Category Archives: HISTORY

On this day – 18th May

On this day – 18th May


1302   The weaver Peter de Coningk led a massacre of the Flemish oligarchs.

1652   In Rhode Island, a law was passed that made slavery illegal in North America. It was the first law of its kind.
1804   Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed emperor by the French Senate.

The Long Trip to Botany Bay

The Long Trip to Botany Bay

Diabolical conditions abroad the hulks, the floating prisons which took up the slack when transportation to America ended, forced Britain to rethink its penal policy. The consensus was that Britain urgently needed another colony. First under consideration was the island of Lemane in the Gambia, West Africa. Its advantage was isolation. No guards would be needed to watch over the felons. But it would have amounted to signing the death warrant of the desperate souls abandoned there. Happily the scheme was dropped.

The White Rose, Silenced Voices of Hitler’s Germany

The White Rose, Silenced Voices of Hitler’s Germany

Fifty-four years ago three German students were arrested. A few days later they were hauled before the Volksgerichtshof (“People’s Court”), sentenced to death and executed by beheading the same day. Within a few months many more arrests were made, and, in a second trial, three additional death sentences were handed down. (The “People’s Court,” I should add, existed outside the German constitution. It was created by the NSDAP, the National Socialist Party, in 1934 for the sole purpose of eliminating Hitler’s enemies.)

On this day – 17th May

On this day – 17th May

1630   Italian Jesuit Niccolo Zucchi saw the belts on Jupiter’s surface

1756   Britain declared war on France, beginning the French and Indian War.
1861   The first colour photograph is exhibited at the Royal Institution in London

Who was Alexander Selkirk?

Who was Alexander Selkirk?

Cast away on a desert island, surviving on what nature alone can provide, praying for rescue but fearing the sight of a boat on the horizon. These are the imaginative creations of Daniel Defoe in his famous novel Robinson Crusoe. Yet the story is believed to be based on the real-life experience of sailor Alexander Selkirk, marooned in 1704 on a small tropical island in the Pacific for more than four years, and now archaeological evidence has been found to support contemporary records of his existence on the island.