" And yet self-knowledge is thought by some not so easy. Who knows, my dear sir, but for a time you may have taken yourself for somebody else? Stranger things have happened. "
Herman Melville

Back in the day


Mary I Begins Reign as Queen of England

After King Henry VIII divorced her mother, Catherine of Aragon, and married Anne Boleyn, Mary was declared illegitimate and lost her place in the line of succession. In 1553, her granddaughter, Lady Jane Grey, was deposed following a nine-day reign, and Mary—restored to the line of succession in 1544—became queen. She restored Roman Catholicism to England, but the resulting persecution of Protestants and the execution of some 300 heretics earned her the hatred of her subjects and what nickname?



Albanian Sworn Virgins

In parts of northern Albania, families follow a code of ethics called Kanun. This code allows women to take a vow to remain virgins for life. In return, they are treated as men in society. Once the vow is taken, Albanian sworn virgins dress like men, do traditional men's work, and are even referred to with masculine pronouns. Women who take the vow are said to do so for various reasons, including to avoid an arranged marriage. How many sworn virgins are thought to remain in Albania?

Born on a day like today


Samuel Colt

Colt patented his revolving-breech pistol in 1836, but the six-shooter was slow to gain acceptance, and his company failed in 1842. However, a US government order for 1,000 pistols during the Mexican War allowed Colt to resume its manufacture in 1847. Colt advanced the development of interchangeable parts and the assembly line, and his revolvers, including the famous Colt .45, became so popular that the word "Colt" was sometimes used as a generic term for any revolver. What else did Colt invent?

Last updated on Monday, 19th July 2010

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