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Sunday, 24 February 2013


John Winthrop, a puritan lawyer from Suffolk in England, founded on September 7, 1630 a large settlement on a peninsula at the mouth of the River Charles in Massachusetts, which was named Boston.

He named it Boston after Boston, Lincolnshire, England, the origin of several prominent colonists. The name also derives from Saint Botolph who was the patron saint of travelers. 

Dating from 1634, Boston Common is the oldest city park in the United States.

Boston's first tavern started business on March 4, 1634. The pub was called The Three Mariners and it was owned by Samuel Cole.

The first public school in the United States, Boston Latin School, was founded in Boston on April 23, 1635. The School was specifically modeled after the Boston Grammar School in Lincolnshire, England, from where many of Boston's original settlers derived. The School's first class was in single figures, but it now has 2,400 pupils drawn from all parts of the City of Boston. 

The man who built the town stocks in Boston charged so much he was the first man punished in them.

Boston Shoemakers formed the first U.S. labor organization in 1648.

America's first waterworks, privately owned, were built in Boston in 1652.

Ann Austin and Mary Fisher were the first Quakers to arrive in America. The pair had sailed from Barbados, where the Quakers had established a center for missionary work. Their ship docked in Boston Harbor in the Massachusetts Bay colony on July 11, 1656.  As soon as Ann Austin and Mary Fisher set foot on American soil they were arrested and imprisoned. The pair were locked up for five weeks in a dark cell and ordered to be given no food or water. If it wasn't for Nicolas Upshall, the owner of the Red Lion on Boston’s North Street who bribed one of the guards to slip the women some nourishment, both surely would have died, Austin and Fisher were eventually deported back to England five weeks later.

In 1659 in Boston, Christmas was banned with any one found guilty of observing Christmas or any other religious holiday being made liable to pay a fine of five shillings. The ban lasted for over 20 years before being repealed.

By 1689, Boston had one pub for every 20 adult men.

The first regular newspaper in North America, The Boston News-Letter, was first published in Boston on April 24, 1704. It was heavily subsidized by the British government, with a limited circulation. During its early years, the News-Letter was filled primarily with news from London journals describing English politics and the details of European wars. 

The Boston News-Letter, first issue

The Franklins lived on Milk Street, Boston for the first six years of Benjamin Franklin's life, until 25 Jan 1712. The Franklins moved from their rented home on Milk Street and bought a house from Peter Sargeant at the south-west corner of Union and Hanover streets for £320 It was about five times as large as the Milk Street lot.

On March 17, 1737 the Charitable Irish Society of Boston held a St. Patrick's Day celebration, the first in America.

The "Great Fire" of Boston destroyed 349 buildings on March 20, 1760. Two hundred and twenty families were left homeless, and the total estimated losses of £53,334 hit especially hard a town that was already bearing the huge expense of the ongoing French and Indian War. 

Map of Boston in 1760, showing the extent of the Great Fire (dotted area)

British soldiers shot five men in Kings Street, Boston on March 5, 1770, when attacked by a mob throwing snowballs, stones and sticks at them. Known as the Boston Massacre, the event is remembered as a key event in helping to galvanize the colonial public to the Patriot cause.

The popularity of tea in North America suffered a blow after the British imposed a tax on the commodity. At Boston, in protest in 1773 fifty men disguised as Indians boarded a British vessel and emptied 342 tea chests into the harbour.  

The first house rats recorded in America appeared in Boston in 1775.

The Siege of Boston was the opening phase of the American Revolutionary War. New England militiamen prevented the movement by land of the British Army garrisoned in what was then the peninsular town of Boston, It started on April 19, 1775 after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and ended on March 17, 1776  when British forces evacuated the city, after George Washington and Henry Knox placed artillery in positions overlooking Boston. 

An engraving depicting the British evacuation of Boston, March 17, 1776, at the end of the Siege of Boston

Lady pirate Rachel Wall was hanged on October 8, 1789 in Boston for highway robbery. She was the last woman to be hanged in Massachusetts. Wall may also have been the first American-born woman to become a pirate. 

Thousands of Bostonians watched the Battle of Bunker Hill take place. People in the Boston area sat on rooftops, in trees, on church steeples, and in the rigging of ships in the harbor to watch the American revolutionaries battle the British.

The first hotel with ensuite bathrooms (and towels) was the Tremont House in Boston, Massachusetts, which opened in 1829.

The first recorded use in print of “OK” (said to stand for “orl korrect” or for “Old kinderhook”- the nickname of President Martin Van Buren) was in Boston’s Morning Post in 1839

A brawny black lady called Maria Lee kept a lodging house in mid 19th century Boston and helped bundle arrested people into the police vehicle. It became known as a “Black Maria”.

The first medical school for women, The Boston Female Medical School (which later merged with the Boston University School of Medicine), opened on November 1, 1848.

The first YMCA in the US opened in Boston on December 29, 1851. It was founded by Captain Thomas Valentine Sullivan (1800–59), an American seaman and missionary. By 1853, the Boston YMCA had 1,500 members, most of whom were merchants and artisans.

Whilst working to improve the telegram in an upper room in Court Street, Boston, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. On June 12, 1875 his assistant Watson made a mistake, the incorrect contact of a clamping screw which was too tight changed what should have been an intermittent transmission into a continuous current. Bell at the other end of the wire heard the sound of the contacter dropping.

