The Cultural Revolution

Like much of China, the Cultural Revolution (known more officially as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution) is mired in mystery and intrigue. Few would recognize – let alone fathom – that almost 45 million Chinese (estimates vary from 30 to 45 million) died during a period of roughly twenty years between the Great Leap Forward in…

400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is eminent for being one of the most influential writers in Western literature but remains a figure of many mysteries. We know for example that he was born and baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon, northwest of London, but the exact date of his birth is still very much an unknown. For a man who was so…

The First Modern Olympic Games

As we prepare to be dazzled by the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in a few months, it is an opportune moment to recall the first modern Olympic games of 1896. The first official modern Olympic games, held in Athens, greatly contrast the multi-billion dollar sporting celebration that the Olympics has become. It…

The Boston Massacre

The Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770, foreshadowed the American War of Independence of 1776 and set in motion great unrest in the Thirteen Colonies against King George III (1738-1820) and the British in general. Other events would contribute to the rise of revolutionary spirit in Massachusetts, but the massacre in Boston was certainly an important spark….

The Battle of Verdun 1916

The Battle of Verdun is rightly considered one of the more horrendous and lengthiest battles in history. Lasting almost 10 months between February and December 1916, the Battle of Verdun cost an estimated 700,000-800,000 casualties (dead, wounded, and missing) in an area no larger than 10 square kilometres. The German assault which commenced on February…

Galileo Galilei Summoned to the Roman Inquisition

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) has rightly been considered to be one of the greatest scientists in history. Best known for his revolutionary seventeenth-century theories of celestial motion, holding the view that planets were not fixed in space in which all other planetary bodies revolved around it  but, in fact, planets revolved around the sun (a theory…

The Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster

The Challenger space shuttle disaster of January 28, 1986, forever changed NASA and the space industry. The disaster not only claimed the lives of seven astronauts (including what would have been the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe) but grounded the American space industry for two years, opening the industry to considerable scrutiny. Challenger’s fateful…

Captain Cook and the Antarctic Circle

The legend that is Captain James Cook is well known to many. The 18th-century explorer and navigator led remarkable achievements in mapping of the Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific. His mapping radically shaped western perceptions of the world and inspired many explorers in his wake. Cook’s fabled death in Hawaii continues to be told…

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year

On behalf of the e-Storia blog, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all Happy Holidays and a New Year filled with happiness and health. I appreciated each and every person who visits this site, and I thank you for your support and following. I hope the New Year will be a…

Global Travel Time in 1914

I have come across a fascinating article from the Economist’s Intelligent Life magazine this week by Simon Willis. We often take for granted how accessible the world has become since the advent of the jet age. Even the world’s longest commercial flight in 2015 is still under 20 hours non-stop. But how often do we…

The 13th Amendment and the Abolition of Slavery

The 13th Amendment holds a special and prominent place in American history. Initially passed by the U.S. Congress on January 31, 1865, and later ratified on December 6, 1865, the 13th amendment committed America to abolishing slavery.  The Amendment would state: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party…

Centenary of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity

Few would deny that Albert Einstein’s very name has become synonymous with genius. Janos Plesch, Einstein’s friend, once said: “He sleeps until he is awakened; he stays awake until he is told to go to bed; he will go hungry until he is given something to eat; and then he eats until he is stopped.” (1)…

Martin Luther’s 95 Theses Remembered

Today we remember Martin Luther, a priest and scholar, who, on October 31, 1517, on the doors of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany, nailed his 95 theses. Luther has been widely accepted as the father of the Protestant Reformation, but earlier attempts at reforming the Roman Catholic Church were made by a number…

The Iran-Iraq War, 1980-88

Weekend greetings to my fellow history buffs! This month commemorates 35 years since Iraq’s declaration of war against The Islamic Republic of Iran in September of 1980. The Iran-Iraq war is the longest conventional war of the 20th century and, having lasted 8 years, cost upwards of 1 million lives and billions of dollars in damage…

In Support of #Unite4Heritage

The world has long watched with shock and disgust as some of the worlds most precious cultural treasures and heritage sites have been destroyed or controlled by barbaric and extremist forces, destructive ideologies, and conflict zones. Some of civilizations greatest heritage sites in places like Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan among others still face imminent threat…

70 Years After Hiroshima and Nagasaki

This past week marked an ominous, momentous and transformational event of the twentieth century that few would deny has narrated and punctuated the past 70 years of warfare in the modern age. Few events during the Second World War (and since) capture our collective imagination, fear and horror as much as the atomic bombing of…

The Siege of Belgrade, 1456

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 victory defending the fortress at Belgrade (then Nándorfehérvár as…

The Srebrenica Massacre

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…