A Closer Look at the 1500s: 40 Fascinating Facts

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In 1586, a pregnant widow wrote a letter to her partner named Eung-Tae-Lee, who had died at the age of 30. This was found by archaeologists in South Korea in 1998, intact with the man's mummified body and a pair of sandals woven from hemp and the woman's hair.

27. The word "swagger" was first used in 1590 by William Shakespeare in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

28. There is a "prophecy" written in 1595 that predicts the future Popes. The next Pope to be corresponds with the last one on the list.

29. In 1599, a Spanish governor in early colonial Ecuador was executed by having molten gold poured down his throat. Native Indians of the Jivaro tribe believed that they were unfairly taxed in their gold trade and as a result, attacked the settlement of Logrono and executed the governor.

30. In 1599, Andrew Báthory, Prince of Transylvania, was killed and his head cut off. The head was then painted by a Greek artist and sewn back onto his body, before his burial.

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31Spiderweb art

Spiderweb art

A community of monks in the Austrian Alps in the 16th century invented a method of painting on canvas made from spider webs, and today less than 100 known examples exist.

32. The expression "Yo" has been in use since the 16th century.

33. Martin Guerre, a French peasant of the 16th century, was at the center of a famous case of imposture. Several years after Martin Guerre had left his wife, child, and village, a man claiming to be him reappeared. He lived with Guerre's wife and son for 3 years. The false Martin Guerre was eventually suspected of the impersonation. He was tried, discovered to be a man named Arnaud du Tilh, and executed. The real Martin Guerre returned during the trial.

34. Leonardo DaVinci, who is now renowned as a great Italian artist and inventor of the 16th century, also worked as a party planner.

35. To avoid capture and persecution in England in the 16th century, Catholic priests would hide in “priest holes”, which were secret spaces in many homes that were constructed to hide a priest during a search. Sometimes priests died from starvation or asphyxiation.

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36Coat of arms of Åland

Coat of arms of Åland

The coats of arms of the islands Åland and Öland are almost identical because the islands got mixed up in the 16th century since their names are so similar.

37. Oda Nobunaga was a powerful daimyō (feudal lord) who nearly unified Japan before his death in the 16th century during the late Sengoku period. He supposedly had a homosexual relationship with vassal Mori Ranmaru, an especially attractive man. At the time, their relationship wasn't seen as uncommon but was seen as strong and admirable.

38. During the 16th century spike of increasingly large weapons, soldiers wielded Zweihänders, which were gigantic swords that reached 1.8 meters and could weigh 3.5 kg. Frisian hero, Pier Gerlofs Donia, reputedly beheaded several people with a single blow.

39. 16th century Filipino hunters would use a rock yo-yo to hunt prey. The weapon was able to be pulled up and thrown back down for multiple attempts at the prey.

40. Beauty and the Beast could be based on the real-life story of Petrus Gonsalvus, a 16th century royal with a condition that covered his entire face and body in hair, who married a beautiful Parisian woman named Catherine.

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