Saturday, 13 July 2019

Fun Facts About King Louis VIII of France

King Louis VIII of France and his very brief reign as King of England.

King Louis VIII's reign as King of France didn't last long, just a mere three years between 14th July, 1223, and 8th November, 1226.

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-up 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, mainly due to Robin Hood) during the First Barons' War in 1215, 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 on 21st May, 1216, 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 (14th June, 1216) and Milton Keynes (not really), which, back then, was just a cow shed and a 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 in October, 1216.

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.

The Earl of Pembroke, acting as Regent for the boy-king, Henry III, made a rallying cry for the English to "defend our land" against the evil French imposter. 

The English army defeated Prince Louis at the Battle of Lincoln on 20th May, 1217. They whipped him again at sea. The Royal Navy crushed his tiny French ships at the Battle of Sandwich. 

Ironically, sliced bread hadn't been invented yet, so there were no sandwiches to celebrate the victory.

The French imposter was repelled back to Dover.

Since he was there anyway, Louis tried to conquer Dover castle. Not a chance Mr. Frenchy Prince, go back to Calais.

All's well that ends well.

At the Treaty of Lambeth (September 1217), 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.

Monday, 1 July 2019

26 Fun facts about Canada

26 Fun Facts About Canada

Happy Canada Day to Canadians around the world.

Today is Canada day, previously called Dominion Day, which has nothing to do with the Federation's victory over the Dominion during Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Canada Day celebrates the anniversary of the Constitution Act of 1867 (which was originally called the British North American Act), uniting the three colonies of the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswich, into a single Dominion within the British Empire, thereafter known and called Canada. 

Fun Fact #1. It was renamed as Canada Day in 1982.

Fun Fact #2. In 1980, "O Canada" was made the official National anthem of Canada.

Fun Fact #3. Did You Know these people are actually Canadians: Jim Carrey, Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, Michael J. Fox, Dan Ackroyd, Mike Myers, and William Shatner are all Canadians.

Fun Fact #4: Kiefer Sutherland might be a Canadian as well.

Perhaps, maybe, yeah he is, kinda. I'm sure it still counts.

Kiefer was born in London, then moved to California soon after. His parents were Canadian, though: Donald Sutherland and Shirley Douglas.

Fun Fact #5. A recent study found, 86% of Canadians felt like they lived in the best country in the world.

Fun Fact #6. After the results of a recent study were published, 14% of Canadians have been deported for treason. ***

Fun Fact #7. A recent study found the letter "A" is a Canadian's favourite letter in the alphabet.***

Fun Fact #8. Since 1998, makers of Alphabetti Spaghetti, Heinz, removed all the letters from their tin, except the letter "A". ***

Fun Fact #9. Canada's national symbol is the Beaver. 

Why not?

Who doesn't like a nice beaver?

Beavers are cute and furry, but can bite if you don't stroke them right. They have been known to attack if aggravated enough.

Fun Fact #10. Canadians call their $1 coin a "Loonie."

Fun Fact #11. Canadians call their $2 coin a "Toonie.

Fun Fact #12. Canada Day is also called "Moving Day."

Although July 1st is known as Canada Day to most Canadians, those in Quebec call it "Moving Day" as this is traditionally the day their leases expire and they have to move.

Fun Fact #13. Canada is colder than Mars.

On February 3rd, 1947, a temperature of -63C was recorded in the village of Snag. That's colder than the surface of Mars.

Fun Fact #14. Canada has 563 lakes larger than 100 square kilometres. 

Fun Fact #15. Canada's great lakes contain 18% of the world's fresh lake water.

Fun Fact #16. Canada has more surface area covered by lakes than any other country in the world.

Fun Fact #17. Canada is huge. It covers 9.98 million square kilometres. That's a lot of miles.

Fun Fact #18. Canada is actually bigger than the whole of the European Union.

Fun Fact #19. Canada is also bigger than Walt Disney World. In fact, it's bigger than nearly 82,000 Walt Disney Worlds put together.

Fun Fact #20. The Capital of Canada is Ottawa. It has a population of about a million people, making it only the 4th largest city in Canada.

Fun Fact #22. Ottawa was founded in 1826. Back then it was called Bytown, though. It didn't become Ottawa until 1855.

Fun Fact #21. The largest city in Canada is Toronto. It has a population of 2,731,571.

Fun Fact #22. Although the second largest country on the planet, 80% of the population of Canada is squeezed into large and medium-sized cities.

Fun Fact #23. The word "Canada" is derived from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word "kanata" which means "village" or "settlement.

Fun Fact #24. On July 1st, 1923, the Chinese Immigration act was enacted by the Canadian Government stopping all immigrations from China.

Fun Fact #25. Canada's national flag became official on February 15th, 1965 (nearly 100 years after becoming a country).

Fun Fact #26. Canada has it's own mythical monster. It's called the Ogopogo and allegedly resides in Lake Okanagan, British Canada.

Note. Those marked with *** are not real facts. They are just for laughs.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

On This Day In History May 15

In 392, the 17 year old Roman Emperor Valentinian II was found murdered by way of hanging. Although some have said it was suicide. Mainly the guy who did it.

In 1536, Anne-My-Head-Feels-Loose-Boleyn was tried for treason. And adultery, and incest, and also revealing spoilers about Game of Thrones before her husband, King Henry VIII, had seen the latest episode.

In 1567, Mary, Queen of Scots, married her 3rd husband, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, just three months after her second husband, Lord Darnley was assassinated. Not saying she did it, but she probably did.

In 1800, King George III of he United Kingdom survived two separate assassination attempts. That's crazy. But not as crazy-bonkers-nutso as the king, who was whacko-jacko. 

Ironically, James Hadfield, who unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate the king that day, was later tried and then acquitted by reason of insanity.

On this day in history in 1928, Walt Disney introduced one of his most famous creations, Mickey Mouse, in his first cartoon - Plane Crazy.

Check out these Fun Facts About Canada:

Friday, 15 March 2019

Fun Facts About Julius Caesar

Fun Facts About Julius Caesar: The Extraordinary Life of Julius Caesar.

Follow me on Twitter for daily Historical Fun and #OnThisDay tweets.

The Ides of March: 

On the 15th day of the third month in 44BC, Julius Caesar, the Dictator of Rome, was assassinated by Marcus Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus, and a whole host of other Roman Senators.

Julius Caesar was stabbed to death on the Ides of March by a consortium of Roman Senators led by Caesar's friend, Marcus-I-did-Eat-Two-Brutus.

Julius Caesar had been told to Beware The Ides Of March, but chose to ignore the prophecy.

Just before Caesar passed into the shadowy world of gonna-return-as-a-zombie-and-eat-your-face-off, he looked into the eyes of his friend and whispered, "Et Tu, Brutus." 

This translates into English as, "Your mamma was a snowblower." ***

*** Real translation: "And you, Brutus?"


1. Julius Caesar was the most famous Roman General in history, and a Dictator of Rome.

He is not, as some believe, the first Roman Emperor.

That accolade went to his nephew Octavius, who changed his name to Julius Caesar after his uncle's death, and then to Augustus Caesar when he became Emperor.

Julius Caesar, the Julius Caesar we actually know, not the other one, or two, if you read below, was a Roman General, Senator, and Consul of Rome.

He was also awarded the title of Dictator for life. Never was he an Emperor, even though he really, really wanted to be one.

2. Julius Caesar was born Gaius Julius Caesar.

After his father died, he dropped the Gaius. His father was also called Julius Caesar, and who was originally also called Gaius Julius Caesar.

Wowser, that's not confusing at all.

3. All subsequent Emperor's have used the title "Caesar" to denote "Emperor".

It's just a name, and isn't the Latin for Emperor. They used it to continue the belief they are all related to Julius Caesar (the second one, not his father. Although technically his father as well).

4. Julius Caesar was born on July 13, 100 B.C

His parents were Aurelia and Julius Caesar. There is a misconception the baby Julius Caesar was born by caesarean section. There is no evidence of the future General being born this way.

It is unlikely Julius Caesar was born by caesarean, though. Back in the olden days of Rome, it was a dangerous procedure. Most mothers died. However, Caesar's mother didn't. In fact, she lived for almost another 50 years after the birth.

The word caesarean comes from the latin "caesus" which means "cut". Although some historians have hypothesised one of Caesar's ancestors may have had the "cut", hence the name. But no one really knows for sure.

5. Sons of Gods.

The family loved to spill the beans at parties about their links to Iulus, son of Aeneas, a Prince of Troy. He was alleged to be son of the goddess, Venus.

