Today in History:
Friday, December 24, 2010
Today in History:
Monday, December 20, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Note: The picture has nothing to do with the article.
Today in History:
Friday, October 22, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Lee Harvey Oswald never knew his father. His father had died before Oswald was born in New Orleans. Because of having no father or steady income, Oswald had to move houses and schools frequently, attending 12 different schools during his childhood. Oswald became withdrawn and temperamental, and is known to have hit his mother and threaten his brother-in-law's wife with a knife. After being ordered to go into psychiatric observation, doctors diagnosed personality pattern disturbance with schizoid features and passive-aggressive tendencies. Although never finishing high school, Oswald became a Marxist and joined the U.S. Marines. In the Marines, Oswald was court-martialled twice and not accepted for being a Soviet sympathizer. In the end, Oswald left by saying that he had to care for his injured mother. In the October of 1959, Oswald emigrated to the Soviet Union, and announced that he wanted to renounce his US citizenship, but his application for Soviet residency was rejected. After this, Oswald attempted to cut his wrists, and this led to the KGB to recommend his deportation, but Oswald found a job in an Electronics factory in Minsk. It was here were Oswald met Marina Prusakova, whom he married in 1961. After fourteen months, Oswald brought his wife and child back to the United States. After settling in Dallas, Oswald attempted to assassinate the right-wing former general Edwin Walker, for which he was never apprehended. After the brinkmanship of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Oswald moved back to New Orleans, where he became involved in pro-Castro demonstrations and activities. Oswald also visited Cuba, with the intentions of going to the Soviet Union, but instead, went back to Dallas. On November 16th of 1963, a Dallas newspaper said that President Kennedy would be coming through the city, near the Texas School Book Depository, where Oswald was working. Oswald was last seen there by a co-worker, alone on the sixth floor about 35 minutes before the assassination. At about 12:30pm on November 22nd 1963, President Kennedy was being driven around Dallas, and as he turned left directly in front of the Depository where Oswald was inside. After one shot was fired, Texas Governor John Connally relized that it was not a firecracker, like the crowd had assumed, but a high-powered rifle. When he turned to warn the president, it was too late, for a bullet had already entered Kennedy's back and entered through his throat. After being hit, Kennedy leaned forward and to his left, where his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, cradled him in her arms. Connally was also hit by a bullet and is reported to have said, "My God, they are going to kill us all!" A third shot was fired, which took a part off of the right side of Kennedy's head. Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson was riding two cars behind the President, and took the oath of office on Air Force One at 2:38pm as it departed from Dallas. He became the 36th president of the United States. Police officers and spectators ran towards the Triple Underpass, but found no sniper, but Howard Brennan, who was sitting across the street from the depository, notified the police that he had seen a man with a rifle shoot from the corner window on the sixth floor. Oswald exited the building right before the police sealed it off, and took a bus home. As he walked, a police patrolman named J.D. Tippit. Oswald shot Tippit four times with his revolver before running into a shoe store, whose owner alerted the police of Oswald's whereabouts. Oswald then ran into a Texas theater without paying, and was soon tracked down by the police, who arrested him eighty minutes after the assassination occurred. Oswald was charged with the murders of J.D. Tippit and of President Kennedy. At first, Oswald denied all knowledge of the crimes, but later claimed he was a front for others. While being moved from police headquarters to the county jail, Oswald was shot by nightclub owner Jack Ruby. Oswald was was rushed to Parkland Hospital, the same hospital where Kennedy went to, but was pronounced dead while there. Although killed before his