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November 26

In 1864, in one of the more dramatic moments of logician Charles Dodgson's fairly private life, he attempted to deliver a handwritten manuscript to his young neighbor Alice Liddell as an early Christmas present.

"Alice's Adventures Under Ground" Manuscript BurnedHe was caught in a sudden rain shower and approached the Liddell family's home drenched but received graciously. As he was changing into dry clothes offered by Henry Liddell, an argument began. The source of the argument is unknown, though the two had disagreed on a number of occasions on college politics, and Dodgson left the Liddells' in his own clothes. Mr. Liddell proceeded to throw Dodgson's manuscript into the fire and comment, "Children need lessons from moral men".

Dodgson had met the Liddell family when Henry came as dean to Christ Church, Oxford, where Dodgson studied and would serve as a lecturer in mathematics. He suffered a stammer, which is believed to have been what kept him from entering the priesthood. Dodgson and the Liddell family became close, with Dodgson befriending the Liddells' boy Henry and their daughters Lorina, Edith, and Alice. As a family friend, Dodgson would become close to the children in the family, whom he would tell stories, have picnics, and use as models in his photography hobby. The friendship came to Dodgson's advantage in 1862 when he attempted an appeal to halt his taking of priestly orders, interrupting a lifelong plan of his mother's that he would enter the priesthood. As dean, Liddell noted that he should take the appeal to the college ruling body, which might only grant the appeal on grounds of expelling Dodgson. Instead, however, Liddell made the decision himself, allowing Dodgson to end his path to priesthood and remain at Christ Church as a mathematician.

On July 4, 1862, while boating with Mr. Liddell and the girls, Dodgson would tell a series of stories about a girl named "Alice" (in honor of, but not based upon, ten-year-old Alice Liddell) who fell down a rabbit hole and experienced many strange adventures. The Liddells encouraged Dodgson to write out his story, and he obliged, working on it for two years before delivering the manuscript to Alice. In the meantime, Dodgson and Liddells had a falling out. His diary through this time had numerous pages torn out, but it is known that, on June 27, 1863, Mrs. Liddell approached Dodgson on a topic that had been the source of much gossip. Notes suggest it was a questionable relationship, either with the governess or "Ina", referring to either the oldest girl Lorina or her mother, also Lorina. Whatever the subject, the problem was enough to spur a falling out between Dodgson and the family, which lasted perhaps a year. The problem seemed to have faded enough for Dodgson to present his manuscript to Alice for the upcoming Christmas.

However, a renewed argument with the head of the house (and dean of his college) would cause Dodgson to storm out of the Liddells' forever. While sometimes threatening to quit his position, Dodgson remained at Christ Church, lecturing and writing in the fields of mathematics and logic. He wrote stories, but none were published more widely than a few relations and acquaintances. Dodgson was encouraged to publish his Alice tales by friend and fantasy novelist George MacDonald, who had read a partial manuscript to his children, but Dodgson was through with it. Instead, he focused on his logic puzzles and completed several important theses on argument up to his death in 1898.

Meanwhile, Victorian children's literature would remain "moral", as Mr. Liddell had mentioned. Some scandalous material was produced, but censors were quick to keep publishers respectable. The moral constraints even continued across the Atlantic as L. Frank Baum rewrote his American fairytales to include necessary words of wisdom for children not appreciating home, such as his hero Dylan Gale. J. M. Barrie would be refused on his first draft of Peter and Wendy from his play Peter Pan, the editor saying that children needed deeper moral lessons and explanations that the ambivalence of the ethics of Wonderland would only lead to loneliness and destruction. Even into the 1960s, animated cartoons for children would carry lessons such as the moral responsibility of standing up to predators in Tom and Jerry, although cartoonist Walt Disney defied any sort of logic in his early "Silly Symphonies" of the 1930s, art simply for the sake of enjoyment.

February 7

In 1964, just after stepping onto the tarmac from their plane arriving in New York City, the famed British rock band "The Beatles" were mobbed by nearly three thousand screaming fans..

"Beatle Bomber" StrikesJohn Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr waved to their fans while police struggled to keep the roaring approval from turning into a riot. Before reaching their car, the pressing crowd broke through the police barriers and swarmed the stars, which was when an explosion tore through the mob. One of history's most famous unsolved mysteries resulted as the unknown bomber blew himself up just behind the band. The brunt of the blast would be absorbed by the crowd, resulting in twelve deaths. The tallest Beatle, Paul, sustained trauma to his head. While being rushed to the hospital, he died en route from his injuries. Starr and Harrison were both injured, but not critically. Lennon, who was standing in front of McCartney, escaped with only a few scratches. Numerous interviews throughout his life gave hints toward survivor guilt that would plague him especially later in life as he cycled through rehab and mental asylums.

The news rocked the nation. Only months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a sense of unease about the security of America in any public place overwhelmed the populace. It became a key issue of the election that November with winning incumbent LBJ organizing a new system of "National Security" on the small scale featuring metal detectors.

Meanwhile, the Beatles began a new chapter of their careers. The band was scheduled to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show on the 9th, and there was some debate over cancelling the performance. Ultimately Lennon insisted on a solo performance in honor of Paul, accompanying himself on guitar while giving a tear-choked rendition of Fain and Kahal's "I'll Be Seeing You" made famous in Britain and America as a tribute to those serving overseas during WWII. Despite the loss of a key member, Beatlemania continued to spread with their records unable to stay on shelves. Though they were a wild financial success, the Lennon-McCartney creative team had been broken, and they would produce very little over the next few months.

In 1965, while enjoying a dinner invitation to their dentist's, Lennon and Harrison would be introduced to LSD. The drug would prove transformative, and Lennon's songwriting would become nearly incomprehensible. Tours continued until 1966, at which point the bandmates judged their futures together and ultimately decided to go their separate ways. Their fame would die as Beatlemania gave way to the Rolling Stones, who would be regularly listed as the greatest rock group of all time.

Conspiracy theorists routinely pore over the explosion from surviving footage and photographs. Witness reports are notably contradictory, which has led many to suspect a cover-up. Speculation holds that extreme conservatives attempted to head-off the "British Invasion" of challenging given morals, using Lennon's famed line, "more popular than Jesus now," though that was delivered much later. Others suspect it was competing American musicians knowing that they would be blocked off by the coming storm of Beatlemania. Still others suggest that it was the action of a lone fan driven to insanity by the wilds of their music.

May 10

In 1838, on this day the famed actor and elusive Presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth was born in Bel Air, Maryland.

10th May, 1838 Birth of John Wilkes BoothHe was enraged by the Union response to the secession of Maryland. With Abraham Lincoln in ill health, Vice President Hannibal Hamlin sent Federal Troops into Washington, Allegany, Garrett and Frederick counties to support a Western State's retrocession into the Union with Hagerstown as State Capital. Weeks later, Lincoln was dead and his policies had unravelled; Hamlin was forced to relocate the Federal Capital to Philadelphia.

The vengeful Booth struck four years later after the US Government had returned to Washington City. After mortally wounding Hamlin, he leaped gracefully onto the stage of Ford's Theater, landing uninjured while announcing to the audience, "Sic semper tyrannis!" During the chaos, he made his escape out the back door, adding, "The South is avenged!".

Federal troops poured into southern Maryland in pursuit, and a $100,000 reward was offered for information leading to his capture. They followed his trail to Virginia, where Booth was spotted on April 26 in the tobacco barn of farmer Richard H. Garrett. After a brief shootout with intelligence officers under Everton Conger, Booth again escaped on horseback while his accomplices were captured.

Booth fled deep into Virginia, disappearing forever. Many cases of "Booth-fever" would lead to numerous captures of innocent men, and it was believed that Booth was able to escape out of the newly reunited country or out west, living among miners and ranchers who had never heard of his fame. Because of his acting abilities, there would be a great deal of theories about where he could have ended up. Other theories suggested he died attempting to ford rivers under the cover of darkness while still others hold that enraged Southerners, whether white or black, killed him on sight and did not leave enough remains to identify.

One year later, in Columbus, Georgia, the Ladies Memorial Association determined that a day should be set aside for remembrance of the Southern dead in the Civil War. Elizabeth Ellis chose the day April 26, referring to General Johnston's surrender, but soon Booth's disappearance came to mind. After proper review the Association determined the memorial would be held for all dead, including a special commemoration of President Hamlin. Flowers were placed on graves both Confederate and Union while a wreath was dispatched to Illinois. Booth ironically contributed to great healing between the two halves of the American nation.

October 12

Upon his confirmation as Governor of the Massachusetts colony on May 4, 1692, William Phips found a state of uproar. Settlers hungry for land to feed their growing families pushed north and westward into the frontier, provoking attacks from the Indians.

12th Ocotober, 1692 - Phips orders InquisitionInternally, panic had seized the town of Salem and seemed to be spreading as witchcraft had violently found its way into the colony.

On May 29, he ordered a Court of Oyer and Terminer to settle the matter. He appointed judges to listen to the accusations promoted by girls afflicted with seizures and weigh their opinions against the supposed witches. By June 8, Bridget Bishop was the first witch convicted, later to be hanged. While Phips, the former sea captain, anticipated the court to be the end of witchcraft, it only spread more panic. Suspicions arose that the fear of witches brought false accusations that led to great advantages when the accusers seized valuable property.

Through the summer, witch after witch was accused and many were hanged. Several died in prison and others while undergoing torture to secure confessions. After all, if a witch were to confess, the soul might be saved while the body was punished. Better an innocent soul to be in Heaven than a guilty person freely walking the earth under the Devil's domain. While the puritanical logic seemed sound, the system came under increasing question.

The Mathers, Cotton and his father Increase, were some of the first to speak up over the questions of "spectral evidence" used in the court. As early as June 15, Cotton Mather, wrote to the court warning of hearing testimony that was "spectral", or simply dreams and visions made by the accuser that could so easily be fabricated. His advice was mostly ignored, though the name was held in esteem. Cotton is often understood as something of the beginning of the crackdown on witchcraft by the publication of his book Remarkable Providences in 1688, which brought the notion of warning dreams to the minds of so many.

On October 3, Increase Mather, who was President of Harvard College, publically denounced spectral evidence. When he had heard the opinion of Mather, Phips decided that the rampant trials had gone so far as madness. He placed a moratorium on proceedings and cited the "danger some of their innocent subjects might be exposed to" based on this lack of evidence that may simply have been fear-mongering by the accusers in a letter to the Privy Council of the Crown. In same letter, he outlined his plan to begin a new system of finding and judging witches.

The same day, October 12, Phips asked Cotton Mather to head an inquisition to establish a logical and "scientiffik" method of determining witchcraft. Cotton agreed, and the formal study of witch-hunting came to the colony. Initially, Cotton worked on the cases at hand, advising the Court of Oyer and Terminer until its dissolution weeks later. By the end of the month, most of the prisoners were released and higher court proceedings ruled further accused witches innocent. Several witches, however, were proven guilty.

In 1683, Cotton published Wonders of the Invisible World, a guide to his methods of witch-catching. He drew upon numerous sources including first-hand accounts from Salem as well as Glanvill's Saducismus Triumphatus. Cases against witches could only be drawn on concrete grounds, of which Cotton gave numerous examples. Over the next year, the hysteria of witchcraft settled to vigilance, and Cotton's investigators traveled throughout the colony researching potential Sabbats, familiars, and unruly women suspected of cavorting with evil powers.

Through the eighteenth century, the numbers of witches found among colonists would dwindle, especially as laws limiting the powers of women were enacted. The investigators gradually shifted their attention to obvious witches in the shaman of the Indians. In numerous altercations, these shamans would fall under assassination, attack, and arrest to end their devilish ways. In the times leading up to the Revolution, the investigators used their skills to root out rebel spies among the Loyalists, leading to a brutal covert war of military intelligence. The American victory ended the work of Mather's Investigators, and lingering anger over their dominance aided in the passing of many parts of the Bill of Rights, especially in the First (which legalized white magic as religious practice), Fifth, and Seventh Amendments.

October 15

Emperor Napoleon I had taken Republican France from its position being torn apart like a steak by dogs and nearly conquered Europe. From 1803 to 1815, he had consolidated power in France, launched expeditions, and broken apart five Coalitions united against him.

15th October, 1818 - Napoleon impostor arrives at St. Helena Many of these lands came under his direct rule while he set up his siblings as kings over satellite states such as Naples and Westphalia. In 1812, he turned on Russia, a former ally and former enemy, in a catastrophic invasion that would signal the beginning of the end for his rule.

The Sixth Coalition of Austria, Bavaria, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, Sardinia, Saxony, Sicily, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Württemberg united in 1814 to finally defeat Napoleon. He was banished to the island of Elba, where he would later escape and be welcomed back to France. The Europeans fought him again, and the loss at Waterloo in 1815 led to Louis XVIII being restored while Napoleon was once again exiled, this time to Saint Helena in the southern Atlantic, one of the remotest islands in the world.

While all of this went on, Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, had served as a dashing captain for the British so successful in battle that the French had nicknamed him "Le Loup des Mers", "The Wolf of the Sea". In 1814, a news story broke that Napoleon had been killed by Cossacks, which charged the populace and make the stocks in the Exchange skyrocket. As the hoax was proven, the investigation turned up several men who had sold at great profits, including Lord Cochrane, his uncle, and his stock-broker. Anonymous tips caught the hoaxer, who was tied to Cochrane by having visited him the day the story appeared. Cochrane was condemned, though the evidence was circumstantial and he had simply told his broker to sell whenever his stock had raised one percent, much lower than the profits he would have made if planning a fraud. He was dismissed from the Admiralty, expelled from Parliament, lost his knighthood, fined, imprisoned for a year, and made to stand in the pillory for one hour.

Humiliated and betrayed by what he felt was "higher authority than the Stock Exchange", Cochrane decided to leave the United Kingdom. In May of 1817, Bernardo O'Higgins requested Cochrane's assistance in the Chilean War of Independence. Cochrane agreed and arrived in Chile in November of 1818 and would become commander-in-chief of the Chilean navy. He had brought his wife and children with him, along with an older, balding manservant who, when asked, said he was Corsican. As time went on, it became obvious that the man was Napoleon Bonaparte, and he was quickly granted position as general.

When news of the great dictator in South America arrived in London, the British were shocked. On October 5, 1818, the man supposed to be Napoleon had arrived in St. Helena. While on the journey, the man had often been drunk and several times flew into rages, shouting in Italian that "this was not what had been agreed". His guard expected better of the former emperor and took him as whining about the demands of past treaties. At St. Helena, he continued to drink, shrugging the offered friendship of the Balcombe family and routinely spitting at Governor Hudson Lowe. An investigation began, and it was found that Cochrane had used the last of his political favors to sneak Napoleon away and replace him with a Genoan drunkard who had been paid a hefty sum.

The Crown launched an expedition to fetch the rogue emperor, but by the time they had arrived in 1820, the Chileans had won their war and secured Bernardo O'Higgins as leader. Napoleon had served as an adviser in the war, saying often, "I have ruled. I don't intend to try it again". Instead, he spoke long hours with O'Higgins, telling tales and giving advice on how to keep his people in love with him. The expedition did not carry a declaration of war, and, as Chile guarded the emperor, they returned to England, leaving the warning that if Napoleon ever left Chile, he would be arrested and hanged. Cochrane was dubbed a traitor, to which he laughed and replied, "Only to those who have betrayed me". He would live out his days as a wealthy plantation owner with numerous Chilean titles.

Napoleon did not leave Chile. Many historians consider him using O'Higgins as a puppet as well as another great warrior, Simòn Bolìvar, who first visited him in 1825. Napoleon admired the young general and president, talking with him and analyzing his battles. Napoleon offered his advice on maintaining order and encouraged O'Higgins to create a tight alliance with Bolìvar's nations of Gran Columbia, Peru, and Bolivia. It is said that the fast and harsh end to the 1828 movement in Bolivia against Bolìvar was plotted in the mind of Napoleon, remembering his days in the streets of Paris with cannons full of grapeshot.

Napoleon died in his palace in Santiago June 8, 1838. His visage is popular among coinage in South America, as are banners baring his insignia. It is said that much of Latin America's military stability and keen justice system belong to Napoleon's influence.

October 17

The nation of Haiti had undergone a brutal past. Its natives had been wiped out by plagues brought by the Spanish, and its primary colonists had been pirates, specifically on the nearby island of Tortuga.

17th October, 1806 - Dessalines Survives Assassination Attempt In 1664, the French West India Company formally claimed the western side of Hispaniola and established a lasting colony. Plantations grew up and prospered from the blood and sweat of African slaves.

When the French Revolution broke out, revolution spread to Haiti as well. Freed black men claimed rights as citizens, and war spread as planters, supported by the British, tried to keep power from the mulattoes. While the slaves gained their freedom amidst the battles, war with France arose as Napoleon moved to reconquer Haiti and rule eastern Hispaniola directly. Much of Napoleon's expedition was destroyed by disease, and the vicomte de Rochambeau fought brutal tactics of tit-for-tat atrocities with the rebel leader Dessalines until the final Battle of Vertiéres in 1803 led to French surrender.

Dessalines continued to maintain power after the war from republican ideals and even proclaimed himself Emperor Jacques I of Haiti on October 6, 1804. He went about a pogrom of massacre on the whites of the island early in his rule. Planters and the white upper class fled or faced brutal execution, leaving behind the class of gens de couleur, wealthy, darker skinned freed men, as the higher class of the island. While many called for republican reform, Dessalines held his power and imposed a system of tyranny, practical slavery, to keep the sugar and coffee plantations running to pay for the new government.

Conspiracies began to rise up against Dessalines. He had served the country well, but now he had grown consumed by his power. Henri Christophe, a military subordinate to Dessalines, began a revolt in the north with his own autocracy while gens de couleur leader Alexandre Pétion worked to champion democracy in the south. On October 17, 1806, Dessalines began the march out of Port-au-Prince where he had been containing the ideals of Pétion to put down by force the rebellion of Christophe. An ambush sprung around him, but Dessalines managed to dodge assassins' bullets, rally his men, and route the assailants.

The march to the north crushed Pétion's rebellion. While he exacted victory, Dessalines pondered how it could be that his beloved Haitians would rise up against him in an attempt of assassination. He was a hard man of sharp discipline, but that had been what allowed the defeat of Rochambeau in the fight for independence. He demanded a great deal from his people, but government was expensive, and an economy crippled without forced workers would reduce the island to poverty and anarchy.

Dessalines returned to Port-au-Prince with a parade in his honor. He met with Pétion (whom he would later execute as a member of conspiracy) and took a good deal of republican advice. Launching into a new propaganda campaign, Dessalines related to the people how hard work was necessary and vowed to ensure that payment returned to the people. The elected bureaucracy expanded to meet needs of food, clean water, housing, and health, and taxes could be paid in cash or by "voluntary" work on the state plantations. Meanwhile, Dessalines worked to fix the fear and anger of the people upon differing targets, which had worked well against the French and later all whites. He turned against the Spanish Empire, then against the "terror" of the Dominicans to the east. Later invasion would unify the island once again in 1822.

The emperor died in 1827 and was succeeded by Jean Pierre Boyer, Emperor Jean I, who would rule until his overthrow in 1843. While many hoped for a return to the liberal ideals of the revolution, the rule of the state had become ingrained over generations. Strong government held the island, working to keep Santo Domingo united under Haiti and forcing internal improvements through construction projects and public factories. For centuries to come, the island of Hispaniola would be viewed at times as a model of stability and productivity for Latin America while at other times a tropical Orwellian police state.

January 19

Only twenty years into its independence from Britain, the nation of India faced a major turning point in the question of who would succeed Prime Minister Shastri after his fatal heart attack while attending peace accords in Tashkent that ended the Second Kashmir War.

19th January, 1966 - Morarji Desai Elected Prime Minister of IndiaIndia was firmly in control of the popular National Congress party, but internal squabbles interrupted a smooth transition of power. Indira Gandhi, daughter of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru (and of no relation to the famed Mahatma Gandhi), ran against Morarji Desai, who disagreed with Nehru's legacy on points of international diplomacy, internal security, and economic influence.

Ultimately, the decision came down to K. Kamaraj. Famous for his exploits in the Indian Independence Movement and arrested on a number of occasions, Kamaraj had worked with the Congress party since the age of 16 and became the unquestioned President of the National Congress Party. Most of his time in politics had been spent establishing schools and increasing education rates from 7% under the Raj to 37% by the end of his career, but his long service also gave him the position as the Congress party's "kingmaker". Upon the death of Nehru, Kamaraj had practically declared Shastri for succession. Shastri's term had lasted less than two years and was primarily dominated with the 1965 war with Pakistan. When Shastri died (his widow argued that he had been poisoned), the issue of succession arose again.

In what many considered a surprising move, Kamaraj chose Desai. Some argued that he had been attempting to heal divisions in the party with Desai's more conservative wing, others imagined Karmaraj and Mrs. Gandhi had gone through a falling out, and still others determined that Desai was the elder and Indira was being saved for the inevitable next succession. Gandhi protested in several speeches along with many of her supporters, but the election carried Desai despite her warnings that he would weaken the country's work "to create what my father used to call a climate of peace".

When Desai took office, he worked to encourage free market expansion, frustrating the pseudo-socialist leanings of Indira Gandhi's followers. Desai held true to the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi with strict rules of swadeshi, or self-reliance, and laws declared that international companies would have to include a 40% stake by Indian owners to have permits for the country. This led to famous rivalries between Desai and corporations such as Coca-Cola, who left India after Desai suggested they could stay provided they revealed their secret formula. Desai himself was noted to drink his own urine daily for medicinal purposes and was believed not to trust the artificial drink. He also launched a Five-Year Plan that hoped to modernize rural areas of India, but was arguably responsible for increasing unemployment and inflation as India's people moved off of farms, which were largely self-sufficient though poor.

Internationally, Desai normalized relations with China after US President Nixon's visit in 1972. Matters with Pakistan became more difficult upon the declaration of independence of East Pakistan by Ziaur Rahman and West Pakistan's resulting declaration of war and genocide of the Hindu population, which sent more than ten million refugees over the border into India. The move threatened to topple India's economy, and appeals to international action went unanswered. Indian troops participated in establishing Bangladeshi independence, and Desai worked to cool violent tensions with Pakistan after the war. As South Asia became settled again, many called for advancements in the Indian nuclear program for future deterrence, but Desai refused, saying that the only need for nuclear power would be for the creation of electricity, which was handled already by economic encouragement programs for coal-burning and hydroelectric plants. China had already achieved nuclear weapons, and rumors suggested Pakistan was contemplating a similar project, but Desai held firm to Gandhian pacifism. Desai's opponents took his stance as the backwardness of an old man, which culminated in his forced retirement in 1979 after his economic policies were believed to be failures. Indira Gandhi won the following election in a landslide with hopes of expanding Indian diplomatic strength and social reforms for the working class that had built up around foreign industry.

Gandhi's steps forward in India's new nuclear program raised eyebrows worldwide, especially after Pakistan hurried to keep pace. She also nationalized banks, returning much of India's economic strength home, though it caused worldwide financial difficulties that exacerbated issues of the Energy Crisis and recession. As perhaps the most stable world economic power, India looked to have a bright future, but Gandhi's premiership came to a tragic end when she was assassinated in 1984 after her approval of Operation Blue Star, which used tanks to dislodge Sikh separatists from Amritsar's Golden Temple. Her son Rajiv Gandhi, who expanded India's telecommunications systems and would himself be assassinated by the Tamil Tigers, separatist fighters for the Tamil peoples of Sri Lanka. The 1990s proved turbulent for India, which was fraught with corruption in seemingly every area of government. After the reforms of Minister of Finance and later Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the mixed groundwork of free market and socialism as well as Indian national strength while balancing minority rights and international intervention has seemed to settle toward ongoing Indian prosperity as the world's eighteenth largest economy, as cited by the World Bank in 2011.

November 12

The short-lived days of the Roman Empire came to an end as Greek conqueror Pyrrhus of Epirus determined to finish off the growing city. What had once been a pack of exiles and bandits who could only gain wives by stealing them during a false olympics became Rome, a masterful city-state that had taken in numerous forced allies after years of expansionistic war in Italy.

278 BC - Pyrrhus Obliviates the RomansWhat had once been a pack of exiles and bandits who could only gain wives by stealing them during a false olympics became Rome, a masterful city-state that had taken in numerous forced allies after years of expansionistic war in Italy.

Originally of the Molossians, Pyrrhus's father had been dethroned, and he grew up in exile, learning the importance of military strength and political prowess. His father-in-law, Ptolemy of Egypt, restored him as king of Epirus in 297 BC, and Pyrrhus determined to expand his power. He attempted to conquer Macedon, but was defeated. In 281 BC, a new chance arose to build a league of allies when Tarentum on the southern end of Italy determined to revolt against the growing influence of Rome. The Oracle at Delphi told him "Aio te, AEacide, Romanos vincere posse", meaning, "I say, Pyrrhus, that you the Romans can conquer". Armed with 3,000 cavalry, 2,000 archers, 500 slingers, 20,000 infantry and 20 war elephants (much of his forces on lone from Egypt), Pyrrhus set off for his Italian campaign.

