Have you ever wondered why most Christian (i.e. Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) churches ring their bells at noon every day? Pope Callixtus III (1455-1458) ordered the bells of every European church to be rung every day at noon, as a call to pray for the Hungarian and crusader army victory defending the fortress at Belgrade (then Nándorfehérvár […]Read more "The Siege of Belgrade 1456"
This past week marked 20 years since the Srebrenica massacre. More than 8,000 predominately Bosniak Muslims were killed by the Bosnian Serb Army under the command of Ratko Mladic (a war criminal currently on trial in the Hague). The context in which the horrors of the Srebrenica massacre occur may be traced partially to the […]Read more "The Srebrenica Massacre"
The sheer number of historical anniversaries and commemorations in 2015 has certainly kept me busy. Today marks the bicentenary (200 years) since the world-changing Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815, which pitted the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte against the Duke of Wellington and allied forces. In terms of significance, the Battle of Waterloo decisively […]Read more "Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo"
Most have heard of the Magna Carta and its dominant role in placing the English king under the law, but also outlining a number of fundamental rights and liberties that still resonate 800 years after is signing by King John on June 15, 1215 in a meadow at Runnymede. The Magna Carta was a crucial […]Read more "Magna Carta 800th Anniversary"
On June 12, 1987 President Ronald Reagan, standing before the iconic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin with the Berlin Wall looming behind him, issued his famous challenge to the leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” President Reagan’s words that day have been credited with placing considerable pressure on the Soviet […]Read more "Remembering Ronald Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall” Speech"
Great cities, and great landscapes, are often defined by mighty rivers. These rivers can serve as borders, linkages between people and cultures, and as a timeline of a nation’s history thereby marking its transition and development. Few rivers yield more of an influence to the story of Canada than the St. Lawrence River, and its […]Read more "Jacques Cartier and the discovery of the St. Lawrence River"
Human history is very much about documenting challenges to the limits of the human body, mind and spirit. Few adventures are more grueling and gripping to the imagination that scaling Mount Everest, our planets highest peak. On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary and a Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, reached the summit of the 29,028-foot (8,848-metre) Mount […]Read more "Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Reach the Summit of Everest 62 years ago today"