time, Kennedy accomplished much during his lifetime. He was the youngest elected president of the United States and the first Roman-Catholic president. He was a war hero and the creator of the Peace Corps. Kennedy led the country through the Cuban Missile Crisis and signed the first disarmament agreement of the nuclear age, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. After being killed, Kennedy's body was brought back to the White House, where his flag-draped, closed casket was moved to the Capitol for public viewing. Thousands went to see the coffin, and representatives from 90 countries, including the Soviet Union, attended the funeral on November 25th. President John F. Kennedy was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Henry IV of France (1553-1610) is said to be one of the most gifted monarchs of France. Henry was a cruel man, flogging his own children even, but was also athlete, and loved hunting and playing tennis. Henry was also very brave, leading his troops into battle personally, but was also a politically clever, and was able to lead France into an impressive recovery after 30 years of religious wars. Henry was baptized as a Catholic when he was a child, but he was raised as a Protestant by his mother. His mother, Jeanne d'Albert, had already declared Calvinism as the religion of Navarre, a small kingdom in the Pyrenees mountains. When he was only a teenager, Henry left the capitol of Navarre, known as Pau, and joined the Huguenot forces in the French Wars of Religion, and fought with the Prince of Conde and Admiral Coligny. It was in 1572 that Henry became King Henry III of Navarre, when his mother died. In an attempt to end the religious fighting, Henry married the sister of Charles IX of France, but Catherine de' Medici and her Catholic supporters, led by the Duke of Guise, also named Henry, had no intention of letting the marriage last. Six days after the wedding, on St. Bartholomew's Day, the royal family authorized a huge burst of violence against the Protestant community, which led to the massacring of thousands of French Huguenots. Henry of Navarre only escaped by pretending to convert to Roman Catholicism, but after escaping prison in January of 1576, Henry renounced his conversion and rejoined the Protestant armies. In 1584, Francis, Duke of Anjou and Alençon, heir and brother of Henry III, current king of France, died, leaving Henry of Navarre as the legal heir to the French throne. Because Salic Law disinherited any who claimed the throne by the female line, Henry of Navarre was the closest heir, being that he was directly descended on the male line from King Louis IX, who died in 1270. Because of this, Henry of Navarre took the thrown when Henry III was assassinated in 1589, and was the first Bourbon king of France. When he became king, Henry IV renounced his Protestant faith in view of Catholicism. He was crowned as king the next month. In 1595, Henry declared war on Spain, and a year later, allied with the English and the Dutch against the Spanish. When the Spanish treasury ran out of money, negations began. On the 30th of April in 1598, Henry issued the Edict of Nantes, which guaranteed limited toleration to the French Protestant communities. Two days later, peace was made and all Spanish troops were withdrawn from French and Dutch territories. Henry's recovery program for France was bold and imaginative, but it worked. When Henry IV died in 1610, France was in a great condition. Swampland was drained to make room for agricultural areas and tree-lined roads, bridges, and canals were built, and the Louvre was extended. Henry wisely tried to subsidize land rather than wage war, but found himself at the brink of war with the Holy Roman Empire. While riding to meet his armies on May 14th of 1610, François Ravaillac, a fanatical anti-Huguenot, rejected by the Jesuits, stabbed Henry to death. When he was tortured, Ravaillac said that he worked alone to stop Henry from declaring war on the Pope, but no one will know if he really worked alone or not. If Henry had lived longer, war would have been made, but France might have gone into a golden age as well.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
By Steven Parissien
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
By Steven Parissien
Monday, May 24, 2010
Like with the explorers, I have made a list of the most influential assassinations in history on a worldwide scale.
