Monthly Archives: May 2015

Johnstown Flood Kills 2,209 (1889)

When the South Fork Dam near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, collapsed after several days of heavy rains, it sent 20 million tons (18.1 million cubic meters) of water cascading downriver at speeds of 20–40 mph (30–60 km/h). Less than an hour after the breach, a 30-foot (9-m) wall of water smashed into Johnstown, killing more than 2,200 people. The American Red Cross’s response was one of its first major disaster relief efforts. Why did some blame the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club for the tragedy? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival

Nova Scotia‘s Annapolis Valley is widely known for its apple orchards, which begin to flower in late May or early June. The area’s Apple Blossom Festival is a five-day celebration whose events are held throughout the 60 towns and villages of the Annapolis Valley. In addition to a children’s parade, sporting events, tours to view the apple blossoms, apple pie baking and eating contests, and a cooking competition, the festival includes the crowning of “Queen Annapolisa,” who is chosen from among 18 local princesses. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Francis Younghusband (1863)

Younghusband was a British Army officer and explorer remembered for his travels in the Far East and Central Asia. In 1887, he journeyed from China to India, crossing the Gobi desert and the Mustagh Pass of the Karakorum range. In 1904, he led a military expedition that participated in the massacring of Tibetan troops and forced a treaty upon Tibet that opened it to Western trade. Apparently, he later regretted his role in these events. What changed his mind? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Hannah Szenes

During World War II, Hannah Szenes was one of 17 Jews living in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine who were trained by the British army to parachute into Yugoslavia to help save the Jews of Hungary. She was arrested at the Hungarian border, imprisoned, tortured, and eventually executed. Szenes is regarded as a national heroine in Israel, where streets are named after her and her poetry is widely known. One of her songs was used to close versions of what film? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Andrew Jackson Kills Charles Dickinson in a Duel (1806)

In 1806, nationally famous duelist and expert marksman Charles Dickinson—whose dueling career included 26 kills—was goaded by political opponents of future US President Andrew Jackson to insult Jackson’s wife. A duel was arranged between the men, and Jackson took a shot to the ribs before firing what would be a fatal shot at Dickinson—the only man Jackson ever killed in his 13 duels. Jackson’s wife died in 1828, two weeks after Jackson was elected president. Whom did Jackson blame for her death? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Indian Arrival Day

The people of Trinidad and Tobago observe May 30 as Indian Arrival Day. This holiday honors the nation’s citizens of Indian descent and acknowledges their contribution to the social and cultural landscape of Trinidad and Tobago. In particular, it recalls the arrival of the first boats from India in 1845. The holiday is celebrated with reenactments of the arrival of the first ships bringing Indians to Trinidad, parades honoring the history of the nation’s Indian citizens and their festivals, and various cultural events. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Peter Carl Fabergé (1846)

Famed for the decorative eggs that bear his name, Fabergé was a Russian goldsmith and jeweler. After inheriting his father’s jewelry business, Fabergé decided to expand its scope to include the production of objects made with precious materials like silver, gold, and gems. His studio’s opulent, intricate, and ingenious Easter eggs, which were often commissioned as gifts by tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II, are perhaps his most enduring legacy. Why did Fabergé eventually flee Russia? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester Mystery House is a famous California mansion that is reputed to be haunted. Sarah Winchester, the widow of a gun magnate, began building the Winchester Mystery House in 1884 after a medium advised her to construct a house to appease the ghosts of all those killed by Winchester rifles. Construction continued for 38 years, since Sarah Winchester believed that if she stopped working on the house, she would die. What significance does the number 13 have in the mansion? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary