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History of fireworks: 30 interesting facts that you probably didn't know

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By experimentally mixing sulfur, coal, and saltpeter (potassium nitrate), so began the history of fireworks, and people started to use the powder thus obtained for entertainment purposes.


You can get the most straightforward "Bengal lights" if you fill them with bamboo stems. Such bamboo pipes subsequently became an integral cultural component of the entire Chinese people. Later, the technology for producing primitive fireworks, turntables, all kinds of firecrackers, and rockets was developed relatively quickly. Moreover, until now, all national holidays in the Celestial Empire have been held using many pyrotechnics and fireworks. And many of the pyrotechnic shows that occur in China are the envy of the most developed cities in the world.


Everything you need to know about fireworks


We move on. And here, it is worth noting that the properties of the composition of gunpowder could not help but be of interest to the military. Nevertheless, historical references to gunpowder for military purposes date back to the 11th century. That is, as much as 400 years after the invention of fireworks. So, for example, facts began to appear when archers, instead of ordinary arrowheads, began to use bamboo stems stuffed with gunpowder. Subsequently, military engineers invented many weapon designs using a burning composition. There are also documented cases in medieval warfare when live rats with fireworks tied to them were launched into enemy territory.


What are fireworks?


We observe beautiful chemical reactions on the ground or sky when displaying fireworks. The main components are fuel, oxidizer, and a different chemical mixture. The third component gives the desired color or effect to the mix. The oxidizing agent acts as a chemical bond destroyer in the charge. It promotes the release of maximum energy stored in these chemical bonds. In this case, the entire reaction is started with a tiny spark from the fuse or directly with a direct flame.


The device and principle of operation of a high-altitude firework


First of all, it should be noted that the design of the greeting has not changed for hundreds of years.


The fireworks launch tube (mortar or barrel of household pyrotechnics) works like the muzzle of a pistol. When triggered, the fuse ignites 🔥 an expelling charge consisting of black powder. Ultimately, the head flies out in the chosen direction at high speed. It can reach 160 m/s. Meanwhile, the expelling charge and pushing the fireworks out also set fire on the moderator. The retarder indicators are calculated so that it burns out to the end at the top point of the lustkugel lift and ignites the bursting charge of the ball.

On the other hand, the explosive charge, consisting of black powder, ignites small balls. They are known among pyrotechnicians as stars. They are located around the head. Ultimately, these balls burn and create the effect of fireworks in the sky. Their quantity, chemical composition, size, and properties can vary greatly. This allows you to create various products and light up the night sky.


Variety of firework colors


Until 1830, fireworks exploded in only two colors: white and orange. And after that, scientific discoveries made it possible to diversify this type of special effects.


The inclusion of various metals and their compounds in pyrotechnic mixtures made it possible to obtain the entire palette of primary colors in the sky. For example, different chemical elements emit different wavelengths of light when they burn. In pyrotechnics, copper, iron, titanium, barium, magnesium, lithium, strontium, etc., have received the most excellent use.


For example, with the help of titanium and magnesium, you can get a bright silver or white color. Lithium and strontium give different shades of red. Barium is a rich green, while sodium burns with a yellow flame. On the other hand, when burned, in addition to light waves, some elements also produce sound effects: crackling, whistling, and hissing. Thus, the burning of titanium powder can be accompanied by white sparks and loud explosions.


Pyrotechnics manufacturers are constantly researching new pyrotechnic compositions. Scientists and technologists are looking for a replacement for expensive chemical elements. They are developing more environmentally friendly formulations and experimenting with different color shades and visual effects.


Best facts about fireworks


1. Pyrotechnics


The craft of making, setting, and launching fireworks is called pyrotechnics, from the Greek pyro (fire) and techne (art).

The profession of a pyrotechnician is the ability to apply the laws of physics, chemistry, have design abilities when creating a light or sound show, more about this profession and how to learn it at the link above.


2. The Chinese Invented Gunpowder


The earliest recorded use of fireworks dates back to 200 BC China, during the Han Dynasty. People roasted bamboo stalks until the air inside them hissed and exploded. The resulting loud bang is believed to frighten evil spirits and herald happiness and good fortune. However, when the Chinese invented gunpowder some time between 600-900 AD, fireworks became even louder and brighter.


3. Hanabi Taikai


In Japan, there is a tradition of many pyrotechnic festivals (Hanabi Taikai) in the summer, which occur almost every weekend. For example, in August, there were more than 800 shows. Traditionally, these pyrotechnic shows were used to ward off evil spirits.


4. First fireworks, then gunpowder weapons


The invention of fireworks led to gunpowder weapons, not the other way around. During medieval wars in China, sometimes fireworks were tied to rats thrown into enemy territory. The Chinese also strapped fireworks to arrows to intimidate their enemies.



5. Fireworks - metal burning


The colors of the fireworks result from the burning of various metallic elements. When burning multiple elements, they paint the flame in different colors. For example, barium burns green, sodium burns yellow, and lithium and strontium burn red.


6. Gunpowder was brought to Europe by the Arabs


Contrary to popular belief, Marco Polo was not the first to bring gunpowder from China to Europe when he returned from China in 1295. Gunpowder was probably brought earlier by the Arabs via the Silk Road, despite the best efforts of the Chinese to keep its recipe secret.


7. Titanium Powder Creates Loud Explosions


Pyrotechnicians can create certain firework sounds. For example, aluminum or iron flakes can create hissing sounds, and titanium powder can create loud explosions.


8. Blue color fireworks


Blue is by far the most difficult firework color for pyrotechnicians to achieve. Even after thousands of years of fireworks, no one has found the perfect composition to make a vibrant blue. In contrast, red, green, orange, and white are easy to make.



9. Henry VII, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I


The earliest known fireworks display in England was set off in 1486 at the wedding of Henry VII. His son Henry VIII also celebrated his marriage to Anne Boleyn with fireworks. The daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth I was so fond of fireworks that she created a unique position at court for the person who made the most beautiful fireworks show.


10 Native American Intimidation


According to legend, Captain John Smith set off the first fireworks in America in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1608. He wanted to impress or frighten the Native Americans.


11. Italian fireworks


The Italians are famous for turning fireworks into a work of art. In fact, many of the leading American fireworks companies or fireworks shows are owned by families of Italian origin, such as Grucci, Rozzi, and Zambelli.


12. Fireworks are part of European holidays


Although fireworks were invented in China around 200 BC, it took about 17 centuries for them to become part of European celebrations. In England, "firemasters" lit fireworks at parties with the help of their assistants or "little green men." The "Green People" wore green leaf headdresses to put out any sparks to avoid a fire.


13. Pyrotechnics Olympics in the Philippines


The Philippines hosts the annual World Pyrotechnics Olympiad. Participants from all over the world come together to determine who can create the best fireworks.



14. Fireworks in Oslo


The largest fireworks show was held in Norway on November 29, 2014, when 540,383 fireworks were launched. The spectacle continued for 1.5 hours in honor of the Norwegian constitution.


15. Only 100% cotton


People who make fireworks must wear 100% cotton clothes and even underwear. Synthetic clothing can create sparks from static electricity that can set off fireworks.


Short facts about fireworks


17. China is the largest importer of fireworks - more than 90% of all fireworks are produced in China;


18. The first fireworks display in Europe was at the wedding of King Henry VII of England in 1486;


19. For quite a long time, people believed that fireworks scare away evil spirits;


20. Three sparklers burning together can generate as much heat as a blowtorch;


21. The first fireworks in America were brought by an Englishman, Captain John Smith, whom we know from the history of Pocahontas;


22. Exploding a firework on a street or public place in the UK is a criminal offense with a maximum fine of up to £5,000.


23. In 1240, Arab scientists mastered the knowledge of gunpowder. A Syrian named Hassan al-Rammah designed the first medieval Arabic fireworks (rocket) borrowed from Chinese sources.


24. Dreams about fireworks mean that you enjoy being the center of attention and showing off to others. It also symbolizes enthusiasm and fun.



25. the giant chocolate firework was 3 m high and 1.5 m in diameter and contained 60 kg Swiss chocolates. Fireworks were launched in Zurich on New Year's Eve 2002.


26. the giant firework rocket weighed 13 kg and was launched in Portugal in 2010.


27. In Japanese, the word fireworks will sound like "Hanabi," which means "fire flower."


28. The fireworks rocket can reach a speed of 240 km/h, but the body can only maintain integrity at 200 meters.


29. Bengal fire burns at a temperature 15 times greater than the boiling point of water. Three sparklers together can generate the same heat as a blowtorch.


30. The record for the number of fireworks launched was 450 thousand pieces, achieved in Dubai in 2014.



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March 17 has a special significance for the Irish. It is one of the most important days of the year, because they celebrate St. Patrick. Originally a Catholic holiday, today this festival is rather dedicated to the entire Irish culture and is celebrated with pomp in both Ireland and the United Kingdom, as well as in the United States. Bemorepanda collected some interesting facts and history details for you.

Saint Patrick was born in the 4th century in Roman Britain, but was captured by the Irish and held captive on the island for 6 years. At that time he dedicated himself to religion, and tradition says that he had a divine revelation by which God asked him to Christianize the Irish. After escaping from captivity, he returned to Ireland in 432 and began the Christianization process of the Irish, hitherto followers of polytheism. According to Irish folklore, he used the clover leaf to explain the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

Best St Patrick's Day Amsterdam Activities 2021 - Tiqets Blog

Although St. Patrick was followed by many other missionaries, he remained the leading champion of Irish Christianity. Initially, the associated color of St. Patrick was blue, but later green, the symbol color of Ireland, began to be used. The custom of wearing green bows and clovers to celebrate March 17 (the day of his death) dates back to the seventeenth century.

National holiday from the 9th-10th centuries

Surprising St Patrick's Day Facts You Never Knew

The feast of St. Patrick was celebrated by the Irish as a kind of national day since the ninth and tenth centuries, but the official day was included in the Catholic calendar only in the early seventeenth century. In 1903, St. Patrick's Day became a national holiday in Ireland, and the St. Patrick's Festival appeared in the 1990s.

All the customs related to this holiday revolve around the color green. Everyone wears green clothes, clovers and, because it's Ireland, they drink beer. Guinness has even launched a special edition of their beer, the Green Edition. And the Irish diaspora around the world is celebrating today, with the most important activities taking place in America. For 40 years, the city of Chicago - with a significant segment of the population of Irish origin - has been manifesting its spirit of celebration by turning the Chicago River green (with the help of a vegetable paint).

In Ireland, although this holiday usually falls on Lent, the Catholic Church accepts meat on March 17 because, according to tradition, on St. Patrick's Day the Irish go to church in the morning, then organize a big feast in honor of their patron. spiritual.

SAINT PATRICK'S DAY: the two visions

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St. Patrick's is Ireland's most beloved and well-known saint. Saint Patrick, the luminary of Ireland, was born around 381 AD in a village called Bannaven Taberniae. St. Patrick comes from a family of altar servants - his grandfather Potitus was a priest and his father Calpurnius a deacon.

The name Patrick or Patrichie means a great man in Latin. From the account of his life, we learn that at the age of 16 he ends up forgetting about God. When he reached this age, his village was looted by pirates, and he was sold into slavery in Ireland. He becomes a shepherd on Mount Slemish in Antrim County. Going into captivity completely changed his life. From the rich and carefree young man, comes the person who said at least a hundred prayers at night and as many during the day.

St. Patrick had two visions: in the first he was shown that he would return home, and in the second he was told that his ship was ready. The revelation made by God is fulfilled, so that after six years spent in captivity, he manages to return to his parents.

