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The History Channel - Encyclopedia
Category: History and Culture > History
Date & country: 02/12/2007, UK
Words: 28028


Alexander, William
(1567-1640) Scottish poet. Besides Aurora (1604) and Recreations with the Muses (1637), he wrote the four `monarchic tragedies`Darius (1603), Croesus (1604), The Alexandraean Tragedy (1605), and Julius...

Alexandra
(1844-1925) Queen consort of Edward VII of England, whom she married in 1863. She was the eldest daughter of Christian IX of Denmark. She bore five children, two boys and three girls. The elder son, Albert...

Alexandra Feodorovna
(1872-1918) Last tsarina of Russia 1894-1917. She was the former Princess Alix of Hessen and granddaughter of Britain's Queen Victoria. She married Nicholas II and, from 1907, fell under the spell of...

Alexandria
British and Ottoman victory over French forces in Egypt on 21 March 1801. Following the breakdown of Franco-British negotiations for the evacuation of Egypt, French forces defe ...

Alexandria
City, chief port, and second-largest city of Egypt, situated between the Mediterranean and Lake Maryut; population (1996 est) 3,328,200. It is linked by canal with the Nile. There is oil refining,...

Alexandria, Library of
The world's first state-funded scientific institution, founded in 330 BC in Alexandria, Egypt, by Ptolemy I and further expanded by Ptolemy II. It comprised a museum, teaching facilities, and a...

Alexandria, school of
Group of writers and scholars of Alexandria, Egypt, who made the city the chief centre of culture in the Western world from about 331 BC to AD 642. They include the poets Callimachus, Apollonius of...

Alexandrian liturgy
Liturgy of the ancient Egyptian Church, especially the eucharistic rite ascribed traditionally to St Mark. ...

Alexandrinus, Codex
See Codex Alexandrinus. ...

Alexandros
In Greek mythology, an alternative name for Paris. ...

Alexandru, Ion
(1942) Romanian poet. His early works contain echoes of Lucian Blaga (1895-1961). Philosophical reflection and a search for moral purity and for the absolute characterize his strikingly musical verse. ...

Alexeyev, Mikhail
(1855-1918) Russian military commander during World War I, chief of staff 1915-17. In 1914 he was chief of staff to General Ivanoff on the Southeast Front, becoming chief of staff to the Russian Army 1915....

Alexi II
(1929) Estonian priest, patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church from 1990. He was made bishop of Tallinn 1961, archbishop 1964, metropolitan 1968, and metropolitan of Leningrad (now St Petersburg) 1986....

Alexis Mikhailovich
(1629-1676) Tsar of Muscovy from 1645, second tsar of the house of Romanov, and father of Peter the Great. During his reign a code of laws was compiled which remained in force until the 19th century. A revision...

Alexis, Willibald
Pseudonym of German novelist Georg Häring. ...

Alexius I, Comnenus
(1048-1118) Byzantine emperor 1081-1118. With meagre resources, he dealt successfully with internal dissent and a series of external threats from the Turks and Normans. He managed the difficult passage of the...

Alexius III, Angelos
(died 1210) Byzantine emperor 1195-1203. He gained power by deposing and blinding his brother Isaac II, but Isaac's Venetian allies enabled him and his son Alexius IV to regain power as coemperors. ...

Alexius IV, Angelos
(1182-1204) Byzantine emperor from 1203, when, with the aid of the army of the Fourth Crusade, he deposed his uncle Alexius III. He soon lost the support of the Crusaders (by that time occupying...

Alfadir
`All-father`, the highest of Odin's many names in Snorri Sturluson's Edda. ...

Alfaro, Eloy
(1842-1912) Ecuadorean general and politician, president 1895-1901 and 1907-11. He was involved in various revolts before overthrowing President Luis Cordero in 1895, backed by the military. However, he was...

Alfieri, Vittorio
(1749-1803) Italian dramatist. The most successful of his 28 plays, most of them tragedies, are Saul (1782) and Mirra (1786). He is now best remembered for his Autobiography (1790, 1803). His works played an...

Alfonsín Foulkes, Raúl Ricardo
(1927) Argentine politician and president 1983-89. Becoming president at the time of the country's return to civilian government, after the junta's collapse after its defeat in the Falklands War, he set...

Alfonso
Kings of Portugal; see Afonso. ...

Alfonso (X), the Wise
(1221-1284) King of Castile from 1252. His reign was politically unsuccessful but he contributed to learning: he made Castilian the official language of the country and commissioned a history of Spain and an...

Alfonso (XI), the Avenger
(1311-1350) King of Castile and León from 1312. He ruled cruelly, repressed a rebellion by his nobles, and defeated the last Moorish invasion in 1340. ...

