The sad history of London’s Speakers’ Corner

Free speech laws in United Kingdom include some notorious exceptions: Saying anything to incite religious and racial hatred, threaten the monarchy, or endorse terrorism may be considered unlawful. But there is one place in all of London where, informally, these restrictive speech laws don’t apply. Political monologues, religious oration and fiery debates can be found here every Sunday morning of the year, although there are sharp peaks in attendance surrounding political events such as the recent Brexit vote. On this day, October 14, 1855, a carpenter mounted his soapbox complaining…

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The bizarre medieval trials against animals

Even if it might seem bizarre to modern observers, animal trials were commonplace public events in medieval and early modern Europe. Pigs, cows, goats, horses, and dogs that allegedly broke the law were routinely subjected to the same legal proceedings as humans, in a court of law, where they were treated as persons. The history of animal trials has its roots in the Low Middle Ages, and saw a series of “beasts” being judged, in some cases executed, according to the normal human laws. From the thirteenth century until the…

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Barti Ddu: 11 Rules from an Actual Pirate Code!

Once upon a time, in Little Newcastle, West Wales, there lived a guy called John Roberts. John made an insignifant impact on his village, in the eleven years he spent growing up there, in the late sixteen hundreds. However, when he left to work on a royal naval ship, he soon escalated to remarkable fame. Held in utmost regard by all that cruised the dark side of the seven seas, John Robert’s legacy became more extraordinary than anyone in his small home county of Pembrokeshire could have dared imagine! It…

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