Facts about St. Patrick's Day celebrations you probably don't know

The Saint Patrick’s Day parade is a tradition both in Ireland and abroad. After the great famine of the 19th century, caused by the lack of potatoes, a wave of migrants left Ireland, and the parade of Saint Patrick’s Day became their way of manifesting their identity. Starting from the tradition, parades began to be organized all over the world, which came to include all those who share the same values.

Ireland celebrates March 17 every year on St. Patrick's Day, the spiritual patron saint of the Irish. This day is marked with great pomp not only in Ireland, but throughout the world, in Irish communities. Each family prepares a traditional dinner with beef and cabbage dishes.

The legend of the saint who patronizes Ireland

Collectible St. Patrick's Day memorabilia hard to find before 1900 |

As for the biography of St. Patrick, the true story intertwines harmoniously with the legend. It is known that St. Patrick was born in Scotland and was abducted and sold to Ireland as a slave. He became a deacon, then a priest and ended up as a bishop. Arriving on the mainland, he was sent back by the Pope to preach the gospel. He traveled mainly to the Celtic settlements, as evidenced by the fact that today many places in Wales, Cornwall, Scotland and Ireland bear his name.

Legend and history become even more difficult to separate when various sources speak of St. Patrick standing on top of a hill and - with the help of a stick - throwing snakes into the sea, forbidding them forever to return to the shores of Ireland. Patrick became known in the world as the one who saved Ireland from snakes. It is true that there are no snakes in Ireland today, but it seems that there has never been one, at least since the island is separated from the mainland. It is probably a symbol of the end of pagan practices in those places.

Regardless of the weather, March 17 was considered spring day, as St. Patrick promised to tame the weather from that date. For this reason, during this period, Irish farmers began to grow potatoes.

St Patrick's Day playlist: 23 classic Irish anthems to get you dancing |  The Independent | The Independent

Later, he meets Saint German, the bishop of the city, in Auxerre. He has another dream, in which he is asked to go to Ireland. He asked St. German for advice on the dream, and because he had prayed to God to give him a person to replace St. Palladium, he saw in this dream a response from God. We point out that the Holy Palladium had left Ireland less than a year after his ordination, because of the cruelty of the Irish.

He was ordained a bishop and in 432 left the monastery of Auxerre with some companions for Ireland. Surrounded by pagans, St. Patrick had many trials.

The Druids will be dissatisfied with the presence of St. Patrick and will send Dichu to kill him. He stiffens as he raises his sword to kill him. St. Patrick unleashes him from the unseen power that held him in place. In response to the miracle performed, Dichiu will offer the saint a shelter in which he will celebrate the Holy Mass. After this miracle, many Irish people received faith in Christ. Later, he and his disciples baptized the entire country.

St. Patrick passed away on March 17, around 480. He is depicted in iconography holding a clover (a three-leafed plant), a symbol of the Holy Trinity, one God in being, but three in person. It is celebrated every year, on March 17.

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated not only in Ireland, but in many countries around the world. The most important festival is considered to be the one in Dublin, in Leinster.

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Elephants are the only representatives of the ancient group that have survived to our time. Previously, there were 40 species, most of them bred until the end of the last ice age 12,500 years ago, there were pygmy elephants, mammoths, and dinotherium. Only three have survived to this day - the African savannah elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant. We present to you the most interesting historical facts about them.

It is a well-known fact that elephants are the largest land animals on earth. The heart of an elephant can reach a weight of 25-30 kg. In its normal rhythm, it contracts about once every two seconds, driving blood through a huge body. In the wild, elephants spend up to 20 hours a day searching for food.

Troops of the nobility

According to the unwritten Aryan code of honor, the highest aristocracy first fought on chariots and later moved to elephants. The princes were taught the methods of training elephants as much as riding. The elephant was used both on the battlefields and during sieges: elephants scattered palisades and broke through city walls.

According to the Mahabharata epic, the ancient Indian military unit (Patti) included one elephant, one chariot, three horsemen, and five-foot soldiers.

The elephant crew consisted of two or three people, with the foremost warrior sitting on the neck of the animal and the rest on the rump; one of them could carry the badge of an aristocratic fighter or hold an umbrella over the nobleman. The weapons were darts and bows. The warriors sat on a colorful blanket or a special saddle, and the elephant itself was sometimes protected by a leather or metal shell, the design of which is unknown.

In any case, finds from Taxila, where rectangular iron plates 21.6 × 25.4 cm in size were made about 2000 years ago, speak of lamellar armor.

If the body of the elephant was invulnerable, then its legs were guarded by four-foot soldiers assigned to the animal - “guardians of the feet” (Kautilya’s treatise “Arthashastra” recommends strengthening the war elephant with fifteen warriors). In the Mahabharata, the elephant-hero could be accompanied by four chariots instead of infantry.

The classic variant of the correct battle was a battle by type of troops: elephants had to fight with the enemy's elephant, chariots with chariots, horse riders with horse riders, and foot soldiers against footmen. Of course, the rules were often broken in the heat of battle.

Where the elephants fought

As an example of the interaction of elephants with other branches of the military on the battlefield, one can cite the Battle of the Hydaspes in May 326 BC. e. between Alexander the Great and the Punjabi Raja Por.

Ancient historians describe the disposition of Por in sufficient detail: infantry was built in the center, in front of which there were about 130 elephants, and on the flanks - quadriga chariots, followed by cavalry.

Thus, the elephants became the main striking force of the Indian army: during the battle, the elephants of Por even attacked the famous Macedonian phalanx. However, tactical superiority remained on the side of Alexander: the Macedonians killed the Kornak drovers with darts, surrounded the enemy's elephant, and captured elephants as trophies.

The first known use of elephants outside of India is at the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC. e. The Persian king Darius III was supplied with 15 animals by the Indian allies against the Macedonians.

