Friday, November 30, 2012

The Unborn King

Sounds exactly like the title to a fantasy novel, doesn't it? BUT, it isn't. No, no, I decided to do some Googling after seeing this post* on Tumblr. Someone mentioned that Mexico once had a president who only served for forty-five days and for whatever reason, I got the idea in my head to find out who the youngest monarch ever was. Yeah, I don't know how I made that jump either. In any case, my Google-Fu was on point tonight and I found this post on Mental Floss listing just what I was looking for, and that's how I found out about an unborn king named Shapur II and holy hell, this guy's story is a doozy.

Basically, his dad, Shapur I died before he was born and Persian nobles, for whatever reason, blinded one brother, killed another, and imprisoned the last one, clearing the path for Shapur to take the throne as the ninth king of the Sassanid Empire. Apparently him still being in the womb wasn't an issue to these nobles and they crowned him before he was even born. He would go on to rule for seventy years and did well enough at the job to be given "The Great" appended to his name. I tell ya, history is both awesome and weird as hell, man.

*Fair warning, my Tumblr is NSFW, so use caution if you decide to go exploring.

Elmer E. Ellsworth and John J. Williams, the first and last to die in the American Civil War


Ellsworth was one of Lincoln’s broheims back in Illinois and at the start of the Civil War (May 24, 1861), offered to capture an oversized Confederate flag from atop a hotel in nearby Alexandria, Virginia. Abe agreed and Ellsworth lead his men, the 11th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment into the town. It was going well until the hotel owner shot him in the chest with a shotgun (the owner was then promptly shot by one of Ellsworth’s men).

Williams was killed at a battle at a place called Palmito Ranch near Brownsville, Texas on May 13, 1865. Technically, this battle happened right after the Civil War ended, but its close enough that Williams is generally considered the last soldier to die in the War.

I actually have no idea why I think this is interesting, but knowing who the first and last people to die in a war just is. Another point of interest is the fact that they eleven days apart. How freaky would it have been if Ellsworth and Williams had died on the same day, but four years apart?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Awesome video: USS Monitor vs. CSS Virginia

So apparently back in like 1991, a TV movie came out that focused on the first battle between ironclad warships called Ironclads. The battle scene itself is quite good.

This is my favorite era of naval warfare, the transition from wind-powered, wooden hulled warships to steam-powered, metal hulled warships. I should do some posts about that.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Damn, Lincoln looks like a good movie

Tommy Lee Jones looks weird with that hair, but any movie with him in it tends to be good. Daniel Day-Lewis might be the greatest living actor today and certainly one of the greatest ever. The movie won't focus on Lincoln's entire life or presidency, but the last months of his life. Who knows, if the movie is a big enough success, maybe Spielberg will make prequels covering the rest of Lincoln's life.

Friday, November 2, 2012

British Empire, circa 1921

A fairly interesting map showing the empire's territorial holdings in the years between the world wars.

What I think is interesting (and amusing) is the size disparity between the UK itself and some of its colonies and dominions. The disparity becomes even bigger when you consider that Africa is the second largest continent and its size was often decreased (while the UK's was increased).

Actually, Belgium has the UK beat when it comes to size difference. The Belgian Congo was so much bigger than the Kingdom that controlled it, it looked like somebody gave Rhode Island control of a territory the size of China.

The Soviet Union, though, holy freaking crap.