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Saturday, 28 March 2015

George Gershwin

George Gershwin was born to Russian Yiddish immigrants Moishe Gershowitz and Roza Bruskina on September 26, 1898 in a second-floor dwelling at 242 Snediker Avenue, Brooklyn.

George's childhood piano teacher refused payment, saying: "I have a new pupil who will make his mark if anybody will. The boy is a genius."

On leaving school at the age of 15, Gershwin found his first job as a "song plugger" for Jerome H. Remick and Company, a publishing firm on New York City's Tin Pan Alley, where he earned $15 a week.

George Gershwin, c. 1935.
His first published song was "When You Want 'Em, You Can't Get 'Em, When You've Got 'Em, You Don't Want 'Em". It was published in 1916 when Gershwin was only 17-years-old and earned him $0.50.

Gerswhin scored his first big success with his song, "Swanee", with words by Irving Caesar. Al Jolson, a famous Broadway singer of the day, heard Gershwin perform "Swanee" at a party and decided to record it. Jolson's version became an international hit.

In 1923, bandleader Paul Whiteman commissioned Gershwin to write a short composition for a jazz concert. The result was “Rhapsody in Blue” which premiered at Aeolian Hall, New York City on February 12, 1924 and became one of his most acclaimed works.

Gershwin conceived his famous piano concerto while on a train to Boston. He said at the beginning of 1924: "I had already done some work on the rhapsody. It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang that is often so stimulating for a composer."

George Gershwin's life work culminated in the three act opera Porgy and Bess, which was based on the 1926 novel Porgy by DuBose Heyward. A jazzy fusion of classical opera and Broadway musical, the work was set in the fictional all-black slum dwelling of Catfish Row in Charleston, South Carolina.

Gershwin loved to entertain guests with his prized collection of movies at his mansion’s built-in cinema.

A live-long bachelor, George Gershwin fell in love with Paulette Goddard, then married to Charlie Chaplin. He was heartbroken that she would not leave her husband for him. When he fell ill, that June, it was written off as stress. Gershwin died a month later, on the morning of July 11, 1937, at the age of 38

The cause of death was a brain tumor, five hours after a failed surgical attempt to remove it. Funerals were held in both Hollywood and New York.

George Gershwin's final song was "Love Is Here To Stay." The composer started writing the tune for The Goldwyn Follies shortly before he died. Composer Vernon Duke completed the melody after George's death with the help of Oscar Levant, who remembered the harmonies of the song from when when Gershwin played it at parties.

Source Wikipedia


Geronimo was born June 16, 1829 near Turkey Creek, a tributary of the Gila River in the modern-day state of Arizona, then part of Mexico. He was the son of Tablishim and Juana of the Bedonkohe band of the Apache. His grandfather (Mahko) had been chief of the Bedonkohe Apache.

On March 5, 1851, while he was away on a trading expedition, Geronimo's camp near Janos was attacked by 400 Mexican soldiers led by Colonel Jose Maria Carrasco. Among those killed were Geronimo's wife, children, and mother. The incident sparked a life-long hatred of the white man.

During the course of his long life, Geronimo was married several times. His first marriage, to Alope, ended with her death and that of their children in 1858. He next married Chee-hash-kish and had two children, Chappo and Dohn-say. Geronimo's later wives included Nana-tha-thtith, Zi-yeh, She-gha, Shtsha-she, Ih-tedda, Ta-ayz-slath. His ninth and last wife was Azul, and Azul.

Geronimo led raids on US soldiers after his Chiricahua reservation was abolished in 1876. After years of bloodshed he was captured following a hard-fought campaign against General George Crook, but escaped. Geronimo later surrendered, on condition that his men returned to their homes in Florida. Instead they were imprisoned and later settled elsewhere.

Geronimo (Goyaałé), a Bedonkohe Apache; kneeling with rifle, 1887

Geronimo became in his old age a Christian farmer living in a brick home. A member of the Dutch Reformed Church, eventually he was expelled by the church for gambling.

By the beginning of the 20th century Geronimo had become a celebrity. He appeared at a number of events, including the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, where he reportedly rode a ferris wheel and sold souvenirs and photographs of himself.

Geronimo as a U.S. prisoner in 1905

In February 1909, Geronimo was thrown from his horse while riding home, and had to lie in the cold all night before a friend found him extremely ill. He died of pneumonia on February 17, 1909, as a prisoner of the United States at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Geronimo confessed on his deathbed to his nephew that he regretted his decision to surrender.  His last words were reported to be: "I should have never surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive."

Geronimo was buried at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in the Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery.

The custom of yelling his name before doing a courageous act originated in a 1939 movie about Geronimo. A number of American Indians in the paratroop units coined and popularized the phrase, shouting "Geronimo" to show they had no fear of jumping out of an airplane.

The actor Nicholas Colasanto,who played Coach in the first three series of the comedy TV series Cheers, kept a picture of Geronimo in his dressing room as a good luck charm. After his death, that picture was hung on the bar/set wall in memory of "Nicky."



Germany Roman expansion into Germany was brought to a definitive end in AD 9 when German chief Arminius lured the legions under Roman General Varus into a trap in the Teutoburg Forest. All 50,000 Romans were killed or enslaved and Varus commited suicide.

After being outlawed Martin Luther (1483-1546) found refuge at Wartburg Castle in 1521 under the protection of Frederick of Saxony. There the reformer worked tirelessly on translating the New Testament into German, in defiance of the Diet of Worms, so that the Bible might be read by all. He completed his translation in a remarkable eleven weeks.  Luther's German New Testament had a profound effect on the development of the German language and contributed largely to restructuring German literature.

