History Articles

History of the Fall of the Roman Empire: the Short Version

September 4, 2022 /
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Fall of RomeHISTORY OF THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

On September 4, 476 AD,  Odoacer captured the city of Ravenna and deposed Emperor Romulus Augustus, marking the Fall of the Roman Empire. What do we mean by the Fall of the Roman Empire?

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History of Labor Day: What’s Work Got To Do With It?

September 2, 2022 /
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Labor DayHISTORY OF LABOR DAY

Labor Day is when we celebrate the process our mothers went through to deliver us at birth. Sorry, wrong holiday; Labor Day in the U.S. is the day we celebrate the achievements of the American labor movement.

While it is still disputed whether Peter J. McGuire first proposed the holiday, the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters, or Matthew Maguire, a machinist and secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York — observances of the holiday go back over a century in the U.S.

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History of J.R.R. Tolkien: A 100-Year Love Affair

September 1, 2022 /
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The Rings of Power

HISTORY OF J.R.R. TOLKIEN: A 100-YEAR LOVE AFFAIR

Tonight begins the Amazon Prime TV series “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” which depicts the Second Age of Tolkien’s legendarium, set over three thousand of years before the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. This is expected to be the most expensive TV series in history, with over $1 Billion spent on the rights from the Tolkien Estate (for $250 Million) and production costs.

Below is my 2017 article written on the publication of his book describing one of the foundational stories of Middle-earth.

Beren and Luthien

I’m reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s latest book published in June [2017], Beren and Luthien, which he began writing 100 years ago. How is that possible when he died in 1973?

His youngest son and literary executor — Christopher Tolkien, who is now 93 [he has since died in 2020] — has been publishing his father’s unfinished works over the last 40 years, starting with the prequel to The Lord of the Rings, namely the epic pre-history, The Silmarillion, back in 1977.
Indeed, Christopher published more of his father’s books after his father died in 1973 than his father brought to printed form while he was alive. This summer, perhaps for the last time, as he recounts in the preface to this book, he brings his father’s works to life one more time. This time, it is Tolkien’s most beloved romance.
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History of September: The Start of Fall

September 1, 2022 /
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SeptemberHISTORY OF SEPTEMBER

You may have noticed that September sounds like the Latin word for Seven. And you’d be perceptive — septem is the Latin word for seven, and this month used to be the seventh month of the ancient Roman calendar.

This Latin numbering follows with the year’s remaining months, as I’ve highlighted below: eight/oct, nine/nov, ten/dec.

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History of the Holidays: the Backstory of Holidays

August 31, 2022 /
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HistoryOfTheHolidaysHISTORY OF THE HOLIDAYS

Welcome to this year’s edition of the History of the Holidays. I’m Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian. From now through the Spring or vernal equinox, we celebrate most of the major secular and sacred holidays. This series recounts the backstory, the history behind the major American holidays, some of the minor ones, and a few international ones.

There are lots of articles on Christmas and Easter; there are Jewish ones, secular ones, geek ones, and humorous ones.

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History of I Have A Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr. — 59 Years Ago

August 28, 2022 /
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I Have A DreamHISTORY OF I HAVE A DREAM SPEECH

It was 59 years ago that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. It continues to echo down the halls of history almost six decades later.

On August 28, 1963, the occasion for his speech was the March on Washington at the height of the Civil Rights movement. Over a quarter of a million supporters gathered at the Mall in Washington D.C., where King delivered his public speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, looking over the Reflecting Pool.
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History of the 19th Amendment: Women’s Right to Vote, 102 Years Ago

August 26, 2022 /
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19th AmendmentHISTORY OF THE 19TH AMENDMENT: WOMEN’S RIGHT TO VOTE

Over a hundred years ago, on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted. This prohibited both the Federal and State governments from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States based on sex. Effectively, this meant that the right to vote could no longer be denied to women. The text read, in part:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

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History of the California Gold Rush: How It Created the State

August 19, 2022 /
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California Gold RushHISTORY OF THE CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH: HOW IT CREATED THE STATE

On August 19, 1848, the New York Herald reported the news along the American East Coast of the California Gold Rush. It was not new news to those further West, as the gold rush had started in January and was publicized in San Francisco in March.

However, the New York Herald was the most profitable and popular newspaper in the US. By the dawn of the American Civil War, the newspaper claimed a circulation of 84,000 copies and called itself “the most largely circulated journal in the world.” The news of the gold rush spread to a much larger audience than previously and circulated the gold fever much wider than before.

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History of Woodstock: Over 50 Years Ago

August 15, 2022 /
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WoodstockHISTORY OF WOODSTOCK

August 15 marks the anniversary of the “3 Days of Peace & Music” held in 1969 at Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm in the rural town of Bethel, New York, southwest of the village of Woodstock. This outdoor music event, despite thundershowers, gave voice to the counterculture youth generation of its time. A documentary film followed it in 1970 and a top-selling soundtrack album.

I’d like to share with you what it was like to be at the Woodstock Rock Festival — the music, the crowds “half a million strong,” the rain, the muddy roads, the traffic jams, the counterculture vibe, the media coverage, the movie film crew, the atmosphere, the awareness of its own importance, the sense of history in the making:

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History of the IBM PC: 41 Years Ago – Why It Was So Important

August 12, 2022 /
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IBM PC

HISTORY OF THE IBM PC: 41 YEARS AGO

Forty-one years ago, the IBM PC was released.

On August 12, 1981, IBM announced its first “personal computer,” though it had previously been famous for its IBM System/370 mainframe computer. I operated one of these mainframes in a raised-floor data center in the early ’80s.

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History of Infinity Day: Why is it on August 8

August 8, 2022 /
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Infinity Day

HISTORY OF INFINITY DAY: AUGUST 8

Infinity Day is also known as Universal & International Infinity Day. It is a commemoration held on the 8th day of the 8th month of each year to celebrate and promote Philosophy and Philosophizing for the ordinary person.

 

Why 8 is significant, apart from Infinity Day

  • 8 planets in the Solar System — since Pluto got demoted.
  • 8 is the atomic number of Oxygen.
  • 8 is the maximum number of electrons that can occupy a valence shell in atomic physics.
  • 8 people were saved in the Flood at the time of Noah.
  • 8th day: Jesus was circumcised, as the brit mila is held for Jewish boys.
  • 8 is the number of legs a spider or octopus has.
  • 8 is 2 cubed.
  • 8 follows 7 but stops before 9 making it the only non-zero perfect power that is one less than another perfect power.
  • 8 is the basis of the octal system, each digit representing 3 bits. A byte is 8 bits.

And:

  • 8 displayed horizontally is the symbol of infinity

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Italy Tour: Pisa in a Day

August 6, 2022 /
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The_Leaning_Tower_of_Pisa_SB.jpeg

ITALY TOUR: PISA IN A DAY

Can you visit Pisa on an Italy Tour in a single day? Yes, a day trip will do it quite easily. Cruise ships regularly dock at the nearby Port of Livorno.

 

Pisa is a Tuscan city passed through by the Arno River, which also passes through Florence further south. Historically it was a maritime republic before the days of the unification of Italy in the late 1800s. The city boasts twenty churches, over half a dozen museums, and several palaces.

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