Walter Tull: Facts and Information

Here are some interesting facts about Walter Tull.

  • Walter Tull was an English footballer who played for Northampton Town and Tottenham Hotspur. He was also the first black officer in the British army and fought in World War 1.

  • He was born in Folkestone, Kent, in April, 1888 and was raised in an orphanage in East London. His grandmother was a slave on the Caribbean island of Barbados.
  • Walter Tull began playing football for the orphanage team and joined Clapton FC in 1908. He was soon named Player of the Season and won the FA Amateur Cup and London Senior Cup.
  • He was signed up by Tottenham Hotspur in 1909, at the age of 21. The team toured Argentina and Uruguay, making Tull the first black player to play in South America.
  • Supporters of the opposing team often insulted Tull because of the colour of his skin.
  • He was signed up as half-back for Northampton Town FC in 1911, and he went on to score 9 goals in 110 senior appearances before enlisting to fight in World War I.
  • Tull was promoted to sergeant and took part in the 1916 Battle of the Somme. He was sent back to England in December 1916 with trench fever.

Walter Tull

  • In 1917, he fought in Italy. He was widely recognized for his bravery, especially on one occasion where he led over 20 men across a fast flowing river at night.
  • In March, 1918, Walter Tull was shot and killed while leading an attack on the German trenches. He was recommended for a Military Cross, and was awarded the British War and Victory Medal.
  • A memorial was erected to Walter Tull at Northampton Town FC in 1999. He has been featured on a £5 coin and has been the subject of several biographies and documentaries.

Jane Goodall: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Jane Goodall.

  • Jane Goodall is considered to be the world’s leading expert on chimpanzees and has studied them for over 40 years. She is also an anthropologist and is involved in animal rights and conservation.

  • She was born in April, 1934 in London and as a child was given a toy chimp, which she still keeps in her bedroom. She went on to study animal behavior at Cambridge University.
  • From an early age she dreamed of visiting Africa. She became interested in bird watching and read books on animals and first visited Kenya, Africa to meet a childhood friend.
  • In Kenya, she worked for the well-known anthropologist Louis Leakey. She studied monkeys on an island and worked on an archaeological site to find evidence of early humans.
  • In 1960, she began studying the chimps in Gombe Stream Park, Tanzania.
  • She discovered that chimps were able to catch food and make basic tools from tree branches.
  • While in Africa, she devised the Banana Club, a feeding system to get as close as possible to the chimps. She ate the same food as the chimpanzees and spent time in the trees with them.
  • The Jane Goodall Institute was established in 1977 to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. It has offices in over 12 countries and over 10,000 groups in over 100 countries.
  • Jane Goodall has always given her chimps names, rather than just numbers, and treated them as individuals. Their names include Frodo, Goliath, David Greybeard and Mr. McGregor.
  • Jane Goodall is an enthusiastic supporter of animal rights. She has been the president of Advocates for Animals, and supporter of an Australian animal protection group called Voiceless.
  • She has won many awards, including the London Zoo Silver Medal, the Rain Forest Champion Alliance Award and she has been given an OBE. She has a plaque dedicated to her at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida.

Edwin Hubble: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Edwin Hubble.

  • Edwin Hubble was an American astronomer who devised several theories about the universe. He is regarded as one of the most important astronomers of the 20th century.
  • Hubble was born in Missouri in 1889 and at school was good at sports and running. He later attended the University of Chicago and studied astronomy and mathematics.

  • Hubble fought in World War I in the US Army.
  • Before war broke out, he coached basketball at school, broke the school’s high jump record and taught Spanish and physics.
  • He was given his first telescope at age 8 and became interested in astronomy.
  • In 1919 he took a job at the Mount Wilson observatory in California, and worked there for the rest of his life.
  • Hubble helped to prove that other galaxies existed in addition to the Milky Way. He also determined that the universe is enormous and is expanding.
  • Hubble also helped to prove that all galaxies must have come from a single central point. This idea helped to make the so-called Big Bang Theory more popular, explaining the universe’s creation.
  • Edwin Hubble  helped to devise a system for classifying galaxies, which became known as the Hubble system. The galaxies were sorted based on their appearance and patterns.

Edwin Hubble

  • The Hubble Space Telescope was named after Edwin Hubble in 1990. The powerful telescope has helped to measure distances to stars more accurately, and to compute how many so-called black holes might exist.
  • Edwin Hubble died in 1953 following a heart attack a few years earlier. A funeral was never held for him and his wife never told anyone where he was buried.
  • Hubble also has an asteroid and a crater on the moon named after him.
  • He featured on a 2008 US postage stamp and has a stretch of road named for him in his home state of Missouri.

Nicolaus Copernicus: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Nicolaus Copernicus.

  • Nicolaus Copernicus was a mathematician and astronomer who was born in Torun, Poland in 1473. His ideas led to the Copernicus Revolution, a new way of seeing the universe.
  • He believed the sun and not the earth was at the centre of the universe. This idea, controversial at the time, had first been suggested by others as early as the 3rd century BC.

