Here’s a virtual nod to Socrates who once said that ”True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. ” One message from 2020 that I have received loud and clear is that there is so much about the world and its occupants that I do not know. This message was delivered not only through the current coronavirus pandemic and its impact on countries worldwide but also through the lockdown that made me rediscover my love for history and literature. I spent months indoors juggling a sudden influx of work minus a normal routine and outdoor activities that I sometimes felt completely overwhelmed with exhaustion, uncertainty and fear. I started reading the news more than usual and through my many escapades around the web, I fell in love with reading and re-reading histories that captivated my mind.
I rekindled the high-school Faith, who had English Literature and History as two of her strong subjects. So this is the first post in a long line of many to come, where I will share some interesting stories from the past. These stories show how civilization has come a long way and even though presently the world seems like a big bowl of turmoil, a trip down memory lane might be just that sprinkle of hope we need.
1. Angola’s warrior queen Nzinga showed the colonial forces in Africa what real girl power was all about
In the late 16th century, England and France threatened Portugal’s dominance in the slave trade in northern and western Africa. The Portuguese began to seek new areas for exploitation, mainly in the Congo, Angola, and southwest Africa. What they didn’t expect to face there was an outstanding Angolan queen named Nzinga, who refused to surrender without a fight. In the decades that followed, she shaped the struggle against colonial forces in Africa and her kingdom would go on to become very powerful and she and her people would continue fighting against the Portuguese for years. Even after Queen Nzinga died her kingdom resisted Portuguese colonization attempts until the 19th century.
You can read her full story here
2. 10-year-old Sarah Rector was America’s youngest African-American millionaire
”Mama Rose” Rector (1886-1957), taken inside the Rector Mansion in the 1920s. Photo courtesy of the Rector descendants.
Sarah Rector lived one hell of an interesting life. A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, she was a young African American who became known for being the “Richest Colored Girl in the world.” Born in Indian Territory on March 3, 1902, to Joseph and Rose Rector, Sarah Rector received a land allotment like all those who were members of the Creek Nation when Oklahoma became a state in 1907. That land allotment would later make Sarah one of the first African-American, female millionaires in the US. Sarah’s wealth quickly spread worldwide and she received numerous requests for loans, money gifts, and marriage proposals from four Germans. In the years that followed, Sarah made the headlines in the newspapers throughout the United States, and then Oklahoma Legislature declared her to be a white person due to her wealth. Sarah Rector died at the age of 65 on July 22, 1967. She was buried in Taft Cemetery, Oklahoma.
Read Sarah’s story here.
3. There is a website that lets people know who died in their house and how
There’s a website that lets people know if someone died in their house? Question is If you could find out if someone died in your house, would you want to know? Personally I am glad the website only allows users with a valid U.S. address to find out if their house had a dark former life cause the horror fanatic in me wouldn’t have been able to resist such a chance to be creeped out. Founded in 2013 by software engineer Roy Condrey, DiedInHouse.com allows users to search their home’s dark pasts by finding out if there were any deaths that occurred in the houses either from murders, suicides and arson. DiedInHouse uses data from over 130 million police records, news reports, old death certificates and more to determine if a house has seen horrors.
See for yourself here.
4. The painful custom called foot binding
China has definitely put out some great ideas in the world but the foot-binding practice or ‘lotus feet’ sounds more painful than great. Reportedly foot binding can be traced back to the time of Emperor Li Yu and was inspired by a court dancer named Yao Niang who bound her feet into the shape of a new moon and performed a dance, ballet-like, on the points of her feet on the lotus. This looks to have been a very painful procedure. This agonizing process typically occurred from the ages of four until nine and the way that this was achieved was by breaking the bones in the feet and shaping them in such a way that they resembled hooves. Death by infection occurred often, and if you survived you would surely have to suffer many medical problems throughout your lifetime.
Read more here.