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September 2003
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Remembering history

When I young, at some unmentionable time in the previous century, we were taught little mnemonics to remember dates, such as

In fourteen hundred and ninety two,
Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue.
The problem with this admirable memorization device is that it is easy to alter the verse slightly, to wit
In fourteen hundred and ninety three,
Columbus sailed the Deep Blue Sea
Perhaps we have a little puzzle here that people might like to try their hand at -- compose a mnemonic verse for an important date (or use existing ones) and then compose an incorrect alternative. For example one might recall the date of the battle of Hastings with
In the year one thousand and sixty six
William defeated the English hicks
or mis-recall it with
In the year one thousand and sixty seven
Harold Godwineson was sent to Heaven
For extra credit -- teach them to your children.


This page was last updated September 1, 2003.

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September 2003
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