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Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the Fall of the Roman Republic up to the death of Julius Caesar.----more---- 2000 years ago Rome was a mighty empire. It used to have Kings. However, the people of Rome decided that the Kings were cruel so they got rid them. After that they chose their rulers by elections. They promised to never have a King again. Rome got more powerful. Her mighty armies conquered other countries because they were very disciplined. At first the Roman farmers would also be soldiers and then go back to their crops when the fighting was finished. As there was more and more fighting, further and further away Rome needed to have soldiers who were just soldiers. However, they didn’t know what jobs the soldiers could do when they had finished being a soldier. The generals had a good idea. They decided to give the land that Rome had conquered to the soldiers. This made the soldier fight extra hard. However, it also made the soldiers very loyal to the generals who were going to give them land. Over time the soldiers became more loyal to their generals than to Rome. Many Roman generals got rich and powerful. No one more so than Julius Caesar. He was a brilliant general. He conquered Gaul which was the Roman name for France. However, the senators back home were suspicious of Caesar. They told him to come home alone without his army. Caesar invaded instead. He conquered Rome and became the most powerful Roman. He chased his enemies and defeated them. Then he met an Egyptian Queen called Cleopatra and she became his girlfriend. Back in Rome the senators were worried that Caesar wanted to make himself a King. One day they stabbed him to death in the senate. Even his friend Brutus stabbed him. The people who stabbed him thought they had won. They thought that they had saved Rome from having a King. However, they had forgotten that Caesar had friends, that his army loved him and so did the people of Rome. In two weeks time we will tell the rest of the story and how Rome got its first Emperor. Patrons Club If you liked this episode then do please join our Patron’s club. We have exclusive episodes there. You can join at
Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the siege of Vienna from 1683. This was one of the most important battles and sieges in history. ----more----The mighty Ottoman Empire had conquered the old Eastern Roman Empire and the great city of Constantinople. It ruled a massive area in the middle east, Turkey and the Balkans. In Europe it faced the Holy Roman Empire whose capital was in Vienna. 350 years ago the Ottomans decided to attack Vienna. They assembled a mighty army. Vienna was poorly defended. Its walls were old. They only had a small army in the city. The Holy Roman Emperor fled the city. The Ottomans had huge cannon. They blasted holes in the walls of Vienna. Then the Ottomans attacked. Again and again they attacked the walls. The Viennese defended their city. But they were running out of soldiers. It seemed as if they city would fall. Meanwhile the Holy Roman Emperor had been asking other countries for help. His German allies agreed to help. So too did the King of Poland. But would they be in time? As the Ottoman army gathered for its final assault they heard trumpets in the hills around Vienna. The Germans and Poles had arrived. The Ottomans quickly turned around to face them. At first the Germans charged down the hills. The Ottomans fought them and the battle was in doubt. Then the bugles sounded again. A loud fluttering echoed across the battlefield. Then came the sound of thousands of horses hooves. The Polish Winged Hussars thundered into the Ottoman lines. These were brave Polish soldiers with armour like knights. They had massive feathered wings on their backs. Just then the Viennese soldiers charged out of Vienna. The Ottoman army ran for its life. Vienna and Europe were saved. If you liked this story you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. You can find exclusive episodes there. You can join at
Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman


Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the inspirational life of Harriet Tubman. She was an enslaved person in America who escaped to freedom and then helped others escape too. She later fought to free other enslaved people in America.----more---- Harriet was born in the South of the United States 150 years ago. Her parents were enslaved so she too was enslaved. She was forced to work for a white family and help raise their children. When she made a mistake she was beaten. She was even beaten when the baby she had to look after cried. When she got older she was forced to do hard work in the field. Once a metal block was thrown at her head and it badly hurt her. When Harriet was older she got determined to escape. She managed to escape using a secret route called the underground railroad. At first she was in the north of the United States. However, after a while even that was not safe. So she went to live in British Canada. Although she was safe there she worried about the black people, including her family, who she had left behind. Thirteen times she journeyed back to the south to rescue people. She had lots of adventures and was nearly caught several times. However, she helped 70 enslaved people to escape. She later helped a man called John Brown who wanted to start a war to free the black enslaved people. He failed and was executed. However, a few years later a war did start. The North of the United States and the South of the United States fought. The South wanted to have their own country so they could carry on having slaves. The North did not want this. Harriet helped the North in the fighting. At first she worked as a scout for the army, using the skills she had learned helping people escape. Later she helped attack a plantation and rescued hundreds of enslaved people. The North won the civil war and the enslaved people were freed. Harriet then settled down to enjoy her retirement. In her lifetime she was mostly forgotten. She died of old age aged 90 years old. After she died she became famous as people remembered how brave she had been.   PATRONS' CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons' Club. We have exclusive episodes there. 