Emma Nutt became the world's first female telephone operator in Boston on September 1, 1878. She had been recruited by Alexander Graham Bell to the Boston Telephone Dispatch Company. A few hours after Emma started working, her sister, Stella Nutt, became the world's second female telephone operator, also making the pair the first two sister telephone operators in history.

This scene from "Bold Experiment – the Telephone Story", depicts Emma and Stella Nutt, 

The Boston Marathon was first run in 1897.

The Tremont Street Subway opened in Boston on September 1, 1897, the first underground rapid transit system in North America. 
It was originally built to get streetcar lines off the traffic-clogged streets,  and the tunnel served five closely spaced stations: Boylston, Park Street, Scollay Square, Adams Square, and Haymarket, with branches to the Public Garden Portal and Pleasant Street Incline south of Boylston.

Pleasant Valley Incline Junction

Boston Americans, representing the American League, defeated the National League champion Pittsburgh Pirates in eight games (best of nine) in 1904 to win the first modern baseball World Series.

Babe Ruth made his major-league debut with the Boston Red Sox at an annual rookie salary of $2,900. He remained with them until 1919, becoming one of the best pitchers of the time.

An estimated three million people attended a parade in Boston, celebrating the Boston Red Sox's 2004 World Series victory on October 30, 2004. The victory ended an 86-year drought of World Series championships and ended the era of the famous Curse of the Bambino for the Red Sox.

The first instant Polaroid cameras went on sale in Boston in 1948.

In Boston it is illegal to take a bath unless instructed to do so by a physician.

Boston has hidden poems on its sidewalks that are only visible when wet. When it rains, pedestrians are treated to the work of Langston Hughes, Elizabeth McKim and others.

The Boston University Bridge (on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston) is one of the few places in the world where a boat can sail under a train driving under a car driving under an airplane.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Stephen Tvrtko I (1338 – 1391) was crowned first King of Bosnia on October 27, 1377. Under his command Bosnia became the strongest power in the Balkans, conquering parts of what is today Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro.

Bosnia and Herzegovina was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the second half of the 15th century. Later, at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, Austria-Hungary was given a mandate to occupy and govern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After the Second World War, Yugoslavia became the Federal Peoples' Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia became an independent republic within it. Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence from Yugoslavia on March 1, 1992.

Inter-ethnic war erupted in Bosnia and Herzegovina after independence, in 1992. In March 1994, Muslims and Croats in Bosnia signed an agreement creating the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, narrowing the field of warring parties to two.

The three main ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina are Bosniak, Serb and Croat. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the distinction between a Bosnian and a Herzegovinian is maintained as a regional, not an ethnic, distinction.

Along with a national government, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a second tier of government - the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, which deals with internal affairs.

Tuzla is the economic, scientific, cultural, educational, health and tourist centre of northeast Bosnia. It derives its name from the word "tuz", the Turkish work for salt. Tuzla's salt comes from its salt water springs.

The official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina are Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian.

Majority of the population in Bosnia and Herzegovina comprises of Muslims, followed by Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants and others.

The currency of Bosnia and Herzegovina is Marka.


Alexander Borodin

Alexander Borodin was born in Saint Petersburg on November 12, 1833. He was the illegitimate son of Prince Luka Spanovich Gedianov, an elderly nobleman, and the beautiful and intelligent 24-year-old Avdotya Konstantinova Antonova. To save any public embarrassment, he was registered under the name of one of the Prince’s serfs, Pofiry Borodin.

He began taking lessons in composition from Mily Balakirev in 1862. While under Balakirev's tutelage in composition he began his Symphony No. 1 in E flat major, which  was first performed in 1869.

At the same time as writing his First Symphony, Borodin was also fulfilling his duties as Professor at the Medio-Surgical Academy in St Petersburg, and he helped to set up the first medical courses for women in Russia.

Alexander Borodin

In addition Borodin was one of the foremost chemists of his time, being particularly noted for his work on aldehydes. In 1872 he announced to the Russian Chemical Society the discovery of a new by-product in aldehyde reactions with alcohol-like properties.

With only a couple of major works behind him, word got out of Russia of Borodin’s extraordinary talent, and Franz Liszt took the burgeoning composer under his wing, conducting his music whenever he could. At this point Borodin wrote his symphonic picture, In the Steppes of Central Asia, which takes his unique Oriental style to unprecedented levels of poetic sensitivity.

His epic opera Prince Igor is seen by some to be Borodin's most significant work and one of the most important historical Russian operas. It contains the Polovtsian Dances, often performed as a stand-alone concert work which is probably Borodin's best known composition. He slaved away for years at Prince Igor, but it was left unfinished upon the composer's death in 1887 and the opera was edited and completed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov.

Aside from his musical and scientific commitments, Borodin was a devoted husband and was under considerable strain at home. His wife Ekaterina continually battled with asthma and had very unusual sleeping habits (4am to 2pm) and the couple adopted a seven-year-old girl. All these pressures contributed to Borodin’s premature death, at the age of 53 on February 27, 1887.



Borneo is one of the Sunda Islands in the West Pacific and the third-largest island in the world with an area of 754,000 square kilometers/290,000 square miles.

It comprises the country of Brunei; the Malaysian territories of Sabah and Sarawak; and, occupying by far the largest part, the Indonesian territory of Kalimantan.

