As a child I was always fascinated by the puzzle of how it was possible to place a quite sizeable model of a ship inside a narrow-necked bottle. One of my uncles, an ex-navy man, had a beautiful example in his house but he wouldn’t reveal the secret of how the thing was made.
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The Hanseatic League, or Hanse, was formed as a northern European trading organisation, founded in the middle of the twelfth century in the north German city of Lubeck and continued as a powerful force for around 500 years. It grew to comprise a network of around 200 trading cities as far apart as London, England, in the west and Viliky Novgorod, Russia, in the east and during its lifetime had to protect its interests from interfering rulers, pirates and rival traders. The type of ship on the stamp above issued in 1977 is a Cog and it was the ship of choice for most Hanseatic League traders.
The Hanseatic League influenced the economic, political and cultural life in Europe for nearly four centuries.
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Ferdinand Magellan (born circa 1480 – died 1521) was a Portuguese explorer who organised the Spanish expedition to the East Indies from 1519 to 1522, resulting in the first circumnavigation of the Earth, completed by the Spaniard Juan Sebastian Elcano after Magellan was killed on the island of Mactan (now part of the Philippines). He was also discoverer of what was named the Strait of Magellan, a navigable sea route in southern Chile separating mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the south. The Strait is the most important natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
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Naturally, the ease with which one can communicate with people worldwide via email and other modern instant messaging systems has its advantages, but these methods have caused a great decline in the act of physically writing a letter and sending the item to another person via a postal delivery service. The big question is if, and when, will the postage stamp as we know it cease to exist? And what, if any, effect will this have on the value of stamp collections in the future?
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A few attractive booklets from the Channel Islands including this from Guernsey:
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A wonderful lady, Betty Billingham, provided most of the information for the article and I thoroughly recommend a visit to her website, to not only read about her fascinating life history but also to view her photo gallery, as she is an extremely accomplished photographer.
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It is now almost 158 years ago that one man’s dedication and perseverance bore fruit.
Cyrus W. Field, a retired American paper merchant, formed a company in 1854 with the intention of improving and speeding up communication between North America and Britain. The idea was to transmit telecommunication signals between those lands.
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