  • In 1494, Nicolaus Copernicus became canon at Frombork Cathedral, where he worked most of his life.
  • In 1513 he built his own observatory so that he could see the planets and stars as often as possible.In 1496 he travelled to Italy to study law at several different universities. While in Bologna, he met a mathematics professor, Domenico Maria de Novara who encouraged his interest in astronomy.
  • As well as being an astronomer and scientist, Copernicus was a doctor, governor and economist. He was also able to speak and translate several languages, including German, Greek and Italian.
  • In 1514, Copernicus published a 40 page book listing his astronomical theories. These included the beliefs that the stars don’t move, and the earth’s movement around the sun causes the different seasons.
  • He was also a soldier for a time, leading the Polish defence during the Polish-Teutonic war of 1519 to 1521. In later life, he studied to be a doctor and treated various diseases.

Nicolaus Copernicus

  • Copernicus never married nor had any children. He was said to be so committed to his work that he thought being married might be a distraction.
  • Nicolaus Copernicus died of internal bleeding in May, 1543. For centuries, nobody knew where he was buried until his remains were discovered in Frombork Cathedral, Poland, in 2010.
  • Some of the earliest notes written by Nicolaus Copernicus are on display in Uppsala University, in Sweden. The house where he was born is now a small museum.
  • In the Back to the Future movies Doc’s dog in 1955 was named Copernicus.

What next? Discover facts about other famous mathematicians.

Aristotle: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Aristotle.

  • Aristotle was a scientist and philosopher who was born in Greece in 384 BC. Today he is considered one of the best known and most important of all philosophers.
  • He was born into a noble and wealthy family. His father was the personal doctor to King Amyntas who helped to bring peace to the Macedonian area.

  • Aristotle spent much of his life in Athens, then the world’s largest city.
  • He studied biology, politics, physics, music, languages, poetry and ethics at the school of another well-known philosopher, Plato.
  • He invented a new science called causality, which explained why events happen. He also devised a new way of looking at situations and events by looking for clues as to what happened.

Aristotle

  • Aristotle designed a primitive camera, in which the sun shone into a dark box, creating an image. He also made studies of the stars and planets, and wrote books about physics and geology.
  • Aristotle classified animals into different types, and studied the marine life in the nearby ocean. He believed that living things were created on a scale, ranging from plants to humans.
  • He made notes to help his students, and also wrote many books and papers. However, only about 30 percent of what he wrote survives today, and many of his works were also edited over the years.
  • Aristotle was the first known person to say that the continent of Antarctica existed. The Aristotle Mountains, along the north coast of Antarctica are named for him.
  • Towards the end of his life he tutored Alexander the Great, as well as two other future kings. He founded his own school, called the Lyceum.
  • He died in 322 BC, aged 62 and has been called the most intelligent man who ever lived. His method of questioning things and many of his ideas have influenced philosophers for many centuries.

What next? Learn more about Ancient Greece by visiting our resources page.

Who Was Marco Polo? Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Marco Polo.

  • Marco Polo was born on 15th September 1254 in Venice.
  • His father was a wealthy merchant who traded with the Near East. He was often away and lived in for a time in Constantinople.

  • His mother died when he was young, and he was raised by his aunt and uncle.
  • His father met Marco for the first time in 1269, and in 1271 Marco Polo (aged 17), his father and his uncle set off for Asia.
  • Marco Polo’s adventures are recorded in The Travels of Marco Polo or Book of the Marvels of the World.
  • Marco Polo returned to Venice in 1295, 24 years after leaving. The group had travelled about 15,000 miles and had accumulated a fortune in gemstones.

Marco Polo

  • Marco Polo supported Venice in its war against the Republic of Genoa. He armed a ship and joined the fighting. He was caught by the Genoans.
  • Marco Polo was imprisoned for several years. He was finally released in August 1299.
  • He returned to Venice and funded several other trading expeditions.
  • He married Donata Badoer in 1300, and they had three daughters.
  • Marco Polo died on January 8th 1324.
  • Christopher Columbus was a great admirer of Marco Polo and his travels.
  • A breed of sheep is named after Marco Polo, and a ship bearing his name was, in 1851, the first to sail around the world in under six months.
  • Marco Polo Airport is in Venice.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand: Facts and Information

Here are some interesting facts about the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand was a Hungarian Prince, a Bohemian Prince and an Austrian Archduke. He was the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary from 1896 until his death.

  • He was born in Graz, Austria in 1863 and became heir to the throne at age 11.
  • He joined the army as a young boy, became lieutenant at 14, and major-general at the age of 31.
  • He enjoyed traveling and hunting, and he hunted kangaroos in Australia. He also visited China, Thailand, Canada, New Zealand and several countries in the South Pacific.
  • The Archduke married Countess Sophie Chotek in July, 1900. She had no claim to the throne, and was not allowed to sit near him at public events or in their Royal car.
  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand had ambitious plans for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He wanted to create 16 separate states, and make sure the ethnic Slavs had a voice in the government.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand

  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand was almost killed in Autumn, 1913 when a gun went off accidentally, missing him by a few feet. Had he been killed then, World War 1 may never have happened.
  • He and his wife were killed by a secret Serbian military society, the Black Hand, on June 28th, 1914. The car they were travelling in at the time is in the Vienna Military History Museum.
  • Earlier in the day, a bomb had been thrown at the car, but landed in the street, injuring several people. The car had its top down so spectators could better see the Archduke.
  • The bullet fired by the assassin is in a museum in a castle in the Czech Republic. It is sometimes described as the bullet that started World War 1.
  • His death was one of the events that caused the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914. The assassination led to Austria-Hungary declaring war against Serbia.