It was formerly under both Dutch and British colonial influence until Sarawak was formed in 1841. 

In the early 1950s, the World Health Organization parachuted around twenty live cats into Borneo after cities became overrun with rats.

A forest fire in early 1998 destroyed 11,583 square miles of forest.

Borneo's estimated population in 2000 was 15,969,500.

In coastal areas the people of Borneo are mainly of Malaysian origin, with a few Chinese, and the interior is inhabited by the indigenous Dyaks.

Source Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2013. Helicon Publishing is division of RM


The Borgias

In 1492 Rodrigo Borgia became Pope Alexander VI, his election to the papacy coming about largely through bribery. The new Pope was a wily, morally corrupt politician, whose love of woman was legendary. Many doubted his suitability to be the new head of the church.

Pope Alexander VI fathered several illegitimate children by his mistress Vannozza Cattani, including a daughter called Lucrezia. He arranged two marriages for her when she was 12 and 13 purely to further his own ambitions, then when he’d got what he wanted out of them he arranged the divorces. The late pope had a picture of her made to look like the Virgin Mary painted over the door of his bedroom.

European Christians believed that the European discovery of the New World was divine intervention so that the American pagans could be converted and thereby complete the evangelization of the entire world in order that Christ could return. Even the corrupt Alexander VI got caught up in this wave of evangelistic zeal and he assembled the ambassadors of Europe to exhort them to dispatch missionaries to the newly discovered continent of America. The proposed crusade petered out quietly but the Pope had helped determine the importance of evangelizing the American continent.

In 1503 the controversial Borgia Pope Alexander VI died of the poison he had prepared for his cardinals. Such was the late Pope’s unpopularity that only four prelates attended his the Requiem Mass.

The year after his father Pope Alexander VI had been elected to the papacy, the 17-year-old Cesare Borgia was made a cardinal.

On 17 August 1498, Cesare became the first person in history to resign the cardinalate to become captain-general of the papacy, campaigning successfully against the city republics of Italy. Ruthless and treacherous in war, he was an able ruler (a model for Machiavelli's The Prince), but his power crumbled on the death of his father.

Michelangelo worked as an architect and engineer for Cesare Borgia.

The Banquet of Chestnuts was a supper 
held by Cesare Borgia in the Papal Palace on October 30, 1501 where fifty prostitutes were in attendance for the entertainment of the guests.

Lucrezia Borgia was the illegitimate daughter of Pope Alexander VI . She was married at 12 and again at 13 to further her father's ambitions, both marriages being annulled by him. At 18 she was married again, but her husband was murdered in 1500 on the order of her brother, with whom (as well as with her father) she was said to have committed incest. Her final marriage was to the Alfonso d'Este, the heir to the duchy of Ferrara.

Once married to the Duke of Ferrara, Lucrezia made the court a center of culture and she was a patron of authors and artists such as Ariosto and Titian. 

A Glass of Wine with Caesar Borgia, an 1893 painting by John Collier, represents the popular view of the treacherous nature of the Borgias - the implication being that the young man cannot be sure that the wine is not poisoned. The painting below shows from left: Cesare Borgia, Lucrezia Borgia, Pope Alexander VI, and a young man holding an empty glass

A Glass of Wine with Caesar Borgia,
A new Italian egg pasta in the form of flat ribbons called tagliatelle was supposedly inspired by a nobleman’s love for Lucrezia’s hair.

Lucrezia Borgia used mudpacks to combat wrinkles.

Border Collie

Border Collies originated in the English and Scottish borders, hence their name, and were originally bred for guarding and herding sheep.

Border Collies show a large range in size (18 - 21 inches, up to the shoulder), weight (30 - 45 pounds) and coloration because historically they were bred as working stock and focus was placed on performance, not looks.

Border Collie Pixiebay

The life expectancy of this breed of dog is between 14 - 16 years. 

Border Collies can be almost any color, including red and completely white.

Old Hemp (1893–1901) is considered the father of the modern Border Collie and it was from him that the working style of herding sheep commonly seen among the breed was developed.

The first dog to star in an American movie was Jean the Vitagraph Dog, a Border Collie mix, who made his first film in 1910.

The most popular Border Collie stud was Wiston Cap, the dog who appears on the International Sheep Herding Badge; he is posed in the pose that is characteristic of herding Border Collies.

There are many types of Collies, including the Bearded, Scotch, and Border Collie. Some collie types don't even include “collie” in their name. However, Lassie, a Rough Collie, helped make the Collie one of the most popular breed types in the world.

Border Collies have been called by other names including 'working collie', 'farm collie', and 'old-fashioned collie'.

The Border Collie uses a direct stare at sheep, known as "the eye", to intimidate while herding.

By C. MacMillan - Original Work,

Border Collies are used for more than just herding; they also make good tracking, search and rescue, and therapy dogs.

Border collies are considered the most intelligent breed of dog, in front of poodles and German Shepherds.
Proof of Border Collie intelligence is Rico, a Border Collie study subject who could recognize more than 250 objects by name.

A border collie named Chaser is believed to have the largest vocabulary in the animal world. She has been taught by her owner to identify and retrieve 1,022 toys by name.

