, James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States of America died.
 
President Garfield had only been president for four months when he was shot by Charles J. Guiteau on July 2nd.
 
Guiteau was pissed at Garfield for not giving him a job. He wanted to be rewarded for doing virtually nothing to get Garfield elected as president and thought he deserved the position of consul in Paris.
 
It may have been a perfect job for Guiteau if he could speak any French and had any experience of that type of job. But he didn't. It also didn't help that he was a complete nutter.
 
Virtually all of President Garfield's movements, with the exception his bowel movements, were published in the newspapers. Guiteau followed these movements with interest and also the ones in the papers, and used them to plan the assassination.
 
Guiteau purchased a gun, totally legally, as all Americans can, and still do, as what's the harm in giving a psycho a gun? He followed Garfield several times, but chickened out when it came time blow his load.
 
Finally, when he was concealed himself in a ladies' toilet for, well, the guy was also a sicko and a pervert, when he happened upon the President. Not in the toilet, probably, as Garfield didn't frequent them. Guiteau pulled out revolver and bang bang, shot President Garfield twice - once in the back and once in the arm.
 
Guiteau was captured almost immediately. No doubt the dress slowed down his escape.
 
Never one to give up, Garfield fought for his life for the next few months until he succumbed to the gunshot wounds.
 
President Garfield was the second president to be assassinated. The first being Abraham Lincoln. Protection for US Presidents should have been put in place after Lincoln's assassination, but it was thought that the killing of Lincoln was just a fluke. It was a time of Civil war and a special case. Garfield like presidents before him, deemed an armed guard for the president to be a waste of time.
 
Did You Know:
After Garfield was shot, he exclaimed, "My God, what is this?" Either referring to the bullet wounds or the weirdo in the dress, no one is quite sure.
 
Guiteau shouted, "This thong is riding up my arse like a cheese wire through butter."
 
He then added, "I did it. I will go to jail for it. I am a Stalwart and Arthur will be president."
 
Plus, interestingly enough, Robert Todd Lincoln was present at the train station when Garfield was shot. Sixteen years before, he had witnessed his own father be assassinated.


note: there is no evidence Guiteau wore a dress.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

History fun facts September 18th

History Fun Facts - September 18th

On This Day In History in 96 (a real year, even if it looks wrong when you write it down), the Roman Emperor Domitian was assassinated.
 
Some would say he had it coming to him, considering 15 years before, Domitian had murdered his own brother, Titus, to take his place as Emperor of Rome.
 
Domitian had killed his brother with a poison which created an uncomfortable feeling in Titus' bottom. Basically it was no longer a Titus. In fact, it was quite pliable. And erupted like a sticky brown volcano. Having blown off his Titus, Emperor Titus died shortly after.
 
Emperor Domitian was killed by a former slave called Maximus (not Russell Crowe) and a steward called Stephanus in a conspiracy led by a guy called Parthenius, who was Domitian's chamberlain.
 
There were a lot more people involved, but let's be honest, like me, you probably skip over the names that are hard to pronounce.
 
It's thought that Domitian's Praetorian Guard were involved. And possibly Domitian's wife. And Donald Trump. The emails linking Hilary Clinton to the conspiracy have been deleted, so there is no way of knowing for sure if she had anything to do with it.
 
Stephanus had pretended to be injured so as to conceal a dagger beneath his bandages. Not the smartest bloke, the feigned injury was to his groin. Women kept asking, "Is that a dagger down your pants or are you just pleased to see me?"
 
When he entered the Emperor's presence with his bandaged woodland area, Domitian asked, "Are you pleased to see me or have you concealed a dagger down you pants with the intention of assassinating me?"
 
Stepanus remembered he had forgotten the dagger and had no choice but to tell the truth. He lowered his head and whispered, "I dreamt about your nipples last night."
 
He then bolted. And after that, left the room.
 
Stephanus returned the next day, this time with a bandaged arm. He had concealed the dagger beneath those bandages, along with his friend, Maximus, who was not Russell Crowe. After a bit of chit chat, where Domitian revealed he loved Donald Trump, Stephanus and Maximus stabbed Emperor Domitian to death.
 
