Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Interesting Historical Facts That You Never Learned In School

In the Great Fire of London in 1666, which destroyed 13,200 houses, 87 churches, the Cathedral of St. Paul and it left 70,000 homeless. However, only 8 people were killed.

The Great Fire of London (painting)

The Parliament of Iceland is the oldest still operational parliament in the world. It exists since 930.

The Arabic numerals were actually created by Indian mathematicians

The first bomb that fell on Berlin from the Allies in World War II killed the one and only elephant of the Berlin zoo.

The U.S. Air Force (then part of the Army corps) had only 18 pilots and 5-12 serviceable aircraft at the beginning of World War I.

During the Mexican-American War, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna ordered a full military funeral in 1838 for his amputated leg. He lost it by canon fire.

Mexican General Santa Anna

King George I of England was German.

King George II

At the beginning of the American Civil War, the commander of the confederate army, General Robert E. Lee did not own any slaves. On the other hand, the victor of the conflict, Union General Ulysses Grant did own slaves. Furthermore, the Constitution of the Confederate States of America banned the trade of slaves while the Union Constitution did not.

Robert E. Lee

Ulysses S, Grant

A man from New Orleans hired a pirate to liberate Napoleon from his exile to the island of St. Helena.

In his college dorm room, the poet Lord Byron kept a pet bear.

George Gordon Byron (painting)

 U.S. President Ronald Reagan was a life guard in high school. He has been credited for saving 77 lives.

In 1929, researchers in Princeton managed to turn a live cat into a fully functional telephone.

The infamous North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Il, has written six operas.

Kim Jong-Il

The New York Daily Tribune newspaper had correspondent in Germany.  It was Karl Marx.

Karl Marx

French Emperor Napoleon was once attacked by some rabbits.

In 1952, Albert Einstein was offered the position of the second President of Israel. He declined.

Albert Einstein

The shortest war in history is between England and Zanzibar. It lasted for a full 38 minutes.

The weirdest war in history is between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly. It lasted from 1651 to 1986, making it the longest war that ever existed, to which there were no casualties.

The Roman Emperor Caligula proclaimed one of the strangest senators that ever existed. His horse.

The Austrian army in 1788 attacked itself. 10,000 men were the casualties.

All British battle tanks since 1945 are equipped with tea making facilities.

The reason for creating the vibrator was to treat hysteria because doctors were taking too long to masturbate the patients manually.

Warner Brothers Entertainment Company was founded a few months before the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

In the Middle Ages in Europe, people believed that sperm coming from the left testicle produced girls. Men who wanted sons only had it removed.


Violet Jessop is the only known survivor of the three largest ship accidents and sinking in history. She was on board the RMS Olympic when it collided with HMS Hawke and returned to Southampton, despite the fact that there was flooding and heavy damage. She was on board RMS Titanic in 1912, and she was also on board the HMHS Britannic when it was sunk by a mine in World War I.

In 1911, pigtails were forbidden in China as a reference to its feudal past.

If the history of planet Earth was reduced to one year, then humans would appear on 23:45 December 31 and their recorded history would be the last 60 seconds of the year.

If people think that today’s athletes are compensated with a lot of money, they should think again. Gaius Appuleius, who was a Roman chariot racer, earned in today’s analogies, $15 billion. Similarly the richest person that ever existed was Mansa Musa I. His assets today would be worth $400 billion.

The most successful pirate that ever existed was a Chinese prostitute that owned 1,500 ships and 80,000 sailors.

In the 1800s, it was considered a cruel and unusual punishment to feed convicts and prisoners with lobster.

In 14th century, Su Hui wrote a poem in a 29 x 29 grid. Each line could be read from right to left or from left to right, in both diagonal Xs and in both vertical directions. That allowed 2,848 different ways to read it.

Mrs. Bridget Driscoll of England is the first recorded accident of a pedestrian been killed by a moving vehicle. Arthur Edsell did that at the overwhelming speed of 4 miles per hour in August 17, 1896.

Bridget Driscoll

Essentially the same formula used today for concrete that is to be used underwater was created in 25BC by the Ancient Romans.

From the late 19th century and up to 1916, it was forbidden for British soldiers to shave their mustache.

If someone really wants to kill people, primitive weaponry is no excuse. Genghis Khan killed over 40 million people during his reign, which corresponded to 1/6 of the entire earth population of the time. Adolf Hitler and World War II with so much more advanced weaponry killed.

Genghis Khan

The only known medical procedure with 300% mortality rate was performed in 1847 when a doctor performed an amputation in 25 seconds. His haste was such, that he also amputated his assistant’s fingers. Both the patient and the assistant died from sepsis, as well as a spectator, who died from the shock of what he saw.

In  April 23, 1982. the Key West area of Florida declared that it was seceding from the U.S. They declared war followed by a surrender and a request for a billion dollars of foreign aid.

The first slaves in America were the Irish.

Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates who demanded a ransom of 25 pieces of gold for his release. He was angry at the price and said that he was worth no less than 50…

Alan Turing committed suicide after being forced to go through a hormone treatment for homosexuality and being barred from continuing what he did for a living. Who was Alan Turing? He is the father of computer science, the code breaker of the famous Enigma Code of the Germans in World War II and the father of artificial intelligence.

Alan Turing

Friday, August 26, 2016

Unexplained Ancient Mysteries

History in itself is an interesting subject which take us to a mysterious world of the past.

We are all well acquainted with the major heritage sites like the Pyramids and the Pharaoh’s tombs in Egypt, but you will be astonished to know that there are other archaeological discoveries that are considered historically important which are hardly ever mentioned in a history books. That is because for most people archaeological explorations and various artifacts on their own seem rather boring unless we experience them in a movie. So, we are going to take you on a historical voyage which will be both an adventurous and thought provoking experience of a lifetime. Are you ready? If so, let’s begin.

L’Anse aux Meadows

This very small but also very interesting settlement in Canada was built by the Vikings. It had the capacity to support up to 160 people. No one knows exactly where they came from or why they disappeared. What makes this settlement really incredible is that it was built 500 years before Christopher Columbus was wrongly credited with discovering the Americas.


This Rock Fortress is outside of Cusco, Peru, was the capital of the Incan Empire. One of the unique feature of this fortress is that giant rocks of this complex compound are fitted so tightly that even after ages, a person is not able to insert even a piece of paper between them. And, we still have no idea exactly how they did it.


Mohenjo-Daro is one of the most remarkable sites of the Indus valley civilization which  is also known as the Harappan civilization. It was built in 2600 BCE and can be found in modern-day Pakistan. It  is one of the first examples of  city planning.  It is also considered to be pioneer in the field of drainage systems that worked as a sewer as well.

Gobekli Tepe

Discovery of this took the world of archaeology by storm. It put forward the question: How much do we actually know about the evolution of human beings? It was found near a mountain top in Turkey. It was pre dated somewhere around 9000-10000 BCE.  As a result, this lays the foundation of Church and worship as the establishment of a civilization before trade and commerce.

The Longyou Grotto

The Lomgyou Grotto is an extensive, magnificent and rare ancient underground world unearthed in China and is considered ‘the ninth wonder of the ancient world’. It has unique tunnels covered from floor to ceiling evenly spaced 60 degree lines which are carved into them. It is spread over 30,000 square meters .and is awe-inspiring.

Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

These stone spheres or stone balls are commonly attributed to the extinct Diquis culture which existed from 700 to 1530 AD.  They are also known as ‘Diquis spheres’. There are numerous myths regarding these spheres. Some claim them to be relics from Atlantis or just a natural creation.

Yonaguni Monument

You know what is the most amusing fact about this underwater monument? It confused  and confounded even the most renowned archaeologists whether it is natural creation or man-made. It is a massive underwater structure off the coast of Yonaguni, China.. This monument is an obelisk put up in such a way that it appears to be like a ‘turtle’.  It is both an incredible and a baffling  discovery.

