English Language and History .com is a collection of two-minute tales drawn from history, myth and fiction. Each tale is accompanied by word games testing grammar and expression, based on textbooks used in British schools from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Not the World’s Policeman
Music: Johann Baptist Cramer
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)

IF it were the province of Great Britain to administer justice to all the people of the earth — in other words, if God had given us, as a nation, the authority and the power, together with the wisdom and the goodness, sufficient to qualify us to deal forth His vengeance then should we be called upon in this case to rescue the weak from the hands of their spoilers.

Continue reading ›
Six Posts
Russia’s First Railway
two-part story
Music: Mikhail Glinka; Johann Strauss (Jr)
Sixteen-year-old John Wesley Hackworth brought a locomotive over to St Petersburg, and Russia’s railway revolution was ready for the off.

IN 1836, sixteen-year-old John Wesley Hackworth arrived in the Russian capital, St Petersburg, bearing the heavy responsibility of delivering a steam locomotive, built by his father Timothy at Shildon in County Durham, to the Russian Empire’s first railway line.

Continue reading ›
The Grand Embassy
two-part story
Music: Henry Purcell
A young Peter the Great of Russia toured Europe seeking help for his diplomatic, military and architectural plans.

IN January 1698, John Evelyn lent his house at Sayes Court to the Government for the impending ‘Grand Embassy’ of Tsar Peter of Russia, then a young man of twenty-six. Peter’s plan was to forge a European alliance against Turkey, and acquire vital ship-building technology for Russia’s navy.

Continue reading ›
Gytha and Vladimir
Music: John Playford
Scandinavian tradition says that the daughter of King Harold was consort to one the great rulers of Kievan Rus’.

IN 862, just before the Great Heathen Army landed in England, the Scandinavian people known as the Rus’ settled in Novgorod and in Kiev. Yaroslav the Wise later united the two realms at Kiev, and his grandson Vladimir II Monomakh inherited the Kievan throne in 1113.

Continue reading ›
The Aspden Cup
Music: John Field
English factory workers started a historic three-cornered league in the Russian city of St Petersburg.

IN 1879, British expatriates formed Russia’s first football team, the St Petersburg Football Club, and started playing matches against the crews of visiting ships. Soon three new teams, largely recruited from among the labourers and sports-mad administrators of local textile mills, were vying for the Aspden Cup, sponsored by English entrepreneur Thomas Aspden.

Continue reading ›
Britain and the Tsars
three-part story
Music: Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky; Edward Elgar
Britain’s ties to the rulers of Russia go back to the time of the Norman Invasion.

IN 862, just four years before Ivar the Boneless came west to capture York, another Viking named Rurik went east and settled at Novgorod on the Volkhov River, together with his people, the Rus’. Askold, one of his captains, settled in Kiev, five hundred miles to the south, and twenty years later, Oleg of Novgorod made Kiev his capital.

Continue reading ›
The Sneeze of History
Music: Alexei Fyodorovich Lvov
It was the opinion of Leo Tolstoy that even Napoleon was never master of his own destiny.
By Leo Tolstoy
(1828-1910)

MANY historians say that the French did not win the battle of Borodino because Napoleon had a cold, and that if he had not had a cold the orders he gave before and during the battle would have been still more full of genius and Russia would have been lost and the face of the world have been changed.

Continue reading ›
All Posts
Tagged Russian History (16 posts)
page 1
1 Not the World’s Policeman
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
2 Germany’s Secret Weapon
By Sir Winston S. Churchill
(1874-1965)
As a last, desperate throw of the dice in the Great War, the Germans detonated an unusual kind of weapon in St Petersburg.
3 The Sneeze of History
By Leo Tolstoy
(1828-1910)
It was the opinion of Leo Tolstoy that even Napoleon was never master of his own destiny.
4 Arthur MacPherson
MacPherson’s tireless afforts to promote Russian sport earned him a unique Imperial honour, and the enmity of the Communists.
5 The Aspden Cup
British factory workers started a historic three-cornered league in the Russian city of St Petersburg.
6 Russia’s First Railway
Sixteen-year-old John Wesley Hackworth brought a locomotive over to St Petersburg, and Russia’s railway revolution was ready for the off.
page 2
7 The Blessings of Nicholas Mogilevsky
Passengers sharing Bishop Nicholas’s Moscow-bound flight found his blessings faintly silly, but that was when the engines were running.
8 The Bearded Foreigner
A Japanese swordsman confronts a Russian monk for... actually, he’s not really quite sure.
9 The Grand Embassy
A young Peter the Great of Russia toured Europe seeking help for his diplomatic, military and architectural plans.
10 St Nicholas the Wet
Two frantic parents implore St Nicholas’s help in rescuing their baby boy.
11 Gytha and Vladimir
Scandinavian tradition says that the daughter of King Harold was consort to one the great rulers of Kievan Rus’.
12 Our Lady’s Mantle
Shortly after Askold and Dir founded Kiev in 862, they launched a brazen but ill-fated assault on the capital of the Roman Empire.
page 3
13 Merchants of Muscovy
In 1553, Richard Chancellor set out on a perilous voyage to Russia in order to bypass the Hanseatic League’s single market.
14 Not a Scratch!
Hapless extremists try to wipe out a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary.
15 Britain and the Tsars
Britain’s ties to the rulers of Russia go back to the time of the Norman Invasion.
16 St Elizabeth the New Martyr
The grand-daughter of Queen Victoria was as close to the poor of Moscow’s slums as she was to the Russian Tsar.
Authors
1 post
Richard Cobden (1804-1865)
1 post
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
1 post

Word Play: Opposites

Suggest words or phrases that are opposite in meaning to the words below.

Shut. Secret. Over.
New Stories
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
To the poor of England, the Worcestershire man gave affordable pots and pans, and to all the world he gave the industrial revolution.
After Louis XIV’s grandson Philip inherited the throne of Spain, the ‘Sun King’ began to entertain dreams of Europe-wide dominion.
New Puzzles
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Try writing complete sentences using these nouns as either the subject or the object of a verb.
Try writing complete sentences using these verbs in either the active or the passive voice.
Polyword ‘Peat’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Do you know ‘plaything’ (3 letters), and ‘a river in South Wales’ (3 letters)?
Do you know ‘move in a zig-zag fashion’ (4), and ‘a 1711 opera by Handel’ (7)?
Add one number to another number. See how quickly you can solve the sums.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FREE and finish with KICK.
Do you know ‘stout’ (6 letters), and ‘gloat’ (4 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (359)
Fiction (77)

letters game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: ‘Scrabble’ letters game Games with Words

numbers game

Work across from the number on the left, applying each arithmetical operation to the previous answer. What’s the final total?

Tip: Click any of the four inner squares to check your running total.

More like this: Maths Steps Mental arithmetic