Grigory Yefimovich Novykh (c.1865-1916) was better known as Rasputin, meaning 'dissolute'. Although we do not know when Rasputin was born, we do know that he was first heard of in the Russian court around 1903. He was said to be a monk from Siberia who could heal the sick and accurately predict drought. In December of 1903, he appeared in the religious academy in St. Petersburg. Rasputin was known by some royal members already, including the Grand Duke Nicholas, whose dog Rasputin was said to have healed, and Grand Duchess Militsa, who introduced Rasputin to the royal palace to see if he could cure the tsar's son, Alexis, a chronic hemophiliac. Although the royal doctors were very suspicious, Rasputin seemed to have a healing affect every time the son had internal or external bleeding. Rasputin later admitted to a friend that the cure he used was a combination of hypnosis, Siberian drugs, and willpower. Rasputin used his position in the royal household to gain influence over the Tsar Nicholas II and the Tsarina Alexandra. He referred to the royal couple as fellow peasants, which Nicholas II was fine with, but the rest of the Russian nobles saw as an outrage. When government ministers tried to complain about Rasputin's behavior. Even the Metropolitan of Russia, the country's leading churchman, complained, but was told that the imperial family's affairs were none of his business. Rasputin was being kept safe by the tsarina's adoration for him. When WW1 broke out, Rasputin deeply opposed the war, but his drunkenness, sexual promiscuity, and willingness to accept bribes kept his reputation from getting any better. By 1915, almost all new ministers needed Rasputin's approval and Rasputin was known to yell at the prime minister. Rasputin, at one point in the war, wanted to go and bless the troops before they fought, but Grand Duke Nicholas, the commander-in-chief (who was once a supporter of Rasputin) threatened to hang Rasputin if he showed up. This threat caused Rasputin to tell the tsar that the army would fail unless the tsar personally led the army. Tsar Nicholas II decided to go to battle, and while he was away, Rasputin convinced Tsarina Alexandra to fill all government and military offices with Rasputin's handpicked candidates. On the battle field in 1916, all Russian troops were retreating except for the army of General Brusilov, and Russia's economy was in ruins. It was as Russia retreated that the Russian ministers finally stood up against Rasputin. Led by Prince Felix Yusupov, a noble who attended Oxford and was to marry the tsar's niece, a group of ministers and nobles plotted against Rasputin. The prince invited Rasputin to his house to meet his wife, who was not there. While Rasputin was at the house, the prince fed him poisoned cakes and wine in the cellar while the rest of the conspirators waited upstairs. After seeing that the poison had no effect on Rasputin, Yusupov gathered the other conspirators and the group went back to the cellar and shot Rasputin in the chest at point blank range. After pronouncing the body dead, some of the conspirators went home, while the rest discussed what they should do next from the main room of the house. When the prince went down to check on Rasputin, Rasputin opened his eyes, grabbed the princes throught and ripped of Yusupov's shoulder piece before the prince ran back up the stairs. The conspirators heard Rasputin climb up the stairs, and as he came through the door, shot him two more times. As he was lying on the floor, the assassins found that Rasputin had not died, but was still breathing with one eye open. The prince then grabbed a metal press and beat it against Rasputin's head until the assassins took Rasputin down to the river and threw it in, but Rasputin didn't drown. When his body was found three days later, an autopsy showed that Rasputin had died of hypothermia. After being buried by the tsar on January 3rd of 1917, but was dug up again a month later during a revolution, and his body was burned in a bonfire. Yusupov was never arrested or tried, and later wrote an account of the plot while in exile. Rasputin's death was not very important, other than the fact that it freed the royal family from his power, but this death is very entertaining and drawn out.
By Steven PArissien
Friday, May 21, 2010
Today in History:
Today (May 21) was the day that both Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart crossed the Atlantic. It was in 1927, at 7:52am on May 20th that Charles Lindbergh went down Roosevelt Field in The Spirit of St. Louis, a monoplane only 28 feet long. After leaving Long Island, Lindbergh went north to Cape Cod and Nova Scotia, crossing the Atlantic over the night. After sighting a small fishing boat, he knew he was reaching Europe, and soon flew over England, Ireland, and soon afterward, on May 21st, landed at the Le Bourget Airport, surrounded by 10,000 onlookers, who mobbed his airplane. Lindbergh had flown 3,610 miles in 34 hours.The next day, in front of the American Embassy in Paris, President Gaston Doumerque of France gave Lindbergh the Legion of Honour. After coming back to the U.S. (by boat) President Calvin Coolidge of the United States presented him with the Distinguished Flying Cross. When Lindbergh arrived in New York, the financial market closed for 'Lindbergh Day', and a parade with 10,000 soldiers and sailors went through the city. On May 21st in 1932, exactly 5 years after Lindbergh arrived in Paris, the American, Amelia Earhart, landed in a field near Londonderry, Northern Ireland after flying 15 hours. She became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Earhart recieved the National Geographic Society gold medal from President Herbert Hoover of the United States and the Distinguished Flying Cross from Congress, and soon became an early feminist icon. Both Lindbergh and Earhart changed history by what they did on May 21st.
