France

What Marie Antoinette Wore in the Eighteenth Century

In the eighteenth century everyone talked about what Marie Antoinette wore and she came to be perceived by the French public as a trendsetter in fashion. However, because France began to face economic woes, Frenchmen began to think of her as frivolous and immoral and they ultimately came to despise her labeling her “Madame Deficit,”…

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Twelve Popular History Posts for 2019

The year 2019 was a great year. My book, shown on the right, was published on Madame Tussaud through Pen and Sword. I also had some posts that were extremely popular with readers. Here are twelve of them from 2019 in case you missed them:

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Banyans: Garments that 18th Century Gentlemen Loved

Banyans were garments that became popular with gentlemen in the 18th century. They were oriental in style being influenced by Persian and Asian clothing and called morning gowns, robe de chambres, wrappers, or nightgowns. However, “by the year 1730 certainly, and possibly earlier, these Indian gowns had become known generally by the name banyan, banjan,…

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Point Breeze Estate or Joseph Bonaparte’s Park

Joseph Bonaparte, older brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, ending up owning the Point Breeze estate, or Bonaparte’s Park, in New Jersey after he took refuge in America in 1815. How it happened begins several years earlier when Joseph and Napoleon were looking at a map of the United States. At the time Napoleon was supposedly thinking…

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Paris Catacombs and Associated Interesting Tales

  The Paris Catacombs (Catacombes de Paris in French) are underground ossuaries that were created as part of the effort to eliminate the city’s overflowing cemeteries in the late eighteenth century. The same year that Marie Antoinette’s husband ascended the throne as Louis XVI was the same year that preparation for the Catacombs began after…

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Revolt at Levant Penitentiary with 14 Boys Roasted Alive

On 3 October 1866 14 boys were roasted alive because of a revolt at Levant Penitentiary, a juvenile facility, located on the Île du Levant, sometimes referred to as Le Levant. It is a French island in the Mediterranean off the coast of the Riviera, near Toulon and is the largest of the four islands…

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Philadelphia Austen Hancock: Eliza de Feuillide’s Mother

Philadelphia Austen Hancock was born on 15 May 1730 to a not so successful surgeon in Tonbridge named William Austen and his wife Rebecca Walter née Hampson, who had been married before and had a son, William Hampson Walter. In addition, three other children were born to William and Rebecca: Hampson in 1728 (who died…

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Napoleon Bonaparte Portraits: Important Historical Moments

There are many Napoleon Bonaparte portraits that provide important historical moments in his life. Yet, it is somewhat surprising that any portraits of Napoleon exist as he almost never willingly sat for any painter. In fact, he was notorious for disliking to sit and even believed that portraits should demonstrate his character rather than capture…

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Joachim Murat: The Flamboyant “Dandy King”

Joachim Murat was a handsome successful man who became King of Naples despite beginning his life in a humble way. He was born in Guyenne, France, on 25 March 1767 and was the eleventh child of Pierre Murat-Jordy (an affluent innkeeper and postmaster) and Jeanne Loubières. His parents wanted him to serve in a church…

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John Paul Jones: Pirate, Sailor, and Hero

John Paul Jones was the son of John Paul Sr. and Jean McDuff. He was born on 6 July 1747 at the estate of Arbigland near Kirkbean on the southwest coast of Scotland and was christened John Paul, but later added Jones as his surname. At the age of 13 Jones began his maritime career…

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