The first coffee shops opened in Constantinople in the sixteenth century. Coffee became so popular that Turkish law allowed a wife to divorce her husband if he did not supply her with enough coffee.
I was reading an article on the BBC News website about one of Henry VIII’s warships, called the Mary Rose, which was wrecked in 1545, during an attack on the French fleet. The boat was overloaded, and when the wind shifted, she just keeled over and rapidly sank, drowning everyone on board. The wreck was raised in [...]
Sir Martin Frobisher (1535ish – 1594) was a privateer (a pirate with permission from his government to rob and plunder enemy ships) who worked for Queen Elizabeth, plundering Spanish and French ships. He was arrested several times on piracy charges, but managed to evade trial. He is best known for exploring parts of Canada in [...]
Two nights ago, I had one of those shivery, low-grade fevers. I’ve certainly felt way worse, but I didn’t feel up to anything more than lying on the couch and watching NBA playoffs. I happen not to be someone who sweats a lot—not to give you TMI, but please bear with me, as it’s relevant—and [...]
During the sixteenth century, cocoa was a drink reserved for Spanish royalty. In 1579, some English pirates searching for gold aboard a Spanish ship mistook the cocoa beans for sheep droppings, and burned the valuable cargo.
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, fashionable women wouldn’t consider travelling without a black velvet mask, called a vizard, to protect their complexion from the sun, from the dust kicked up by horses, and from gritty, polluted city air. Such a precaution may strike us as ironic, considering that many women were slathering their faces [...]