6. Julius Caesar's father was a Governor.

The father of Julius Caesar was a semi-powerful guy in Rome even before the infamous General secured their name in the history books.

His father, also called Julius Caesar, was the Governor of the Province of Asia. Although not rich by ancient Roman standards, the family was reasonably comfortable, nonetheless.

7. Julius Caesar's grandfather was a Consul of Rome.

Julius Caesar would become a Consul of Rome later in his life. A Consul of Rome was the top job you could get back in the day. However, his grandfather on his mother's side, Lucius Aurelius Cotta was also a Consul of Rome. As was his great-grandfather.

8. His uncle was Gaius Marius.

This guy should be more famous than Julius Caesar. But, not so good at using social media to secure his infamy.

The uncle of Julius Caesar, Gaius Marius, was also an extraordinarily successful Roman General, and also held the top job in the Roman Republic, Consul of Rome. In fact, he held it an impressive seven times.

9. His father died when Julius (at the time Gaius Julius) Caesar was 16-years-old.

He immediately dropped the Gaius part of his name becoming the one-and-only Julius Caesar.

As head of his family he now had to take care of his mother, Aurelia, and his sister, Julia.

10. He married Cornelia Cinna.

Out of necessity or love, is up for debate. He needed to secure funds and influence for him and his family after the death of his father. So, after a year in the wilderness, he married Cornelia, the daughter of Lucius Cornelius Cinna.

Lucius Cornelius Cinna was quite the rich and powerful Roman. He was a Roman Consul four times. As such, he vexed quite a few people. In particular a guy called Sulla, who really hated Cinna. As an aside, Sulla also hated Marius, Julius Caesar's uncle.

11. Julius Caesar found himself in the middle of a power struggle in Rome.

Sulla become Consul of Rome and soon after had to leave to fight a brewing war in Greece.

The Senate had granted him leadership of the Roman armies instead of Marius, who really, really wanted it.

And to say he was vexed by the senate favouring Sulla was an understatement.

Whilst Sulla was away, Marius persuaded (by bribing and killing etc) the Senate to overturn their decision and appoint Marius the commander.

Sulla heard of the news from envoys. And became quite vexed himself. He ordered his soldiers to stone to death the envoys and then ordered six of his most loyal legions to march on Rome.

No Roman army before this had ever crossed the city limits. Ever.

Marius had no army in Rome to counter this aggression. He tried to use gladiators, but they were no match for a fully trained Roman army.

Marius fled the city and Sulla took control again.

Sulla then returned to Greece to finish his other war.

Marius, finding out Sulla was no longer in Rome, returned with his own army and re-took control of the city. He declared Sulla an exile and held fresh elections.

Both Cinna and Marius were elected Consuls again. Cinna for the fourth time and Marius for a record-breaking seventh. All was happy. For a bit.

Five days after the new Consuls took power, they began ordering the killing of anyone who had opposed them.

Seventeen days after Marius became Consul for the seventh time, he died.

12. Julius Caesar went into hiding.

Sulla returned to Rome and went straight to the top. He was awarded the title of Dictator of Rome. A joyous triumph. Not for everyone. His return to power saw an eradication of those who openly opposed him. A bloody eradication.

Julius Caesar's life was spared. However, he was stripped of titles, houses and money. Oh, and Sulla told him to divorce Cornelia, the daughter of his enemy, Cinna.

Caesar refused and went into hiding. Perhaps that marriage was for love.

13. Julius Caesar was a priest.

When his uncle, Marius and father-in-law, Cinna were in control of Rome, they nominated Julius Caesar as the Flamen Dialis, or high priest of Jupiter. 

14. Julius Caesar joined the army.

This is not a big revelation to you. He is famous for being a famous Roman General. However, as a priest, you were not allowed to serve as a soldier.

As an aside: priests were also not allowed to touch a horse, sleep three nights away from his own bed, or spend one night away from Rome.

When Sulla stripped Caesar of his titles, including the High Priest of Jupiter, it opened the door for Caesar to enlist.

He didn't right away. He was still in hiding. It took his mother's family to intervene on his behalf. They were still influential and begged Sulla to lift the conditions on his life.

Sulla reluctantly agreed. He said of Caesar, "I see much of Marius in that one."

Sulla always believed the young Caesar would find power and take retribution on him.

15. Julius Caesar won the Civic Crown.

One of his first campaigns was the Siege of Mytilene. He proved himself so capable, serving with distinction, he won the Civic Crown, the second highest honour a Roman citizen could win.

