|Study debunks lead poisoning theory in Franklin mystery|
May 08, 2013, The Canadian Press by Staff
A long-standing Arctic mystery has become even more baffling with research that appears to debunk a common theory about the demise of the Franklin expedition.
Chemists at the University of Western Ontario used an array of the latest analytic techniques to conclude that poorly made cans of food were not responsible for the lead that poisoned the officers and crew of the doomed 19th-century voyage to explore the Arctic.
|Ancient DNA Solves 320-Year-Old Mystery: Origins of Now Extinct Falkland Islands Wolf|
May 05, 2013, ScienceDaily by Staff
University of Adelaide researchers have found the answer to one of natural history's most intriguing puzzles -- the origins of the now extinct Falkland Islands wolf and how it came to be the only land-based mammal on the isolated islands -- 460km from the nearest land, Argentina.
The 320-year-old mystery was first recorded by early British explorers in 1690 and raised again by Charles Darwin following his encounter with the famously tame species on his Beagle voyage in 1834.
|Vatican Uncovers First Known European Depiction Of Native Americans|
May 02, 2013, The Huffington Post by Alessandro Speciale
reservationists working on a Renaissance fresco in the Vatican have uncovered what experts believe is the first European representation of Native Americans, from 1494.
Writing on April 27 in the Vatican’s semi-official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, the director of the Vatican Museum, Antonio Paolucci, said the previously unnoticed detail was discovered in a Resurrection scene painted by the Renaissance master Pinturicchio.
|Skeleton of teenage girl confirms cannibalism at Jamestown colony|
May 01, 2013, The Washington Post by David Brown
The first chops, to the forehead, did not go through the bone and are perhaps evidence of hesitancy about the task. The next set, after the body was rolled over, was more effective. One cut split the skull all the way to the base.
“The person is truly figuring it out as they go,” said Douglas Owsley, a physical anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution.
|8 Things You May Not Know About the Louisiana Purchase|
April 30, 2013, History.com by Jesse Greenspan
On April 30, 1803, U.S. representatives in Paris agreed to pay $15 million for about 828,000 square miles of land that stretched from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada. This deal, known as the Louisiana Purchase, nearly doubled the size of the United States. President Thomas Jefferson called it “an ample provision for our posterity and a widespread field for the blessings of freedom.” Yet it also had detractors on both the French and American sides. Two hundred ten years later, explore eight facts about the wars, negotiating tactics and lucky coincidences that made the Louisiana Purchase possible.
|America's founding fathers were Essex boys, according to claims|
April 30, 2013, The Telegraph (UK) by Melanie Hall
A rival claim to the Mayflower by the port town of Harwich states that the ship's crew were from Essex and only set foot briefly in the West Country before starting their transatlantic voyage.
The claim has taken on extra significance as the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's voyage in 2020 nears - Plymouth has already sent an invitation to whoever is the President of the United States in seven years' time.
|After 155 Years, It’s the End of an Era at Cooper Union|
April 24, 2013, History.com by Barbara Maranzani
On Tuesday, trustees for New York City’s Cooper Union, one of the nation’s most distinguished institutions of higher learning, announced that beginning with the incoming class of 2014, they would no longer be providing four years of free tuition for undergraduate students. The move, intended to shore of the school’s somewhat shaky finances, has trigged protests from students, alumni and faculty alike, who argue that in charging tuition the trustees have turned their back on the principles established by the school’s founder, Peter Cooper, more than 150 years ago.
|The Court-Martial of Paul Revere|
April 18, 2013, History.com by Christopher Klein
Two hundred and thirty-eight years ago, Paul Revere played a starring role in the opening act of the American Revolution when he made his famous midnight ride on April 18, 1775. His patriotic service did not end there, however. Revere also served as a Massachusetts militia officer in the Revolutionary War. But following the disastrous Penobscot Expedition in 1779, one of America’s most famous patriots found himself under arrest for insubordination and fighting to clear his name.
|US returns stolen Virgin Mary tapestry to Spain|
April 17, 2013, AFP by Staff
A 16th century religious tapestry stolen from a Spanish cathedral in 1979 and sold at auction three years ago for $369,000 was returned to Spain on Wednesday by the US customs service.
In a statement, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said special agents from its Homeland Security Investigations unit seized the artifact last November from the unidentified Texas business that had bought it.
|Va. Group Looks to Preserve Monticello’s View|
April 15, 2013, The Associated Press by Staff
The foundation that owns Thomas Jefferson’s estate hopes to take efforts to preserve Monticello’s spectacular mountain views a step further, an idea that worries some developers.
