" Human nature is so well disposed towards those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure of being kindly spoken of. "
Jane Austen

Back in the day


Alaska Formally Transferred from Russia to US

In 1867, Russia sold Alaska to the United States for $7,200,000. The purchase was accomplished solely through the determined efforts of US Secretary of State William H. Seward, and for many years afterward the land was derisively called "Seward's Folly" or "Seward's Icebox" because of its supposed uselessness. It was not until after the discovery of gold in the Juneau region in 1880 that Alaska was given a governor and a local administration. When did Alaska become a state?




Chulalongkorn was the king of Siam—now Thailand—from 1868 to 1910. Educated in part by a British governess, Anna Leonowens, he greatly advanced the Westernization that was begun by his father, King Mongkut. He departed from tradition by traveling abroad—to Singapore, Java, and India in 1871 and to Europe in 1897. He abolished slavery and introduced numerous reforms, which, along with his foreign policy, kept Siam from being colonized for decades. How many children did Chulalongkorn have?

Born on a day like today


Thomas Love Peacock

Peacock was an English writer whose comic and satirical novels—which contain some of his best poems—parody the intellectual pretenses of his age. His best-known work, Nightmare Abbey, satirizes the English romantic movement and contains characters based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, and his close friend Percy Bysshe Shelley. After Shelley's death, Peacock became his literary executor. Peacock died at the age of 80 from injuries sustained while trying to save what from a fire?

Last updated on Tuesday, 18th October 2011

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