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History of Valentine’s Day – American holidays

By |2018-04-24T10:38:17+00:00August 14th, 2017|North America, Religion|

A Valentine from Charles, duke of Orleans, to his wife in 1415 AD The Roman Lupercalia The earliest holiday that might conceivably have something to do with Valentine's Day is the Roman Lupercalia. And the fashion for people singing Valentines verses to each other may have started earlier in the Middle Ages. Chaucer and [...]

Puritans – American religion

By |2017-08-14T15:33:52+00:00August 14th, 2017|Modern Europe, North America, Religion|

A Puritan family about 1563 About 1563 AD, some people in England decided that they wanted to follow a way of life that they thought would be more according to what the Christian God wanted. They called themselves "the godly", but other people called them "Puritans." Puritan people, like Calvinists, thought only God decided whether you got into Heaven. [...]

Thomas Paine – American Philosophy

By |2017-08-14T13:00:34+00:00August 14th, 2017|North America, Philosophy|

Thomas Paine (by Matthew Pratt, about 1790) In the late 1700s AD, around the same time that Voltaire, du Chatelet, and Rousseau were writing philosophy in France, and Hume was writing in England, Thomas Paine was writing philosophy in America. Paine was born in England, and his father was a Quaker, and owned a small business. Young Paine didn't go to [...]

Sojourner Truth – African-American freedom

By |2018-04-07T17:05:48+00:00August 14th, 2017|History, North America|

Sojourner Truth Sojourner Truth didn't know where her people came from, because she was born into slavery. But it was probably West Africa or the Congo. She may have been part Native American. Sojourner Truth was born Isabella Baumfree in New York State, in 1797, just after the Revolutionary War. She had about ten brothers and sisters; they [...]

Restoration England – British history

By |2018-04-24T10:40:56+00:00August 14th, 2017|History, Modern Europe|

Charles II of England Oliver Cromwell tried to leave his job as Lord Protector to his son Richard when he died in 1658, but Richard was so useless that two years later Parliament invited Charles I's son, Charles II, to come be king in England after all: historians call this the Restoration, because it restored the [...]

American revolutionary war – American history

By |2017-11-24T00:16:11+00:00August 14th, 2017|History, North America|

English soldiers search a settler's house (1770s) In 1763 AD England won the French and Indian War against France (which had been fought mainly in North America), and so the English-speaking settlers on the East Coast could stop worrying that they were about to be taken over by France. To pay for that war, the English government began to [...]

Thirteen states – American history

By |2017-08-12T09:44:31+00:00August 12th, 2017|History, North America|

The first English settlement at Jamestown in 1607 The first European people who came to the east coast of North America, in the 1600s and 1700s, came for many different reasons, so their settlements were very different from each other. The earliest successful settlement was in Florida, in 1565 AD, when Spanish explorers founded the [...]

European religion – history of religion

By |2018-04-24T09:16:15+00:00August 7th, 2017|Modern Europe, Religion|

Catholic monks and nuns In 1500 AD, most people in Europe were Christians. A fair number of Europeans were Jewish, and some were Muslims, especially in Eastern Europe. The Christians were split into two big groups - the Orthodox Christians, who mainly lived in Eastern Europe, and the Catholics, who mainly lived in Western Europe. During the [...]