Author: Historical Nonfiction

Map of Tenochtitlan, From 1524

You might know it as today’s Mexico City.

Humanity Has Influenced The Evolution Of Bears…

Over twenty years ago, Sweden banned hunting female brown bears when they were still with their cubs. Reasonable right? Well, a recent study found that brown bears have evolved to care for their cubs an extra year! The increased time with the cubs decreases the mother’s overall number of offspring, but it increases both the mother’s and the cub’s liklihood of survival.


Four of the American founding fathers married widows: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin. Interestingly, none had sons with their wives.

Burning the Books of the Prophet

Zoroastrianism, arguably the world’s first religion to worship just one god, still exists today – mainly in India. But it barely survived an ancient blow. Specifically, the conquests of Alexander the Great.

When Alexander took Persia in the 320s BCE, large portions of the compiled works of Zarathustra were lost, in the destruction of cities and holy places. Some say it had once been over 12,000 pages. What remained was re-collected after Alexander’s death, named the Avesta, and standardized into a five-part text which is still used by believers today.

The main section, named the Gathas, is the oldest: it contains 17 hymns believed to have been written by Zarathustra during his lifetime. Other sections contain prayers, rituals, accounts of how the world was created, and Zoroastrian law.

Having heard that he had in his library a cert…

Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return’d it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.

Sewing the outfits for the Apollo mission, 196…

Sewing the outfits for the Apollo mission, 1968. Each astronaut had a custom-fitted suit!

You’ll Be Surprised Where This Frog Necklace C…

It’s from Egypt’s 19th dynasty! Circa 1295–1185 BCE. The orange and blue frogs are made of glass, separated by glass beads.

Please Message If H-NF Posts Are Flagged

Hey guys, it’s just one person running historical-nonfiction. And h-nf has been going for – wow – over seven years now, which means there is a lot of content that could be flagged as NSFW.

So if you see an h-nf post that’s been tagged as NSFW, please message me! The chat and inbox are always open.

Where Was Chess Born?

In India! The original word for “chess” is the Sanskrit chaturanga, meaning “four members of an army”—which were mostly likely elephants, horses, chariots, and foot soldiers.


In ancient Egypt, silver was more valuable than gold. It had not always been available there, and after silver was introduced, it remained rare through the Early Dynastic Period. As a result silver jewelry was almost always thinner than gold jewelry.

By the Middle Kingdom, though, new sources of silver seem to have opened up because silver became less valuable than gold.