Thursday, 28 April 2011

Royal Wedding - One Day to Go

The Royal Wedding is nearly upon us, and the internet and media have been awash with articles and programmes analysing every aspect of it in great detail. Here are a few stories you may have missed.

A researcher has discovered that Prince William is related to a 17th Century member of the Middleton family - a "hard-drinking" Scot who rose through the ranks of the army to become Commander of the Covenanting Forces in Scotland, later switching sides to become Charles II's commissioner to the Scottish Parliament and the governor of Tangier. He was titled the Earl of Middleton for this, but unfortunately his drinking led to his downfall - one night in 1674 he fell downstairs "befuddled with drink" and died from his injuries. He was an ancestor of Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who would later become the Queen mother.

Kate will eventually become the Sixth Queen Catherine of England. Here is a guide to the other ones, by Philippa Gregory. Everyone knows about Henry VIII's wives, but the others are also interesting. The first Queen Catherine was Catherine of Valois, wife of Henry V. They were only married a year before his untimely death in 1420 but she had time to conceive a son and heir, Henry VI. She then went on to have 5 children with Owen Tudor, including Edmund and Jasper Tudor. Edmund was the father of Henry Tudor and Jasper was his loyal uncle. Catherine died in 1437 but her coffin was accidentally opened 100 years later and became a strange tourist attraction until she was reburied in Victorian times.

The BBC have provided an impressive site where you can get all the latest wedding news, and there is also an official site you can now download your own programme from Will and Kate.

Enjoy the day, and please let us know if there is anything else worth mentioning on the blog.

PS: If you are bored, you can always try this Wills and Kate wedding game.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

West Wing Week

It is the first anniversary of the weekly video update from the White House. There are a few videos to celebrate including an interview with the videographer Arun Chaudhary and the Deputy Press Secretary. The BBC also has a short interview with Arun Chaudhary.
What do you think - is this a way of making the Presidency more transparent or is it blatant propaganda?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Yuri Gagarin

Yesterday was the 50th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight into space - the first human being ever to do so. You can watch a video of him in action and read about why he is still considered such a great hero in Russia here.

Monday, 11 April 2011

American Civil War: 150 Years On

Wednesday April 12 marks the 150th anniversary of the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in 1861, which effectively marked the beginning of hostilities in the American Civil War. As you can imagine, there are plenty of articles about this including the New York Times' special timeline and this interactive battle map.

The BBC have noted the anniversary with repeats of "Empire of Liberty", its history of the United States. You can listen to the episodes relating to the civil war here. You can also here the special edition of Americana, examining the effects of the Civil War on modern America here (recommended!)

Friday, 8 April 2011

Some Easter Reading

The Easter Holidays are finally here. Nonsuch HP will go a little quiet over the next few weeks, but will add a few links to this post if there are any political and historical stories that may be of interest.

Here are a few to get us started:

Malcolm X - A new biography has been published about him. This article explores the man behind the myth.

Who was Britain's greatest ever general? The National Army Museum has conducted a poll and came up with this shortlist: Oliver Cromwell, Douglas Haig, Bill Slim, the Duke of Marlborough and the Duke of Wellington. Read more about them in this article for the Today programme.

Is the British Empire to blame for many of the world's problems? David Cameron seemed to suggest so in his recent speech in Pakistan, but not everyone would agree. Here are two historians' opposing views.

LOL! The famous internet acronym has been added to the Oxford Dictionary, but did you know it is nearly 30 years old, and the French version is "mdr"? (mort de rir - died of laughing - the Thai version is 555, because 5 in Thai is pronounced ha!) More stuff like this here.

That's enough to get you going. If you spot anything else that's interesting, please add a comment below. Happy Easter everyone

GCSE Revision Lists

GCSE Revision Lists have now been published on the History Dept Blog. Click here for a direct link. They are also available on Fronter. It will also tell you why this picture has been chosen for this post!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Sutton Bookshare

Sutton Borough Council has just announced an interesting new scheme to encourage people to share their books with each other. People who sign up can search for books they find interesting, and then make contact with the owner to borrow the book for a convenient length of time. The council considers this to be a "world first" and hopes it will encourage a greater sense of community and interest in books. Others, as shown in this Guardian article, are concerned that this could be used as an excuse to make cuts to library services - the Council has already stated its intention to make savings, mainly in reduction of opening hours rather than closing the libraries themselves.

You can access the scheme here. Let us know if you find any interesting books!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Parties: AS Examples and Comments

Please add to this post any good examples or comments to assist with the Political Parties section of the AS Politics Unit 1 paper.

Democracy: AS Examples and Comments

Please add to this post any good examples or comments to assist with the Democracy section of the AS Politics Unit 1 paper.

(These posters came from this Independent article on how leading advertisers might cover campaigns for and against AV in the referendum on 5 May)

Elections: AS Examples and Comments

Please add to this post any good examples or comments to assist with the Elections section of the AS Politics Unit 1 paper.

Pressure Groups: AS Examples and Comments

Please add to this post any good examples or comments to assist with the Pressure Groups section of the AS Politics Unit 1 paper.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Obama announces re-election campaign

Barack Obama has announced his re-election campaign. He says that he is announcing it early to allow the campaign to build. Here is his website's video announcement. What do you think, a good start? No other candidates, either Democrat or Republican, have yet announced. Here is the list of Republican contenders. Tim Pawlenty is the only one to have officially declared his intention to run. Which one would you back at this stage?