16. There were rumours Julius Caesar liked men.

He may have had taste of the crown he sought later in life during his early military career.

He was sent to Bithynia to secure assistance of King Nicomedes and his fleet of ships. As he spent so long at the King's court, rumours circulated he had an affair with the king.

Caesar denied the rumours.

17. Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates.

Sulla died and it was safe for Caesar to return to Rome.

He didn't get very far. In 75 B.C, he was kidnapped by pirates in the Aegean Sea.

Lesser men crumbled, but not Caesar. He was Caesar, after all. He was above these lowly men, and made sure the pirates knew it.

The pirates told him they were demanding a ransom of 20 talents of silver. He spat at that and told them he was worth 50 talents.

He also told them, once the ransom was paid, he would build an army and come for them, retaking the ransom, with interest. Oh, and he said he'd kill every last one of them.

They, of course, didn't take him seriously. Why would they? Caesar was not the infamous Caesar back then. Just a low ranking officer in the Roman army.

18. Caesar was Caesar. And Caesar kept his promises.

Even back in the early days, Caesar was Caesar.

The ransom was paid and Caesar was freed.

Instead of returning to Rome in what he considered to be dishonour, he set about building an army of men, raised a fleet of ships, and hunted down the pirates who captured him.

19. You don't mess with Caesar.

He kept the promise he made to the pirates. The promise they believed to be a joke.

He captured their ships and, on his own authority, an authority not granted to him by the Roman senate, or an authority granted to him by way of rank in the army, he crucified the pirates on the beaches as a warning to others -- You don't mess with Caesar.

20. Julius Caesar was lenient with those who wronged him.

He actually was, but we'll get to that in part two tomorrow.

His leniency in regards to those pirates could be questioned, though. However, in his own mind, Julius Caesar was being lenient.

Before being crucified, he cut the their throats.

Caesar is merciful.

Part Two of The Extraordinary Life of Julius Caesar Coming Soon.

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Monday, 29 May 2017

Facts About King Charles II of England

Fun Facts About King Charles II of England

On This Day In History, May 29th 1630, King Charles II of England was born.

Ten Fun Facts About King Charles II of England

1) He was oft referred to as the Merry Monarch.

Yep, that's completely true. Maybe because of his drunken debauchery, or his fondness to porking every hooker he could find, nobody knows.

2) Charles-Not-A-Spaniel had no legitimate children.

Nope, not a one. When he died in 1685 (February 6th), the crown of England passed to his brother, James, who became King James-Is-Gonna-Screw-it-Up.

Although no legitimate children, Charles II did have at least a dozen illegitimate kiddies by seven mistresses. Bastards. Although not the cool ones from Game of Thrones.

But some of them were actual bastards. At least that's what James II called them. One son of Charles II, the Duke of Monmouth, tried to wrestle the throne from his uncle after Charles II died.

The Duke of Monmouth was defeated on July 6th 1685 at the Battle of Sedgemoor. He was then captured and executed.

Didn't stop James II being overthrown, though. In 1688, James II was de-king'd by William of Orange, or William III, during the Glorious Revolution.

3) Diana, Princess of Wales, was a descendant from two of Charles' illegitimate sons.

Yep, it's true. And you thought she was a commoner made good. Nope, she is born from Royal lineage and brought up on the Althorp estate, home of the Earl Spencer.

Real Fun Fact: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, son of Diana and Prince Charles, will become, when and if he does become, the first King of England directly descended from King Charles II.

4) King Charles II's father, Charles I of England, was executed for treason.

Dark days indeed.

King Charles I of England fought a few civil wars during his reign in the 1640s. He was defeated by the Parliamentarian Army under Oliver Cromwell, the right git, and tried and executed by way of separation of head from neck.

During the Civil War in England, Charles, despite being young, fought alongside his father. He took part in the Battle of Edgehill amongst others. In 1645 he was even made the commander of his father's forces in the West Country.

Things didn't go well for the Royalist cause and seeing they were loosing, Charles I sent his son to France where his mother was living in exile with his cousin, the 8-year-old Louis XIV of France.

After the execution of his father, Charles became King Charles II, exiled king. He wasn't actually crowned until after the monarchy was restored in 1660.

5) The anniversary of King Charles II's birthday, May 29th, which was also the anniversary of the Restoration, became a Royal Holiday known as Oak Apple Day.

