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Exactly 800 years ago on Sunday, in a field next to what is now the airport of Lille, a battle was fought which determined the history of England. Today few people in the UK have heard of Bouvines. It has none of the ring of an Agincourt or a Crecy. Probably that is because England […]

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Boris Pasternak’s famous novel Doctor Zhivago remained unpublished in the USSR until 1988, because of its implicit criticism of the Soviet system. But for the same reason, the CIA wanted Soviets to read the book, and arranged the first-ever publication in Russian. BBC News – How the CIA secretly published Dr Zhivago

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Christopher Columbus’ flagship may have been found An underwater archaeological search may have discovered the Santa Maria, the flagship of Christopher Columbus when he sailed across the Atlantic reaching the New World in 1492.

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When banquets were dangerous for the soul In the Middle Ages, wedding banquets were extremely common and popular rituals. Eating and drinking together were the basic public expression of marriage: the most widely accepted, the most genuinely shared. There are many reasons that lie behind this success, but if we should summarise them in one […]

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Paris history: The construction of the Pont Neuf. The invention of Paris began with a bridge. Today, people simply flash an image of the Eiffel Tower to evoke Paris instantly. It’s the monument that offers immediate proof that you are looking at the City of Light. In the 17th century, the Eiffel Tower’s role was played […]

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Inuit scene on $2 bill has a dark, storied history | CBC Radio If you’re a Canadian of a certain age, you’ve likely seen the Idlout family. In fact, you’ve probably carried them around in your back pocket. The reason: they’re featured on the back of the 1974 two-dollar bill. The story behind this image […]

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BBC News – Natural History Museum receives £5m donation The Natural History Museum’s Central Hall is to be renamed following a £5m donation from philanthropists Sir Michael and Lady Hintze. The gift from the London-based couple is the biggest single donation the museum has received in its 133 years. To mark it, the museum’s cathedral-like hall, […]

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The Independent | World War 1 Centenary | A history of the First World War How do you remember a war that destroyed four empires, killed 18 million people and left tens of millions of other lives irreparably broken? Today, as the world prepares to mark the centenary of a conflict that left no corner […]

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BBC News – The riddle of the Voynich Manuscript The puzzling – and thus far indecipherable – nature of an old manuscript has confounded some of the world’s greatest cryptologists. Is there truly a code to break, or is it all an elaborate hoax?

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Thousands of Historic Maps Released by New York Public Library | History Today The New York Public Library has released over 20,000 maps and cartographic works into the public domain under a Creative Commons licence. The documents, most of them hi-res, are hosted by the NYPL’s Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division, and are available for download […]