The record for the "fastest car window opened by a dog" in the Guinness Book of World Records is held by a Border Collie named Striker; his record time is 11.34 seconds

Source Terrificpets

Sunday, 17 February 2013

William Booth

William Booth was born on April 10, 1829. He was the only son of four surviving children born to Samuel Booth and Mary Moss in Sneinton, Nottingham, England

Booth's speculative builder father was wealthy by the standards of the time, but during his childhood, as a result of bad investments, the family descended into poverty and Samuel Booth became an alcoholic. William said of him "He set his heart unduly upon worldly gains and was miserable when his fortune melted away."

In 1842, Samuel Booth, who by then was bankrupt, could no longer afford his son's school fees, and 13-year-old William was apprenticed to a pawnbroker.

A "careless" lad up to the age of 15, after a bad illness William's spirit became awakened and he joined a Wesleyan chapel. Inspired by a hellfire preacher from USA, he was converted to Methodism. He then read extensively and trained himself in writing and in speech, becoming a Methodist lay preacher.

On his 23rd birthday Booth left pawnbroking and became a full-time preacher. He travelled through England as an itinerant preacher of the Methodist Reform Church and took on several minister's jobs.

In 1861 Booth resigned from the Methodist ministry as he was unhappy that the annual conference of the denomination kept assigning him to a pastorate, the duties of which he had to neglect to respond to the frequent requests that he do evangelistic campaigns. Instead he became an independent evangelist.

William Booth in about 1862

In 1865 Booth began work as unattached evangelist heading up 'The Christian Mission' aimed at the unprivileged classes that lived in unspeakable poverty in the East End of London.

The 1878 circular for William Booth’s Mission's Christmas appeal was in dialogue form. One of the questions was “What is the Christian mission?” to which the answer was “a volunteer army”. Suddenly Booth seized a pen, crossed out “volunteer” and wrote instead “salvation”, thus coining the title "Salvation Army" for his movement.

In 1878 his mission adopted the name Salvation Army as churches were reluctant to accept his converts.

In 1880 William set up the first Salvation Army branch in USA.

Booth explained the authoritarian framework of his Salvation Army by remarking that if Moses had operated through committees the Israelites never would have got across the Red Sea."

William first met Catherine Mumford when he came to preach at her church. She had to go home sick from the meeting, and he escorted her. They soon fell in love and became engaged on May 15, 1852. During their three year engagement, Catherine constantly wrote letters of encouragement to William as he performed the tiring work of a preacher.

Catherine and William Booth

William and Catherine married on June 16, 1855 at Stockwell Green Congregational Church in London. Their wedding was very simple, as they wanted to use their time and money for his ministry. Even on their honeymoon Booth was asked to speak at meetings.

Catherine bore William eight children and they were reared with an iron disciple. His granddaughter Catherine Bramwell-Booth (1884-1987) was a regular on British chat shows including Parkinson in the 1970s and 80s. His son William Bramwell (1856-1929) succeeded his father as general of Salvation Army.

Booth once ordered his children's pet dog to be shot when it snapped at a servant. He was surprised when they were heartbroken and retrieved the carcass in order to have the pelt made into a rug. The Salvation Army leader was bewildered when they received this with hysteria rather than gratitude.

Catherine was a temperance advocate and banned her husband’s medicinal port.

Willam and Catherine lived on a small income partly settled on him by a friend and partly derived from the sale of his publications.

Booth's Salvation Army pinched the pop songs of their day and added Christian words. The bearded wonder's reaction to this was "Why should the devil have all the best tunes." Their loud processions with their drums and bass and dancing Christians disrupting the Sunday peace and quiet annoyed a lot of people.

As a preacher Booth was a populist crowd puller. For example he was known to demonstrate the easy road to Hell by sliding down the stair-rail of his pulpit. A champion of the poor he railed against those who “reduce sweating to a fine art, who systematically and deliberately defraud the workman of his pay, who grind the faces of the poor and rob the widow and the orphan.”

In 1904 Booth took part in a 'motorcade' when he was driven around Great Britain, stopping off in cities, towns and villages to preach to the assembled crowds from inside his open-top car.

Booth's Salvation Army learnt that Under 16-year-old girls were being exploited as prostitutes. They were trapped and lured into brothels in London by adverts in county newspapers requesting "domestic help needed." Lured inside, drugged, raped and shipped off in caskets to Brussels and Antwerp, they were delivered to businessmen who had put in orders. The Salvation Army exposed this trade in a series of articles in the Pall Mall Gazette in the mid 1880s. As a result a 400,000 petition persuaded Parliament to change the age of consent from 12 to 16.

Booth's 1890 In Darkest England and the Way Out contained proposals for the physical and spiritual assistance of the great mass of down and outs. As a result a scheme was launched the following year for the spiritual and social betterment of the submerged tenth. Booth asked for £100,000 - more than that came in.

In Darkest England And The Way Out not only caused a sensation after its 1890 release, but it set the foundation for modern social welfare schemes.

In their early days Booth's "hallelujah band" of converted criminals and others met violent opposition. A skeleton army, supported by brewers which opposed Booth's teetotalism as a threat to their trade, was organised to break up meetings and for years the rank and file and the general himself incurred fines and imprisonment for breaches of peace. In 1882, 642 Salvation Army officers including women were assaulted and 60 Salvation Army buildings damaged. Even leading evangelical, Lord Shaftesbury referred to him as "anti Christ."

When King Edward VII invited Booth to be officially present at his 1902 coronation ceremony, the public changed their views. By 1905 he was the cat's whiskers. The Salvation Army General went on a tour of the country and was received in state by many mayors and corporations.