Give the Emperor his due, he did fight back and there was quite a struggle. He managed to stab  Stephanus and he died soon after Domitian.
 
On this day in history in 2014, Scotland voted against leaving the United Kingdom.
 
Independence will have to wait for another day. Possibly 2018. Yes, there will be another vote, it's inevitable. Why can't we all just get along?

Friday, 16 September 2016

History Fun Facts September 16th

HISTORY FACT - September 16th

On This Day In History in 1701, once-a-king-but-king-no-more King James II of England, died when his head exploded after losing a game of spank-my-head-with-a-stick-of-dynamite, a popular game in 17th century England.
 
James II was actually a King of England, but not King of England when he died, despite what he kept telling his French friends. He became King when his brother died in 1685 and remained King until he royally screwed up by royally screwing his new catholic wife.
 
James kept annoying the English Protestants and they had suspicions he was way too pro-French and even more pro-Catholic. To top it off, he also enjoyed playing Pokémon Go, which was the last straw.
 
The real final straw happened when his wife popped out a sprog which kept shouting, "Kill the Protestant scum. Burn them at the stake."
 
The English ball sacks, or Nobs, or Nobles, panicked. England couldn't have a Catholic hair cut. Or, in fact, a Catholic heir to the throne.
 
They invited the husband of Mary, who was the daughter of James, who was a protestant, as was her husband, who happened to be a tangerine, to England for a chat to discuss the situation.
 
William of Orange invaded England with an army of Satsumas in a Glorious Revolution. James, who disliked the most evil of all fruits, fled England and hid at the court of his cousin, King Louis XIV of France where he was fed nothing but bananas.
 
He did try, and trying is what counts, and he was very trying, to reclaim his throne at the Battle of the Boyne. He brought a French army, along with some Scottish and Irish tourists, to Ireland where he fought against the forces of William of Not-A-Lemon and lost, big timey-wimey.
 
For the rest of his life he was made to perform Celine Dion songs at state banquets in France, whilst wearing a pink tutu and a Donald Trump wig, which was nowhere near as embarrassing as his defeat at the Battle of the Boyne against the new King of England, William III of Oranges-Suck.
 
That was until he had a brain haemorrhage and died.
 
On This Day In History, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was born.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

History Fun Facts September 15th

HISTORY FUN FACTS SEPTEMBER 15th

On this day in history in 1254, Marco Polo was born.
 
Marco Polo was, of course, the creator of the much loved game, Marco Polo, and the mint with the hole.
 
Legend tells that Marco was blind, incompetent at navigation, lived his entire life in a swimming pool, was very needy in trying to find friends, really wanted to be a bat, and had really bad breath.
 
Thus came the creation of the game, where everyone jumps into the swimming pool, one person is "Marco" or "It", and the other players are "Polo".
 
The person who is "It" closes their eyes and trundles around the pool shouting "Marco", imitating the call of a bat in their echo-location, trying to find their friends. When the friends, or fellow players, hear the shout "Marco" they must respond with "Polo, for crying out loud stick a polo in your mouth and suck, your breath stinks of donkey poo."
 
Or something along those lines.
 
In reality, no one is quite sure as to the origins of the game, or why it is named after Marco Polo, a famous 13th century merchant traveller. It didn't really take off as a game until the 1960s in America. But it seems to be an offshoot of Blind Man's Bluff, which is played on land, rather than in a swimming pool, and dates back to the 1500s.
 
On this day in 1890, Agatha Christie was born.
 
Agatha Christie was an English novelist, specialising in crime and mysteries, and also a Dame. Not the panto kind, the real kind.
 
The Guinness Book of Records lists Agatha Christie as the best selling novelist of all time, selling over 2 billion copies, mostly to my grandmother, who really loved them. Every time she went to a car-boot sale, my gran would pick up a Hercule Poirot novel or Jane Marple novel, even if she had bought one the previous week. Yes, my gran was bat-shit crazy.
 
Much like Agatha Christie.
 
But, unlike my grandmother, Christie was nutso-whacko because she had been kidnapped by aliens who had stripped her naked before taking her. Or she was taken by a giant wasp and Doctor Who.
 
I kid you not.
 