Great Stories from History for every day of the year
By W.B. Marsh and Bruce Carrick
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Today [May 2nd] was the day that in 1536, Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, was imprisoned on the charges of adultery, incest, treason, and witchcraft. Anne Boleyn was one of the 6 wives that Henry VIII (1491-1547) of England had during his lifetime.After his accession to the throne, Henry married Catherine of Aragon on June 11, 1509. Henry was desperate for a male heir for the throne, so he had many children through Catherine, but all the boys she gave birth to died soon after they were born. Cathrine of Aragon did, however, produce Mary, who would later become the Queen of England. After having many attempts to have a male heir through Catherine, Henry VIII decided he needed a wife who would have a son, but when he tried to declare his marriage to Catherine invalid, Pope Clement refused to grant the annulment. Henry, after six years, finally pulled England away from the Catholic Church and formed the Church of England, and married Anne Boleyn on January 24, 1533. His previous marriage to Cathrine of Aragon was declared invalid by Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Anne Boleyn was crowned queen on the first of June of that year. Anne went on to give birth to Elizabeth, who, like Mary, would become the queen of England. Three years later, on May 2, 1536, after Anne Boleyn is unable to have a son, Henry accused her of adultery, incest, treason, and witchcraft, and had her thrown into the Tower of London, where she was beheaded on May 19, 1536. The day right after Anne was beheaded, Henry VII proposed to Jane Seymour, Anee Boleyn's lady-in-waiting, and they were married ten days later. To Jane Seymour, Henry had his only legitimate, male heir, Prince Edward, who would become king after Henry, on October 12, 1537. Twelve days after Edward was born, Seymour died of post-natal fever. Three years after Jane Seymour died, Henry got a new wife, named Anne of Cleves, who was the sister of William, the Duke of Cleves in Germany. The wedding, held on January 6, 1540, cemented the alliance between the Protestant German princes and England against Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire. Henry called Anne of Cleves the 'Flanders Mare' because he said that in person, she looked like a mare. In the summer of 1540, the marriage was ended with another divorce, and Henry married Cathrine Howard on July 28, 1540, less than three weeks after his divorce. After discovering of Cathrine's premarital affairs, he had her beheaded at London Tower on February 13, 1542. Henry's last wife, Cathrine Parr, came on July 12, 1543, who helped Henry in his last years. She took good care of Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward and oversaw their education. Before Henry died, he asked to be buried beside Jane Seymour. Cathrine Parr outlived the king, and married a fourth husband, Lord Thomas Seymour.
Kings & Queens of Britain
Saturday, May 1, 2010
In 1852, today (May 1st), the Philippine Peso was first put into circulation. During the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines, silver and copper coinage was the type of currency, based on a peso of 8 reales, with subdivisions of quarto and octavo real. This all changed in 1852 when the currency was reformed around a peso consisting of 100 centimos, which had the head of a monarch on one side and the crowned arms on the other. Under American rule in 1898, the currency changes to a peso of 100 centavos. The peso of 100 centavos had the picture of Liberty on one side and an eagle with a shield on the other. In 1935, when the Commonwealth of the Philippines was proclaimed, the eagle and the shield were taken off the currency. After being occupied by Japan in 1941 and being liberated in 1944-1945, the Philippines became a republic in July of 1946. After having picture changes on the coins in 1947 and 1958, a series of coin was released in 1967 portraying national heroes. The names of the peso and the centavos were also changed to the piso and the sentimo in 1967. The current coins that are seen today were introduced in 1995. The United States Dollar is currently worth about 44 Philippine Pesos, and in itself, shown much of the history of the Philippines.