The Persians, having painted the place of the elephant in their written disposition, were afraid to bring the elephants to the battlefield so as not to scare away their horses and leave them in the camp. The battle was won by Alexander the Great, who captured the Persian base along with the elephants.

After the Battle of the Hydaspes, Alexander formed a guard detachment-agama from captured elephants in the Macedonian way, putting heavily armed hoplite foot soldiers on the backs of animals. Thus, in the first European elephant, the elephant crew consisted of an Indian Kornak and a Macedonian, equipped with their traditional weapons: a large round shield and a pike-sarisa. The hoplite held his lance with both hands and stabbed down.

After the collapse of the power of Alexander, his elephant was also divided: Antipater took half to Macedonia, and the second half went to the Asian strategist Antigonus One-eyed, who used elephants in the battle Orkinia in the spring of 320 BC. e., fighting with another heir of Alexander, Eumenes.

Two years later, Eumenes received from his supporter Eudamus, the strategist of North India, 125 elephants taken by Eudamus from the army of Por, who he killed. Thus, the elephants of Pore fought each other in two major battles: at Paretaken (317 BC) and Gabiene (316 BC).

Elephant of the Hellenistic era

The era of Hellenism is generally the heyday of the Mediterranean elephant. In the III - the middle of the II century BC. e. the armies of the most powerful states - Macedonia, Syria, Egypt - were armed with several dozen elephants.

The Epirus king Pyrrhus, having encountered Sicily in the 270s BC. e. with the Carthaginians, introduced the enemy to his elephant. By the time of the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), there were up to 300 elephants in the stalls of the Carthaginian army.

The founder of the dynasty of Syrian kings, Seleucus I, had the most significant number of war elephants - he received five thousand heads from India. Seleucid elephants participated in the major wars of the era: with Egypt, Rome, and the Jews.

Alexander's successors improved the elephant's equipment. The animal was dressed in a purple blanket. The protective armor was replenished with a forehead with a sultan and an entire shell. The tusks were reinforced with sharp tips, and weapons were given to the elephant's trunk.

Among the Greeks, elephants threw darts while brandishing heavy chains and swords in India. On the back of the elephant, they began to install a tower resembling a fortification. On the one hand, she gave the fighters solid support for the combat stance, and on the other hand, she covered them with arrows and spears.

This innovation likely appeared in the army of the already mentioned Diadochus Antigonus One-Eyed at the turn of 320-310 BC. e. 2-3 warriors stood in the tower, turning in different directions. In addition to a hook for controlling the animal, the leader-cork also received a chisel with a hammer to neutralize an enraged elephant: the chisel was driven into the back of the animal's head, causing immediate death. Cruel, but out of obedience, the elephants were no less dangerous for their warriors than for the enemy.

The idea of ​​equipping the Kornak with a chisel is attributed to the younger brother of Hannibal, the Carthaginian commander Hasdrubal (245-207 BC).

Now the forces of elephants were not wasted on the siege of cities but used elephants mainly in field battles. The animals were arranged in a chain at a distance of about 30 m from each other; they usually had to charge the cavalry or fight against the enemy elephant.

The success of the attacks on the cavalry was because the horses, unaccustomed to the sight and smell of elephants, began to rage and got out of control. Elephants were soldered with wine before the fight for courage.

Asian monarchies used giant Indian elephants (height at the withers up to 3.5 m). At the same time, the armies of North Africa - the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Numidians, and Ethiopians - had smaller African forest elephants (height at the withers no more than 3 m).

This forest breed was afraid of its taller Asian counterparts: in the battle of Rafia in South Palestine on June 22, 217 BC. e., when the Indian elephants of the Seleucid king Antiochus III collided with the Egyptian elephant of Ptolemy IV, the Libyan elephants of the Egyptians simply retreated.

Depletion of natural resources

Although the Romans learned to fight the elephant successfully, they also acquired this branch of the army, receiving elephants mainly from Africa. The Elephant of the Eternal City fought with the Macedonians, the Spanish Celtiberians, and the Allobroge Gauls.

The last time elephants appeared in the Roman army was at the Battle of Thapsus (46 BC) between Caesar and the supporters of Pompey, who received animals from the Numidian king. Despite the unsuccessful actions of the elephants in that battle, Caesar wanted to use elephants against the Parthians, but his death in 44 BC. e. thwarted these plans.

Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD) was going to use elephants in a campaign in Britain in 43, and the emperor Caracalla (211-217) even formed a detachment of elephants.

However, the Romans were not destined to use it in battle, as historian Andrei Bannikov suggests, due to the loss of elephant combat training skills. It is also possible that the not too numerous elephants of North Africa had already died on the battlefield before Caesar, and the Romans had nowhere to replenish their elephant.

The elephant in the Middle Ages and after

Gradually, outside of Asia, Elephantery fell into disuse everywhere except in Ethiopia. The Africans also erected towers on animals, in which six archers fired in pairs on three sides.

In the 6th century, the Ethiopian ruler of Yemen, Abraha, sent an army to Mecca, including a white elephant. According to Islamic tradition, this event, described in the Koran in a separate sura "Elephant," took place in 570, when the prophet Muhammad was born.

Perhaps in the battles with the Ethiopians, the Arabs gained the experience that they needed when they conquered Persia. The number of elephants in the Shahinshah's army reached 300 heads. Iranian elephant successfully fought against the Romans and Armenians. According to sources, the Persians used elephants more often during sieges.

In the fatal battle of Qadisiya (637) for Iranian history, three dozen elephants located in front of the center and flanks of the Persian army fought fiercely with the Arabs on the first and third days of the four-day battle.

On the first day, the elephants attacked quite successfully. The Arabs stopped them with difficulty, shooting at the trunks and eyes of the animals and the carriages and cutting off the girths holding the towers. The whole second day, the Persians were repairing the equipment of elephants. Each animal was given an infantry detachment and a horse patrol. On the third day of the battle, the Arabs continued to shoot at the eyes of the elephants and put up special squads of swordsmen who managed to cut off several trunks, which led to a stampede of the animals. On the fourth day, the Persian commander died, and his army fled.

