Chartered by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600, the British East India Company was founded to break the Dutch monopoly on the spice trade. It gradually acquired unequalled trade privileges in India, reaping huge profits. Guarding against foreign and domestic competition, it began to intervene in Indian politics, sometimes with military force. The British government came to increasingly control the company. What prompted the government to finally take over the company—and India—in 1858?
Back in the day
Today the world's largest corporation, the Walmart chain of superstores was founded by Sam Walton, a former US Army Captain with an economics degree. Walton owned and ran a chain of five-and-dime stores in Arkansas before he opened his first Wal-Mart store in 1962. In the 50 years since, the company, which sells brand-name goods in high volume at low prices, has flourished. It now has 8,500 stores operating in over a dozen countries. What percent of the US population visits a Walmart each week?
Born on a day like today
Hesse was German novelist and poet who wrote about the individual's search for spiritual fulfillment, often through mysticism. His major works include Siddhartha and Steppenwolf. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946. At around the time of his death in 1962, his novels began to enjoy a revival of popularity due to their association with some of the themes of the 1960s counterculture movement. What fellow German writers did Hesse help to escape from the Nazis?