Category Archives: History

While the Roman Colosseum is More Famous Today, Its Predecessor, the Circus Maximus, Could Hold About 3 to 6 Times More People

circus-maximus

Today I found out that the Colosseum in Rome wasn’t finished until 80 AD; before that, Romans used the Circus Maximus for games. The Colosseum is one of the most iconic landmarks in Rome and incredibly popular with tourists. Movies would have you think that chariot races, gladiator shows, and battle simulations always took place there, but that isn’t true. […]

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Did Newton Really Have an Apple Fall on His Head, Inspiring Him to Come Up with His Theory on Gravity?

newton

Kerry asks: Did an apple really fall on Newton’s head? In grade school you probably learned Newton’s apple story around the time you learned that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree, that people in Columbus’ time thought that the world was flat, or that the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in America and invited the Native Americans to join […]

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Mark Twain Was Born and Died in the Same Years That Halley’s Comet Flew By the Earth

comet

Today I found out that Samuel Clemens was born and died during Halley’s comet years. This is a somewhat uncommon occurrence given that Halley’s comet only passes by the Earth approximately every 76 years. What makes it even more remarkable is that Clemens predicted the year of his death. In 1909, Clemens—known by his pen name, Mark Twain—said, I came […]

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When Lincoln Was Almost Assassinated Nine Months Before He was Assassinated

abraham-lincoln

In August 1864, the Sixteenth President of the United States of America was nearly assassinated about nine months before he was actually assassinated. This is the story. The Soldier’s Home Throughout the Civil War (1861-1865), President Abraham Lincoln and his family spent the summer and fall in a cottage on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home in the country outside […]

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The Origin of the Republican Party

congress

Pro civil rights, environmental legislation, peace, universal health care and progressive policies (including raising taxes)- your granddaddy wouldn’t recognize the GOP of today. Birth of a Party By the mid-19th century, the fabric of the United States was being torn apart by slavery. The famous 1820 agreement, the Missouri Compromise, which had prohibited the spread of slavery in much of […]

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The Secret Message Hidden in Abraham Lincoln’s Pocket Watch

pocket-watch

Today I found out about the secret message hidden in Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch. On the surface, it could be any other high-end watch from the mid-1800s. Inside, however, amidst the cogs and gears, is a different story. The words “Fort Sumpter was attacked by the rebels. Thank God we have a government” are etched there, though the author of […]

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The Intriguing Ancient Underground City of Derinkuyu

underground-city

Long ago, in the region surrounding Nevsehir and Kayseri, in central Turkey, an ancient people built, or rather dug, over 200 underground cities. The deepest of these, under the present day town of Derinkuyu, delves over 250 feet below the Earth’s surface, and boasts numerous tunnels, halls, meeting rooms, wells and passages. Because the city was carved from existing caves […]

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When People Started Wearing Clothes

monkey-clothes

M. Schane asks: When did humans start wearing clothing? Determining exactly when humans began wearing clothes is a challenge, largely because early clothes would have been things like animal hides, which degrade rapidly. Therefore, there’s very little archaeological evidence that can be used to determine the date that clothing started being worn. There have been several different theories based on […]

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