Weather Station Kurt (Wetter-Funkgerät Land-26) was an automatic weather station, erected by aGerman U-boat crew in Northern Labrador, Newfoundland in October 1943. Installing the equipment for the station was the only known armed German military operation on land in North America during the Second World War.
The station was forgotten until 1977 when Peter Johnson, a geomorphologist working on an unrelated project, stumbled upon the German weather station. He suspected it was a Canadian military installation, and named it “Martin Bay 7″. Around the same time, a retired Siemens engineer named Franz Selinger, who was writing a history of the company, went through Sommermeyer’s papers and learned of the station’s existence. He contacted CanadianDepartment of National Defence historian W.A.B. Douglas, who went to the site with a team in 1981 and found the station still there, although canisters had been opened and components strewn about the site. Weather Station Kurt was brought to Ottawa and is now on display at the Canadian War Museum.
Boudica (d. AD 60 or 61) was queen of the British Iceni tribe, a Celtic tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire.
Boudica’s husband Prasutagus was ruler of the Iceni tribe, who had ruled as a nominally independent ally of Rome, and had left his kingdom jointly to his daughters and the Roman Emperor in his will. However, when he died, his will was ignored and the kingdom was annexed as if conquered. Boudica was flogged, her daughters were raped, and Roman financiers called in their loans.
In AD 60 or 61, while the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was leading a campaign on the island of Anglesey off the northwest coast of Wales, Boudica led the Iceni as well as the Trinovantes and others in revolt. They destroyed Camulodunum, which is modern Colchester. Camulodunum was earlier the capital of the Trinovantes, but at that time was a colonia—a settlement for discharged Roman soldiers, as well as the site of a temple to the former Emperor Claudius. Upon hearing the news of the revolt, Suetonius hurried to Londinium (modern London), the twenty-year-old commercial settlement that was the rebels’ next target.
The Romans, having concluded that they did not have the numbers to defend the settlement, evacuated and abandoned Londinium. Boudica led 100,000 Iceni, Trinovantes and others to fight the Legio IX Hispana and burned and destroyed Londinium, and Verulamium (modern-day St Albans). An estimated 70,000–80,000 Romans and British were killed in the three cities by those led by Boudica. Suetonius, meanwhile, regrouped his forces in the West Midlands, and despite being heavily outnumbered, defeated the Britons in the Battle of Watling Street.
The Mexica or Mexicas — called Aztecs in occidental historiography, although this term is not limited to the Mexica — were an indigenous people of the Valley of Mexico, known today as the rulers of the Aztec empire.
The Mexica were a Nahua people who founded their two cities Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco on raised islets in Lake Texcoco around AD 1200. After the rise of the Aztec Triple Alliance, the Tenochca Mexica (that is, the inhabitants of Tenochtitlan), assumed a senior position over their two allied cities — Tlatelolco and Tlacopan.
The Mexica are eponymous of the placename Mexico Mēxihco, This refers to the interconnected settlements in the valley which became the site of what is now Mexico City, which held natural, geographical, and population advantages as the metropolitan center of the region of the future Mexican state. This area was expanded upon in the wake of the Spanish conquest and administered from the former Aztec capital as New Spain.
The Sacred Band of Thebes (Ancient Greek: Ἱερὸς Λόχος, Hieròs Lókhos) was a troop of picked soldiers, consisting of 150 pairs of male lovers which formed the elite force of the Theban army in the 4th century BC. It is said to have been organised by the Theban commander Gorgidas in 378 BC and to have played a crucial role in the Battle of Leuctra. It was annihilated by Philip II of Macedon in the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC.
The earliest surviving record of the Sacred Band by name was in 324 BC; in the oration Against Demosthenes by the Athenian logographer Dinarchus. He mentions the Sacred Band as being led by the general Pelopidas and, alongside Epaminondas who commanded the army of Thebes (Boeotia), were responsible for the defeat of the Spartans at the decisive Battle of Leuctra (371 BC).
The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 63 kilometres (39 miles) and was about 3 metres (10 feet) high and 5 metres (16 feet) wide. Security was bolstered by a deep ditchon the northern side. The barrier was the second of two “great walls” created by the Romans in Northern Britain. Its ruins are less evident than the better known Hadrian’s Wall to the south.
Construction began in 142 AD at the order of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, and took about 12 years to complete.