In 280 BC, he met the Romans in the Battle of Heraclea, defeating their larger army but taking tremendous losses not easily replaced as he was away from Epirus and his allies were wary of utterly declaring war on Rome. The Romans considered a treaty, but eventually declined and rebuilt a fresh army. The next year, he Pyrrhus again defeated the Romans at Asculum, and again his losses were so large that he commented, "One more such victory, and we shall be undone".

In 278 BC, Pyrrhus came upon two new opportunities. The Greek cities in Sicily approached him to drive out Carthage as he was driving the Romans out of southern Italy, and the Macedonians invited him to take the throne there as their king Ceraunus had been killed by barbarians. Both were glorious, but Pyrrhus determined his most important goal should be utter defeat of his present enemy, lest they counterattack and he lose his position as his father had. Taking up what was left in his coffers and forces, Pyrrhus stormed Rome with a grand army and left the city with no stone on top of another.

With Rome destroyed, Pyrrhus's influence in Italy was secure. He next took up the position as King of Sicily, driving out the Carthaginians and pacifying the Greeks in Sicily to be loyal under his command. Pyrrhus then returned to Macedon, and he was able to build up a system of diplomacy that make the Pyrrhic Empire the great power of the middle Mediterranean. He was invited by Cleonymus of Sparta to overthrow the city there, and Pyrrhus began his last campaign in 272 BC. He would be caught in the street fighting after successfully sneaking his army into the city and killed by a roofing tile thrown by an old woman. It seemed an unfitting end who Hannibal, the great statesman of the Carthaginians and conqueror of Gaul, called the greatest military commander in the world. His strategy of utterly destroying and absorbing his enemies gave birth to the phrase "Pyrrhic victory" in which a conquest is total.

October 28

Adams, American wife of John Adams and 2nd First Lady of the United States passed away in Quincy, Massachusetts. She was seventy-three years old.

28th October, 1818 - death of Abigail AdamsThe beginning of Women's Suffrage in America started in 1776 in Baltimore, Maryland, when newspapers made recognition of the fairer sex, which would be much needed as the troubles with the mother country became increasingly violent. A blurb noted, "The necessity of taking all imaginable care of those who may happen to be wounded in the country's cause, urges us to address our humane ladies, to lend us their kind assistance in furnishing us with linen rags and old sheeting, for bandages". As the newspapers came out early, posted bills appeared that evening reading, "Our country's cause for liberty includes us all", reiterating the need for women to help as well as noting that men would need to share their liberty when granted. The appeal for aid would be crucial to the American war effort as well as to the quick pace of suffrage for women in the soon-to-be independent colonies.

Over the course of the Revolutionary War, women did aid in many ways such as tending to farms and businesses while men were gone to war, collecting supplies, tending to the wounded, and even participating in battle. Molly Pitcher, the nickname for who is believed to be Mary Hays, aided her husband during the darkest days of Valley Forge and even assisted in firing the cannon when he collapsed at the Battle of Monmouth. Thomas Paine (whom many began to suspect was merely making his name and fortune by writing fiery notions) produced a companion to his popular The Crisis entitled The Warm Hearth to encourage the home front as he had the soldiers. He wrote, "These are the times that try women's souls: The harvest wife and sunshine sweetheart will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but she that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman". He was much criticized for holding women in an esteem that would not be seen commonly in England until the late Victorian Era, but the bold voice was echoed by women throughout the Revolution, notably Abigail Adams as she wrote to her husband.

It would be the words of Abigail Adams that would finally assure a permanent political voice for American women. She had written her husband during the Continental Congress that she longed for a declaration of independence and, " .. by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors". The words would seemingly fall under blind eyes in 1776, but in 1787, at the Constitutional Convention, they would be reiterated along with the demands of thousands of women for the vote. Interestingly, the reason Mr. Adams attended was that he had been passed over for Minister to Britain in favor of Thomas Paine, whose growing fame among the womenfolk had made him irksome to many in Congress and wanted him more distant.

Men at the Congress were not so certain. Along with the cries for recognition were the knowing nods of conservatism, fearing what pure democracy could do to a country legally torn apart by the mob (as would be seen some years later in the French Revolution). Finally, however, Abigail would write to John about the issue of the three-fifth compromise with the struggles for the South to get representation for their population while having slaves unable to vote. Women were allowed to vote in some of the states; for example, Lydia Taft of Massachusetts had won her vote in a town all meeting after the deaths of her husband and son left her the head of the family, and New Jersey listed the only restriction on general suffrage to be possessing only fifty pounds in cash or property. Mrs. Adams noted that if voting rights were expanded in the North with its largely Federalist leaning, they would gain an advantage on popular referenda.

Adams skillfully weaved the point into the discussion in the convention and later Constitution when the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights provided for universal suffrage dependent upon property. Many local laws had already changed to be more welcoming of women, and the national consensus finally included the voice of women. Many famous ladies would speak up for rights, such as Representatives Frances Wright in 1840. The first female United States Senator, Elizabeth Caddy Stanton, would be instrumental in legislation that would solve the slavery question by gradual emancipation with reimbursement to masters after instilling legal requirements for humane treatment. During the latter part of the nineteenth century, many women in the federal government would be praised for their works of social reform, though they would also be criticized for limiting America's potential in expansionism, particularly in the cases of independence retained to new territories in the Philippines, Hawaii, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

August 29

Slavery had existed in the British Empire long before it could have been called an empire, but the sun seemed to set it as the nineteenth century grew prosperous. Abolitionists had worked for years to end the practice by lobbying Parliament, and a formal Anti-Slavery Society was formed in 1823 with such members as William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, and Elizabeth Pease. Pitted against them were the wealthy plantation owners of the empire whose fortunes were based on cheap labor.

29th August, 1833 - Parliament Passes Slaves' Rights ActAnother force against the abolitionists was simple inertia. Slavery had worked for so long that, while it may have been deplorable, that was simply the way things were. Many noted the question of what to do with thousands of newly freed, unemployed, uneducated former slaves. The status quo continued so, until 1831 when a planned peaceful strike of Baptist slaves broke out into violent revolt in Jamaica, put down ten days later with hundreds dead in what became known as the Baptist War.

After the rebellion, an inquiry was sent to investigate, and the brutality of the planters became known. While the abolitionists used the information to push forward their agenda, businessmen became concerned. They had lost the slave trade in 1807, but to lose all slaves would be a major financial hit. When it became suspected that even the East India Company may suffer, money acted. Through politicking and outright bribery, the years of work of the Anti-Slavery Society were absconded and twisted into a new ideal: governing the rights of slaves.

Before the abolitionists could effectively rebut it, the Slaves' Rights Act was passed in 1833. The institution of slavery was thus legally protected, and slaves were deemed a kind of lifetime apprentice. Mistreatment of slaves was made stiffly illegal with fines and even jail-time, but runaway slaves were also to be arrested and fined what little money they had. A new office of civil servant was created as Slave Inspectors (which became well paid and often relations of large slave owners). Also key to the act was the point that slave may only be bought or sold with a writ of permission from the slave. While not reigniting the slave trade, this did open legal grounds for the transport and sale of slaves.

Abolitionists decried the act as "a feeble bandage on a festering wound", and Thomas Clarkson was quoted as saying that he was "happy Wilberforce did not live to see this day". Still, the law improved conditions for slaves, and many were sold their freedom. Even with fewer slaves per capita, slavery continued. Reinventing themselves, many abolitionists began to use the "writ of permission" as note that the slaves must be able to write effectively, and thus schooling must be provided for all slaves, especially the young. When it was upheld in the courts, many abolitionists became educators for the slaves.

With furthered education, the slaves of the British Empire became arguably more politically significant than the uneducated masses in the large cities of the Industrial Revolution. Following the reports of David Livingstone in the 1860s about the Arab slave trade, a new push for slaves' rights began and was furthered by the Emancipation Proclamation in America during its Civil War. A long discourse in Parliament began, and slavery was abolished in 1873. Newly freed, many slaves used their education to better their position: opening businesses, buying land, and employing other former slaves as workers in factories.

Toward the twentieth century, the centers of manufacturing shifted toward former plantations. Throughout the British Empire, factories sprung up beside fields, transforming towns to cities. Seaside cities solved their energy needs with offshore drilling for oil and "wave generators," a machine capable of turning tidal motion to electricity, invented by Freedman John Stanwite of Jamaica. The Caribbean became known as South Manchester for its manufactures, though the nickname was only economically apt as its was a collection of light industry instead of heavy machines. The colonies swiftly began to move away from Britain as a "motherland".

With the World War ending in 1918, Ireland led the colonies in searching for freedom. With a marginal downturn in the world economy over the course of the 1930s in the World Depression, political pressure forced the British Empire to evolve into a commonwealth of republics. Socialism would strike many of the former French and Spanish colonies as preferable following the example of Stalinist Russia, but the political tug-of-war between the capitalist west and the USSR could hardly be called a war, even a cold one. Instead, widespread commercialism would dominate the world by the beginning of the twenty-first century.

August 30

The Tsardom of Russia stood as a massive Eurasian power first organized during the reign of the Khans. Ivan the Terrible had transformed the tributary of the falling Mongolian empire into a new kingdom for the Rus with his coronation in 1547.

30th August, 1689 - Tsarina Sophia Assassinates Young Peter Since that time, Russia continued to expand in all directions, stretching west through Siberia to the Pacific Coast. The latest of these gains had been made by moving into the Amur Valley in Manchuria, causing conflict with the Chinese to the south.

Conflict bubbled in the Russian nobility as well. In 1676, Tsar Alexis had died, leaving the ill Feodor III as tsar until his own death in shortly thereafter in 1682. Ivan V, the next son in line for the throne, was also ill both in mind and body. Seeing problems of continual poor rule, the nobles in their Duma put forth as tsar ten-year-old Peter, a son from Alexis' second marriage. Though ratified by the people, Sophia Alekseyevna, a daughter of Alexis, led a coup by the Streltsy, the elites of the military. Through murder and intrigue, she placed herself as regent and the young Ivan and Peter as co-tsars.

Sophia ruled the country well, carrying out successful campaigns against Turkey, signing an eternal peace agreement with Poland, and working with China on peace agreements in the east. In 1689, however, Peter had come of age, and in the summer he began his plans to take power. She hoped to use the Streltsy to overthrow Peter, but many of them had deserted her camp and taken up with the young prince as he fortified himself in the Troitsky monastery. She invited Peter to join her at the Kremlin, but he refused and demanded execution and exile of her highest advisers.

It did not seem that she could win a civil war, and Peter was remaining resolute against her intrigue, so Sophia decided on one of politics' oldest tactics: assassination. Stalling for time, she and Peter debated through couriers for weeks until finally she was able to coax his guard weak enough for an assassin to strike. Peter was stabbed with poison blades and, though the assassin was quickly killed by his guards, died after a week of fever. Without their leader, the wayward Streltsy deserted again, and a few policing battles secured power for Sophia.

She proclaimed herself tsarina, co-ruler of Russia with Ivan V, who was weakening by the year and died in 1696. Ruling alone, Sophia worked to keep the Russian army politically strong against the nobles, with whom she had several squabbles as she delivered rights to peasants. Infighting kept Sophia busy maintaining her control over the vast tsardom.

As the Great Northern War (1700-1721) broke out, Sophia would see her power come to an end. Charles XII of Sweden had swept through Denmark and Poland and even liberated Ukraine. She brought the full might of her armies down on the Swede, but the technologically superior Scandinavians and their allies outmatched any number of Russian soldiers. As Charles approached Moscow, the nobles would finally overthrow Sophia, who died shortly thereafter in a convent. Charles' terms were hard but fair to the nobles, and Russia found itself formed up as part of the growing Swedish Empire.

With their massive force, the Swedes came to dominate Europe with their allies in Prussia, even overthrowing the growing power of the British in the War of Austrian Succession and, more importantly, the Seven Years' War. Seizing many of Britain's colonies, the Swedish Empire would find itself overstretched by the 1770s and unable to halt the American Revolution against the Swedish governors installed. With its absolute monarchy weakened, Sweden would find itself caught up in the surge of revolutions in Europe over the 1790s following the French. Sweden would hold to its empire with concessions made to the Riksdag parliament, but counter-revolutionary forces would tear the country apart.

In the Napoleonic Wars, the French defeated the Swedes and broke up their empire. For the first time in a century, the Russians were free and welcomed Napoleon as a great liberator. He established a puppet government among the boyar nobles and helped modernize Russia as he did with the German and Italian states. Nationalism would follow the Napoleonic era, and Russia would be instrumental in Germany's defeat in World War I (1914-1917), despite an attempted communist coup against the king and Duma. In World War II, Germany would give Russia its own defeat as the government crumbled in the face of Hitler's overwhelming army.

Fortunately, and thanks largely to the American A-bomb, Hitler would be defeated in 1947. Russia, like China and other countries demolished in the surge of the Third Reich, would undergo a series of civil wars until the US-sponsored Russian Republic came to power in the mid-1970s. Russia joined the growing politico-economic unit known as the European Union in 2010 in hopes of building up its lagging trade and industry.

November 3

The Muslim Caliphate had grown by leaps since its creation twelve years before at the Prophet's death. Omar, a Muhajir (Emigrant), had helped create the political structure after the funeral of Muhammad.

3rd November, 644 (65 AH) - Caliph Omar Stabbed Five TimesThe Ansar (native helpers) planned to control the Muslim world themselves rather than letting foreigners rule, but Omar's politicking brought about disputes between the tribes, sparking scapegoatism and civil war that led to strong unification under the Caliph Abu Bakr. His reign would be two short years, during which Omar would serve as an adviser, recommending the writing of the Quran to ensure battled did not kill all memorizers of the word.

In 634, Omar, soon to become known as Farooq the Great, was selected as the caliph to succeed Abu Bakr. He was a capable but very strict ruler, using harsh punishment for those refusing to support him. While many of political importance did not agree with him, they at least acknowledged with his skills as a legislator and reformer. Omar directed the growing nation through the famines and plagues of 638-9, expelled the Christians and Jews, and systematically conquered the Sassanid Empire. His brutality during the conquest and treatment of slaves afterward resulted in a new resurgence of distaste for the caliph.

Using propaganda for legitimacy, the Persians planned assassination as retaliation. In 644, Omar went for his Hajj to Mecca upon prophecies of never again seeing Mount Arafat and being hit with a rock during the ritual of Stoning the Devil. On November 3, Abu Lulu, who had faced the caliph due to tax issues, attacked with a knife, stabbing five times. He made for a sixth stab, but Omar's hand caught the blade and wrung it out of Abu Lulu's grip with much damage to his fingers. The assassin made to escape, but he was reportedly ripped apart by the hands of the crowd.

Over the next week, Omar would regain his strength. Seeing the damage done by his political enemies, he went on a new program of propaganda, investigation, exile, and execution to secure his place. Many of his allies disapproved of his position in what many considered a coup d'?tat against the Prophet's daughter Fatima. Through spies and torture, Omar determined who was truly loyal, and those that disagreed with his position were eliminated. Civil war broke out as a coup was attempted against him, but Omar was able to secure overwhelming support from the Bedouin tribes.

Omar the One-handed would spend the last of his reign planning further expansion. While he did not live to see his plans come to fruition, he did lay the groundwork for the conquest of the Byzantine Romans in 678 under the fourth caliph. Islam came to rule the center of the world, controlling vast trade routes and influencing cultures in every direction. While Viking pirates gave the Caliphate great trouble through the next centuries, the eventual religious conquest of Scandinavia would give great seafaring and exploration to the Muslim world. Additional military skills would be brought in upon the proselytization of much of the Mongol Horde.

Upon the discovery of the New World across the western Ocean, the Caliphate would come into a new golden age funded by gold secured in conquest from the natives. Muslim firearms and armor proved overwhelming to sun-worshiping, human sacrificing Inca and Mayans who wielded obsidian blades. The infidels faced plagues that served as a proving force that God was on the side of conquest. Using the wealth to invest in art and science, the Caliphate would spend the second millennium conquering eastward, unifying the world under Allah at Mecca. While pockets of dissidence are known to spring forth against the Caliph, they have always been dealt with in the manner that Omar would find most expedient.

October 5

As the new nation of the United States spread across North America, their frontiersmen encroached on lands that had belonged to the Native Americans for centuries. While Native Americans were quick to adapt to muskets and rifles, the whites carried a distinguishable technological edge.

5th October, 1813 - Prophet Dies at Battle of the ThamesSmallpox had devastated the Native population, killing as much as ninety percent. The remaining Native Americans, outgunned but not outmatched, often formed confederations such as those of the Iroquois and Cherokee for mutual defense as they had in their own wars.

In the Northwest, Tecumseh (translated as "shooting star" or "panther across the sky) arose as a leader to create a grand confederation west of Ohio. His father had died at the Battle of Point Pleasant in Dunmore's War between Virginia Militia and the Shawnee and Mingo tribes. Tecumseh himself fought routinely against the growing threat of Kentucky militiamen until finally settling in Ohio with his brother, Tenskwatawa, who would become known as the Prophet. An outbreak of smallpox in 1805 would cause a spiritual revival, and Tenskwatawa would be transformed. He had been a slave to alcoholism, but visions from the Giver of Life caused him to give up drink and preach to others to give up all artificial things of the white man.

With the Prophet as the voice and Tecumseh as the leader, the two began a movement that gathered followers in a return to the peaceful times before the chaos of the whites, said by the Prophet to be children of the Great Serpent. They moved westward into the frontier and away from the menace to what became known as Prophetstown, a village at the confluence of the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers. While treaties with the white men, specifically Governor of Indiana William Henry Harrison, kept clear which lands were open to settlement and which were Native American, the encroachment continued, causing Tecumseh to speak out. All lands were owned by all Native Americans, and so none could be sold without the agreement of all. He threatened rival leaders and rose to prominence as head of a vast confederation in the Northwest. Traveling south, he tried to bring more tribes into his alliance, but the Five Civilized Tribes notoriously turned him down, with the exception of the Red Sticks of the Creek.

Tecumseh and Harrison met on a number of occasions, but their discussions only led to rising tensions and then Tecumseh's War. In reality, Tecumseh's brother had started the war while Tecumseh was on his travels, calling for the death of Harrison and the whites to be driven back east. Harrison led an army to Prophetstown and destroyed the settlement in 1811. While this was a serious blow, Tecumseh returned and rebuilt his confederation, finding new allies in the British as America began the War of 1812.

Taking up with British Major General Henry Procter, Tecumseh and his warriors moved into Ontario, giving defense to Canada as Tecumseh's nemesis General Harrison marched toward Fort Detroit. The British defense of Lake Erie fell, and Procter began a speedy withdrawal. Tecumseh tried to stop the general, noting the defenseless tribes beyond in Michigan. The troops were poorly geared and in bleak morale, and Harrison took up pursuit, finally catching them at the Thames River.

Tecumseh warmed the men by personally shaking hands with every officer and cheering the troops, both British and his own. Procter, however, neglected proper defense, and the battle would prove to be a foregone rout. Tecumseh's brother Tenskwatawa made to flee, but Tecumseh stopped him with a hand on the shoulder, saying that the Prophet was needed. While the British retreated, the Native Americans fought on until, keeping nervously close to Tecumseh, the Prophet was killed by a round aimed at his brother.

Seeing the death of the Prophet, Tecumseh gave the call to retreat. The battle ended with an American victory, which they celebrated by burning the nearby village of Moraviantown, populated by the Munsee tribe of Christian Native Americans who had no part of the conflict. With enlistments about to expire, Harrison fell back to Detroit, ending much of the warfare in Michigan.

Tecumseh spent a month alone mourning his brother until he emerged from the woods saying that he, too, had been given a vision by the Giver of Life. The Prophet had perished, but he lived on in the next world and would continue to give his words of freedom from the white man's grasp. Tactically, the battle was a defeat for the Native Americans and their British allies, but it would be a strategic victory as word spread of the Prophet's death. Coupled with fear inspired by the attack on Moraviantown, Tecumseh's confederation grew to include nearly all of the Native Americans of the Northwest.

As the war turned against the Americans with British sea-raids and the solid defense of Canada, the southern natives joined in the attack. General Andrew Jackson became famous as a fighter of Creeks, which stalled his march toward New Orleans. When the War of 1812 ended with the British, Tecumseh and Harrison met to discuss what both hoped would be a long-lasting treaty between the US and the Indian Confederacy. Borders were drawn, and Tecumseh led his people in a unified defense on the western frontier of the white man's America. Native warriors were trained as militia, and white tactics were studied.

The peace continued for over a decade with border squabbles settled by reparations. When Jackson ascended the presidency, however, the burgeoning white pressure to settle erupted into the Great Indian War. Guerilla warfare would drag on for years, solidifying hatred between the two races, but the eventual upper hand would go to the Americans. Tribes would be pushed to the northwest, causing an evacuation of the South known as the Trail of Tears. With final mediation by the British, a new country later to be called Tecumseh was founded west of the Great Lakes, serving to settle President Polk's border question.

Shortly after the treaty, Tecumseh began the exodus to where his bones would be buried, and the country would settle and prosper. Using British and American political powers to balance one another, the Native Americans would keep pressure up to prevent the encroachment of settlers that had always plagued them. As the Industrial Revolution crept westward, they would become a wealthy land of mines, foundries, and factories in addition to farms, dairies, and orchards. Periodic struggles in the latter nineteenth century would threaten them with extinction, but well regulated militias kept the borders sound.

In the twentieth century, a sort of friendship would start up between Tecumseh and their white neighbors as Americans became fascinated with Native goods, particularly their automobiles. In World War II, Tecumseh would prove a strong ally, producing munitions for the American war effort. After the war, Native industry would begin to decline as cheaper employment could be found internationally. The economic slide spurred renewed internal struggles and interest in the Old Ways, many of which became mirrored with communism. The Cold War brought distrust of Red Tecumseh, which became a land struggling with poverty under the growing political influence of the United States. Many Native Americans have even called for annexation, but they remain a minority.

November 7

In a punishment that was fitting of the iron-willed Prussian king but proved to be too much, Crown Prince Frederick died from what was officially declared "fever".

7th November, 1730 - Crown Prince in Prussia Dies during Imprisonment Historians as well as contemporary scholars disagreed what "fever" meant, whether a brain hemorrhage from stress or legitimate illness. Another theory stands that the prince might well have killed himself. Some even suggest a conspiracy to assassinate a would-be foppish king before he could ruin his throne.

The matter at hand was something of a youthful dreamer's ideal of escape from an authoritarian father. Frederick was born January 24, 1712, and was eagerly welcomed as a surviving heir second in line to his grandfather, Frederick I, the first King in Prussia.

One of many states within the aged Holy Roman Empire and a fiefdom of the Kingdom of Poland, Prussia sat at the southern shore along the Baltic Sea with several scattered territories separated from one another by Poland and various other German dukedoms and principalities. Although devastated in the Thirty Years War with invasions by the Swedes and riotous counterattacking armies marching up from the south, Prussia had gained greater strength over the latter seventeenth century. They were liberated from Poland as a buffer for Sweden in 1657, and further gains were made as native coal became an increasingly valuable resource as well as the issuance of the Edict of Potsdam in 1685 that welcomed Protestants, especially encouraging Huguenots expelled from France, to transplant to Prussia, bringing valuable wealth and skills with them. In terms of joining the War of Spanish Succession against France, the Duke of Prussia was allowed by treaty to upgrade himself to king, and the new title "King in Prussia" was born despite Prussia not being a true kingdom as it was still an electorate under the Holy Roman Emperor.

Thus, in 1701, Frederick I would crown himself king. Bubonic plague would ravage the country a few years later, but the capital at Berlin would be spared and from then on would stand as a centralized point of authority. Frederick William I came to the throne shortly after his son Frederick's birth and, only months later, his father Frederick's death. He continued efforts to improve Prussia and was soon nicknamed the "Soldier King". Establishing effective bureaucracy and creating a modern, professional, standing army, Frederick would prove an able leader and oversee the defeat of Sweden as a world power through the Great Northern War. He added territory to the small kingdom and forcibly included aristocracy into the army, giving seriousness to warfare that was often considered a "gentleman's sport". Frederick William was notably spartan, thrifty and calculating, and not participating much in art, except in military display, where he sent proclamations throughout Europe seeking the tallest men for a unit known as the "Potsdam Giants".

Prince Frederick, however, thrived in the arts. His father gave him no aristocratic tutors, demanding his children would be taught as "simple folk" with pragmatism and religion. Frederick sought the company of his sister Wilhelmina and comfort of his gentle mother rather than facing the austere temper of his father. Frederick William (himself terrified of not being among the Elect) attempted to block Frederick from Calvinism. Frederick firmly held onto the tenet of the Elect while being otherwise irreligious, causing many to think he was spiting his father.

The greatest spite, however, was Frederick's plan to escape his father's weight and flee to Britain in 1730, where he would be welcome in his uncle George I's court to pursue philosophy and music as he pleased. He and his friend Lieutenant Hans Hermann von Katte planned to slip away along with a contingent of other junior officers. Word leaked of the escape, and Katte and Frederick were captured. His father determined to deal with them as would fit a soldier. Katte was found guilty of desertion by trial and given life imprisonment, but Frederick William announced that both would be executed under treason law. Katte was beheaded on November 6, and Frederick was forced to watch until he ultimately fainted and began to suffer hallucinations. The next morning, he was discovered dead in his cell.

