Captive Paradise: Captain Cook and the Discovery of Hawaii

Captive Paradise; Captain Cook

by James Haley

Chapter 1: The Loneliness of a God

After rounding the southern tip of the island, Captain Cook’s ships headed north up the western side. About thirty miles on, a small bay opened up on their right, about a mile across that bit half a mile into the coast. On the south shore lay a beach; the east side vaulted steeply up to a beetling precipice several hundred feet high that sheltered the bay from the trade winds. Its face was so inaccessible that its caves held the bones of generations of kings, and the natives called it Pali Kapu o Keoua, the Sacred Cliff of Keoua, after the dynastic founder. Then it descended on the north shore to a lava shelf just above the water, as low and flat as a wharf. Resolution and Discovery entered Kealakekua Bay and dropped anchor in seven fathoms of turquoise water. Read more ›

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Posted in Modern History

The Real Queen Charlotte: Wife of George III

The History Reader; Queen Charlotte

by Janice Hadlow

Queen Charlotte of Mecklenberg Strelitz, the wife of George III, has never enjoyed a particularly good press. During her lifetime, and in the nearly two hundred years that have elapsed since her death in 1818, she has been criticized for being ugly, mean, obsessed with empty protocol, a snuff-taker and German. Not all these accusations were totally without foundation. Some indeed were made by her own family, who poked gentle fun at her habit of exclaiming “So!” in the German intonation she never lost, before reaching for another pinch. Read more ›

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Posted in Modern History

It Ended Badly In Divorce: 10 Historic Divorce Facts

It Ended Badly; William S. Burroughs; Divorce

by Jennifer Wright

Three Unusual Reasons For Divorce

In 1613 the Countess of Essex demanded a divorce from her husband because, as her father quipped, “the Ear has no ink in his pen.” Essex and the court decided that he was impotent as a result of witchcraft, which is probably not how that would go today. Read more ›

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Posted in Ancient History, Medieval History, Modern History

Why Homer Matters: Meeting Homer

Why Homer Matters

by Adam Nicolson

Chapter 1

One evening ten years ago I started to read Homer in English. With an old friend, George Fairhurst, I had just sailed from Falmouth to Baltimore in southwest Ireland, 250 miles across the Celtic Sea. We had set off three days earlier in our wooden ketch, the Auk, forty-two feet from stem to stern, a vessel which had felt big enough in Falmouth, not so big out in the Atlantic. Read more ›

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Posted in Ancient History

Charles Ponzi: What Makes a Con Artist?

Charles Ponzi; My Adventures with your moeny

by T.D. Thornton

When you think of the history of con artists, what images come to mind?

Perhaps it’s the dashing “sharpie in a fedora” stereotype that hearkens to the Roaring Twenties. Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of financial ruin with too-good-to-be-true opulence, the way Charles Ponzi leveraged greed and gullibility to bilk of a nation of suckers blind. Or it could be the devious yet debonair horse-betting tandem immortalized by Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the classic 1973 film about confidence hustling, The Sting. Read more ›

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Posted in Contemporary History, Modern History