Alfonso II
(1448-1495) King of Naples 1494-95. He was the son of Ferrante I and Isabella of Naples. Widely regarded as cowardly and cruel, he was highly unpopular. He was involved in various Italian conflicts, defeating...

Alfonso V
(1395-1458) King of Aragon 1416-58 and, as Alfonso I, King of Naples 1442-58, known as `the Magnanimous`. Admired as a model prince and a devout Christian, he pursued a relentless course of territorial...

Alfonso VI
(1065-1109) King of León 1062-70 and of reunited León and Castile 1072-1109. He led organized resistance to the Moors. He was, however, defeated by the Almoravids at Zalaca 1086. ...

Alfonso VII
(c. 1107-1157) King of León and Castile from 1126 who attempted to unite Spain. Although he protected the Moors, he was killed trying to check a Moorish rising. ...

Alfonso VIII
(1155-1214) King of Castile 1158-1214. He came to power 1169, after a disputed regency. He lead the Christian coalition that broke the power of the Moors. ...

Alfonso XII
(1857-1885) King of Spain from 1875, son of Isabella II. He assumed the throne after a period of republican government following his mother's flight and effective abdication in 1868. His rule was peaceful. He...

Alfonso XIII
(1886-1941) King of Spain 1886-1931. He assumed power in 1906 and married Princess Ena, granddaughter of Queen Victoria of Great Britain, in the same year. He abdicated in 1931 soon after the fall of the...

Alford, Henry
(1810-1871) English scholar, poet, and cleric. His chief work, a critical edition of the New Testament in Greek in four volumes, was published 1849-61. His scholarly Chapters on the Poets of Ancient Greece...

Alfred the Great
(c. 849-c. 901) Anglo-Saxon king 871-899 who defended England against Danish invasion and founded the first English navy. He succeeded his brother Aethelred to the throne of Wessex in 871, and a new legal code...

Alfura
Name given by Malay speakers in Indonesia to various non-Muslim peoples, such as the Aeta and the Punans, living on the outlying islands. ...

Algardi, Alessandro
(1595-1654) Italian baroque sculptor. He was active in Bologna, Rome, and at the papal court. His major works include the above life-size Decapitation of St Paul 1641-47 in San Paolo, Bologna, and the tomb...

Algeciras Conference
International conference held Jan-April 1906 when France, Germany, Britain, Russia, and Austria-Hungary, together with the USA, Spain, the Low Countries, Portugal, and Sweden, met to settle the...

Alger, Horatio
(1832-1899) US writer of children's books. He wrote over 100 didactic moral tales in which the heroes rise from poverty to riches through hard work, luck, and good deeds, including the series `Ragged Dick`...

Alger, Russell Alexander
(1836-1907) US soldier and politician. As secretary of war, 1897-99, he was blamed for the US unpreparedness during the opening months of the Spanish-American War and was forced to resign. Alger was born in...

Algeria
Country in North Africa, bounded east by Tunisia and Libya, southeast by Niger, southwest by Mali and Mauritania, northwest by Morocco, and north by the Mediterranean Sea. Government Algeria is a...

Algiers, Battle of
Bitter conflict in Algiers 1954-62 between the Algerian nationalist population and the French colonial army and French settlers. The conflict ended with Algerian independence in 1962. ...

Algonquin
The Algonquian-speaking hunting and fishing people who once lived around the Ottawa River in eastern Canada. Many now live on reservations in northeastern USA, eastern Ontario, and western...

Algren, Nelson Abraham
(1909-1981) US novelist. His best-known novel was The Man with the Golden Arm (1949; filmed 1956), a story about gambling and drug addiction, which won the first National Book Award. Other works include two...

alguazil
Spanish title formerly conferred upon judges. It now denotes any officer connected with the execution of justice. ...

Alhambra
Auditorium in central London 1854-1936, mainly used for music hall. The Alhambra opened in Leicester Square in 1854, but was burned down and rebuilt in Moorish style in 1882. It was a highly...

Alhambra
Fortified palace in Granada, Spain, built by Moorish kings, mainly between 1248 and 1354. It stands on a rocky hill and is a fine example of Moorish architecture. ...

Ali
(c. 598-661) Fourth caliph of Islam. He was born in Mecca, the son of Abu Talib, and was the cousin and close friend and supporter of the prophet Muhammad, who gave him his daughter Fatima in marriage. He was...

Ali Aref Bourhan
(1934) Djibouti politician, president of the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas (French Somaliland prior to 1967; Djibouti from 1977) 1967-77. His political philosophy had to encompass the...

Ali Mahdi, Muhammad
(1934) Somali politician, president 1991-97. He became a member of parliament shortly before the October 1969 coup that brought Muhammad Siad Barre to power. Following the change of government he left...

