Category Archives: History

Studying the British Empire

As you may know, I have an interest in history. Understanding history often helps with writing both science fiction and fantasy, as they deal with different times and societies, while also having rich and well-developed histories of their own.

I’m getting back into using FutureLearn, and this week, the course called Empire has begun. It’s about the British Empire. I’m from a country that was part of the British Empire, so I’m expecting something about Canada in this course. But the British Empire was the largest empire in the world at one time. There’s a lot to learn. Below, you can see how much of the world was part of the empire (click to see a larger version).

The_British_Empire_AnachronousThat’s a lot of countries. You can see a strip through Africa, much of south Asia, parts of the Middle East, and plenty of Pacific islands, as well as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the Thirteen Colonies.

Do you know any interesting facts about the British Empire? Share them in the comments below.

What’s In a Family Name?

Family names are interesting. In many cultures, they tell a story about your family history. In Japan, they often refer to where your family comes from, rather than a job. In England, it tells about your ancestor’s job. But what about other countries?

If I look at my family name, I can tell that someone in my family’s history was an archer. Someone used a bow and arrow. I don’t know when it happened, but that’s where the name originates from.

So, if you’re willing to disclose your family name, what country is it from, and what’s the story behind it? Let’s discuss this in the comments below.

What Ancient Rome Really Looked Like

I’m very interested in ancient cultures and all we have that tells us how things used to look are ruins, some art, and some descriptions by people who lived during those times. There’s a project called Rome Reborn that allows us to see what Rome most likely looked like in 320 AD.

I found this video at this website.

The video is quite fascinating, but it makes me wonder about other places. For example, what did ancient Athens look like? Or Constantinople? Or London a few hundred years ago? Or Paris? How about Edo during the time that Edo Castle was still towering over the city? What did Angkor Wat look like when it was in its heyday? Or Machu Picchu? Or Tenochtitlan? So many to wonder about.

What other ancient cities would you like to see recreated in this way? Let me know in the comments below.

 

What’s Your Favourite Period of History?

I like history. I like it now, but I didn’t always enjoy learning about it in school. But even then, I liked history. I guess I just didn’t like having to write essays about it. But what we learned was quite interesting. I remember learning about the Aztecs in grade six. I remember learning about Russian history in junior high school. I remember European history and studying about the World Wars. It was all fascinating.

I like looking at the history of countries, how things have changed over the centuries. Even now, looking at current events, I think about how this will be history. And what happens now shapes our future, just as our past shaped what the world is like now.

When I think about history, I often wonder about what my favourite time in history is. I think I’ve mostly been interested in ancient Greece and Rome. But I also like Japanese history. What is your favourite period of history?