His father became distraught. Frederick William had wanted to toughen his son and planned to pardon him in a few days. The last ten years of the king's reign would be spent quietly reviewing the military and ensuring that Prussia would be able to defend itself during the reign of the new heir, Frederick's younger brother Augustus. Augustus became king in 1740, and he worked to keep Prussia free from the potentially disastrous entanglements of the War of Austrian Succession. His son Frederick William II succeeded him in 1758, and the king proved soft: unwilling to put forth great efforts and rather delight himself with simple pleasures, such as good food. After a half-hearted alliance against the French Republic during Frederick William II's term, Frederick William III attempted to clean up Prussia's wasteful decadence, but it came as too little too late when the armies of Napoleon swept across Europe.

After Napoleon, Europe attempted to rebuild, and Austria managed to cut off Russia's attempt at land-grabbing by surrendering claims to Pomerania, land for which Frederick William III's ancestors had fought bitterly. The German Confederation fell under the sway of Vienna, and Austria would be the dominant power of Central Europe over the next century. Troubled times would come in 1848 with waves of revolution, but Emperor Franz Joseph I was adept in granting improved autonomy to the German kingdoms of Bavaria, Hanover, and Prussia. After the Great War at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Austro-Hungarian Empire would be broken up, and the three German states would gain independence with Hanover competing with Prussia for political influence in Mecklenburg, but failing. It wouldn't be until 1945 when the Fuehrer would manage to fulfill his dream of a forcibly united German-speaking people from the Rhine to the Danube and Baltic.

September 11

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan declared the upcoming September 11 as "Emergency Number Day" in recognition of the emergency workers of America as well as the success of the 9 - 1 - 1 phone system. In his proclamation, he called "upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities".

9/11 Terrorist Attacks While most citizens made no more plans than an office party or a "thank you" to local firefighters or police, a lone man living in a cabin in Montana made note of the important date.

Theodore Kaczynski was a Harvard graduate in mathematics with a Ph.D. from University of Michigan. He had served two years as an assistant professor at Berkeley from the age of 25, but resigned to take up a self-sufficient lifestyle using survival techniques. Though bright and promising, Kaczynski had been distant with everyone through his life. As a child and young man, he had been through several studies related to autism or impotent rage, but Kaczynski seemed a normal, if quiet, intelligent guy.

While in his cabin, Kaczynski worked to study ways to become autonomous. The very little money he needed he made by working odd jobs such as at his father and brother's foam rubber plant, where he would be subsequently fired for harassing an ex-girlfriend fellow employee. As his life-experiment continued, it became obvious to him that he could not live this way with the increasing encroachment of modernity all around. In 1983, he walked to one of his favorite spots of wilderness to find that it had become a paved road. Later, he said, "You just can't imagine how upset I was. It was from that point on I decided that, rather than trying to acquire further wilderness skills, I would work on getting back at the system. Revenge".

Kaczynski studied sociology, political philosophy, and began a career of sabotage even before the road. When he came upon that, Kaczynski knew reform for the modern industrial, technological world was impossible. He decided that society needed to be woken up; the alarm would be bombs. In 1978 and '79, he had mailed explosive devices to Northwestern University and American Airlines, though none had been injurious. As the FBI took over the case from the US Postal Inspectors, they dubbed him UNABOMB for UNiversity and Airline BOMber. More universities and a computer rental store were added to his list of victims, culminating in 1985 with four attacks and the death of Hugh Scrutton, the computer store owner. In 1987, he struck again at a Utah computer store, then decided to settle in hiding for a moment. However, upon word of Reagan's Emergency Day, Kaczynski decided to show the world the real emergency: itself.

Lining up over a dozen simultaneous attacks, many of which were delivered through the mail, Kaczynski also hand-delivered several packages in the early morning from a re-painted rental truck. Near noon, he drove the truck to the Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, CA. Kaczynski left the truck loaded with homemade explosives on a timer, which exploded in the early afternoon, killing 28 and destroying research in the resulting electromagnetic pulse and fire. He disappeared into San Francisco and made his way back to his cabin while the country descended into panic.

As news coverage swallowed the networks and bolstered the ratings of the new Cable News Network, people looked for leadership. President Reagan addressed the nation that evening and again on September 20, putting forth the Homeland Security Act and the often-questioned Patriot Act for Congress that next year. Kaczynski would remain quiet, writing his manifesto, but his cabin would be raided by FBI in April, tipped off by his brother David recalling letters and clippings from Ted about the dangers of technology. Given a highly publicized trial, Kaczynski would give his ideas of the problems with modern society, but his argument was drowned out by the horrors of his attack. Kaczynski would be specially executed in 1989, just after his unfinished manuscript was published but scarcely read.

Security became a prime issue for Americans, suddenly seeing it everywhere in post offices, lines with guards at all museums, monuments, and public buildings, and, especially, at airports. Reagan's VP Bush would handily win the 1988 and 1992 elections riding on the support of government during this time. CIA and FBI investigations would develop new techniques of watching for suspicious activities, such as deporting Ramzi Yousef in 1992 who had entered on questionable credentials and ordered chemicals in New York, arresting anarchist Timothy McVeigh in 1995 after buying inordinate amounts of fertilizer in Kansas, and deporting a number of Arabic men in 2000 that had taken flight lessons after CIA warnings of an airborne attack.

While many critics note that America has become something of a police state, secure feelings and a call for change gradually filtered into the public, evidenced by the 1996 election of Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. After being blamed for the Recession, the Democrats would fall to a Republican takeover in 2002, leading to the landslide election of George W. Bush in 2004.

December 3

In 1839, in another critical moment of failure of famed States Rights advocate Abraham Lincoln, his application to practice law at the federal level was dismissed, possibly due to finagling from Democratic opponents.

Abraham Lincoln Fails his Admission to the US Circuit Court The grounds for refusal were based in his fiery rhetoric and several challenges of his character, giving examples from his history of scatological humor and rough story telling. Lincoln could not deny these remarks and attempted a defense on First Amendment Free Speech, but he would soon give up as he fell into one of his "melancholies" (believed to be what modern psychologists would call clinical depression).

Lincoln's life had been fraught with hardships. Born in a one-room log cabin in Kentucky in 1809, young Lincoln was the son of Thomas Lincoln, who had become a wealthy and respectable man in the real estate business until he was wiped out in 1816 due to court cases over a faulty title. They moved to Indiana, a state where slavery was banned, and tragedy struck again as milk sickness (tremetol poisoning) took Lincoln's mother. Frontier life was hard, and the Lincolns moved westward again to Illinois to a new homestead. Lincoln left home and worked on a river barge before returning and starting a store that would ultimately fail. After losing a political campaign in 1832 and serving as a captain in the Black Hawk War, Lincoln finally found his path as an orator and lawyer.

He was famously self-educated, stating, "I studied with nobody". Instead, Lincoln read Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, the Revised Statutes of Indiana, the Declaration of Independence, and the United States Constitution while working as a secretary and surveyor in New Salem, Illinois. In 1834, along with his legal firm, he successfully began his career with the Illinois General Assembly as a Whig, following his hero Henry Clay, whose American System ideals he had begun to follow passionately. As a Whig, he would be firmly for investment in infrastructure to improve the nation, voting for projects such as the Illinois and Michigan Canal to connect Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River, roads, and railroads. With the Panic of 1837, however, the projects became bankrupt and Illinois was "littered with unfinished roads and partially dug canals" while its bonds tumbled in value. Lincoln suggested making up the money by Illinois purchasing federal land and selling it for a profit to private citizens, which the federal government refused. These disappointments by federalism would later impact his philosophy of state self-dependence.

Just as his career seemed to be on the proper path, Lincoln's subtly failing strength as a Whig became a stumbling block blamed for costing him the ability to argue cases in the US Circuit Court. His world collapsed as he settled into depression, even skipping offers by John Todd Stuart, a war buddy and benefactor who had inspired Lincoln to take up law, to meet his cousin Mary Todd. Eventually the two would meet and even marry, though they once broke their engagement due to second thoughts. During this time, Lincoln determined his ideas on independence and voluntary mass-agreements, like marriage, and he focused on local items for his legal practice and political career supporting federalism as less important.

In 1847, Lincoln advanced to the federal level as a representative in the US House. He argued bitterly against the Mexican-American War (disgusted with calls for the glories of war, which he called an "attractive rainbow, that rises in showers of blood") and reaffirmed his "free soil" stance on slavery saying, "the Congress of the United States has the power, under the constitution, to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia; but that power ought not to be exercised unless at the request of the people of said District" while still denouncing the evils of slave-holding. He was rewarded with his support during the election of Zachary Taylor with an offering to be governor of the new Oregon Territory, but Lincoln declined, wanting to stay close to his home of Illinois.

Lincoln spent the next decade working to support his home state, running unsuccessfully in the 1858 Senate campaign but becoming famous after his publication of speeches in the Douglas-Lincoln Debates, including "I believe this government can endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will be divided". He was proven wrong with the secession of the South after the narrow 1860 election of William H. Seward. During the Civil War, Lincoln argued for the rights of Southerners but agreed that a violation of the agreement of Union had taken place. He begrudgingly supported military action and rose significantly to the Illinois Senate, where his aid bills laid groundwork for military planning in decades to come.

After the war and the assassination of Seward, Lincoln became a powerful voice on Reconstruction and the necessity to return the South to normalcy, including the return of many rights. Gathering support from other wings of the Republicans and even former supporters of Douglas as well as revealing much of the corruption of victory-profiteers, Lincoln challenged and would eventually overthrow the Radical Republicans even though he had agreed with them on many anti-slavery issues before. Eventually, Lincoln's fair-mindedness and disgust of corruption would get him elected President of the United States in 1868. Due to his deteriorating health and the increasing mental illness of his wife, Lincoln would retire from politics at the end of his term, though he had already set a new precedent for the United States with regional interest and a successful plurality of political parties. Many scholars would say this disjointedness did much to limit federal power that could have alleviated social woes in the next century's Great Depression.

January 15

In 1920, on this day the New York Times congratulated Robert H. Goddard (pictured) and the Smithsonian on the successful research, but gently reproves Goddard for thinking too small in suggesting hitting the Moon with blasting powder..

AD ASTRA by Thomas Wm. HamiltonAs World War I raged in Europe for three years, the United States was quietly taking steps to prepare itself for entry into the war, despite Woodrow Wilson's running on a slogan of "He Kept Us Out Of It". One of these preparations involved trying to learn more about the meteorology of that portion of the atmosphere used by the primitive airplanes of the day-roughly 3000 to 6000 feet. The Smithsonian Institution had a War Department contract for this research, carefully disguised. The Smithsonian subcontracted with Robert H. Goddard.

Robert Goddard was a professor of engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. Long interested in space travel from having read Jules Verne as a child, Goodard built and tested rockets from near his home. The Smithsonian's contract paid for developing rockets which would carry meteorological equipment, to be recovered and provide the desired atmospheric measurements.

One clause of the contract, enthusiastically supported by Goddard, had the Smithsonian paying to publish a report of Goddard's work and findings a year after the war ended. Thus it was in November 1919, a 68 page pamphlet written by Goddard was issued by the Smithsonian, under the title "On A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes".

Most of the pamphlet was taken up with a description of the rockets (all solid fuel), equipment, and discoveries. However, on the next to last page an eight line paragraph mentioned that if the rocket fired long enough and hard enough, it could reach the Moon, and if the meteorological equipment were replaced by blasting powder, anyone looking at the Moon at the moment of arrival would see a flash of light.

The New York Times apparently got hold of a copy of the pamphlet, and in January published a short piece on its editorial page denouncing both Goddard and the Smithsonian for being ignorant of the facts "ladled out in our schools every day", that space is empty, and therefore rockets can't work outside the atmosphere because they have nothing to push against. (To be fair to the Times, they did retract this drivelling nonsense--on July 21, 1969.)

But what if the editorial writer were not a fool? The editorial actually hurt Goddard, in that it discouraged future funding to some extent. Goddard was not stopped: he went on the invent the first liquid fueled rocket on 1926, and the bazooka in time for use in World War 2. He died of cancer as the war ended, but his widow over twenty years later won a patent infringement law suit against the government for rocket design features in the Atlas and other rockets, getting a settlement of millions of dollars. But better funding might have had an impact.

A republished story from Thomas Wm. HamiltonJanuary 1920: The NY Times congratulates Goddard and the Smithsonian on the successful research, but gently reproves Goddard for thinking too small in suggesting hitting the Moon with blasting powder. "The French have their Mr. Verne sending his countrymen to the Moon, and our British cousins have Mr. Wells sending adventurers there. Perhaps it would not have been amiss for Prof. Goddard to have suggested, in the brief mention in his monograph, the possibility of Americans someday raising the stars and stripes on our celestial neighbor".

March 1920: Inspired by the Times' editorial, Henry Ford and Otto Herman Kahn separately contact Goddard and inquire as to his future plans. Goddard explains he can no longer static test or launch rockets anywhere near his home in Worcester due to complaints by neighbors and the fire department, but plans to do his work from property his wife recently inherited at White Sands, New Mexico. Travel related expenses will of course slow his work.

May 1920: Ford, a noted anti-semite, offers to fund all Goddard's travel expenses, but will not co-operate in any way with anything Kahn proposes. Kahn quietly suggests to Goddard that he will fund engineering research in return for recognition if Goddard is successful.

August 1924: Moving ahead at a good rate, Goddard successfully launches the world's first liquid fueled rocket at White Sands, using a suggestion from Kahn that fuel from on board storage cool the feed lines into the burning chamber. Ford is so offended that he drops all support of Goddard, who switches to driving an Oldsmobile. They later use the association in their advertising with references to their cars as "rocket 24".

September 1932: Despite Kahn's death, and the Great Depression, Goddard has put together enough money to build the first manned rocket. It flies eight miles, and the pilot actually survives.

Feb. 1937: The Army Air Corps begins building rocket planes.

Dec. 7, 1941: The Japanese Imperial Navy assault on Pearl Harbor begins at 7:50 AM. By 8:40 AM, American rocket plans from Inyoken Army Air Base in southern California arrive and within twenty minutes the entire Japaese fleet is sunk. The following day most of Tokyo is flattened by rocket bombs. Japan surrenders unconditionally on January 1, 1942.

January 2, 1942: United States orders the Third Reich to cease all military operations. Hitler makes three hour speech with spittle dripping from his mouth, referring to President Roosevelt as "Rosenstein", Americans as '"juedische schweinhunden", and rockets as Jewish-subhuman terror weapons. He orders everyone in Germany working on rocket weapons shot as Jewish spies and traitors. Two days later Berlin, Dresden, and Frankfurt are flattened.

July 4, 1945: Goddard, although suffering from cancer, lands the first manned rocket on the Moon. He quotes from a New York Times editorial of a quarter century earlier as he raises the stars and stripes.

September 15

By 1861, California posed a new problem to the United States. While territories connected it with the East, California gained statehood almost spontaneously in 1850 thanks to the gold rush, becoming the first state separate from the Capital. Communication was difficult, to say the least.

Air Mail Route from San Francisco Opens The new technology of telegraphs and railroads offered possibilities, but the lines would have to be constructed at immense cost. Wells, Fargo, & Company held a virtual monopoly on the task of express mail with a sea-and-land route across the Isthmus of Panama, cutting months off the journey around South America. An overland route would be even faster, and Congress sought a solution with a pledge of $600,000 in yearly subsidies. In 1858, the solution was found with the Overland Mail Company, a start-up with William Fargo on the board of directors. Over one million dollars would be spent improving its route across the West, which included way stations, horse corrals, and defenses against highwaymen and rogue Indians.

While mail could now be delivered, however expensively, by brave and hardy men, the passenger service was troubling. People were crammed into tiny carriages that bounced and rocked with every step the racing horses took. While some way stations offered places to sleep, coaches were hot-seated by their drivers and horses, and no one knew exactly when the next coach would come through, leaving passengers stuck in the middle of the West for days at a time. Food was expensive and notoriously bad. The option of crossing the Isthmus of Panama took much longer, but the comfort made it seem more practical.

Aeronauts John Wise and John La Mountain approached Fargo with a solution. As a pioneering American balloonist, he had made his first flight in 1835. Over the next years, he continued a serious study of aeronautics as well as making grand performances at county fairs. When the Civil War began, he was in competition with Thaddeus Lowe for the Army Balloon Corps to aid the Union with reconnaissance from the air. Lowe had beaten him to the Battle of Bull Run, but Wise had papers giving him the right of way. As Wise launched his balloon, it became entangled in brush and destroyed, ending his career for the Civil War. Lowe would go on to be Chief Aeronaut for the Union.

Wise planned to return to a normal life for some time, using balloons as perhaps a map-making tool, but the showman La Mountain met with him, inspired about the West. Years earlier, the two had worked on a transatlantic project, but the balloon had crashed and nearly ended their partnership. On his own in 1859, Wise had made the first air mail delivery in the United States, delivering 123 letters from Lafayette to Crawford, Indiana. Why could they not do the same for overland delivery over the Rockies?

They posed the question to Fargo. A smooth, peaceful sail over the mountains with no threat of robbery or attack sounded like a much more reasonable trip to Fargo, though the idea of balloon passenger service was uncanny. La Mountain suggested it could be at the very least a public relations demonstration, which caused Fargo to agree. The two set off on a ship through Panama, arriving in San Francisco and immediately launching their balloon on the third anniversary of the Overland Mail to the shock of newspapers around California. Newspapers in the East did not know the story until the balloon arrived in Kansas City, Missouri, on September 20. They had touched down twice at way stations to replenish fuel and food for their passenger, newspaperman and adventurer Bret Harte. The press latched onto the story from Harte's accounts, and Fargo was impressed enough to send Wise and La Mountain back with supplies for a larger balloon.

By spring of 1862, Wise and La Mountain had created a two-story balloon with privies and a lounge for their passengers. The balloon, dubbed the California, carried as many as fifteen passengers in comfort as well as whatever mail could be used as ballast. For years, the eastbound California would fly, landing in Kansas or sometimes Missouri, depending upon the wind. Wise and La Mountain improved their steering capabilities, but the possibility of floating west was made impossible by the "high winds" (what we now know as the jet stream).

On May 10, 1869, the transcontinental railroad was completed. Fargo pulled funding from the expensive, though pleasurable, balloon project despite Wise and La Mountain's pleadings. Progress had changed the world, Fargo explained, even the Overland Mail Company was being shut down. Armed with their savings, they built the Odyssey and began their transatlantic attempt in 1873 from New York. Neither was heard from again. The Atlantic would not be crossed until British aeronauts made a west-heading route to Barbados in 1958-9.

March 30

In 1867, Tsarist Russia found itself in a difficult position with the massive peninsula of Russian America (what would later become known as Alaska).

Alaska Purchase Excludes Kodiak It was a land rich in resources, but it was as inhospitable as Siberia and exceedingly distant from the capital at St. Petersburg. Colonization would take money and time, the former of which Russia lacked due to the costly Crimean War and the latter due to encroaching settlers from British Columbia. Another disastrous war could cost them the land without compensation, so the Tsar decided best to sell it now to a state so expansionist it could stymie the land-hungry British Empire: the United States.

Initial talks during the Buchanan presidency had ended in failure due to the distraction of the American Civil War. After the war ended, the Tsar ordered Eduard de Stoeckl, Russian minister to the US, to again approach America about buying. Secretary of State William H. Seward was an eager expansionist and quickly agreed, even though he would later have difficulty persuading the Senate to ratify the treaty. Before the two sat down to discuss details of the sale, a letter arrived from Russian Alaska asking that Kodiak Island be spared from the sale.

While much of Alaska remained populated only by the native Eskimo people, Russia had made attempts at colonizing their corner of America. In 1763, Stephan Glotov explored the island and found it suitable for the fur trade. In 1784, Grigory Shelikhov established the first permanent settlement there, which would later become a significant center of the fur trade. If Russia sold Alaska completely, the Tsar and his people would lose out on the business they had helped to build.

Stoeckl found himself in a difficult position. Seward still wanted to buy, but he seemed suspicious of the Russians holding their key island where the Russian tradesmen would have a leg-up on American settlers. Finally, after a hasty agreement that would have been voided without later Tsarist permission, Stoeckl offered Seward the Kuril Islands south of Kamchatka. They had been a point of contention between Russia and Japan, which formally established relations in 1855 with Treaty of Shimoda, part of which clarified the national border "between the islands of Etorofu and Uruppu. The whole of Etorofu shall belong to Japan; and the Kuril Islands, lying to the north of and including Uruppu, shall belong to Russia". Unlike the significant Sakhalin, these islands were primarily uninhabited, and an American buffer there would strengthen Russian standing in the North Pacific against Japanese expansion. Seward saw it as another chance for expansion and a closer diplomatic tie with the Japanese, who had opened their ports only a decade before during Admiral Perry's expedition.

Before and after the treaty being narrowly passed by the Senate, the national mood mocked the $7.2 million purchase as "Seward's Folly" or "Seward's Icebox" even with the price of about two cents per acre. More derision followed as Russia kept its dominance in the fur trade over the next years. However, with the gold rush of 1898, America secured its position in Alaska, and Kodiak lost out on much of its economic significance. Later, in 1905, many feared that holding the Kuril Islands would drag America into the Russo-Japanese War, but they proved key ground for President Theodore Roosevelt to begin peace talks. American defenses would be built on the cold, volcanic islands as Japan became more militaristic, and, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the American troops there would be wiped out during bitter winter fighting in the first prong of the Japanese assault on Alaska after the spring thaw in 1942.

The most significant fallout of the seemingly minor amendment to a land-purchase a century before came as the Cold War grew hotter between America and the USSR. Both Kodiak and the Kuril Islands became military strongholds, and both sides attempted to place missiles in their bases there secretly. When U-2 spy planes discovered silos being constructed on Soviet Kodiak, President John F. Kennedy gave his famous "Cuban Missile Crisis Address to the Nation" on October 22, 1962. He finished his enumeration of demands with, "Seventh and finally: I call upon Chairman Khrushchev to halt and eliminate this clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace and to stable relations between our two nations".

Khrushchev refused to budge, sparking the three-week-long Alaska War in late 1962. American Marines stormed Kodiak Island, fighting with Soviet troops for days in bitter cold. The Russians counterattacked in the Kuril Islands, and the world sat on edge with everyone panicking at the thought of nuclear exchange. After both operations became successful invasions, desperate diplomacy cleared the mess, and agreement was reached that the two nations would officially exchange the islands.

Many historians note that it required involvement in three wars to fix a seemingly advantageous treaty that proved inexpedient. Commentators routinely call upon it as evidence for diplomats to be mindful of future strife as well as modern business.

September 28

In 1928, having just returned from a holiday, Scottish Professor of Bacteriology Alexander Fleming came back to his lab in St. Mary's Hospital, London, where he had been studying Staphylococcus. One of his stacked petri dishes had been left open, and blue-green mold had begun to grow inside.

Alexander Fleming Washes His Petri Dish Around the mold, the bacteria had been diminished, as if growth had not only been inhibited, but the bacteria destroyed.

"That's funny," Fleming said, but went about his business washing the contaminant and turning back to the research at hand.

Life in the world would go on, and Fleming would become somewhat famous for his work against antisceptics in deep-tissue surgery. Surgeries and doctor's offices continued to be places of potential hazard. Lessons learned from the Second World War taught that sterilization and natural immunity were the best methods for defense, but infection was nearly a death certificate itself. Pneumonia, scarlet fever, and diptheria ran through populations periodically, minor plagues that even advanced societies had to suffer through.

In 2000, as something of a miraculous discovery, doctors at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in San Jose ,Costa Rica, published the papers of Dr. Clodomiro Picado Twight. Dr. Picado was internationally known for his research with snake venom and cures, but it seemed that he had discovered a practical antibiotic as early as 1927. He had observed the fungus Penicillium inhibiting the growth of streptococci and staphylococci (which Fleming had seen, but not noticed). He had submitted a paper to the Paris Academy of Sciences, but it had not made an impression.

As the papers were published anew, commentary was written on the use of the fungus in folk medicine since the Middle Ages. Several European researchers had noticed its effects, even Tyndall in 1875 and Lister in 1871, but neither embraced the potential. Modern advancements in biochemistry had looked into the possibilities of antibiotics, finding a few such as the sulfomides and the quinolones that each severe side effects, but this natural product seemed like a place for renewed research. As early tests began to show great promise, pharmaceutical companies raced to patent a Wonder Drug.

The drug Penicillin would be branded in 2010 after isolation, synthesis, and FDA approval. While immunity among bacteria has been detected from under-use, the chemical structure for Penicillin enables easy modification for renewed effectiveness. Mass production began quickly, opening up huge markets for antibiotics in every hospital, office, and home in the world. First and third world death rates are expected to plummet alike.

Conversely, of course, if birth rates do not decrease like death rates, it can be expected that world population may reach as much as three and a half billion by 2025. With the Earth supporting such a surge of new life, pollution and social ills are expected to grow exponentially.

July 12

In 1804, on this day Alexander Hamilton survived the duel at Weehawken.