The History of Ukraine

The History of Ukraine


Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) have been following the news about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They decide to tell the story of the History of Ukraine going back over a 1000 years. ----more---- Their story starts with the Vikings. A thousand years ago Viking explorers left Scandinavia. Many of them went West and attacked England and France. Some even found America. Others went East and began exploring the huge rivers in what is now Russia. Eventually they found a town on a hill by a river. They attacked the town and took it for themselves. They called it Kyiv. They founded a mighty empire called the Kyivan Rus. They ruled all the land between what is now Kyiv and Scandinavia. Kiev was a mighty capital city. Moscow was just a small village that they ruled. They got rich from trade with Constantinople and became Christians. Then the Mongols came from the East. They destroyed Kyivan Rus. They burned many cities and towns – Moscow was destroyed and Kyiv conquered. For hundreds of years the Mongols ruled what we now call Ukraine and much of what we now call Russia. Slowly the people around Moscow managed to get rid of them and so did the Poles. The Poles and Russians then fought over who would control Ukraine. The Russians won and conquered Ukraine. However, the people of Ukraine did not forget that they had been a free people. 200 years ago many of them started to remember what it was like to be free and write stories and poems about it. Then World War One started. Millions of Russians were killed. There was a revolution and the people of Ukraine rose up and set up their own country. The new Russian government was called the Soviet Union. They were communists. They attacked Ukraine and conquered it. They then forced Ukraine into the Soviet Union and made them be communist. They were so bad at running the country that millions of Ukrainians were killed by famine. Then Germany under Adolf Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. He wanted to make all Russians and Ukrainians into slaves. Together the Russians and Ukrainians fought back. They defeated Hitler with the help of Britain, her Empire and America. However, after the war finished the Soviet Union would not let those countries it had conquered go free. It forced them to be communist and killed or imprisoned anyone who disagreed with it. Eventually all of Eastern Europe and the parts of the Soviet Union rebelled. The Soviet Union collapsed. Ukraine became a free people again. Now they had their own country again and could rule themselves. If you liked this episode please do join our Patrons' Club. You can join at  
The Wars of the Roses

The Wars of the Roses


Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the Wars of the Roses. This was the civil war between the House of York and the House of Lancaster that was fought in the time of knights and castles to see who would rule England.----more---- 600 years ago two families had a claim to the throne of England: the Lancastrians and the Yorkists. They were powerful noble families. They each had a banner with a Rose on it. The Lancastrians had a red rose; the Yorkists had a white rose. At first the Lancastrians were more powerful. So their Duke became the King of England. He and his son were at first very successful Kings. They fought wars in France. One king won a great victory at the Battle of Agincourt. Then Joan of Arc came and helped to reconquer France. The English were defeated. By this time the Lancastrian King was called Henry VI. He was not a very good king. He had a strong wife called Marguerite and she would have been a much better ruler than him. Eventually the Duke of York got fed up with how useless Henry was being. The Duke claimed the throne of England for himself. He captured the King. However, Marguerite fought back. Her army killed the Duke of York in battle and they freed the King. The Duke of York’s young son, Edward was now the Duke. He quickly marched to London with his friend Warwick. Warwick was a very powerful noble. He was so powerful that people called him the Kingmaker because they said he could make Kings. Together they chased Marguerite’s army to the north of England and fought a great battle at Towton. Marguerite and the Lancastrians were crushed and Henry was captured. Now Edward was King of England. For ten years Edward ruled. However, he and Warwick argued over who should be the wife of Edward. They argued so much that Warwick asked Marguerite who was hiding in France to invade England. She did so with Warwick’s help. Edward and his younger brother Richard had to flee. However, they weren’t gone long. They raised an army, returned to England, killed Warwick, defeated the Lancastrians, took back the throne and then murdered Henry VI. Edward was now King. When Edward died he asked Richard to look after his young children until the oldest could be King. Richard agreed. However, Richard then imprisoned his nephews in the tower and took the throne for himself. The young princes were never seen again. There was one last Lancastrian prince. His name was Henry Tudor. He invaded England, defeated Richard in battle and killed him. Henry then married one of Edward’s daughters and united the families. The Wars of the Roses were over. If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ club. You can join at
Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan


Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of Genghis Khan.----more---- Genghis Khan was born 800 years ago in Mongolia. Except he was not called Genghis Khan then. His name was Temujin. He was the son of a chief of a small tribe. His father was poisoned and Temujin and his tribe had to flee. Life was hard growing up. Already though, Temujin was proving to be a fierce fighter. When he brother stole some food, Temujin killed him. Then Temujin married a wife from another tribe called Borte. Together the tribes were stronger. However, a different tribe attacked them. They kidnapped Borte. Timojen asked another tribe to help and attacked the tribe who had kidnapped Borte. He killed them and rescued her. Now Timujin was getting powerful. However, people in his tribe disagreed over who should have the important jobs. Timujin thought that people should have the jobs if they would be good at them. Some people thought that only rich nobles should have the best jobs. Those people were lead by a man called Jamukha. The tribe split in two and war between Timujin and Jamukha started. Jamulkha won the first battle and burned Timujin’s generals alive. Timujin escaped and promised he would never lose a battle again. In the next battle Timujin had some sneaky tricks up his sleeve and he defeated and later killed Jamulkha. Now Timojin was the most powerful man in Mongolia. He was in charge of all the tribes. They gave his the title “Genghis Khan” which meant “Ruler of everyone”. Genghis Khan now decided to attack the powerful Chinese Empire. After a long siege he attacked and conquered the capital which we now call Beijing. Then he turned his army west. He conquered every country until he got to Eastern Europe. Then he turned back to conquer the rest of China. After 25 years of rule he died. His body was buried in secret. Nowadays many people think of him as a bloodthirsty conqueror. However, he was more than that. He married so many people and had so many children that many ordinary people today are descended from him. He did not mind what religion you were, what your skin colour was or whether you were rich or poor. He only rewarded people and gave them good jobs if they deserved it. Finally, he made the roads safe for trading. He allowed a route between the East and the West called the Silk Road. People took amazing inventions from China to Europe – like the compass, paper and gunpowder. PATRONS’ CLUB If you like this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. We have exclusive episodes there and next week are telling the history of the Soviet Union. You can join at
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.----more---- Before we even start our episode Sophie and Ellie point out that there were already people living there who did not need to be discovered as they had their own cultures, languages and homes. However, we decide to tell the story anyway as Captain Cook was still a great explorer . James Cook was born 300 years ago in Britain. Britain was a powerful country who got rich through trading and from her colonies. James Cook was born into a poor family. When he was 16 he went to become a grocer. The grocer’s was by the sea and James used to look out the sea and wonder what it would be like to be a sailor. After a year and a half he went to sea himself. He became a sailor on a ship which carried coal from Newcastle to London. It was a boring sailing job. However, James Cook spent his time learning all the mathematics that you needed to be a good sailor. Then war broke out between Britain and France. James decided he wanted a life of adventure so he joined the navy. He had to start at the bottom. However, the navy soon realized that he knew a lot about sailing and was good at maths. He was put in charge of the sailing on a warship. Britain and France were fighting to see who would rule Canada. The British decided to sail their navy up a river in Canada to attack the French. The French thought this was impossible. However, they had not reckoned with James Cook. He mapped the river and found out where it was safe for the British fleet to sail without hitting the rocks. The British found the French, defeated them and conquered Canada. The British admirals now realized that James Cook was a very clever man. After peace came they made him captain of his own ship and sent him to the Pacific. They told him that his job was to look at Venus from there. However, when he arrived he opened secret orders. Actually he job was to explore the islands and in particular to find the mythical land called Terra Australis – which we now call Australia. Captain Cook got very lucky because he met a local person called Tapaia. He knew the area very well and was a good sailor. Together they went exploring. The first place that Captain Cook found was what we now called New Zealand. There were people already there called the Maori. Then he carried on sailing and found what we now call Australia. There were other people living there who we sometimes called Aboriginal people. When he got back to Britain everyone was amazed. He was treated like a hero. He was sent out again to find more of Australia. This time he found lots of islands that he claimed for Britain. Then he was sent out a third time. This time he sailed to Hawaii and from there he went to the top of North America to what we now call Alaska. Up in the Arctic he tried to find a way to the Atlantic through the ice. He was not successful and sailed back to Hawaii. There he had an argument with the local King and was killed on the beach.   Still today though he is remembered as one of the greatest ever explorers. PATRONS’ CLUB Next week we are going to tell the story of the First Fleet. This is the fleet which first took Europeans to colonise and settle in Australia.  This episode will be exclusively available on our Patrons’ Club. Then the week after we will have another free episode available. You can join at
