History

08/23/2018 - 3:51pm

When there's a chill in the air and the leaves are starting to turn, that's the time that people think about apple harvests. Virginia is known for its apples, and there are orchards throughout the state that have the delicious fruit in many varieties. There are apple festivals, too, where you can sometimes pick your own apples and even watch people making spicy, dark apple butter. But whenever people talk about how apple trees were spread across America in the early 1800s, there's always one name that comes up. Johnny Appleseed.

08/21/2018 - 3:37pm

Ancient cities grew up around rivers, for the rivers were the source of life for all the people and animals who lived there. The waters of the Nile were no different. They flooded every year, making the soil rich for growing crops. 

In time, a civilization arose by the Nile whose wonders can still be seen today. From the Valley of the Kings to the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx, the almighty pharoahs of Egypt left monuments to celebrate their glory for eternity.

You needn't take a boat, an airplane, or even a camel to discover this ancient place. You can discover lots about Egypt on the Web and in the library. Unearth the Nile's secrets with our Ancient Egypt book list to guide you.

08/28/2018 - 10:07am

In 1821, Mexico finally won its independence from Spain after a long war. It was a lot like the American Revolution against Britain; heroic generals led an army of poor, brave farmers against the Spanish army and by sheer guts wore the Spanish down. The constitution was written in 1824 even called the new nation the United States of Mexico. It was larger than the United States, covering all of modern Mexico plus the western third of the modern United States.

06/27/2018 - 3:11pm
It's a Great Month for National Parks

It’s time to gather friends and family and head to a national park or national historic site. How does the National Park Service provide fun, memorable, and inspiring experiences? Camping, fishing, hiking, history, grand vistas, and horseback riding - there are so many possibilities in our national parks. Head to a local national park or even plan a longer trip for an end-of-summer big adventure! If you are traveling with children, be sure to check out the Junior Ranger program, available at many parks.

04/17/2018 - 10:29am
2018 Pulitzer Prize Winners

The 2018 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced April 16. The winners include Less: A Novel, by Andrew Sean Greer (fiction); Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, by Caroline Fraser (biography); Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016, by Frank Bidart (poetry); DAMN., by Kendrick Lamar (music); Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, by James Forman Jr. (general nonfiction); and The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea, by Jack E. Davis (history).

04/16/2018 - 9:03am
Cover to The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective

At 5 o'clock in the morning, a curly-headed toddler went missing from his bed in the spacious mansion in the English countryside, never to be seen alive again. Young Saville Kent's soon-to-be-discovered vicious murder at the hands of someone who was surely a family member or trusted servant excited the press, the populace, and the authorities and ultimately drew the attention of one of Scotland Yard's first and finest detectives, Jack Whicher. Like the fictional Sherlock Holmes, Detective Whicher had a keen mind and almost sixth sense for uncovering criminals in the most unlikely places. With no forensics lab modern or otherwise to help him discover the identity of Saville's killer, Whicher used reason and intuition when setting about his task.

03/16/2018 - 1:48am
The Call by Peadar Ô Guilin

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here.

If you like a unique adult and young adult tales from Ireland with a bit of magic, check out these titles.

02/28/2018 - 11:01am

What kinds of people settled the new lands of America? They had their own ideas about laws, religion, and what makes a good government. They were, in a word, independent.

In 1776, England was far away, and people on this side of the Atlantic were heartily sick and tired of paying taxes on top of taxes to finance England's empty treasury. They were tired, too, of losing money by having the Crown interfere with their trade overseas. The men in the assemblies shouted that King George was a tyrant, so the King's men stopped the assemblies. When they still protested, the King brought in the army, making the colonists put them up in their houses. Any crimes the soldiers committed against the colonists were handled in the King's court by the King's judges.

02/06/2018 - 10:02am

Wouldn't it be cool if even a few of the old stories were true? Legends say that giants walked the Earth; Atlantis vanished under the sea; and Greece and Troy fought a devastating war over a beautiful woman. Amazing, but true: all these stories are based on facts.

Archaeologists digging in China discovered the fossils of Gigantopithecus, a giant ape standing 9 or 10 feet tall. These huge but probably gentle apes died off 500,000 years ago. Traditionally, villagers collected their bones and made them into medicines. They called their finds dragon bones. Some have wondered whether pockets of the animals may have survived into later centuries, giving rise to the legend of Big Foot.

12/08/2017 - 10:18am

The huge boulder rolled deliberately in the middle of the road was the first sign of trouble. On May 11, 1889, along a dusty trail in Arizona, an unlikely bunch of desperadoes made off with $28,000 in gold from U.S. Army Paymaster Major Joseph Washington Wham. Buffalo Soldiers from the 24th Infantry were part of the 12-man escort that would go down fighting that day.

With a cry of "Look out, you black sons of bitches!" a buckskin-clad bandit opened fire on the wagon train from his advantageous position on the heights. The soldiers grabbed their guns, stored in the second wagon. Some were able to take cover, but others, such as Sergeant Benjamin Brown, were struck quickly by the hail of bullets coming from the other bandits, estimated to be between 12 and 15 in number. This didn't mean the soldiers stopped resisting the onslaught.

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