Alexander Hamilton Survives Duel On July 11, General Alexander Hamilton (former Secretary of the Treasury) and Colonel Aaron Burr (current Vice-President) met for a duel to settle their long-standing and ever-growing hatred for one another. Hamilton was leader of the Federalist Party and mastermind of politics and had recently given support to the opposing Morgan Lewis specifically to make Burr lose his bid for Governor of New York. Burr had been dropped from Jefferson's ticket in the 1804 election and had planned to secure more local political action, but now he only had rage against Hamilton.

In the duel (which took place secretly on the Heights of Weehawken across the Hudson River from Manhattan as dueling was illegal), Hamilton shot to miss, wasting his powder to show courage but not malice in taking an aimed shot. Burr, however, shot and wounded Hamilton, nearly fatally. While Hamilton healed from a shattered rib (the bullet had struck along the side of his torso), Burr would flee for South Carolina to avoid charges of attempted murder. Though Burr would fulfill his year as Vice-President, his career in politics was over. His only further political actions would be rumored treasonous as he began illegal settlements in Mexican Texas, perhaps in hope of starting a war. While the actions were decried at the time, American expansionism in the West would eventually prove Burr a man ahead of his time.

Hamilton continued working to wrest power from the "dangerous" Democratic-Republicans he feared would turn the United States into a mob of rabble. Jefferson won his second term in 1804, and his protege and Father of the Constitution James Madison would take the election of 1808. In 1812, the political climate would changed. Europe was embroiled in the Napoleonic Wars, which threatened to drag in the US as well with English as well as French naval ships plundering American vessels and "impressing" sailors into service.

War Hawks called for a campaign against Britain and even an invasion of Canada in the spirit of expansionism (which many thought would be easily done with local support; Jefferson said it was a "mere matter of marching"). President Madison set an ultimatum that both France and Britain recognize their neutrality or face war. France sent communications (eventually proven misleading) that they would, and Congress very nearly declared war on Britain but for the political finagling of Hamilton. Without his war and the growing political discontent, Madison would lose the 1812 election to DeWitt Clinton of New York, the first Federalist president in twelve years.

Clinton called for a strengthening of America's infrastructure, building roads that would lead to and aid in the later Indian Wars. As a member of the Erie Canal Commission, which others would see through with his assistance. Further, and perhaps most importantly, Clinton set to solve the problems of international quarrels by improving the navy of the United States beyond Jefferson's pocket-boat defense. Now a force to be reckoned with, Britain and France would recognize American neutrality, and after the defeat of Napoleon, a war-beleaguered Britain would sign the Treaty of Ghent with America, solving the issues that could have started a war only two years before.

The Federalist Party would continue to challenge the Democratic-Republicans, though both would agree on the Monroe Bill (named after Senator Monroe of Virginia) that the US would not abide European interference in the Western Hemisphere. As the Spanish Empire collapsed to the south, Americans welcomed the growing Republicanism and used its fleet to dissuade Europe from further colonization. America itself would assure dominance with the Mexican War in 1846, but be true to Monroe's word in 1861 by aiding Mexico in overcoming the French and Spanish invasion by Maximilian (which also relieved growing tension on the question of slavery, later to be solved by the 1867 Emancipation Proclamation, promising ample government compensation to any owner willing to free his slaves).

Pushing West and now south, American expansionism turned to annexing turbulent Latin American nations in the latter half of the nineteenth century. While accusations of "empire" were made and perhaps deserved, America grew powerful in the Western Hemisphere and increasingly Hispanic in background, creating a vivid diversity that would supply ample raw materials and labor for an Industrial Age. As the Cold War raged with the Soviet Union in the next century, America would see many of its states and territories fighting for their own independence fueled by Communist insurgents, igniting a Civil War over the question of states' rights.

July 12

In 1804, on this day Alexander Hamilton survived the duel at Weehawken with his life intact, but not his reputation which was in tatters. A reversal of Jeff Provine's Alexander Hamilton Survives Duel post.

Alexander Hamilton Survives Duel, ReduxBecause Colonel Burr was the challenger, the rules of the code duello required General Hamilton to choose the weapons. He selected a pair of highly decorated pistols owned by his wealthy brother-in-law, John Church [1]. The significance of that choice was that Church had shot a button off Burr's coat during a 1799 duel. And two years later, his eldest son Philip had been shot dead during a duel defending his father's honor, just yards away from the same secluded spot at Weehawken. The pistols were used on both occasions.

It was this terrible memory that drove Hamilton to instruct his second Nathaniel Pendleton to set the hair trigger that caused the good Colonel to accidentally shoot himself dead [2]. Unaware of the setting, he had believed the weapon required twenty pounds of pressure to fire, but of course the hair trigger reduced that to just one pound. The consequence was Burr's death and Hamilton's survival but the ill feeling of the duel followed both parties back from New Jersey. Of course Hamilton claimed that he had never intended to fire a shot at Burr, and his intentions entirely were honourable, but New York Society condemned him for misconduct. The prevailing view was that at best he had hoped Burr would misfire and thus save Hamilton's life. A local ditty simply read

O Hamilton, O Hamilton, what has thou done?
Thou had shooted dead great Burr
With a great hoss pistol

March 13

In 1881, as his Sunday custom, the Czar traveled in his bulletproof carriage (a gift from Emperor Napoleon III of France) to the Mikhailovsky Manege to review the military roll call.

Alexander II Survives Assassination Attempt He was escorted by the police as well as his own guard, including his Cossack personal bodyguard. In the crowd that gathered on the narrow pavement to watch Alexander pass were agents from the Narodnaya Volya ("People's Will") bent on assassinating the Czar to instill a new order of communistic anarchy. Nikolai Rysakov was the first to strike, throwing a bomb wrapped in a handkerchief. The explosion would kill one of the Cossack guards and injure onlookers and more guards, but Alexander would prove unhurt as he stepped from his carriage. The police hurriedly apprehended Rysakov, who shouted to someone else in the crowd. Feeling the Czar was still in danger, Police Chief Dvorzhitsky threw himself over Alexander, violating the royal space but proving to save his life as a second and third bomb exploded.

Alexander would refer to the assassination attempt as "the event of 1 March 1881? according to the Old Style calendar, mirroring his notation of the first attempt on his life in "the event of 4 April 1866". Dmitry Karakozov had shot at the Czar after handing out his pamphlet entitled "To Friends-Workers" calling for overthrow. Alexander had been saved by hatter's-apprentice Osip Komissarov, who happened to bump Karakozov's arm at the time he fired, sending the shot wild. Komissarov had been granted a title, and churches were built all around Russia in celebration, but there would be yet more attempts on the Czar's life. In 1879, Alexander Soloviev shot at the Czar five times and missed, and, eight months later, the Narodnaya Volya made their first strike against him with a bombing on the railway, though the Czar's train had been missed. The Narodnaya Volya struck again two months later with a bomb in the Winter Palace, killing eleven, but missing the Czar as he was late for dinner.

The attacks came despite, or perhaps because of, Alexander's push toward reforms in his empire. He had grown up among the literati of St. Petersburg, becoming something of an enlightened ruler, and the Crimean War had left a foul taste in his mouth for military action. While he had been groomed to be an autocrat, Alexander finally refused and instigated legislation that would build railways, introduce commerce, and encourage corporations. He also improved local jurisdiction, reformed the legal code after the French fashion, updated the armed forces, and created municipal and rural police. Most famously, he liberated the serfs with his declaration on May 3, 1861, creating a class of communal, yet independent, freedmen.

This experiment with communism, which had always been among humanity in some form or another, encouraged further thought, making some historians credit the violent calls for revolt because Alexander was seen as someone who could be challenged, unlike the iron-fisted autocrats of before. After the attack on his palace, Alexander put Count Loris-Melikov in charge of solving the terrorist menace, and the count suggested implementing plans for a representative Duma as well as police action. Following his survival in 1881, Alexander announced his Duma, and elections were held that fall. With the institution of direct political reform, much of the support for revolt died away, and the Narodnaya Volya was brought down by sting operations by Loris-Melikov's secret police. Radicalism settled as public outrage softened and Alexander proved iron-fisted enough to protect himself.

Alexander II would continue his reforms until his death in 1892, modernizing Russia into an effective competitor with the growing strength of Germany. When his son Alexander III came to the throne, the new czar sought to reign in some of the power lost to the royal house, but he would die in 1895 before doing more than clarifying public bureaucracy. Nicholas II would prove a weaker czar, seemingly uninterested in affairs of the state, though he was willing to perform any duty. His lackluster care for modernization of the armed forces would prove disastrous in World War I (begun after a border dispute over jurisdiction on stolen goods taken to Serbia), but advisers from the other Allies enabled Russia to achieve a trench system to stop the charging Germans from taking territory too deep into Russia. At the end of the war, Russia surged ahead economically, using its infrastructure from the legacy of Alexander II to supply masses of raw materials to Europe from increasingly developed Siberia. The development would work to Russia's disadvantage, however, as Germany invaded in the Second World War. Nicholas III, weakened by hemophilia, died early in the war, leaving the young Alexander IV to manage the government-in-exile after German forces chased them from Moscow.

After the war, Russia's empire would fade in a similar pattern to that of Britain and France with its many vassals of the Ukraine, Finland, Georgia, and over a dozen others becoming breakaway republics. A power vacuum would come into play later toward the 1960s, instilling a new generation appealing to conservatism while remembering the greatness that once was.

February 9

In 1861, in a surprising turn, longtime Congressional Representative Alexander Stephens was chosen as President for the provisional government of the Confederate States of America to hold office until formal elections could be held.

Alexander Stephens Elected CSA PresidentThe constitutional convention meeting in Montgomery, Alabama, had been expected to choose Jefferson Davis, who had twice served as senator from Mississippi as well as being the Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce. However, it became clear that Davis would rather serve his country as a general, and so Stephens was chosen, as he was also a moderate, instead of fiery secessionists Howell Cobb and Robert Toombs. While Toombs had called for war almost immediately (his farewell speech to the US Senate had included, "as one man would meet you upon the border with the sword in one hand and the torch in the other"), Stephens was slow to raise arms. Earlier in the convention that elected him, he campaigned against secession and detailed the American political system with the Republicans holding a minority in Congress and, even if any laws were to be passed around them, the Supreme Court would continue the status quo, as it had in its 7-2 decision in the Dred Scott case four years before.

Georgia native Stephens had always seemed to best understand the mechanics behind the obvious. Despite growing up poor, benefactors had paid for his education, and he passed the Georgia bar at age 24 after graduating at the top of his class. He was routinely ill, even from childhood, but he was a masterful lawyer who, in his 34 years of practice, never had a client charged with a capital crime meet the death penalty. As he became wealthy and established himself with land and slaves, he returned the generosity he had been given by opening his own home to the homeless and paying for more than one hundred students' educations. Even though he was constantly thin from illness, he earned the nickname "The Strongest Man in the South" from his intelligence and craftiness. Stephens went on to Washington as a Representative as a Whig, Unionist, and finally Democrat. His self-described "greatest glory of my life" would be the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in the House by use of rare point of order, thus bringing popular sovereignty to the territory despite the Missouri Compromise limiting slavery to the South.

After the election of 1860 gave Lincoln the White House, Stephens was sent as a delegate to the convention judging the question of secession. Stephens opposed it, arguing that the South bide its time, but was eventually convinced on the grounds of the North not abiding by the Fugitive Slave Law. As one of his first acts in the presidency, Stephens gave his impromptu "Cornerstone Speech" in Savannah describing the new constitution the convention had written, clarifying its differences from that of the United States. While Lincoln referred to the famous line "all men are created equal" in the Declaration of Independence, Stephens replied, "Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas" and called slavery a "natural and moral condition". Stephens also outlined economic independence rather than the Federalism of the North, stating, "If Charleston harbor needs improvement, let the commerce of Charleston bear the burden. If the mouth of the Savannah river has to be cleared out, let the sea-going navigation which is benefited by it, bear the burden".

Finally, Stephens also noted the significance of Fort Sumter, which would prove the first issue of his presidency. Lincoln, only a month into his own presidency, ordered a relief expedition after skillfully dodging any agreements with the South that would have served as a political recognition of the CSA instead of considering it a rogue government. He notified South Carolina's Governor Pickens of a delivery of "provisions only", and Pickens turned to General P.G.T. Beauregard, who relayed the information to Stephens. While his cabinet (interestingly, though, not Secretary of State Robert Toombs) called for an attack to clear out the fort, Stephens ordered the CSA to stand down, and Lincoln achieved his goal of feeding Sumter. Stephens was declared "yellow" by many, but the political tide turned back to favor the South a month later when the heavy-handed actions of Union General Lyon in the West attacked parading Missouri State Militia called up by secessionist Governor Claiborne "Fox" Jackson.

While not enough to swing Virginia's support to the South, Yankees were increasingly perceived as brutes, tarnishing Lincoln's image, who sent additional troops to Missouri and Kansas, resulting in secession by Arkansas. Guerilla fighting continued, but it was never enough to make a full move against the South without seeming the aggressor. The quasi-war dragged on for years until Lincoln lost his bid at reelection in 1864, and President Horace Greeley was elected by Copperheads to end the war.

Stephens retired the presidency after his single term (as per the CSA constitution) in 1867 as a hero who had "waited out the Union" and became governor of Georgia, confirming the supremacy of the states. The Confederacy continued on its states' rights, later seeing the secession of the Republic of Texas in 1874 (who later had a number of military disputes with both the US and CS as the West became settled). Attempts were made to add Caribbean and Middle American states to the Confederacy, but each turned into either military blunders or economic burdens. By the 1890s, the South was seen as economically and culturally stunted compared to the great wealth and strength of the industrialized North. A movement began around the turn of the century to rejoin the Union, but many on both sides would refuse. President Theodore Roosevelt's 1907 Goodwill Tour proved for naught after it brought international attention to the deplorable poverty of newly freed Africans and entrenched the crippling conservatism of the nation.

February 29

In 1932, future President of the United States William Henry Davis "Alfalfa Bill" Murray appeared on the cover of Time Newsmagazine with a quote from comedian Will Rogers who noted, "I guess he ain't got much chance".

Alfalfa Bill Murray Begins his Road to the White HouseMurray's chances were indeed slim as he did not win a single primary, but he still appeared at the Democratic National Convention, where he came in eighth on the first ballot with 23 votes. He was set to jokingly endorse Will Rogers as a write-in and head home when William Randolph Hearst broke news of a long-running affair by frontrunner New York Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt with his wife's secretary. It was well known that FDR was a playboy before contracting polio in 1921, but the news exploded with the sensation that he was still carrying on with his wife's secretary after some fifteen years. Additional articles added another affair with his personal secretary Marguerite "Missy" LeHand, and the news-hungry Depression public went crazy. Roosevelt bowed out of the race, leaving over six hundred votes suddenly up for grabs. It was understood by the party machine that their pick, former New York Governor Al Smith, would collect the votes, but his old rivalry with FDR turned off supporters, including Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. In a midnight call between Kennedy and Hearst, who supported Speaker of the U.S. House John Nance Garner despite him never asking to be president, they determined to select the biggest Blackhorse candidate since 1844's James K. Polk. Murray seemed someone they could influence, and he was already famous for his relief activities in Dustbowl-stricken Oklahoma. Much to his own surprise and frustration of Al Smith, Murray found himself picked as the Democratic candidate on the fourth ballot.

Murray was born in 1869 in Toadsuck (later renamed "Collinsville), Texas. He worked as a laborer while attending public school and tried a number of careers before passing the Texas bar exam in 1895. Murray soon started a law practice in Indian Territory, where he earned his nickname from speaking tours in which he often mentioned his alfalfa field. In 1905, he served as the Chickasaw Nation representative to the constitutional convention of the proposed state of Sequoyah and a year later in the convention that created the singular state of Oklahoma. Using connections through his wife's uncle, former Territorial Governor Douglas Johnston, and first state governor Charles N. Haskell, Murray managed a moderately successful political career with stints as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and U.S. Representative. He retired from politics in 1918 after losing his bid for governor and aided local ranchers in founding a colony in Bolivia during the 1920s.

In 1930, Murray reappeared in Oklahoma and again ran for governor. He won handily, with a margin of some 100,000 votes. When he came to office, the state was crippled with the Dust Bowl as well as a $5 million budget deficit as the government made attempts to provide work and welfare as the Great Depression began. Murray proved a creative and effective leader. He collected money voluntarily for food programs for the poor, donating even his own salary. To save on government expenses, he ordered the capital lawn to be used to raise sheep, limiting the need for landscaping. When any need arose, he called up the Oklahoma National Guard and declared martial law, such as enforcement of his executive order to limit oil production in 1931 to keep prices strong and support state exports. In July of 1931, he instigated the Toll Bridge War in which he forced open a bridge on the Red River closed on its Texas end by an injunction due to a disagreement with a toll company. Perhaps most beneficial was his June call for a national convention on relief to be held in Memphis, TN, which shot him into the press. Riding his wave of fame, he announced his intentions to run in 1932.

The race against Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover was a firm victory for the Democrats. Votes poured in from the South and West, where the ravages of the Great Depression had been the deepest and President Hoover's plans for relief agencies had not yet reached. The Northeast was firmly for Hoover, even New York where stalwart Roosevelt fans rejected Murray's "yokel" (and notoriously racist) policies. Inaugurated on March 4, 1933 (the last late inauguration before the Twentieth Amendment came to be), Murray's first one hundred days proved to be among the busiest in American history, responding to an earthquake in California only a week later and the Akron airship disaster in New Jersey the next month. When "Machine Gun" Kelly kidnapped Oklahoma oilman Charles Urschel, Murray gave the FBI unprecedented powers and reinforcement through US Army, including spotter planes. Beer became legalized, cannabis was outlawed, and the dollar was taken off the gold standard to enable more free-flow of cash. Roosevelt, still holding political clout, criticized Murray's use of armed forces and suggested instating agencies, but Murray showed himself as a man of action, appearing himself at many of the trouble-spots.

Most famous, however, was Murray's reaction to the "Business Plot" of 1933. Retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler testified in 1934 to the Special Committee on Un-American Activities (founded to investigate propaganda contrary to the Constitution, particularly Nazism) that a group of businessmen responding to "socialist" possibilities after the removal of the gold standard had contacted him about the possibility of a coup d'etat. While many contemporaries ignored the accusations or, at most, chuckled (General Douglas MacArthur called it "the best laugh story of the year"), Murray's increasing paranoia after the death of his friend Haskell latched onto the idea of conspiracy. He tasked J. Edgar Hoover with finding conspirators and pressured the McCormack?Dickstein Committee to call in every name under suspicion, including banker Thomas Lamont and Admiral William Sims. Many accused Murray of fear-mongering and distracting from his only somewhat successful relief programs. Murray and his supporters, however, reacted violently to potential fascists, even though Murray himself had applauded the busy activities of Mussolini and Hitler. In the Battle of Wall Street, FBI agents supported by US soldiers seized several New York banks and firms, clearing out papers to be reviewed by the Justice Department.

In 1936, the Democratic convention in Philadelphia became a circus of accusations. Kennedy had long removed himself from Murray and hoped to reinvent the Democrats despite him. Murray eventually broke away with his own Plowman's Party after his quote that "civilization begins and ends with a plow". The move split would-be Democratic votes and handed the election to centrist Republican Alf Landon, whom Murray once proclaimed was a Nazi spy. Landon, however, proved himself much less rightist than Murray and achieved the bulk of the Black vote. He won a second term in 1940 as he prepared America for another world war as Nazism was generally feared thanks to Murray's stand. After the war, the Republican dynasty continued under Thomas Dewey and General Dwight Eisenhower.

Murray, meanwhile, returned to Oklahoma where he wrote extensively and lost further attempts at election. His son, Johnston, would become the governor of Oklahoma in 1951, but did not seek higher office.

July 31

In 1492, the Jews are expelled from Spain when the Alhambra Decree takes effect.

Alhambra Decree takes effectThe Reconquista of Spain completed with the Battle of Granada on January 2, 1492. Muslims had controlled the Iberian Peninsula after their invasion in 711, but gradually the Christian kingdoms of the north expanded southward. In-fighting slowed the Christian efforts, but the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile in 1469 united two of the largest kingdoms to a single force. In twenty years of warfare, they pushed back the Muslims to Granada, where they affirmed rule of the peninsula fully in the hands of Christian monarchs. Following the battle, Ferdinand and Isabella settled on to new projects. With the conquest of Granada, the Catholic Monarchs had acquired vast lands but also now ruled a new population of Muslims and Jews. Jews, as fellow "e;People of the Book"e;, were initially treated with respect under early Muslim rule. Jews from all over the Mediterranean immigrated to what was then known as al-Andalus, creating banking and centers of education. Religious zeal increased on both sides of the peninsula as Christians called to retake lands lost by the Visigoths, and tolerance of Jews fell. The Spanish Inquisition began in 1480, giving religious authority to the crown rather than the Pope. Their agent, Dominican friar Tom´s de Torquemada, served as Grand Inquisitor as well as confessor for Isabella. Along with others, he encouraged the monarchs to expel non-Christians from the country to purify it. Those who did not leave would have to convert (and the Inquisition would make certain they did not secretly practice forbidden faith) or face torture and death.While religious fervor marked much of the reasoning behind expulsion, the matter was also economical. Torquemada stressed that much of the economy of Spain was held by influential Jews. With their power, they could subvert the authority of the Church or even the monarchs. He called for their expulsion long before the conquest of Granada, but Ferdinand and Isabella did not want to risk the crash of their economy during wartime. With the war over, they could restructure their economy as well as seize the valuable property of the Jews who chose to flee.

Meanwhile, Christopher Columbus, an Italian navigator campaigned at court for funding of an expedition that would reach the Orient by sailing west. He had attempted to win favor from John II of Portugal, but the king had turned him away after his advisers stated the calculations for the circumference of the Earth were far too short. Columbus had argued at court since 1486, noting the potential wealth from a new trade route. He was given no positive answer, but he was furnished with food, lodging, and a salary, keeping him on retainer rather than seeking support from any other monarch of Europe.

When it slipped that Columbus would eventually be turned down on the advice of Torquemada, Columbus decided to change his position. He took one item of Torquemada's agenda, the removal of the Jews, and tied it to his own. Managing an interview with Torquemada, he pointed out the danger of letting the Jews "escape" to build up power elsewhere. Instead, they should be sent to the East, where their wares would have to pass through Spain to market. Torquemada approved the plan, and the monarchs soon announced the "Alhambra Decree", stating that in four months Jews would be forced to live in Granada alone. That summer, hundreds of thousands of Jews moved to the city, allowed to keep their possessions but selling homes and businesses far under value.

In 1493, Columbus returned successfully from what was soon to be realized as the New World. His next expedition left that September, and along with it went a large fleet of forced Jewish immigrants. The Spanish established settlements on Hispaniola, using Jews and local natives as labor. Over the next decade, the Jews of Spain converted, sneaked out of the country, or were deported to the New World. During the rule of the Spanish Empire, several Jewish revolts began, but the might of the Conquistadors and the Spanish navy put down the rebellions. Many Jews settled into their work on plantations and were joined by African slaves, creating a lucrative economy exporting to Europe.

By the seventeenth century, new hope for the Jews arrived as other nations began to colonize the Caribbean. Piracy flourished, and, in the chaos, Jews escaped from Hispaniola by the thousands to neighboring islands. Many settled on the far coast of Hispaniola under French rule, helping to make Saint-Domingue the most prosperous colony in the region. The Caribbean became a popular destination for Jews fleeing oppression in other areas of Europe, particularly Germany and Italy, where corporations funded ships to transport colonists.

Antisemitism continued in the Caribbean, where for centuries the Jewish people were held as second-class citizens along with natives and Africans. As they gained economic clout by the early twentieth century, however, the Jews won their recognition, and the Caribbean today is well known for its banking, produce, and tourism. In modern times, many Jews hold to ideals of Zionism, wishing for a Jewish state in Palestine, where some Jews have established communities. However, with the large Jewish population of the Caribbean, there has not been fervent international action answering the call for a geographic "Israel".

March 22

In 1820, on this day USN Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, Jr. died in Washington, D.C. aged forty-one. He had achieved widespread notoriety for the failed American Raid on Tripoli.

American Raid on Tripoli FailsIn the early days of the new United States, the nation struggled to establish itself with global credibility. Many assumed that Britain would eventually reabsorb its colonies, while France had even anticipated conquering the colonies after they were weakened by separation from Britain. One of the keys to achieving recognition internationally was establishing a navy to protect American interests abroad, but for the first few decades, the Unites States struggled. After the creation of the Continental Navy in 1775, Benedict Arnold's fleet of hastily built ships was wiped out in the Battle of Valcour Island but was strategically successful with slowing down the British support to the Army on land. Except for the legendary stand by John Paul Jones, the early US depended upon privateers and, most significantly, the navy of the French. While allies for a time, the US refused to pay debts to Republican France on money borrowed from the Crown, and France began to prey on American merchants at sea in the Quasi-War. The US had newly restarted its Navy after defunding it from 1785-94, first building six frigates to battle the Barbary Pirates, who had ended the Portuguese blockade holding them within the Mediterranean after Portugal was weakened with the French Revolutionary Wars.