Pressure from the Caledonians may have led Antoninus to send the empire’s troops further north. The wall was protected by 16 forts with a number of small fortlets between them; troop movement was facilitated by a road linking all the sites known as the Military Way. The soldiers who built the wall commemorated the construction and their struggles with the Caledonians in a number of decorative slabs, twenty of which still survive. Despite this auspicious start the wall was abandoned after only 20 years, and the garrisons relocated back to Hadrian’s Wall. In 208 Emperor Septimius Severus re-established legions at the wall and ordered repairs; this has led to the wall being referred to as the Severan Wall. However, the occupation ended only a few years later, and the wall was never fortified again. Most of the wall and its associated fortifications have been destroyed over time, but some remains are still visible. Many of these have come under the care of Historic Scotland and the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
Although paper had been known as a wrapping and padding material in China since the 2nd century BC, the first documented use of toilet paper in human history dates back to the 6th century AD, in early medieval China. In 589 AD the scholar-official Yan Zhitui (531–591) wrote about the use of toilet paper.
The evidence for a temple to the eastern goddess Isis is indicated by graffito on a 1st-century flagon found in Tooley Street, Southwark which reads LONDINI AD FANVM ISIDIS, or ‘To London at the temple of Isis’.
The existence of the temple is confirmed by an altar inscription which confirmed that the temple that had ‘fallen down through old age’ had been restored. The 3rd-century altar, found reused in the riverside wall (BC75), had been dedicated by Marcus Martiannius Pulcher, a hitherto unknown provincial governor. London is the only place in Roman Britain that has evidence for a temple to Isis and her cult must have remained an exotic exception to the other religions in the province.
Cheese is an ancient food whose origins predate recorded history. There is no conclusive evidence indicating where cheesemaking originated, either in Europe, Central Asia or the Middle East, but the practice had spread within Europe prior to Roman times and, according to Pliny the Elder, had become a sophisticated enterprise by the time the Roman Empire came into being.
The earliest evidence of cheese-making dates back to 5,500 BCE, in what is nowKujawy, Poland, where strainers with milk fats molecules have been found. Earliest proposed dates for the origin of cheesemaking range from around 8000 BCE, when sheep were first domesticated. Since animal skins and inflated internal organs have, since ancient times, provided storage vessels for a range of foodstuffs, it is probable that the process of cheese making was discovered accidentally by storing milk in a container made from the stomach of an animal, resulting in the milk being turned to curd and whey by the rennet from the stomach. There is a legend – with variations – about the discovery of cheese by an Arab trader who used this method of storing milk.
Besides its remoteness, Easter Island is, of course, famous for its massive stone sculptures or “Moais.” The largest of these is “El Gigante,” located near the Rano Raraku Quarry, which stands some 72 feet tall (well, 71.93 to be exact). El Gigante weighs in at an astonishing 160-182 metric tons, more then the weight of two full 737 airplanes.
However, El Gigante was ambitious even for the master movers of Easter Island. Experts believe that had they finished this Moai (there is some question as to whether they ever intended to), it is unlikely the islanders would have been able to move it. In comparison, Paro, the largest Moai ever erected, is 10 meters (33 ft) high, and weighs 75 metric tons.
The ancient Nubians consumed large quantities of antibiotics that were produced in their beer almost 1,500 years ago, new research suggests.
Chemical analysis of bones shows that the people were taking large doses of tetracycline which was produced as a by-product in the beer that they made from grain. Scientists believe that the production of the antibiotic was intentional.
Over the past 100 years, Stonehenge has gone through a series of restoration work and make-overs.
Thuggee or tuggee refers to the acts of thugs, an organized gang of professional assassins.
The Thugs travelled in groups across India for several hundred years. Hindus appear to have been associated with them at an early period; at any rate, their religious creed and practices as worshipers ofKālī, the Hindu goddess of destruction, showed no influence of Islām. The fraternity possessed a jargon of its own, Ramasi, and signs by which its members recognized each other.
They were first mentioned in the Ẓiyāʾ-ud-Dīn Baranī (English: History of Fīrūz Shāh) dated around 1356.
In the 1830s they were targeted for eradication by William Bentinck and his chief captain William Henry Sleeman. They were seemingly destroyed by this effort. According to some estimates the Thugs murdered a million people between 1740 and 1840.
The Thugs would join travelers and gain their confidence. This would allow them to then surprise and strangle their victims by pulling a handkerchief or noose tight around their necks. They would then rob their victims of valuables and bury their bodies. This led them to also be called Phansigar (English: using anoose), a term more commonly used in southern India.
The term Thuggee is derived from Hindi word ठग, or ṭhag, which means “thief”. Related words are the verb thugna, “to deceive”, from Sanskrit स्थग sthaga ”cunning, sly, fraudulent, dishonest, scoundrel”, from स्थगति sthagati ”he conceals”. This term for a particular kind of murder and robbery of travellers is popular in South Asia and particularly in India.