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Coins & Coin Collecting
By Dr. James Mackay
Friday, April 30, 2010
Today in History:
On April 30, 1803, the Louisiana Purchase was sold to the United States by France. Although France had ceded the territory to Spain in 1762, the Treaty of San Ildefonso, signed in 1800, regained the Louisiana Territory. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821), or Napoleon I of France, was set on creating an French Empire in America along with a French Empire in Europe. This American Empire was going to be centered around the island of Hispaniola. Unfortunately, Haitian slaves under Toussaint L'ouverture (1743-1803) had revolted and taken over the city of Santo Domingo on Hispaniola. Although Napoleon had sent an army to put down the rebellion, many soldiers died in battle and of yellow fever. This destroyed Napoleon's American Empire dream, so he decided to sell the land to help fund his military in France. Although President Thomas Jefferson of the United States had already sent James Monroe and Robert R. Livingston to negotiate the purchase of a portion of the land, he was delighted when Napoleon offered the whole territory to him. The purchase was sold on this day for 60 million francs or about $15 million. The land was 2 million sq. kilometers (800,00 sq. miles) stretching from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. This doubled the size of the United States and lead it to expansion across North America. It is strange to think what might have happened if Napoleon had stopped the slave revolt and started the American Empire of France. The United States would be limited to the East Coast of North America and France would have a very large influence on the culture of all of the Americas.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The Communications Network Tower (The CN Tower) is a tower standing high over the city of Toronto, Canada. This great tower was created by a private company called CN Tower Ltd, an affiliate of Canadian National Railways. A revolving restaurant sits near the top, at 1,148 ft (350m), just above this, there is an observation deck at 1,509 ft (460m) high, but what makes this building great is that its spire is at 1,816 ft (553m) high, making it the third tallest tower in the world (not including guyed masts and drilling platforms). The tower is only behind TV & Sightseeing Tower and the Burj Khalifa. The construction of the CN Tower began in February 1973 and finished in June of 1976. The tower stands on a foundation plate 17 ft ( 5.5m) thick with a diameter of 229 ft (70m).
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
The Elephant Seal is a species of seal that comes in two types of species. The Northern Elephant Seal is known as Mirougna angustirostris and lives on the coast of California and Mexico, while the Southern Elephant seal, Mirougna leonina, lives only in the southern hemisphere, in places such as New Zealand, South Georgia, Antartica, etc. Elephant seals are marine mammals that come together only to breed. The Northern variety breed in January and February, but the Southern species mates from September to October. Although Elephant Seals are clumsy on land, they can swim with great power deriving from the alternating hind flippers, which they can use to catch fish and squid. The most unique feature of an elephant seal is its large nasal cavity, which only appears on males and takes 8 years it to fully develop. During mating season, the cavity fills with blood and is able to amplify aggressive roars. Along with having an odd nose, male elephant seals also have many other traits that females do not, which the bulls use during battles for dominance. Males can weigh up to 2300kg more than a female, weighing in at about 3200kg (7055lb). Males are also longer than females and can be 4.9m (16ft) long. Other outstanding battle traits used by bull Elephant Seals are tough neck skin acquired as a youth and enlarged canines. Elephant seals can have cubs when the male is 4 to 6 years old and the female is 2 to 3 years old, and after 11 months, the seal gives birth to a youth, which will hopefully live for another 20 years. Although Hooded seals (Cystophora cristata) also have traits like those of an Elephant Seal, they're not as large as Elephant seals, and their nasal cavities are no match to those of an Elephant Seals, the Elephant of the Sea.
