“The only thing new in the world is the history you do not know.”

What are the Digital Humanities?

First of all I’d like you to ask to yourselves: What is Digital Humanities? This is a concept which has become more and more common and not many people know about its meaning. If you search on internet you’ll find many definitions and some of them are not correct or don’t define the concept with precision, that’s why I’m writing below one of the definitions I’ve found, which is actually very simple but defines DH well.

“I would define the Digital Humanities as the use of digital tools in any areas of interest that are Humanities related.”

As simple as this!


Whenever you think about Digital Humanities you think about projects so today I’m showing and explaining three projects I’ve found which are DH ones.

The first one is a blog ruled by a group of archeologists which are so passionate about their jobs that want to show everyone how is a daily life of an archeologist. Every week they post new posts about  the truth of the archeology world.

The second one consists on a portal made just for helping students with their researches about slavery and related topics.

I’m not explaining the third one, I’m copying here what it’s said in the “Home” of the page for you to understand better what is it about:

“Under the direction of University College London (UCL), this international,  multidisciplinary project assesses the feasibility of using non-destructive digital  imaging technology to make texts visible in images of papyrus in mummy case      cartonnages for open research and analysis.”

Here you have the links:





Historical curiosities

As I said when I created this blog: history is not only what we learn at school, and I wanted to show you that what I said was actually true, so my new post is about historical curiosities, everything you didn’t know about history.

Here you have 50 curiosities from the earliest civilizations until nowadays:

1. The Ottoman Empire’s Sultan Ibrahim I had 280 of his concubines drowned in the ocean after one of them slept with another man.

2. In medieval times people were put to death for being witches. One anthropologist conjectures as many as 600,000 “witches” lost their lives.

3. Mexican General Santa Anna had an elaborate state funeral for his amputated leg.

4. Tens of thousands of baby girls were abandoned each year in China because of the country’s one-child policy.

5. Before the mid-19th century dentures were commonly made with teeth pulled from the mouths of dead soldiers.


6. Roman Emperor Gaius made his beloved horse a senator.

7. Ice age Britons used skulls of the dead as cups.

8. After Pope Gregory IX associated cats with devil worship, cats throughout Europe were exterminated in droves.

9. This sudden lack of cats led to the spread of disease because infected rats ran free. The most devastating of these diseases, the Bubonic Plague, killed 100 million people.

10. The Aztecs made human sacrifices to the gods. In 1487, at the dedication of the temple in Tenochtitlan, 20,000 people were put to death.

11. The Mayans also made sacrifices. The most common involved pulling a still-beating heart out of a victim’s chest.


12. In the 13th century 30,000 children went on what is known as the Children’s Crusade. They were convinced God would allow them to take back the Holy Land without incident, but most died on the journey or were sold into slavery.

13. In ancient Egypt, servants were smeared with honey in order to attract flies away from the pharaoh.

14. Upon dying, some pharaohs were sealed into their tombs alongside their living servants, pets, and concubines.

15. The Romans used human urine as mouthwash.

16. In 1788 the Austrian army attacked itself and lost 10,000 men.

17. Before becoming pope, Pius II wrote a popular erotic book, The Tale of Two Lovers.

18. People were buried alive so often in the 19th century that inventors patented safety coffins that would give the “dead” the ability to alert those above ground if they were still alive.

19. Approximately 750,000 men died in the Civil War, which was more than 2.5% of America’s population at the time.

20. In Medieval times the accused often faced a “trial by ordeal,” where they were forced to stick their arm into a vat of boiling water. If their arm emerged unscathed, it was believed God protected them, thus proving their innocence.

21. Animals were put on trial in medieval times and routinely sentenced to death.

22. Beginning in 1909 (and continuing into the 1970s), the Australian government instituted a policy of removing Aboriginal children from their parents and teaching them to reject their Aboriginality.

23. In the 1970s Pol Pot’s communist regime brainwashed thousands of Cambodian children into becoming soldiers who committed mass murders and other atrocities.

24. Japanese samurais disemboweled themselves with their sword (an act known as seppuko) when in danger of being captured.

EPSON scanner image

25. New research suggests that 15–20 million people were murdered or imprisoned by the Nazis during the Holocaust, much more than previously believed.

26. Joseph Stalin, the dictator of the USSR from 1929–1953, is believed to have killed between 20-60 million people.

27. Between 1525 and 1866, 12.5 million Africans were kidnapped and sold into slavery in the United States, Caribbean, and South America.

28. The introduction of Europeans to the New World saw the Native American population drop from an estimated 12 million in 1500 to barely 237,000 in 1900.

29. In the 19th century a popular medicine for kids, “Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup,” included morphine.

30. In 1917, Margaret Sanger was jailed for one month for establishing the first birth control clinic.

31. In Venice during the Renaissance there was a case where a rapist was given the choice of going to jail for six months, paying a fine, or marrying his victim. He chose marriage.

32. Chairman Mao Zedong killed 45 million people during China’s “Great Leap Forward” from 1958–1962.

33. Peter the Great executed his wife’s lover, then forced her to keep her lover’s head in a jar of alcohol in her bedroom.

34. In 16th-century Canada, women drank a potion with beaver testicles ground into it as a form of contraception.


35. Genghis Khan killed 40 million people across Asia and Europe.

36. In the 16th and 17th century wealthy Europeans ate corpses thinking they’d cure them of ailments.

37. They even ate the remains of Egyptian mummies, which tomb raiders risked their lives to steal.

38. In the 15th century Romanian ruler Vlad the Impaler impaled 20,000 Ottoman Turks on long, sharp poles on the banks of the Danube.