Reverend William Booth, General of the Salvation Army

William Booth was 83 years old when he died on August 20, 1912 at his home in Hadley Wood, London. He had been in poor health for several years. At the three day lying in state at Clapton Congress Hall 150,000 people filed past his casket.

On August 27, 1912 Booth's funeral service was held at London’s Olympia where 40,000 people attended, including Queen Mary, who sat almost unrecognized far to the rear of the great hall.

The following day Booth's funeral procession set out from International Headquarters. As it moved off 10,000 uniformed Salvationists fell in behind. Forty Salvation Army bands played the ‘Dead March’ from Handel’s Saul as the vast procession set off.

Booth was buried with his wife Catherine Booth in the main London burial ground for 19th century non-conformist ministers and tutors, the non-denominational Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington.

Memorial to William and Catherine Booth in Abney Park Cemetery

John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth was an American actor who shot U.S. president Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, in Washington, D.C. Lincoln died the next morning.


John Wilkes Booth was born in Bel Air, Harford County, Maryland on May 10, 1838. His parents, the noted British Shakespearean actor Junius Brutus Booth and his mistress Mary Ann Holmes, moved to the United States from England in June 1821.

Booth made his stage debut on August 14, 1855, in the supporting role of the Earl of Richmond in Richard III at Baltimore's Charles Street Theater. The audience hissed at the inexperienced actor when he missed some of his lines.

Booth’s brother, Edwin Booth, was the greatest American actor of the nineteenth century. Booth himself became a successful actor, earning over £20,000 a year.

He stood 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) tall, had jet-black hair, and was lean and athletic. His strikingly handsome appearance enthralled women.


Booth became politically active in the 1850s, joining the Know-Nothing Party, a group that wanted fewer immigrants to come to the United States.

In 1859, Booth joined a Virginia company that helped with the capture of John Brown after his raid at Harpers Ferry. Booth watched Brown's execution.

During the Civil War, Booth worked as a Confederate secret agent. He met frequently with the heads of the Secret Service, Jacob Thompson and Clement Clay, in Montreal.

A few days before delivering the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln saw John Wilkes Booth perform as a villain in a play at Ford's Theatre. Someone told Lincoln, "He almost seems to be reciting these lines to you." To which Lincoln replied, "He does talk very sharp at me, doesn't he?"

On March 4, 1865, Booth attended Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration as President, as can be seen in photographs taken that day.

On April 14, 1865, while picking up his mail at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., Booth discovered that Lincoln would be attending the play Our American Cousin that evening. Booth knew the play well.

Booth met with his co-conspirators and established a plan to kill President Lincoln, Vice-President Johnson, Secretary of State Seward, and possibly General Grant—all around 10:15 that evening.

During the play, Booth quietly entered the unguarded balcony room and fired a pistol at point-blank range into the back of Lincoln's head.  Booth timed his shot to coincide with laughter after "you sockdologising old man-trap" was said to the recently departed Mrs Mountchessington.

Booth  had spent the afternoon drinking before assassinating Lincoln, so was quite drunk when he pulled the trigger during the third act.

Booth escaped by jumping from the balcony onto the stage, where he shouted a triumphant line to the audience. He broke his leg during the jump, but escaped out the back door and onto his horse.

The mortally wounded Lincoln was carried across the street to Petersen House, where he died the next morning. One co-conspirator attacked Secretary of State Seward with a knife but Seward survived the attack. The conspirator who planned to attack Vice-President Johnson did not follow through with the plot.

After escaping from the theater, Booth got a Dr Mudd to set his leg, thus allowing the assassin to escape to Virginia with an accomplice on horseback, the doctor being unaware of his identity.

An army troop caught up with him on April 26, 1865 in a Virginia barn. His accomplice surrendered but Booth refused. He died from shots fired during his capture.

The unfortunate Dr Mudd was treated as an accessory. He was sentenced to life in a federal prison, but was pardoned later after helping to prevent an outbreak of fever in the jail

Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone was born in Pennsylvania on October 22, 1734 into a family of Quakers - his father had come to the colonies from England in 1713 and settled in Pennsylvania. 

Later the Boone family left the Quakers and relocated to the Yadkin River Valley of North Carolina. It seems that Mr. Boone’s children kept marrying outside their faith and sometimes a child would be on the way before the actual marriage ceremony.

Boone received his first rifle at the age of 12. He was trained by locals, both Europeans and Indians. One tale that became part of his image was of calmly shooting down a panther as it attempted to pounce on him.

Unfinished portrait by Chester Harding 1820 Wikipedia Commons Public Domain

Daniel Boone married Rebecca Bryan (January 9, 1739 – March 18, 1813) in Yadkin River, North Carolina on August 14, 1756.  Rebecca was nearly as tall as her husband and was very attractive with black hair and dark eyes.

He did have a daughter named Jemima, but what many historians now agree on is Jemima was actually fathered by Daniel’s brother Ned. Boone knew this but brought Jemima up as his own along with the many other children he and Rebecca had together. It seems that the relationship started between Rebecca and the brother as Boone had been away a couple of years on one of his hunting trips.

Two of his sons were killed by native Americans. One was tortured to death as a warning for settlers to leave Kentucky, which under Daniel’s protest, was heeded. And two of his daughters were kidnapped by an Indian war party. Boone was able to get the girls back and scare the war party off.

