" A true friend is one soul in two bodies. "

Back in the day


Mayflower Compact Signed

The decision to settle outside the boundaries of established colonial government rather than within Virginia territory, as originally planned, led some Mayflower passengers to assert that they would not be bound by laws. Concerned, Pilgrim leaders drafted a compact providing for the temporary government of the colony. Signed by 41 adult male passengers, the compact created the first American settlement based upon a social contract and was the basis of government in Plymouth for how long?



1755 Lisbon Earthquake

One of the deadliest earthquakes in history struck Lisbon, Portugal, in 1755, killing at least 30,000. The earthquake, followed by a tsunami and raging fires, almost totally destroyed the city, leaving just 15% of its buildings standing. The study of the quake's causes led to the beginnings of seismology. Geologists today estimate that the temblor, with an epicenter in the Atlantic Ocean, approached magnitude 9 on the moment magnitude scale. How did the quake influence philosophers of the time?

Born on a day like today



Voltaire was the pseudonym of French philosopher and writer Fran├žois-Marie Arouet. One of the towering geniuses in literary and intellectual history, Voltaire was a prolific writer who authored tragedies, poems, and works on philosophical and moral problems, including Lettres philosophiques and Candide, a satire on philosophical optimism. During his lifetime, he was twice imprisoned in the Bastille and, in 1726, was exiled to England. How did Voltaire create his pen name?

Last updated on Sunday, 21st November 2010

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