history meme: 6 women →  [4/6] Helen Keller

Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of how Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become widely known through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker. Her birthday on June 27 is commemorated as Helen Keller Day in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and was authorized at the federal level by presidential proclamation by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, her 100th birthday.

A prolific author, Keller was well-travelled and outspoken in her convictions. A member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World, she campaigned for women’s suffrage, labour rights, socialism, and other radical left causes. She was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 1971


history meme | one out of nine kings and queens

↳ King Jadwiga of Poland (reigning October 16 1384 - July 17 1399)

King Jadwiga of Poland, also known as King Hedwig, was the first female ruler of The Kingdom of Poland. With her ancestry connecting back to the native Piast dynasty of Poland, she is said to be the most Polish of all of Poland’s rulers. After her father’s death and much dispute over who was to be the next ruler of Poland, at roughly age eleven Jadwiga was crowned King of Poland as Polish law did not specify whether a King could be male or female – although this title is thought to have been given to her to distinguish the fact that she was not a queen consort but rather a queen regent.

Due to the fact that Jadwiga was a minor during the first years of her reign, she was merely a tool for her advisers to exploit. Jadwiga, however, matured quickly (particularly her charm and kindness) and strengthened her position and soon became a ruler in her own right. A notable part of her early rule includes her marching at the head of Polish troops to Ruthenia where all but one governors submitted her without opposition after a group of rebels murdered her mother. During the last years of her reign, Jadwiga’s strength as a leader continued to show as she was a skilled mediator – famed for her intelligence and impartiality. She strived to create peace between her country and the threats to it.

Jadwiga attended many charities and cultural festivals as ruler. She sponsored writers and artists and donated much of her personal wealth, including her royal insignia, to charity, for purposes including the founding of hospitals. She financed a scholarship for twenty Lithuanians to study at Charles University in Prague to help strengthen Christianity in their country, to which purpose she also founded a bishopric in Vilnius. Among her most notable cultural legacies was the restoration of the Kraków Academy.

Jadwiga gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth Bonifacia, on June 23 1399. Elizabeth died on July 13 1399. Jadwiga passed away soon after on July 17 1399. She was buried with her daughter in Wawel Cathedral on August 24 1399.

Jadwiga often prayed before a large black crucifix hanging in the north aisle of Wawel Cathedral. During one of these prayers, the Christ on the cross is said to have spoken to her. The crucifix, “Saint Jadwiga’s cross,” is still there, with her relics beneath it. Because of this event, she is considered a medieval mystic. According to another legend, Jadwiga took a piece of jewelry from her foot and gave it to a poor stonemason who had begged for her help. When the king left, he noticed her footprint in the plaster floor of his workplace, even though the plaster had already hardened before her visit. The supposed footprint, known as “Jadwiga’s foot”, can still be seen in one of Kraków’s churches. On June 8 1997, Jadwiga was canonized as a saint by Pope John Paul II. [x]


history meme: 6 women →  [2/6] Marie Curie

Marie Curie, (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934), née Maria Salomea Skłodowskawas a Polish physicist and chemist, working mainly in France, who is famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences. She was also the first female professor at the University of Paris (La Sorbonne), and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in Paris’ Panthéon.

Her achievements included a theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world’s first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms, using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centres of medical research today. During World War I, she established the first military field radiological centres.

Curie died in 1934 at the sanatorium of Sancellemoz (Haute-Savoie), France, due to aplastic anemia brought on by her years of exposure to radiation.

                                          The Ottoman Empire
history meme [1/55]
empires [1/1]

The Ottoman empire was one of the largest and longest lasting empires, created by Turkish tribes in Anatolia. It was a major power during the 15th and 16th centuries, spanning over six hundred years, replacing the Byzantine empire. It came to an end in 1922, when it was replaced by the Turkish Republic and various successor states in South-East Europe and the Middle East. The word Ottomam is derived from the name of the nomadic Turkmen chief, Uthmān or Osman, who founded the dynasty and the empire.

The Empire began to decline after being defeated at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, during which it lost the majority of its naval forces. It continued declining over the ensuing centuries and was effectively defeated by the First World War and the Baltic Wars. At its peak, the empire included most of southeastern Europe, up to Vienna, including Hungary, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and most of North Africa’s coastal strip.

There are several reasons why the Ottoman empire was so successful: it was highly centralised, and the government expended a lot of effort dealing with local leaders, in which they were ruthless. They had alliances that transversed political and racial boundaries and the education system was state-run. Furthermore, they were united by Islamic ideology. Religion was incorporated into state structure, and the Sultan was seen as the ‘protector of the faith’.

The first era of the Ottoman empire was one of rapid expansion. Constantinople, the previous heart of the Byzantine empire was conquered by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II in 1453. Most of the population was slaughtered, and the rest were forced into exile. He renamed the city Istanbul, meaning 'the city of Islam’, and began to rebuild it culturally, socially and politically as the new capital of the Ottoman empire. Silk, rhubarbs and dyes became their main trades. The Pope, furious at the ending of the 1100 year Christian empire tried to incite a crusade, but there was an overwhelming lack of response from the Christian nations.

