politics

Peter the Great and the Grand Embassy

Peter the Great and the Grand Embassy

On March 10, 1697, Russian Tsar Peter the Great began his diplomatic mission to Western Europe, referred to as the ‘Grand Embassy‘. The goal of this mission was to strengthen and broaden Russia‘s influence in Western Europe and to find allies against the Ottoman Empire. What makes the mission so special is that Peter the Great led the mission himself, but incognito under a wrong name. “Alas! I have civilized my own…
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Herman Kahn and the Consequences of Nuclear War

Herman Kahn and the Consequences of Nuclear War

On February 15, 1922, American physicist, futurist and system theorist Herman Kahn was born. He became known for analyzing the likely consequences of nuclear war and recommending ways to improve survivability, making him one of three historical inspirations for the title character of Stanley Kubrick‘s classic black comedy film satire Dr. Strangelove.[5] “The difference between megaton and kiloton is very large, in some ways larger than the difference between kiloton and ton.…
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Pjotr Kropotkin and the Theory of Mutual Aid

Pjotr Kropotkin and the Theory of Mutual Aid

On December 21, 1842 (or December 8, according to the Gregorian Calendar), Russian geographer, economist, activist, philologist, zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, writer and prominent anarchist Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was born. Besides being a political person, his main scientific contribution is the publication of his theory of mutual aid, voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services for mutual benefit as a counter model to the historic concept of an autonomous individual, the…
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Elizabeth Montagu and the Famous Bluestocking Society

Elizabeth Montagu and the Famous Bluestocking Society

On August 25, 1800, British social reformer, patron of the arts, salonist, literary critic, and writer Elizabeth Montagu passed away. She was one of the wealthiest women of her era and one of the founders of the Bluestocking Society, an informal women’s social and educational movement in England in the mid-18th century. “I never invite idiots into my house.” – Elizabeth Montagu Elizabeth Robinson – Early Years Elizabeth Robinson was born as…
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Johann Friedrich Struensee – A Royal Affair

Johann Friedrich Struensee – A Royal Affair

On August 5, 1735, German physician Johann Friedrich Struensee was born. He became royal physician to the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark and a minister in the Danish government, where he tried to carry out widespread reforms. His affair with Queen Caroline Matilda caused his downfall and dramatic death. Johann Friedrich Struensee – Early Years Johann Friedrich Struensee was born in Halle as the second of six children of the pietist…
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Art and Propaganda – the Degenerate Art Exhibition of 1937

Art and Propaganda – the Degenerate Art Exhibition of 1937

On July 19, 1937, the Degenerate Art Exhibition (German: Die Ausstellung “Entartete Kunst“) was opened in the Institute of Archeology in the Munich Hofgarten. The exhibition presented 650 works of art, confiscated from German museums, and was staged in counterpoint to the concurrent Great German Art Exhibition. The exhibition included works of Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Franz Marc, and Emil Nolde.[3,4,6,7,8] It was not a singular event in…
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Harry Johnston and the “Scramble for Africa”

Harry Johnston and the “Scramble for Africa”

On June 12, 1858, British explorer, botanist, linguist and colonial administrator Sir Harry Johnston was born. His interest in zoological specimens gave him a lucrative part-time income, illustrating books for the new sciences of biology, geography and anthropology. Moreover, he is probably best known for being one of the key players in the “Scramble for Africa” that occurred at the end of the 19th century. “In our land the educated poor, who…
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Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans

Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans

On May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc aka the Maid of Orleans was burned at the stake. Joan of Arc is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War, and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. “I was thirteen when I had a Voice from God for my help and guidance.” – Joan of Arc, Trial records (1431) Joan of Arc – A…
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Scientist and Politician François Arago

Scientist and Politician François Arago

On February 26, 1786, French mathematician, physicist, and astronomer François Arago was born. Arago discovered the principle of the production of magnetism by rotation of a nonmagnetic conductor. He also devised an experiment that proved the wave theory of light and engaged with others in research that led to the discovery of the laws of light polarization. “Connaître, découvrir, communiquer—telle est, au fond, notre honorable destinée. To get to know, to discover, to…
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Pablo Picasso’s Guernica

Pablo Picasso’s Guernica

On July 12, 1937, Pablo Picasso presents his famous painting Guernica for the very first time at the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris International Exposition. It was created in response to the bombing of Guernica, a Basque Country village in northern Spain, by German and Italian warplanes at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist forces on 26 April 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. Guernica has become one of today’s most famous…
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