Today in History – May 1, 305 – the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian

It was an ancient example of term limits.  After 20 years on the throne, the emperor Diocletian and his very reluctant colleague Maximian abdicated in favor of their designated heirs. The third century was a tumultuous time for the Roman Empire.  Between the death of Septimius Severus in 211 AD and the rise of Diocletian, …

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Today in History – April 30, 1975 – Fall of Saigon and end of the Vietnam War

The Vietnam war ended 38 years ago with the fall of Saigon.  As late as March 1975 the CIA estimated that the South Vietnamese forces could hold on till at least 1976.  Yet when a military collapse begins it snowballs into something much larger.  The last days of South Vietnam saw a desperate evacuation American …

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Today in History – April 30, 2013 – The Kingdom of the Netherlands gets its first King since 1890

As a sea of Orange descended on Amsterdam, the Kingdom of the Netherlands got its first King since 1890 – King Willem-Alexander upon the abdication of Queen Beatrix.  After the death of Willem III in 1890, the Dutch have had 3 queens in a row – Wilhelmina, Juliana and Beatrix – all of whom abdicated in old …

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Today in History – April 28, 1772 – the Execution of Johann Friedrich Struensee

Yes…another execution.  Outside of history geeks and Danes few people have heard of Johann Friedrich Struensee.  Yet this German doctor effectively ruled Denmark for a few years and caused a spectacular royal scandal to boot.  The scandal also received movie attention last year. The son of a Pietist theologian, the young Struensee received a University education where he was …

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Today in History – April 28, 1945 – The execution of Benito Mussolini

With World War II drawing to its inexorable end and the defeat of Germany imminent Benito Mussolini decided to make a beeline for neutral Switzerland accompanied by his mistress Clara Petacci. He did not make it.  Captured by the partisans Mussolini and his party were summarily executed. The conventional version of the story says Petacci …

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Today in History – April 26, 1478 – The Pazzi Conspiracy

With the encouragement of Pope Sixtus IV (better known in posterity for the Sistine chapel), the Pazzi and Salviati families attempt to assassinate the de facto ruler of Florence Lorenzo de’ Medici later known as Il Magnifico and his brother Guiliano in church during high mass.  Guiliano was stabbed 19 times and bled to death on …

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Function versus Propaganda – the evolution of Indian coinage

A coin with a historical figure depicted on it is one of the attractions coin collecting offers history buffs.  It is also a reason why so many collectors commence their collections with Roman imperial coins.  Roman coins from the 3rd century onwards are easily available for fairly low prices and collecting by Emperors is a …

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