This battle dealt a blow to the reputation of the Elephant in the Middle East. However, elephants continued to serve in Ethiopia (at least until the 16th century), India (until the end of the 18th century), and Indochina (until the end of the 19th century). In the 16th-17th centuries, the Mughal kings of India had up to 12 thousand animals, while the kings of Siam and Burma - had five to six thousand.

Elephants received from India also fought in the armies of the most militant Muslim monarchs of the Middle East: Sultan Mahmud Ghaznevi (998-1030), Khorezmshah Muhammad (1200-1220), and Emir Tamerlane (1370-1405).

Afanasy Nikitin, who lived in Central India from 1471-to 1474, described the war elephants of the Bahmanid state in a story about the sultan's parade:

“300 elephants dressed in damask armor with towns, and the villages are chained. There are six people in armor with cannons and squeakers in the cities and 12 people on the great elephant. On each elephant, there are two large banners. Large swords are tied to the fangs, each center (about 40 kg), and heavy iron weights are tied to the trunks; between the ears sits a man in armor, and in his hands is a large iron hook, which he rules.

Nikitin also observed preparations for a campaign against the neighboring state of Vijayanagar: 100 elephants set out "in armor and with towns, and on each elephant, there are four people with squeakers."

Greek fire against artillery

Since the 14th century, the towers of the elephants of the army of the Delhi Sultanate were wooden, upholstered in metal, and shaped like closed towers. They were mounted on animals, protected by steel armor. The buildings housed archers, crossbowmen, throwers of discs or grenades with Greek fire, and for reinforcement, rockets were assigned to the animals - warriors who launched powder rockets at the enemy.

Detachments of five animals were supported by foot soldiers, whose task in battle was to cover the elephants from unexpectedly attacking horse riders. If at the time of Athanasius Nikitin, elephants armed with heavy arquebuses and bows fired from the towns, then later, under the Great Mughals (XVI-XVIII centuries), elephants usually did not carry towers.

The commander's elephant had a special seat (houdah), sheathed in metal in the combat version, for the commander and his guards or servants. Elephants were grouped into groups of 10, 20, and 30 heads.

Animals were actively used during sieges, where they kicked out gates and destroyed fortifications, and on the battlefield for a frontal attack. But against the artillery of the New Age, they were defenseless. In the pitched battle of Karnal (1739) between the troops of the Mughal Padishah Muhammad (1719–1748) and the Persians of Nadir Shah (1736–1747), the ruler of India fielded 2,000 elephants, which were put to flight by the fire of Iranian field guns transported on camels.

In the 16th-17th centuries, special light guns (gajnals) about 1.8 m long were mounted on some elephants, which served four gunners. Swords or knives tied to elephant tusks were sometimes poisoned, and in the trunk, the animal carried a sword or a heavy chain, sometimes with weights.

The elephant could be unarmored, protected by partially or fully covered armor, non-metallic or steel scaly, or ring-plate. Moreover, in Mughal times, the elephant's headband watched the entire trunk, except for the very tip, and had a pair of high-standing "ears" covering the Karnak in front.

At the Royal Armories in Leeds, England, a large part of Mughal elephant armor dating from around the 17th century has been preserved. The armor consisted of eight regions and covered the entire head with ears, trunk, and torso.

Its complete set was supposed to consist of 8349 large and small steel plates with a total weight of 159 kg. Rectangular plates were connected with chain mail and lined with wool, and each large scale was decorated with images of flowers, elephants, birds, and fish.

The elephant was a significant branch of the army in the states of Indochina. Here the warrior sat on the back of the head of the animal, a servant squire was placed in a high saddle, and the leader controlled the elephant, sitting behind. For one warrior with a pike, halberd, or trident, there were two archers, crossbowmen, or, later, shooters with muskets.

If the head of the elephant was a woman (and this happened often), then the entire crew consisted of the fair sex. The elephant was usually accompanied by four "foot guards" in the Indian manner.

In the first half of the 1540s, the ruler of Cochinchina (South Vietnam) had two hundred elephants equipped with towers and swords on their tusks. The Cambodian war elephant in the 19th century wore an iron shell, an open saddle with a hundred darts, and three helmeted warriors: a corner with a hook and a curved sword around his neck, an arrow or spearman in the saddle, and a javelin thrower behind.

Animals rarely wore a shell. Warriors were placed either directly on a blanket or, more often on a special saddle, sometimes covered with a shield at the back.

Elephant Sunset

The artillery of the 19th century drove the elephants out of the first formation of the attacking armies. The tallest and most beautiful animals became “combat command vehicles,” from which the generals watched the battle's progress and, if necessary, participated in duels famous in the East between the leaders of the opposing armies. Elephants with less imposing appearance were increasingly used as tractors.

Their importance in the military affairs of Indochina is confirmed by the offer made in 1861 by the King of Siam Rama IV (1851-1868) to the American president: the king expressed his readiness to send his elephants to help the army of northerners in the transportation of goods. Abraham Lincoln, however, refused under the pretext that the US climate is not suitable for elephants.

In the 20th century, tractor elephants were replaced by steel equipment, although not everywhere: during the Second World War, animals served in the jungles of Burma as a universal transport. With the advent of helicopters, machines intercepted this function from elephants.

But the all-terrain qualities of animals continued to be used by the partisans of Indochina in their combat operations. Hmong and other Vietnamese Montagnards, participants in the Vietnam War, crossed the impenetrable forests on elephants. In 1997, God's Army's Burmese rebel patrols did the same. The civil war in Burma ended with a compromise in 2012: a peace treaty was concluded between the government of Myanmar and the ethnic separatists of the Karen National Union. Perhaps this document has become the last page in the annals of an elephant.