The Encyclopedia of Animals
Consultant Editor: Dr. Per Christiansen
Friday, April 9, 2010
The World's Greatest Buildings
Consultant Editor: Trevor Howells and...
The Greatest Buildings of the World
Editor: Kelly Knauer
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
In 1260, two Venetian merchants, Maffeo and Nicolo Polo, made their way East, to the palace of Kublai Khan, the Emperor of the Mongols. When they made it to the capital of the Mongol Empire, Kublai Khan was most hospitable and when he sent them away, he also sent a letter to Pope Clement IV, asking for 100 learned men to teach on Christianity. Although the Pope did not send the men, he sent a letter and precious gifts back to Asia in 1271 with Nicolo, Maffeo, and Marco Polo (1254-1324), Nicolo's son. Marco Polo soon became a favorite of the Great Khan's and went on several special missions to China, Burma, and India during his 17 years in the Khan's court. After coming back to Venice in 1294, Polo served in a war against the city of Genoa, and was captured. During his year in prison, Marco dictated an account of his time in Asia to Rustichello of Pisa, a writer of romances. The book was published and is now known as The Description of the World or The Travels of Marco Polo. Although Polo's book was accused of being full of lies, which it probably was, the book was read all over Europe. After he was set free, Polo was still left with some precious items from Asia. These items and Polo's book inspired and basically started the Age of Exploration. Marco Polo is the Number 1 explorer because his book and items from Asia almost fully started the Age of Exploration in Europe and inspired some of the other great explorers, such as the well-known Christopher Colombus.
Friday, April 2, 2010
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Kings and Queens of England
By Charles Phillips
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The World's Greatest Buildings
Consultant Editor: Trevor Howells
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) was an Italian navigator working for Spain, but Columbus, unlike other explorers of the time, wanted to find a way to reach Asia by going West, through the Atlantic. Because Queen Isabella of Spain had finally disposed of the last Muslims in Spain, she decided to pay for Columbus' voyage. With the Pinta, the Niña, and the Santa Maria, Columbus sailed from Spain in the August of 1492. Although Columbus had greatly misjudged the distance from Europe to Asia, luck was on his side. Instead of finding Asia, Columbus landed in America. When Columbus landed on one of the Bahaman Islands, he believed that he had made his way to Asia and named the natives 'Indians'. After leaving the Bahamas, Columbus sighted Cuba and crashed one of his ships onto Hispaniola before heading home. When he returned to Spain, he was celebrated for finding a new sea route to Asia. Columbus made two more trips to America in later years, never knowing that he wasn't actually going to Asia. Although some may say that Columbus should be the greatest explorer ever for discovering the New World, Columbus was pushed back because he discovered the New World on accident and he wasn't even the first European to land in the New World (Leif Erikson landed in Canada around 1000 A.D.), but because he brought back the first news of land in the West, Columbus is the third greatest explorer of all time.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
04 Hernan Cortes
After the New World was discovered, European settelers started to move west. The perfect place for the Spanish to move to was Cuba, a large Spanish colony. With all these new settelers moving to Cuba, Cuban governor Diego Velásquez, need to find more land and slave labor. To accomplish this, Velásquez sent out trips in 1516 and 1518 to explore the mainland of America. These trips, although unsuccessful, indicated a wealthy civilization just beyond the reach of the Spanish. Velásquez chose Hernan Cortes (1485-1547) to lead the trip. Leaving Cuba on February 18, 1519, Cortes went to the New World with 16 horsemen and 400 soldiers. On his way to explore, Cortes renounced Velásquez's authority and created his own city, Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz. After telling Charles V of Spain his plan of conquering the ungodly people of America, Cortes set out with two translators towards the greatest American nation, the Aztecs, convincing natives along the way to fight with him against their Aztec overlords. When Cortes