Longships were the boats used by the Vikings of Scandinavia and Iceland for trade, exploration, and warfare between the 8th and 11th centuries. Long and narrow, the boats were designed for speed and were propelled by teams of rowers, sometimes aided by sails. They were shallow enough to land on beaches and light enough to be carried over land. They were also double-ended and could reverse direction quickly. Why, according to legend, were crows brought along on some longship voyages?
Back in the day
In the 1835 Texas Revolution, the predominantly American settlers of Texas sought independence from the Mexican government. In December, they took the Alamo, an old chapel in San Antonio. When Mexican forces arrived in February, the Texians were outnumbered and unprepared to withstand the 13-day siege. Nearly all of them were killed. The loss became a rallying point for Texians, who went on to win the war. What short-lived independent nation did they establish that year?
Born on a day like today
Jaspers was a German philosopher and psychopathologist often identified as an exponent of existentialism, although he rejected this classification. In his magnum opus, Philosophy, he argued that the aim of philosophy is practical and that its purpose is the fulfillment of human existence. He believed illumination is achieved through the experience of "limit situations" like conflict, guilt, and suffering, which define the human condition. What forced him to give up his teaching career?