If you wanted to build a castle in medieval England, you needed permission from the king. They’re supposed to be for the defence of the realm, but sometimes you just want to fake out the neighbours.
Deep in the vaults of the Bank of England are banknotes, legal tender, for 100 million pounds each. These may be the most valuable banknotes in the world.
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, also killed the famous author of one of the earliest encyclopedias.
Underneath many large cities lie buried and lost rivers. Sometimes, they return to the surface world.
It’s no surprise that one of the ways we’ll fight climate change is to plant a lot of trees. Across the entirety of northern Africa, millions of trees are being planted to help, and also to hold back the spread of the Sahara.
What do you get when you cross three motorways, two railway lines, three canals, and two rivers? The first junction to be called spaghetti.
Topsy the elephant was famously electrocuted in 1903. History has not been kind to her, so let’s set the record straight. No, she was not a victim of the AC vs. DC wars. No, she was not a killer elephant. Yes, she killed one man, but in clear self defence.
In the 1960s, Australia proposed moving the entire population of Nauru onto another island. Instead, the Nauruans opted for independence.
The Akan of Ghana name their children after days of the week, birth order, and sometimes notable facts about their birth. Kofi Atta Annan, for example, was a twin born on a Friday. But nobody wants to be called Obím̀pέ.
Michael Rockefeller, of the famous oil dynasty, was collecting indigenous art in Dutch New Guinea when his boat overturned. He may have drowned or been eaten by crocodiles, but the most likely theory is he suffered a much worse fate.
Around 1200 BCE, almost every civilisation in the Eastern Mediterranean collapsed, or just barely survived. One possible culprit were invaders from across the sea: the Sea Peoples. No-one knows precisely who they were.
Cuckoos are not the only animal to have their young raised by other species. Bees, wasps, and fish also exhibit the same parasitic behaviour.
Every year in late February and early March, at the South Pole research station, the last flight leaves and the last sun sets. Neither will return for months. How do you mark such an occasion? With a horror film festival, of course.
If you’re using an Australian recipe book, watch out for the tablespoon, or your baking will turn out all wrong.
In 1976, North Korea, South Korea, and the United States almost went to war over a single tree.