It gives me great pleasure to welcome back the hero of my ‘Pete’s Time-travelling Underpants’ adventures and Guildford’s premier historical scholar, Master Peter Tollywash, to fill us in on some of the interesting and exciting things that happened this week in history. Take it away Pete.
Hello again! Thanks for coming back for more of my history picks (or welcome if it’s your first time). Auntie Cheryl says lots of stuff’s been going on recently that’s probably going to be important in the future. I think she might be right. Until I started doing this time travelling (I hope you haven’t told my mum about that), I thought that history stuff didn’t actually have anything to do with what’s going on now. In fact, I thought it was just stuff that history teachers probably made up so they could make children’s lives misery. But, yeah, it seems this stuff actually explains a lot about why things are like they are today. Anyway, here’s my picks for this week.
14th November, 1380
King Charles the Sixth crowned King of France aged 11
King Charles the Sixth of France was crowned on this day at the age of 11! If he can be king at 11, I don’t know why Mum won’t let me go to the corner shop at night on my own at 13. Charles became king right in the middle of the Hundred Years War, which might have been why he later became known as Charles the Mad, ‘cause he had some mental health issues (this seems a bit harsh). He really annoyed his son, also called Charles (bit confusing), by agreeing to the King of England, Henry the Fifth, being the French king after him. This other Charles got so cross he got some teenage girl called ‘Joan of Arc’ to help him fight against the English. Anyway, that’s enough on crazy King Charles the Sixth and his angry son.
16th November, 1532
Pizarro defeats the Incan Emperor Atahualpa
I always wondered why they speak Spanish in places like Mexico and Argentina. Apparently it’s because some Spanish guys called the ‘conquistadors’ (the conquerors) conquered those places. One of them was a guy called Pizarro (I thought he was a striker for AC Milan, but Wikipedia says not). He fought against these people called the Incas, who were the people living in Peru when the Spanish arrived there. Seems a bit odd, because I don’t think the Incas were much of a threat to Spain, what with being on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and having no idea Spain existed and all. Auntie Cheryl says that someone had told Pizarro the Incas had loads of gold and that’s why he went after them. Anyway, on this day almost five hundred years ago, this Pizarro bloke captured the Incan Emperor Atahualpa after defeating him at the battle of Cajamarca. And that was the end of Atahualpa’s empire.
17th November, 1558
Queen Elizabeth the First crowned Queen of England
You may have heard that I’ve just come back from an adventure in the time of King Henry the Eighth. Well on this day in 1558, his daughter Elizabeth was crowned Queen of England. She’d had a bit of a hard time of it as her sister, Mary, who was queen before her, had put her in prison and wanted to chop her head off. What is with that family and wanting to chop people’s heads off? Actually, come to think of it, I’d quite like to chop my brother Jim’s head off, but Mum might not be very impressed. Anyway, Mary died before she could cut her little sister’s head off, so then Elizabeth became queen instead. Apparently she also liked to chop people’s heads off and do other nasty things to them if they didn’t agree with her. Shame I don’t have that power.
18th November, 1916
The Somme Offensive comes to an end
As you probably know, we’ve just had this thing called Remembrance Day where we are meant to pay our respects to people who died in wars trying to keep us safe. Apparently it started after the First World War. On this day one hundred years ago one of the biggest battles of the war called the ‘Somme offensive’ ended. It’s one of the worst battles ever because of the number of men who were killed. It was meant to make a big breakthrough and end the war. It didn’t. Anyway, I was thinking the other day that it seems a long time ago, but I guess it wasn’t really – my mate Kev’s great grandma is almost 100 years-old!
19th November, 1863
Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address
Apparently the Gettysburg Address is a speech and not a building. Auntie Cheryl says it’s an important event to talk about with what’s going on in America at the moment. The Republican President of America, Abraham Lincoln (who I had actually heard of before this, but I thought he was Bart Simpson’s grandad) gave a speech to some soldiers called Unionists at the opening of a cemetery for dead soldiers in Gettysburg. The Unionists were fighting in the American Civil War against soldiers called Confederates (who wanted to break away from America among lots of other complicated things I don’t really understand). This speech he gave is meant to be one of the most famous ever (not that I can think of many, if any, famous speeches). It spoke about the importance of democracy and the things that the people who declared independence from Great Britain believed in. I’ve had a look. It’s actually quite good.
I hope you’ve found my history picks interesting. If you want to find out more about my adventures, you can do that here. My next adventure, ‘Tudor Trouble’, is out later this month!