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Some people may only experience the pleasure of owning exclusively new things, which they get from plastic boxes covered with plastic wrap. And others, in turn, are thrilled with the smell of antiquity and dream of touching history, preferring to new things those that can be called antiques. We have collected for you photographs of antiques, some of which are at least 100 years old and their value only grows over the years.


“A vintage set that could be called a spice village. My grandmother bought it for me 30 years ago, and it was still kept in my parents' shed. "



300 years ago, this device was installed in the Palafoxiana Library, Puebla, Mexico, allowing you to hold seven open books in front of you at the same time.



“Today I bought this Victorian cage for $ 100. It is a little more than 2 meters high, if you count with the stand, and I have never seen such a thing before. "



"The cylinder that belonged to my great-great-grandfather at the end of the 19th century"



1920s embroidered Belgian screen



"My grandfather just gave me this 19th century mandolin."



“Not really sure about the exact date, but I believe these curling irons are from the early or mid 1800s. They belonged to my great-grandmother "



Art Deco butterfly brooch made of Norwegian silver and covered with enamel



“The first gift that my great-grandfather gave to my great-grandmother almost 100 years ago. I think it's worth sharing this. "



One person shared a photo of this antique that had been in his family for many years, asking what it is.


One of the users answered him: "This is one of the Asian whatnots, which were specially designed to showcase decorative items."



"I found it in a junkyard and used it to record my band's first album."



Unusual door knocker in the form of a female hand holding an orange



“Unfortunately my grandmother died this year. This is her copy of Alice in Wonderland, which I inherited. "



“I found this Edwardian dress yesterday. It's too awesome not to share. "



Metal pocket shopping list




“There is something about this pitch-black cardboard cover, with a gilded cover and floral motifs. Something great. This is Le Manuscrit Bleu's 1848 book. "



“I assume we are publishing our uranium glass collections? Here is mine! "



“This memento is known as the curse tablet. They were small strips of lead pierced with an iron nail. They are usually Roman or Greek. Someone's hair was sandwiched between these pieces, indicating that it might be a love spell. I am thinking of contacting the museum about this "



BONUS: "The plaster fell off and I was able to look into the past"



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Only a few of us can have the opportunity to communicate with a star. Many regularly attend concerts of their favorite performers, someone even got an autograph from a celebrity, but not everyone can boast that, for example, Bill Murray nursed you as a child. These "pearls" were shared by people from our article, boasting on the Internet of their meeting with a star.


“Bill Murray looked after me and my brother. Here is a photo of us in the late 1980s "



"My uncle tripped and fell in front of the Queen of England in 1987"



“My father and Elvis. He always told us that they hung out together, but before this photo we didn't believe him. "



"When I took a selfie, I told Samuel L. Jackson to show what he really thinks about these things."




“Today at work my mom was told to drive this 'bum' off the golf course. It turned out to be Bill Murray "



"My son looks more like Harry Potter than Harry Potter himself."



"My dad played against Michael Jordan in high school."



“My wife met Chris Pratt. Anna Faris did not approve of this "




"My wife's face on our wedding day compared to when she met Rob Lowe."



"My husband, when he was a little boy, with Alice Cooper in 1989"



"I got a little nervous when I met Morgan Freeman."



“Today my mom didn't answer my call. I sent her a message asking why she was so busy and she sent me this photo. "




"Chuck Norris admires my friend's father's cock in the 80s."



Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds are known to troll each other in a friendly way, and a Jackman fan decided to take advantage of this.


The girl put on a dress with the image of Reynolds in a wreath to meet the idol and he burst out laughing when he saw this. But for the sake of the photo, he showed anger on his face.


“I met Jim Carrey and he was really amazing! I never thought he would make faces with me, but he did a great job! "



"A friend of mine met Beyoncé in New Orleans and she said," Whatever face you make, I'll repeat it. "




“My brother and I met our favorite superhero (Hulk) when we were 4 years old. As you can see, we were a little disappointed because Lou Ferrigno was not green. "



“A buddy of mine met this weird dude in a dinosaur shirt and zebra print pants. Come on, just kidding, I know it's Jeff Goldblum. "



"My dad with Muhammad Ali, 1970s"



“I met David Hasselhoff at our local radio station in the early 80's. However, in this photo I don't look too impressed. "


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A border country located at the confluence of the EU and Russia, a former Soviet republic with a population of 46 million, independent since 1991, known abroad by stereotypes such as the "granary of the former USSR", the "Chernobyl catastrophe", "Gas crisis" or "orange revolution", Ukraine is trying to build an identity.

The difficulty in finding this identity stems from the fact that Ukraine has long been fragmented between the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires, the current borders being drawn by Joseph Stalin. It is true that nationalist ideas took their place here in the nineteenth century, but it was only after the disintegration of the USSR that Ukraine became independent, except for a short period between 1917 and 1920.

You can read more interesting facts below.

Ukraine blames Russia for cyberattack against government agencies | TheHill

1. If Russia, which is not entirely in Europe, is not taken into account, Ukraine is the state with the largest area on the "Old Continent". Ukraine has an area of ​​603,628 square kilometers;

2. Ukrainians celebrate National Day on August 24;

3. Arsenal in Kyiv is the deepest subway station in the world. It is located at a depth of 105 meters and was built in 1960 for military purposes. The reason? Threatening powerful states with nuclear bombs

4. Traditional Ukrainian food includes chicken, pork, beef, eggs, fish and mushrooms. Ukrainians also tend to eat a lot of fresh, pickled potatoes, cereals and vegetables. 

5. The most famous Ukrainian dish is borscht. While many Russians claim to be from their homeland, many Ukrainians are passionate about believing that they are the founders of this dish.

6. Ukraine was at the center of one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded in April 1986. The blast was considered the worst accident in the history of nuclear power.

