Mahmud Ghazan (1271)

One of the most prominent Mongol leaders of Persia, Ghazan was raised Buddhist but converted to Islam in 1295 before inheriting his father’s throne. Well educated and fluent in several languages, he tasked his vizier with composing a history of the Mongols. In Syria, he successfully fought his family’s enemy, the Mamluks, but they reoccupied the area upon his departure. What European nation became so fascinated with Mongol culture in the 13th century that many children were named for Ghazan? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Carlos Polestico Garcia (1896)

After graduating from law school, Garcia became a schoolteacher, poet, and public official in his native Philippines. Elected vice president in 1953, he became president upon his predecessor’s unexpected death in 1957. Though he maintained ties with the US, he was known for his “Filipino First” policy, which emphasized the sovereignty and economic interests of the Filipino people over those of outsiders. He retired from public life in 1961. However, in 1971, he died just days after doing what? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Stephen Fuller Austin (1793)

Austin was the founder of the first legal colony of English-speaking people in Mexican Texas. Following the death of his father, who had conceived the plan, Austin led 300 families to settle on the Brazos River in 1822. As his colony prospered, US immigrants poured into Mexico. Initially opposed to Texan independence, Austin tried to organize Texas as a Mexican state. He was instead imprisoned by the government for treason, after which he supported the Texas Revolution. What were his last words? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

James Knox Polk (1795)

A native southerner and friend of Andrew Jackson, Polk was elected president of the US in 1845. During his administration, the US made large territorial gains. Polk peacefully negotiated the Oregon border dispute with Britain, while the US victory in the Mexican War secured much of the West. Though an efficient and competent president, Polk was exhausted by the time he left office, and he died three months later. Despite his happy marriage, he had no children. What likely rendered him sterile? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Grantland Rice (1880)

Born in Tennessee, Rice began his career as a reporter with the Nashville News in 1901 before moving to New York. There, he became known as the “Dean of American Sportswriters.” For decades, he was in charge of selecting the All-American football team for Collier’s magazine. In his widely syndicated column, “The Sportlight,” Rice coined some of sports’ most memorable phrases. What famous quote about winning and losing is derived from one of Rice’s poems? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

John Evelyn (1620)

From 1631 until his death in 1706, Evelyn kept a diary that is today an invaluable source of information on 17th-century British social, cultural, and political life. He corresponded frequently with Samuel Pepys, another now-famous diarist of the time. Living as a wealthy country gentleman in Deptford, he wrote about 30 books on various subjects including reforestation, vegetarianism, and numismatics. In 1661, he wrote the Fumifugium, believed to be the first book written on what topic? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Angelica Kauffmann (1741)

Swiss-born painter Angelica Kauffman studied art in Italy as a child. She was a protégée of Joshua Reynolds, who took her to London in 1766. Two years later, Reynolds became the first president of the Royal Academy and Kauffman one of the founding members. She became known for her decorative work and her portraits of female sitters. Returning to Italy, she flourished in artistic and literary circles. In 1775, how did a fellow member of the Royal Academy ridicule her and Reynolds in a painting? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Bill Mauldin (1921)

After joining the US Army as an infantryman in 1940, Mauldin began sketching cartoons about enlisted life. In 1944, he began producing his cartoons full time for the US military newspaper, Stars and Stripes. His portrayal of two cynical and unkempt American soldiers, Willie and Joe, made Mauldin a hero to American soldiers in World War II. Later, Mauldin became a political cartoonist for civilian papers. What fate had Mauldin intended for Willie and Joe at the end of the war? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Evelyn Waugh (1903)

Waugh was an English novelist who is widely considered the greatest satirist of his generation. His novels, characterized by sardonic wit, technical brilliance, and his devoted Catholicism, include A Handful of Dust and Brideshead Revisited. Waugh also wrote amusing travel books. After service in World War II, he led a retired life, and his writing grew increasingly misanthropic. In 1925, Waugh’s suicide attempt was thwarted when he was coincidentally attacked by what animal? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Roy Lichtenstein (1923)

Lichtenstein was an American artist best known for his brilliantly colored paintings in the style of large-scale comic strips, such as Whaam! and Drowning Girl. Originally an abstract expressionist, he turned to the New York-based pop art movement in the 1960s. In addition to his comic-book inspired panels, he created ironic pop art reinterpretations of famous paintings by artists such as Picasso. Which of his works was destroyed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary