Who Invented the American Flag?

Who Invented the American Flag?...

No one knows for certain where the stars and stripes design came from. Popular accounts of the history of the American flag state that Betsy Ross of Philadelphia designed it. In fact, Ross sewed one of the oldest versions of the flag. There’s no evidence she designed it. Early History The US flag has been altered 26 times since its inception. The first official flag recognized by historians is the Grand Union flag which came out on January 1, 1776. It consisted of 13 stripes (alternately white and red). The British Union Jack was situated on the upper left. It was in May of that year that Ross sewed the flag. A year later on June 14, 1777 the US Congress decreed that the flag have 13 stripes with 13 stars. Based on the history of the American flag, it was this design that Capt. Rob Gray used when he sailed in 1787. In 1795 two stars and stripes were added as Kentucky and Vermont became part of the Union. The 1800s In 1818, the number of stars increased to 20 as more territories became part of the US. However it was decided that the stripes would be kept at 13 for the 13 original states. A year later Illinois joined the US. The 1800s would see more and more territories join the country. By the time California joined, the number of stars had risen to 31. A study of the history of the American flag shows that when the Civil War broke out, the number of stars remained the same. Under orders from President Lincoln, the stars indicating all the states were still part of the flag. By 1890, the stars increased to 43 with Washington, North Dakota...
Who Invented Halloween?

Who Invented Halloween?

The history of Halloween in the US began in 1846 courtesy of Irish immigrants. However the actual roots of the festival go back to the ancient Celts of Europe. The Origin of Halloween The Celtic festival known as Samhain is believed to be the predecessor of modern Halloween. Samhain marked the end of the Celtic harvest season. It was also the start of the Celtic New Year. The date for the New Year was October 31. On this day, the Celts believed that the lines separating the living and the dead dissipated. During this time, evil spirits were said to roam the Earth. To combat these forces, the Celts would don masks. This aspect in the history of Halloween helps explain the tradition of watching scary costumes during the festival. Where the Name Came From Halloween got its name from Hallowe’en. This in turn was derived from All Hallow’s Eve. During the 9th century, the church changed the date of All Saint’s Day or All Hallows’ Day from May 13 to November 1. November 2 was then declared as the day of the dead. For this reason, October 31 became known as All Hallows’ Eve. Despite the move of the church, the festival remained very popular among the people. Traditions No study of the history of Halloween would be complete without addressing the origins of its many symbols. The jack o lantern had its roots in Celtic beliefs too. During Samhain, the Celts would carve heads out of rutabaga. They believed that the head could ward off the evil sprits that were roaming the Erath. This legend became intertwined with Irish and British legends involving Stingy Jack. According to the story, Stingy Jack was a greedy farmer who conned...
Who Invented Daylight Savings Time?

Who Invented Daylight Savings Time?...

Daylight savings time (also known as DST) refers to the practice of advancing clocks to maximize the use of sunlight and to save energy used for producing electricity. This practice is popular in some countries including the United States and Great Britain. Individuals who support DST believe that they can use the additional daylight for doing different leisure activities. Additionally, retail shops also benefit from this practice since their electric consumption will be lessened. To learn more about this conventional practice, it is important to have a closer look at the history of the Daylight Savings Time. History of DST Who invented Daylight Savings Time? DST was invented by George Vernon Hudson, an entomologist in New Zealand, in the late 1800s. In his research in 1895, Hudson proposed the adjustment of day hours. He realized the value of daylight in his work, which is to examine the behaviors of insects. Individuals who read the research, showed interest in his proposal. In this regard, Hudson published another research that would support his claims about DST in 1898. In 1905, English outdoorsman William Willet realized the importance of DST to the lives of people in London, England during summer. He came to this realization while in a pre-breakfast ride. In 1907, Willet published research about the benefits from the Daylight Savings Time. DST in the United States The implementation of DST was observed in 1918. At this time, the Congress gave power to local governments whether to implement the Daylight Savings Time or not. However, on February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945, the national government implemented the act nationally because the country faced energy crisis during the Second World War. After 1945, the legislation was revised and the implementation of...
Who Invented Thanksgiving?

Who Invented Thanksgiving?...

The history of Thanksgiving began in 1621. The celebration was done to give thanks to God and the Native Americans who helped the English settlers cope with the winter season in Plymouth in Massachusetts. Early Thanksgiving Records show that prior to 1621, there were other thanksgiving celebrations. The first on record took place on September 8, 1565. Pedro Menendez de Aviles led a group of 600 Spanish immigrants to St. Augustine, Florida. When they made it to land, the group gave thanks to God and a feast was held. The town of San Elizario in El Paso Texas was another site of an early thanksgiving. Don Juan de Onate declared that the settlers should hold thanksgiving on April 30, 1598. But in the history of Thanksgiving, these events are usually not considered as the first. The reason is that the celebrations taking place now are a continuation of the thanksgiving celebrations that took place in Plymouth. Date of Thanksgiving As the centuries went by, Thanksgiving became an annual tradition. It was President Abraham Lincoln who declared that the final Thursday of November be the date of Thanksgiving. This tradition has been followed ever since. The only exception was when President Franklin Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving be moved to the third Thursday of November. Roosevelt made this declaration (the only one in the history of Thanksgiving) in 1939. By setting back the date a week earlier, he hoped to encourage people to go shopping earlier. This would result in more profits for business. He saw this as a means for ending the Great Depression. However, people had become accustomed to the final Thursday in November as the date. Eventually Roosevelt reset the date back to the original one. What this...
Who Invented Zero?

Who Invented Zero?

Few persons ever sit down and think about numbers and where they come from; it is just one of those things that we take for granted. Even if a person does wonder where numbers come from, the typical answer is that numbers originated with Roman numerals, but there are records of numbers being used as far back as 6000 BCE; however this only refers to numbers starting from 1, what about the number zero, where did it come from? The history of the zero is different from that of other numbers as ancient numerical systems did not have a zero, and a space was used where a zero should be. So let’s talk a little about the number zero and how it got into the numerical system. Where Zero Came From There are a lot of different stories about where the number zero comes from; one story says that the zero was first used as a number in India in the 9th century AD by Indian mathematician Aryabhata. It is also said that Indian scholar Pingala along with his fellow scholars used the Sanskrit word ??nya to refer to the number zero. Another story says that the number zero was invented by the Mayan civilization for use on their calendars, while yet another story claims that the zero dates back to 300 B.C. and was invented in Babylon. In the European society there is no evidence of the number zero being used until after 800 AD by the Arabs who were coming to trade with the Europeans; the name zero was also derived from the Arabic language. By 130 AD Ptolemy was using a small circle with a long over-bar to represent a zero; this symbol was used by...
Who Invented Christmas?

Who Invented Christmas?

Christmas did not originate in the Christian religion. It came from the ancient Romans. Every year in December they held a festival called “Saturnalia” in honor of their god Saturn. The festival ran for a week starting in December 17 up to December 23. Saturnalia was a time of freedom and pleasure without consequence. People could do what they wanted and the law wouldn’t punish them. In fact, all courts of law were closed during the week-long festivities. The Romans would take this opportunity to play games, get drunk, run about naked and commit sexual acts that would be unacceptable at other times. Even the slaves got a break: for once the roles were reversed and they could insult their masters. A special banquet was prepared just for the slaves in each household. More disturbing, the Romans would choose an innocent person to be a type of scapegoat during the festival. This person would be considered the enemy of the community. He or she would be forced to self-indulge in many ways for a week, before being killed. The Christians used a clever tactic to get people to convert to their religion. They took the popular Roman festivals and changed them to fit into Christianity. While the names changed, the customs and practices stayed the same. It reassured people that they could convert to the new religion and still keep the old practices. Since Saturnalia was the major feast of the year, the Christians made it the birthday of their savior. However the actual Christmas Day itself, December 25, was not the last day of Saturnalia. It was the day of Sol Invictus, the “Invincible Sun.” Sol Invictus was part of a Roman warrior cult – in which the...
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