Gelert. If you go to Gwynedd in North Wales, to the town of Beddgelert, you'll find Gelert's grave. Some people say the whole thing was just a tourist stunt by a local pub landlord back in Victorian times. Probably the same sort of people who don't get emotional when they read the gravestone.
'Kings' and 'Princes' of Wales. There were a number of Llewelyns (often spelled Llewellyn, sometimes Llywelyn) who went by these titles, and most of them were fearless fighters of the English. 'The Dog Hunters' is set roughly in the time of Llewelyn the Great (our Llewelyn's father) and the reigns of the English Kings Henry lll and Edward 1.
Did our Llewelyn exist? As 'The Dog Hunters' makes clear, he was kidnapped when he was still young, so there's good reason he's not mentioned much. Historically, when a Welsh King died their lands up were split among their heirs- all sons got a slice of the cake- but Llewelyn the Great thad two 'official' sons, Dafydd and Gruffyd, but who's to say there weren't other unofficial sons? When Llewelyn the Great died, Dafydd stuffed up- it was under his watch that Edward l finally conquered the country in 1284. Maybe things would have been different had OUR Llewelyn been around.
The modern Prince of Wales. An interesting historical note is that Edward l pulled a bit of a fast one on the Welsh people by promising them a Welsh Prince who couldn't speak English. Well of course he couldn't speak English- when Edward ll was crowned Prince of Wales, he was still a baby. The present Prince of Wales- Charles Windsor- has as much claim to the Welsh throne as any German. Maybe one day, we hope, OUR Llewelyn will return to Wales to claim his birthright...
Edward l, otherwise known as 'Longshanks' and 'The Hammer of the Scots', is the king featured in 'Braveheart'. But first he invaded and subjugated the Welsh. By all accounts, he was a ruthless warmonger, wholly dedicated to expanding the kingdom of England, and in many ways, he established the concept of modern Britain. There's a fantastic BBC History Extra podcast (here) about Edward's conquest of Wales, and these sites are cool:
Chinese Imperial treasure Fleets. During the 15th century, the Chinese Emperor sent vast fleets of ships, as many as 300 at a time, on incredible expeditions. They scoured Asia, the middle east and Africa for new trading opportunities and for the love of discovery. Admiral Zheng He's biggest ships were 450 ft long and carried 3,000 tons of goodies, which was much much bigger than any European vessels of the time. As many as 28,000 men crewed these fleets, including soldiers and cavalry. Some people think Zheng reached the Americas years before Columbus, and even got as far as New Zealand. If you read Gavin Menzies' book '1421, the Year China Discovered the World', you might be convinced of this, even if the academic jury is still out.
Odd Dog Breeding. Apart from mutts, there's not a dog on this planet that hasn't been bred by humans to do something or look cute or behave in a certain way. The Chinese in particular took the art to extremes- the Pekinese dog, for instance, was bred to resemble the Chinese concept of dragons, themselves symbols of great fortune. Pekinese were also bred small, so that they could fit in the sleeves of the aristocracy. Of course, the Chinese were amateurs compared to the Jiang. Unfortunately, few of the astonishing dog breeds of Jiang still exist except in vestigial form.
Dog genes tell surprising tales - Technology & science - Science - Mysteries of the Universe | NBC News