history

The Opening of the Panama Canal

The Opening of the Panama Canal

On August 15, 1914, the very first ship, the cargo ship SS Ancon passed the newly built Panama Canal. Unfortunately, in the same month, World War I started fighting in Europe and the official opening ceremony had to be postponed until 1920. The Panama Canal is an 82 km long ship canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean and therefore also a key conduit…
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The Tragedy of MacBeth and its Historical Background

The Tragedy of MacBeth and its Historical Background

On August 14, 1040 AD, Mac Bethad mac Findlaích, Mormaer of Moray, today better known as Macbeth, killed the Scottish King Duncan I. to become the new King of Scotland. But, he has to commit further murder to maintain his power. So far the story goes. Most of the rest we know from Shakespeare‘s adaptation of the historical events is merely pure fiction.[2,3] Macbeth’s life, like that of his predecessor King Duncan…
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The Legend of Elizabeth Báthory, the Blood Countess

The Legend of Elizabeth Báthory, the Blood Countess

How far would you go to maintain your youth and your beauty? While today most people have become a victim of the cosmetic industry and (fortunately) only a few really dare to undergo cosmetic surgery, eternal youth and beauty is not only a subject of today’s affluent society. No, it’s a prominent topic throughout history dating also back into mythology, such as the story of Narcissus, a young Greek hunter of extraordinary…
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Veni, Vidi, Vici – according to Julius Caesar

Veni, Vidi, Vici – according to Julius Caesar

On August 2, 47 BC the Roman dictator Gaius Iulius Caesar won the battle of Zela against Pharnaces II. king of Pontus. As the Roman victory was won rather quickly, Caesar wanted to emphasize that very fact by the brevity and conciseness of his report sent to the senate and people of Rome. He only wrote three little words: “Veni, Vidi, Vici.“ I came, I saw, and I won. That’s all. Nobody ever…
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The Last Safari – The Phenomenon Ernest Hemingway

The Last Safari – The Phenomenon Ernest Hemingway

He was one of the most successful and best known American authors of the 20th century. He also was a journalist, war reporter, foreign correspondent. Four times he was married, for most of the time of his life he was a heavy drinker, and he had a passion for big game hunting in Africa. For his novell ‘The Old Man and the Sea‘ – you know the story with the fisherman catching…
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Fin de Siècle at its best – The Paris Metro

Fin de Siècle at its best – The Paris Metro

On July 19 1900, Paris, cultural center of the Belle Époche, opened its Métro. The Paris Métro stations with their Fin de Siècle charme and Art Nouveau design have become a timeless icon of the city. The Paris Mètro was the sixth metro in the world after London (1863)[5], Liverpool (1893), Budapest and Glasgow (both 1896) and Vienna. Main achievements of the Exposition Universelle in 1900 were the introduction of escalators, talking films, the…
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Murder in the Bathtub – Jean Paul Marat and Charlotte Corday

Murder in the Bathtub – Jean Paul Marat and Charlotte Corday

On July 13, 1793, the ‘martyr of the revolution‘, Jean Paul Marat was assassinated by Charlotte Corday, a 24 year old woman. The physician, natural scientists, and political activist was a member of ‘the Mountain’, a group active during the French Revolution, and author of the radical newspaper ‘L’Ami du peuple’. How could liberty ever have established itself amongst us? Apart from several tragic scenes, the revolution has been nothing but a web…
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Smile! Harvey Ball and his famous Icon

Smile! Harvey Ball and his famous Icon

On July 10, 1921, the inventor of the smiley, Harvey Ball, was born. Ball was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts by his parents Ernest G Ball and Christine or Kitty Ross Ball. During his time as a student at Worcester South High School, he became an apprentice to a local sign painter, and later attended the Worcester Art Museum School, where he studied fine arts. Ball was based in Asia and the Pacific…
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“I shall be heard!” – The Case of the La Amistad

“I shall be heard!” – The Case of the La Amistad

On July 2, 1839, Sengbe Pieh (later known as Joseph Cinqué) led 53 fellow Africans being transported as captives aboard the Spanish schooner ‘La Amistad‘ from Havana in a revolt against their captors. The captives had been taken in Africa by a Portuguese slaving ship and then smuggled into Havana under cover of nightfall, because this was a violation of an already existing treaty between Britain and Spain, which forbade trading in…
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The Universal Product Code (UPC)

The Universal Product Code (UPC)

On June 26, 1974, the Universal Product Code barcode was introduced to the public. A supermarket in Troy, Ohio scanned the first product, which was a pack of Wrigley‘s gum. The first impulse to creating barcodes was made by Bernard Silver and Norman Joseph Woodland. A food chain store owner turned to the Drexel Institute of Technology, which the two graduate students were attending. He asked for a system to automatically read…
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