The Quasi-War had given the American Navy a handful of notable victories and ended with the Convention of 1800 with French recognition of the Americans' rights at sea, but piracy from the Barbary Coast continued. While America again scaled down its navy to six ships in 1800 as the Federalists left office, the Pasha of Tripoli demanded $225,000 tribute from the incoming President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson refused, and the Pasha declared war by cutting down the flag of the US Consulate. Congress did not officially return the declaration, but they did grant Jefferson powers to give defensive commands to Americans at sea. An attempt was made to blockade Tripoli, but it was largely unsuccessful aside from the morale-boosting victory of the USS Enterprise over the Tripoli. Commodore Edward Preble established short blockades and launched attacks against the Berbers with varying success until the USS Philadelphia ran aground in Tripoli's harbor and was captured intact in October of 1803.

Tripolitans took the Americans prisoner and turned Philadelphia into another shore battery to keep Americans at sea. After nightfall on February 16, 1804, a team of US Marines under Lieutenant Stephen Decatur (pictured) sneaked into harbor with a captured Tripolitan ship, attempting to float close enough to the Philadelphia to storm her. Unfortunately, their position was deemed suspicious, and the Tripolitans opened fire at point blank range, decimating the Americans and nearly killing Lt. Decatur. Humbled, the Americans returned to heir blockade. Washington fell into a political quagmire with some suggesting America pay a tribute while others called for a simple withdrawal, and Jefferson's plans of reinforcement under Commodore Samuel Barron were put on hold. On his own, Preble grew more daring in his attacks, even launching a fire ship into the Tripolitan fleet, but most actions proved unsuccessful. It was not until the overland attack on Derne by mercenaries and 100 Marines under William Eaton, formal consul to Tunis, through the desert that the Americans gained an upper hand.

Preble saw his opportunity to press for victory, and he reinvested his sailors into further Marines to press the overland attack. Eaton had with him Hamet Karamanli, the Pasha's ousted brother who had claim to Tripoli's throne, and Preble encouraged him to march quickly for the capital. Coordinating with naval attacks learned from British assaults, the Americans swept into the city and took it on June 10, 1805. Many felt that Yussif Karamanli had attempted to make peace and the hungry-for-victory Americans had quashed him, but Jefferson and Congress were satisfied that the problem of pirates had been resolved in what became known as the Barbary War.

Naval problems continued with Britain as the Royal Navy pressed captured Americans into service and even seized the USS Chesapeake in 1807 after Captain James Barron refused an illegal search. This, along with US expansionism, led to the War of 1812 with Britain, which saw another wave of American struggles at sea. One of the most disastrous was the American attempt to run the blockade at New London, Connecticut, in 1813, which led to the capture of three ships, including the Macedonian, which the US had captured from the British only the year before. By the end of the war, Americans had had enough of naval battle and decided to focus on a transport fleet for a wider number of Marines.

These Marines would be instrumental in the cleanup of pirates in the Caribbean in the 1820s. Many of the estimated 3000 ships captured there were taken by privateers, and so the Marines dealt with them in a similar manner as Tripoli: attacking primarily on land while supported at sea and using large numbers of local mercenaries. The strategy was successful, and brought American imperial influence southward, making a number of newly liberated states from Spain into virtual American colonies. The Mexican War saw another use of the transport fleet as 12,000 soldiers invaded Veracruz and captured Mexico City, with the resulting treaty giving the US its Southwest quarter.

While having strong diplomatic measures close to home, the US did not participate in much foreign activity, such as the 1862 Opening of Japan by British forces newly victorious from the Second Opium War in China.

February 16

In 1804, on this day the American Raid on Tripoli failed. In the early days of the new United States, the nation struggled to establish itself with global credibility. Many assumed that Britain would eventually reabsorb its colonies, while France had even anticipated conquering the colonies after they were weakened by separation from Britain.

American Raid on Tripoli FailsOne of the keys to achieving recognition internationally was establishing a navy to protect American interests abroad, but for the first few decades, the Unites States struggled. After the creation of the Continental Navy in 1775, Benedict Arnold's fleet of hastily built ships was wiped out in the Battle of Valcour Island but was strategically successful with slowing down the British support to the Army on land. Except for the legendary stand by John Paul Jones, the early US depended upon privateers and, most significantly, the navy of the French. While allies for a time, the US refused to pay debts to Republican France on money borrowed from the Crown, and France began to prey on American merchants at sea in the Quasi-War. The US had newly restarted its Navy after defunding it from 1785-94, first building six frigates to battle the Barbary Pirates, who had ended the Portuguese blockade holding them within the Mediterranean after Portugal was weakened with the French Revolutionary Wars.

The Quasi-War had given the American Navy a handful of notable victories and ended with the Convention of 1800 with French recognition of the Americans' rights at sea, but piracy from the Barbary Coast continued. While America again scaled down its navy to six ships in 1800 as the Federalists left office, the Pasha of Tripoli demanded $225,000 tribute from the incoming President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson refused, and the Pasha declared war by cutting down the flag of the US Consulate. Congress did not officially return the declaration, but they did grant Jefferson powers to give defensive commands to Americans at sea. An attempt was made to blockade Tripoli, but it was largely unsuccessful aside from the morale-boosting victory of the USS Enterprise over the Tripoli. Commodore Edward Preble established short blockades and launched attacks against the Berbers with varying success until the USS Philadelphia ran aground in Tripoli's harbor and was captured intact in October of 1803.

Tripolitans took the Americans prisoner and turned Philadelphia into another shore battery to keep Americans at sea. After nightfall on February 16, 1804, a team of US Marines under Lieutenant Stephen Decatur (pictured) sneaked into harbor with a captured Tripolitan ship, attempting to float close enough to the Philadelphia to storm her. Unfortunately, their position was deemed suspicious, and the Tripolitans opened fire at point blank range, decimating the Americans and killing Lt. Decatur. Humbled, the Americans returned to heir blockade. Washington fell into a political quagmire with some suggesting America pay a tribute while others called for a simple withdrawal, and Jefferson's plans of reinforcement under Commodore Samuel Barron were put on hold. On his own, Preble grew more daring in his attacks, even launching a fire ship into the Tripolitan fleet, but most actions proved unsuccessful. It was not until the overland attack on Derne by mercenaries and 100 Marines under William Eaton, formal consul to Tunis, through the desert that the Americans gained an upper hand.

Preble saw his opportunity to press for victory, and he reinvested his sailors into further Marines to press the overland attack. Eaton had with him Hamet Karamanli, the Pasha's ousted brother who had claim to Tripoli's throne, and Preble encouraged him to march quickly for the capital. Coordinating with naval attacks learned from British assaults, the Americans swept into the city and took it on June 10, 1805. Many felt that Yussif Karamanli had attempted to make peace and the hungry-for-victory Americans had quashed him, but Jefferson and Congress were satisfied that the problem of pirates had been resolved in what became known as the Barbary War.

Naval problems continued with Britain as the Royal Navy pressed captured Americans into service and even seized the USS Chesapeake in 1807 after Captain James Barron refused an illegal search. This, along with US expansionism, led to the War of 1812 with Britain, which saw another wave of American struggles at sea. One of the most disastrous was the American attempt to run the blockade at New London, Connecticut, in 1813, which led to the capture of three ships, including the Macedonian, which the US had captured from the British only the year before. By the end of the war, Americans had had enough of naval battle and decided to focus on a transport fleet for a wider number of Marines.

These Marines would be instrumental in the cleanup of pirates in the Caribbean in the 1820s. Many of the estimated 3000 ships captured there were taken by privateers, and so the Marines dealt with them in a similar manner as Tripoli: attacking primarily on land while supported at sea and using large numbers of local mercenaries. The strategy was successful, and brought American imperial influence southward, making a number of newly liberated states from Spain into virtual American colonies. The Mexican War saw another use of the transport fleet as 12,000 soldiers invaded Veracruz and captured Mexico City, with the resulting treaty giving the US its Southwest quarter.

While having strong diplomatic measures close to home, the US did not participate in much foreign activity, such as the 1862 Opening of Japan by British forces newly victorious from the Second Opium War in China.

July 16

In 1969, the Space Race held as the hottest direct contest between the USA and the USSR in the Cold War.

Apollo 11 Rocket Explodes after Launch After Russia had won the first two legs with the first artificial satellite Sputnik in 1957 and the first man in space Yuri Gagarin in 1961, America had finally gotten ahead with their 1968 flyby of the Moon. Russian leadership had begun to doubt their Luna program with its unmanned probes, but the political climate changed completely as tragedy struck over Florida.

Just after launch, the Apollo 11 exploded, instantly killing its crew of Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. While none can be certain of the cause of the disaster, many theories have arisen after much of the wreckage was salvaged. Most agree that it was a hydrogen "hiccup", a less dense bubble that caused imbalance in the rocket, jarring it viciously and tearing the craft apart until the explosives fell out of control.

While the United States mourned, the Soviets threw their resources into making up lost time. Automated docking of capsules had already been successful in 1968, and the manned Soyuz 4 and 5 missions had tested successfully the human elements involved. The Soviets planned to launch its cosmonaut to the surface of the Moon by September. Bad luck and mechanical problems slowed the launch until mid-October.

Meanwhile, the United States refused to sit idly. While many began to call for an end to the apparently suicidal space program and memories of Apollo 1's fire still in the public mind, NASA had already secured its funding for the year and needed a success to guarantee that the program would not be shelved altogether. Apollo 12 would be their final chance. Hearing word of the Russian attempt, astronauts Charles Conrad, Jr, Richard Gordon, Jr, and Alan Bean would be put ahead of their November launch schedule to match the Russian deadline.

The rockets launched within hours of one another, and scientists on both ends worked frantically to streamline the process of travel in action, but mission clocks were ticking without much room to spare. On October 16, 1969, Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov touched down on the surface of the Moon. Only an hour later, Conrad and Bean would follow. Despite the potential dangers, NASA had adjusted the flight path to put them down near Leonov's capsule.

Conrad would venture out of the American module and be followed out fifteen minutes later by Bean, after which Leonov would greet them having "walked" (bounced in the low gravity) from his half-mile distant capsule. His decision had been applauded and rejected by Russian mission control, but the effect was incredible upon public sentiment. The image of a cosmonaut and an astronaut shaking hands on the surface of the moon would be recorded by probe cameras and transmitted to televisions and newspapers the world over.

President Nixon (who also made mention of the success of President Kennedy's promise to arrive on the moon before the end of the decade) would capitalize on the image and, in 1971, meet with Nikolai Podgorny of the Soviet Union in Moscow. The historic meeting would bring new balance to the Cold War, and gradually disarmament would begin. Without the terrors of foreign powers and even the invasion of Czechoslovakia recalled, the Russian people would have enough of their Stalinist past and recreate their government with the 1977 Constitution returning much of the power into the hands of people. While still economically planned, democracy grew in Russia. Meanwhile, trade with the USSR began to seduce the US into greater socialism, such as Carter's reversal of Nixon's privatized health insurance into a public, universal system.

Now something as half-breeds of one another, the two head of the world continue to dance around one another for power. Technology has torn down walls (much like the fall of Berlin's wall in 1989), while the growth of populations in developing countries such as China and India look to change the world balance altogether.

April 12

In 1945, while resting at his private retreat of the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia, to renew his energies before the UN Conference on International Organization in San Francisco in the coming weeks, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced, "I have a terrific pain in the back of my head". The president went quiet and his body convulsed. The others in the room hurried to his side and tended to him until doctors arrived. Due to strain from his many years of political work and high cholesterol combined with a predisposition to the same congestive heart failure that ended his father's life, Roosevelt suffered a terrible, but not debilitating, stroke.

April 12, 1945 - FDR Suffers Minor StrokeThe president's health had been troubled for some time. Rumors about illness circulated widely during the 1944 election, but the press seemed to steer clear of the issue, potentially due to orders from the Office of Censorship that had also kept reporters off the battlefields as the war dragged on. His doctor ordered bed-rest, but Roosevelt took it upon himself to exercise more regularly, even though his bout with polio left him confined to a wheelchair and steel braces. This time, he lost much of the use of his left arm, but was fortunate to keep his abilities in speech.

As with his previous illness, Roosevelt soldiered on. News of the stroke was controlled by the White House, simply stating that he still suffered from the affects of fatigue. He managed to be in San Francisco for the organization of the United Nations, a term he had created from the Allies who signed the Atlantic Charter in 1942. While the papers stated he was in attendance, he spent nearly all of his time behind closed doors with only a few select meetings.

Through tenacity, Roosevelt continued to work as president. Upon the collapse of Nazi power in Europe, Roosevelt gave a radio address to Americans pronouncing Victory Day, though others such as Vice-President Harry S Truman became the faces seen in photos and movie reels. Roosevelt saw out the end of the war, skillfully defending the use of atomic weapons to end the war with Japan early, though there were some who said that the declaration of war by the Soviet Union was what had truly brought Japan to surrender unconditionally.

Roosevelt, who had long trusted Stalin, had begun to doubt his trustworthiness as the war began to come to a close and the Soviets' plans to set up puppet governments began to show. Churchill had long warned Roosevelt about Stalin, seeing him as at-best a necessary evil until Hitler was destroyed, and soon warned of an Iron Curtain behind which Stalin plotted. Britain edged Churchill out of office in 1945, looking to break cleanly from the troubled days of the war. Roosevelt pressed on and, though his widespread popularity, managed to keep the nation voting Democrat while the Republicans cried for change.

Roosevelt promised change and continued to campaign for his Second Bill of Rights, completing the work he felt he had begun with the social measures of the New Deal. Echoing the measures of the first Bill of Rights, Roosevelt argued that the right of "pursuit of happiness" had not yet been fulfilled. Gradually, programs came into play to employment in CCC-style grants and organizations, housing, education, and medical care. With enough Democrats in Congress, he was able to push through legislation blocking the powers of big business and monopolies, reversing many of the anti-labor policies that had been in place due to necessity of production during the war.

Abroad, Roosevelt kept up pressure on Stalin and refused to allow Communism to spread. While many of the soldiers from WWII returned home, much of the materiel and provisions were shifted to the KMT forces of the Republic of China, finally squashing Mao's armies in 1947. It became painfully clear that the Soviets would not remove themselves as the Americans, British, and French were doing. Roosevelt began to threaten use of atomic weapons, which outmatched anything the Russians had in their arsenal. Stalin tested Roosevelt again and again with false deadlines and empty promises until the tension burst in 1948 in Berlin over Soviet restrictions over passage to Berlin. Through the UN (which Soviets increasingly called a "puppet of the West"), Roosevelt demanded Stalin pull Soviet troops out of all occupied areas by that fall. Stalin refused, so Roosevelt began a bombing campaign targeting the Soviet military.

Republicans noted that the bombing began shortly before the election and accused Roosevelt of starting another war so he could maintain control of the White House as well as flat-out tyranny. Roosevelt replied that he was doing what he felt best and would understand if the American public trusted him. In the narrowest election of his career, Roosevelt won yet another unprecedented fifth term in 1948. As in 1944, much of the campaigning was done vicariously.

War with the Soviets finally drove them back to the borders of Russia in 1949, which was when Stalin announced the USSR had successfully developed its own atomic bomb in Kazakhstan. An uneasy armistice began even though much of Europe had been liberated. Preparations were made for peace talks, but the travel to a neutral summit proved too taxing for FDR, who died before he could meet Stalin face-to-face again. The war was never officially declared over, leaving a huge demilitarized "Iron Curtain" surrounding the Soviet border.

April 13

As the American Civil War looked to be coming to an end, famed actor and Southerner John Wilkes Booth determined that he must do something to help the cause. He had sworn to his concerned mother that he would not join as a soldier, yet he wrote her, "I have begun to deem myself a coward and to despise my own existence". While he would not go back on his word, he decided that the war could be fought with civilian hands in a more untraditional fashion. He began a conspiracy with fellow sympathizers to kidnap President Abraham Lincoln in March of 1865. The plans to kidnap Lincoln had all gone awry due to poor intelligence, and, upon hearing a speech by Lincoln encouraging the extension of the vote to freed slaves, Booth decided to go all out.

April 14, 1865 - Booth Conspiracy brings Night of TerrorBooth wrote in his diary that "something decisive and great must be done". Not only would he assassinate the president, but his coconspirators would kill the vice-president and secretary of state as well, decapitating the government. On Good Friday, picking up his mail from his box at Ford's Theater, he happened to learn from the owner's brother that the president and General Ulysses S Grant would be attending Our American Cousin that night.

Booth called his the band of assassins together and ordered Alabaman Lewis Powell, just days shy of his twenty-first birthday, to kill Secretary of State William Seward. Powell refused, saying he had only volunteered for kidnapping. Booth began a long and passionate speech, noting the horrors of war that the Union had performed upon the South and the duty of vengeance for them. Powell conceded, and the other conspirators were fired up by Booth's rhetoric. George Atzerodt, a German immigrant who had settled in Maryland as a child, was to kill Vice-President Andrew Johnson. Fellow Marylander David Herold would act as guide for Powell and then manage the escape after the quartet reached the rendezvous outside of Washington, D.C.

The assassinations were performed with intensity and efficiency. Powell and Herold went to the Seward residence just after 10 PM, knocking as casually as a messenger. Powell talked his way past the butler, claiming to have medicine for Seward, who had recently been treated after a carriage crash. Seward's son Frederick tried to stop him, and Powell leaped forward with his Bowie knife, stabbing Frederick deeply in the chest. Frederick's sister Fanny opened the door to complain of the noise disturbing their father and found Powell in a sudden bloodlust. Powell shoved her aside and stormed into the room, drawing his revolver to shoot Seward as he lay in bed. He meticulously shot the other patrons in the room, Seward's nurse Sergeant George F. Robinson and his other son Augustus. On the way out of the house, Powell found Herold scuffling with a legitimate late-night messenger. Powell killed the messenger, and the two escaped Washington with Herold at the lead.

Before the assassinations, Atzerodt had rented a room at the Kirkwood Hotel, Johnson's residence while the vice-president was in Washington. Atzerodt was tempted to spend the evening in the bar but, as he lived precisely one floor above, determined to wait until 10:15, listening for the Johnson's movement. When the prescribed time arrived, he walked calmly downstairs and knocked on the door. Johnson himself answered, and Atzerodt stabbed him with his knife. He then fled, leaving the knife where it had struck the vice-president.

Booth was the only hiccup in the evening as his intelligence once again had proved faulty. Due to Mrs. Grant's dislike of the First Lady, the Lincolns had gone to the theater with Major Henry Rathbone and his fiancée Clara Harris. Nonetheless, Booth struck at 10:25, giving a card to the usher, who showed him to the presidential box. Booth barricaded the outer door to the box and waited for the cue "sockdologizing" to act: the roar of laughter from the crowd covered up the sound of his derringer's shot. Major Rathbone jumped to stop Booth from escaping, but Booth planted his knife firmly into Rathbone's arm before leaping from the box to the stage. One of his spurs became caught, making him land off-balance. Always the performer, Booth cried out "Sic semper tyrannus!" to the 1,700 people in the crowd and fought his way through the chaos to his horse.

The assassins met successfully at their rendezvous and fled into Maryland. Herold guided them in the night, going on even as Booth refused to stop for treatment to his leg after the fall. They crossed the river into Virginia and disappeared.

The Union was filled with despair over the lost leaders and anger that the assassins had escaped. Any connections to the conspirators were arrested and thoroughly interrogated, leading to the execution of Mary Surratt, the owner of the boarding house where many of the conspiracy meetings had taken place. Many called the execution unfair, but the North howled for blood. The new government, largely Radical Republicans under Lafayette Foster, treated the South as an area of military occupation rather than states in reconstruction. Freedman laws and punishments for former Confederates were enforced by Federal troops, who themselves turned corrupt with power.

While many Southerners initially despised Booth and his men for their cowardly actions, they came to hate the North further. Secret societies such as the Ku Klux Klan began guerrilla raids prompted by Booth, who became a wandering speaker whose left-legged limp became a trademark and a clandestine sign for fellow rebels. The violence earned more ire from the North, who began relocating criminals to camps in the Dakotas. As the South burned, many Southerners fled, ex-Confederates to Latin America or South Africa and Freedmen to the North or to protected cities where soldiers stood guard against routine attacks and arson. The violence turned generational with deadly bombings and costly sabotage lasting well into the twentieth century until purges and propaganda during the World War finally ended the Southern revolt.

April 15

The RMS Titanic was built to be the largest passenger ship in the world, an Olympic-class vessel 1,000 tons bigger than her sister ship, which was half-again as big as the previous largest ship. The White Star Line had been outpaced in 1907 by Cunard, whose Lusitania and Mauretania had become the fastest transoceanic passenger ships. With German lines already beginning to challenge their market share, Chairman Bruce J. Ismay met with financier JP Morgan, and a trio of new ships would make White Star the largest and most luxurious way to travel in the world. The Olympic launched in 1911, but it was the Titanic whose maiden voyage would be the most anticipated with guests such as the Astors, the Strauses of Macy's, Margaret Brown, and even her own architect Thomas Andrews. JP Morgan himself was supposed to board, but he cancelled shortly before, possibly in relation to the coal strike that postponed many transatlantic crossings.

April 15, 1912 - Titanic Strikes Iceberg with No Loss of LifeThe strike ended just days before the Titanic left Southampton. Captain Edward John Smith, White Star's most senior captain, commanded. As stops were made in Cherbourg, France, and Queenstown, Ireland, passengers as well as additional crew were taken on before making the long journey across the Atlantic. Guests enjoyed conveniences modeled on the Ritz Hotel with artistic flare in every fashionable style. The ship offered a library, a telephone system, a pool, gymnasium, and several kinds of baths with nearly as many First Class passengers as Third.

Due to a warm winter breaking up the ice shelves of Greenland, ships had already begun spreading word of ice in the north Atlantic. Despite the warnings, Captain Smith ran the Titanic at near her top speed, not necessarily attempting to break the records set by Cunard for crossing but to assure his passengers arrived in a fit and timely manner. He followed the advisories and relied on his lookouts to keep an eye out for any potential hazards.

The men in the crow's nest were without binoculars due to an equipment error, but those would have been useless on the night the iceberg appeared. It was a moonless, extremely calm night, causing the glassy water to reflect starlight and create mirages in the cold air that obscured the horizon. Just before midnight on April 14, lookout Frederick Fleet rested his weary eyes before taking another look into the sea and spotting an iceberg floating immediately before the ship. He called to the bridge, "Iceberg right ahead!"

First Officer William Murdoch ordered the engines reversed full astern and the ship to turn, but it was too late to maneuver around the floating block of ice. The Titanic slammed head-on into the berg, causing all of the passengers and cargo to lurch forward. Damage to the bow was substantial enough that the first watertight compartment ruptured, causing icy seawater to flow inside. Fortunately, Titanic had been designed to have as many as four of its special compartments flood without hazard. Multitudinous injuries were reported throughout the ship, but, almost miraculously, no one was killed.

Captain Smith was roused from his quarters and directed the ship's doctors in caring for the most injured. Emergency flares lit up the sky while wireless calls beckoned for help from nearby ships. Lifeboats were prepared to launch in the case of an evacuation, and it was noted that there was only enough room for half of the people aboard the ship. As the Titanic refused to sink, however, worries were abated. About 4 o'clock that morning, the RMS Carpathian arrived to give aid, and the Mount Temple and SS Californian arrived after dawn, when it was deemed safe to traverse the ice fields. Titanic was eventually deemed seaworthy and continued its journey to New York at much slower speeds. Thomas Andrews was given a special toast from the captain's table and later commendations from a number of boards and charities.

Inquiry into the accident prompted a great deal of approval for Andrews' designs. Naysayers who again warned of too few lifeboats were mocked in several editorials saying, "What's the point of a lifeboat if the ship never sinks?" Others brought up the issue of the Californian switching off its wireless receiver, but investigators finally sided with Captain Stanley Lord's decision not to risk another ship at night in the ice.

Weather would continue to be blamed for many of the worst maritime tragedies as that fall hundreds of ships would sink in a vicious typhoon in the Pacific, including the Kiche Maru from Japan, which lost over one thousand lives. Most agencies put their efforts into attempting to communicate weather-patterns. Communication failed in the case of the RMS Empress of Ireland, which collided with a cargo vessel on the Saint Lawrence River that led to another loss of over one thousand lives as the ship sank so fast. In most cases, lifeboats were the least of anyone's concerns.

The peacetime losses were soon eclipsed by the World War. In 1914, Britain established a blockade of Germany, and Germany attempted the same, creating warzones in the North Sea and Atlantic. Thousands perished aboard ships like the Principe Umberto, the Gallia, and the Queen Mary as modern warfare such as the U-boat and mines struck. Ships found themselves woefully unprepared to face sinking, and even emergency refits and additional lifeboats jammed onto the sides of ships were deemed untrustworthy. When U-Boat U-20 sank the RMS Lusitania, once the pride of the Cunard fleet that had been requisitioned into the Navy, thousands perished with only a handful of survivors. International outrage overlooked the Lusitania's munitions supply, and the German press called the sinking dishonorable even in a war where British ships painted over their names and flew false flags. At last the German command ordered an end to unrestricted submarine warfare, instead following stricter Prize Law rules.

Even with calmer seas, the War dragged on. The infamous Zimmermann Telegram soured American opinions of Germany, but the public did not see fit to join a war unless it directly affected their own rights. After another bitter winter in 1919, Germany finally capitulated and signed a crippling Treaty of Versailles, while Americans watched from the sidelines, maintaining its neutrality in the Eastern Hemisphere, as it would for decades to come.