7. Unlike many civilized states in Ukraine, wedding rings are worn on the ring finger of the right hand.

8. The "Love Tunnel" also exists in Ukraine. Near the town of Klevan in Ukraine there is a railway line that is covered with vaults formed by the branches of the nearby trees. It has become a favorite destination for thousands of lovers.

9. The geographical center of Europe is located in Ukraine. In 1886, the geographers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, using the technology of the time, established the geographical center of Europe in the village of Dilove.

10. The city of Druzhkivka in the Donetsk region is one of the few places in the world where fossilized trees are kept. The trees are almost 250 million years old and create an entire fossilized forest that covers an area of ​​1 hectare.

11. The first gas lamp in history was invented in the Ukrainian city of Lviv.

12. The Ukrainians, namely the Antonov Design Bureau, have developed an aircraft with the highest payload capacity in the world - the An-225 Mechta. At first it was designed to transport spacecraft. Now "Dream" carries out commercial cargo transportation.

13. The author of one of the first constitutions in the world is Ukrainian political and public figure Pylyp Orlyk. On April 5, 1710, he was elected hetman of the Zaporizhian army. On the same day, Pylyp Orlyk announced the "Constitution of the rights and freedoms of the Zaporizhian army." In the United States, the Constitution was adopted in 1787, in France and the Commonwealth - only in 1791. An interesting fact is that Pylyp Orlik was born on the territory of Belarus - in the village of Kosuta, Oshmyany Povet.

14. In recent years, Ukraine has confidently retained its place in the top three world leaders in honey production. Being several times ahead of European countries in terms of honey production, Ukraine is at the same time the first state in the world in honey production per capita (1.5 kg).

15. Ukraine has the world's largest reserves of manganese ore - 2.3 billion tons, or about 11% of the world's total reserves.

16. Only six monasteries in the world have the status of Lavra. Three of them are in Ukraine. These are the Holy Assumption Kiev-Pechersk Lavra in Kyiv, which received this status back in 1598, the Holy Assumption Lavra in the city of Pochaev and the Svyatogorsk Holy Assumption Lavra in the Donetsk region.

17. Ostroh Academy is the first higher educational institution in Eastern Europe, the oldest Ukrainian scientific and educational institution. In 1576, Prince Konstantin-Vasily of Ostrog founded the Slavic-Greek-Latin Academy in Ostrog.

18. The first kerosene lamp was invented in Lvov by Ignaty Lukasiewicz and Jan Zekh in 1853, under the Golden Star pharmacy workers.In the same year, the first surgical operation was performed in the Lviv hospital under the illumination of a kerosene lamp. Subsequently, the kerosene lamp was presented at the international exhibition in Munich, the invention was awarded a special diploma there.

19. Monuments to the famous Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko have been erected in 1200 cities around the world.

20. The Ukrainian wind instrument trembita is the longest wind musical instrument in the world.

21. The shortest main street of all the capitals of the world, but at the same time one of the widest and most beautiful - Khreshchatyk in Kyiv. Its length is only 1225 m.

22. The oldest map known to scientists, as well as the oldest settlement of Homo Sapiens, were found in Ukraine: in the village. Mesopotamia of the Rivne region. They are about 14.5-15 thousand years old. The map is engraved on a mammoth bone.

23. The longest cave in Ukraine is called "Optimistic" and is located in Podolia. This is a gypsum cave at a depth of 20 m with a length of 216 km. The longest gypsum cave in the world and the second longest in general, it is second only to Mammoth Cave in the United States.

24. The geographical center of Europe (well, yes, we also have it :)). In Ukraine, near the town of Rakhiv, surrounded by the picturesque Carpathians, is the geographical center of Europe.

25. The oldest tree in Ukraine is considered to be a 1300-year-old oak in the Yuzefin tract, Rivne region.

26. The third most visited McDonald's in the world is located in Kyiv near the railway station. This establishment consistently ranks among the top five busiest McDonald's in the world.

27. One of the largest historical transport routes ran through the territory of Ukraine (as well as through the territory of Belarus) - “the path from the Varangians to the Greeks” - a system of river routes and portages between them 3 thousand km long, connecting the northern lands of Ancient Russia with the southern Russian lands and the Baltic sea ​​with Black. Throughout ancient history, Ukraine has acted as a bridge between the worlds of Eastern Europe and the Ancient East, Antique, Byzantine and Latin Europe.

28. Ukraine ranks fourth in the world in terms of the number of citizens with higher education. The population of Ukraine is among the most educated, and the number of people with higher education per capita is higher than the average European level.


29. Ukraine, on its own initiative, abandoned the world's third largest arsenal of nuclear weapons. At the time of declaration of independence, more than a thousand nuclear warheads and missiles were located on the territory of Ukraine, the third largest nuclear potential after Russia and America. The warheads and missiles were handed over to Russia, the bunkers were destroyed. In response, Ukraine received money for disarmament, as well as security guarantees from nuclear powers (as we can see, these guarantees are not respected today).

30. The international Ukrainian anthem consists of only six lines (four in verse and two in the chorus). The remaining lines of the anthem are considered politically incorrect. (for example, "Stand, brother, in a crooked way from Xiang to Don" implies Ukraine's claims to the territory of Russia and Poland). The anthem was born in 1863, and adopted as a state anthem in 2003.

31.At the language beauty contest in Paris in 1934, the Ukrainian language took third place after French and Persian in terms of phonetics, vocabulary, phraseology, and sentence structure. And in terms of melodiousness, the Ukrainian language took second place after Italian.

32. Until the almost complete destruction in 1240 by the Mongol-Tatars, Kyiv was one of the largest cities in Europe, fifty times larger than London, ten times larger than Paris. It reached its peak under Yaroslav the Wise (1010 - 1054), who became related to the royal families of France, Norway, Romania and Poland. The population of today's capital of Ukraine was about 50,000 inhabitants. It took about 600 years to reach such demographic indicators again. Quite possibly, if it were not for the destruction of that time, Kyiv could have been the most developed largest city in Europe for many years.

