I shall be waiting for you

In 1615, having successfully commanded an army at the Battle of Imafuku some months before, 22-year-old Japanese samurai and “peerless hero of the nation” Kimura Shigenari once again prepared to lead his men at the Siege of Osaka, despite his troops being heavily outnumbered. His young wife, Lady Shigenari, feared the worst and, having decided not

Burst through its bars

In August of 1665, an ageing scientist named Joannes Marcus Marci sent his friend — the great Athanasius Kircher — a truly perplexing book and asked him, via an accompanying letter, seen below, to do something countless other experts had unsuccessfully attempted: decipher it. Try as he might, Kircher failed to do so, and to this day the

The Sale of Manhattan

The letter below, sent by representative of the States General, Pieter Schaghen, to the directors of the WIC on November 5th, 1626, is the only written evidence of an amazing transaction: the sale of Manhattan. According to Schaghen’s letter, written upon return of the Arms of Amsterdam ship in Holland some months later, Dutch settlers — headed

The birth of Bonfire Night

On 26th October, 1605, William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle, received a letter, seen below, in which he was advised, anonymously, to stay away from Parliament the following week as a “terrible blowe” was expected to meet all those present. That terrible blow was in fact The Gunpowder Plot, a plan to blow up the Houses

To my good friends ye Postmasters

Over 70,000 Londoners were left homeless in 1666 when, in the early hours of September 2nd, a fire that began in a bakery on Pudding Lane swiftly grew to consume and devastate the entire city. It is believed that approximately 13,000 residences burnt to the ground. As London’s first Post Office at Cloak Lane surrendered