Boone was captured by Native American groups several times. In 1775 he was taken and adopted by a Shawnee Chief, who gave him the name, Shel-tow-ee, meaning “Big Turtle” because he carried a large pack and moved very slow. Boone stayed with the Shawnees for five months before escaping and riding a stolen horse 160 miles back to Fort Boonesborough. By this time his family had returned to North Carolina thinking he was dead.

He cleared a forest path called the Wilderness Road (East Virginia–Kentucky) in 1775 for the first westward migration of settlers.

George Caleb Bingham's Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers through the Cumberland Gap (1851–52) 

Boone wasn't just a hunter, trapper, guide, and adventurer. He saw military action in the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and many other Indian conflicts such as Dunmore's War. In his lifetime he was a tavern owner, surveyor, land speculator, legislator, horse trader, and slave owner.

Boone reportedly did not like coonskin caps.

Boone spent his final years living in Missouri. He moved there in 1799 when it was still part of Spanish Louisiana. There he was appointed as “judge and jury” as well as military leader of the Femme Osage district.

This engraving by Alonzo Chappel (circa 1861) depicts an elderly Boone hunting in Missouri.

Before the end of the 18th century, more than 200,000 European people migrated to Kentucky and Virginia by following the route marked by Boone.

Daniel Boone died September 26, 1820. He and his wife Rebecca Boone were buried on Tuque Creek in Missouri. In 1845 they were reburied in the Frankfort Cemetery in Kentucky.



Most boomerangs don’t come back and were never intended to do so. The returning variety are thought to have evolved as a special form, for recreational use and for scaring birds into hunters nets.

There are 7 types of boomerangs. They are the 'returning', 'hunting', 'hook', 'club', 'U shape', 'Y shape' and the 'cross'. The returning boomerang has only been around for about 200 years and only used for hunting to a minor extent.

It is believed that boomerangs are amongst the first flying objects invented by humans, which were heavier-than-air.

The oldest boomerang found was in Olazowa Cave in Poland. Made out of a Mammoth tusk, it is has been dated to be about 30,000 years old.

Boomerangs were found in King Tutankhamen's tomb (1371 - 1325 BC) in excellent condition. Some of them were capped with gold.

Although difficult to say with any precision, it seems that the name is loosely based on the Aborigine shout; “boom my row”, which roughly means, ‘return, stick’. It seems that those who threw the boomerangs cried this to will it to return to them. Boomerang was first described in detail and recorded as a "boumarang" in 1822.

Although difficult to say with any precision, it seems that the boomerang name is loosely based on the Aborigine shout; “boom my row”, which roughly means, ‘return, stick’. The stick that returns to the thrower was first described in detail and recorded as a "boumarang" in 1822.

An astronaut threw a boomerang while visiting the International Space Station and it came back to him, even in the absence of gravity.

The world’s largest working boomerang — 9 feet (2.74 metres) from tip to tip — was thrown by the British Boomerang Society at The Oval cricket ground in 2014.

The world’s smallest boomerang to travel more than 20m was 48mm.

The longest time in the air for a boomerang is over 2 minutes.

2251 consecutive boomerang catches is the current world record.

There are boomerang associations in Australia, France, Canada, England, Germany, Japan, Holland, United States and Switzerland.




It is not until about 425 BC that a book trade developed in Athens, with educated people acquiring papyrus scrolls to read in the privacy of their homes.

Plato, writing in the Phaedrus in about 365 BC, expresseed strong disapproval of this new-fangled fashion for reading by oneself.

The earliest books in China can be traced back to  the 3rd-c BC, in the form of wood or bamboo leaves bound with cord. The records indicate that they were in use at least 1000 years earlier, in the Shang dynasty.

An indigenous plant in China, the bamboo, proved as convenient a writing material as papyrus in Egypt. Chinese characters at this early period were written in vertical columns, so a thin strip of bamboo was ideal for a single column. To create a longer document, two lines of thread linked each bamboo strip to its neighbour. The modern Chinese character for a book evolved from a pictogram of bamboo strips threaded together.

In 213 BC the Chinese Emperor ordered that all books (except those on medicine, agriculture and divination) were to be burnt.

In 523 Boethius, who was the head of the civil service and chief of the palace officials for Theodoric The Great in Rome, was arrested on suspicion of secret dealings with Theodoric’s enemies in Constantinople. During his time in prison awaiting execution, he wrote The Consolation of Philosophy, which encouraged man to find consolation through meditation and prayer. Over the next millennium, The Consolation was probably the most widely read book after the Bible

The St Cuthbert Gospel is a 7th-century pocket gospel book, written in Latin, which was placed in the tomb of Saint Cuthbert at Lindisfarne, probably a few years after he died in 687. Its finely decorated leather binding is the earliest known Western book-binding to survive, and the whole book is in outstanding condition for its age. When the British Library purchased the volume for £9m ($14.3m) from the British Jesuits, they described it as "the earliest surviving intact European book and one of the world's most significant books". 

A block print copy of the Chinese version of Diamond Sūtra has been dated back to May 11, 868 making it the oldest known dated printed book. The Diamond Sūtra is a Buddhist collection of aphorisms from the "Perfection of Wisdom" genre, and emphasizes the practice of non-abiding and non-attachment. 

