Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the great explorer Captain Cook who was the first European to discover Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. Read the rest of this entry »
Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the history of the Christmas Carol.
Songs used to be sung by pagans thousands of years ago to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Christmas was at the same time as the Winter Solstice so the Church carried on with the singing but instead made the songs about Christmas.
The first Christmas Carol we know of was from 2000 years ago and was called the Angels Hymn. All the early carols were in Latin and over time people stopped speaking Latin – and they stopped singing the Latin carols.
Then around 800 years ago a monk called St Francis of Assisi wrote the first nativity play. He had songs in the play to make it more interesting. He also had these songs in people’s own language so they could understand it.
Many of the songs became so popular that Minstrels would sing them. Many of the carols from his period have survived. While Shepherds watched their flocks by night is over 500 years old.
However, 400 years ago in England the Puritans came to power. They were very serious. They chopped off the King’s head and they banned Christmas and the singing of carols. People liked carols so much that they carried on singing them in secret when they were not in Churches. This is where the tradition of carol singers comes from.
Different carols came from different places.
150 years ago someone in America wrote Away in a Manger. People thought is was written by a famous holy man called Martin Luther, but it probably was not.
The carol Come all ye faithful was written about 300 years ago. Many people think that it remembers the old Stuart kings who used to rule England.
The most famous Carol story though is from World War One. British and German soldiers were fighting in the trenches. The fighting was very bloody.
Then on Christmas Eve the German trenches were decorated with candles and lights. The British were confused. Then they heard the Germans singing Silent night in German. The British sang back The First Noel. Slowly the British and German soldiers came out of the trenches. They stopped fighting and celebrated Christmas together in the middle of a war.
We are taking a Christmas break ourselves. Sophie and Ellie’s mummy works in the hospital and things are a little busy there at the moment. So we will be back with more History Storytime episodes in the New Year.
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Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of Blitzkrieg – how the Germans used tanks to conquer much of Europe at the start of World War Two.
In World War One Britain invented the tank. America, Russia and Britain used tanks to defeat Germany. However, after the war people in those countries did not want to fight any more wars. They made their armies small. They also decided to defend in the future not to attack. The French built a line of forts for defence. They did not have many tanks and those they did have they used for defence.
The Germans though had other plans. After Hitler came to power his built a powerful army for Germany again. This army had many tanks. The German generals invented a new way of fighting. It involved lots of tanks in one place smashing through the enemy lines. They would be helped by planes and paratroopers. They called this type of fighting, Lighting War. In German that is Blitzkrieg. It relied on their tanks – in German they were called Panzers.
The Germans invaded Poland. The Blitzkrieg worked. They crushed Poland with his cavalry and old fashioned army.
Next the Germans attacked France. They smashed through the French lines. The British ran away and the French surrendered.
The battle was followed by an air battle over Britain. This saw many German planes destroyed and the British one.
Next the Germans attacked Greece. Again the Blitzkrieg worked. Then they attacked Crete. Crete was an island and the British Royal Navy controlled the seas so the German used their paratroopers. They won the battle but many of the paratroopers were killed. Now the Germans had lost mucg of their airforce and their paratroopers. However, they still had their tanks.
Next they attacked Russia. At first, the Blitzkrieg worked again. However, the Russians had developed their own excellent tank called the T-34. They were also happy to attack the Germans. There were huge tank battles in Russia. Slowly the Russians started to win. Then America joined the war. She had learned from the Germans how to use tanks. The British had also now learned. As the British and Americans fought the Germans they used their massive tank armies and many planes to defeat Germany.
The War was won.
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Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) have been learning about Climate Change at school as part of the COP conference. They have made a podcast about the history of pollution and saving the planet. Read the rest of this entry »
Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Constantinople was all that was left of the once mighty Roman Empire. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, 1500 years ago, the Eastern Roman Empire survived. Its capital was Constantinople. Over time though it became known as the Byzantine Empire. Constantinople was a might city. It had 500,000 people living there and huge walls to protect it.
Then came Islam. People who follow Islam are called Muslims. They conquered much of the Byzantine Empire. Other Christians came to help. This was called the Crusades. However, the Muslims defeated them too. Eventually, all that was left of the Byzantine Empire was Constantinople. By now Constantinople had lost most of its people. It only had 50,000 left in the city. However, it still had its mighty walls.
The Muslims were determined to conquer it. Its location made it difficult for people in Asia to attack Europe. The muslims who wanted to attack the city were called the Ottomans. They ruled what we now called Turkey.
They had a secret weapon. Massive cannon. The walls of Constantinople were not built when cannon existed.
The massive Ottoman army surrounded the city. Their cannon began firing. They blasted holes in the walls.
Then the Ottomans attacked. The Ottoman army actually had Christians fighting in it. They led the way. There were not enough Byzantines to defend all the holes in the walls and the gates. As the Ottomans breached the city gate the Byzantine Emperor tore off his robes, drew his sword and charged into battle.
His body was never found.
The city was captured. 30,000 people in the city were made into slaves. The Ottomans turned the largest Church into a Mosque. This was now their capital.
Europe was stunned. Now Constantinople was conquered it meant that the Ottomans could now attack Europe more easily.
However, there was one benefit for Europe. Constantinople had been a centre of learning. They knew of many things that the ancient Romans and Greeks had invented. As people fled Constantinople they took with them that knowledge. This caused a rebirth in science, art, literature and history in Europe. We call this Rebirth, the Renaissance.
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