A request the group filed with the Albemarle County Planning Commission calls for nearly quadrupling the size of what’s known as the Monticello viewshed and expanding voluntary guidelines for developers in the region.
April 08, 2013, Snopes.com by Staff
Claim: The cut of steak known as "sirloin" is so named because an English king once knighted a piece of beef.
|Pa. field holds secrets of 1780s British POW camp|
April 06, 2013, The Associated Press by Mark Scolforo
The mud of a south-central Pennsylvania cornfield may soon produce answers about the fate of British prisoners of war — and the newly independent Americans who guarded them — during the waning years of the American Revolution.
A few miles east of York, the city that briefly served as the fledgling nation's capital after the Continental Congress fled Philadelphia, more than a thousand English, Scottish and Canadian soldiers were imprisoned at what was then known as Camp Security.
|'Stunning' Stockholm shipwrecks wow experts|
March 28, 2013, The Local (Sweden) by Staff
..."There are lots of wrecks around Stockholm but you rarely find anything this big. It's incredible."
After consulting with his colleagues as well as archives at the Maritime Museum, Hansson now believes the wreck is that of the Grå Ulven ('Gray Wolf'), a Danish-built man-of-war that reportedly sunk in Stockholm harbour in 1670.
|The Acquisitions Table: Lemuel Haynes Sermon|
March 27, 2013, Past is Present by Tom Knoles and Tracey Kry
Lemuel Haynes (1753-1833) was a highly influential religious and anti-slavery leader. Among Haynes’s many firsts, he was the first African-American to be ordained to the Christian ministry and the first African-American to receive a college degree (an M.A. from Middlebury in 1804). After serving in the Continental Army during the Revolution, Haynes began his career as a minister in Rutland, Vermont, where he remained for thirty years. It was during this ministry that Haynes delivered his famous sermon, Universal Salvation, a Very Ancient Doctrine: with Some Account of the Life and Character of Its Author. Delivered as a response to a lecture by Hosea Ballou on the doctrine of universal redemption, Haynes’ Universal Salvation stands as one of the most famous and reprinted works of religious satire. This copy of the sermon, in Haynes own hand, contains more than sixty textual differences and three deletions from the printed copies. Including this copy, only three sermons in Haynes’s own handwriting are known to exist.
|Making whiskey at George Washington’s distillery|
March 27, 2013, The Washington Post by Julia Edwards
In the fall of 1799, George Washington wrote to his nephew: “Two hundred gallons of Whiskey will be ready this day for your call, and the sooner it is taken the better, as the demand for this article (in these parts) is brisk.”
The whiskey Washington spoke of was produced in his own distillery, at Mount Vernon, and the popularity of the spirit (in these parts) remains. Mount Vernon historians-turned-distillers have been busy making Washington’s unaged rye whiskey, following his recipe and manual methods, since early this month and will put 1,100 bottles up for sale in April.
|Could the “witches” of Salem have been guilty?|
March 26, 2013, ParaPolitical.com by Staff/William Cooke
From 1692 to 1693, Salem, Massachusetts held a spectacular series of trials that ended with the hanging of 19 convicted witches. A twentieth person was pressed to death for refusing to enter a plea before the Court of Oyer and Terminer. We’ve come to assume all of the condemned were innocent and the judicial authorities deranged. Is this outright dismissal of the competence of the colonial magistracy warranted? Should we question the court’s decisions or, instead, the laws on which the court was compelled to rule?
Baltimore attorney William Cooke has served as both a Maryland state prosecutor and a private practice criminal defense attorney. His 2010 book Justice at Salem separates the morality of criminalizing witchcraft from the job of the colonial courts by looking at the famous witch trials from a legal – instead of historic or psychological – perspective. Cooke observes that “much of what people know, or think that they know, about the events at Salem in 1692 is wrong.”
|Revolutionary War Battlefield Lies Beneath Future Ballpark Village Site|
March 25, 2013, CBS News (MO) by Brett Blume
Even life-long St. Louis residents may not realize that a big battle was once fought on what is now the site of Ballpark Village, which is in the early stages of development just north of Busch Stadium.