Protestant and Catholic representatives at the 1555 Diet of Augsburg agreed a compromise settlement in Germany. The peace adopted the notable principle of cuius regio, eius religio, establishing the right of German princes to determine their subjects' faith and enforce religious uniformity, while condemning dissent.

The first democratic republic in Germany, the Republic of Mainz, was declared by Andreas Joseph Hofmann on March 18, 1793. A product of the French Revolutionary Wars, it lasted to July 23, 1793 when a coalition of Prussia, Austria, and other German states besieged and captured Mainz from the revolutionary French forces.

Mainz towards the Rhine river (around 1890)

After the French defeated the German princes in the Franco-Prussian War, the ensuing patriotic fever united all the states. The formal unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on January 18, 1871 at the Versailles Palace's Hall of Mirrors in France. The Otto Von Bismarck led Prussia was the dominant constituent state of the new empire and Berlin became its capital.

The Hohenzollern King of Prussia was proclaimed Wilhelm I of Germany. Wilhelm already had had the title of German Emperor since the constitution of 1 January 1871, but he had hesitated to accept the title.

Foundation of the German Empire in Versailles, 1871. Bismarck is at the center in a white uniform.
The German Reich declared all men aged 18 to 45 as army reservists on November 29, 1935.

The city of Aachen fell to American forces after three weeks of fighting on October 21, 1944. It was the first German city to fall to the Allies in World War II.

German prisoners in Aachen

On March 19, 1945, Hitler announced the ‘Nero Decree’, the destruction of Germany’s own infrastructure to stop it falling into enemy hands.

From 1949 to 1990, Germany was made up of two countries called the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) under a Christian Democrat coalition and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) under a communist regime.

During this time, Berlin was divided into a west and an east part. On 13 August 1961, East Germany started building the Berlin Wall between the two parts of Berlin.

On November 9, 1989, Communist-controlled East Germany opened checkpoints in the Berlin Wall allowing its citizens to travel to West Germany. This key event led to the eventual reunification of East and West Germany, and fall of communism in eastern Europe including Russia.

On October 3, 1990, The German Democratic Republic ceased to exist and its territory became part of the Federal Republic of Germany. East German citizens became part of the European Community, which later became the European Union. October 3rd is now celebrated every year as German Unity Day.

About 5,500 bombs from World War II are found in Germany every year and are defused.

‘Germany’ is an anagram of ‘Meg Ryan.’

The German entry for the 1964 Eurovision Song Contest holds the record for the longest title for any Eurovision entry. It was called “Man gewöhnt sich so schnell an das Schöne”.  The tune finished last with no points.

In 1996 a court in Kassel, Germany, ruled that policemen may wear their hair in a plait if they wish to.

More board games are sold in Germany than anywhere else on Earth.

Source Daily Express

Friday, 27 March 2015

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a relatively new breed of dog, with their origin dating to 1899. While attending a show,  German breeder Captain Max von Stephanitz was shown a dog named Hektor Linksrhein, who impressed him. Von Stephanitz changed Hektor's name to Horand von Grafrath and included him as the center-point of the society's breeding programs. All modern German Shepherds can trace their bloodlines to  Horand van Grafrath.

During the First World War, the Germans used the dogs for a number of purposes, such as delivering messages or working as guard dogs. The Americans were so impressed with these German Shepherds that they brought some home.

The first guide dog trained to help a blind owner was Buddy, a German Shepherd. In 1928 Buddy became the companion of Morris Frank.

The first canine movie star was Rin Tin Tin, a German Shepherd, who signed his own contracts for the films he made with a paw print.

Along with the earlier canine film star Strongheart, Rin Tin Tin was responsible for greatly increasing the popularity of German Shepherd Dogs as family pets.

Adolf Hitler owned a German Shepherd called Blondi, who was trained to climb ladders and other tricks.

When Hitler committed Blondi was used to make sure his cyanide capsules were lethal. Hitler used the cyanide himself after he saw it work on Blondi.

When Countess Karlotta Liebenstein died in 1992, she left £60 million to her eight year-old German Shepherd, Gunther, the largest legacy ever for a pet.  Gunther dined on caviar and steak and had his own butler.

In 2002 German Shepherd Sam became the 59th winner of the Dickin Medal that honors the gallantry of animals in war. Sam and his handler Sgt Ian Carnegie kept a missile-throwing mob at bay in the Bosnian conflict in 1998, protecting civilians under siege in a warehouse safe haven.

Zuyaqui (d2000s) was a German Shepherd who was lauded for finding the most drugs in Mexican military and police history.

A 1-year-old German Shepherd named Luna fell off a boat in the Pacific Ocean in 2014. She swam two miles to the nearby San Clemente Island, and survived for five weeks by eating mice before she was rescued by a team of Navy staffers. Luna was found to be slightly under-nourished, but in perfect condition otherwise.

German Shepherds are considered the third most intelligent breed of dog, behind Border Collies and Poodles. This makes them ideal police and search and rescue dogs.

Well-trained and socialized German Shepherds have a reputation of being very safe. However, in the United States, one 1996 source suggested that German Shepherds are responsible for more reported bitings than any other breed and have a tendency to attack smaller breeds of dogs.


A germ is a colloquial term for a micro-organism that causes disease, such as certain bacteria and viruses. They are parasites which live by invading living things.

For many centuries the prevailing belief was that disease was spread by poisonous vapours called "miasmas", but in 1856 French chemist Louis Pasteur demonstrated that infection is carried by germs.

At the Sorbonne Louis Pasteur once showed the audience lantern slides of different germs then he darkened the hall and fired a bright beam of light through the blackness exposing the specks of dust that sometimes carry such diseases as cholera and yellow fever. The audience went home much troubled.