The Ottoman empire had its golden era during the reign of Suleiman the Lawgiver, 1520-66, and his grandson Selim II, 1566 - 74. Suleiman came to the throne as one of the world’s wealthiest rulers, due largely to his father’s work in establishing the economy and frightening the neighbouring Safavid Empire, in Iran, into a non-aggression policy. Suleiman had no internal opposition, either. His father had ensured this by executing his own brothers and their sons, and all of Suleiman’s brothers. The Ottoman empire included almost all of the areas where Islam was practiced, to the extent that Suleiman was regarded as the earthly ruler of most Muslims. The wealth and the stability of the empire attracted top Muslim intellectuals, craftsmen and artists. He was named 'the Magnificent’ by the Europeans, but his own people called him 'the Lawgiver’.

In 1683, Ottoman empire lost momentum when they failed to conquer Vienna for the last time and the slow decline began. This was hastened by several factors; competition from India and the Americas, ambitious European powers, rising unemployment and the decreasing quality of the Sultans. This was due, in part, to the fact that potential heirs had stopped being executed, and were instead being imprisoned, meaning that men were taking power after spending the majority of their lives in prison. Soon the word 'Turk’ was synonymous with corruption and cruelty, and many wanted to distance themselves from that image.

After great territorial losses, on the first of November, 1922, the Ottoman empire was officially disbanded and Turkey was declared a republic. The Ottoman caliphate continued as an institution, until it too was disbanded on the third of March, 1934.


history meme: 6 women →  [1/6] Amelia Earhart

Amelia Mary Earhart (born July 24, 1897 – disappeared July 2, 1937) was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for this record. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. Earhart joined the faculty of the Purdue University aviation department in 1935 as a visiting faculty member to counsel women on careers and help inspire others with her love for aviation. She was also a member of the National Woman’s Party, and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.

During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937 in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Model 10 Electra, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. Fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day

*Amelia Earhart was declared dead in absentia January 5, 1939


history meme | 6 women: Queen Anna Nzinga (c. 1583 – December 17, 1663)

Also known as Ana de Sousa Nzinga Mbande, was a 17th-century queen (muchino a muhatu) of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms of the Mbundu people in Angola. She assumed control as regent of his young son, Kaza, who was then residing with the Imbangala. Nzinga sent to have the boy in her charge. The son returned, who she is alleged to have killed for his impudence. She then assumed the powers of ruling in Ndongo. In her correspondence in 1624 she fancifully styled herself “Lady of Andongo” (senhora de Andongo), but in a letter of 1626 she now called herself “Queen of Andongo” (rainha de Andongo), a title which she bore from then on. Today, she is remembered in Angola for her political and diplomatic acumen, great wit and intelligence, as well as her brilliant military tactics. In time, Portugal and most of Europe would come to respect her. A major street in Luanda is named after her, and a statue of her was placed in Kinaxixi on an impressive square in 2002, dedicated by President Santos to celebrate the 27th anniversary of independence. Angolan women are often married near the statue, especially on Thursdays and Fridays.


history meme | 6 women: frida kahlo (July 6th, 1907 – July 13th, 1954)

Frida Kahlo de Rivera (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈfɾiða ˈkalo]; born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón; July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954) was a Mexican painter who is best known for her self-portraits.

Kahlo’s life began and ended in Mexico City, in her home known as the Blue House. Her work has been celebrated in Mexico as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition and by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.

Mexican culture and Amerindian cultural tradition are important in her work, which has been sometimes characterized as naïve art or folk art. Her work has also been described as surrealist, and in 1938 André Breton, principal initiator of the surrealist movement, described Kahlo’s art as a “ribbon around a bomb”. Frida rejected the “surrealist” label; she believed that her work reflected more of her reality than her dreams.

Kahlo had a volatile marriage with the famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera. She suffered lifelong health problems, many caused by a traffic accident she survived as a teenager. Recovering from her injuries isolated her from other people, and this isolation influenced her works, many of which are self-portraits of one sort or another. Kahlo suggested, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” She also stated, “I was born a bitch. I was born a painter.”[x]


history meme: 6 women →  [3/6] Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale (12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910) was a celebrated English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. She came to prominence while serving as a nurse during the Crimean War, where she tended to wounded soldiers. She was dubbed “The Lady with the Lamp” after her habit of making rounds at night.

Nightingale was born to a wealthy upper-class family, at a time when women of her class were expected to focus on marriage and child bearing. Unitarian religious inspiration led her to devote her life to serving others, both directly and as a reformer. Nightingale rejected proposals of marriage so as to be free to pursue her calling. Her father had progressive social views, providing his daughter with a well-rounded education that included mathematics and supported her desire to lead an active life. Nightingale’s ability to effect reform rested on her exceptional analytic skills, her high reputation, and her network of influential friends. Starting in her mid-thirties, she suffered from chronic poor health, but continued working almost until her death at the age of ninety.