" One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum. "
Sir Walter Scott

Back in the day

History

Revolt Aboard the Amistad

In 1839, 53 African slaves being transported on the Spanish merchant ship La Amistad revolted against their captors. Though their transport to the US was illegal, when they arrived in New York they were declared salvage by the US Navy and were taken to be sold as slaves. The widely publicized court cases that ensued helped propel the abolitionist movement. In 1842, the Africans finally returned home after the Supreme Court ruled they were not legally slaves. What does "amistad" mean?

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The Rack

An ancient torture device, the rack was used to stretch its victims' joints to the breaking point. A prisoner's hands and feet would be fastened to rollers located at either end of the device's rectangular frame, and during interrogations, a ratchet would gradually increase the tension on the chains. The excruciating torture inspired such terrible fear that some prisoners would confess after merely watching someone else being stretched on the rack. Who were some of the device's famous victims?

Born on a day like today

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Imelda Marcos

As First Lady of the Philippines from 1966 to 1986, Marcos took a leading role in cultural and social welfare projects. She was elected to the Philippines House of Representatives in 1995, in between two unsuccessful bids for the presidency. Her personal excesses, however, made her a controversial figure, and she has since faced a number of charges in anti-corruption court. Notorious for her shoe collection, Marcos reportedly once owned how many pairs?

Last updated on Thursday, 2nd July 2009

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