reached the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, the Aztec emperor, Montezuma welcomed Cortes as Quetzalcoatlin, an Aztec god from prophesy. After Cortes and his men took Montezuma prisoner for a ransom of gold, a confusing mash of battles with Velásquez's men occured, Cortes' men massacred Aztec citizens during a sacred Aztec ceromony, Montezuma accidentally was killed, small pox spread throughout the Aztec nation, and Cortes finally gained control of Tenochtitlan. After Cortes claimed the empire for Spain, Velásquez got jealous and undermined Cortes' reputaion until King Charles V didn't even recognize Cortes. Although he wasn't credited with his great task, Cortes makes the great list of explorers for being the first explorer to find the Aztec Empire and took the first empire for a European country, leaving his mark on the world forever.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Vasco da Gama (1460-1524) was a Portuguese explorer commissioned by King Manuel I of Portugal to find a sea route to Asia. In July of 1497, Vasco da Gama left Lisbon and went south to past Africa. Using Bartholomeu Dias's charts, Da Gama successfully made his way to India. The Indians welcomed Da Gama and his men, but some Arabian traders undermined their reputation, and Da Gama was attacked. After fighting his way out of the town, Vasco Da Gama returned home. In 1502, Da Gama returned to India with 20 ships and captured the cities of Calicut and Goa for Portugal, bringing many treasures back upon his return. After becoming a count in 1519, Da Gama was appointed as the Viceroy of India in 1524, and traveled to Goa once more. Vasco da Gama is celebrated as the explorer to find an ocean route to Asia from Europe and for capturing Calicut and Goa for Portugal. Soon after he returned to India, Da Gama fell ill and died on December 24, 1524.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Amerigo Vespucci (1451-1512) came from a prominent family in Florence, Italy. In 1492, Vespucci was sent to Spain for business reasons. While in Spain, Vespucci started working on ships and became the navigator of an expedition in 1499. During this trip, Vespucci reached the mouth of the Amazon and the northern coast of South America. Vespucci went on a second trip to America in 1501, but this time, Vespucci travelled south, exploring the coast of South America, coming within 400 miles of Tierra del Fuego. During this trip, Vespucci wrote letters to a friend, and Vespucci's descriptions of his travels were the first to identify the Americas as a separate continent from Asia. Along with this information, Vespucci also described the culture of the natives of America. In 1508, Vespucci was named Pilot Major of Spain, promoting his fame. Martin Waldseemuller was a German scholar read of Vespucci's travels. He also thought that the New World was separate from Asia, so when Waldseemuller made a wood block map of the world known as the Carta Mariana, he used Vespucci's first name, which is America in German, as the name of the New World. The map sold around 1000 copies, and the name stayed. Vespucci earns many points for identifying the Americas as a separate land mass from Asia and for having two continents named after him. Vespucci died of Malaria in 1512 after a third trip to America.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Zheng He (1371-1433), or Cheng Ho, was a Chinese navigator during the reign of the Ming Dynasty. Born Ma He, he came from an Arabian family that had come to China. When the Ming Dynasty conquered Zheng He's province, he was taken to the palace and became a court eunuch. HE gained a government position by helping Zhu Yuanzhang defeat the Yuan Dynasty. After the Ming Dynasty was given the throne, Zheng He was given command of the Chinese Navy. In 1402, Emperor Cheng Zu dispatched Zheng He to lead a large fleet to the Western Sea (Southeast Asia). From 1405 to 1433, Zheng He led his fleet of fifty to sixty ship and his crew of 27,000 people to explore the west in 7 different expeditions. In these trips, Zheng He made his way to India, the Middle East, and even Africa, and wherever he went, the sheer size of his ships and his fleet amazed the cultures he passed. During these trips, Zheng He found materials, fuels, and exotic animals to bring back to China. Zheng He accomplished much on the voyages he led, including giving China contact with western cultures, supplying China with many luxuries, and leading one of China's largest and greatest sea expeditions ever.