In 1926, Agatha Christie's husband had asked for a divorce. It probably has nothing to do with it, but I thought I'd mention it nonetheless.
 
December 3rd 1926, after a huge argument, Archie stormed out the family home to go spend the weekend with his new love, Nancy Neele. That night, Agatha left the house leaving behind a steamy dump on her husband's favourite dressing gown, and a letter for her secretary telling of her plans to spend the next few days in Yorkshire.
 
Agatha Christie's car was found perched above a chalk quarry at Newlands Corner. Inside was an expired driving licence, and her clothes.
 
Her Alien Abduction caused a massive public outcry. Even the Home Secretary got involved, pressurizing the police to launch a massive manhunt which included over 1000 police officers and 15,000 volunteers.
 
When they realised Agatha was a woman, they changed it to a woman-hunt. A newspaper also offered a £100 reward.
 
They didn't find Agatha Christie, despite the fact Sir Arthur Conan Doyle got involved, approaching a medium to help in the search.
 
Ten days later, Agatha was found at Swan Hydropathic hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire, under the name Mrs Teresa Neele (the name of her husband's bit on the side). She claims to have no memory of those ten days, or how she got to Yorkshire.
 
That's because the Aliens mind-wiped her before returning her to Earth after all the probing.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

History Fun Fact September 13th

HISTORY FACT - September 13th

On This Day In History in 81 (yes, that's a real year), the Roman Emperor Titus, died of a fever.
 
Most historians consider Titus to be an okay Emperor, if not a reasonably good one. And considering how evil some of those were, that's a hefty statement.
 
His last reported words were, "There's either something wrong with my bottom or Vesuvius just erupted again?"
 
Okay, no, those weren't his real last words. However, he was the Emperor who ruled in 79AD when Mount Vesuvius erupted and destroyed Pompeii.
 
His almost not-so-real last words were, "I'm so hot you could cook a hot dog between my butt cheeks."
 
Or were they, "Where is my brother? I'll boil him alive on my burning scrotum."
 
It was his brother, Domitian, who succeeded Titus to the throne. As his first act, Domitian deified his brother Titus, so one would think the two got on pretty well. So why would he want to kill his brother on his burning scrotum?
 
Well, glad you asked. The scrotum aside, Domitian tried to overthrow his brother, Titus, and have him assassinated. When Titus found out, he forgave his brother, although he didn't send a Christmas card that year.
 
Right before Titus died of a Oooh-It's-Hot-In-Here, he found out Domitian was planning another coup. Putting that together with him burning up with a fever, Titus may have assumed his brother had poisoned him.
 
So, the last words of Titus might have referred to the fact he should have executed his brother when he had the chance.
 
And those real last words were, "I have made but one mistake."

Monday, 12 September 2016

History Fun Facts September 12th

HISTORY FUN FACTS for SEPTEMBER 12th

On This Day In History in 1642, Henri Coiffier de Ruze, the Marquis de Cinq-Mars (you get extra points if you tried to pronounce all that correctly), died after he discovered a problem with his neck.
 
After a close inspection, Henri found his neck no longer had a head on it. This resulted in almost instant death. The Marquis de Cinq-Mars was heard to shout, as his head sat plonked on the floor staring at his neck from a few feet away, "Where the friggin hell is my head?"
 
He then realised what had happened and whispered, "This is going to take some serious conspiring to put right."
 
Which gets us to the reason he found his head detached from his body. Henri was one of many at the time who were conspiring against the infamous Cardinal Richelieu (the one the three Musketeers hated).
 
Henri's father was a very close friend of Cardinal Richelieu and after his father's death Henri was brought into the inner circle under the protection of Richelieu.
 
Richelieu thought Henri would be easily controlled and set him up with a blind date - the King of France. The cardinal's plan was to exercise control of the king through his special relationship with Henri.
 
However, Henri, Marquis Cinq-Mars, instead got the King to grant special favours to him. And he was almost so close it hurt to getting the King to execute Richelieu, which would have left D'Artagnan with time on his hands.
 
With all things considered, it's a surprise Henri didn't end up with a knife in his back. He kept winding the cardinal up something bad. A dig here, a barb there, and so many whispered insults they can't be counted.
 
