April 23rd is St. George’s Day; it’s the nearest England gets to a national celebration. Unbelievably, this national day is a cause for contention instead of a big party. The St. George’s cross has been the national emblem of England for so long, it should be part of everyone’s heritage. Instead, we have the unspeakable Union flag (what everybody used to call Union Jack, but seemingly some brain and nameless git decided this is not politically correct).
Queen Berta of Burgundy, formerly Princess of Swabia, Queen of Upper Burgundy, and Empress of Rome, was buried in Payerne, a small town in today's Republic and Canton of Jura, Switzerland. She was first revered as a saint there, but her story started to grow as time went by. Soon she was known as Good Queen Berta. Still later, she acquired the name Queen Berta the Spinner. Even later, she would become godmother to a newly established republican state. And her story lives on today.
The Golden Bull of Rimini was a document issued by Emperor Frederick II of the Holy Roman Empire on behalf of the Teutonic Knights. It ceded land to them which didn't belong to Frederick's Empire in the first place in return for the conquest of the same land and the conversion of its pagan population to Christianity.
Louis XVII would have been King of France after the beheading of his father Louis XVI but for the fact that France was a republic at the time. He died while imprisoned in Paris; or maybe he didn't. The case is puzzling to this day, and conflicting evidence is offered from likely or unlikely sources.
San Marino is the oldest existing Republic in the world. This is not just some boast, but historical fact. The beginnings of San Marino, as befits any good story, are shrouded in legend, putting the founding of the city into the hands of a saint, St Marinus. Like most of the early and many of the later Catholic saints, he is mythical but features a nice story.
Jack Tar: Life in Nelson's Navy by Roy and Lesley Adkins was published by Little, Brown. The book tells of the ruthless conscription drives leading to the victories of Nelson's navy in the Napoleonic Wars. Getting men on board and describing the shocking living conditions there, it also unveils the startling truth about women on board.