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. Patrons Club If you liked this episode then do join our Patrons Club. You can join at  
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. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons Club. We have exclusive episodes there including one on the Siege of Bastogne which also involve tanks. You can join at  
Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the invention of the Tank.----more---- At the outbreak of World War One, armies had infantry, artillery and cavalry. Many of the general had been in the cavalry themselves. However, once war started everyone realized that cavalry was not going to be very useful in this war. Machine guns fired bullets so fast that the cavalry were shot dead before they could finish their charge. The war soon became trench warfare as soldiers dug trenches to keep safe from the bullets. You couldn’t put a horse in a trench. The area between the trenches was also very dangerous. There were craters, mud, barbed wire and machine guns. Thousands were killed in attacks on enemy trenches. What was needed was a way of crossing the mud, crushing the barbed wire and not getting shot by the machine guns. British engineers came up with the answer. They wanted to build a vehicle which could do all that. However, the person who got most excited by it was the person in charge of the Navy. His name was Winston Churchill and he later became very famous in the next World War. He agreed to build the first tanks. As he was in the Navy, he called them Landships. The first tank was called “Little Willie” and the second tank was called “Big Willy”. They realized that if they wanted to keep them secret from the Germans they needed a better name than “Landship”. As a disguise they pretended that they were new types of water carriers. So they called them “Tanks”. The name has stuck ever since. The first time they used the tanks they were not very successful. However, the next time the British made sure they had lots of them. It was at a place called Cambrai in France. The battle started with a massive explosion under the German trenches. Then hundreds of British tanks rolled forward. They crushed the barbed wire. German bullets bounced off them. In the first few days they won a great victory. The bells of England rang out in celebration. While the Germans fought back at that battle, everyone realized that the tank could win battles. The next year, the Americans, French and British armies, with their tanks, drove the Germans back and won the war. After the war though the Germans thought long and hard about how to use tanks. In World War Two it was they who first worked out how to use them properly. PATRONS CLUB If you liked this episode then please join our Patrons’ Club. You can join at
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.----more---- Our story starts 800 years ago. Edward I was King of England. Coal was discovered in Newcastle and many London homes started using it to keep their houses warm. However, it made the city very smokey. The King’s mother thought it was so smokey that she left the town. The King decided to act. He banned people from using coal for their fires to try to make the air cleaner. However, people just ignored him. Then a later King, Richard II, decided that it he could get rich from taxing coal. He didn’t care about the air, he thought it was a way to get rich. As more and more people went to live in the cities, they realized that they started to have problems with poo and with clean water. There was nowhere to put the rubbish so people threw the rubbish and the poo onto the streets. There was no way to get proper clean water to drink either. So people got ill and often died. It was decided to build proper sewers to take the poo away and proper pipes and taps for clean water. This made everywhere a lot cleaner and saved many lives. Meanwhile, there were factories being built in the cities. These factories used coal – and people were still using coal to warm their houses. The smoke from the coal got worse and worse. It started to cause something called fog. This is where smoke and fog mix up. Its poisonous to breathe. One summer in London, 70 years ago, there was a terrible smog in London. The air turned green. Thousands died. It was decided to stop using coal in cities to save lives. However, not all pollution is visible. 40 years ago the world realized that there was a hole in the Ozone layer. The Ozone layer is an invisible shield around our planet which protects us from harmful rays from the sun. However, some chemicals were destroying the ozone layer. Those chemicals were banned and the ozone layer started to repair itself. This was an example of the world working together to help fix pollution. More recently, people have learned that all the coal and oil that we have been burning has meant that the planet’s climate has been changing, in particular, it has been getting hotter. The coal and oil have helped countries get richer and they have been able to use that money on good things like medicines. However, the pollution is not good and the whole world wants to find someway to stop it. At the end of the episode, Ellie and Sophie reflect on how in human history, humans have often managed to fix pollution problems when they have tried their hardest and work together. They also reflect on how we only have one planet and we need to look after it. We also have a poster that the girls designed for the COP summit. You can see it on twitter (@historytime99) or on Instagram (@history_storytime). Please give it a “like”! Patrons’ Club If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. You can join at