39. Vlad also enjoyed sopping up his enemies’ blood with bread and eating it. This disturbing practice, along with his family name of Dracula and birthplace of Transylvania, inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

40. African-American men were not deemed equal members of the Mormon Church until 1978.

41. South Africans gave gay and lesbian soldiers sex changes in an attempt to root out homosexuality in their army.

42. In early Rome a father could legally kill anyone in his family.

43. After finding a 36,000 year old steppe bison preserved in the ice, Alaskan zoology professor R. Dale Guthrie and his team ate some of its flesh. Guthrie said “the meat was well aged but still a little tough.”

44. Child killer and rapist Pedro Lopez, known as “The Monster of the Andes,” was convicted in 1983 of killing 110 young girls (though he confessed to killing 300).

45. Lopez was released in 1998 after serving Ecuador’s maximum sentence of 20 years. His whereabouts are presently unknown.

46. The Roman Emperor Commodus collected all the disabled and little people he could find and ordered them to fight each other to the death with meat cleavers in the Colosseum.

47. Prior to the 1960s tobacco companies ran physician-endorsed ads that suggested smoking had health benefits.

48.Soviet biologist Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov attempted to impregnate a chimpanzee with human sperm, but failed in his quest to make a “humanzee.”

49. In 755 A.D. the An Lushan rebellion against the Chinese Tang Dynasty resulted in 36 million deaths, or one-sixth of the entire world population.

50. In colonial America pregnant women didn’t receive painkillers during delivery because pain was considered God’s punishment for Eve’s eating the forbidden fruit.



Google Ngram Viewer: Slavery, Abolition of slavery, The slave trade


Last week I searched these three words, which are Slavery, Abolition of Slavery and the slave trade, on Google Ngram Viewer to see when have they most appeared in books, magazines, etc.

The results weren’t strange as if you look at some information about history you realize why there’s a maximum in that place and not in another.

Firstly, we can see that talking about slavery, there’s a huge rise between the years 1830 and 1866. This is because the first country that abolished slavery was Great Britain in 1833 and since that moment that subject became very popular so that everyone wanted to know about, even if it was because they were in favor or against its abolition. We can also see that there’s a maximum between years 1863 and 1865 and after that it starts decreasing, and there’s a simple explanation for it. In 1865, the USA passed a bill abolishing slavery and that meant that it had almost disappeared. The same happens when we look at abolition of slavery. It appears a maximum between years 1860 and 1865.

Finally, we have that when it comes to the slave trade, there’s a maximum between the years 1815 and 1819. This is because between those years many campaigns started against slavery and the slave trade, so people began to fight for negroes’ freedom and some states passed the first bills abolishing slavery.



  • Slavery: The condition in which one person is owned as property by another and is under the owner’s control, especially in involuntary servitude.
  • Transatlantic slave trade: The selling of Africans as slaves across the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and the Americas.
  • Triangular trade: The name often given to the transatlantic slave trade and that describes the three sides to the route the slave ships took from Europe to West Africa, then to the Caribbean and the Americas and finally back to Europe. These routes are known as the Outward Passage, the Middle Passage, and the Return or Homeward Passage.
  • Outward passage: This refers to the first stage in the transatlantic slave trade. Ships carrying goods were sent to the West African coast to trade for captured Africans.
  • Middle passage: The second stage in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, in which ships carried enslaved Africans from Africa to either the Caribbean islands or the Americas.
  • Homeward passage: The third stage in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, with ships carrying items grown or made in the Caribbean or the Americas, such as sugar or tobacco, to Europe to sell.
  • Abolitionist: A person who supported the movement to end the Transatlantic Slave Trade and slavery.
  • William Wilberforce: British politician. As a member of Parliament (1780-1825) he successfully led the campaign for the Slave Trade Act (1807), which abolished the slave trade in the British Empire.
  • Thomas Clarkson: Thomas Clarkson was a key campaigner for the abolition of the slave trade and gathered evidence and witnesses for the cause, particularly from sailors. This evidence was used in Parliamentary enquiries to highlight the inhumanity of the slave trade and slavery.
  • The Slave Trade Act: The 1807 act was a comprehensive attempt to close the slave trade. By passing the law in March, Congress gave all slave traders nine months to close down their operations in the United States.

Amazing Grace

History can be learnt by many different and interesting ways, such as films or plays, so today I invite you to close your books and take a break to watch a film. But not any film, you must watch Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace is a historical drama that won’t disappoint you. Its plot will delight you as much as its cast, wich is constitued by experienced actors that know how to give you the chills. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the roll of William Pitt and he’s basically conspicuous by his absence as he doesn’t appear in many scenes, but in the ones he does he just shines. The main characters, Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce and Romola Garai as Barbara Spooner, are so amazingly portrayed that make you believe you’re in the Great Britain of the 1790.

The film begins with Wilberforce severely ill and taking a holiday in Bath, Somerset, with his cousin, Henry Thornton. It is here that he is introduced to his future wife, Barbara Spooner. Although he at first resists, she convinces him to tell her about his life. The story flashes back 15 years to 1782, and William recounts the events that led him to where he is now, focusing on his fight for the abolition of the slave trade.

I hope you enjoy it!



This is a common blog of a future archeology student, currently studying in Escola Tecnos. My name is Carlota Balcells and betwen my interests are history and art. I admire the way art has to make people feel things they didn’t know they could feel and how it can give you the chills.

The aim of this blog is not trying to convince anyone about anything or to spread any kind of ideology, I just wanna show everyone who reads it that history is not only what we study at school, there’s more, and that’s what I’ll be writting about.

If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You’re a leaf that doesn’t know it is a part of a tree.

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