Category Archives: MODERN HISTORY

The Legendary Route of Pony Express

The Legendary Route of Pony Express


Young and daring horseback riders once carried U.S. mail between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California, from where it was then taken by steamer to San Francisco. The service began on April 3, 1860. Its promoters hoped to prove that the central route followed by the Pony Express was better than the longer southern route used by the stagecoaches of the Butterfield Overland Mail. Senator William M. Gwin of California was the chief promoter of the Pony Express, while the freight firm of William H. Russell, William B. Waddell, and Alexander Majors backed the project financially.

On this day: The King Henry II of France died after fatal injury

On this day: The King Henry II of France died after fatal injury

Historically, as the representative of a nation, it was essential that a monarch remain strong and healthy. In 1559 Henri II of France was injured at a jousting tournament when a lance splintered, went into his eye and shot upwards into his brain, causing a subdural haemorrhage (a build-up of blood between the inner and outer membranes covering the brain). Although he was badly injured, the king managed to get to his chambers, where all of his physicians gathered in the hope of curing him.

Olaudah Equiano – The African

Olaudah Equiano – The African

Recent scholarship has raised doubts about whether or not abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, who was known in  his own lifetime as Gustavus Vassa, was born in Africa. While baptismal and naval documents indicate that he was born in South Carolina, it is argued here that his autobiographical account is nonetheless accurate, although allowing for reflection and information that was learned later in life.

The Age of Enlightenment – The new way of thinking in the 18th century

The Age of Enlightenment – The new way of thinking in the 18th century

Scientific Discoveries

The spectacular theoretical achievements capped by Newton in the seventeenth century were not repeated in the eighteenth. However, much of importance was done in the realm of theoretical refinement and in the laboratory.

Hernán Cortés’ Service to the Country

Hernán Cortés’ Service to the Country

Hernán Cortés or Cortez, Hernando (1485-1547), Spanish explorer and conqueror of the Aztec Empire of Mexico, was born in Medellín, Extremadura. He studied law at the University of Salamanca but cut short his university career in 1501 and decided to try his fortune in the Americas. Cortés sailed for Santo Domingo (now the Dominican Republic) in the spring of 1504. In 1511 he joined Spanish soldier and administrator Diego Velázquez in the conquest of Cuba and subsequently became alcalde (mayor) of Santiago de Cuba.