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.   PATRONS CLUB If you like this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. You can find exclusive episodes there. You can join at
Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in the week of Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.----more---- World War One had been a terrible war. Millions had been killed by machine guns and explosions. The fighting was so terrible that many of the bodies were never found. Back in Britain that meant is was difficult for people to properly grieve. It was decided to bury one unknown soldier in Britain to represent everyone who had died. That way everyone would have a place to go and to mourn. Four unknown soldiers were dug up from their graves in France. A British general randomly chose one of the bodies. The other three were reburied. The body was placed in a coffin of wood from Hampton Court Palace and a crusader sword placed on top. The chosen body was taken in a coffin to a French castle overnight. A brave French regiment guarded the body. Then it was taken to the port. A thousand French school children led the way, followed by the coffin and then 10,000 French soldiers. The most important French general was waiting. He saluted the coffin as it was placed on a French warship. The coffin was escorted to Britain by warships and saluted as it arrived. In London it was taken past crowds of people watching in silence. At Westminster Abbey the King and his government were there. So were 100 women who had lost their husbands and all their children in the war. Also 100 of the bravest soldiers in Britain. They buried the body and wrote an inscription on a marble gravestone saying how they felt about him and what he represented. The next year the future Queen of Great Britain was getting married in the Abbey. Her brother had been killed in the war. His body had never been found. As she was leaving the Abbey, the princess bent down and placed her bouquet on the Tomb. Ever since then, Royal princesses have left their bouquets by the tomb of the unknown soldier. Other countries also have their own Tomb of the Unknown Warrior or Soldiers to commemorate soldiers from World War One and other wars. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. We have exclusive episodes there. This includes a new episode all about the American Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You can join at    
The Aztecs

The Aztecs


Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the mighty Aztec Empire.----more---- The Aztecs ruled central America for hundreds of years. They conquered it from other countries. They were fierce warriors. Their capital was called Tenochtitlan. This is now the capital of Mexico. Back then it was an island on a lake. It had gleaming white palaces and Pyramids with temples on the tops of them. Religion was very important to the Aztecs. They practiced human sacrifice. This is where they would kill people to make the Gods happy. They used to capture enemies and sacrifice them. They would even sometimes go to war in order to capture people for sacrifice. Family was also very important to the Aztecs. The men would work as farmer or would have a trade like being a potter. The women would stay at home and cook for the family. All children went to school – including girls. At boys’ school, the boys learned a trade and how to fight. At girls’s school, the girls learned to dance, sing and how to cook. Aztec children were very polite and were taught not to complain about anything or to interrupt anyone. The Aztecs also loved playing games. They had a game called Patolli which was like a boardgame. They also had a game called Ullamalitzi which was a ball game with a rubber ball. The Aztecs had their own language. Many Aztec words later became Spanish words and some of those because English words. We get words like tomato, coyote and avocado from Aztec. Aztecs also loved chocolate. They were one of the first people to use chocolate. They made it into a drink. We get the word, chocolate, from them too. The mighty Aztec empire fell because of the Spanish. Spain had discovered the Caribbean with Columbus. Later though the Spanish wanted the riches of the Aztecs for themselves. They landed a small army under a man called Hernan Cortez. Cortez’s army might be small but he had guns and horses and the Aztecs had neither. The first thing that Cortez did was make friends with people that the Aztecs had conquered. Together they marched on the Aztec capital. The Aztec King tried to make friends with the Spanish. However, the Spanish wanted to conquer their country. Fighting started. Some of the Spanish soldiers got scared and wanted to go home. However, Cortez burned their own ships. Now the Spanish had to win or die. The Spanish had accidentally brought Smallpox with them from Europe. The Aztecs had no experience of smallpox. It killed half of the Aztec population, including many of its leaders. The Spanish defeated the Aztecs and conquered their Empire and took their gold. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. We have exclusive episodes like our history of chocolate episode which talks about the Mayans and the Aztecs. In our normal episodes we also tell the history of the Horse which also talks about Cortez and his conquest of the Aztecs. You can join at