This was named after the Oak tree Charles II hid in to escape the forces of Oliver Cromwell's forces.

Traditional festivities included wearing Oak Leaves and diddling a local prostitute. These traditions have since died out. But England still has a public holiday on the last Monday of May.

6) It wasn't all fun and frolicking. Charles II was also a hero of the people.

In 1666 the Great Fire of London ravaged the city destroying over 13,000 houses, 87 churches and St Paul's Cathedral.

Thousands fled the city and were left homeless. The Royal advisers insisted the King leave the city as well. However, King Charles II refused. Instead he got actively involved in fighting the fires, risking his own life.

And it wasn't just on the first day. He returned with his brother and with a bucket and spade, helped throw water on the flames, and ordered and assisted in pulling down houses and buildings to stop the flames spreading.

7) Charles II restored Christmas.

During the puritan period of the 1640s/1650s after Oliver Cromwell took control of England in 1645, because let's blame him as he was a total git, Christmas was banned in England.

The Long Parliament in June 1647 confirmed the abolition of the feasts of Christmas, Whitsun and Easter.

In the 1650s Parliament re-affirmed its position on Christmas and imposed punishments on anyone holding or attending special Christmas church services. It also ordered all shops remain open on December 25th.

When King Charles II was restored to the throne he immediately went about repealing those laws and Christmas returned to England.

Hmm, I'm starting to wonder if Oliver Cromwell was the White Witch and Charles II was Aslan, but with a better night life.

8) There was a specialist Pox Doctor on call 24 hours a day at the Palace

We've covered Charles II's very special friends above, but due to the King's party attitude and lancing of prostitutes, he often needed a little lancing of his own.

And not just the King. His friends also had some issues resulting in their nightly tickles.

In 1674, Charles, much to the surprise of everyone at court -- oh okay, no surprise at all -- became infected with a nether-region disease. Louise de Keroualle, one of many mistresses became so annoyed that he had transferred the puss-goodies to her, that she had a right go at him in front of the French ambassador.

9) King Charles II of England died February 6th 1685 at Whitehall Palace (11:45 in the morning).

Four days before he had suffered with an apoplectic fit.

At the time suspicions went around court that the King had been poisoned. His doctor was one of those accused of the crime. Modern doctors believe he died of a kidney dysfunction.

In the four days prior to him dying, Charles went through many treatments, including bloodletting, and not just the blood in his penis, which he continued to make good use of.

In fact, the night before he died, Charles had quite the night with three of his mistresses.

The Bishop of Salisbury, a close friend, was quoted as saying: "The ruin of his reign was occasioned mainly by his delivering his person to a mad range of pleasure."

10) King Charles II of England was buried at Westminster Abbey on February 14th 1685

It wasn't a proper State Funeral either. He was buried without "pomp nor ceremony."

After having to break his penis to close the lid of the coffin, they basically threw the box in the hole and sealed the tomb shut.

If you're wondering when and how the end of the world will come, it's when, in a few hundred years, they decided out of curiosity to open his tomb and a great plague, never seen before, is let loose eradicating all known life in the galaxy.

Charles, on his deathbed, spoke to his brother, the next King, James II, "be well to Portsmouth, and let not poor Nelly starve.

He was referring to a favourite hooker of his, Nell Gwyn. He went on to tell his courtiers, "I am sorry, Gentlemen, for being such a time a-dying."

Bonus Fact

King Charles II, a protestant King in a protestant country, was rumoured to have converted to Catholicism the night before he died. No one really knows if it actually happened, or was started as a rumour by someone in his court, perhaps by his brother, King James II, who was a Catholic himself.

Click here to check out Fun Facts About Julius Caesar

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Saturday, 27 May 2017

History facts May 27th


On This Day in History in 1199 King John of England was crowned King John of England.

Yep, the hated brother of Richard I of England, otherwise known as Richard the Lionheart, you know those two from Robin Hood Price of Thieves, finally became the King.


He was never meant to be King of England. John Lackland, yes that was his name, was the youngest of the five sons of his father, King Henry II of England.

As the youngest, he was way down the line of succession. But after all his older big bros did go kaput, he found himself wearing the big-boy pants.

However, the pull-ups didn't help him in the last few days of his reign. Should have stuck to the diapers.

King John ruled until 1216 when he faced a problem-with-me-poopa and died of dysentery