33. Pablo Picasso was delighted with the works of the Ukrainian artist Kateryna Bilokur (1900-1961). When in 1954 he saw her works at an exhibition, he said that they were brilliant and compared Catherine with the world-famous artist Serafin Louis.

35. One of the most famous Christmas songs in the world is Shchedryk, a folk song recorded by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych. The world knows her as Carol of the Bells or Ring Christmas Bells. On Youtube, various performances of "Shchedryk" are gaining millions of views.

36. During the Anglo-Boer War (South Africa) in 1899 - 1902. the commander of one of the detachments of the Boers, Ukrainian Yuriy Budyak, saved a young English journalist from execution. Subsequently, the latter helped Budyak enter Oxford University. In 1917, Yuriy worked in the government of the Ukrainian People's Republic. In 1943 Yuri Budyak died in a Soviet concentration camp. The English journalist's name was Winston Churchill…

37. At the time of independence, there were 19.4 million pigs in Ukraine. Today, there are half as many of them - 8.3 million. Despite the reputation of a salo-eater, the average Ukrainian eats only 18 kg of pork per year. This is three times less than an ordinary German.

38. In Ukraine, near Nikopol, on a spit near the river. Lapinki, on one of the branches of the Dnieper, you can see, or rather hear a phenomenon that is rare in the world - singing sands. The "singing" of these, perhaps, the strangest sands appears after rain, when the top layer sticks together and forms a fragile crust. Walking along it, you can hear sounds similar to the whistling of air released from a car chamber.

39. In the town of Berdychiv (Zhytomyr region) in the church of St. Barbara on March 14, 1850, the local beauty Evelina Ganskaya was married to Honore de Balzac. Frederic Chopin lived in the same town for a long time, who, in addition to writing music, also supervised the restoration of the local organ.

40. It would be possible to collect a dictionary of Ukrainian surnames, distorted in the course of Russification by Russian officials. So, the Ukrainian clan Chekhov in the 19th century became Chekhov for some reason. Chekhov's grandfather was still a Czech. Anton Pavlovich himself wrote that his grandfather was a Ukrainian. Quite funny, the Deineks turned into Denikins. Cossacks Rozuma became Razumovsky, Chaikas become Tchaikovsky. The grandfather of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, the great composer - Pyotr Chaika - graduated from the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, and as a physician, the Russian government sent him as a head physician to Vyatka. 

41. Probably, the Ukrainian atmosphere in the Tchaikovsky family was preserved much better than that of the Chekhovs, because from the age of 24, the future composer lived in Ukraine almost every year for several months, where he wrote more than 30 works, including the opera Blacksmith Vakula (Cherevichki ”), “Mazepa”, song-romance “Cherry Garden of Haiti”, duet “On the Novgorod near the Ford” to the words of T. Shevchenko. In the cruel times of the empire's offensive against the Ukrainian language, he sought the production of "Taras Bulba" by N. Lysenko (the famous Ukrainian composer), used many Ukrainian folk songs in his works.

42. The great writer Fyodor Dostoevsky was Ukrainian by origin, because the Dostoevsky family came from the village of Dostoev near Pinsk (Ukrainian-Belarusian border), so Belarusians can also consider him their fellow countryman. One of the Dostoevskys becomes a hieromonk of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and in 1647 takes part in the election of the next metropolitan. It is interesting that among the Dostoevskys who lived in Podolia, most of all were representatives of the clergy. Andrei Dostoevsky was a priest of the Ukrainian Uniate Church. 

43. He was the grandfather of the writer F. Dostoevsky. Andrei's son quarreled with his father and brother and went to Moscow. His name was Mikhail, and as a memory of his family and Ukraine, he took with him, preserved and passed on to his sons his own Ukrainian poems. The daughter of Fyodor Mikhailovich recalls: "... poetic abilities were already in the Ukrainian family of my father, and were not given only through my Muscovite mother, as Dostoevsky's literary friends suggest." It is a pity that F. Dostoevsky did not join the defense of Ukraine.

44. This, in principle, cannot be said about V. Mayakovsky. The poet sharply criticized the “Muscovites”: “Comrade Muscovite, don’t joke about Ukraine.” He also reminded that Russians from the history of Ukraine know only Shevchenko, Taras Bulba, borscht and lard (“Russians have a shallow thickness of knowledge”). 

45. By the way, he wrote about himself: "I am a Cossack from my grandfather, on the other - a Sich." Researchers point out that the Ukrainian clans of Mayakovsky went, probably, from those Cossacks who stood guard over the barrows, at the lighthouses that were set on fire during the Tatar attacks.

46. Unfortunately, the Ukrainians of Ripa turned into Repins. Although Ilya Repin, who was born in the Kharkiv region, still retained his sense of belonging to the Ukrainians and painted himself as a Cossack leaning on a cannon. “It's time to think about the Ukrainian style in art,” the artist noted. But he not only spoke, but also created many works on Ukrainian themes, for example, “The Cossacks write a letter to the Turkish Sultan” - he wrote two versions of this picture.

47. In 1931, there were more Ukrainians in the USSR than Russians. In six years, 55 million disappeared ... This figure is indicated in the book "At the Great Construction Site", published in 1931 in Leningrad. The same data are presented in the first Soviet encyclopedia of 1926. Neither this encyclopedia nor the book is available in any library in Ukraine. We managed to find "At the Great Construction Site" in Moscow. 

48. The figures of 81 million are clearly visible in these copies. It should be noted that the population of Ukrainian Galicia, which was part of Poland, was not taken into account here. Already the next census of 1937 indicates that only 26 million Ukrainians remained in the USSR. Where did all the rest go? Knowing such figures, the repressions of the 1930s seem even more terrible.

49. Freedom Square in Kharkov is the largest square in Europe.

50. The longest embankment in Europe is located in Dnepropetrovsk. Its length is 30 km.

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