Author Archives: The 5 Minute Historian

The History of Nintendo

Today, when people think of Nintendo the first things that come to mind are consoles such as the Wii and the Switch. Maybe popular video games come to mind also such as  Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda and of course Pokemon. However, the Nintendo company came into being way before the electronic age that spawned such pleasurable pastimes. In ...

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The History of the World Water Speed Record

Blue Bird

The World Water Speed Record is currently governed by the Union International Motonautique and is considered by many to be one of the most dangerous competitions in motorsport. In fact, since 1940 attempts to gain the record have claimed the lives of 85% of those who tried. The record currently stands at 317mph, which was set in 1978 by Australian ...

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The History of the Football World Cup

Football World Cup

Football (or soccer to those of you reading this who are not from Europe) can date its origins back to 1863 England when a split occurred between association Football and rugby football and the Football Association was formed. It didn’t take long before the idea of an international game came about and the first of these was held between Scotland ...

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The History of Chocolate


Although it has been a much-loved delicacy that seems to have been around forever, most of the world, and especially Europe has been slow to catch on to the wonder that is chocolate. The fermentation of cacao beans into an alcoholic beverage has been going on since at least 1400 BC, with scientific analysis of substances coating the inside of ...

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The History of the Submarine

U.S.S. Nautilus

Submarines are one of the more recent military advancements, coming to prominence during the first World War and maintaining a presence in the majority of developed naval fleets ever since. In essence, a submarine, as the name may suggest is a watercraft that allows the crew to submerge and sail under the water. During the era before radar detection, they ...

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22 January 1901 – The Queen is Dead

The Queen is Dead

Queen Victoria spent the Christmas period in 1900 at one of her favourite retreats, Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight as had been her custom since the death of her beloved Albert. She must have known that her long life and her record-breaking reign were coming to an end as she told her doctor that she would like to ...

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20 October 1720 – The End of the Road for Captain Jack

The Skull and Crossed Cutlasses

‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, Anne Bonny and Mary Read are Captured. On the night of 20 October 1720, Captain Jack Rackham, known as Calico Jack was probably feeling pretty pleased with himself. For a few weeks, he had been pirating around the coast of Jamaica and was meeting little resistance. No-one it seemed was safe from Calico Jack and his crew, ...

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1 October 1553 – Mary I is Crowned

Mary I

It was party time in England’s capital in the days leading up to 1 October 1553. A huge crowd of people, many of whom were likely to be feeling the effects of those previous few days, gathered to try and catch a glimpse of their new queen. 37-year-old Mary was the first woman to ascend to the throne of England ...

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18 September AD 96 – Domitian is Stabbed


Disaffected aristocrats conspire to have the Roman emperor assassinated The Roman emperor Domitian had been ruling the empire for over 15 years by September 96, the longest reign of a Roman emperor since Tiberius. His skills as an administrator had earned him a good reputation as although he concentrated power in his own hands he managed to maintain popularity through ...

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9 September 1739 – Slaves Make a Bid for Freedom

The Stono Rebellion

The Stono Rebellion is the biggest revolt of its kind in British North America Twenty miles south-west of Charleston in South Carolina, near the Stono River, in the early hours of 9 September 1739, over twenty men gathered in a field. All of the men were slaves. Their leader was known as Jemmy, and was known among his contemporaries as ...

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31 August 1888 – Mary Ann Nichols becomes the first victim of Jack the Ripper

A Sinister Fate Awaits the Prostitutes of London's Whitechapel

The body of a homeless prostitute, brutally murdered and mutilated, is discovered in a Whitechapel backstreet It was raining as the bells of London were ringing out the last day of August in the year 1888. The air smelled like thunder was coming, which wasn’t unusual, as the Summer of 1888 had been one of the wettest in memory. A ...

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24 August AD 79 – Pompeii is Engulfed by Ash

The Destruction of Pompeii as Envisioned in the 2014 movie - Pompeii

Vesuvius erupts with furious violence and devastating results Pliny the Elder, the commander of the Roman fleet, was at home in Misenum, which is just at the Northern end of the Bay of Naples working on some papers after having enjoyed a much deserved and relaxing lunch. He was distracted from his work by his sister who had noticed “a ...

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9 August 1974 – Richard Nixon Resigns

Richard Nixon says farewell to his staff. 9 August 1974.

The Republican leader, Richard Nixon, becomes the most high-profile casualty of the Watergate scandal – and the only president to step down from office. Richard Nixon did not sleep well. It was after all, his last night as President of the United States of America, but it wasn’t uncommon for Nixon to sit up until the small hours working. This ...

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History of the Nobel Prize

The History of the Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize is a yearly award which is made available in a number of fields, including literature, peace and physics. It was devised by the Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel as a means to formally recognise the men and women who have made a significant contribution to cultural or scientific advancement. It is believed that Nobel was inspired to create ...

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The First Human Heart Transplant

In today’s world organ transplants are surprisingly commonplace. While still a risky procedure whenever they are undertaken, advances in medical science have allowed surgeons to provide the best possible chance for survival to patients suffering from an array of organ defects. Perhaps with no organ is this more important than with the heart. For many years researchers examined ways in ...

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Discovery of Hawaii

Discovery of Hawaii

The Hawaiian Islands had been discovered many hundreds of years before the English explorer James Cook landed on what he called the Sandwich Islands.  Polynesian seafarers from the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia came to Hawaii in around 400 A.D.  They navigated there by studying wave patterns and currents, and utilizing astronomy. However, Captain James Cook was the European settler ...

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