Tangata Manu, or "Birdman," was the title given to the winner of an annual ritual competition practiced by Easter Island natives up until Christian missionaries suppressed it in the 1860s. The object of the contest was the retrieval of the first sooty tern egg of the season from the cliffs of a rocky islet off the coast of the main island. The winner's clan received the right to collect that season's harvest of wild bird eggs, while the Birdman himself was afforded what privileges?
Back in the day
Cold Harbor was one of the bloodiest and most lopsided engagements of the US Civil War. As many as 13,000 Union soldiers were killed, injured, or captured in the assault on the fortified Confederate line, whereas the Confederates suffered only a few thousand casualties. After two weeks of battle, Union General Ulysses S. Grant decided he could not justify his losses and ordered a retreat, later expressing regret over the disastrous assault. Whose remains did soldiers discover while entrenching?
Born on a day like today
A chronically ill woman who lost her hearing in childhood, Martineau nevertheless went on to become a prolific and enormously popular English author. The sister of a minister, she first published articles on religious subjects, but it was her series of books on economics written for the layman that brought her renown. After a visit to the US in 1834, she became an abolition advocate and wrote several critical works on American culture. What Charles Dickens character may have been based on her?