" An American monkey,…after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus was wiser than many men. "
Charles Darwin

Back in the day


Charlie Chaplin Is Knighted

Though he spent most of his career in the US, British-born silent-film legend Charlie Chaplin never applied for citizenship. The US took advantage of this fact in 1952, while Chaplin was overseas, revoking his re-entry permit over his alleged Communist ties. His political leanings, as well as his many affairs with young women, nearly cost him a knighthood, but after decades of debate, he was finally knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. What was stolen from Chaplin's grave shortly after his death?



The Pursuit of Goeben and Breslau

At the outbreak of WWI, Germany ordered its two ships in the Mediterranean—the Goeben and Breslau—to head for Turkey in an attempt to draw the Ottoman Empire into the war. Meanwhile, Winston Churchill ordered British ships to find and intercept them. The British accidentally stumbled across the Germans near Algeria and gave chase. Why did Churchill later describe the outcome of the chase as more ruinous than any that "has ever before been borne within the compass of a ship"?

Born on a day like today


Miriam Makeba

Nicknamed "Mama Africa," Makeba was a Grammy Award-winning singer and activist. In 1963, after she testified against apartheid before the UN, South Africa revoked her citizenship and right to return to the country. She settled in the US, where her musical career flourished, then moved to Guinea after being criticized for marrying a Black Panther. She remained in exile for 30 years, finally returning to her homeland in 1990 at the end of apartheid. Why did she spend six months in jail as a baby?

Last updated on Sunday, 4th March 2012

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