Diplomacy

Diplomacy, treaties, and other aspects of international relations through history

Introducing Hernán Cortés

Arguably, Hernán Cortés is the most famous - or infamous - of the Spanish explorers. Jessie Szalay, LiveScience Contributor, offers a biographical feature on the conqueror of the Aztec Empire and governor of New Spain.

Machiavelli gets the sack; civilization gets The Prince

Civil servant Niccolo Machiavelli flourished at government work, but his fall from grace came in 1512 when he was fired and imprisoned for his involvement in a conspiracy against the Medicis, leading to the creation of his greatest work, The Prince. Sarah Dunant has the feature for the BBC.

Elizabeth I's greatest secret

In what might be the strangest story of the year, author Steve Berry proposes that Queen Elizabeth I might have had an incredible secret: She was a man. The theory is laid out in a new book by Berry, The King’s Deception.

Is this the oldest European image of Native Americans?

Restoration of a fresco in the Vatican has revealed a small group of naked dancing men with feathers in their hair. Researchers think these figures may be depictions of Native Americans. The fresco was painted by Renaissance master Pinturicchio in 1494, just two years after Columbus sailed to America.

Ransom profitable for medieval rank-and-file

History has recorded that the ransom of kings and nobles was a popular way for armies to raise money during the Middle Ages, but new research shows that the practice may have also been popular among common soldiers.

Documents from St. Augustine, Florida shed light on life in the New World

The earliest documents relating to the city of St. Augustine, Florida (USA) are being digitized for preservation. The documents cover the time period from 1594 to 1763 CE.

Modern Europe needs a Holy Roman Empire

In an article for the New York Times, Istvan Deak opines that what the European Union really needs is a unifying force, such as the Holy Roman Empire, led by a modern Charlemagne.

Class Central offers free university courses online

Eternal students who find themselves unable to attend traditional university classes may wish to consider the offerings of Class Central, a free, online project offered by Stanford's Coursera, MIT and Harvard led edX (MITx + Harvardx), and Udacity.

Redeeming qualities of Attila the Hun

On the blog Past Imperfect for the online version of Smithsonian Magazine, Michael D. Blodgett tries to find "Nice Things to Say About Attila the Hun." The greatest, he feels was Attila's "refusal to be seduced by wealth."

Can national stereotypes survive the European Union?

Flamboyant lovers, opionated cowards, unshaved barbarians - some of the barbs that Europeans have used against their neighbors are as old as the nations themselves.