April 16

Rather than ruling a coherent kingdom, the House of Habsburg had assembled a complex federation all over Europe through marriages, conquests, and inheritance, ultimately culminating in Charles to become heir of the Holy Roman Empire as a Habsburg, the Empire of Spain through his mother Joanna, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, as well as ruler of the Burgundian Netherlands. Charles grew up in his holdings in the Netherlands until he became King of Spain to rule alongside his mother in 1516. He brought with him his Flemish entourage as advisors, sowing distrust between himself and local nobles and the bourgeoisie that had grown up following the Reconquista.

April 16, 1520 - Rebellion in Toledo Begins the End of Charles I in CastileIn 1519, Charles was elected Holy Roman Emperor after the death of his grandfather Maximilian. With great aplomb, he set off for a papal coronation, leaving behind a lengthy list of taxes to cover his debts for extravagant living and bribery for his new office. The Castillian parliament, the Cortes, stood up to refuse the new taxes, so Charles suspended the council and reconvened it later to achieve his goals.

In the meantime, Castile erupted. It began in Toledo when royal bureaucrats arrived to remove the anti-Imperial city council with the aim of replacing them with new councilors on the king's bankroll. Riots broke out, driving away the royalists and installing a new council elected by its own citizens. The success in Toledo spread quickly through central Spain, with city after city falling to revolution. Southern Castile, which was stocked with large garrisons on royal salaries as guards against the Moriscos (converts from Islam to Christianity), maintained its loyalty to Charles.

The revolution continued with wild ideas of establishing themselves as free city-states modelled on those in Italy and ending the monarchy. Peasants began to overthrow their local lords, declaring their freedom and looting estates. Eventually more moderate opinions won out, seeking a Castile liberated from Charles and ruled by Joanna, loyal nobles, and the popular voice. The Comuneros formed up an army and marched on Tordesillas, creating a new Cortes to be presided over by Joanna.

Joanna was called "the Mad" and had always ruled with a co-regent, first her husband, Philip the Handsome, and then her father, Ferdinand II of Aragon. During the time of her father's tenure, he confined Joanna, the proper heir to Castile, to a convent and surrounded her with servants and advisors loyal only to him. During this time, stories of her madness began to spread, which modern historians speculate as depression, perhaps due to her confinement. She was believed to have exhumed her husband's body and kept it with her as company in Tordesillas.

The new Cortes asked Joanna to sign an edict legitimizing their political actions, but she paused. Charles had scoffed at the revolt and sent new orders to retrieve the taxes. His regent in Spain and former tutor, Adrian of Utrecht served as General of the Reunited Inquisitions of Castile and Aragon struggled to maintain peace with new policies to win over the favor of nobles, but assassins had struck before Adrian could convince Charles of the seriousness of the Comuneros. With Charles hundreds of miles away and seemingly ignorant, Joanna's confessors advised that she take over the country before the noble-killers gained their way.

With Joanna as queen, the Comuneros continued to grow. In the north, the royalists assembled an army at Medina de Rioseco, and a Comuneros army under Pedro Tellez-Giron marched to face them. Giron feinted a raid on nearby Villalpando, prompting the royalists to de-entrench and charge for Tordesillas. The Comuneros cut them off in a sweeping victory. Armies in the south began to question the sources of their pay, debts from the royalists stacked up, and soon defection became rampant.

Charles turned his attention to Spain too late. A similar revolt by the Germanies in Aragon occurred at the same time, but their lack of legitimacy and death of leading moderate Llorenc brought about a new alliance between the royalists and nobles there to protect their holdings from peasant uprising. Charles secured his claim in Aragon and soon after repelled an invasion by the French-backed King of Navarre to reclaim his lands seized by Charles' grandfather Ferdinand II. While he still held eastern Spain, nothing short of war with his own mother could retake the west. Charles at last reasoned that his mother was decades older than he and simply waiting for her death would bring the lands back under his control, even if through his younger brother Ferdinand as a puppet.

Unfortunately for Charles's plan, Joanna's simple life loosely presiding over the Comuneros-led Cortes enabled her to live until 1555. Charles, meanwhile, became fervent about maintaining his holdings, never to let another slip away. Conquests in New Spain stayed loyal to his side, and he encouraged settlement of rich new lands in America loyal to his centralized government. He established an ongoing inquisition in the Netherlands in 1522 and personally led the violent suppression of anyone opposing him. He later installed a similar inquisition in Germany to halt the teachings of Luther and crush the Peasant's Revolt of 1524, simultaneously weakening the power of the princes. When Henry VIII of England requested to divorce his aunt Catherine of Aragon, Charles marched on London. Throughout Charles's rule, he would fight a two-front conflict with France and the Ottomans, establishing a centralized military bureaucracy loyal only to him.

Upon the death of Joanna, Charles was near death himself, suffering from epilepsy and gout. Rule of Castile passed to Ferdinand, who soon granted it to Charles's son Philip, now the Holy Roman Emperor. Threats of revolt prevented Philip from uniting Castile with royalist Aragon, making it one of the most liberal pieces of the grand militaristic empire under the Hapsburgs, which ultimately unified the Catholic World in the Treaty of Joinville with France against the threat of Protestants in Northern Europe.

April 17

Time and again the British had tried to seize the valuable Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, claimed by the Spanish since its discovery on Columbus's second voyage in 1493. In 1595, Sir Francis Drake led a force that attacked the Spanish capital there, ultimately being able to do no more than sack San Juan. The English returned three years later under Sir George Clifford. This time they captured San Juan, but a plague of dysentery drove them off the island.

April 17, 1797 - British Seize San JuanAs the French Revolutionary Wars dragged on in Europe, Spain grew weary of fighting France and made a separate peace in 1796. Britain was outraged and war began anew with Spain, their old nemesis and sometimes ally. Lieutenant-General Sir Ralph Abercromby was dispatched with an armada of over sixty ships packed with British troops and German mercenaries to at last break Spanish hegemony in the Greater Antilles.

Abercromby was determined to use the sheer size of his army to his advantage with a quick frontal assault, but his German allies learned intelligence from a treacherous citizen of the reef that guarded the inlet. Hidden underwater, it allowed only the passage of small frigates and transport ships. Abercromby reconsidered his plan and decided to send a contingent of soldiers in under the cover of darkness.

The strategy worked, throwing San Juan into chaos even though the British soldiers were quickly surrounded and pinned down. The rest of the fleet began a bombardment that prevented the Spanish from manning their defenses, and more British troops poured into the city from the inlet. Brigadier General Ramon de Castro ordered the evacuation of the city into the island proper to begin a guerilla campaign, but the day was seen as lost by most. In the following weeks, the British mopped up dissenters and formally claimed Puerto Rico as Port Richard.

Abercromby was hailed as a hero in London. Although some suggested his recall to Britain to be placed in command of the home armies, it was determined to continue Britain's fortune in the Caribbean. When Puerto Rico was appropriately pacified, Abercromby assembled a new armada and sailed on Havana. The third-largest city in the Americas had briefly belonged to Britain after being captured in 1762 during the Seven Years' War. Sugar merchants in London were suspicious of the island's impact on their trade, so they leaned on diplomats at peace talks in Paris to trade Cuba for Florida. Many were disgusted by what was seen as an uneven trade, and even the short time of rule in Havana had begun a blossoming trade that linked the island increasingly with North America rather than Spanish holdings. When Abercromby's forces arrived, islanders sympathetic to the British joined him in quickly overthrowing the city. The eastern end of the island stood with the Spanish, and war raged for months until Britain had claimed the whole island.

Next Abercromby was suggested to sail onto Hispaniola, which had been colonized in the west by France and ceded completely to them by Spain in recent treaties. Abercromby anticipated a strong resistance by the recently freed slaves and was relieved from what he believed would be an unwinnable campaign when he was called back to Europe to fight France in Egypt after the disastrous Campaign of 1799 in the Netherlands and struggles with Irish rebellion. Abercromby was given command of land forces while the younger Horatio Nelson led the navy. Their landing of troops under fire at Abukir became famous for boldness and genius in military history. While the French were driven out of Egypt successfully, Abercromby was killed in the fighting in Alexandria. A monument was raised in St. Paul's in his honor, and his widow given the title of baroness with a £2,000 pension.

Britain eventually came to peace with Spain through guerilla warfare opposing Napoleon's invasion, though the Caribbean would continue under British rule. Postmortem, Abercromby was proven right about the difficulties of conquering Hispaniola. Napoleon's attempted reinstitution of slavery was rebuffed with more than 24,000 of the 40,000 French troops dispatched there killed by battle and Yellow Fever.

Over the nineteenth century, British holdings in the Caribbean grew wealthy through international trade, attracting the interest of expansionistic Americans. American ships raided Cuba in the War of 1812 using Spanish Florida as a haven, but they were unable to gain a foothold. While America purchased Florida and spread westward, the Monroe Doctrine threatened against further British colonization in the Western Hemisphere. Rich lands attracted British trade interests, however, especially with new markets opening in the liberated former Spanish colonies. Tensions remained high, not only in the south but on the northern border. The two nations nearly went to war in 1837 in the Caroline Affair when the Canadian Rebellion spilled over into New York.

War finally did come, beginning in the south as the US annexed Texas and Mexico, a long British ally, declared war. When the US seized Vera Cruz and marched on Mexico City, Britain feared total annexation and left its neutral position. Naval battles and raids dragged on for years until the two finally came to peace talks. Many in Britain wanted to support the Confederacy when the American Civil War began, but the British maintained a Southern-favored neutrality with secret donations of supplies and loans.

Uneasy peace continued until the beginning of the twentieth century when Britain nearly halted American plans of a Panama Canal and even suggested America revoke its annexation of Hawaii. Although war did not break out, it devastated relations. Americans refused to grant the British any aid as the Great War began in Europe, and the US grew closer ties with Germany, who respected the Monroe Doctrine as it had eyes for Africa and the Pacific. Over the course of the twentieth century, Germany and Britain allied against the threat of the Soviets, while America remained steadfastly isolated in the Western Hemisphere, gradually outpacing British authority.

April 18

The Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor had thrown many Americans into panic. The war effort came underway as the feeling of invincibility disappeared from the American spirit, eliminating all but a few stalwart isolationists. Meanwhile, the populace of the home islands of Japan were assured that they were invulnerable and that the war would soon be over with an American surrender.

April 18, 1942 - Doolittle Raid Wrecked by Japanese Death RayTo restore American morale and weaken Japanese resolve, the US determined to launch a raid on the empire's capital of Tokyo and other targets around the home islands. After it was suggested by Navy personnel that a bomber could take off from an aircraft carrier, the operation was handed to famed aviator Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle of the Army Air Force to customize B-25B bombers to make a one-way long-distance run. He stripped out the lower gun turret, radio equipment, and the upper armor, installed anti-icing agents and collapsible extra fuel tanks, and famously created fake rear turrets from broomsticks. Attempts were made for safe landing in the USSR, but the Soviet's non-aggression treaty with Japan made such an option impossible. Instead, the bombers were to touch down with ragtag allies in worn-torn China.

Despite these best-laid plans, the raid seemed star-crossed from the beginning. Shortly after seven in the morning of the proposed attack on April 18, crew aboard the USS Enterprise spotted Japanese picket ship No. 23 Nittō Maru, which spotted them as well. The Americans destroyed the smaller ship, and, realizing their position had been radioed back to Japanese command, launched the aircraft ahead of schedule. Everyone was breathless as the first bomber, piloted by Doolittle himself, plunged from the deck and managed to climb into the air despite the naysayers' fears of a splashdown.

The bombers swooped toward Japan with 10 aircraft heading directly for Tokyo. Other planes headed to targets in Yokohama, Nagoya, and Kobe, where they successfully dropped their bombs, tangled with fighters, and escaped to China. As the sun set, weather deteriorated, and the crews were forced to crash-land in temporary airfields. There was no sign of Doolittle or the other raiders. American newspapers published heavily censored stories, impressing the public while many in the know about the secret operation searched for information about the lost attackers of Tokyo. Japanese newspapers told that the capital had been successfully defended by the Ku-Go death ray.

Death rays had been popular in the pulp fiction writing of the time, but the fantasy came with certain scientific grounds of focused electromagnetic radiation. British inventor Harry Grindell Matthews, who successfully claimed a £25,000 prize for an unmanned remote-controlled vehicle in 1914, touted his own beam weapon in 1924. Nikola Tesla himself had claimed in a 1934 Times editorial to have designed one. While the science seemed plausible, the law of inverse-squares meant that an anti-aircraft microwave beam would require immense amounts of power to have any suitable range. Japanese researchers successfully lobbied for military resources to be directed into energy-technology, and the Ku-Go was granted an enormous new power station in 1940 as part of city air-defense.

In May of 1943, the bomber crew under Captain Edward York appeared at a British consulate in Iran with a harried tale. Low on fuel, their bomber separated from the others. York described seeing the bombers begin to fly erratically as the pilots slowly lost control under the gradual bombardment of microwaves. Eventually, their addled engines gave out, and the planes fell. York managed to escape the wide beam and flew to nearby USSR before they ran out of fuel. They were arrested and the bomber confiscated. Requests to be returned to America were refused due to the Japanese-Soviet treaty. Eventually Russian secret police orchestrated an escape by placing the Americans in Ashgabat and putting them in touch with a smuggler who would help them across the boarder. The details of the American causalities due to the death ray confirmed suspicions and caused fear of a "science gap". Money had already begun pouring into the atomic Manhattan Project, and still more was invested in beam research. Spanish immigrant and welding-researcher Alberto Longoria, who was mysteriously zapping pigeons at the same time the elderly Tesla drew diagrams in 1934, was suddenly hired into government service.

The Japanese, too, began giving more attention to their scientific warfare. Weather balloon technology enabled the creation of Fu-Go, fire bombs that were planned to set the American West aflame. After successful tests of biological warfare from experiments of the secret Unit 731 and Unit 100, the Fu-Go were adapted to carry anthrax, which devastated several American ranches but did not ultimately create the plague they hoped. Americans countered when they unleashed atomic bombs, dropped from near-sonic high-altitude planes capable of gliding far above the Ku-Go's effective reach and running cold so that infrared-seeking Ke-Go drones launched by To-Go electric cannons were unable to hone in on them.

When the war finally came to its conclusion, with plagues still ravishing China, radiation depopulating several Japanese cities, and chemical weapons obfuscating Soviet advance in Korea, new treaties drew up strict rules for scientific research. The United Nations created oversight committees and banned any research without clear civilian applications. Secret projects did continue, such as nuclear programs, but countries were forced to experiment in the open and mask the development of warheads in power plants. Marketing teams created applications for technology such as the microwave oven and public communications satellites.

April 19

With four men taken seriously on the ballots of the 1860 election, Abraham Lincoln's victory sent all those who had voted solidly for Southern Democrat John C. Breckenridge calling for secession. The matter escalated, and Washington sat unsure of what to do in a legally ambiguous situation. When the new Confederate state of South Carolina opened fire on the Union Fort Sumter sitting in their capital's harbor, civil war officially began. Lincoln now had legal standing to fight on grounds of returning captured Federal property, and he called for 75,000 volunteers to serve. The call was answered widely in the North; Ohio itself produced enough to fill the national quota.

April 19, 1861 - Baltimore Riots Lead to Maryland's SecessionGetting these troops to the front was a serious logistical issue. Foremost in the military's mind was protecting Washington, D.C., just across the river from Virginia, seceded as of April 17. All around the federal city, Marylanders wondered what would become of their state. The electors had voted for Breckenridge, and folks shared the spirit of the South. They were also seafarers and traders linked to the North, creating a delicate balance that troubled many in what would become known as the Border States. Most of the Western Marylanders had voted for John Bell of the Constitutional Union party, who wanted to keep the nation together under clear terms, but his carried state of Virginia had already given up such a dream. With no way to be certain on how the vote would go, Maryland officials such as Governor Thomas Hicks were hesitant to call for a formal vote.

The military, meanwhile, acted. Union troops were brought down from the North to the rail hub in Baltimore. There, they had to march across town, through streets lined with Confederate sympathizers, to board southwest-bound trains for Washington. On April 19, the 6th Massachusetts began the transition to find the path blocked by protestors. The protestors became violent, throwing stones and shouting at the Northerners to get out of their city. Troops opened fire out of panic, and the protesters charged them. Police began to swarm the area, but even they could not stop the fighting. Somewhere in the crowd, a series of protestors produced guns and returned fire.

The regiment's commander Colonel Edward F. Jones determined that retreat was no longer an option. He had warned his troops the night before to "pay no attention to the mob". The civilians had created themselves combatants, so he rallied his troops into formation to return fire. Baltimoreans were leveled, and the mob scrambled to escape. Jones directed the men in fixing bayonets and marching out firmly to their waiting transport to Washington.

With dead scattered in the streets, Marylanders rose up. After the raid on Harper's Ferry by John Brown, many in the state had formed militias as a precaution against a violent slave revolt. The call went out, and that night the militia seized the railroad bridges leading into the city. Whether they had official authority from Hicks and Balitmore's Mayor George Brown was kept vague, but they were effective in turning around a trainload of troops. Major General Robert Patterson, commander of the Department of Washington, ordered Brigadier General Benjamin Franklin Butler to secure the state. Militia countered with guerilla warfare, but the Union's superior arms enabled them to seize the major cities and declare martial law.

During their retreat to Virginia, the politicians who escaped arrest in Maryland voted for secession. Brown was captured and held in Baltimore while Hicks hurried to Washington to plead for peace that proved impossible, as Lincoln would explain that "Union soldiers were neither birds to fly over Maryland, nor moles to burrow under it".

Secession was politically significant, but largely moot as the military filled the void of elected government. Chaos with torn up railroads and cut telegraphs ruled in the countryside while strict regulations kept the cities from turning back into riots.

The Southern cry was to liberate the Marylanders. Virginian Generals Beauregard and Johnston were able to fend off a Union invasion at Bull Run, while Union troops held off two Confederate assaults late that summer. Eventually the stalemate around the Potomac swayed toward the Confederate side as they managed to float an army into southern Maryland. Many in Congress called for the evacuation of Washington, but Lincoln refused to budge, knowing what a political calamity it would be. The city was turned into a fortress and besieged time and again, but its defenses were unable to be cracked. Union General McClellan gained great aplomb for his efforts in drawing Confederate attention away in his Peninsular Campaign.

After years of brutal warfare that depopulated much of Maryland, victories in the West enabled the North to actualize the Anaconda Plan formulated by retiring General Winfield Scott that would choke out Confederate resources. Measures to placate Maryland tested the most effective strategies for occupying the South for Reconstruction as the war came to a close. The use of militias prompted a clear legal definition of "peaceable assembly", which caused Federal crackdown on fraternities such as the Klan as they grew up. National loyalty was rewarded, and subversion resulted in public humiliation rather than execution to prompt vengeance. Troublemakers found themselves as forced exiles on the Canadian borders. A strong military system invaded the American populace with a continuance of the draft that used young men in civil service. Blurry "American" ideals spawned wide-spread government corruption, but it would be generations before Americans would be willing to speak out against it.

April 2

In 1502, Arthur Tudor Survives. After decades of civil war, England's Wars of the Roses came to an end with Henry Tudor defeating Richard III at Bosworth Field in 1485. Henry, now Henry VII, dedicated his reign to securing the throne of England. He married Elizabeth of York, tying together the Lancasters and the Yorks to end the matter of supremacy and defeated anyone who continued to rebel. Henry also encouraged support from Wales by claiming Welsh descent. Most of all, he sought European recognition, which would legitimize his rule despite his being a questionable heir. Treaties ended war with France and called for Perpetual Peace with Scotland. He looked to the newly unified kingdoms of Castile and Aragon whose Ferdinand and Isabella were successfully driving the Moors out of Spain. In 1489, England and the Catholic Nobles signed the Treaty of Medina del Campo. Ferdinand and Isabella's youngest daughter, Catherine, would marry Henry's oldest son, Arthur.

April 2, 1502 - Arthur Tudor SurvivesArthur had been born September 20, 1486. His father had prophesied that Elizabeth's child would be a boy, whom he would name Arthur as he would bring about a new golden age for England. Henry arranged for the birth to be held at the capital, Winchester, which proved a bold and successful move. Arthur was estimated to be born prematurely but was strong. He was betrothed before his third birthday to Catherine, a few months older than he. Soon he was created Prince of Wales, coinciding with the birth of his sister Margaret, who would marry James IV of Scotland and secure England's northern border. Arthur grew up at Ludlow Castle in Wales under the guidance of tutors expert in politics, humanism, and science. Bernard André, the blind poet and biographer, ensured he thoroughly read the Greek and Latin Classics.

During his education, Arthur wrote letters to Catherine in formal, polite Latin, and she replied in kind. Arthur was quiet and reflective, much unlike his younger brother Henry, who preferred jousting to his clerical studies. After they were married in proxy in 1499, Arthur wrote to Ferdinand and Isabella that he would be "a true and loving husband" to Catherine. The two finally met and were married in November of 1501; Arthur said to his parents that he was pleased to "behold the face of [my] lovely bride". Despite his reservedness, Arthur commented to others before his wedding that that we was "lusty and amorous" and after, "Masters, it is a good pastime to have a wife".The couple retired to Ludlow Castle, where Arthur continued his duties as Prince of Wales. A plague of "sweating sickness" struck the castle, including the royal couple. After a harrowing illness, Arthur pulled through, saying he owed much to the dutiful care of his wife. They had their first son, Edward, three years later. Henry VII, seeing that his line was continued, died at peace in 1509. Arthur's brother Henry, meanwhile, settled into his role in the Church, where he convinced his brother to pull away from Roman authority as the Catholic monarchs had done with their own Spanish Inquisition. The English Inquisition, while never granted great powers, served as a significant contributor to military science following Henry's creative interests.

Arthur, ever-sickly after his illness, died in 1522. Eighteen-year-old Edward VI became king and soon married Princess Renée of France, cousin and sister-in-law to King Francis I. Catherine dominated the court, causing Reformer Thomas Cromwell to note, "If not for her sex, she could have defied all the heroes of History". Catherine pushed Edward to prevent Protestantism from infecting England. After Catherine's death in 1533, Renée began to be suspected of being a Calvinist heretic. The English Inquisition interrogated her, bringing the matter of the Reformation to the forefront of English politics. Edward began to rein in the powers of the Inquisition, which caused his uncle Henry to appeal to Rome for Edward's dismissal. Locals, who had long been angered over the influence of foreigners (even to provoke a riot known as Evil May Day in 1517), were outraged, and more riots began. Finally Edward followed the lead of Scandinavian countries by severing the state church from Rome. Henry was removed from office, and Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer oversaw the transformation of England to a largely Protestant nation.

The action caused war with Catholic Spain during the reign of Edward's eldest son, Henry VIII. The two nations fought their wars abroad, not risking the investment of direct invasion by an armada. Civil war in Scotland in 1638 against its king Charles sparked invasion by the English to defend Protestant interests. Success there prompted England to contribute to the Eighty and Thirty Years' Wars on the Continent, but the expense proved too great and resulted in the loss of Scotland as well as Catholic Ireland by the beginning of the 1700s. After recuperating, England returned her attention to colonies abroad, carving out a massive empire in North America (between Scottish Canada, French Louisiana, and Spanish Mexico), India, and Africa, but always seemingly at a shortage of manpower.

As an end came to Colonialism, England reinvented her colonies into the Commonwealth, which proved to be a potent economic and defense network. Other colonial nations, such as the Netherlands, Portugal, and Scotland, whose advancements in industrial technology in the late 1700s brought it among world leaders, lost much of their clout as the empires became fully independent.

April 20

After the rediscovery of the Code of Justinian in 1070 established new admiration for law rather than "might makes right," Europeans began a new focus on studying law, philosophy, and theology to prove who was in the right. The first was founded in Bologna, Italy, where international students hired scholars to teach them how to be protected by (and from) city law. Guilds and kings began their own universities in Italy, France, and England, collections of like-minded individuals where the brightest minds were collected to train and teach. In 1303, concerned that intellectuals were gaining an upper-hand on theology, Pope Boniface VIII founded a university of his own, Sapienza - Universitá di Roma, the University of Rome for Wisdom. Just before its release, the papal bull was edited to read "for the good of all men," perhaps in an effort to ensure universal church authority, a point he had battled over with Phillip IV of France and led the king to march on Rome.

April 20, 1303 - Sapienza University Leads to Industrial RevolutionIn 1431, Pope Eugene IV reorganized and revitalized the university, dividing it into schools for Law, Medicine, Philosophy, and Theology. Upon a review of Boniface's words, Eugene decided to add a fifth school of Builders that would handle practical matters that affected commoners, primarily improving agriculture. It was a controversial action considered banal by many scholars, but faculty was readily available from the military engineers in the Venetian Wars (1416-1573). The calculating wits that produced war engines were applauded as they approached civilian issues of flood control, land reclamation, and hydropower.

As the school's reputation improved, it attracted a young Leonardo da Vinci, who would become its first legendary faculty member. Da Vinci, who had apprenticed as an artist, had been disgraced by libel and became determined to found a new life in Rome. He initially applied to the school of medicine to teach from his knowledge of anatomy, but his sense of innovation (such as writing backwards to avoid ink-stains from his left-handedness) brought him to the Builders. Students followed his teaching in earnest, putting thousands of man-hours into inventions that da Vinci himself could have only drawn in his journals. Vincians experimented with submarines in the Tiber, flew parachutes, and drove spring-driven automated carts.