Frontispiece of the Chinese Diamond Sūtra, the oldest known dated printed book in the world

In 1373 Lady Julian of Norwich experienced 16 mystical visions over two days whilst suffering from a life-threatening illness. God showed these 16 different revelations of his immense love to her in order that she could meditate upon them for the rest of her life and to share them with others. Twenty years later, the fifty-year-old mystic recorded them in a book, The Revelations of Divine Love. This was the first book written by a female in the English language. 

Before the Renaissance, three-quarters of all the books in the world were in Chinese.

The Gutenberg Bible was the first western book printed with movable type. The traditional date for its publication was February 23, 1455.

Gutenberg Bible of the New York Public Library. By NYC Wanderer (Kevin Eng) - originally posted to Flickr as Gutenberg Bible, CC BY-SA 2.0, Commons Wikipedia

The first printed book in Europe to bear the name of its printer is a magnificent Psalter completed in Mainz on August 14, 1457, which lists Johann Fust and and his son-in-law Peter Schöffer. The Psalter is decorated with hundreds of two-colour initial letters and delicate scroll borders that were printed in a most ingenious technique based on multiple inking on a single metal block.

The Mainz Psalter (1457) of George III, rebound in 1800

De Officiis (On Moral Obligations) by Cicero was printed by Johann Fust and and his son-in-law Peter Schöffer in 1465. This quarto of 88 leaves was the first printed edition of a Latin classic and contained the first printed Greek characters.

The first to be printed in the English language was The Recuyell of the Histories of Troye, a version of a French book written around 1463. It was translated over a three-year period by William Caxton, who would go on to pioneer the printing press in England. He published his version around 1474, at a time when when most books were printed in Latin, in either Ghent or Bruges, Belgium.

The first book published in the United States was Massachusetts Bay Colony: The Oath of a Free Man, in 1638.

Mary Rowlandson's 1682 book about her capture by Native Americans, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God: Being a Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, is considered America's first "bestseller."

From the Middle Ages to the 18th century books were often chained to a bookshelf or a desk to prevent theft.

Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, published in 1843, was the first book ever to contain photographs. It was written by Anna Atkins (née Children; March 16, 1799 – June 9, 1871), an English botanist and photographer.

A cyanotype photogram made by Atkins which was part of her 1843 book, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions

The slowest-selling book is reputedly a 1716 translation of the New Testament from Coptic into Latin. The last of its 500 copies was sold in 1907.

The Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has been open since 1745. That 271-year running streak makes it the oldest bookstore in America. 

With sales of about 200 million copies, Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities is the biggest selling novel in history

The first book described as a "best-seller" was Fools Of Nature by US writer Alice Brown in 1889.

Book tokens were launched by the Booksellers Association in 1934 with the slogan “The Gift is Mine. The Choice is Thine”. The idea for them came from Harold Raymond of Chatto and Windus in 1926 but the scheme took six years to come to fruition.

The Catholic Church abolished its list of Forbidden Books, which had existed since the sixteenth century. By 1948 over 4,000 titles had been censored including works by Erasmus, Defoe, Descartes and Immanuel Kant.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was originally rejected by 121 publishers, more than any other bestselling book, according to the Guinness Book of Records. It was eventually published in 1974 and went on to sell five million copies worldwide.

First edition

Fatherhood by Bill Cosby, published by Doubleday/Dolphin in 1986, became the fastest-selling hardcover book of all time. It remained for over half of its fifty-four weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List at #1. It has sold 2.6 million hardcover copies and 1.5 million paperbacks (published by Berkeley). 

His next Doubleday/Dolphin title, Time Flies, had the largest single first printing in publishing history: 1.75 million copies.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the popular Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, was released on July 21, 2007 to record sales of 15 million copies in its first 24 hours, making it the fastest-selling book in history.


Throughout the entire 2001 33% of British men never read a book.

EL James' erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey broke the UK weekly paperback sales record, when it sold 205,130 copies in the second week of June 2012, some 64,000 copies more than the previous record set by Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol in July 2010. The novel tells the story of the steamy relationship between billionaire businessman Christian Grey and "unworldly, innocent" literature student, Anastasia Steele.

One of eleven surviving copies of the first edition of the Bay Psalm Book sold at auction in November 2013 for $14.2 million, a record for a printed book.

42% of college students will never read another book after they graduate.

The average Briton devotes 5 hours 18 minutes a week to reading. 

People in India are the world's biggest readers, spending an average 10.7 hours a week.

Ten books on a shelf can be arranged in 3,628,800 different ways.

'Bibliosmia' is the enjoyment of the smell of old books.

The Japanese word "tsundoku" refers to the practice of buying books and letting them pile up, unread.

38% of people finish books they don’t like.

The Bible is the best selling book of all time with approximately six billion books. The second-best selling book is Quotations from the Works of Mao Tse-Tung.

The most expensive book or manuscript ever sold at an auction was The Codex Hammer, a notebook belonging to Leonardo da Vinci. It sold for $30.8 million.

The thickest book published was 322 mm (12.67 in). The limited edition, £1,000 volume contained all Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple stories — 12 novels and 20 short stories. The book’s 4,000 pages weighed more than 17 lb.

The largest book in the world is The Klencke Atlas at 1.75 meters tall (about 5 feet 9 inches) and 1.90 meters wide (about 6 feet 3 inches when open).

