Historical People

Of moose, apples and freedom fighters

When we came up to our country house this weekend, the apples were gone. Puts väck, as one says in Swedish. Where only last week our two apple trees had bowed under the weight of the as yet unripe but beautiful winter apples, now they stood denuded, not as much as a single apple on […]

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Not only tulips and chocolate sprinkles

Today, I thought I’d write something about the fishier aspects of Dutch history. I like the Dutch, I suspect I may be genetically predisposed to do so, seeing as my mother had a most romantic fling with a tall (they’re always so tall, these modern Dutchmen) Dutchman called Hank. And then, of course, there’s the

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When sitting in an armchair isn’t enough…

… I write. What I mean is that when it no longer suffices to sit and dream about travelling to other times, other places, I write about them instead.  A most economical and safe form of time travel. When I was a child, I ran around with a wooden shield and sword, pretending to be

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By the sea, by the beautiful sea

This post is my contribution to the Nautical Blog Hop, organised by Helen Hollick. Please do not miss out on all the other posts on this blog hop  – right at the bottom of this post you will find a list of all participants. Further to this, why not participate in my little give-away –

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Of the potato – the true gold of the Andes

I love them fried, I love them boiled, I love them very much when they are mashed. I like them new when they’re the size of quail eggs, I love them just as much when they’re covered with thick peel and are the size of a large fist. I like them red and yellow, blue

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Christina of Denmark – an exiled princess who never came home

“If I had two heads, I would gladly give him one,” Christina of Denmark is supposed to have quipped, when Henry VIII was proposed as a future bridegroom. This particular young woman had no desire to end up as one of the English king’s discarded wives – especially not as so many of them ended

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When greed meets gold – of Pizarro and Atahualpa

When Francisco Pizarro set foot in Perú for the first time in 1527, he’d already heard of the gold, as had his companions. “Biru”, people called this faraway kingdom where gold was as common as the cork oaks in Pizarro’s native Extremadura, and over time “Biru” became “Perú”. That first visit was more of a

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Mirror, mirror on the wall

Vanity is not one of the seven deadly sins. Fortunately, one might add, as this is a sin most of us are guilty of – on a rather regular basis. No? This doesn’t apply to you? Ha! Double ha! As to vanity not being a deadly sin, it does at times hover uncomfortably close to

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Of inbreeding, royal marriages and their ultimate consequence

In 1496, Princess Juana of Castilla, daughter of their most Catholic majesties Fernando and Isabel, married Philip the Beautiful, son of Maximilan I, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, scion of the Hapsburg dynasty. At the time of her marriage, Juana was not expected to inherit the combined kingdoms of Aragón and Castilla. She had

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My lady of Stockholm – a fighter in skirts

In November 1520, Lady Kristina Gyllenstierna was dragged before the victorious Danish king and given the choice of dying by burning at the stake or by being buried alive. Needless to say, this 25-year-old woman wasn’t too keen on either of the options. Besides, why should she be condemned to die, when all she had

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