Ali Pasha, Mehmed Emin
(1815-1871) Grand vizier (chief minister) of the Ottoman Empire 1855-56, 1858-59, 1861, and 1867-71, noted for his attempts to Westernize the Ottoman Empire. After a career as ambassador to the UK,...

Ali, (Ali Pasha)
(1741-1822) Turkish politician, known as Arslan (`the Lion`). An Albanian, he was appointed pasha (governor) of the Janina region 1788 (now Ioánnina, Greece). He helped the Turks during the...

Ali, (Chaudri) Muhammad
(1905-1980) Pakistani politician, prime minister 1955-56. In 1932 he was made accountant general of Bahawalpur state and re-established its finances. In 1936 he became private secretary to the Indian...

Ali, Ibn Hussein
(1879-1935) Ruler of the Hejaz 1924-25. Born in Mecca, he was the eldest son of King Hussein ibn Ali of the Hejaz, whom he succeeded in 1924 when his father was forced off the throne in the Wahabi Rebellion,...

Ali, Maulana Muhammad
(1878-1931) Muslim Indian political activist. Following a period of imprisonment 1915-19, with his brother, Maulana Shaukat Ali, he joined the Khilafat movement to protest against British policy towards the...

Ali, Maulana Shaukat
(1873-1938) Muslim Indian political activist. The brother of Maulana Muhammad Ali, he organized Anjuman-i-Khuddam-i-Kaaha in 1913 to provide support for Muslim causes in...

Ali, Mustafa
(1541-1600) Historian and writer of the Ottoman Empire. Ali was responsible for much of the myth of the preceding reign of Suleiman (1520-66) as a golden age. ...

Ali, Salim Rubayi
(1934-1978) President of South Yemen 1969-78. A leading member of the Marxist National Liberation Front, he succeeded Qahtan Muhammad al-Shaabi as president in June 1969, after a power struggle. He was...

Ali, Tariq
(1943) British political activist and writer. He was born in Lahore (then part of British India, now in Pakistan) and came to the UK in 1963 to study at Oxford University. A prominent revolutionary in the...

Alia, Ramiz
(1925) Albanian communist politician, head of state 1982-92. He gradually relaxed the isolationist policies of his predecessor, Enver Hoxha, and following public unrest introduced political and economic...

Aliakmon Line
In World War II, Greek defensive line running some 96 km/60 mi from the Aegean coast near Mount Olympus to the Yugoslavian border north of Arnissa. It was in the process of being occupied by British...

alibi
In law, a provable assertion that the accused was at some other place when a crime was committed. In Britain it can usually only be used as a defence in a crown court trial if the prosecution is...

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Children's story, published in 1865, by Lewis Carroll (originally published as Alice's Adventures Under Ground). Alice dreams she follows the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole and meets fantastic...

alien
In law, a person who is not a citizen of a particular nation. In the UK, under the British Nationality Act 1981, an alien is anyone who is neither a British Overseas citizen (for example...

Alien and Sedition Acts
Four laws passed by the US Congress 1798, when war with France seemed likely. The acts lengthened the period of residency required for US citizenship, gave the president the power to expel...

alienation
Sense of isolation, powerlessness, and therefore frustration; a feeling of loss of control over one's life; a sense of estrangement from society or even from oneself. As a concept it was developed...

Aliens Act
In the UK, an act of Parliament passed by the Conservative government in 1905 to restrict the immigration of `undesirable persons` into Britain; it was aimed...

alignment
In archaeology, a term used to denote lines of standing stones. Many of these are associated with burial chambers and cairns, while others are associated with stone circles. Megalithic alignments,...

alim
A learned person in the Islamic community. The customs and practice of an alim vary although he commonly officiates at prayers and in the mosque and is a source of guidance on spiritual and legal...

alimony
In the USA, money allowance given by court order to a former spouse after separation or divorce. The right has been extended to relationships outside marriage and is colloquially termed palimony....

Alishan, Leon
(1820-1901) Armenian poet and historian. His works include Armenian Popular Songs, translated 1852, historical monographs, and translations of English, German, and French poetry, including Byron's Childe...

Alito, Samuel A
(1950) Associate justice of the US Supreme Court from 2006. A judge on the US Court of Appeals from 1990, he replaced the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor as associate justice on the US Supreme Court in 2006,...

Aliyev, Geidar Alirza
(1923-2003) Azerbaijani politician, president 1993-2003. An Azeri Muslim veteran of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), of which he was a full Politburo member 1982-87, he returned to politics...

Alken, Henry Thomas
(1785-1851) English sporting artist. Fox-hunting and steeplechasing were the subjects that most frequently occupied him, but the whole range of field sports was covered in his volume of 50 prints entitled...