Henri was then part of a failed coup, which royally peeved Richelieu, and the cardinal would get it. By coincidence, Henri had a nasty trip down a flight of stairs, which was just a coincidence. Henri was, after all, a very clumsy bloke.
 
Luckily he survived the fall. Talking of coincidences: Henri also survived a stampede of horses, a canon being fired in his direction, and a piano falling off the twentieth floor of a skyscraper. And also seventeen accidentally fired arrows, a barrel full of snakes being rolled into his bedroom, a bear hiding in his wardrobe, and a hedgehog in his pants.
 
The following year the straw that broke backed the mountain came when Richelieu caught Henri and the King's brother, Gaston in bed together ... in a conspiracy of elephant proportions. Something about secret web-cams and a rebellion involving Philip IV, the king of Spain.
 
Richelieu had Henri imprisoned, tortured, by way of listening to Justin Bieber for 24 hours a day, and then finally beheaded in the Place des Terreaux.
 
Even though the King's best friend had just been executed, the King didn't seem perplexed. He is rumoured to have shown no emotions and merely whispered, "Je voudrais bien voir la grimace qu'il fait à cette heure sur cet échafaud."
 
Which translates as, "I would like to see the grimace he is now making on this scaffold."
 
Quick History Facts:
In 490 BC The Athenians and their Plataean allies defeated the Persian invasion of Greece at the Battle of Marathon.
 
Sheesh, imagine if they had won. They would have changed the chocolate bar's name to something stupid.
 
In 372, Jin Ziaowudi, at the tender age of 10-years-old, became Emperor of the Eastern Jin dynasty after the death of his father, Jin Jianwendi.
 
In 1185, Emperor Andronikos Komnenos was brutally put to death in the Constantinople.
 
In 1609, Henry Hudson began his expedition up the Hudson River in an attempt to find a passage across America. He didn't find one. But, cheer up, he did find Albany instead. Yay!
 
In 1919, Adolf Hitler, the guy who ruined the Charlie Chaplin moustache, joined the German Workers' Party, which was later rebranded as the Nazi Party.
 
In 1953, the US Senator, and Future assassinated President, John F. Kennedy, married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier at St Mary's Church, Newport, Rhode Island.
 
In 1962, no longer a Senator, and now a President, per-assassination, John F. Kennedy, gave his promise in a speech that the United States of America will put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. And they did. In 1969.
 
Unless you believe "those" people, who think it was all an elaborate trick and the whole thing was staged somewhere in the backroom of a brothel in Maine.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

HISTORY FUN FACTS - September 11th

HISTORY FUN FACTS for September 11th

On This Day In History in 1269, Philip of Artois died of injuries sustained during battle.
 
During the Battle of Furnes, where he served under the command of his father, Robert II of Artois, Philip was on his horse at full charge when an arrow pierced his armour coming to an abrupt stop halfway into his left testicle.
 
Philip of Artois, the Lord of Conches, Nonancourt and Domfront, didn't die on the spot. There was a great deal of agony first. Well, you'd be in a lot of pain if your left nut had nutted an arrow.
 
His aunt, called Stella, also of Artois, created a special potion for her nephew to consume so as to alleviate most, if not all, of the pain.
 
This special potion also had some strange effects. His speech became slurred, he had the urge to eat a kebab, and he kept declaring his love to lampposts. Urinating in a policeman's helmet, although some believe to be one of the side effects of drinking the potion of Stella of Artois, became clear later, that Philip had been doing that for years.
 
Philip of Artois remained on the medication for over a year before he succumbed to the injury he sustained during the Battle of Furnes and died. If only they'd removed the arrow sooner.
 
 
The 15th Anniversary of 9/11
 
 
For the next part, I leave the humour behind, and remember those who perished 15 years ago today.
 
I'd like to take a moment to remember all those who died as a result of the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
 
On This Day, September 11th, 2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed when terrorists hijacked and crashed two planes into them.
 
Almost three thousand people lost their lives as a result of four aircraft being hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists in a coordinated attack on the United States of America.
 
