Britain Against Napoleon: The Organization of Victory, 1793-1815
Fact of the Day
The Middle English name for orchids is ballockwort, as in 'testicle plant'.
Quote of the Day
"Revolution is not an apple that falls when it's ripe. You have to make it fall. "
~ Che Guevara
On This Day
48 BCE (according to the uncorrected Roman calendar; 6 June by the Julian) The armies of Pompey Magnus and Julius Caesar finally met at the Battle of Pharsalus. Despite being significantly outnumbered, Caesar's soldiers won the day, forcing Pompey to flee to Egypt where he was murdered by Ptolemy XIII.
378 Eastern Roman emperor Valens was killed and his army heavily defeated by the Visigoths at the Battle of Adrianople. The slaughter was compared to that at the Battle of Cannae, and revealed just how vulnerable the Romans were to 'Barbarian' attacks.
1173 The foundations began to be laid for the (Leaning) Tower of Pisa. The tower would take a further 199 years to complete.
1721 Possibly the first ever clinical trials began on six prisoners of Newgate gaol. In return for a pardon, they had agreed to be inoculated against smallpox.
1856 A sixteen-year-old architectural apprentice and later famous novelist, Thomas Hardy, watched the execution of Elizabeth Martha Brown for the murder of her drunken husband. She would later become immortalised as Tess of the D'Urbervilles.
1870 The landmark Elementary Education Act (also known as Forster's Education Act) was passed by parliament. It gave all children aged five to thirteen living in England and Wales compulsory free education.
1902 Edward VII was crowned king of the United Kingdom at Westminster Abbey.
1941 Less than two months after the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, 1,500 Jews of Preili - almost the entire Jewish population - were killed by the Nazi death squads, the Einsatzgruppen.
1945 The American B-29 bomber dropped a second atomic bomb on Japan, this time on Nagasaki, leading to the deaths of a further 74,000 people.
1974 Richard Nixon became the first American president to resign from office. It was his way to escape impeachment over the Watergate scandal.
1979 Brighton established Britain's first official nudist beach, despite protests from locals.