The Battle of Verdun 1916

The Battle of Verdun is rightly considered one of the more horrendous and lengthiest battles in history. Lasting almost 10 months between February and December 1916, the Battle of Verdun cost an estimated 700,000-800,000 casualties (dead, wounded, and missing) in an area no larger than 10 square kilometres. The German assault which commenced on February…

Jacques Cartier and the discovery of the St. Lawrence River

Great cities, and great landscapes, are often defined by mighty rivers. These rivers can serve as borders, linkages between people and cultures, and as a timeline of a nation’s history thereby marking its transition and development. Few rivers yield more of an influence to the story of Canada than the St. Lawrence River, and its…

Martin Luther’s 16th Century notes found

BBC News has reported that a “first edition of one of the most important works of the man who inspired the Protestant Reformation has been discovered in a library in France. The publication by German theologian Martin Luther, called On the Freedom of a Christian, dates back to 1520. This was a year before he was…

Paris 1944: True stories behind liberation from the Nazis

On the morning of 19 August 1944, a 28-year-old Frenchman called Georges Loiseleur hurried down to the street from his flat on the Quai des Grands-Augustins. Paris was abuzz. A short distance away, he could hear chaotic sounds from the Ile de la Cite, where police had come out for the Resistance and taken control…

What Actually Happened on Bastille Day, Anyway?

Today marks the French national holiday of Bastille Day. For those who may not know, Bastille Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the fall of the fortress of Bastille on July 14, 1789. During the unrest and revolution of 1789, a citizen mob approached the Bastille to demand the weapons stored there and the release…