The Unfinished Obelisk

This recent discovery was found in Aswan, Egypt. It was an obelisk built on orders of Hatsheput in the mid 1500 BC which is left incomplete due to unknown  reasons. This is considered the  largest obelisk ever constructed in the history of Egypt.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Neglected Important Artists, No. 31

Alexander Mann was born in Glasgow, Scotland on 22 January 1853. He died in London on 26 January 1908. He is buried in Blewbury Church, Oxfordshire.
The second son of James Mann, merchant and collector, he took drawing lessons from the age of ten with Robert Greenlees (1820–94) and then attended evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art, where Greenlees was headmaster.
In 1877 he went to Paris and enrolled at the Académie Julian, and then studied under Mihály Munkácsy and from 1881 to 1885 under Carolus-Duran. From 1883-93 Mann exhibited in London at the Royal Academy, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Fine Art Society, New Gallery, Ridley Art Club, New English Art Club and Society of British Artists, a society that appointed James McNeill Whistler its President in 1886. At the same year he was invited to become the first Scottish member of the New English Art Club and was joined by several of his friends, notably John Lavery, Thomas Millie Dow of the Glasgow Boys and Norman Garstin.
Influenced by the Hague school and by Jules Bastien-Lepage, his picture A Bead Stringer, Venice gained an honorable mention at the Salon in 1885. After a public controversy over this painting when it was exhibited at the Royal Glasgow Institute, Mann settled in England, at West Hagbourne, Berkshire, and later in the neighboring village of Blewbury, where he painted a series of views of the Downs and portraits of country people. Mann traveled extensively in Britain, paying several visits to the coast in Angus and Fife, and to Walberswick, Suffolk.
His travels also covered Europe and the Americas. A visit to Venice in 1884 was Alexander's first artistic venture beyond Britain and the immediate environs of Paris; this was followed by a voyage to the Caribbean and the Southern States of America, perhaps inspired by American artist friend in Paris. From 1890 to 1892 he lived with his family in Tangiers. Later he travelled to Madrid through Southern Spain in 1892 accompanied by John Lavery, another alumnus of the Académie Julian.
He recorded his visits and ideas for studio compositions in sketchbooks, using photography as well to assist his memory of a subject. In 1895 Mann’s work was exhibited in London at the Barbican and in Dublin at the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art. But he preferred to "live away from the haunts of other artists" because the relative prosperity which he owed to his family made it unnecessary to pay much attention to exhibition institutions, patrons and dealers.
In 1893 he was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. Today he is regarded as one of the Glasgow Boys although he was never an active member.

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Paintings by Alexander Mann

Mederranian Village at Sunset
A Touch of Autumn
Bringing Home the Catch
The Lonely Road
The Gleaners
Portrait of a Girl with Long Hair
Pine Trees near the Castle Vento
Mary,  The Artist's Daughter
The Sheepfold
The Shipwrite's Daughter
Tangier from the Dunes

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Facts about New York City

Facts about New York City
Known by many nicknames, including the "Empire State" and "The Big Apple," New York City is one of the most important places in the world. As one of the largest and most diverse cities, New York is home to many famous and talented people. Over its long history, New Yorkers have filled the city with thousands of important landmarks. Additionally, because New York City is home to so many cultural attractions, millions of visitors flock there annually to experience the city first hand. All of these factors lead many people to consider New York the finest city on Earth, and simply call it "The City" to demonstrate its greatness.
New York City
New York City has a long and interesting history, stretching almost 400 years. It has changed greatly over this time, from its primitive state as a forest to the skyscraper-filled city it is today. It is interesting to consider what New York City will look like in another 400 years.
The city was originally called New Amsterdam.

While the official seal of the city proclaims that New York City was founded in 1625, many historians argue that the first settlers arrived in 1624.

Most of the initial colonists were Dutch and they were fleeing the religious persecution of the Spanish Inquisition.

Chief among the goals of the settlers was the development of a fur-trading post. This is why beavers are on the New York City seal.

