One of most powerful political organisations in the late Middle Ages. Their ranks were filled by the richest aristocratic families of Europe. Formed in Jerusalem in the 11th Century to provide hospital care and protection for Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. Still exist today though split into many Orders.
Fact of the Day
Paris society was rocked by scandal in 1787, when Madame Vigée Le Brun painted herself with a wide smile on her face.
Quote of the Day
"Sick men are privileged to tell all their stories and grievances. "
~ John Chamberlain, letter writer, 1613
On This Day
1330 Roger Mortimer, de facto ruler of England after he and Edward II's wife Isabella deposed Edward, was hanged at Tyburn for assuming royal power.
1530 Cardinal Thomas Wolsey died of natural causes on his way to face charges of treason.
1781 The crew of the British slave ship Zong massacred 131 captives by throwing them overboard in a bid to claim insurance money after the crew had made a navigational error and missed their destination.
1812 Napoleon's army retreated across the Berezina River in Belarus. Although the army managed to avoid getting trapped, they suffered massive casualties, and the word 'berezina' became French slang for 'disaster.'
1947 The United Nations approved the partition of Palestine to form an independent Jewish state.