More germs are transferred by shaking hands than by kissing.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Georgia (U.S. State)

The state of Georgia was founded by English soldier and philanthropist James Oglethorpe on February 12, 1733. The last of the 13 colonies, it was named after George II of Great Britain.

The government's main reason for creating the colony was to get debtors off its hands and show an English presence between the Carolinas and Florida.

James Oglethorpe

James Oglethorpe established the first Masonic Lodge within Georgia on February 21, 1734. Now known as Solomon's Lodge No. 1, F. & A. M, it is the oldest continuously operating English Masonic Lodge in the Western Hemisphere.

John Wesley, later the founder of Methodism, sailed to Georgia in 1735, on behalf of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to bring the Gospel to the Indians, but it  didn’t work out. He became upset when Sophy Hopkey, the 18-year-old niece of Savannah's chief magistrate who he was in love with, married someone else. Wesley barred her from Holy Communion, her husband sued him and the trial dragged out.

Wesley also prohibited whisky to the Indians and on one occasion attacked a barrel of whisky on the docks with an axe. After months of harassment from various quarters he fled the colony in disgust.

For a period in 1736, James Oglethorpe's secretary was John Wesley's brother, Charles, later well known as a hymn writer of Methodism.

The city of Augusta, Georgia was named after Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (1719-1772), mother of King George III.

The Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta with the distinctive gold dome. By w:en:User:Autiger - w:en: Wikipedia Commons

After the removal of the Creek and Cherokee from their lands, the state of Georgia held a series of public lotteries between 1805 and 1833 to give away the property to white settlers.

The University of Georgia, the first public university in the United States, was incorporated on January 27, 1785, by the Georgia General Assembly, which had given its trustees, the Senatus Academicus of the University of Georgia, 40,000 acres (160 km²) for the purposes of founding a "college or seminary of learning."

Park Hall, one of the oldest buildings on campus. By Josh Hallett from Winter Haven, FL
The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) was founded in Atlanta on October 13, 1885.

Rebecca Latimer Felton (June 10, 1835 – January 24, 1930) was the first woman US Senator. The most prominent woman in Georgia in the Progressive Era, she was honored by appointment to the Senate. Felton was sworn in November 21, 1922, and served just 24 hours. At 87 years, nine months, and 22 days old, she was also the oldest freshman senator to enter the Senate.

Franklin Roosevelt had a holiday cottage at the top of the Pine Mountain, Warm Springs, Georgia. The little white house with its farm in Warm Springs is now owned by the State of Georgia.

Georgia approved the first literature censorship board in the United States in 1953.

In 1979 "Georgia On My Mind" became the official state song of Georgia.

The title of R.E.M.'s best selling album, Automatic For The People, came from the slogan for Weaver D’s Delicious Fine Foods The diner, near the university in Athens, Georgia, was a regular hangout for Michael Stipe and friends in their early days.

The escalator in the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia is the longest freestanding escalator in the world, rising 160 feet or approximately eight stories in height.

Georgia's nickname, The Peach State, is a misnomer since California and South Carolina are number one and two at peach production annually (Georgia is number three).

The world record for rocking non-stop in a rocking chair is 480 hours held by Dennis Easterling, of Atlanta, Georgia.

Here is a list of songs with Georgia in the title.

Georgia (Country)

The earliest archaeological evidence of wine- making from grapes was found in Georgia and dates back to 6,000 BC.

Georgians have their own unique three alphabets which according to traditional accounts was invented by King Pharnavaz I of Iberia in the 3rd century BC.

King Tamar was the ruling monarch of the United Kingdom of Georgia in 12th-13th centuries and was the first woman king in the country’s history. The Georgians didn’t have a word for queen by the time this female ascended to the throne, so they dubbed her king instead.

Near the turn of the 19th century the 19-year-old son of a shoemaker, Josef Dzhugashvili was expelled from Tiflis Theological Seminary, the best teaching establishment in Georgia, where he was also studying to be a priest. He had fourteen times been caught reading banned books, including works by Marx, Darwin and Victor Hugo. Later in his life he adopted the name "Stalin" meaning "Man of Steel" which Lenin had given him. Josef Stalin was to rise to the highest position, leading the Soviet Union from April 3, 1922 until his death on October 16, 1952.

Joseph Stalin, seated outdoors at Berlin conference in 1945

Soviet Russia recognized the independence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia in the 1920 Treaty of Moscow only to invade the country six months later.

Landscape in South Ossetia's Dzhava District.

The Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic held the first multiparty legislature election in the country's history on October 28, 1990.

The Georgian independence referendum took place on March 31, 1991: nearly 99 percent of the voters support the country's independence from the Soviet Union. Ten days later, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia declared independence.

Zviad Gamsakhurdia became the first elected President of the Republic of Georgia in the post-Soviet era on May 26, 1991.

South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia on November 28, 1991. This has gained only limited acceptance.

Georgia is the country with most King Georges in history. Their last king, George XII (sometimes known as George XIII), died in 1800.

In 2009 Georgia was thrown out of the Eurovision Song Contest after its entry, “We Don't Wanna Put In“ - widely seen as a swipe at Valdimir Putin – was deemed too political.

The national flag of the Republic of Georgia, the so-called "five cross flag", was restored to official use on January 14, 2014 after a hiatus of some 500 years.

The population of Georgia is about 5 million. About 1.3 million of these live in the capital Tbilisi, which was founded around AD 400, after the end of the Roman Empire.

Abkhazia is a self-declared republic within Georgia, which is only recognized by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and the Pacific island of Nauru. Despite the lack of general recognition, elections were held among its estimated 250,000-strong population in 2017.

Most of the people speak Georgian as their first language, though some also speak Azerbaijani, Armenian, Russian or other languages.

George VI of the United Kingdom

George VI (real name Albert Frederick Arthur George Windsor) was born at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk on December 14, 1895.

His father was Prince George, Duke of York (later King George V) and his mother the Duchess of York (later Queen Mary,)

As a child Albert had his legs strapped into wooden splints every night because the royal doctors were concerned that his legs weren’t growing straight.

Prince Albert, the Duke of York, married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat Claude Bowes-Lyon at Westminster Abbey on April 26, 1923.  It was the first royal wedding at the abbey since 1383. Albert's marriage to someone not of royal birth was considered a modernizing gesture. 

Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon leaves to marry Prince Albert

The wedding was not broadcast on the wireless as courtiers feared listeners might have been sitting down or drinking in a pub when "God Save The King" was sung.

They Duke and Duchess of York had two children, Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, died peacefully in her sleep at the Royal Lodge at Windsor on March 30, 2002. She was 101 years old.

Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother painted by Richard Stone in 1986.

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, had an older sister, Violet, who sadly died at the age of eleven, eight years before the Queen Mother's own birth. Which means that one sister died in the 19th century while the other died in the 21st century.

He was an outstanding tennis player. Albert played at Wimbledon in the Men's Doubles with Louis Greig in 1926.

Albert became George VI,  king of the United Kingdom, on December 11, 1936 when his elder brother, Edward VIII abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson.

George VI was crowned on May 12, 1937. The coronation took place on the date originally set for his brother, Edward VIII, to be crowned, before he abdicated.

When the BBC televised George VI's coronation, the scenes were watched by an estimated 10,000 subscribers to the service. Pictures were transmitted from Alexandria Palace relayed by a cable that stretched from the studio to the coronation activity, being unplugged and moved about with the camera. The BBC sent a Christmas card to all television owners that year.

King George VI became the first British monarch to make an official visit to the United States of America on June 7, 1939 when he crossed over from Canada near Niagara Falls.

Because of his stammer, George VI dreaded public speaking. He was treated by an Australian speech and language therapist called Lionel Logue. After breathing exercises, and multiple rehearsals with his wife, the king was able to speak with less hesitation.

George VI holds the Sceptre with the Cross, containing the 530-carat Cullinan I Diamond. The Imperial State Crown is on the right. Portrait by Sir Gerald Kelly.

The King chain-smoked after being told cigarettes might help his stammer.

George VI was portrayed by Colin Firth in The King's Speech, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. The 2010 film about how George overcome his stuttering condition also won the Oscar for Best Picture.

Screenwriter David Seidler stammered as a child and was inspired by King George VI's wartime speech. As an adult, he wrote to The Queen Mother for permission to use the late king's story to create a film. She asked him not to during her lifetime, saying the memories were too painful. Seidler respected her request. At age 73, he was the oldest person ever to win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for this film.

George VI won admiration during the Second World War as he stayed at Buckingham Palace during the most intense months of the blitz. On September 13, 1940, the King and Queen narrowly avoided death when two German bombs exploded in a courtyard at Buckingham Palace while they were present. George VI remained there during the remainder of the war, becoming a symbol of resistance and 'fighting spirit'.

The stress of the war took its toll on King George VI's health exacerbated by his heavy smoking and subsequent development of lung cancer among other ailments, including arteriosclerosis and thromboangiitis obliterans. On September 23, 1951 thoracic surgeon Clement Price Thomas removed part of the king's lung in Buckingham Palace.

On January 31, 1952, despite advice from those close to him, the King went to London Airport to see off Princess Elizabeth, who was going on her tour of Australia via Kenya. On the morning of February 6, 1952, George VI died in his sleep at Sandringham House in Norfolk from a coronary thrombosis aged 56.

When King George died, every cinema and theater in the UK closed, all BBC programs were cancelled except for the news, and all sport was called off.

George VI was given a large state funeral, which took place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on February 15, 1952. Shortly after 9:00 am, the funeral procession arrived at Westminster Hall where his body had been lying in state. More than 300,000 people paid homage to the body of the king, who was in chapel for three days.

 It was the first royal funeral to be televised and thousands watched the event on TV.

He was succeeded as monarch by his elder daughter Elizabeth II.

George V of the United Kingdom

King George V was born on June 3, 1865, in Marlborough House, London. He was the second and eldest-surviving son of the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra).

At the age of 16, while a serving officer in the Navy, George visited Japan and had a dragon tattooed on his arm.

George never expected to be king but became heir to the throne when his elder brother, Prince Albert Victor, died from pneumonia.

Eighteen months after his brother’s death, George married Albert Victor’s fiancee, Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, known as May. Their marriage took place on July 6, 1893 at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London.

He became king of the United Kingdom upon the death of his father, Edward VII on May 6, 1910.

George V and Mary of Teck were crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom at Westminster Abbey in London on June 22, 1911.

On July 17, 1917 King George V issued a proclamation stating that the male line descendants of the British Royal Family would bear the surname Windsor. The king was of German paternal descent and the name was changed from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the English Windsor in 1917 because of anti-German sentiment in the British Empire during World War.

The Badge of the House of Windsor 

King George had a pet parrot named Charlotte. The bird had a free run of the palace and learnt to say rude words. George used to upset the Queen by encouraging the parrot to walk across the breakfast table.

Rudyard Kipling wrote the first ever King's message on Christmas Day 1932 for George V, an epic speech of 251 words. Just before the broadcast, the king fell through his wicker armchair. He exclaimed "God bless my soul!" and delivered his lines.

Twenty million people across the British Empire heard the first Royal Christmas Message given by George V.

At the time of his death in 1936, King George's stamp collection was so large that it had its own room in Buckingham Palace.

After months of ill health, by January 20, 1936, King George V was close to death. His physicians, led by Lord Dawson of Penn, issued a bulletin with words that became famous: "The King's life is moving peacefully towards its close."

Dawson hastened the King's death by injecting him with 750mg of morphine and 1000mg of cocaine, enough to kill him twice over. He later noted that he acted to preserve the King's dignity, to prevent further strain on the family, and so that the King's death at 11:55 p.m. could be announced in the morning edition of The Times newspaper rather than "less appropriate ... evening journals."

George IV of of the United Kingdom

George was born at St James's Palace, London, on August 12, 1762, the first child of King George III of the United Kingdom and Queen Charlotte.

George (left) with his mother & younger brother Frederick, Allan Ramsay, 1764

George was highly educated with an appreciation of the arts and sciences. He was a talented student, quickly learning to speak not only English but also French, German and Italian.

 On reaching the age of 21, he received an annual income from his father and parliament in excess of £100,000, worth about £10 million today.

George IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover following the death of his father, George III, on January 29, 1820, until his own death ten years later. From 1811 until his accession, he served as Prince Regent during his father's final mental illness.

Prince George employed the celebrated chef Marie-Antoine Carême. The sumptuous food cooked for him gave the prince almost permanent indigestion. The gargantuan excesses of Prince George greatly exceed any other royals.

George suffered from gout due to his highly spiced diet. For many years he bathed in the Brighton sea to try to cure this.

By 1797 George's weight had reached 17 stone 7 pounds and by 1824 his corset was made for a waist of 50 inches.

George was partial to cherry brandy, which he liked to sit up late at night drinking. A heavy drinker, the phrase "drunk as a Lord” is said to have originally referred to the prince.

He was addicted to liquid opium, taking 100 drops to calm himself before appearances.

For years George covered himself in leeches to give himself an interesting pallor.

Prince George agreed to marry his first cousin Princess Caroline of Brunswick in return for payment of his gambling debts.

On seeing the ugly, obese and vulgar Princess Caroline for the first time the day before their wedding and kissing her George said "Harris, I am not well: pray get me a glass of brandy." Caroline rasped in French to an aide "I think he's very fat and he's nothing like as handsome as his portrait."

Caroline, Princess of Wales by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1798

Prince George and Princess Caroline married on April 8, 1795 at the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace (see below). The German bride wore a elaborate dress of silver tissue and lace and a velvet robe lined with ermine. The prince got so drunk on his wedding night he passed out on the floor in front of the fireplace.

Following the birth of Princess Charlotte (1796-1817),  a separation was arranged and George returned to his mistress Mrs Maria Fitzherbert.

When George was told of the death of Napoleon - "Sir, your bitterest enemy is dead," George replied, thinking of Caroline, "Is she by God."

George wrote a will leaving one shilling to Caroline and the rest to Maria Fitzherbert.

He had at least five other mistresses and probably fathered several illegitimate children.

George became Prince Regent on February 5, 1811 as a result of his father, George III's insanity. George let his ministers take full charge of government affairs, playing a far lesser role than his father. The principle that the prime minister was the person supported by a majority in the House of Commons, whether the king personally favored him or not, became established. His governments, with little help from the Regent, presided over British policy.

Portrait in Garter robes by Lawrence, 1816

The Prince Regent was so enamored of his friend Beau Brummell that he blindly copied his dress sense: blue coat, light-blue waistcoat, buff trousers, kid gloves.

George became the first person to own a pair of shoes made to fit two feet, when he ordered a pair of fitted boots in 1818. Previously all shoes were made to fit either foot.

When George III died in 1820, the Prince Regent, then aged 57, ascended the throne as George IV. By the time of his accession, he was obese and possibly addicted to laudanum.

His coronation on July 19, 1821 was a magnificent and expensive affair, costing about £243,000 (approximately £19,321,000 in 2015)  The crown he wore at his coronation cost £100,000.

The coronation of King George IV on 19 July 1821.

George IV still had a poor relationship with his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, and he forbade her from attending his coronation.

Carlton House was the palace in which the future George IV lived in lavish style when Prince Regent.  On inheriting the crown he commissioned John Nash to improve Buckingham Palace and to build the present Carlton House Terrace (1827–32), on the site of Carlton House.

For years George's habit of cavorting around in Highland Dress did not endear himself to the English public. However his 1822 visit to Edinburgh in full Highland rig was stage managed by Walter Scott to portray the English king as an overweight reincarnation of Bonnie Prince Charlie. The spectacular pageantry that took place helped make tartans and kilts fashionable and was an important step in the romantic stereotype of "bonnie Scotland."

Portrait by Sir David Wilkie depicting the King during his 1822 trip to Scotland

A week after his father's death, George went sick with a life threatening attack of pneumonia. A hypochondriac, he frequently complained to his court doctors that he was dying but this time he truly appeared to be.

George IV's heavy drinking and indulgent lifestyle had taken their toll on his health by the late 1820s. He passed away aged 67 at about half-past three in the morning of June 26, 1830 at Windsor Castle; The dying George reportedly called out "Good God, what is this?" clasped his page's hand and said "my boy, this is death," after which he expired. He was England's fattest king and most profligate.

Because George's only legitimate child, Princess Charlotte, had died before him, he was succeeded by his younger brother, William IV.

Sources Radio Times, Daily Express Food For Thought,

George III of the United Kingdom

George was born in London at Norfolk House on June 4, 1738. He was the grandson of King George II, and the eldest son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and Augusta of Saxe-Gotha.

As Prince George was born two months premature and was thought unlikely to survive, he was baptized the same day by Thomas Secker, who was both Rector of St James's and the Bishop of Oxford.


George III was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1760 until 1801. He was then King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death. George was also Elector of Hanover, making him a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire.

George succeeded to the throne at the age of 22 when his grandfather, George II, died suddenly on October 25, 1760, He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors he was born in Britain and spoke English as his first language.

Upon his accession, George III agreed to surrender the revenues of the Crown Estate to Parliament, in return Parliament was to provide fixed “civil list” payments, to meet royal expenses, and also meet the full costs of civil government. This action was the first by a Sovereign acknowledging parliamentary control over royal income and expenditure, although the “Military List”, the army and navy, had long been funded only by taxes sanctioned by Parliament. George's original civil list was £723,000; the sum reached over £1,000,000 by the end of his reign.

He reigned for 59 years and 2 months, which was longer than any other British monarch before him

During George III's reign, his kingdom lost thirteen of its colonies in North America as a result of the American War of Independence (they became the United States).

In 1776 New Yorkers tore down a George III statue and melted it in to 42,088 musket balls to fire at his troops.

His two kingdoms Great Britain and Ireland were merged into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland by the 1800 Acts of Union.


George was brought up at Kew Palace and later on he made it his summer residence.

Full-length portrait in oils of a clean-shaven young George by Allan Ramsey 

As king, in 1761, George asked John Stuart 3rd Earl of Butee for a review of all eligible German Protestant princesses "to save a great deal of trouble," as "marriage must sooner or later come to pass." He chose the 17-year-old plain, dull but sweet-natured, pious and modest Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz to be his bride.

Their marriage took place on September 8, 1761 in the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace. At the royal wedding, Charlotte was speechless with nerves and was barely able to stand under the weight of her cloth of silver dress.

Though the marriage was entered into in the spirit of public duty, it lasted for more than 50 years, due to the King's need for security and his wife's strength of character.

George remarkably never took a mistress (in contrast with his grandfather and his sons), and the couple enjoyed a genuinely happy marriage.  They had 15 children—nine sons and six daughters.

George III, Queen Charlotte and their Six Eldest Children

George III brought a mansion, Buckingham House (later enlarged to become Buckingham Palace) as a gift for his newly wed wife, Queen Charlotte leaving St James Palace to be the official royal residence.

George III created with the help of Capability Brown fantastic landscaped gardens with Palladian bridges, grottos and other assorted trimmings. His wife, Queen Charlotte, was also a fanatical gardener.

The king spent a lot of his time at Windsor Castle and at his agricultural holdings at his model farm at Windsor.

Because of "his plain, homely, thrifty manners and tastes", George III was nicknamed Farmer George.

George was always on the move, despite never travelling beyond southern England. It was a compulsion. He liked to conclude every meal with a long ride on his horse, whatever the weather. His constant rotating between the royal residences in London, Kew and Windsor infuriated his family. "Our life is nothing but hurry," Queen Charlotte complained.

George III by Allan Ramsay, 1762

George III and his queen eat sparingly. The king preferred plain fare such as bread and potatoes for supper whilst Queen Charlotte ate gruel.

On seeing workmen tucking into plates of beans the king decided to try some. He was so impressed
that he has decreed there should be an annual "bean-feast".

Rather than drinking wine, George III preferred  a lemonade called "cup." Queen Charlotte drunk barley water.

As a child George had violin lessons but only had half a mind for it and was neither a diligent nor apt pupil.

Queen Charlotte, when she wasn't busy bringing up their 15 children, was an accomplished harpsichord player and for a time George employed Bach's nephew, Johan Christian, as her Music Master.

The royal couple enjoyed musical weekends at Kew Palace and during weekday evenings, concerts were held every day at 9.00 pm in the Concert Room. At the end of the previous century he encouraged massive concerts to commemorate Handel.

In his old age the king often played the harpsichord himself, on one occasion interrupting a royal concert with a vigorous demonstration of his own mastery of the instrument.


In the later part of his life, George III suffered from recurrent, and eventually permanent, mental illness. It has since been suggested that he suffered from the genetic blood disease porphyria, which causes epilepsy, excessive hair growth, psychotic disorder, stomach pains, sleeplessness and racing pulse and speech. It is known as the "Royal Disease." and is the same illness that Mary Queen of Scots suffered from. Porphyria is possibly the basis for vampire and werewolf stories.

One treatment King George had for his madness was by means of Dr Francis Willis, the rector of St John’s Wapping. The therapy, which involved iron clamps, rope and a straitjacket was so brutal that it caused the king to have a virtual nervous breakdown. Despite this King George had a remission for which Willis claimed full credit. A grateful Parliament voted Willis a huge annual pension for life.

A visit to Cheltenham made their waters fashionable but they failed to cure George's attacks.

At the peak of his madness attacks  George was gently wrapped in a strait jacket. During these times the king often talked to himself with his hat over his eyes.

King George III’s madness attacks, which got worse as he grew older, generally lasted about six months. During one fit of madness King George insisted on ending every sentence with the word "peacock". This was a grave embarrassment to his ministers whenever he spoke in public. Eventually one of them thought of telling him the story that "peacock" was a particularly royal word and should therefore be whispered. The king took this on board and order was restored.

Once when driving through Windsor Great Park, George commanded his carriage driver to stop. The king walked over to an oak tree, shook hands with one of its branches and talked to it for several minutes believing he was conversing with the king of Prussia.

George was frequently seen during his madness attacks dressed in a velvet cap and purple dressing gown wondering from room to room of his castle.

After the death of his beloved daughter, the Princess Amelia in November 1810, George III broke down completely. Doctors acknowledged that he was violently insane and on top of this he was completely blind and growing increasingly deaf. They continued to hope for recovery from his madness, but Parliament enacted in 1811 the regency of the Prince of Wales and decreed that the Queen should have the custody of her husband.

Engraving by Henry Meyer of George III in later life


For the last few weeks of his life, King George III was unable to walk. He died at Windsor Castle at 8:38 pm on January 29, 1820, six days after the death of his fourth son, the Duke of Kent. His favourite son, Frederick, Duke of York, was with him.

George III lived for 81 years and 239 days and reigned for 59 years and 96 days: both his life and his reign were longer than those of any of his predecessors. Only Victoria and Elizabeth II have since lived and reigned longer.

On George III's death in 1820, the Prince Regent succeeded his father as George IV.

Alan Bennett’s play The Madness of George III became The Madness of King George for the movie version as the distributors feared the U.S. audiences might have thought it was the third in a series.

Sources Food For Thought, Encyclopedia Brittanica

George II of Great Britain

George II was born on November 10, 1683 in the city of Hanover in Germany.

He was the son of George Louis, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg (later King George I of Great Britain), and his wife, Sophia Dorothea of Celle.

George as a young boy with his mother and his sister, Sophia Dorothea of Hanover

George spoke only French until he was four, then he learnt German and later English and Italian

When his father died in June 1727 during one of his visits to Hanover, George II succeeded him as English king and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire at the age of 43.

George II was the last British monarch born outside Great Britain.

George II and his wife Caroline of Ansbach were crowned King and Queen of Great Britain on October 11, 1727.

Like his father, George was particularly fond of the music of Handel. Zadok The Priest was one of four pieces the German composer wrote for George’s coronation.

George II had a number of mistresses. Two of his illegitimate children later became the Earl of Salisbury and the Archbishop of York.

George II was the last British monarch to command his troops in battle, at the Battle of Dettingen in June 1743.

George II thought his popularity might be increased by allowing his subjects to watch him eat in a public dining room at Hampton Court. Tickets could be brought allowing his subjects to be able to watch the king and his family eat Sunday dinner.

George II took such an interest in his food that he ordered every dish served to him to be labelled with the name of the chef who had made it.

George II died on October 25, 1760 alone sitting on his toilet after drinking hot chocolate. At 76-years-old, he had lived longer than any of his English royal predecessors.

Before George died he left explicit instructions for the sides of his and his wife’s coffins to be removed in order that their remains could mingle.

Sources Daily Express, Food For Thought

George I of Great Britain

George I (1660-1727) was born in Osnabrück, Germany and was the ruler of Hanover in North Germany.

When Queen Anne of Great Britain died in 1714, an Act of Parliament said the next ruler must be a Protestant. George was not the closest relative, but was the closest Protestant one. Closer relatives were all Roman Catholic, so George became King of Great Britain and Ireland on August 1, 1714, marking the beginning of the Georgian era of British history.

George I, c. 1714. Studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller.

King George I was the last king of England who could not speak English. He spoke to his Prime Minister Robert Walpole in Latin.

King George I took his meals in private attended by two Turkish servants. He particularly liked oysters and oily salads.

He suffered a stroke on the road between Delden and Nordhorn while visiting his native Hanover. King George was taken by carriage to the Prince-Bishop's palace at Osnabrück where he died in the early hours of June 11, 1727.

King George was buried in the chapel of Leine Castle but his remains were moved to the chapel at Herrenhausen after World War II.

Saint George

Little is known about the life of Saint George (d c303) apart from the fact he was a soldier in the Roman army who was martyred for his Christian beliefs at Lydda in Palestine at the beginning of the 4th century.

Many stories have been ascribed to the saint, the best known being the legend of George and the dragon. A pagan town in Libya was being victimized by a dragon (representing the devil), which the inhabitants first attempted to placate by offerings of sheep, and then by the sacrifice of various members of their community. The daughter of the king (representing the church) was chosen by lot and was taken out to await the coming of the monster, but George arrived, killed the dragon, and converted the community to Christianity.

St. George slays the dragon. Georgian Fresco

By the 5th century the Christians of Syria and Egypt were consecrating monasteries and churches to him and within a hundred years the same thing was happening in Western Europe.

In 494, Pope Gelasius said St. George was among the saints “whose names are justly reverenced among men but whose actions are known only to God”.

The cult of Saint George, was originally introduced to the English by the crusaders.In 1222 , the Council of Oxford ordered that the feast of Saint George be celebrated as a national festival. Later in the thirteenth century the popular collection of rather outlandish details concerning the saints, The Golden Legend, which included the story of Saint George, enhanced his reputation even further.

Portrait by Hans von Kulmbach, circa 1510

As a result of the success of the war cry "St George for England", King Edward III appointed Saint George as patron saint of England,  replacing Saint Edmund the Martyr, probably in 1348 .

St George's badge, a red cross on white background,  became a symbol of England. It was emblazoned on the standards of the army, who were fighting the French in the Hundred Years War., and on the English flag.

Saint George's Day is celebrated on April 23rd, the traditionally accepted date of St. George's death in 303 AD. The establishment of George as a popular saint and protective giant in the West was codified by the official elevation of his feast to a festum duplex at a church council in 1415, on the day, April 23rd, that had become associated with his martyrdom,

When the Reformation in England severely curtailed the saints' days in the calendar, St. George's Day was among the holidays that continued to be observed.

Some doubts have been expressed about whether Saint George actually existed at all.  Because of these doubts, Pope Paul VI demoted Saint George to ‘optional worship’ in 1969.

John Paul II reinstated Saint George to full membership of the calendar of saints in 2000.

St George is also patron saint of Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Georgia, Malta, Portugal and Slovenia.

Bulgarians celebrate St George’s Day on May 6th when it is traditional to roast a whole lamb

St George is patron saint of Scouts, who see April 23 as the first day for camping.