Interestingly, this wasn’t a conflict during the U.S. Civil War, but the Revolutionary War.
|Who Really Ran the Underground Railroad?|
March 25, 2013, The Root by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
...Tice Davids was a Kentucky slave who successfully escaped to Ohio in 1831, and the term "Underground Railroad" may have been coined based on his escape. His owner had been pursuing Davids but lost track of him in Ohio. It is said he claimed that Davids disappeared as if "the nigger must have gone off on an underground railroad," according to Blight. I love this story -- an account worthy of Richard Pryor -- but this seems unlikely, since rail lines barely existed at this time.
|Napoleon and Josephine's Engagement Ring Sells for $949,000|
March 24, 2013, ABC News by Dragana Jovanovic
The engagement ring the young Napoleon "must have broken his wallet" to buy for his fiancee Josephine shattered expectations today at the Osenat auction house in France when it sold for close to $1 million, Osenat's expert Jean-Christophe Chataignier said.
The winning bidder, who wanted to stay completely anonymous, paid $949,000, almost 50 times the $20,000 Osenat had expected to bring in. Including the buyer's 25 percent commission to Osenat, the total price for the ring was $1.17 million.
|Ruins of a 17th century Hindu temple found|
March 22, 2013, Press Trust of India by Staff
A government civil construction work has led to the chance-discovery of ruins of 17th century Hindu temple in Odisha's Kendrapara district.
A two-member team of experts from state archaeology department (SAD) on Thursday inspected the site near the district Collectorate in Kendrapara in Odisha and examined the three-foot-tall stone-structure, official sources said on Friday.
|350th Anniversary of the Carolina Charter of 1663 To be Observed|
March 20, 2013, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources by Staff
The Carolina Charter of 1663 was a gift of land from England's King Charles II to eight friends who had helped him regain the throne. The Lords Proprietors of Carolina were given land in America stretching from ocean to ocean. The 350th anniversary of the signing of that document will be celebrated on Monday, March 25, with a public display in the State Capitol from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and a commemorative program in the House Chamber at 5:15 p.m.
|George Washington’s Revolutionary St. Patrick’s Day|
March 15, 2013, History.com by Christopher Klein
During the bleak winter of 1779-1780, the Continental Army was hungry, cold and discouraged. General George Washington knew his troops badly needed a morale boost, so he enlisted a holiday rarely observed in America, St. Patrick’s Day, to the patriot cause.
The Continental Army that encamped in Morristown, New Jersey, shivered through the brutal winter of 1779-1780. It was hard for them to believe that conditions could be any harsher than they had been at Valley Forge two years prior, but these were truly the cruelest days of the American Revolution. Twenty-eight separate snowstorms struck the encampment, burying it under as much as 6 feet of snow, between November 1779 and April 1, 1780. Through the coldest winter in recorded history, patriot foot soldiers slept on straw and huddled together for warmth in rudimentary log huts. The weather made it difficult to obtain supplies, and men went days without food. Some even resorted to eating the bark off twigs for nourishment.
|Slavery is a tough role, hard sell at Colonial Williamsburg|
March 08, 2013, The Washington Post by J. Freedom du Lac
Before Erica Hubbard could portray an enslaved housekeeper, which she’ll do this weekend at Colonial Williamsburg, she had to learn some things about life in revolutionary times — including how slaves interacted with their masters circa 1776.
These lessons are so painful that some African American actors simply can’t bear to learn them. Even as Colonial Williamsburg and other historic sites have tried to do justice to the story of slavery and attract more minority visitors, they’ve sometimes had difficulty persuading black actors to take jobs interpreting enslaved figures.
|The Secret Plot to Rescue Napoleon by Submarine|
March 08, 2013, Smithsonian Magazine by Mike Dash
Tom Johnson was one of those extraordinary characters that history throws up in times of crisis. Born in 1772 to Irish parents, he made the most of the opportunities that presented themselves and was earning his own living as a smuggler by the age of 12. At least twice, he made incredible escapes from prison. When the Napoleonic Wars broke out, his well-deserved reputation for extreme daring saw him hired–despite his by then extensive criminal record–to pilot a pair of covert British naval expeditions.
|New Hampshire to consider honoring a 233-year-old petition from slaves seeking freedom|
March 06, 2013, The Associated Press by Staff
When 20 slaves petitioned New Hampshire two centuries ago seeking their freedom, lawmakers decided the time wasn’t right and delayed action.
Now, 233 years later, legislators in one of the nation’s whitest states have decided the time is right to consider the request. A Senate committee on Wednesday unanimously recommended the full body posthumously emancipate the 14 petitioners who never were granted freedom.