All Hallows Barking
Church near Tower Hill, London. There is no record of its foundation, which took place in Saxon times, possibly as early as the 7th century. The church has a number of brasses, the earliest dating...

All Saints' Day
Festival on 1 November for all Christian saints and martyrs who have no special day of their own. It was instituted in 835. ...

All Souls' Day
Festival in the Roman Catholic Church, held on 2 November (following All Saints' Day) in the conviction that through prayer and self-denial the faithful can hasten the deliverance of souls...

All the Talents, Ministry of
Government organized by William Grenville in 1806, on the death of William Pitt, and so named in derision by the opposition party. ...

All-Hallows
Old English name for All Saints' Day, 1 November. ...

alla prima
Method of painting in which colour is applied in one session, with no later changes or additions being made to the painting. In an oil painting, any preparatory drawing would, therefore, be...

Allah
Islamic name for God. Muslims believe that Allah is tauhid, that is `absolute` or `One`, and the supreme creator and power behind the universe. Muhammad's concept of Allah lays stress on his...

Allais, Maurice
(1911) French economist who won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1988 for his contributions to the concept of efficiency in the use of resources via the price system. He also devised the `Allais...

Allan, David
(1744-1796) Scottish history and genre painter. He studied in Glasgow and at Rome, where 1773 he won a gold medal for his Origin of Painting and became a member of the Academy of St Luke. He settled in...

Allan, William
(1782-1850) Scottish history painter. He spent several years in Russia and travelled widely in Europe and the Middle East, returning to Scotland 1814. Among his Russian paintings is Peter the Great Teaching his...

Allard, Jean François
(1785-1839) French general. He served first under Napoleon, then went to Lahore 1820 where he entered the service of Ranjit Singh. He organized the army according to the French model, and was made generalissimo...

Allawi, Ayad
(1945) Iraqi industrialist and politician, prime minister of the interim Iraqi government from 2004. A member of the Shia Muslim majority and a former member of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist...

allegiance
Loyalty owed by a subject to his or her sovereign or by a citizen to his or her country. In Britain allegiance is owed to the Crown and in return the subject receives the protection of the Crown....

allegory
In art, a story or message represented visually. Sometimes the literal meaning in the painting is clear, but some examples can be interpreted as having another, parallel meaning. In the second...

allegory
In literature, the description or illustration of one thing in terms of another, or the personification of abstract ideas. The term is also used for a work of poetry or prose in the form of an...

Allen, (William) Hervey (Jr)
(1889-1949) US novelist, poet, and biographer. He is best known for his biography of Edgar Allan Poe, Israfel (1926), and the swashbuckling historical novel set in the Napoleonic...

Allen, Dave
(1936-2005) Irish comedian whose sharply observed humour was especially popular on British television in the late 1960s and the 1970s. ...

Allen, Ethan
(1738-1789) US military leader who founded the Green Mountain Boys 1770. At the outbreak of the...

Allen, Florence Ellinwood
(1884-1966) US judge and women's suffrage activist. After spending 25 years as an appeal court judge, Allen became the first woman named to a federal appellate chief judgeship in 1958. Despite strong support...

Allen, Francis A
(1919) US legal educator and criminal justice consultant. Allen chaired the Committee on Poverty and the Administration of Federal Criminal Justice during the Kennedy Administration and was a member of the...

Allen, Frederick Lewis
(1890-1954) US author and editor. He became editor of Harper's Magazine in 1941 and was widely known for his colourful works of social history, including Only Yesterday (1931). ...

Allen, Henry Justin
(1868-1950) US newspaper publisher and governor. Best known for passing the Kansas Industrial Act to curb striking unions in 1920, Allen worked for the American Red Cross in France in 1917-18 before returning...

Allen, Paula Gunn
(1939) Laguna/Sioux scholar. A poet and novelist , Allen has incorporated feminist issues into her writing on Indian culture. Primarily associated with the Native American Studies program at the University...

Allen, Richard
(1760-1831) US Methodist minister and church founder. Allen established a separate Methodist church for African-Americans in 1794, becoming the first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1816....

Allen, Steve
(1921-2000) US comedian, author, and songwriter. He was a pioneer of US television entertainment with his creation of The Tonight Show (1953-). Born into entertainment, Allen was the son of a New York...

Allen, Terry (de la Mesa)
(1888-1969) US soldier. During World War II, Allen became the only officer to lead two infantry divisions in battle. His divisions were the 1st, composed largely of regular soldiers, which he led in Sicily in...

Allen, Viola
(1869-1948) US actor. She was leading lady of Charles Frohman's stock company at the Empire Theater in New York 1893-98, and then toured with her own company. She excelled as Viola in Twelfth Night and, in...