Friday, March 31, 2017

Netherlands Crisis 1672

England, France, German Powers attack The Netherlands.  Overwhelming force.  Dutch stand alone.  Retreat on all fronts.  Dutch open dykes; flood land.  Desperate defense.

When The Netherlands was attacked by France, England, Sweden, and even some German powers, it seemed that the Dutch were finished. Against all of these powers they stood alone. Seldom has any people held out so heroically against such overwhelming numbers as did the Dutch in 1672.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Benjamin Franklin Experiments with Electricity

Lightening is electricity.  It has two opposite charges (positive and negative).  Dangerous experiment with kite in storm.  Franklin’s experiments and his discoveries in his own words:

“Place an iron shot of three or four inches diameter on the mouth of a clean, dry glass bottle. By a fine silken thread from the ceiling, right over the mouth of the bottle, suspend a small cork ball about the bigness of a marble, the thread of such a length as that the cork ball may rest against the side of the shot. Electrify the shot, and the ball will be repelled to the distance of four or five inches, more or less, according to the quantity of electricity.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Germanicus in Germany

Roman general to retrieve defeat of Teutoburg Forest.  Germans defiant; Romans unsteady.  Year is 13 AD.  Roman Empire is still brand new.  Is Rome doomed?  Tacitus says,

Germanicus therefore handed over to Caecina four legions, five thousand auxiliaries, and some tumultuous bands of Germans who dwelt on this side the Rhine; he led, himself, as many legions, with double the number of allies, and erecting a fort in Mount Taunus, upon the site of one raised by his father, he pushed on in light marching order against the Cattians; having left Lucius Apronius to secure the roads and the rivers, for, as the roads were dry and the rivers within bounds — events in that climate of rare occurrence — he had found no check in his rapid march, but on his return apprehended the violent rains and floods.

Monday, March 27, 2017

First Written Constitution in World History 1639

Earliest Union Among American Colonies 1643.  Confederation of New England formed.  John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court later writes about this.

As the Connecticut Constitution was not only the first instrument of its kind, but also formed, in many respects, a pattern for others which became the organic laws of American States, so the first union of colonies, in 1643, is important not alone as being the first, but also as foreshadowing the later confederation and the final union of the States themselves.

This union, the result of good-sense and of a judicious consideration of the real interests of the colonies, remained in force until their charters were dissolved. Rhode Island, at the instance of Massachusetts, was excluded; and her commissioners were not admitted into the congress of deputies, which formed the confederation.  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hannibal at Battle of Zama

Hannibal defends Carthage in climatic battle of wars against Rome.  Scipio Africanus sets out to destroy Carthagian might and make Rome the dominant power in the west. The story of the Battle of Zama as told by the great historian of the Roman Republic, Livy.

Even those persons whose confidence in Scipio and hopes of victory were great, were affected with anxiety, increasing in proportion as they saw their completion approaching. The state of feeling among the Carthaginians was much the same; for when they turned their eyes on Hannibal, and the greatness of his achievements, they repented having solicited peace; but when again they reflected that they had been twice defeated in a pitched battle, that Syphax had been made prisoner, that they had been driven out of Spain and Italy, and that all this had been effected by the valor and conduct of Scipio alone, they regarded him with horror, as a general marked out by destiny, and born for their destruction. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The 1848 Revolutions Reach Rome

In today’s post in History Moments* Naples invades from the South. What is Garibaldi doing? What is the Pope doing? Austrians and French are coming – Spain, too. Oh, my!
 “. . . the small forces at the disposal of the Republic should be husbanded for the repulse of others besides France, who claimed to be defenders of the Pope — Austria, the King of Naples, and even Spain!”

* See the main blog History Moments on Wordpress.