Plymouth Colony created America’s first legal codes, including principles followed today

U.S. Capitol painting of signing of Mayflower Compact (Wikimedia Commons)

At least according to legend, it was 100 years ago that pilgrims at New Plymouth (or “Plimoth”) Colony and members of the Wampanoag Indian tribe celebrated what is now America’s Thanksgiving. But, while debate may continue over historical fact and fiction, that isn’t the only cultural legacy of the Plymouth…

Winston Churchill and Joseph Goebbels (Library of Congress/U.S. Holocaust Museum)

Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels used it several times before Churchill made it famous

Undoubtedly, “Iron Curtain” was one of the most-used Cold War phrases. Popular history attributes the metaphoric barrier separating Soviet-controlled Europe from the rest of the continent to former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. …

Outlandish allegations against the singer thrown out as frivolous

Beyonce Knowles, 2011 (Parkwood Pictures Entertainment, LLC (CC BY-SA 3.0))

Despite the money, it’s not always easy being a world-famous celebrity. There’s the paparazzi, the tabloids, and the stalkers. Plus, you become a target for some of the oddest lawsuits. Take Beyoncé, for example. The singer’s been the subject of some really bizarre allegations.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z are “in cahoots with the CIA”

For example, in October 2012 Naomi…

German survivors created a Nazi republic on the Indian Ocean island

The S.S. Van Imhoff (Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0)

International disputes don’t need a well-known cause; the source may be little publicized or remembered. Such is the case when the S.S. Van Imhoff sank in the Indian Ocean in January 1942. Although a Japanese warplane attacked the Dutch freighter, hundreds of German citizens died. What happened remains an issue…

Jeu de paume players in 14th century France (Wikimedia)

James I of Scotland was killed days after blocking a potential escape route

Thanks to its popularity with 16th-century British royalty, tennis became known as the “sport of kings.” That’s the reason why, though indirectly, it played a role in the assassination of James I of Scotland.

The grandson of Robert II and youngest son of Robert III — the first Stewart (Stuart)…

Russian sailors created the republic on a small Baltic Sea island

The republic’s flag, which reads “Death to the bourgeoisie” (Wikimedia)

Naissaar, part of modern Estonia, has quite the history for a sparsely populated island of barely seven square miles. The name means “women’s island” in Estonian. It reportedly comes from an 11th-century legend about beautiful Baltic Sea Amazons on an island where the men are slaves.

Nine centuries later, only…

Famous for his “bird voice,” Charles Kellogg’s ideas are still pursued

Charles Kellogg as a vaudeville entertainer around 1912 (Wikimedia)

To “sing like a bird” is one way of saying someone has a beautiful singing voice.

Charles Kellogg, though, entertained vaudeville crowds in the first part of the 20th century by literally singing like a bird. He did not imitate birds by whistling; he vocalized their songs. …

Undated photo of Ottawa’s Civic Hospital (Toronto Public Library Digital Archive)

Delivery suite declared “extraterritorial” for the birth of Dutch princess.

During World War II, several European countries created “governments in exile” after Germany occupied them. Sovereigns and government officials relocated to another country, most commonly Britain, to continue acting as the legitimate government. But Canada saw one of the oddest consequences.

When the war broke out, the Netherlands sought to…

Many claim the Vatican designated St. Isidore of Seville the spiritual protector of internet users

17th century painting of St. Isidore of Seville (Wikimedia)

Websites around the world proclaim St. Isidore of Seville the “patron saint of the internet.” These aren’t no-account sites. They include many focusing on Catholicism and the Vatican, as well as well-respected tech sites. Yet, it’s questionable that Isidore is officially the saint watching over internet users.

Isidore was born…

Some historians believe she’s the reason the queen is the most powerful chess piece.

A modern chess queen and Queen Isabella I (Wikimedia)

What is now the game of chess dates back centuries. Originating in 6th century India, the game spread to Asia and the Arab world and became a popular pastime of European nobility in the Middle Ages. As the game proliferated among different cultures, the rules evolved as well. …

Tim Gebhart

Retired Lawyer. Book Addict. History Buff. Lifelong South Dakotan. Blog:

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