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Rare Viking Ship Lies Buried in Norway, Radar Suggests

March 25, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

Archaeologists have found what they believe is a buried Viking-era ship in a region of Norway that is already famous for its wealth of Viking treasures.

Using ground-penetrating radar (also known as GPR, or geo-radar), a team of experts spotted the vessel-shaped irregularity in the soil of Borre National Park in Vestfold County, located about 100 km south of Oslo. The evidence suggests it is a ship burial, a Viking practice in which ships buried on land served as tombs for high-ranking individuals.

“The GPR data clearly show the shape of a ship, and we can see weak traces of a circular depression around the vessel,” said Terje Gansum, leader of Vestfold’s department for cultural heritage management, in a statement reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP).‘’This could point to the existence of a mound that was later removed.”

Borre Park is the largest burial mound site in Northern Europe, and contains the most Viking graves of any site in Norway. The new find is located near a museum dedicated to local Viking heritage. Of the seven Viking Age ship burials found in Europe, three of them are located in Vestfold County, including the famed Oseburg ship, excavated in 1904.

Ships played a vital role in in the lives and livelihoods of the Vikings, allowing them to spread across Europe and the world in the centuries spanning A.D. 800 to 1050. According to Norse mythology, the vessels also symbolized a safe passage into the afterlife for their dead. Ship burials were reserved for kings, queens and other prominent Vikings, who were placed in their seaworthy tombs along with a lavish array of grave goods. These ranged from weapons and jewelry to animal remains and even—in some grisly cases—human sacrifices.

Before this most recent find, researchers had used ground-penetrating radar to uncover another rare Viking ship in 2018, along with burial mounds and longhouses. The 66-foot-high vessel was found buried under a farm field located alongside a freeway in Jellestad in southeastern Norway. Scientists were able to create a digital model of the vessel, dubbed the Jellestad ship.

Gansum said that scientists have no plans to unearth the new ship burial found in Vestfold, but will use non-invasive methods to investigate it further.

Life of a Viking (TV-PG; 2:23)

READ MORE: Massive Rare Viking Ship Revealed by Radar

…read more

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How the Horrific Tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Led to Workplace Safety Laws

March 25, 2019 in History

By Patrick J. Kiger

The tragedy of the 1911 blaze shocked the nation and spurred dozens of new regulations to protect factory workers.

Young women became trapped by tables, bulky equipment and doors that locked or opened the wrong way as flames enveloped the eighth, ninth and 10th floors of the Asche Building in New York City’s Greenwich Village on March 25, 1911. As people struggled to escape, several fell into the flames, their bodies piling by blocked exits. Others leapt—in twos and threes—out the burning building’s high windows.

The March 25, 1911 . “They moved production out of NYC in 1909 to avoid the strike, hired thugs to beat writers and most likely bribed the police to arrest strikers.”

Triangle Factory’s Fire Safety: Empty Water Buckets

On the afternoon of March 25, a Saturday, 500 people were working in Triangle’s factory, which occupied three floors in a building that had been built just 10 years before. Court testimony later placed the blame for the blaze on a fire that started in a fabric scrap bin on the eighth floor, which probably was ignited by a discarded cigarette, shortly before the factory’s 4 pm closing time.

Triangle had water buckets in place for extinguishing fires, a common practice in garment factories at the time. But as one worker, Mary Domsky-Abrams, later recalled in an early 1960s interview with author Leon Stein, the buckets were empty. “On that particular morning, the day of the tragedy, I remarked to my colleagues that the buckets were empty, and that if anything were to happen, they would be of no use,” she said.

Another worker, Cecilia Walker Friedman, who worked on the ninth floor, said that she was ready to leave work when she looked to the window and saw flames. Everyone around her started to scream and holler, but many were hindered in getting away. “The girls at the machines began to climb up on the machine tables, maybe because it was that they were frightened or maybe they thought they could run to the elevator doors on top of the machines,” Friedman said. “The aisles were narrow and blocked by the chairs and baskets. They began to fall in the fire.

The gutted remains of the tenth floor, with only the floors and walls intact.

Firefighters eventually found a six-foot-high pile of bodies jammed up against a door to the back stairway, according to …read more

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Fire kills 146 at Triangle Shirtwaist factory

March 25, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

In one of the most infamous incidents in America’s industrial history, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burns down on this day in 1911, killing 146 workers. The tragedy led to the development of a series of laws and regulations that better protected the safety of factory workers.

The Triangle factory, owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, was located in the top three floors of the Asch Building, on the corner of Greene Street and Washington Place, in Manhattan. It was a true sweatshop, employing young immigrant women who worked in a cramped space at lines of sewing machines. Nearly all the workers were teenaged girls who did not speak English and made only about $15 per week working 12 hours a day, every day. In 1911, there were four elevators with access to the factory floors, but only one was fully operational and the workers had to file down a long, narrow corridor in order to reach it. There were two stairways down to the street, but one was locked from the outside to prevent stealing and the other only opened inward. The fire escape was so narrow that it would have taken hours for all the workers to use it, even in the best of circumstances.

The danger of fire in factories like the Triangle Shirtwaist was well-known, but high levels of corruption in both the garment industry and city government generally ensured that no useful precautions were taken to prevent fires. The Triangle Shirtwaist factory’s owners were known to be particularly anti-worker in their policies and had played a critical role in breaking a large strike by workers the previous year.

On March 25, a Saturday afternoon, there were 600 workers at the factory when a fire began in a rag bin. The manager attempted to use the fire hose to extinguish it, but was unsuccessful, as the hose was rotted and its valve was rusted shut. As the fire grew, panic ensued. The young workers tried to exit the building by the elevator but it could hold only 12 people and the operator was able to make just four trips back and forth before it broke down amid the heat and flames. In a desperate attempt to escape the fire, the girls left behind waiting for the elevator plunged down the shaft to their deaths. The girls who fled via the …read more

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Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Kills 146 in New York City

March 25, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

In one of the darkest moments of America’s industrial history, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burns down, killing 146 workers, on this day in 1911. The tragedy led to the development of a series of laws and regulations that better protected the safety of factory workers.

The Triangle factory, owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, was located in the top three floors of the 10-story Asch Building in downtown Manhattan. It was a sweatshop in every sense of the word: a cramped space lined with work stations and packed with poor immigrant workers, mostly teenaged women who did not speak English. At the time of the fire, there were four elevators with access to the factory floors, but only one was fully operational and it could hold only 12 people at a time. There were two stairways down to the street, but one was locked from the outside to prevent theft by the workers and the other opened inward only. The fire escape, as all would come to see, was shoddily constructed, and could not support the weight of more than a few women at a time.

Blanck and Harris already had a suspicious history of factory fires. The Triangle factory was twice scorched in 1902, while their Diamond Waist Company factory burned twice, in 1907 and in 1910. It seems that Blanck and Harris deliberately torched their workplaces before business hours in order to collect on the large fire-insurance policies they purchased, a not uncommon practice in the early 20th century. While this was not the cause of the 1911 fire, it contributed to the tragedy, as Blanck and Harris refused to install sprinkler systems and take other safety measures in case they needed to burn down their shops again.

Added to this delinquency were Blanck and Harris’ notorious anti-worker policies. Their employees were paid a mere $15 a week, despite working 12 hours a day, every day. When the International Ladies Garment Workers Union led a strike in 1909 demanding higher pay and shorter and more predictable hours, Blanck and Harris’ company was one of the few manufacturers who resisted, hiring police as thugs to imprison the striking women, and paying off politicians to look the other way.

On March 25, a Saturday afternoon, there were 600 workers at the factory when a fire broke out in a rag bin on the eighth floor. …read more

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This Enslaved Woman Sued for Her Freedom and Helped End Slavery in Massachusetts

March 22, 2019 in History

By Abigail Higgins


A portrait of Elizabeth Freeman, also known as Mum Bett, on display by the Massachusetts legislature in observance of Black History Month. She was the first female slave set free under the state constitution after she sued for her freedom in 1781.

