" Life is a predicament which precedes death. "
Henry James

Back in the day


California's St. Francis Dam Fails

Constructed between 1924 and 1926, the St. Francis Dam was a concrete gravity-arch dam designed to act as a reservoir to store water for the Los Angeles Aqueduct. In 1928, the dam catastrophically failed, and the resulting flood of 12 billion US gallons (45 billion liters) of water killed more than 450 people. The dam's collapse was the worst American civil engineering failure of the 20th century and remains the second-greatest loss of life disaster in California's history, after what event?



Gran Colombia

Gran Columbia was a South American republic from 1819 to 1830. It encompassed much of northern South America and southern Central America, including parts of Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador, which became its successor states after its dissolution. With its capital at Bogotá, it was created during the war for independence from Spain by revolutionary leader Simón Bolívar, who served as its first president. Its existence was marked by a struggle between supporters of what two types of government?

Born on a day like today


Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott

Boycott was the estate agent for the Earl of Erne, an absentee landowner in County Mayo, Ireland, at a time when the Irish Land League was pressing for agrarian reform. In 1880, Boycott's refusal to reduce rents for tenant farmers, combined with his attempted eviction of 11 of them, led the League to launch a campaign of ostracism and isolation—now known as a "boycott"—against him and his family. Upon finding himself suddenly without servants, farmhands, or local services, Boycott did what?

Last updated on Saturday, 12th March 2011

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