" The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is. "
George Bernard Shaw

Back in the day


Sir Francis Drake Circumnavigates the Globe

In 1577, Drake set out with five ships to raid Spanish holdings on the Pacific coast of the New World. He abandoned two ships in South America, and, with the remaining three, navigated the Straits of Magellan, becoming the first Englishman to make the passage. After one ship was destroyed and another returned to England, Drake continued alone. He crossed the Pacific, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at Plymouth with an abundance of treasure that he had mostly acquired where?



Woodblock Printing

Even after the invention of movable type in the mid-15th century, some European printers continued to use engraved wooden blocks, one for each page, to print their books. These European block books were the first Western examples of printed book illustration. However, woodblock printing—developed in China by the 9th century—has a richer history in the East, since the vast number of Chinese characters made printing from movable type exceedingly difficult. What are the most famous block books?

Born on a day like today


Saint Francis of Assisi

The patron saint of animals, Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian monk canonized as a saint in 1228. Born into a wealthy family, he was a soldier and prisoner of war before he experienced a conversion in his early 20s. He sold his property, gave the money to the church, and began a life of poverty and devoutness. He soon attracted followers and became the founder of the Franciscan order of friars. Catholics believe that Saint Francis was the first person to exhibit stigmata, which are what?

Last updated on Sunday, 26th September 2010

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