" Perfection is a trifle dull. It is not the least of life's ironies that this, which we all aim at, is better not quite achieved. "
W. Somerset Maugham

Back in the day


Sweden Defeated at the Battle of Poltava

At the Battle of Poltava, the most famous battle of the Great Northern War, Peter I of Russia defeated Charles XII of Sweden and effectively ended Sweden's role as a major European power. When the battle began, Peter had 45,000 men to Charles' 20,000. Making matters worse for Sweden, Charles was wounded during a siege before the actual battle and had to turn over command to Field Marshal Carl Gustav Rehnskiöld. What did the Russians do with their Swedish prisoners?



Giuseppe Mazzini

Mazzini was an Italian patriot, revolutionist, and an outstanding figure of the Risorgimento, the era of nationalism and activism that led to Italy's unification. In his youth, he devoted himself to literary and philosophical studies and later joined the Carbonari, a secret society with political purposes. He was imprisoned, went into exile, and founded Giovine Italia, a secret society that pushed for a united Italian republic. How did Mazzini's contributions factor into the formation of the EU?

Born on a day like today


Ferdinand, Graf von Zeppelin

Count von Zeppelin was a German army officer and airship inventor and builder. In 1891, he retired from the Prussian army to devote himself to the building of motor-driven airships. He invented the first rigid airship in 1900, and in 1906, built one that reached speeds of 30 mi (48 km) per hour. Public opinion was so strongly in favor of the project that the second version of his airship was entirely financed through donations and a lottery. What disaster in 1937 put an end to airship use?

Last updated on Sunday, 8th July 2007

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