A spintria (plural, spintriae) is a small bronze or brass Roman token, possibly for use in brothels, usually depicting sexual acts or symbols.
Some scholars have argued that spintriae were used to pay prostitutes. According to Suetonius, carrying a ring or a coin bearing the emperor’s image into a latrine or brothel could be the basis for an accusation of treason (maiestas) under Tiberius. Under Caracalla, an equestrian was sentenced to death for bringing a coin with the emperor’s likeness into a brothel; he was spared only by the emperor’s own death.There is no direct ancient evidence, however, to support the theory that spintriae were created as tokens for exchange in place of official coinage.
They may have been gaming tokens. They seem to have been produced for only a short period, mostly in the 1st century AD.
Operation Haudegen was the name of a German operation during the Second World War to establish meteorological stations on Svalbard.
In September 1944, together with the supply ship Karl J. Busch, the submarine U-307 transported the men of Operation Haudegen to Svalbard. The station was active from 9 September 1944 to 4 September 1945. It lost radio contact in May 1945, and the soldiers were capable of asking for support only in August 1945. On September 4, 1945 the soldiers were picked up by a Norwegian seal huntingvessel and surrendered to its captain. The group of men were the last German troops to surrender after the Second World War.
In 1929, the German physicist Hermann Oberth developed plans for a space station from which a 100 metre-wide concave mirror could be used to reflect sunlight onto a concentrated point on the earth.
Later during World War II, a group of German scientists at a research centre in Hillersleben began to expand on Oberth’s idea of creating a superweapon that could utilize the sun’s energy. This so-called “sun gun” would be part of a space station 5,100 miles above Earth. The scientists calculated that a huge reflector, made of metallic sodium and with an area of 3.5 square miles, could produce enough focused heat to make an ocean boil or burn a city.After being questioned by Allied officers, the Germans claimed that the sun gun could be completed within 50 or 100 years.
Rhaphanidosis is the act of inserting the root of a plant of the raphanus genus (commonly known as a radish) into the anus. It is reported to have been a punishment for adultery in ancient Athens of the 5th and 4th centuries BC.
The Alþingi (anglicised as Althing or Althingi) is the national parliament (literally: “[the] all-thing“, or general assembly) of Iceland. It is one of the oldest extant parliamentary institutions in the world. The Althing was founded in 930 at Þingvellir, the “assembly fields” or “Parliament Plains”, situated approximately 45 km east of what later became the country’s capital, Reykjavík. This event marked the beginning of the Icelandic Commonwealth. Even after Iceland’s union with Norway in 1262, the Althing still held its sessions at Þingvellir until 1799, when it was discontinued for 45 years. It was restored in 1844 and moved to Reykjavík, where it has resided ever since. The present parliament building, the Alþingishús, was built in 1881, of hewn Icelandic stone.
Þingvellir is a place in Bláskógabyggð in southwesternIceland, near the peninsula of Reykjanes and the Hengill volcanic area. Þingvellir is a site of historical, cultural, and geological importance and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. It is the site of a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It is also home to Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland.
The unfinished obelisk is the largest known ancient obelisk and is located in the northern region of the stone quarries of ancient Egypt in Aswan (Assuan), Egypt. Archaeologists claim the pharaoh known as Hatshepsut sanctioned its construction. It is nearly one third larger than any ancient Egyptian obelisk ever erected. If finished it would have measured around 42 m (approximately 137 feet) and would have weighed nearly 1,200 tons. Archeologists speculate that it was intended to complement the so-called Lateran Obelisk which was originally at Karnak and is now outside the Lateran Palace in Rome. (Thutmose III obelisk in Lateran, Rome: 105 ft) Other archaeologists. suggest that the pharaoh Hatshepsut ordered it to be built to celebrate her sixteenth year in power
Project Habakkuk or Habbakuk (spelling varies; see below) was a plan by the British in World War II to construct an aircraft carrier out of pykrete (a mixture of wood pulp and ice), for use against German U-boats in the mid-Atlantic, which were beyond the flight range of land-based planes at that time. The idea came from Geoffrey Pyke who worked for Combined Operations Headquarters.
The earliest use of adhesives was discovered in Italy. At this site, two stone flakes partially covered with birch-bark-tar and a third uncovered stone from the Middle Pleistocene era (circa 200,000 years ago) were found. This is thought to be the oldest discovered human use of tar hafted stones.
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