" When I look out on such a night as this, I feel as if there could be neither wickedness nor sorrow in the world; and there certainly would be less of both if the sublimity of Nature were more attended to, and people were carried more out of themselves by contemplating such a scene. "
Jane Austen

Back in the day


Portuguese Restoration War Begins

Following the death of Henry, the cardinal-king of Portugal, in 1580, Philip II of Spain assumed control of Portugal by force of arms. The "Spanish captivity" lasted for 60 years. Finally, in 1640, the Portuguese took advantage of Philip IV's preoccupation with a rebellion in Catalonia and revolted. The Portuguese dethroned him and reclaimed independence for Portugal. Undeterred, Philip fought for decades to regain control of Portugal. When did Spain finally recognize Portugal's independence?



The Achaemenid Empire

At its height, the Achaemenid Empire reached from Macedonia to northern India and from the Caucasus Mountains to the Persian Gulf. It derives its name from Achaemenes, who is thought to have lived in the early 7th century BCE. Its greatest rulers were Cyrus II, who established the Persian Empire and from whose reign it is dated; Darius I, who secured the borders from external threats; and Xerxes I, who completed many of Darius's public works. What event brought an end to the empire?

Born on a day like today


Louis Allen "Lou" Rawls

Rawls was an American soul, jazz, and blues singer known for his smooth vocal style. He began singing in his church choir at the age of seven and later sang with local Chicago groups. Though he was pronounced dead after a severe car accident in 1958 that left him in a coma for several days, he recovered and went on to enjoy a successful career, winning multiple Grammy Awards and selling more than 40 million records. Who once credited Rawls with having the "silkiest chops in the singing game"?

Last updated on Thursday, 1st December 2011

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