Leonardo's 500-year-old Bridge Crosses Digital Divide
October 13, 2019
Leonardo bridge drawings In the same way that physicists keep proving hunches and predictions by Albert Einstein correct decades after his death, a group of researchers have proven workable a 500-year-old bridge design by Renaissance Man Leonardo Da Vinci. Leonardo, at the behest of Sultan Bayezid II of the Ottoman Empire, had in 1502 submitted a proposal for the design of a bridge to connect Istanbul (then Constantinople) to its neighboring city Galata, across a river estuary known as the Golden Horn. Leonardo didn't win that contract, but he did outline a bridge concept that, like many other things in his famous Notebooks, were ahead of their time. Leonardo's design called for a 918-foot-long bridge, which would have been the longest bridge in the world at that time. A bridge of such length would, using techniques in use at the time, have required supports in the form of semicircular arches and at least 10 piers, the researchers said. Leonardo, however, proposed one flattened arch, which would have been tall enough for a sailboat, mast and all, to sail through underneath. A group of researchers at MIT have built a model to prove that Leonardo's theory was correct.


The Battle of Hastings
The Battle of Hastings, which took place on October 14, 1066, was the last successful seaborne invasion of England. At the end of that day, Anglo-Saxon rule of England had ended and the Norman Conquest had begun.

The battle happened for a number of reasons, but the primary cause was a struggle for succession triggered by the death of King Edward the Confessor. In response, three strong men (Harold Godwinson, Harald Hardrada, and William, Duke of Normandy) laid their claim, with both words and actions.

Find out more about Harold, who became King Harold II. See how his early life intersected with the Norman way of life. Trace the connection between his father and the Saxon defensive tradition.

Find out more about Edward. Why was he call the Confessor? What did he do to try to keep his kingdom together?

What happened when Harald Hardrada led his Norwegians into northern England and seized York? See how Harold responded, and what happened in the famous Battle of Stamford Bridge.

And what of William, who became King William I and came to be called William the Conqueror? What was his connection with Edward and Harold?

John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry
John Brown's raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry didn't have the specific results that Brown intended, but it did provide both North and South with rallying cries for the deepening conflict that soon became the Civil War. It happened on Oct. 16, 1759.

John Brown: Violent Abolitionist
John Brown was a man of deeply held beliefs who ended his life pursuing violence as a means of creating great social change. He is best known for his daring raid on a federal arsenal and the very public trial and execution that resulted from his capture. He died at 59, convinced his cause was right.


Jamestown: First English Colony in America
Explorers had been landing in America for some time before English settlers arrived in what is now Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. But it was in that spot on the James River that English colonization began and with it, the history of America.

The Pilgrims: Voyage to Freedom
Follow the Pilgrims as they sail across the Atlantic Ocean, from England to America, in search of religious freedom. See who they meet when they land in New England. Find out about the first Thanksgiving.

The 13 American Colonies
This fun, illustrated article describes the 13 American Colonies in detail, from economics to religion to agriculture to revolution. Also includes a clickable map with links to individual descriptions of each colony and a list of the first European settlements in North America. Outstanding resource!

Farming in the 13 American Colonies
The focus is on agriculture in this look at how the colonists farmed and what they grew. See wheat turn into flour!

Religion in the 13 American Colonies
In colonial America, how you worshipped depended on where you lived. See how each colony taught religion and where they gathered for worship.

Education in the 13 American Colonies
Did colonial schools really keep girls out? Find out this and more in this entertaining look at education in colonial times.

Food in the 13 American Colonies
What did the colonists eat and how did they get it? This fun, illustrated article tells you.

Parks and Fun in the 13 American Colonies
Did colonial kids play? If so, what games did they play? This article has the answers for you. Some things haven't changed.

Significant Sevens are the highest, the lowest, the deepest, the farthest, the oldest, the youngest, and a host of other lists in economics, geography, history, and much more.

Cultural Icons are the instantly recognizable monuments, landforms, buildings, and many other kinds of landmarks that define a people, place, or culture.



One of the shining lights in ancient times was the city-states of Greece. Athens and Sparta are perhaps the most famous of these, but they numbered many more than that. So many of the traditions of Western (and Eastern) nations can be traced to these ancient peoples and their triumphs and struggles.

Find out more about the ancient Greeks:


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Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2019
David White