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) celebrate Hallowe’en by telling Ghost stories from history.----more----   They start with stories from ancient times. They tell how Odysseus went down to the underworld after winning the siege of Troy and met with ghosts. Aeneas, a Trojan prince, was fleeing Troy. He also visited the underworld and met with ghosts. The Romans loved ghost stories and lots of their stories have survived, including a spooky one about a haunted house with a ghost wrapped in chains. The Arabs also loved their ghost stories. The famous book, the Arabian nights has lots of ghost stories in it. Some of the most famous ghost stories in history involve Anne Boleyn. She was the second wife of Hentry VIII. She was executed by having her head chopped off. Many people later have said that they have seen her ghost. One story happened a 150 years ago in the Tower of London. A guard saw Anne Boleyn coming towards him. He attacked her with his bayonet. It went right through her. He was so afraid that he fainted. When he was found, he was put on trial for falling asleep. He told people what had happened but no one believed him. Then a General came forward and said that he too had seen Anne Boleyn’s ghost. The soldier was freed. There are also stories of ghosts in wartime. In World War One British soldiers were fighting the Germans in a town called Mons. After the battle many people told a story of how soldiers with bows and arrows had come from the sky to help the British. It was as if English soldiers from the past had come to help. A writer came forward and said he had made the story up. However, many soldiers said it was true and that they had seen it for themselves. In another story a British soldier was killed in the trenches. His best friend was very sad. The next day the dead soldiers’ ghost appeared to the man. The ghost pointed at the ground in the trench. The man started to dig where the ghost was pointing. He found a secret German tunnel filled with explosives that the Germans were going to blow up and kill all the British. The ghost had saved everyone’s lives. The most famous ghost in history though it not British, it is American. Abraham Lincoln was the President of the United States. He won the American Civil War and ended slavery. Many people in the White House have said that they have seen or felt his presence. Afterwards, we talk about whether or not we believe in ghosts. The girls don’t think they are real and we talk about some reasons why that might be the case. However, just before bed the girls hear a spooky sound… PATRONS CLUB If you liked this episode then do please join our Patron’s Club. You can join at
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the History of the Police.----more---- The first police were in Ancient Egypt. They were used to guard markets and temples. They had sticks to beat criminals with. They also used animals to help. They had trained monkeys and dogs who helped them catch baddies. In Ancient Greece they also had police. Every city was different. In Athens they used special slaves as police to keep order during meetings. We get the word Police from the Greek word “Polis” which means City. The Romans had lots of different types of police. They had the vigiles who used to stop criminals, catch escaping slaves and guard the Roman baths. When things got tricky they would call on the urban cohort. They were more like soldiers than police. They would deal with riots and treason. Roman officials also had their own bodyguards. They were called Lictors and they used to carry rods with them called Fasces. They would hit anyone who got in their way. Nowadays some bad governments like the Nazis are called Fascist governements and they get their name from the Fasces that the Lictors used to carry. Almost all societies have had some sort of police – whether they were the Chinese, Indian or South American societies in the past. In England the Saxons had a different system. They divided up families into groups of ten families. The head of on the families was in charge. He had to make sure that people obeyed the law, catch anyone who didn’t and then punish them. Once the Normans conquered England they changed things to made them more organized. They created the job of constable. This was paid for by the King. However, it was the French who made the first proper police force. King Louis XIV wanted Paris to be better run. He created a police force for the city. Later it got uniforms and became the first police force with uniforms. Meanwhile, Britain was struggling. Constables used to pay ordinary people to catch criminals. However, often they would catch ordinary people and try and claim the money. One judge got so annoyed he set up his own thief catchers called the Bow Street Runners. Glasgow copied the French and made a police force for the city. Eventually, the government in Britain made a police force for London called the Metropolitan Police. The special thing about this was that the founder, Sir Robert Peel, said that the job of the police was to serve the people. He also said they the police had to enforce the law and not just do what the government wanted. Other colonies of Britain copied her. Places like Australia and Canada set up their own versions. Even America made police forces for her cities that were based on the same ideas. PATRONS CLUB If you liked this episode then please do join our Patrons Club. We have exclusive episodes there and you can help to choose an episode. You can join at
The Cold War

The Cold War


Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Cold War.----more---- At the end of World War Two the Soviet Union (the old name for Russia) and the United States of America were suspicious of each other. The Soviet Union would not let their newly conquered lands in Eastern Europe be free. They also would not disband their armies. This worried the capitalist and democratic countries of what we call the West. They agreed to protect each other. The Americans had nuclear weapons which the Soviets did not have. These weapons could destroy whole cities. The Soviets though had spies. Their spies in America and Britain stole the secrets to the Nuclear weapons. Then the Soviets could build their own. Both America and the Soviet Union built thousands of bombs. They built enough to kill everyone on earth. Both countries started to experiment with travelling into space. They wanted to explore. However, they also wanted to learn how to make missiles so they could put bombs on the top of them. There wasn’t a lot of difference between a nuclear missile and a space rocket. Sometimes the people in Eastern Europe would rebel. The Soviet soldiers would crush them. Whenever people in the Soviet Union complained they were sent to Siberia, which is very cold, and forced to work. One of the most difficult places was Berlin. This city was divided. West Berlin was free but East Berlin was ruled by the Soviets. The Soviets wanted the Americans to leave so they tried to starve the people of West Berlin to get the Americans to go home. America and her allies sent in enough food by place to keep the people alive. Then so many people were trying to escape from East Berlin that the Soviets made a wall through the centre of the city, dividing west from east Berlin. Anyone who tried to climb over the wall would be shot. The West tried hard to make sure that other countries did not become communist. Sometimes they did bad things to stop this from happening. Then the Americans decided to build weapons in space that could shoot down the Russian missiles in space. The Soviets did not have enough money to carry on. They had a new leader who was young called Mikhail Gorbachev. When the people of East Berlin started protesting, Gorbachev did not attack them. They pulled down the wall and freed themselves. Then people in the Soviet Union started protesting and wanting to end the Soviet Union. Again, Gorbachev let them win. People were now free. The Cold War was over. PATRONS CLUBS If you would like to join our Patrons’ Club you can at
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of Napoleon’s disastrous march on Moscow in 1812. ----more---- Napoleon was the Emperor of the French and at the height of his powers. He controlled almost all of Europe. Only Britain, Spain and Portugal defied him. Napoleon was obsessed with Britain. He decided that he could make her poor by stopping other countries from buying things from Britain. He forced everyone in Europe to stop buying from Britain. Except Russia. Russia was a huge and powerful country. Their ruler was called the Tsar. He was not afraid of Napoleon. Napoleon assembled a massive army, half a million strong. It had Frenchmen, Italians, Germans and Poles. He invaded Russia in the summer of 1812. The Russians knew that Napoleon was a brilliant General and his army was bigger than theirs. So they refused to fight. Instead they retreated deeper and deeper into Russia. Napoleon chased them. Many of his men died in the summer heat from marching. When Napoleon was half way to the Russian capital, Moscow, his generals urged him to wait out the winter. However, Napoleon was worried that people would think he was weak because he had not defeated the Russians in battle. He pushed on to Moscow. Outside Moscow he found the Russian army. The Russians had built strong fortifications. They were made of earth and had spikes in front of them. Napoleon’s generals suggested he go around the side of the fortifications. However, Napoleon did not want the Russians to run away again. Instead he attacked. The battle raged all day. It was the bloodiest battle in Europe until World War One. Eventually, fierce French attacks forced the Russians from their positions. However, still the Russians did not run away. Overnight the Russians retreated again. Napoleon marched into Moscow. He believed he had won. After all he had captured the Russian capital. Still though the Russians did not surrender. Then the Russians deliberately set fire to Moscow. They burned down their own city. Napoleon was left in a ruined city with no food and no shelter. He had to retreat. As he retreated the first snow fell. The weather got colder and colder. The French had no winter clothes. They began to freeze. Slowly their army disintegrated. Napoleon ordered their wagons burned to help the army march faster. Then Napoleon got to river. There was no bridge. He had burned the bridge building equipment in the wagons. The Russians closed in for the kill. Then one of the French engineers admitted that he had not burned all the equipment. There was enough left to build a bridge. Under heavy Russian attacks the French built a bridge and the army escaped across it. Now Napoleon needed to leave the army to get back to Paris and raise a new army. He asked his bravest general, Marshal Ney, to help get the army home. Marshal Ney commanded the rearguard of the army. He fought like a common soldier and was the last man out of Russia. He was called the Bravest of the Brave. Of the half a million men who invaded Russia, only 10,000 survived. It was a total disaster. Speaking of disasters, sorry this episode was late. When I uploaded it last night the whole episode crashed and wiped. The girls' were very understanding and we did the entire thing again this morning before school!  PATRONS’ CLUB If you like this episode you might like our Napoleon and Josephine episode. It is exclusive for Patrons and you can join at  