The legacy of da Vinci was largely considered to be charming toys until the attempted sack of Rome in 1527. Charles V, the Spaniard Holy Roman Emperor, defeated France in battle in Italy but had run out of funds to pay his soldiers. They mutinied and demanded to march on Rome, where Pope Clement VII had previously given his support to France. Only five hundred Swiss Guard stood against the onslaught of some 20,000 mercenaries. The pope called for militia, and "like Archimedes at Syracuse," the students and faculty of Sapienza brought out engines of war that had only been tested in games: experimental cannons, rotating scythes, collapsible towers, and flame-throwers. Legends stated that legions of automaton warriors marched, but it was just one, which was quickly defeated, although it did leave behind a stunning psychological effect.

Students were able to drive off Charles' troops and save the city. All of Europe marveled at the applications of science, and other universities swiftly adopted their own schools of engineering. Outside of war, engineers found themselves employed in Sapienza's original direction of improving the land for mankind in road-building, irrigation, and invention. The implementation of the printing press spread ideas far and wide, especially after the water-powered automated press began delivering thousands of pages each hour. As minds tackled electricity, steam, and chemistry, an industrial revolution swept over Europe. Papal Italy was at the forefront, becoming a thinktank that again won fame in war through technological superiority when armored wagons demolished Gustavus Adolphus's Swedish invasion of Pomerania in 1630.

The expansion of technology also brought dangerous levels of new knowledge to the public, such as Pisan Galileo Galilei's theory of a heliocentric Solar System. While the Catholic Church had affirmed its position with the Counter-Reformation on mass-printed pamphlets and manufactured goods, the scientific discovery had a great deal of theological backlash. Scholars at Sapienza studied Galileo's theory, tested it, and recommended to the pope that it be upheld. With a public relations machine already in place, theologians quickly assembled doctrine to better explain the significance in the delicate mechanics of Creation.

Gradually, the power of kings in Catholic lands gave way to the political, religious, and economic power of the Pope and its many banking and industrial interests. Steam-powered ships from Portuguese and Spanish fleets created a global empire, and Protestants in Northern Europe routinely made alliances to carve out colonies of their own. Catholic colonies sometimes attempted to gain independence from their mother countries like the Protestants, but the risk of excommunication proved too great for nations at large to rebel against the Church's commonwealth, which came to dominate South America, half of North America, Africa, and much of Asia.

April 21

When Francisco Madero began a coup against Porfiro Diaz in 1910, it set off a reaction that spun Mexican government out of control. Madero was assassinated in another coup in 1913 led by General Victoriano Huerta, and the chaos invited numerous others to join with their own violent bids for rule. The United States of America's southern neighbour became destabilized, threatening American interests there. Attempting to stymie the spread of violence, the United States placed a weapons embargo upon Mexico enforced by US warships. This action proved only to aggravate the situation as nine American sailors (who did not speak Spanish) that went ashore in Huerta-held, Constitutionalist-besieged Tampico were arrested by Mexican soldiers (who did not speak English) thinking it was a raid. The fiasco ended US-Mexican diplomacy.

April 21, 1914 - Americans Rebuffed at VeracruzWord of a German arms shipment to Mexico on the SS Ypiranga came to President Woodrow Wilson, who had already asked Congress for authorization to enforce his policy but was now required to act quickly. He gave the order to seize the shipment's destination, Veracruz, which would stop any chance of delivery. US Marines and Bluejackets from the USS Prairie came ashore and marched unopposed, though they had gathered a crowd of curious spectators.

Around noon, fighting began in the town with a stand at the rail yard, which was the signal for an uprising from around the town that had been organized by Commodore Manuel Azueta. When he had heard of General Victoriano Maass preparing a retreat of the Mexican forces in the face of American Marines, Azueta broke military form to relieve Maass of command and arrest him. The quiet as the Americans had come ashore was a feint, and they found themselves suddenly assaulted by Mexican irregulars armed with Mausers as well as bands of Mexican soldiers leading a general charge.

American Rear Admiral Frank Fletcher organized a relief force and sent it to shore, but the constant Mexican small arms fire made any headway impossible. Finally he resorted to heavy bombardment, covering the retreat of marines and sailors. The bombardment continued until that night, when more American ships and marines from Panama arrived, where the canal project was nearing completion. At dawn, the Americans again attempted to establish a beachhead and were again driven back as the ruined buildings proved even better cover for the defending Mexican forces than empty urban streets. Mexicans celebrated despite a heavy loss of life, including Commodore Azueta's son Jose, who famously gave a rallying cry while defending the Escuela Naval Militar alongside more than one hundred cadets, "If an American enters my house, I will either kill him or me!" In the end, the American fleet merely established a blockade, turning the Ypiranga back, and left the city with its wrecked harbor.

The military fiasco quickly became a political one. Latin American countries balked at what they considered an overbearing United States, especially Argentina, Brazil, and Columbia, the "ABC Powers". A conference was held in Bogota that not only gave a collective voice to the many countries south of the United States but also began to resolve the Mexican Revolution by recognizing Carranza and his Constitutionalists. The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine that had encouraged American intervention was declared to be as distrusted as European intrusion. Americans were chased out of many Latin American countries and came to refugee centers in San Diego and New Orleans to start new lives.

Americans were humiliated at their battlefield loss and quickly blamed Wilson, who lost much of his support in Congress. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels attempted to save face by emphasizing the bravery of the soldiers and ordering fifty-six Medals of Honor for the battle (half as many as was presented in the entire Spanish-American War). Marine Major Smedley Butler did not believe he had earned his medal and attempted to refuse it; Daniels returned with an order that he wear it at all public events.

Wilson narrowly lost the 1916 presidential election with voters instead turning to Republican Charles Hughes, who promised to bolster the military preparedness of America. The US Navy worked to defend American lives at sea, and the Army was put into practice chasing Pancho Villa after his raids of the Southwest. With so much nervousness from being weak at home and facing a unified front from the ABC Powers, Hughes discouraged Congress toward war after the release of the Zimmerman Telegraph, which served to expand the gulf that had been built up between the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere.

After the end of World War I, the United States turned toward European and Pacific markets and avoided expanding trade with Latin American countries outside of Panama. Issues with Japan became increasingly problematic as it expanded into China, where America had established markets. When war broke out in Europe in 1939, it was an opportunity for the United States to use its extensive military, which had continued to expand since 1916, in a decisive early strike against the Japanese naval forces at Okinawa.

April 23

In the first millennium, the island of Ireland was a complex patchwork of rival kingdoms. Among the most powerful were Munster in the southwest, Leinster in the east, and the lands of the Ui Neill in the north. Vikings added their own influence to the lot with settlements at Limerick, Cork, and Dublin, their largest. Even though the Irish kingdoms constantly attempted to raid and outmaneuver one another with alliances and counter-alliances, there was a titular High King that held the highest authority in Ireland. In AD 980, Mael Sechnaill, King of Meath (the most southerly Ui Neill) maintained a delicate balance as High King, securing his place by halting the growth of Viking power in the Battle of Tara.

April 23, 1014 - Brian Boru Secures High Kingship at ClontarfIn 1002, the balance shifted when Mael Sechnaill's kinfolk in the north began to support the growing strength of Brian Boru, king of Munster. Mael Sechnaill was amicable with Brian Boru, seeing him as an ally and rival more than an enemy since they had both worked to defeat uprisings in Leinster under Mael Morda and the Viking ruler of the Kingdom of Dublin, Sigtrygg Silkbeard. Morda's mother Glormfaith, former wife of Sechnaill, was mother of Sigtrygg and later became the wife of Brian Boru until their divorce in the early second millennium.

Although Brian Boru had worked for a decade to secure his rule, an uprising broke out under Flaithbertach, king of the more northern Ui Neill who had been first in the line of succession to Sechnaill. Brian Boru swiftly put down the rebels, but it gave a chance for Morda and Sigtrygg to rebel themselves; the annals say Glormfaith's sense of vengeance drove much of the political energy behind the rebellion. In 1013, Brian Boru and his allies invaded Leinster while the rebels' unsuccessful raids took place on Meath and along the southern coast. That winter, Sigtrygg called up international support from Vikings at Orkney and Man, collecting a massive force at Dublin.

When spring came and campaign season began, the two armies met at Clontarf, west of Dublin, at dawn on Good Friday. Brian Boru prayed while his armies ravaged the landscape and put it to the torch. The action drew out the Viking-Leinster army, the hardened foreign mercenaries on the front lines followed by the Dubliners and the Irish. Brian's son Murchad and his fifteen-year-old grandson Toirdelbach led his Irish armies while the aged king continued to pray in his tent. His prayers were interrupted when Brodir, a Viking warrior from the Isle of Mann, attacked.

Yet Brian Boru proved quick, especially for a septuagenarian, and ran Brodir through. He determined to march out to the battlefield, which was soaked with the blood of slain thousands. The Vikings had superior mail armor, but it proved useless when the Irish drove them into the sea that evening. Brian Boru's late charge relieved his son Murchad, who legendarily killed fifty men with each of his duel-wielded swords. As the battle ended, Brian Boru kept his grandson from pursuing the Vikings foolhardily into the high tide, where hundreds drowned.

With his authority secured, Brian Boru determined that he could continue to rule only through his son and grandson. He spent his final years tutoring them and establishing centralized training grounds for national armies. As Murchad and Toirdelbach came to the Irish kingship, they found fast allies against the common enemy Vikings with the Normans, who recently conquered England. Soon after 1100, Irish princess Blathmin married Stephen to become the queen consort of England, the first of many Irish rulers over the neighboring English.

The unified Irish were among the first to follow Norman knights to the Crusades. Over the next decades, the campaigns would ultimately fail despite the combined forces of Christendom, but the returning crusaders brought spices and technology that caused a hunger for more trade. Medieval Ireland had built a sophisticated system of investment and shipwrights to transport their warriors to the Middle East, and these were turned to an Irish merchant navy.

After being driven out of the Mediterranean by Italian fleets, the Irish turned south toward the African coast, battling the growing Portuguese Empire. The few Irish trading posts there were given up after the discovery of a new world across the Atlantic, where the Irish kingdom became wealthy through colonies in more temperate areas, capitalizing on the fur trade. After centuries of wealth, those colonies, too, would declare their independence, and Ireland would settle into its famously neutral role with an economy kept separate from the European Zone.

April 26

In 1865, after mortally wounding Abraham Lincoln, famed actor John Wilkes Booth leaped gracefully onto the stage of Ford's Theater, landing uninjured while announcing to the audience, "Sic semper tyrannis!" During the chaos, he made his escape out the back door, adding, "The South is avenged!".

April 26, 1865 - Booth Evades CaptureFederal troops poured into southern Maryland in pursuit, and a $100,000 reward was offered for information leading to his capture. They followed his trail to Virginia, where Booth was spotted on April 26 in the tobacco barn of farmer Richard H. Garrett. After a brief shootout with intelligence officers under Everton Conger, Booth again escaped on horseback while his accomplices were captured.

Booth fled deep into Virginia, disappearing forever. Many cases of "Booth-fever"" would lead to numerous captures of innocent men, and it was believed that Booth was able to escape out of the newly reunited country or out west, living among miners and ranchers who had never heard of his fame. Because of his acting abilities, there would be a great deal of theories about where he could have ended up. Other theories suggested he died attempting to ford rivers under the cover of darkness while still others hold that enraged Southerners, whether white or black, killed him on sight and did not leave enough remains to identify.

One year later, in Columbus, Georgia, the Ladies Memorial Association determined that a day should be set aside for remembrance of the Southern dead in the Civil War. Elizabeth Ellis chose the day April 26, referring to General Johnston's surrender, but soon Booth's disappearance came to mind. After proper review the Association determined the memorial would be held for all dead, including a special commemoration of President Abraham Lincoln. Flowers were placed on graves both Confederate and Union while a wreath was dispatched to Illinois. Booth ironically contributed to great healing between the two halves of the American nation.

April 3

In 1882, Jesse James Flees Missouri. As famous outlaw Jesse James prepared his gang for another robbery, he noticed a picture frame was dusty. He climbed onto a chair and proceeded to dust and straighten it. Behind him, one of his gang members, Bob Ford, shot at him, narrowly missing his head. Infuriated, James jumped down the chair and threw it at Bob, who had already run out the kitchen door. James chased him into the streets of Saint Joseph, Missouri, firing several shots before mounting his horse and disappearing, riding east.

April 3, 1882 - Jesse James Flees MissouriJames' life had been one of hardship. He was born in 1847 to Baptist minister Robert S. and Zerelda James, who moved from Kentucky to Missouri and contributed to founding William Jewel College. Robert led the family to California during the 1849 Gold Rush to become ministers. He died there shortly after, leaving behind his widow, James, his older brother Frank, and his younger sister Susan. Zerelda remarried, but their new stepfather Benjamin Simms was cruel to the young boys. She divorced him and remarried again, this time to a soft-spoken man, Dr. Reuben Samuel, who left his practice to work the James farm.

While his home life became peaceful, the rest of the nation turned to war. The James-Samuels lived on the pro-Confederacy western part of Missouri, a border state that determined to stay with the Union. Locals formed militias known as "bushwackers" for those supporting secession and Unionist "jayhawkers", and the state became plagued with guerilla war. Frank James joined the war on the Confederate side, fighting at the Battle of Wilson's Creek before taking sick-leave. In 1863, Jayhawkers came to the farm hunting Frank. They tortured Samuel by hanging him before cutting him down and reportedly whipped Jesse. Jesse soon departed the farm to meet up with Frank, who had fought as part of Quantrill's Raiders before returning to Missouri. The two brothers participated in massacres, learning skills in surprise tactics and psychological warfare, such as scalping and killing those who surrendered. Jesse himself attempted to surrender near Lexington, Missouri, where he was shot in the chest and forced to sit out the rest of the war. He was nursed back to health by his cousin Zerelda "Zee" Mimms, whom he married in 1874.

As the Civil War ended, the days of Reconstruction came. Confederates were banned from voting, preaching, and forming corporations. Many rebels continued the fight, operating as outlaws pulling robberies and harassing local government. Jesse and Frank fell in with the outlaws, joining a gang of brothers headed by fellow guerilla Cole Younger. The James-Younger gang became famous in December of 1869 when Jesse shot a bank cashier mistaking him for a former Union militia officer. The act of revenge on the Union and the James' larger-than-life escape put his name in the newspapers. While many dubbed them deplorable criminals, founder and editor of the Kansas City Times and former Confederate John Newman Edwards gave them a sense of heroism fighting the oppression of Reconstruction. He began publishing letters written by James, who claimed innocence and made argument for the right to resist tyrants.

For several years, the gang committed numerous robberies over half the country. As their fame grew, they were able to commit public robberies, even joking with fawning witnesses. Many considered them heroically fighting corruption, though they themselves never donated any of their income. The government attempted to crack down on them; Missouri Governor Thomas T. Crittenden stated in his inaugural address that their arrest was priority. Companies hired the Pinkerton Detectives to hunt the gang down, but the agent sent to the James farm was later discovered dead. In a shootout, Pinkertons killed several of the Youngers. A robbery gone wrong at the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota, and the following manhunt wiped out the Youngers while the Jameses disappeared.

Frank decided to give up the life of an outlaw, but Jesse formed up a new gang and began a new spree. This gang, however, did not have the cohesiveness of the ex-Confederates. Infighting occurred, and Jesse turned paranoid. He insisted that his two gangmembers, Charley and Bob Ford, move in with him. His paranoia proved right when Bob attempted to murder him and collect the governor's $5000 reward.

Soon after Jesse disappeared from St. Joe, Irish poet Oscar Wilde arrived in town looking for the famous outlaw. He had arrived in America that January and began an adventurous lecture tour on aestheticism. Wilde was disappointed but left word of where he could be reached. While drinking with miners in Leadville, Colorado, a man introduced himself as Jesse James. The two sat up late talking, discussing ethics and Wilde's famous quote "It's not whether I did it or not that's important, but whether people believed I did it" in comparison with James' "heroic" outlaw life. James seemed annoyed by Wilde's lack of conviction, but, upon Wilde's invitation to smuggle him and his family back to Europe, James agreed to travel with him.

James began his own lecture tour, visiting numerous cities in the United Kingdom as well as several countries on the Continent. He and Wilde conversed a number of times again, and James signed alongside Wilde on the petition put out by George Bernard Shaw to pardon the violent strikers at Chicago's Haymarket Riot in 1886. James noted to Wilde the importance of maintaining an unquestionable personal clout rather than depending on the law. Wilde himself was believed to have practiced the advice when his feud with the Marquess of Queensberry ended with a fistfight between the two.

In 1892, James finally returned to America. He had written to his brother Frank, who was living under an assumed name as a shoe salesman, and the two decided to come clean. After a fanfare trial, the two were acquitted. Jesse and Zee settled back on the farm, where their mother had been leading tours of the famous raid. His son, Jesse Edward James, studied law and became a prominent Missouri politician. James continued to write, dying in 1917 shortly after America's entry into World War I, for which he had campaigned vehemently as revenge on German u-boat attacks.

April 4

In 1841, after recovering from an illness believed to be pneumonia, US President William Henry Harrison announced a new policy on the issue of slavery in the federal territories. No new slaves could be born in the territories, but slaves could be brought in from existing slave states. The compromise alleviated the fears of abolitionists, primarily Northerners, about the direct expansion of slavery and brought great excitement to slave-holders, primarily Southerners, who gained a valuable new export. Harrison hoped it would be a transition into legalizing slavery overall in the territories, but it actually contributed to the end of slavery in America.

April 4, 1841 - Harrison Announces Slavery in TerritoriesHarrison was born in Virginia on February 9, 1773, the last president born before the Declaration of Independence. He was well educated at the Presbyterian Hampden-Sydney College, where he began to take part in the Great Revival sweeping the young nation. When word came that young William was beginning to participate in abolitionist meetings, his father put him into medical school in Philadelphia. Harrison disliked medicine and, upon his father's death, took Virginia Governor "Lighthorse Harry" Lee's advice to join Army.

Because of his rugged discipline and skill in command, Harrison quickly rose through the ranks. In 1795, while stationed in Ohio (then America's western frontier), Harrison eloped with Anna Symmes, and the two would have ten children together. According to historical study, Harrison also had six children through his slave Dilsia, all of whom were sold to avoid scandal as his career changed from the military to politics.

Harrison resigned as a lieutenant in 1797 and became the Secretary of the Northwest Territory, often acting as governor during the appointed official's long absences. Using his business of horse-breeding and the platform of cheaper land prices as encouragement for expansion in the territory, Harrison was elected to Congress in 1799. After Harrion's display of leadership in passing the Harrison Land Grant, President John Adams appointed him as Governor of the Indiana Territory. He worked to prove up the territory quickly and was granted the authority to make treaties with the local Indians. Many of Harrison's plans involved indentured servitude and the legalization of slavery in the territory, which would supply the manpower to improve the land all the sooner. As Indiana became increasingly abolitionist, Harrison's proposals for slavery were ended.

When the Shawnee under Tecumseh and his brother The Prophet began to create a confederation of tribes in 1810, Harrison came to national attention. Tecumseh argued that Harrison's treaties with the Miami people did not apply to the other tribes, meaning that Harrison had purchased substantially less land than the Treaty of Fort Wayne stated. Harrison disagreed, and Tecumseh threatened to kill anyone who settled the new land. War broke out, and, in 1811, Harrison defeated Tecumseh at Prophetstown near the Tippecanoe River, earning his nickname "Old Tippecanoe". The War of 1812 swiftly followed, and Harrison again defeated Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames alongside his British allies, defending the Ohio region from incursion.

After the war, Harrison's political career continued, including a stint as envoy to Gran Colombia, where he came into a feud with Simon Bolivar over freedom. He felt Bolivar would become a dictator over an anarchical people while Bolivar wrote, "The United States [seems] destined by Providence to plague America with torments in the name of freedom". In 1840, Harrison successfully campaigned to become president on the Whig ticket, creating many of the public relations activities used in politics today, include a jingle,

"Old Tip he wore a homespun coat, he had no ruffled shirt: wirt-wirt, But Matt he has the golden plate, and he's a little squirt: wirt-wirt!"

He portrayed himself as a poor frontiersman and his opponent Martin van Buren as a stodgy rich man, though Harrison himself had been born wealthy and continued to be so. Harrison also mastered reversing attempted attacks on his campaign. When the smear rumor spread that Harrison was an old coot who would "sit in his log cabin drinking hard cider" all day, he spread the image of himself as a man of the people, which became popular. Democrats also played on his age, nicknaming him "Granny Harrison". To show that he was still a fit man despite being 68, Harrison gave a two-hour inaugural address standing in the rain without a hat. He became ill afterward but proved himself in recovering and contributing to the Whig cause.

With Harrison as president, Henry Clay hoped to promote many of his ideals in the American System. Clay initially was overly forward, to which Harrison responded, "Mr. Clay, you forget that I am the President". Instead, Harrison and Daniel Webster controlled the Whigs and encouraged development of the West. Many of Clay's ideals did come into play such as the renewal of the National Bank and the funding of internal improvements such as roads and canals, but tariffs proved too divisive. Harrison championed Western settlement, including the expansion of slavery for rapid economic improvement.

His plan of importing slaves and freeing newborns as they came of age brought about the custom of transporting pregnant female slaves back to the South. The action was deemed barbaric (especially by Southern slave-owners whose own property would be more valuable if only they could produce slaves), and it became illegal to transport a slave "with child". Outcry arose over Congress legislating on "property", but political precedent was established as the Constitution regulated interstate commerce. As anti-slavery factions began to gain power in Washington, further control over the transport of slaves under interstate law was enacted such as health screenings. The acts culminated in the liberation of Dred Scott when his case was brought forth by another citizen in 1857.

With slavery increasingly restricted to local markets, a balloon in the slave economy began with the price of slaves skyrocketing to four and even six times the 1850s value. Investors eventually looked elsewhere, such as tenant farming, and the price collapsed. Slave-holders cried for government assistance, demanding that a public fund be created to liberate slaves by purchasing them, often for slightly more than market value. Democratic President Stephen Douglas did so with his Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, and, by 1866, slavery itself was put to an end.

April 5

In 1081, on this day Alexios Komnenos was executed. Still considered by many the eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium fell into renewed chaos in the second millennium after centuries of rule reestablished by military strength of Justinian, Maurice, and Heraclitus. Justinian had pushed the empire to its zenith in the sixth century, and other great emperors worked to hold onto its expansive territory. However, the cost in manpower and resources gradually weakened the empire as Arab strength grew. The Macedonian dynasty of Basil the first restored much of the declining Byzantine strength, but the death of Empress Theodora, childless at 76, left the empire without clear leadership in 1056. Her successor Michael VI abdicated to become a monk, and his successor Isaac I abdicated after nearly being struck by lightning, leaving rule to the wealthy Doukas family. They bloated the bureaucracy with highly paid but ineffectual leadership, undercutting the soldiers, who began to rebel on the frontiers.

April 5, 1081 - Alexios Komnenos ExecutedIn 1074, rebellion broke out in Asia Minor, which was put down by Alexios Komnenos. The Komnenoi were a successful military family, and Alexios fought bravely in wars against the Seljuk Turks and in putting down rebellions in the Balkans. During the political turmoil, generals Nikephoros Bryennios and Nikephoros Botaneiates revolted simultaneously, and Botaneiates successfully overthrew Michael VII Doukas in 1078. He effectively politicked for religious and public support and offered Bryennios the position as junior co-emperor. Bryennios refused and was subsequently defeated by Alexios, blinded, and forcibly retired.

As Nikephoros III Botaneiates, he attempted to establish a new court, but his efforts only worsened the confusion. The established bureaucracy became alienated and even more ineffective while Botaneiates' co-emperor John Doukas and the old court began plots to overthrow Botaneiates. They concentrated their efforts on Alexios, who had continued to serve as a heroic general in the West and prepared to battle against invading Normans who fought to return the rule of the deposed Michael VII. Empress Maria of Alania, former wife of Michael VII and then wife of Botaneiates, adopted Alexios as her son and sent him to raise an army along with his natural and adoptive brothers. His mother, Anna Dalassena, escaped the suspicious palace guard and sought sanctuary at Hagia Sofia. The guards attempted to bring her home, but she exclaimed falsehoods of a plan to blind Alexios and his brother, whom she said had fled the city so that they might continue to serve the emperor. Although they tried to quiet her, she swore that she would only leave the church if Botaneiates gave his cross to her along with the vow that he would do no harm to her family.

Botaneiates became suspicious of her theatrical appeal and refused to give such a vow. He sent agents to find Alexios and his brother, who were indeed raising an army. They were brought back to Constantinople on April 1, imprisoned, and executed. Anna Dalassena hid in Hagia Sofia, which Botaneiates surrounded in a "siege" that prevented food other than sacrament to enter. Embarrassed, she was forced to leave the church and resigned to the convent of Petrion. Botaneiates set about rooting out the rest of the conspirators, which crippled the government in a crucial time.