Two were deliberately crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. A third crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and a fourth crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
 
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
 
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
 
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
 
[Poem: In Flanders Field by John McCrae 1915]

Friday, 9 September 2016

History Fun Facts September 9th

HISTORY FACTS - September 9th

On This Day In History in 1087 William the Conqueror was killed after he fell off his horse.
 
William the Conqueror was also known as King William I (Borg designation: first of four).
 
But, here’s something you may not have known: before he was William the Conqueror of England, he was called William the Bastard.
 
Yes, William was a bastard.
 
Not only in the "Your Mummy not married to your Daddy" kind of way, as his father was the Duke of Normandy and his mother was the unmarried hussy daughter of a bloke who played with dead bodies, but also in the "You’re a complete and utter..." type of way.
 
Mainly because he invaded England.
 
Sheesh, what a complete and utter....
 
On This Day In History in 1543, Mary Stuart was crowned Queen of Scotland in an almost lavish ceremony at Stirling (that's in Scotland).
 
Mary, Queen of Scots, was only 9 months old when she was crowned Queen. She actually became queen at only 6 days old. With her first act as Queen, she issued a proclamation that everyone should make fun of her cousin's ginger wig, and that three hundred puppies should be thrown into a volcano.
 
On the 8th of February, 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed at Fortheringhay castle after she was found writing letters making fun of the ginger wig her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, kept wearing.
 
Check out the Humorous History version of





Tuesday, 6 September 2016

History Fun Facts - September 6th

History Fun Fact September 6th

On This Day in 380, Emperor Theodosius defeated the usurper, Emperor Eugenius, at the Battle of the Frigidus.

With the defeat of Eugenius, both the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire were untied once again, the last time in history it would be one great big Empire.
 
Theodosius, also known as Theodosius the Great, or Cute-Squirrel-Lips by his Praetorian Guard, was born on the 11th of January, 347.
 
After the Battle of Figidus, Theodosius became Emperor of the entire Roman Empire, the last Emperor to rule over the whole thing.
 
During his reign, Theodosius-Cute-Squirrel-Lips had a serious problem with the Goths during and set about trying to eradicate them. Perhaps they reminded him of his own moody teenage years.
 
Unfortunately, his reputation took a serious hit, along with his gonads, a war injury he would never recover from, as he wasn't successful in destroying them. Or the other barbarians. Or One Direction. Soon after, one Emperor became three.
 
Theodosius-Now-Speaks-In-High-Pitched-Voice had a problem, not only with his dangles, but also with pagan rituals. Mainly down to him not being able to perform some of them because of his now-deformed Julius Caesars.
 
He banned a lot of the pagan rituals, including the Olympic Games, which wouldn't be restored until 1896.

Monday, 5 September 2016

History Fun Facts September 5th

History Fun Facts - September 5th
 
On This Day In History in 1698, Tsar Peter I of Russia imposed a tax on beards in an attempt to Westernize his nobility.
 
The tax was applicable to all types of beards and for all men, except the clergy and peasants. Your grandmother was also exempt from the tax.
 
On this day in history in 1187, King Louis VIII of France was born.
 
His reign as King of France didn't last long, just a mere three years. And his reign as King of England didn't ever happen. There's a signed bit of paper saying so.
 
Yes, he was King of England. Well, not actually, but sort of, perhaps, nah he wasn't, get back to France you French pretender.
 
To cut a long story short, Louis came to England on holiday as a not-yet-king-of-France. Whilst holidaying in the south of England, he got really plastered on an all night booze-party celebrating the fact his last remaining virgin dog had just got his leg over. Okay, it was with a teddy bear, but it still counts.
 
Completely sploshed, Prince Louis climbed atop a large wall, pulled his pants down and declared, mid-stream, as he really needed to go, that he was the new King of England.
 
The longer version: The English barons were a bit miffed with King John (the most hated king in English history) during the First Barons' War, as the King had banned them playing Pokémon Go. Sheesh, and he wondered why nobody liked him.
 
The barons invited Prince Louis over to England, along with his almost-not-a-virgin poodle. And an army. When the Prince arrived, the barons offered him the crown of England, in return for the secret locations of Piccachuchuchu.
 
The Prince agreed, entered London, as did his pet poodle. London was not just the capital city, but also the name of a local peasant dog who was down on his luck after losing to four other dogs at poker.
 
Lots of people were at St Paul's Cathedral to witness Louis declared as King, including King Alexander II of Scotland. All paid homage. Louis then went about conquering a few other cities, including Winchester and Milton Keynes which, back then, was just a cow shed and a small red light district for lonely dogs.
 
It was going so well for Louis, he was sure they would crown him proper, not just pretend, when he returned to London.
 
But then King John died.
 
The barons realised they were following a French prince, and that was bad. Very bad. They did a quick about-turn and proclaimed John's nine-year-old son, Henry, as King of England. They then tagged the number 3 onto his name, just to make it official.
 
All of England rallied around the new boy king, Henry III, and defeated the evil French imposter, repelling him back to Dover. Since he was there anyway, Louis tried to conquer Dover. Not a chance Mr. Frenchy Prince, go back to Calais.
 
All's well that ends well.
 
At the Treaty of Lambeth, an amnesty was given to all English rebels who supported the French Prince and future King of France, Louis VIII.
 
There was also a pledge from Louis that he would never attack England again on the condition he was paid 10,000 marks. It was also a condition of the money that Louis sign a written statement saying he was not, and had never been, the legitimate King of England.
 
Also in the small print was an arrest warrant for the Prince's poodle for crimes against a tortoise.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

10-year-old seduces and marries girl after catching all the Pokémon.

History Fact: On this day in history in 1241, Alexander III of Scotland was born.
Alexander III had a mildly interesting life, becoming King of Scotland at the age of 7 after his father, Alexander II, died.
 
He then seduced and married King (of England) Henry III's daughter at the tender age of 10, after seeking out and capturing all known Pokémon, which deeply impressed the young princess.
 
When Alexander entered his years of majority, he basically invited the Norwegian King, Haakon, to invade Scotland, which he did.
 
But, luckily for Alexander, there is a lot of storms north of Scotland, and half Haakon's fleet was destroyed, with Haakon being killed against some rocks on Orkney on his way home.
 
Ironically, that's exactly how Alexander died.
 
After Alexander's first wife passed away, along with all three of his children, he was forced to marry again so he could produce a male heir to the throne.
 
On his way to celebrate after getting the chance to play leapfrog with his new French Queen, he fell off his horse in the dark, rolled down a hill, and broke his neck on some rocks at the bottom.

Check out more History Fun Facts for September 4th.

History Fun Facts September 4th

History Facts - September 4th

On This Day In History in 476, it was the end of an era.
 
The 4th of September, 476, is the date the Western Roman Empire ended when Romulus Augustus was deposed by Odoacer, who then proclaimed himself King of Italy.
 
Romulus Augustus was also known as Augustulus, or little Augustus, a nickname his wife gave him on their wedding night.
 
It was also due to him being mostly useless as an Emperor. He was barely a flicker of the man hundreds of years before who became the first Roman Emperor, the legend that was Augustus Caesar.
 
On This Day in 1882, Thomas Edison switched on the first commercial electric power station. It was only able to light a single square mile of lower Manhattan, but that was a heck of an achievement for that time.
 
This was the day commonly referred to as the start of the Electrical Age.
 
"Finally," said Edison after flipping the switch, "Somewhere to plug in my iPhone charger."
 
Bonus Fact

On this day in 1241, Alexander III of Scotland was born.
 
He had a mildly interesting life, becoming King of Scotland at the age of 7 after his father, Alexander II, died.
 
He then seduced and married King (of England) Henry III's daughter at the tender age of 10, after seeking out and capturing all known Pokémon, which deeply impressed the young princess.
 
When Alexander entered his years of majority, he basically invited the Norwegian King, Haakon, to invade Scotland, which he did.
 
But, luckily for Alexander, there is a lot of storms north of Scotland, and half Haakon's fleet was destroyed, with Haakon being killed against some rocks on Orkney on his way home.
 
Ironically, that's exactly how Alexander died.
 
After Alexander's first wife passed away, along with all three of his children, he was forced to marry again so he could produce a male heir to the throne.
 
On his way to celebrate after getting the chance to play leapfrog with his new French Queen, he fell off his horse in the dark, rolled down a hill, and broke his neck on some rocks at the bottom.