Source Daily Express

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan's  (c. 1162 – August 18, 1227)  real name was Temujin which means ironworker. He was named after a Tatar chieftain, Temüjin-üge, whom his father had just captured. Because of his military success people referred to him as Genghis, meaning "Universe ruler".


Temüjin was born in 1162 into a Mongol tribe near Burkhan Khaldun mountain and the Onon and Kherlen Rivers in modern-day Mongolia, not far from the current capital Ulaanbaatar.

Temüjin was born with a blood clot grasped in his fist, a sign that he was destined to become a great leader.

Temujin was the second-oldest son of his father Yesükhei, a minor tribal chief of the Kiyad and an ally of Ong Khan of the Kerait tribe, and the oldest son of his mother Hoelun. Because his father was a chieftain, Temüjin was of a noble background.

When the Chinese Jin Dynasty switched support from the Mongols to the Tatars in 1161, Genghis's father, Yesügei, emerged as the head of the ruling clan of the Mongols. When Yesügei was poisoned, Temüjin who was only 13, became leader.

After his father died,  Genghis Khan and his small family led a life of extreme poverty, eating roots and fish instead of the normal nomad diet of mutton and mare's milk.

Temüjin married Börte of the Onggirat tribe when he was around 16 in order to cement alliances between their respective tribes.  As a dowry, from Borte's family he was given a black sable coat, which he decided to present to Toghril, the powerful ruler of the Kereit, a tribe in central Mongolia. Toghril, who had been an ally of Genghis' father, had taken the young man under his protection and promised his support.


During the 1206 political rise of Genghis Khan, the Mongol Empire created by him and his allies shared its western borders with the Western Xia Dynasty of the Tanguts. Genghis organized his people, army, and his state to prepare for war with Western Xia.

Genghis Khan

When they invaded the Chinese Tangut kingdom, the fortifications of Volohai appeared to be too much for the Mongol horsemen. Genghis offered to withdraw from Volohai if he was given 1000 swallows and 1000 cats. The Chinese agreed but the cunning conqueror had other ideas. Instead of withdrawing, Genghis sets them alight and released them. The cats and birds set the city on fire and while the garrison fought the flames, the Mongols breached the walls of Volohai and destroyed it.

In retaliation for the murder of some Mongol traders, Genghis Khan and his followers turned westward, invading the empire of the shah of Kiva, a vast Turkish empire that included Iraq, Iran, and part of Western Turkistan.

Genghis Khan proposed "friendship and peace" with the fellow nomadic Khwarezmian Empire in Persia. The Khwarezmia shah ordered a Mongol trade delegation killed, prompting Khan to invade the empire in 1219. In the ensuing war, lasting less than two years 1.25 million were killed and the Khwarezmid Empire was destroyed.

After the husband of Genghis Khan's daughter was killed at Nishapur in 1221, she or Genghis ordered the death of the entire population of the city. 1,748,000 people were reportedly slaughtered in one hour by Genghis Khan's army.

Genghis Khan was very successful in battle, conquering many other peoples such as the Jin Dynasty and by the early 1220s the pope in Rome was trembling before the relentless advance of Genghis' "devil horsemen."

As he swooped through Asia towards Europe it was said that Genghis Khan was the Antichrist. The Mongol warrior genuinely believed he had a divine mission to conquer the world and had previously proclaimed himself to be an earthly representative of the "Supreme God.” He was religious in a pagan way and was tolerant of other religions.

Battle between Mongol warriors and the Chinese.

As Genghis and his fellow hordes swept westwards one of their dishes was kyrgyz, which tastes like the smell of a cow and carries quite a kick. They didn’t eat fruit or vegetables as they were unwilling to be tied to the land.

Everything Genghis and his fellow Mongols ate came from animals. As a sweet treat he and his horsemen would enjoy mikong, a honey bread.

His cavalry rode female horses. The reason for this became apparent when Genghis and his hardened troops crossed the vast barren Gobi desert, as they were forced to survive by drinking milk and blood from their mares.

Genghis and his men preferred plain living and were content with to live in their Yarts (a circular tent.) After pillaging and sacking an unfortunate city, the Mongols would not settle there but move on to the next one. They were restless nomads at heart.

His system of law respected the environment by outlawing bathing in rivers and requiring soldiers to pick up their trash.

Genghis Khan started the sport of Vlak Tartysh, a kind of wild polo, in order to keep his troops fit. The rules were that around 50 men fought over the possession of a stuffed sheep or goat carcass. The person in possession must carry it around a post and back to a marked circle in the ground before a wild horde of fierce Mongols could prevent them.

He conquered in total approximately 4.8 million square miles, more territory than Alexander The Great, Napoleon, or any other leader achieved. By his death Genghis Khan's empire ranged from the Yellow Sea to the Black Sea to North India.

Genghis Khan entering Beijing.

Genghis Khan killed enough people to cool the earth, 40 million people were killed and vast areas of farmland were reclaimed by forests..


Genghis Khan died in the Liupan Mountains in northwestern China, on August 18, 1227 during the fall of Yinchuan, the capital of Western Xia.

After Genghis died, his body was returned to Mongolia and presumably to his birthplace in Khentii Aimag, where many assume he is buried somewhere close to the Onon River and the Burkhan Khaldun mountain. Genghis had ordered his burial site to be kept a secret. To this end, his heirs slaughtered anyone who set eyes on his funeral procession. They buried him in an unmarked grave and to this day exact burial site is unknown.

Genghis Khan's grandson, Kublai Khan, was the first ever emperor of the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) in China.

Around 8% of the men in central Asia are descendants of Genghis Khan. That’s nearly 350 million men with one common ancestor.

Source Food For Thought