Katsushika Hokusai: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Katsushika Hokusai.

  • Katsushika Hokusai was a Japanese artist and print maker, whose works have become well known outside Japan. His best known work is The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
  • He was born in Tokyo, around October 1760 and began painting at the age of 6. Between the ages of 14 and 18, he worked as an apprentice wood carver.

  • As was the custom of the time, Hokusai changed his name many times during his life. It is estimated that his name changed over 30 times, more than any other artist of that time.
  • In 1811 he created the Hokusai Manga, a series of thousands of cartoons carved on woodblocks. The art form helped to influence the modern Japanese manga comics.
  • Katsushika Hokusai also influenced the Art Nouveau and Impressionist art movements of the 19th century. Several famous artists collected his work, including Manet, Degas and Vincent van Gogh.
  • Most of Hokusai’s most important and best work was produced after he reached 60. His largest work was a set of 4,000 sketches in 14 volumes, published in 1814.
  • Katsushika Hokusai reached the height of his career around 1820. He created woodblocks of many different subjects at this time, including waterfalls, bridges, birds and flowers.
  • Despite his success, he lived simply and was poor. Like many other famous artists, he was only truly recognized and appreciated after his death.
  • He created his masterpiece, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, between 1826 and 1833. It is actually 46 prints showing Mount Fuji in different seasons and weather conditions.
  • Hokusai was a member of a Buddhist sect who believed that Mount Fuji was associated with eternal life. Legend has it that the secret of eternal life was put on its peak.
  • Katsushika Hokusai died in 1849, aged 88 and was buried in Tokyo. He worked right up until his death, completing Ducks In a Stream the year before he died.
  • The cover art of the UK edition of Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo is inspired by the work of Hokusai.

Edgar Degas: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Edgar Deags.

  • Edgar Degas was a French artist, draftsman and sculptor. His most famous work is probably the Absinthe Drinker, painted in 1875 and now hanging in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.
  • His father enjoyed having music recitals in their home, and his mother was an opera singer. At the age of 18 Degas was allowed to visit the famous Louvre museum to copy paintings.

  • In 1855 Degas went to Italy where he spent 3 years travelling and painting. During the Franco-Prussian war in 1871 he visited family in New Orleans to escape the fighting.
  • In 1865 he exhibited one of his paintings at the important Paris Salon for the first time. Around the same time he became friends with the painter Edouard Manet and developed a friendly rivalry.
  • Although often described as an Impressionist painter, his style was different from that movement. However, he did help to organize several exhibitions of the Impressionists’ works, during the 1880s.
  • Over half of his paintings show ballet classes or ballerinas. The subject sold well and brought money in after his brother’s debts had made the family bankrupt.
  • Edgar Degas was influenced by Japanese prints, as well as the artists Delacroix and Courbet. Many of his paintings had unusual viewpoints or did not have a lot of colour in them.
  • Degas believed that a painter should have no personal life, and he was often lonely. He also had strong anti-Jewish feelings and fell out with his Jewish friends.
  • Edgar Degas died in 1917 at the age of 83. He was never married and he spent the last few years of his life wandering the streets of Paris, almost blind.
  • Today, Edgar Degas is one of the most famous 19th century painters.

Douglas Bader: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Douglas Bader.

  • Douglas Bader was a World War II fighter ace and a pilot in the RAF. He is best known for flying despite having lost both his legs in an accident.
  • Bader was born in London in February, 1910. He enjoyed sports at school and once shot his younger brother with an air gun while angry.

  • He joined the RAF in 1928 and became known for his daredevil flying stunts. During one of these he crashed and had to have both legs amputated and artificial legs fitted.
  • In 1932 he was able to fly again, although he took an office job in London. He also recovered enough to be able to play golf, drive a car and dance.
  • When World War II began, Douglas Bader again joined the RAF. He crashed a plane while taking off but was later put in command of his own Spitfire squadron.

Douglas Bader

  • His plane was shot down over France in 1941, but he was able to escape by parachuting out. He was a prisoner of war in Colditz Castle for 3 years.
  • Bader is credited with shooting down over 20 enemy aircraft during the war and damaging several others. During his life he flew over 5,700 hours in both wartime and peace time.
  • The 1956 film Reach For The Sky, starring Kenneth More is based on Douglas Bader’s life. It won an award for best British film that year and was also the most popular film the same year.
  • The RAF museum warehouse in Stafford has one of Bader’s artificial legs. The other one was sold in a 2008 auction along with several other items belonging to Bader.
  • Douglas Bader died in 1982 of a heart attack, possibly caused by overworking. A German fighter pilot Adolf Galland, was at the funeral; he and Bader had known each other for 42 years.