Sources HistoryWorld, Daily Express, Encyclopedia of Trivia My knowledge


Boogie-woogie is an African American style of piano-based blues that became popular in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Boogie Woogie piano playing originated in the lumber and turpentine camps of Texas and in the sporting houses of that state in the early 1870s. Additional citations place the origins of boogie-woogie in the Piney Woods of northeast Texas.

It wasn't called the 'Boogie Woogie' then. George W Thomas was the fellow who used this style and first wrote it down. 

The word 'Boogie' already existed as a slang word for a party. 'Woogie' was then added as a rhyming element.

"New Orleans Hop Scop Blues", published in 1916, is claimed to be the first twelve-bar blues to be written with a boogie-woogie bass line.

The first time the modern-day spelling of "boogie-woogie" was used in a title of a published audio recording of music appears to be Pine Top Smith's December 1928 recording titled, "Pine Top's Boogie Woogie", a song whose lyrics contain dance instructions to "boogie-woogie."

The boogie-woogie fad lasted from the late 1930s into the early 1950s, and made a major contribution to the development of jump blues and ultimately to rock and roll, epitomized by Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Boogie woogie progressions are exactly the same as rock n roll progressions. It is the I-IV-V chord progression that is played at a fast pace.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Bonnie Prince Charlie

Charles Edward Stuart (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’) was born in the Palazzo Muti, Rome on December 31, 1720. His father, Prince James Stuart the old pretender, had been given the residence by Pope Clement XI. Charles' grandfather was James II of England. His mother was the Polish Clementina Sobieska.

Prince Charles Edward Stuartby William Mosman

Charles' younger Brother Henry (1725-1807) was a celibate Roman Catholic Priest who later become a cardinal.

Bonnie Prince Charlie was extremely brainy. By the age of 6 he was speaking English, French, Italian and Latin.

In his younger days Prince Charles was a pale, slim, 6 ft tall, handsome man. In his later years he was bloated and gross.

The Jacobite rising of 1745 was the attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart. Landing in Scotland with about a dozen fighting men, he raised his bulk standard at the head of Loch Shiel on August 19, 1745. Having captured Carlisle he pressed as far south as Derby, which he reached on December 4, 1845, by which time he'd ran out of food. It was the furthest point south Charles Stuart and his army reached during the Second Jacobite Rising.

After the Jacobite rising of 1745, a reward of 120,000 crowns (£30,000 then, £6 million today) was placed on the head of Bonnie Prince Charlie — but no one betrayed him.

The English Catholics failed to rise and the Jacobite army retreated into Scotland. At Culloden outside Inverness on April 16, 1746, within one hour the Scots had lost 1,500 men while the government troops lead by the Duke of Cumberland had lost a mere 50. When Bonnie Prince Charlie realized the battle was lost he gave the order "Every man for himself".

The Battle of Culloden, oil on canvas, David Morier, 1746.

According to one eyewitness at Culloden, Lord Elcho: "The Prince, as soon as he saw the left of his army yielding and in retreat lost his head, fled with the utmost speed, and without even trying to rally."

During the Battle of Culloden Bonnie Prince Charlie wore a tartan coat and trousers. After the battle many highland traditions were banned such as the wearing of kilts and the Highlands of Scotland were cleared of inhabitants.

Bonnie Prince Charles was fleeing for his life after the Battle of Culloden. Captain John Mackinnon befriended him. The prince was so grateful that he gave Mackinnon his personal recipe for his favourite concoction of Scotch whisky laced with heather, honey, herbs and spices. The Mackinnon family still safeguards the secret recipe. They mix the blend and send it to the plant for production. It is called drambuie which means “a drink that satisfies” in Gaelic.

By late 1746, Charles' flight from government soldiers had brought him to Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides. The islands were thick with troops seeking his capture and flight to Skye was his only hope. Flora Macdonald, a Jacobite from Skye, was persuaded to disguise the prince as "Betty Burke", her Irish maidservant and smuggle him over the sea to Skye. He thought the scheme "fantastical", but it worked. The cottage where Flora sheltered her prince is now the annexe of a four star hotel. On his father’s death in 1766 Prince Charles returned to Italy where he remained for the rest of his life.

Bonnie Prince Charlie by John Pettie

The Scottish prince was a skilled boxer and crackshot and physically fit, he marched scores of miles each day alongside his men. Whilst living in Avignon, he taught the local people how to box.

The ageing Prince Charlie married Louisa Maximilienne Caroline Countess of Albany in 1772 in Florence. She ran away in 1780 and the marriage was dissolved in 1784. Her claim that Charles had physically abused her is probably accurate, but she had also previously started an adulterous relationship with the Italian poet Count Vittorio Alfieri.

Charles died in Rome on January 31, 1788 of a stroke aged 68. His six-bottles-of-wine-a-day habit had left him bloated and almost unrecognizable.

He was first buried in the Cathedral of Frascati, where his brother Henry Benedict Stuart was bishop. At Henry's death in 1807, Charles's remains were moved to the crypt of Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican where they were laid to rest next to those of his brother and father.

Charles Edward Stuart as an old man
Henry Stuart, brother of Bonnie Prince Charlie died on July 13, 1807, ending the Stuart male line and Jacobites dynasty.

There are many Scottish folk songs about the exiled prince. Check out on “Will Yae Ne'er Come Back Again” and "The Sky Boat Song."