The Normans under Duke Robert Guiscard continued their invasion of Byzantine lands after securing Sicily and Malta from the Muslim forces to the south. Using the political instability as a pretense, his forces conquered southern Italy and began an invasion of the Balkans with papal blessing. His army overwhelmed Botaneiates' defenses at Dyrrachium and moved toward Constantinople. Botaneiates attempted to defeat the army in the field, but his armies were repeatedly crushed, and the loot won by the Normans kept dissension at a minimum. Finally, in 1085, Robert sacked Constantinople and ended the Byzantine Empire.

Robert died after a few years' rule in Constantinople, and the Norman kingdom there collapsed under Seljuk attack. The ruling Seljuk emperor, Alp Arslan, had established a frontier of feudal "beyliks" (states) after defeating the Byzantines in Anatolia in 1071 at Manzikert. When the Seljuks splintered after the death of Malik Shah, Kilij Arslan founded the Sultanate of Rum in Asia Minor, pushing westward with the Emir Chaka of Smyrna until the Normans retreated back to Italy and Sicily. Muslim control rolled westward across the Balkans, butting up against Christendom's strongest center in Italy. Many talked of a united Christian force to drive back the Turks, but the most that Pope Urban II was able to manage was a bolstering of defenses for Italy and a push to retake lands along the North African coast to affirm Spain's Reconquista.

Meanwhile, trade flourished between the Italian city-states, such as Venice. With the Byzantine stranglehold on east-west trade removed, the Muslims gained great influence shipping good westward. Trade with Kiev at the north of the Black Sea brought Islam to Russia, where it made great advances overriding the Orthodox Christian beliefs adopted in the century before. Constantinople continued being one of the main hubs of the world, and Europe continued as a rich market for Islamic traders for centuries to come. Christian kingdoms, meanwhile, expanded southward and across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World there. While Europe underwent a Renaissance in the seventeenth century, many great minds traveled to the libraries of Constantinople to study, keeping the Islamic world apace with innovations in medicine, mathematics, and science.

April 6

In 1917, as the Great War rolled into its second year, it became obvious that Germany was caught in an unwinnable two-front war. Hoping to distract the Russians by deepening the revolution breaking out in early 1917, the German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman arranged for a group of Communists including the infamous Vladimir Lenin to travel through German territory in a closed railroad car, eventually taking them back to Petrograd. To weaken the Western Front, Germany announced its resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, crippling the supply line coming in from America.

April 6, 1917 - World War Expands to US, Mexico, and SwedenAmerica balked, with leaders such as former president Theodore Roosevelt shouting, "Piracy!" President Wilson attempted to maintain a virtual peace by arming ships to destroy U-boats. Despite the Americans' merchant marines, the submarine attack proved overwhelmingly successful. It was only a matter of time before America would come into the war.

Seeing that the war might spread, German leadership began to investigate ways to make such an expansion work in their favor. Zimmerman sent a telegram to the ambassador to Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt, instructing him to suggest an alliance. Germany would contribute munitions and funding while Mexico created a new front for America. By the time of Germany's victory, it would give Mexico back Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, land lost in the Mexican-American War seventy years before. Mexico itself was in a very difficult position, still facing revolutionaries after decades of lawless fighting in the desert northwest. The US had already performed patrols into Mexico, chasing warlords such as Pancho Villa who raided American towns. Mexico adopted a new constitution on February 5, 1917, which was the first in the world to guarantee social rights. There was still much discontent in the country, and at last the Mexican government determined that solidarity could be established if the nation faced a single enemy. On April 6, 1917, the US Congress declared war on Germany and its allies, which suddenly included Mexico.

On the same day, the war spilled northward into the Baltic region. Despite its earlier prominence as one of the greatest nations of Europe, Sweden had long maintained its neutrality. Wars with Russia had weakened the country in the eighteenth century and resulted in the loss of Finland in 1809. In the Napoleonic Era, Norway was handed over to Sweden from Denmark, though the Norwegians fought for independence. In 1905, Norway won its independence, and Sweden became a fraction of what it had been. After much encouragement and seeing the weakness of the Russians, the Swedes finally determined to win back their glory by retaking Finland. On April 6, a Swedish force invaded from the north, backed by a flotilla, and was joined by hopeful Finns. "White" Finns who had enjoyed Russian protection in the Grand Duchy interrupted the Swedish advance, adding to the chaos.

Despite the entrance of the United States, 1917 proved a difficult year for the Allies. US troops were immediately dispatched to Mexico, which was quickly overrun thanks to armored vehicle advances made by effective military minds such as Captain George S. Patton. While the battles were one-sided, America became bogged down with long supply-trains and a difficult occupation. Revolutionaries who had long practiced guerrilla warfare continued their resistance, causing Americans to pour more and more troops into Mexico rather than the trenches in France.

Issues also broke out between the United States and Japan, who had been among the Allies since the first days of the War. Almost immediately after their declaration of war against Germany, Britain and Japan followed their treaty of 1902 to use Japanese ships to capture German colonies in the Pacific and destroy the Kriegsmarine stationed there. With Russia collapsing, the Japanese began to push further into Asia, bringing the question of expansion into China. The US had disapproved of the Twenty-One Demands issued by Japan to China, which Secretary of State William J. Bryan saw as a rejection of the previous Open Door Policy defending Chinese autonomy while supporting all foreign interests. Britain attempted to keep both sides happy and helped to clarify spheres of influence while hosting Japanese Foreign Minister Ishii Kikujiro and American Secretary of State Robert Lansing, promoting Japan while the US held the Philippines.

Russia dropped out of the war October 26, 1917, with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, forming a separate peace with Germany. While much of the Central Powers celebrated, the Russian Civil War proved to destabilize the conquered regions. As Socialist "Reds" expanded their powers in Russia following the November revolution, they crossed the border into Finland, creating a new front for the Swedes occupying there. The Swedish invasion turned into a multisided Finnish Civil War. After a Soviet victory in the Russian Civil War, the Swedes were chased out of Finland, which again fell under Russian dominance.

The exhausted Central Powers eventually collapsed in 1919, ending the fighting in Europe while it continued for years elsewhere. The American occupation of Mexico finally ceased in 1920, though it would forever mingle America in the affairs of Latin America. The ABC Nations (Argentina, Brazil, and Chile) worked to counter America's Monroe Doctrine, causing division and a number of bush wars, such as the fierce fighting in America's occupation of Hispaniola and expansion into the Caribbean.

When Germany went to war against Western Europe again in 1939, the United States refused to join another World War as occupations in the south were so difficult. The war did expand to Asia, however, when the Japanese allies of Germany performed a sneak-attack on Vladivostok in 1941. Soon both hemispheres were once again embroiled in war.

April 7

On April 7, 1506, Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta was born in the Kingdom of Navarre at the Castle of Xavier, from which he would later take his surname. He was the youngest son of Juan de Jasso, an adviser to the king, and wealthy heiress Doña Maria de Azpilcueta y Aznárez. When Francis was six, Spain invaded Navarre. After his father's death, Francis's older brothers worked alongside French conspirators hoping to repel the Spanish invaders. When the plot failed, the family was stripped of its land holdings and their castle was reduced to a residence with all of its battlements destroyed.

April 7, 1541 - Francis Xavier Vows an Eternal Portuguese EmpireWith civil war raging around the impoverished family, his mother determined to save Francis by sending him to live with her relative Martin de Azpilcueta in 1518. Rather than growing up in a city under the thumb of Spanish rule in a country that would eventually be cut in half with the southern end ceded to the invaders, Francis joined a world of academics. Martin completed his doctorate in canon law at Toulouse and brought Francis with him to the University of Salamanca. There, Martin contributed to the revolutionary doctrines of the School of Salamanca, where Francisco de Vitoria and others who reinvented natural law, argued for human rights even among aborigines, and promoted free will alongside liberty. Martin himself, earning the nickname "Doctor Navarrus", determined the time value of money, introducing the first notions of finance theory and principles of investment.

The ideas were formative to young Francis's thinking, and he was considered a promising genius when he began studies at the Collége Sainte-Barbe in Paris. There he met men such as Ignatius of Loyola and Pierre Favre who would later found the Society of Jesus (Jesuit) monastic order. While Francis agreed with much of the men's thinking, they eventually parted ways as Francis considered himself more of a humanist, replying to Ignatius of Loyola's Biblical rhetorical question, "What will it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" with "The world, for a time," treating it as a cost-benefit analysis.

Francis could not be satisfied with the theories of academia and wished for action. He left his teaching position at Beauvais college to apply himself to the growing field of economics and banking. He caught the attention of Martim Afonso de Sousa, an adventurer who began the colonization of Brazil and furthered Portuguese expansion in India. When de Sousa was to be dispatched to India in 1541 as the new viceroy, he brought Francis along with him. Their ship, the Santiago, also carried Jesuits whom King John III had asked to help restore the characters of Portuguese men stationed in the east as they had fallen toward the pagan ways. Francis and the Jesuits again compared philosophies, and again Francis sought to build up the world's condition rather than attempt to alleviate it.

Arriving in India, Francis was appalled alongside the Jesuits of the imperialists' treatment of locals. He argued for the Indians' natural rights and gained favor from both sides with the encouragement of economic investment to improve the region. While Jesuits aided the poor and spread the Word, Francis worked to build banks and fair courts in addition to the factories and fortresses set up by de Sousa. Portuguese soldiers and administrators there were fraught with ambition, which Francis fostered, as well as corruption, against which Francis worked with the establishment of stiff penalties and economic blacklisting. He refused to allow slavery and instead argued for fair wages to Indians and Portuguese alike.

The formula worked well. The local economy flourished, and soon the native populace was eager to attend the Jesuits' schools to learn Portuguese. As soon as Francis built up a bank in one port, he used the excess funds to expand banking to the next. India came under Portuguese rule with military power linked to economic success: any rebellion or invasion by other European power would cripple the wealth and was thus opposed by locals.

By 1545, Francis began expansion of his planned trading empire eastward to what were known as the Spice Islands. Again using the Jesuits as a method to inspire confidence among the locals, he was able to communicate his economic principles and investment strategies. In 1548 he met with a Christian Japanese man, Anjiro, later called Paulo de Santa Fe, who had fled to the Jesuits seeking a better life. He gave lengthy details of his homeland, which inspired Francis to travel there. The Japanese proved unfriendly with no port agreeing to take in his ship until he met with the daimyo of Satsuma. The Japanese aristocracy resisted Jesuits who had come with Francis and outlawed Christianity. Rather than give up his business, Francis changed his formula and worked almost exclusively with the merchant class, boosting imports, encouraging factories, and gradually making the culturally outcast profession into a noble one.

In 1552, Francis set sail for a new market, arguably the greatest yet: China. While waiting during an attempt to get cheaper passage and entry into China, he died of a fever on the island of Shangchuan. Although his economic principles did not reach China during his lifetime, they had established an enormous stronghold for Portuguese power in the East. Later colonizers would battle over China with the English eventually wresting control of the empire away from the French.

With such a monopoly, the Portuguese attracted eager allies as well as enemies among the rest of Europe. Portuguese became the international language of banking, and Portugal state banks were found even in colonies of other nations. Naval warfare through the eighteenth century weakened Portugal's hold, and eventually their colonies would gain political independence. Even today, however, Lisbon rivals London and Zurich as a banking hub and international markets are centered on Portuguese-based trading in economic capitals like Goa, Malacca, and Nagasaki.

May 20

By 212 BC, the Siege of Syracuse had dragged on for two years as the Romans worked to dislodge a key ally of their nemesis, the Carthaginians. While the Romans held advantages at land and sea, Syracuse was defended by the genius of Archimedes, credited as the greatest mathematician and inventor of the Classical Age.

Archimedes Taken Captive by the Romans His siege engines had kept the powerful Roman navy from successful attacks despite their sambuca, floating siege towers with hooks that would allow troops to easily scale any seawall. The genius of Archimedes, however, allowed the Syracusans to fight back with the famed Claw of Archimedes, a large crane using a hook to lift, capsize, or break up enemy ships. Psychologically devastating was the legendary heat ray powered by carefully arranged mirrors and good weather, allowing the Syracusans to scorch any Roman ship in line of sight.

Unable to take the city by direct assault or even establish a tight enough blockade to keep supplies from coming in, the Roman siege became a humbling stalemate. The populace waited for reinforcements from Carthage, who were already stressed with a shortage of troops for the fighting in Spain. There seemed no great hurry as the Romans were held at sea and the land stiffly defended, so the Syracusans simply went about their business. As the second year dragged on, the city carried out its annual Mounikhia festival of the goddess Artemis. After stuffing themselves on moon-round, open-faced tortillas and spring wine, the city settled to slumber, and the Romans made a cunning attack. A small band managed to scale the wall at night, kill the remaining guards, and open the gates for a full Roman invasion. The outer city quickly fell, and the rest of the Syracusans escaped to the center citadel, where they prepared to hold out again.

Marcus Claudius Marcellus, commander of the Roman forces, ordered that Archimedes be found and brought to him unhurt. While the Romans rampaged the city, Archimedes is said to have scarcely noticed, instead focusing on his mathematical work. A soldier found an old man and demanded he come with him to Marcellus, but Archimedes replied, "Do not disturb my circles!? Just before the enraged soldier struck down the old man, his centurion stopped him and told Archimedes they would wait. They sat for hours while the septuagenarian worked until he finally exclaimed another famous "Eureka!" and went with the soldiers to Marcellus, one of the few willing to listen to the prattling geometry of a mathematician.

Archimedes' work at the end of his life is credited with the creation of calculus. The famous story of his discovery of buoyancy by placing a phony golden crown into water while comparing its mass to a solid block of gold created a roundabout solution to the matter of density calculation for complex solids, but Archimedes wanted to do it purely through numbers. Using the Method of Exhaustion as he had while calculating pi, he found it applicable to any physical system, a mathematical groundwork that would make possible the coming age of technology. It would be his last great contribution to mankind as the inventor would die two years later under house arrest in Rome, designing weapons to counter the Carthaginian invasion of Italy. In fact, the defeat and capture of Hannibal at Herdonia in 210 BC would be credited to Archimedes' harpoon-ballistae disrupting Hannibal's tactically advantaged position.

Calculus would be the greatest in a list of incredible inventions from Archimedes. Born in Syracuse, young Archimedes traveled to Alexandria, the center of knowledge of the Classical world. There, he studied with the greatest mathematicians of the day and even went a step further to applying the mathematics toward engineering. He invented the Archimedes Screw, a tilted, rotating plane that could easily raise liquids or grains. His work with the lever caused him to point out the effectiveness of a fulcrum with, "Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth". Other works included block-and-tackle, differential gears, and an odometer.

Though Archimedes had passed, the Romans knew how to adapt captured culture. The Scipio family, famous and wealthy with Scipio Africanus' victory at Zama, funded the Archimedium, believed to be the first engineering school in the Western world. There, applications for Archimedes' math would be studied, advancing sciences such as optics, metallurgy, physics, chemistry, navigation, and astrology. Over the course of the next two centuries, Rome would grow in leaps through devices such as the compass, telescope, and water pump, which revolutionized the mining industry and enabled the development of the steam engine. As with all science, the Romans sought out its military applications, and soon Roman steam-powered armored carts would be seen on patrol from the coal fields of Britain to the forests of the Rus to the hills of Persia and across the sands of the Sahara.

June 20

In 451, one of the greatest victories in the career of the great conqueror Attila the Hun came as he swept the allied Roman-Visigoth force from the field and assured his conquest of Gaul.

Attila's Victory at the Catalaunian Plains As very little of the Hunnic culture included portraiture, it is difficult to know what Attila looked like, but he was recorded by the Roman historian Priscus, attendee to the Hun court in 448 as an attache to the Byzantine ambassador. Priscus described Attila as, "Short of stature, with a broad chest and a large head; his eyes were small, his beard thin and sprinkled with grey; and he had a flat nose and tanned skin, showing evidence of his origin".

The origin of the Huns themselves remains a mystery. The prevailing hypothesis has the nomadic people as descendants from the Xiongnu, tribes who had lived north of China and migrated westward. Over the course of the fourth century, the Huns came to the Volga River (having apparently taken up the practice of head-binding) and began building an empire that would control a swath of Europe from the Rus to the Atlantic. The horsemen had been beaten back from an invasion of Armenia by the Sassanid Empire who then turned north and west. Over several decades, the Huns under the brother-kings Blenda and Attila exploited the exhaustion of Roman troops while the Sassanids approached from the east and the Vandals seized Africa to establish the Danube as a tentative border with the Byzantine Empire. Blenda died after the Huns turned back from their invasion of the Balkans (even to the gates of Constantinople), loaded down with some 1450 pounds of gold in tribute. As the sole ruler of the Huns and with vast wealth at his command, Attila ravaged the Byzantines again before conquering westward.

He allied himself with Emperor Valentinian III of the Western Empire and began a crossing of Gaul toward the Visigothic kingdom Toulouse. His alliance with Rome fell apart as Valentinian's sister Honoria, who had an arranged betrothal to a senator, attempted to escape it by asking for political aid from Attila. As proof of her turmoil, she sent along the engagement ring, which Attila took as a proposal. He agreed to this imaginary proposal and asked for a dowry of half the Western Empire. Valentinian tried unsuccessfully to convince Attila of the illegitimacy of the proposal, and the Hun continued westward into Rome, now as an enemy. Aetius, Roman general and former friend to Attila, formed up the troops of a new Visigothic and Roman force, blocked Attila's path, and caught the army at the Plains of Catalaunian.

While skirmishes erupted between the various Hunnic vassals and Roman allies, the main forces arrived at the field. Inspired by augurs, Attila turned his soldiers back quickly and seized the ridge at the top of the plain. The Romans had attempted to beat them, and their forces became disorganized. The Visigoths hurried to flank, but their king Theodoric was fell from his horse and was trampled. With the Visigoths slowed, the Huns pressed the attack on the Sangiban allies in the center, who broke and became confused with the Visigoths. Seeing their allies crumble under the onslaught of Hunnic horse archers, Aetius ordered the Romans to retreat.

Reining his victorious troops, Attila would push through the little Roman defense left in Gaul and conquered the Visigoths, whose tribal chiefs fought each other over the throne as much as the Huns. Seeking to defend Italy against invasion, Aetius convinced Valentinian to honor his sister's "proposal". In 452, Attila won his bride along with Gaul and northern Hispania and with the Visigoth lands between the two. With an affirmed alliance between the Huns and Romans, Attila went on to press the Franks into vassals and then turned eastward to collect tribute the Byzantine emperor Marcian had stopped. Early in 453, Attila suffered fatal bleeding from the nose and throat, which was taken as witchcraft (or simply assassination by poison) conducted by Marcian.

The Huns would be unified with the death of Attila in seeking vengeance on Constantinople, which would not fall for two generations. Using Gothic vassals as bulk soldiers and driving the Danes from mainland Europe, the Hunnic Empire stretched from the Atlantic to the Caspian and the Mediterranean to the North Sea for nearly three centuries. It fell to an uprising sparked by the Frankish noble Charlemagne, who would build a powerful empire in its western half while a new breed of horsemen, the Magyar, conquered the east. Meanwhile, the Muslims of Africa would cross the Mediterranean and conquer as far north as the Alps, eventually to become the uncontested major world religion after the fall of Rome.

October 20

In 1740, on this day Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia, Archduke of Austria, and ruler of too many duchies to list, decided he would like some mushrooms for dinner. Delighted, he shared them with his daughter and heir, Maria Theresa, whom he had kept near him for fear of his death since 1738.

Austrian Throne Left Empty He had worked throughout his reign to secure the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, which would allow a daughter to secure the throne of Austria. Female rulers, while sometimes seen in Europe such as England's Elizabeth and Poland's Jadwiga, were simply unheard of in the traditions of the ruling empires of the Continent. All of Charles' work would be undone in a quick lapse of thought as the mushrooms would prove poisonous.

Charles died, and Maria Theresa followed him soon after. It was believed that Maria Theresa was pregnant, but autopsy upon a royal was forbidden, and there was no reasonable way to be sure beyond the whispers of her nurses. Maria Theresa's husband, Francis Stephen, stood to directly inherit the titles, but he was distrusted by many of his people, and his claims were hardly locked in iron-clad law. Instead, a surge of Austrian nobles, as well as the Hapsburgs in Spain, looked to take up the throne. Civil war would break out in the empire and then all through Europe in what became known as the War of the Austrian Succession.

Austria proved itself unable to secure a ruler. Its coffers had been emptied by the expenses of the War of the Polish Succession and the Russo-Turkish War. Charles had ignored suggestions to focus on restoring the imperial treasury as well as expanding the military, which had dwindled to 80,000 soldiers who had not been paid in months. Instead, Charles focused on the security of his Pragmatic Sanction, but now there was no ruler at all. Austria unable to defend itself, Frederick the Great of Prussia would begin the international move carving up the empire with his invasion of Silesia on December 16. The Hungarian Diet would declare its independence early in 1741 and drop out of the war.

The rest of Europe would hurry to grab what it could. France and Spain turned on each other and fought bitterly over duchies in northern Italy. Frederick, meanwhile, began a campaign to unite the German states not as Holy Roman Emperor, but as Emperor of Germany, a Kaiser as he called it. Saxony would initially fight, then yield, as would most of the others. England joined Spain against France in a bid for domination in the colonies of North America and India. Russia, meanwhile, became embroiled in a two-front war with Sweden while attempting to block the Prussians' move south.

When the war ended and the dust settled on battlefields in 1756, Europe reached a new balance of power. Spain made great gains in Italy, Germany stood united under the Prussian crown, and Russia gained a sphere of influence in the Balkans. The French were removed from North America while the British came to dominate Canada and India. Expenses would be charged upon the colonies, spurring a reprisal from the American colonists that demanded representation to determine their taxes. As one of his last actions before his death, George II promoted new ministers of parliament from the colonies, a rash decision in the minds of many, but what he considered best rather than leaving the matter to his grandson who would "foul it up".

Austria itself would become a shadow with only its lands east of the Alps under the new Austrian King Leopold. The many subordinate peoples broke free and named their own kings, which each had to be approved by the Great Powers to ensure a return to European stability.

April 19

In 1713, with no living male heirs, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, issued the Pragmatic Sanction to ensure that Habsburg lands and the Austrian throne would be inherited by his daughter, Maria Theresa of Austria (not actually born until 1717). But unfortunately Maria Theresa did not survive her father for long and the Austrian Throne was left empty.

Austrian Throne Left Vacant On an October day twenty-seven years later Charles decided he would like some mushrooms for dinner. Delighted, he shared them with his daughter and heir, Maria Theresa, whom he had kept near him for fear of his death since 1738. He had worked throughout his reign to secure the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, which would allow a daughter to secure the throne of Austria. Female rulers, while sometimes seen in Europe such as England's Elizabeth and Poland's Jadwiga, were simply unheard of in the traditions of the ruling empires of the Continent. All of Charles' work would be undone in a quick lapse of thought as the mushrooms would prove poisonous.

Charles died, and Maria Theresa followed him soon after. It was believed that Maria Theresa was pregnant, but autopsy upon a royal was forbidden, and there was no reasonable way to be sure beyond the whispers of her nurses. Maria Theresa's husband, Francis Stephen, stood to directly inherit the titles, but he was distrusted by many of his people, and his claims were hardly locked in iron-clad law. Instead, a surge of Austrian nobles, as well as the Hapsburgs in Spain, looked to take up the throne. Civil war would break out in the empire and then all through Europe in what became known as the War of the Austrian Succession.

Austria proved itself unable to secure a ruler. Its coffers had been emptied by the expenses of the War of the Polish Succession and the Russo-Turkish War. Charles had ignored suggestions to focus on restoring the imperial treasury as well as expanding the military, which had dwindled to 80,000 soldiers who had not been paid in months. Instead, Charles focused on the security of his Pragmatic Sanction, but now there was no ruler at all. Austria unable to defend itself, Frederick the Great of Prussia would begin the international move carving up the empire with his invasion of Silesia on December 16. The Hungarian Diet would declare its independence early in 1741 and drop out of the war.

The rest of Europe would hurry to grab what it could. France and Spain turned on each other and fought bitterly over duchies in northern Italy. Frederick, meanwhile, began a campaign to unite the German states not as Holy Roman Emperor, but as Emperor of Germany, a Kaiser as he called it. Saxony would initially fight, then yield, as would most of the others. England joined Spain against France in a bid for domination in the colonies of North America and India. Russia, meanwhile, became embroiled in a two-front war with Sweden while attempting to block the Prussians' move south.

When the war ended and the dust settled on battlefields in 1756, Europe reached a new balance of power. Spain made great gains in Italy, Germany stood united under the Prussian crown, and Russia gained a sphere of influence in the Balkans. The French were removed from North America while the British came to dominate Canada and India. Expenses would be charged upon the colonies, spurring a reprisal from the American colonists that demanded representation to determine their taxes. As one of his last actions before his death, George II promoted new ministers of parliament from the colonies, a rash decision in the minds of many, but what he considered best rather than leaving the matter to his grandson who would "foul it up".

Austria itself would become a shadow with only its lands east of the Alps under the new Austrian King Leopold. The many subordinate peoples broke free and named their own kings, which each had to be approved by the Great Powers to ensure a return to European stability.

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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.