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of gruesome executions from history – feeding Christians to the lions, the punishment of the sack, decimation of soldiers and more. We start with the punishment of the sack. Romans kept this punishment for people who killed their father. They would put the person inside a large sack. Then they would put a live monkey, a snake, a dog and a rooster in the sack too. The sack was tied up with everyone inside. They it was thrown into the river so that everyone drowned. Next we tell of how the Christians were punished by the Romans. The Romans wanted Christians to agree that there’s was not the only God but there was also the Roman gods – Jupiter and Venus and others. Christians would not agree. So many of them were taken to the Colosseum in Rome. This is where Gladiator fights happened. The Christians had no swords or armour. The Romans had wild animals like lions and tigers. They had not been fed for ages so they were now hungry. The Romans let them loose on the Christians. The Lions and tigers ate the Christians. However, in Roman times it was not only the Romans who were fierce. There was a Roman General called Crassus. He was very rich. He led an army to invade Parthia. There was a battle fought in the desert. Instead of attacking the Romans, the Parthians attacked the wagons with the water in them. They broke open the barrels of water and the water drained into the desert. The Romans had to surrender because they had no water. When the Parthian Emperor had the Crassus in his hands, he poured molten gold down Crassus’ throat to mock his wealth. The Romans knew that losing battles was a bad idea. So they had a way of making sure that their soldiers did not run away. If a unit ran away in battle then after the battle there was a terrible punishment for them. Everyone in the unit had to draw straws. Some of the straws were long, but some were short. There were nine long ones to one short one. When you were drawing the straws you could not tell if the straw was long or short. Everyone who had a long straw too a club and stood in two lines facing each other. Everyone who had a short straw had to run between the two lines. The people with a short straw were then beaten to death by the people with a long straw. They called this decimation which means killing one in ten. It wasn’t only men and soldiers who faced terrible executions. The Romans had priestesses called Vestal Virgins. They kept a sacred fired in Rome burning. They lived in luxury but they were not allowed to have boyfriends or get married. If one of them did get a boyfriend then she faced a terrible punishment. It was not allowed to kill a Vestal Virgin. So she was locked in an underground room without any food and left there to starve to death! PATRONS’ CLUB We had so many stories this week that we have saved some of them for our Patrons’ episode. We have there a follow on episode. It has stories of death by rat, death by elephant, death by red hot poker, death by cannon and death by being hung, drawn and quartered. You can join at    
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Eastern Front in World War Two between Germany and the Soviet Union. Hitler and his Nazis rule Germany. Stalin and his Communists rule the Soviet Union. They hate each other. Hitler decides to invade the Soviet Union and conquer it. The Soviet Union is huge and has many people in it. However, it is poor and its army is old fashioned. The Germans have invented a new way of fighting battles with tanks and airplanes. It called Blitzkrieg which means Lightning War. The Germans invade the Soviet Union without warning. They quickly smash through the Soviet lines and surround hundreds of thousands of soldiers. Then they push onto Paris. However, Moscow is so far from Germany that it too them until the start of winter before they arrived. The Soviet solders fought desperately. They were helped by Soviet soldiers from Siberia who were used to the cold. The German generals wanted to retreated but Hitler would not let them. He was right this time. The Germans just held on. In 1942 the German attacked again. This time they attacked South. They wanted to capture the oilfields to stop the Soviets having petrol for their tanks. They captured lots of land but had to capture the city of Stalingrad first. There is fighting for months. Secretly the Soviets mass tanks outside the city. They attack and surround the city. Hitler will not let the Germans retreat. It is a mistake and the whole German army is forced to surrender. Meanwhile, Hitler’s evil plans continue. His soldiers kill many ordinary people and, in particular, they start killing Jews. The next year Hitler attacks for the last time. There is a massive tank battle. The Germans lose. The following year the Soviets attack. They force the Germans back. Just as the Soviets are about to invade Poland they stop. The brave Poles rise up and fight the Germans. They beg for help from the Soviets. However, Stalin is happy to see the Poles be killed by the Germans because he wants to rule Poland after the war. The following year the Soviets close in on Berlin. They are cruel to many ordinary German people, especially to women. After brutal fighting the Soviets capture Berlin. Hitler kills himself, and he kills his dog too. The World War in Europe is over. Patrons Club Please do join our Patrons Club –
Comments (1)

Sarah Nelson

My son and I enjoy your podcast 😊

Apr 19th
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