Hawaii’s Path to Statehood

President Sanford B. Dole of the Republic of Hawaii, his cabinet, and officers of the United States Army, reviewing from the steps of the former royal palace the first American troops to arrive in Honolulu, in 1898, on their way to Manila to capture the city, which Commodore Dewey held at bay with the guns[…]

Families on the Farm in the 19th Century

Photograph originally published in Horace Edward Stockbridge’s Land Teaching (Southern Ruralist Company, 1910). / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. John Buescher Historian Children today may be struck by ways in which their own lives contrast with those of farm children’s in earlier times. One difference is the extent to which girls and boys, from a very[…]

A Brief History of the Western Alphabet

A relief of cuneiform writing from Assyria /  British Museum, Photo by Jan van der Crabben, Wikimedia Commons By Jan van der Crabben / 04.28.2011 Historian The history of the alphabet started in ancient Egypt. By 2700 BCE Egyptian writing had a set of some 22 hieroglyphs to represent syllables that begin with a single consonant of their language, plus a vowel (or no[…]

Human Ancestors Had the Same Dental Problems as Us – Even Without Fizzy Drinks and Sweets

Teeth fossils with evidence of dental lesions from Australopithecus africanus. Ian Towle, Author provided Prehistoric humans and their predecessors may have had a very different diet but their teeth suffered in similar ways to ours. By Dr. Ian Towle / 03.01.2018 Sessional Lecturer in Anthropology Liverpool John Moores University Dental erosion is one of the most common tooth problems in the world today. Fizzy[…]

European Perceptions of America since the 17th Century

1750 map of America / museumoutlets.com By Dr. Marcus Gräser / 02.08.2011 Professor of History Institut für Neuere Geschichte und Zeitgeschichte Johannes Kepler University Abstract Early on, the USA – “America” – became a point of reference within European consciousnesses against which European societies could analyse themselves. At the same time, America acted as a repository[…]

Maria Agnesi, the Greatest Female Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of

Agnesi was the first woman to write a mathematics textbook. AlexeyMaltsev/shutterstock.com May 16 marks the 300th anniversary of the first woman to write a mathematics textbook.    By Dr. Richard Gunderman (left) and David Gunderman (right) / 05.15.2018 R. Gunderman: Chancellor’s Professor of Medicine, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy, Indiana University D. Gunderman: PhD Student in Applied Mathematics, University of Colorado The outmoded gender stereotype that women lack[…]

The Hardworking, Homemaking Hedgehog of the Medieval Bestiary

A Hedgehog (detail) in a bestiary, about 1270, unknown illuminator, possibly made in Thérouanne, France. Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment, 7 1/2 × 5 5/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 3, fol. 79v. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program In the medieval bestiary, hedgehogs are portrayed[…]

Have Humans Always Gone to War?

Yuttasak Jannarong / shutterstock Archaeological remains, traditional tribes and conflict among chimpanzees can tell us much about the history of human warfare. By Sarah Peasey / 04.11.2016 PhD Candidate in Ecological Systems of Cooperation University College London The question of whether warfare is encoded in our genes, or appeared as a result of civilisation, has[…]

Why Did Some Early Human Societies Practice Violent Human Sacrifice?

Illustration of ritualised human sacrifice in traditional Hawaiian culture, as documented by the French explorer and artists Jaques Arago in 1819.Arago, Jacques. (1822). Promenade autour du monde: pendant les années 1817, 1818, 1819 et 1820, sur les corvettes du roi l’Uranie et la Physicienne, commandées par M. Freycinet Human sacrifice seems horrifying and costly. But there[…]

Why Russia Gave Up Alaska, America’s Gateway to the Arctic

Denali is the highest peak in North America, and the tussle over its name symbolizes the U.S. relationship with Alaska’s Natives. Al Grillo/AP Photo The tale of how and why Russia ceded its control over Alaska to the U.S. 150 years ago is actually two tales and two intertwining histories. By William L. Iggiagruk Hensley / 03.29.2017 Visiting Distinguished Professor University of Alaska[…]

Decisive Battles in the American War of Independence

This painting depicts the forces of British Major General Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis (1738-1805) (who was not himself present at the surrender), surrendering to French and American forces after the Siege of Yorktown (September 28 – October 19, 1781) during the American Revolutionary War. By John Trumbull, 1820 / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Christopher H.[…]

The Corpse-Devouring Hyena of the Medieval Bestiary

A Hyena (detail) in the Northumberland Bestiary, about 1250–60, unknown illuminator, made in England. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 100, fol. 12v. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program. In a world of good versus evil, the hyena plays the role of the bad guy. By Jessica Sheppard-Reynolds / 05.10.2018 Notoriously hungry, the[…]

Indian Stone Tools Could Dramatically Push Back Date When Modern Humans First Left Africa

Middle Palaeolithic artefacts emerged during excavation at Attirampakkam. Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, India Modern humans could have left Africa shortly after evolving, making it to India in tens of thousands of years. By Dr. Patrick Randolph-Quinney / 01.31.2018 Reader/Associate Professor in Biological and Forensic Anthropology University of Central Lancashire We are all children of Africa. As members of the hominin species Homo sapiens, you and[…]

African Tools Push Back the Origin of Human Technological Innovation

By about 320,000 years ago, humans in Kenya began using color pigments and manufacturing more sophisticated tools. Human Origins Program, Smithsonian Scientists have discovered sophisticated tools in Kenya that are much older than expected.    By Dr. Patrick Randolph-Quinney (left) and Dr. Anthony Sinclair (right) / 03.15.2018 Randolph-Quinney: Reader/Associate Professor in Biological and Forensic Anthropology, University of Central Lancashire Sinclair: Professor of Archaeological[…]

The U.S. and Egypt in the 1950s

Presidents Eisenhower and Nasser meeting in New York, 1960 / Public Domain By Dr. John Buescher Historian Introduction The goals of U.S. foreign policy toward Egypt during the 1950s were to protect American and western European access to oil in the Middle East, to end British colonial rule throughout the area in line with the[…]

Religious Orders as Transnational Networks of the Catholic Church in the Early Modern World

Benedictine Abbey of Saint John / Photo by Wladyslaw, Wikimedia Commons The history of the Christian churches as transnational and global actors is reflected in the history of Christian religious orders and communities. By Dr. Joachim Schmiedl / 09.19.2011 Chair of Middle and New Church History Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Vallendar Abstract The history of the Christian churches[…]

The Pelican, Self-Sacrificing Mother Bird of the Medieval Bestiary

A Pelican Feeding Her Young (detail) in a bestiary, 1278–1300, unknown illuminator, Franco-Flemish. Tempera colors, pen and ink, gold leaf, and gold paint on parchment, 9 3/16 × 6 7/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 4, fol. 21v. Digital image courtesy of Getty’s Open Content Program The pelican in the bestiary manuscripts[…]

Defining Dred Scott

Dred Scott By Dr. Matthew Pinsker Associate Professor of History Pohanka Chair in American Civil War History Dickinson College Dred Scott was one of the most famous slaves in American history. By filing for freedom in St. Louis Circuit Court on April 6, 1846, this husband and father of two girls set in motion a[…]

The Little-Known Tale of the Medieval Unicorn

A Unicorn (detail) in the Northumberland Bestiary, about 1250–60, unknown illuminator, made in England. Pen-and-ink drawing tinted with with body color and translucent washes on parchment, 8 1/4 × 6 3/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 100, fol. 11. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program With a weakness for virgin maidens,[…]

Separating Myth from Legend about the Medieval Dragon

A Winged Dragon (detail) in a bestiary, 1278–1300, unknown illuminator, Franco-Flemish. Tempera colors, pen and ink, gold leaf, and gold paint on parchment, 9 3/16 × 6 7/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 4, fol. 94. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program In medieval bestiaries, dragons killed elephants, feared[…]

Uncovering Ancient Ashkenaz – The Birthplace of Yiddish Speakers

Did Ashkenazi Jews descend from ancient Turkey? Everett Historical/Shutterstock Yiddish was at one time the international language of Ashkenazic Jews, but it’s exact origin has always been somewhat unclear, until now. By Dr. Eran Elhaik / 05.06.2016 Lecturer in Population, Medical and Evolutionary Genomics University of Sheffield At 1,000 years, the search for the location of Ashkenaz – thought to be the birthplace of Ashkanazic[…]

‘Let Us Adore and Drink!’: A Brief History of Wine and Religion

Caravaggio’s 1595 masterpiece Bacchus. Wikimedia Commons Wine, more than other beverage, is intimately connected to celebration and worship. By Dr. Robert Fuller / 12.23.2014 Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies Bradley University In a letter to the Abbe Morellet in 1779, Benjamin Franklin mused that the strategic location of the elbow is proof that God desires us[…]