The first settlers established their camp on Governor's Island. The next year, they set out to colonize lower Manhattan.

In 1626, Peter Minuit purchased the land from Native Americans.

Painting: Peter Minuit Purchasing Land From The Natives

The Island of Manhattan derives its name from the Native American tribe that lived in the area, called the Mannahatta.

Initially, Manhattan was little more than a cattle pasture.

By the beginning of the 20th Century, the population of New York City was over 3 million.

The oldest standing building in New York City is the Wyckoff Farmhouse. It was originally built in 1652.

Wyckoff Farmhouse

From 1789 to 1790, New York City was the national capital of the U.S.

The first U.S. president, George Washington was took the oath of office in Fraunces Tavern, a building which still exists today. It is the oldest tavern in the country.

Fraunces Tavern

Alexander Hamilton was killed in a dual with Aaron Burr. He is buried in the cemetery of Trinity Church (Episcopal) which faces Wall Street.

Alexander Hamilton's Tombstone

Size and Population
New York City is a busy, crowded metropolis. Known as a "Melting Pot," it is home to people from virtually every country in the world. This combination of different cultures gives New York City its unique charm and makes it like no other place.
According to the 2012 census, New York City has a population of over 8 million. This represents more than one-third of the entire state's population.

Almost half of the city's residents over the age of 5 speak a language besides English.

The population of the entire metro New York City area is close to 12 million.

New York City is home to more women than men. Approximately 52 percent of the residents are female.

New York City's population is approximately 44 percent white, 25 percent African American, 28 percent Hispanic, and 12 percent Asian. People with Pacific Island or Native American heritage make up most of the remainder. These percentages add up to more than 100 percent, because many people have mixed ancestry.

Approximately one-third of all New York City residents live at or below the poverty line.

Approximately 6 percent of New York City residents have an income that is more than 10 times the poverty level.

New York has approximately 50,000 homeless people.

New York City is not very big. The entire city is approximately 300 square miles in size.

New York City is the most densely populated major city in the United States.

New York City is divided into five different boroughs, or neighborhoods. They are Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Normally home to about 1.5 million residents, Manhattan's population nearly doubles during the work week, when an additional 1.5 million commuters come to the island.

Famous Landmarks
Over the years, artists, architects and elected officials have constructed many noteworthy structures in the city of New York. Others were constructed elsewhere and moved to the city, such as the Statue of Liberty. Some of the most noteworthy buildings in the world including the Empire State Building call New York home.
The Empire State Building was the world's tallest structure from its construction in 1931 until 1972.

Empire State Building

In addition to the Empire State Building, many notable sky scrapers were built in New York City, including the Woolworth Building, the New York Life Building, the new World Trade Center and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower.

The New World Trade Center Building

Central Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world. Encompassing over 800 acres, the park draws over 35 million annual visitors.

Bethesda Fountain in Central Park

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France and opened in New York Harbor in 1886.

Statue of Liberty

The Brooklyn Bridge was the first steel wire suspension bridge constructed, and the first to include electric lighting. It spans the East River to connect Brooklyn with Manhattan.

Brooklyn Bridge

Manhattan is home to the first commodity market in the world, called the New York Cotton Exchange, as well as the largest securities exchange in the world: the New York Stock Market.

The Staten Island Ferry moves across the Hudson River, so it may not qualify as a landmark, but it attracts thousands of annual visitors.

The Staten Island Ferry

Times Square, which is sometimes known as the "Center of the Universe," is one of the most iconic and popular places in New York City- especially on New Year's Eve!

Times Square, New Year's Eve

Broadway is the longest street in New York City.

Although there are many theaters in New York City, the theaters on Broadway are among the finest in the world.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral (Roman Catholic) and The Cathedral of Saint John the Devine (Episcopalian) are architectural masterpieces and often attended the faithful.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral

 Cathedral of St. John the Devine

Famous People from NYC
Because so many people live in the city, it should be no surprise that many famous people live in New York City. New York is the cultural, business, and entertainment center for the world and this is where the best of the best choose to live. On any given day, you may encounter celebrities on the street, the subway, or at a restaurant.
New York City is home to many entertainers, including living legends such as Denzel Washington, Robert De Niro, Spike Lee, and Tommy Lee Jones.