In 1780, the proclamation “all men are born free and equal,” rang out from the central square in the small town of Sheffield in western Massachusetts. The line was from the state’s newly ratified constitution, read aloud for a proud public to hear. America’s war for independence was raging and, like the rest of the burgeoning country, the town was gripped by revolutionary fever.

But one woman who heard it wasn’t inspired—she was enraged. Elizabeth Freeman, then known only as “Bett,” was an enslaved woman who understood the irony in the declaration right away. As she watched the men around her declare freedom from oppressive rule, it only stood to reason that she should do the same.

Freeman marched, by some accounts immediately, to the house of Theodore Sedgwick, a prominent local lawyer, and demanded a dramatic accounting for the hypocrisy: she wanted to sue the state of Massachusetts for her freedom.

“I heard that paper read yesterday, that says all men are born equal and that every man has a right to freedom,” she said, “I am not a dumb critter; won’t the law give me my freedom?”

Perhaps surprisingly, Sedgwick agreed to represent her. Her trial the following year became what has been called “the trial of the century,” rocking not only Massachusetts but the entire institution of slavery.

“She was kind of the Rosa Parks of her time,” says David Levinson, author along with Emilie Piper of One Minute a Free Woman, a book about Freeman.

Slavery in America (TV-PG; 3:01)

Massachusetts occupied an odd place in the history of slavery. It was the first colony to legalize the practice and its residents were active in the slave trade.
What made it different, however, was that state law recognized enslaved people as both property and as persons— which meant they could prosecute the men who owned them, requiring they prove lawful ownership. By 1780, nearly 30 enslaved people had sued for their freedom on the basis of a variety of technicalities, such as a reneged promise of freedom or an illegal purchase.

Freeman’s case, however, was different. She didn’t seek her …read more

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Why the King James Bible of 1604 Remains the Most Popular Translation in History

March 22, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

Not only was it the first ‘people’s Bible,’ but its poetic cadences and vivid imagery have had an enduring influence on Western culture.

In 1604, England’s King James I authorized a new translation of the Bible aimed at settling some thorny religious differences in his kingdom—and solidifying his own power.

But in seeking to prove his own supremacy, King James ended up democratizing the Bible instead. Thanks to emerging printing technology, the new translation brought the Bible out of the church’s sole control and directly into the hands of more people than ever before, including the Protestant reformers who settled England’s North American colonies in the 17th century.

Emerging at a high point in the English Renaissance, the King James Bible held its own among some of the most celebrated literary works in the English language (think William Shakespeare). Its majestic cadences would inspire generations of artists, poets, musicians and political leaders, while many of its specific phrases worked their way into the fabric of the language itself.

Even now, more than four centuries after its publication, the King James Bible (a.k.a. the King James Version, or simply the Authorized Version) remains the most famous Bible translation in history—and one of the most printed books ever.

READ MORE: The Bible

King James I of England, 1621.

How the King James Bible came to be

When King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England in 1603, he was well aware that he was entering a sticky situation.

For one thing, his immediate predecessor on the throne, Queen Elizabeth I, had ordered the execution of his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, who had represented a Catholic threat to Elizabeth’s Protestant reign. And even though Elizabeth had established the supremacy of the Anglican Church (founded by her father, King Henry VIII), its bishops now had to contend with rebellious Protestant groups like the Puritans and Calvinists, who questioned their absolute power.

By the time James took the throne, many people in England at the time were hearing one version of the Bible when they went to church, but were reading from another when they were at home. While one version of Christianity’s holy texts—the so-called Bishops’ Bible—was read in churches, the most popular version among Protestant reformers in England at the time was the Geneva Bible, which had been created in that city by …read more

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China: Timeline

March 22, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

For as long as there have been civilized humans, there has been some form of China.

