History As Told Through Taylor Swift Lyrics
Taylor Swift's music has taught us so much about love and loss, so why not history too?
44 BC - The Assassination of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar brought the Roman Empire to great power during his time as emperor from 49 BC to 44 BC. In one of history's greatest moments of betrayal, Marcus Brutus fatally stabbed his former friend, Caesar, in the back on March 15th, 44 BC.
1431 - Joan of Arc is burned at the stake for heresy
Joan of Arc (born 1412) attempted to lead the French armies to victory against England in the 100 Years' War because of a vision she received from God. She met with a grim fate when she was captured by the English, accused of lying, and charged with blasphemy. The Catholic church declared her a saint May 16, 1920.
1492 - Native Americans meet new European settlers
European settlers did not let anything stand in their way of their sense of entitlement when it came to colonizing the "New World". The Native American's initial instincts of skepticism towards these foreigners' intentions proved to be incredibly valid as they found themselves wiped out by new diseases and violent "negotiations" over land ownership by the millions.
1533 - Henry the VIII takes a series of wives
After 24 years of marriage to Catherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII of England grew weary of her inability to bare him a son. The pope refused to grant his request for a marriage annulment, so King Henry broke England's ties with the Catholic church in favor of Protestantism. King Henry proceeded to marry and divorce another 6 women in his lifetime on his quest for a male heir.
1609 - Galileo Galilei advances our understanding of astronomy
Though Galileo did not invent the telescope, he was the first to use it to study and document the stars. In his lifetime he discovered the many moons of Jupiter, sunspots, the phases of Venus, and most importantly, that the Earth revolved around the Sun.
1774 - Marie Antoinette becomes renowned for her partying lifestyle
Born an Archduchess of Austria, Marie Antoinette married into French royalty at the age of 15, and became Queen of France in 1774. She quickly rose to become a resented symbol of the aristocracy, as her lavish lifestyle of fancy dresses, grand balls, and general frivolity angered the French peasants.
1776 - America declares its independence from Great Britain
Fed up with the long standing British policies of "taxation without representation" and a longstanding history of aggression, the founding fathers gathered to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. The document formally stated their intent of political separation from England forever (ever) (ever).
1804 - Aaron Burr duels Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton's aggressive campaigning against Burr in both the 1800 tied presidential election and the 1804 gubernatorial election infuriated Burr. Aaron Burr challenged Hamilton to a Duel on July 11th, 1804 and took his life as revenge for the damage he did to Burr's political career.
1812 - Napoleon makes the mistake of invading Russia in the Winter
In hopes of liberating Poland from the threat of Russia, Napoleon led his forces through Russia in attempts to engage with the Russian army. He greatly miscalculated the toll the Russian Winter would take on his unequipped troops, as 83% of the Grand Armée died due to lack of food, hypothermia, or battle, while the Russians only lost roughly 20% of their easily replaceable army. This campaign is often noted as a turning point in the Napoleonic Wars for being such a brutal defeat.
1865 - The American Civil War ends and the seceeded states rejoin the union
Seven Southern slave states individually declared their secession from the US to form the Confederacy in 1861. The North declared war to preserve their political unity, despite their ideological differences, under one American government. The South surrendered and rejoined the Union on May 9th, 1865.
1917 - The Russian Empire is overthrown
After over 300 years of Romanov rule over Russia, the era of lavish balls, tradition, and aristocracy came to a crashing halt as revolts broke out across the nation. The start of the Russian Revolution in March 1917 would transform the country into a new socialist state, free of Tsars and Russian royalty.
1938 - Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement with Germany soon backfires
UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met with Adolf Hitler in efforts to prevent the outbreak of a widespread European war. His leniency in the Munich Agreement to give into almost all of Hitler's demands left Czechoslovakia defenseless, as he believed this policy of appeasement would be the best way to ensure peace. A few months later, Hitler seized the rest of Czechoslovakia and the continent spiraled faster into the start of war.
1963 - The Civil Rights Movement hits its stride
The American Civil Rights movement was characterized by campaigns of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience between 1955 and 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech as a call to arms in support civil rights on August 28, 1963 in DC.
1987 - President Reagan delivers his "Tear down this wall" speech
The Berlin Wall that separated the democratic West and the Soviet supported East sides of Germany became a well known symbol of Communist oppression. President Ronald Reagan delivered this famous speech to promote the importance of spreading freedom and democracy to the Communist Eastern Bloc.
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