Few names have cast more terror into the human heart than Dracula. The legendary vampire, created by author Bram Stoker for his 1897 novel of the same name, has inspired countless horror movies, television shows and other bloodcurdling tales of vampires.
Though Dracula may seem like a singular creation, Stoker in fact drew inspiration from a real-life man with an even more grotesque taste for blood: Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia or — as he is better known — Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Tepes), a name he earned for his favorite way of dispensing with his enemies.
Vlad III was born in 1431 in Transylvania, a mountainous region in modern-day Romania. His father was Vlad II Dracul, ruler of Wallachia, a principality located to the south of Transylvania. Vlad II was granted the surname Dracul (“dragon”) after his induction into the Order of the Dragon, a Christian military order supported by the Holy Roman Emperor. Read more.
When the uprising against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad began two years ago, satellite images showed the ruins of the ancient Hellenic city of Apamea surrounded by green farmland. A year later, photos reveal a moonscape blighted by hundreds upon hundreds of holes.
Looters in bulldozers armed with automatic weapons are exploiting the mayhem of Syria’s civil war to seize sites including Apamea, founded in 300 B.C. by one of Alexander the Great’s generals, where colonnaded streets stretch for almost 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) along a hilltop.
“It’s tragic, objects from archaeological sites risk being lost without us ever knowing they existed,” said Jonathan Tubb, keeper of the Middle East department at the British Museum. “It can be callous to talk about this in the face of appalling human loss, but Syria’s cultural heritage is of such great importance to our understanding of human history that it’s only right we’re concerned.” Read more.
Deep in the mountains of northern Idaho, miles from the nearest town, lies evidence of a little-known portion of a shameful chapter of American history.
There are no buildings, signs or markers to indicate what happened at the site 70 years ago, but researchers sifting through the dirt have found broken porcelain, old medicine bottles and lost artwork identifying the location of the first internment camp where the U.S. government used people of Japanese ancestry as a workforce during World War II.
Today, a team of researchers from the University of Idaho wants to make sure the Kooskia Internment Camp isn’t forgotten to history.
"We want people to know what happened, and make sure we don’t repeat the past," said anthropology professor Stacey Camp, who is leading the research. Read more.
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — Two years after he made history by becoming the Navy’s first black pilot, Ensign Jesse Brown lay trapped in his downed fighter plane in subfreezing North Korea, his leg broken and bleeding. His wingman crash-landed to try to save him, and even burned his hands trying to put out the flames.
A chopper hovered nearby. Lt. j.g. Thomas Hudner could save himself, but not his friend. With the light fading, the threat of enemy fire all around him and Brown losing consciousness, the white son of a New England grocery-store magnate made a promise to the black son of a sharecropper.
“We’ll come back for you.”
More than 60 years have passed. Hudner is now 88. But he did not forget. He is coming back. Read more.
It’s all a bit of a blur, isn’t it? That little-remembered century—1600 to 1700—that began with the founding (and foundering) of the first permanent English settlement in America, the one called Jamestown, whose endemic perils portended failure for the dream of a New World. The century that saw all the disease-ridden, barely civilized successors to Jamestown slaughtering and getting slaughtered by the Original Inhabitants, hanging on by their fingernails to some fetid coastal swampland until Pocahontas saved Thanksgiving. No, that’s not right, is it? I said it was a blur.
Enter Bernard Bailyn, the greatest historian of early America alive today. Now over 90 and ensconced at Harvard for more than six decades, Bailyn has recently published another one of his epoch-making grand narrative syntheses, The Barbarous Years, casting a light on the darkness, filling in the blank canvas with what he’s gleaned from what seems like every last scrap of crumbling diary page, every surviving chattel slave receipt and ship’s passenger manifest of the living and dead, every fearful sermon about the Antichrist that survived in the blackened embers of the burned-out churches. Read more.
The latest project from Dassault Systèmes with the help of historians and archaeologists is the remarkable Paris 3D Saga, an interactive model that guides you through two millennia of Paris’ history.
You are taken through the French capital at various stages of its’ development from 52 BC Gallic Oppida through the Roman city and on to the present day. You can witness the construction of the Bastille and Notre Dame and walk through winding stone streets in the middle ages and then visit the 1889 World’s Fair to see the Eiffel Tower just after completion.
The Paris 3D Saga let’s you experience the city like you have never seen it before. Go on a journey through more than 2000 years of history: Read more.
After Ellis Island was closed in November 1954, no one was quite sure what to do with it. The 27-acre government facility located in New York Harbor had stopped processing immigrants coming into the United States and no government entity was stepping up with a plan for the site. So in 1956 the U.S. government started soliciting bids for any private corporation or person that wanted to buy it.
As Vincent J. Cannato notes in his book American Passage: The History of Ellis Island, there were a number of different proposals:
But perhaps the most lavish idea came from the highest bidder, Sol G. Atlas. Mr. Atlas offered the government $201,000 and wanted to build a $55 million resort. According to the February 17, 1958 issue of the Monessen Valley Independent in Pennsylvania, “The plans call for a 600-room hotel, museum, language school, music center, swimming pool, convention hall, shops and a promenade. Read more.
A warship submerged for two centuries in a river near Washington, D.C., could provide new insight into the relatively obscure War of 1812, say archaeologists who are preparing to excavate the wreck.
The war started because the British, who had been fighting with France since 1803, imposed restrictions on U.S. trade with the French, infuriating Americans. Relations worsened when British ships began intercepting U.S. vessels on the high seas, removing any British-born sailors, and forcing them to serve in the British navy.
The U.S. Congress declared war on the British—including their Canadian colonists—in June 1812.
Scientists have known about the unidentified wartime shipwreck, which lies in the Patuxent River about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of the nation’s capital, since the early 1970s. Read more.