It’s hard to say how old Chinese culture actually is, but it’s one of the oldest that still has a presence in the modern world. Legends claim that the earliest rulers in China were the Xia Dynasty, from 2100 to 1600 B.C., with Yu as the first emperor, but there is little proof that the dynasty actually existed. Below is a timeline of one of the great cradles of civilization.

Shang Dynasty, Confucius

1600-1050 B.C.: Shang Dynasty - The earliest ruling dynasty of China to be established in recorded history, the Shang was headed by a tribal chief named Tan. The Shang era is marked by intellectual advances in astronomy and math.

551–479 B.C.: Confucius - The teacher, politician and philosopher was raised in poverty by his mother. He entered politics in 501 B.C. as a town governor after gaining attention as a teacher, but in 498 B.C. lived in exile to escape political enemies.

Returning to China around 483 B.C., Confucius devoted most of his time to teaching disciples his ideas (including, “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart,” and “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”) His ideas would become central to Chinese culture over time and endorsed by the government.

221-206 B.C.: Qin Dynasty - The Qin Dynasty, from which China derives its name (Qin is pronounced “Chin”), was the first official empire in its history. The Qins standardized regional written scripts into a single national one, establishing an imperial academy to oversee the translated texts.

Great Wall of China (TV-14; 2:14)

The Qin Dynasty created the first Asian superhighway, the 500-mile Straight Road, along the Ziwu Mountain range, and began work on the Great Wall by expanding the northern border wall.

Qin Emperor Ying Zheng created an elaborate underground complex at the foot of the Lishan Mountain, famously featuring 13,000 terracotta statues of warriors and horses.

The Silk Road, Paper and Guns

125 B.C.: The Silk Road - Following capture and escape during a mission for Emperor Wu, Zhang Qian returned after 13 years with a map of the ground he had covered. Reaching as far as Afghanistan, his maps were accurate and led to the international trade route the Silk Road.

105 A.D.: Paper and books …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Why Gen. Eisenhower Threatened to Quit Just Before D-Day

March 22, 2019 in History

By Patrick J. Kiger

Before the invasion, the Allied commander was at odds with air force officers and Churchill over a controversial plan.

As the Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe and leader of the D-Day invasion, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower became legendary for his ability to get officers and armies from different nations to work together to defeat Nazi Germany.

But if needed, he was also willing to take a more confrontational approach.

In fact, just a few months before the critical D-Day invasion, Eisenhower threatened to quit his command and go back to the United States. Eisenhower had been in heated talks with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill over a controversial plan to bomb the French railway and road system ahead of the Normandy invasion.

On June 6, 1944, more than 156,000 American, British and Canadian troops stormed 50 miles of Normandy’s fiercely defended beaches in northern France in an operation that proved to be a critical turning point in World War II.

View the 8 images of this gallery on the original article

READ MORE: D-Day: Facts on the Epic 1944 Invasion That Changed the Course of WWII

The so-called Transportation Plan, largely devised by British zoologist-turned-military strategist named Solly Zuckerman with the help of British Air Marshal Arthur Tedder, called for diverting Allied strategic bombers that had been hammering German industrial plants. Instead, Eisenhower wanted them to temporarily shift to a new mission—crippling the transportation infrastructure that the Germans might use to move troops and equipment to the coastal region, thus hindering them from rushing to counter the Allied invasion force.

“Eisenhower wanted to use our heavy strategic bombers, the big four-engine planes that were built to destroy German cities and the economy, and send them to wreck the French roads and railway system,” explains Robert Citino, executive director of the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy and senior historian at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

For Eisenhower, the switch in bombing seemed like a no-brainer. He knew that landing a massive invasion force and overcoming the elaborate layers of defenses that the Germans had built along the coast would be an incredibly difficult task, and the consequences of a failure would be catastrophic.

“He thought he had to do everything possible to make sure Rommel couldn’t kick them off the beaches,” explains military historian Carlo …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Neanderthals Churned Out Huge Supply of Tools in Flintstone 'Factory'

March 21, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt


Stone tools believed to be used by Neanderthals.

