The boyars were members of the upper nobility in Russia from the 10th through the 17th century. Their military support of the Kievan princes initially earned them influence and government posts, but soon land ownership became the main source of their power and prestige. The boyars continued to advise the prince through a council, but as the Moscow grand princes consolidated their power, their influence was gradually eroded until which czar abolished the rank and title of boyar?
W. Somerset Maugham
Back in the day
Tell is a famous Swiss folk hero who is remembered in a 15th-century chronicle as an expert marksman who assassinated a tyrannical Austrian governor. According to the legend, the governor of Tell's Swiss canton hung his hat on a stake and ordered all the townsfolk to bow to it whenever they passed. When Tell refused, he was ordered to shoot an apple off his son's head with a crossbow as punishment. He succeeded and later escaped imprisonment to kill the governor—an event that led to what?
Born on a day like today
Nordenskiöld was a Finnish-born Swedish geologist, mineralogist, geographer, and explorer who wrote several valuable books on geography, cartography, and travel. In 1858, he settled in Stockholm and became professor and curator of mineralogy at the Swedish State Museum. He led several expeditions to the Arctic island of Spitsbergen between 1864 and 1873 and later became the first to sail from Norway to Alaska through the Northeast Passage. He was also the first to break through what ice barrier?