Saturday, January 5, 2013

1992 Los Angeles Riots

In April of 1992, a jury verdict acquitted four Los Angeles police officers of the beating of African American Motorist Rodney King after a high speed chase. The beating, which had been videotaped, had sparked racial tensions throughout the city and the verdict was the final straw for many.  Widespread, violence, looting, arson and murder continued for nearly a week.  National Guard troop and U.S. Marines were called in to restore order. At least 53 people were killed, 2000 injured and more than a $billion in damages occurred.  Much of the violence was broadcast live over national television, including the near fatal beating of truck driver Reginald Denny.

The racial breakdown of the 53 people who died are as follows:
Black:  25, Hispanic:  16, White: 8, other:  4.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Mormon Polygamy

     The Mormon Church or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints practiced plural marriage or polygamy from early on in their history.  In 1882 the federal government pushed hard against the practice and took over financial control of the Church and jailed many of the leaders.  By 1890, church President Wilford Woodruff announced the the church would no longer break the law and perform plural marriages in the United States.
     For another 14 years the church allowed plural marriages to take place in Mexico and Canada and some were secretly performed in the Temples in the U.S.  Finally in 1904 the church outlawed the practice for good and announced that those involved would be subject to excommunication.
     Some new religions were formed after 1904 by those wanting to still participate in Polygamy.  The LDS church today has more than 10 million members.  There are at least 10 religions today that share at least some of their history with this sect.
Mormon Leaders in Prison Clothing

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Titanic Wireless (Marconi) operated Harold Bride is deserving of recognition. Order by Captain Smith to wire for help Bride and the head radioman Jack Phillips stayed at their post until the power went out. Bride managed to jump into the ocean and found himself underneath a collapsible life boat in the freezing water. He managed to get out and he and 15 other man survived on the top of the upside down boat until they were rescued by the Carpathia.
In spite of frostbite to his feet he worked the Carpathia's radio for another 36 hours notifying the world of the names of the survivors. He sold his exclusive story to the New York Times for $1000. He continued to work as a ship's radioman and served as such in the British Navy in World War I. He died in 1956, the father of three children.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

La Brea Woman

Thousands of animal bones have been found in the La Brea Tar pits over the years. This natural wonder near downtown Los Angeles has held saber toothed tigers, wolves, bear and hundreds of other species of animals and plants. Only one set of human remains have been found. The woman nicknamed La Brea Woman died about 9 thousand years ago. It is believed that she was killed as part of some type of religious ceremony.... a sacrifice of some kind. Estimates place her age at about 25. Her skeleton had been on display for many years, but was removed in 2004 to avoid upsetting Native American
tribes.

The Falkland Island's "War"

The Falkland Islands are a group of islands with a total area about the size of Connecticut. They are located 250 miles east of Argentina and 500 miles north of Antarctica. The have been controlled by England since 1831, but have been claimed by Argentina as well.

In April of 1982, the Argentine Navy invaded the islands and occuppied them. The British responded quickly, send a battalion of warships across the Atlantic to confront the invaders.

The United States made attempts to mediate the crisis but the military leaders in the Argentinian government would not back down. The U.S. ultimately sided with the British and offered some support. A fierce sea and land battle resulted in the death of 649 Argentine and 255 British soldiers as well as 3 native Falklanders.

The British action and victory were very popular back home and ultimately propelled Margaret Thatcher as one of the most popular Prime Ministers in this century.

King Clovis 1 -The First King of "France"

King Clovis the 1st became king of a small region of what is now France in 481 when his father died. He was only 15 years old. Using a powerful army and creative tactics he quickly consolidated his power to include most of what is now France. After a very successful battle he converted to Catholic Christianity.

His conversion began the process of making Catholicism the dominant religion in France for the next 1500 years.

In many ways he was the right man at the right time. Rome had ruled most of France for many centuries and with their decline it was easier for a man like Clovis to gain power.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tallest Building in the World for 238 Years

The Lincoln Cathedral in Lincoln, England was the tallest building in the world for 238 years, from 1311 to 1549. I had a height of 525 feet. Prior to its construction the tallest building on Earth was the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. In 1549 the central and tallest tower of the Cathedral collapsed and was not rebuilt. Following the collapse, St. Olaf's Church in Estonia became the tallest structure on Earth.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Battle of Berlin vs. the Battle of London


As the war between England and Germany progressed, the opposing nations became more and more willing to bomb each other's cities. This exposed more and more women, children and civilians to the dangers.

The Germans had the advantage of distance. They only had the fly the 100 miles from the occupied coast of France to London, allowing them to make two or more bombings a night.

The British, not gaining any advantage by bombing French cities had to fly the nearly 700 miles to Berlin, which cost much more in fuel and aircraft.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Barbarians" in Rome


In the year 410 AD the Visigoth's invaded Rome after a long seige and sacked the city. The odd thing about this sacking was that it was more civilized than you would have expected from Barbarians.

The Visigoth's, which loosely means "Good People from the West", were a Germanic Tribe that had been frustrating the Roman empire for many years.

When the managed to get into the city, they took everything of value but did not kill nearly as many people as might have been expected, and they did not destroy or desecrate any church. The "Barbarians" were Christian's themselves and were respectful to Rome. Anyone who had sought sanctuary in the churches was allowed was left alone.

After taking everything of value that they could carry, the Visigoth's left and never returned.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ferdinand Magellan


Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan lived from 1480 - 1521. He is best known for naming the Pacific (Peaceful) Ocean and for being the first to "circumnavigate" the Earth.

After navigating through the difficult Straights that bear is name he entered the Pacific Ocean and by comparison to what he had just endured it did seem Peaceful.

He did not actually make it around the Earth. He was killed in what is now the Philippines. He was showing off his military skills for tribe he had made an alliance with and was overwhelmed and killed. His ship did make it all the way back home but without him.

Spain built a monument to his death on the Philippine island where he was killed, ironically it is in the city of Datu Lapu-Lapu, which is the name of the man who killed him.

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