Archaeologists in Poland have discovered a giant 60,000-year-old flint workshop that they believe was used by Neanderthals to make thousands of stone tools.

So far, the researchers have recovered some 17,000 stone products from the site, believed to be the first large Neanderthal workshop to be discovered in Central Europe that is not located inside a cave.

Before this discovery, it was thought that such large collections of flint tools weren’t accumulated until much later, among modern humans living between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago. Scientists also believed that non-cave-dwelling Neanderthals didn’t settle in one place for long enough to leave much of a mark on their surroundings, beyond individual tools or other artifacts.

The discovery of the 60,000-year-old Neanderthal flint workshop in Pietraszyno challenges both these assumptions.

Since 2018, reported Science in Poland, Dr. Andrzej Wiśniewski from the Institute of Archaeology, University of Wrocław has been conducting joint excavations at the site in Pietraszyno (Silesia), along with researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

“The finds from Pietraszyno completely contradict the old vision of the use of open areas by Neanderthals,” Wiśniewski said. “It appears that in this place a community was present over a longer period, as evidenced by the large number of discovered objects. In addition, there are also preserved remains of mammoth, rhinoceros and horse bones.”


The archaeological site Dr. Andrzej Wiśniewski and his team from the Institute of Archaeology, University of Wrocław discovered the tools.

He and his fellow archaeologists were also able to trace the process used to make the tools from start to finish, as well as determine which tools had been used and which had not. They believe some of them were used to cut meat, as evidenced by the animal remains found next to them. The fact that very few types of tools were made in the workshop suggests that the tool-making activities “were socially agreed upon and served the common goals,” according to Wiśniewski.

Close relatives of modern humans, Neanderthals are thought to have appeared in Poland around 300,000 years ago. Archaeologists have found older stone tools linked to Neanderthals (200,000 years old) on the Vistula River, while the oldest Neanderthal remains discovered in Poland—the bones of a child’s hand, which had been digested by a large bird—date back more than 100,000 years.

Neanderthals were long …read more

Source: HISTORY

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When President Carter Pardoned Draft Dodgers, Only Half Came Back

March 21, 2019 in History

By Natasha Frost

Carter’s executive order left many people furious, while others saw it as a bold show of compassion.


President Jimmy Carter, 1977.

It was a move with the power to unite the country—even if it came at the cost of ruffling a few feathers. Just days after Jimmy Carter’s inauguration in 1977, the new President fulfilled a campaign promise: the granting of a blanket pardon to Vietnam War draft evaders by executive order. Yet the draft had proven so divisive that not even the promise of an open-arms reunion could convince as many as 50,000 American dodgers to return home.

At the time of the order, it wasn’t clear what impact it would have, or even how many people it affected. A 1977 New York Times article, for instance, described the act as “narrow,” applying to just 10,000 people, “largely white, and middle or upper class.” The total number, in fact, was closer to 500,000. (Among them was Muhammad Ali, whom President Donald Trump offered to pardon all over again.)

About 100,000 draft evaders had left for foreign shores instead of going to war. The vast majority headed to Canada, where they were accepted as legal immigrants. So far as Canada was concerned, this influx of young men was a highly desirable addition to the labor force. They were often young and well-educated, and had few ties to the country that they had felt obliged to leave—making it easy for them to stay for good, even after Carter issued his pardon and they were permitted to return.

Back in the United States, in the days after the inauguration, the White House was beset with angry phone calls about the pardon. Many people were furious: Senator Barry Goldwater famously called it “the most disgraceful thing a president has ever done,” while the then-director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars described it as sadder “than Watergate or Vietnam itself.” The general public seemed to agree.


Antiwar demonstrators burning their draft cards on the steps of the Pentagon during the Vietnam War, 1972.

But an initial rage burned bright, and then quickly out. “Three weeks later,” says Peter Bourne, who worked with Carter for decades and later wrote his biography, “most people didn’t care what he’d done.” The phone calls stopped, the furor died down. While some were happy about the executive order, those who weren’t …read more

Source: HISTORY