Michael Jordan, Joe Namath, and Vince Lombardi were all New Yorkers at one point in time.

New York City was home to some of the greatest minds in history, including physicists Richard Feynman and Robert Oppenheimer as well as author Carl Sagan.

Many music legends hail from New York City, including Billy Joel and Ira Gershwin.

Current musicians, such as Christina Aguilera, 50 Cent, and Lady Gaga were born in New York City as well.

Lucile Ball was born in Jamestown but moved to New York City.

Both President Theodore Roosevelt and President Franklin Roosevelt were born in New York.

New York City is home to some of the world's funniest people like Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy and Jerry Seinfeld.

Any city with the nickname of "Gotham" must have its share of famous criminals, and New York City has plenty of them. Al Capone, Billy the Kid, and David Berkowitz were all from New York City.
New York hosts many events and attractions that draw people from all over the world. From sporting events to theater productions, New York City is one of the most entertaining places on Earth. New York City is also home to world-class zoos, amusement parks, and museums as well.
Ellis Island was the location where immigrants entered the United States, but today the island houses a museum dedicated to teaching early immigration policies and procedures to visitors.

Rockefeller Center, the site from which the television shows Saturday Night Live and Today are popular tourist destinations.

Famous ethnic neighborhoods, such as Chinatown .and Little Italy, are favorites among visitors.


 Little Italy

The New York City Marathon draws up to 50,000 runners annually, and travels through all five boroughs.

Famous scenes from movies and television programs abound in New York City. Many visitors enjoy visiting the places where FriendsLaw and Order, and Seinfeld were filmed.

Many people visit New York City exclusively for the nightlife. Hundreds of restaurants, theaters, and nightclubs fill the city.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim Museum and The Museum of Modern Art are two of the finest  art museums in the world and displays important pieces from around the globe.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Guggenheim

The Museum of Modern Art 

Coney Island has a number of fun attractions, including roller coasters and other thrill rides.

The Bronx Zoo is one of the finest zoos in the country and has been instrumental in the survival of many rare species. The New York Aquarium, located on Coney Island, provides visitors with the opportunity to see sea creatures up close.

The New York Botanical Gardens allow residents and visitors to see numerous examples of beautiful plants and flowers.

The New York Botanical Gardens

Other Attractions

Washinton Square

Picasso Statue

Yankee Stadium

The United Nations Building

The Bronx Zoo

The American Museum of Natural History

New York is well known for its incredible food. The diversity of the population of the city has truly created a melting pot of cuisine. Visitors can find food from hundreds of different countries within a few city blocks, as well as dine in some of the finest restaurants in the world.
Many authorities consider New York Pizza the best in the world. According to most experienced pizza chefs, the municipal water in the city that is used to make the crust is better than any other water in the world.

New York is home to nine of the top 100 restaurants in the world, according to  Restaurant  magazine.

Thousands of mobile food carts provide quick, affordable, and delicious meals to New Yorkers on the go.

Many neighborhoods are renowned for a different type of food. For example, Chinatown is well known for its Chinese food while Little Italy is home to several famous Italian restaurants.

Drinks like the Bloody Mary and the Manhattan Special are rumored to have been invented in New York City.

The ice cream cone, pasta primavera and eggs benedict were all invented in New York City.

Famous street foods available in New York City include hot dogs, pretzels, falafel, tacos and Italian ices.

Eastern European Jewish communities invented delicatessens, often called delis, in New York City.

The headquarters for several national food businesses are in New York City, including Blimpie, Yoo-hoo, Sbarro, and Haagen-Dazs.

Many of New York City's restaurants rank among the most expensive in the world. Some cost patrons an average of $400 or more per person.

Other New York City Attractions