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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 [...]

The Inuit and Canadian history

By |2017-11-09T18:05:58+00:00August 13th, 2017|History, Native American|

An Inuit village in 1575 AD In 1500 AD, the Inuit weren't doing so well. They had been buying steel and iron weapons from Vikings and East Asian traders. They used their good weapons to hunt whales, and they lived on whale meat and built houses of whalebone. That was still working in Alaska. But in Greenland, the [...]

American government after the Civil War

By |2017-08-12T07:44:44+00:00August 12th, 2017|Government, North America|

J. Rainey, first black congressman After the Civil War, in 1865, the United States changed its Constitution to make slavery illegal. For a few years, black people were able to vote. Black men served in Congress. But soon northern people lost interest in helping the black people. Racist white people forced the black people to stop voting [...]

Simone de Beauvoir – European philosophy

By |2018-04-24T09:15:35+00:00August 6th, 2017|Modern Europe, Philosophy|

Simone de Beauvoir Simone de Beauvoir's family lost most of their money after World War I. But by the early 1900s, even struggling families tried to send their daughters to school. De Beauvoir and her sister went to a good convent school. De Beauvoir thought of becoming a nun. But when she was 14 years old, [...]

Mary Astell – European philosophy

By |2018-04-08T11:14:25+00:00August 6th, 2017|Modern Europe, Philosophy|

Mary Astell Unlike the slightly older Masham, and most other Enlightenment philosophers, Mary Astell was not from a really rich family. She grew up in England. Like other girls in the 1600s AD, Astell never went to school, though her family spent most of their savings to send her younger brother to school. When her parents [...]

Europe’s economy in the 1800s

By |2018-04-16T10:32:28+00:00August 4th, 2017|Economy, Modern Europe|

A British merchant ship in the Caribbean, in the 1860s By 1800 AD, France, Britain, and Spain were all getting rich. They used their strong armies and navies to take wood, food, and cotton from other countries without paying for them. France was taking things from West Africa and Haiti. Britain was taking stuff from India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. [...]

Roger Bacon – Medieval science

By |2018-04-24T08:21:21+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Science|

Roger Bacon's diagram of a human eye Roger Bacon was born in England maybe about 1210 AD. It was late in the reign of King John. (That's the one in Robin Hood.) England was just beginning to get richer from raising and selling high quality wool cloth on the Silk Road. In addition, a warmer climate - the Medieval Warm period - was making [...]

Christian monks – Medieval Europe – What is a monk?

By |2018-11-13T13:57:07+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Christian monks: A monk shaving another  monk What is a monk? Sometimes when a little boy seemed especially smart, his parents would take him to a monastery and leave him there to be taken care of by the monks and educated, and when he grew up he would become a monk. One example [...]

Medieval School – Europe

By |2018-04-11T09:19:36+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval, People|

Clerks in the Manessa Codex (1300 AD) In medieval Europe, even fewer kids went to school than in the Roman Empire. People were poorer, and kids had to work in the fields weeding and harvesting and taking care of pigs and chickens. Most people never learned to read or write. Richer people often home-schooled their children, especially girls and children [...]