" I dare say I am compelled, unconsciously compelled, now to write volume after volume, as in past years I was compelled to go to sea, voyage after voyage. Leaves must follow upon each other as leagues used to follow in the days gone by, on and on to the appointed end, which, being truth itself, is one—one for all men and for all occupations. "
Joseph Conrad

Back in the day


Colombia Declares Independence from Spain

From the 16th century, present-day Colombia formed the nucleus of the region that Spanish conquistadors called New Granada. In the early 1800s, people like Antonio Nariño began agitating for independence. A prominent early revolutionary leader, Nariño helped foment rebellion by distributing The Declaration of the Rights of Man to his countrymen. Parts of Colombia threw off Spanish jurisdiction in 1810, but full independence was not secured until nine years later, under what famous revolutionary?




Located in modern-day Lebanon, Baalbek is an ancient city noted for its extensive ruins. The city was identified with the worship of the Phoenician sun god Baal and called Heliopolis—city of the sun—by the Greeks. It became a Roman colony under Augustus, and work began there on some of the largest temples in the Roman Empire. It was later sacked by invaders and was destroyed by an earthquake in 1759. In the 6th century, eight columns were disassembled and sent to Constantinople for what purpose?

Born on a day like today


Alexander the Great

The son of Philip II of Macedon, Alexander was tutored by Aristotle and became king at 20. One of the greatest generals in ancient history, he conquered much of Greece and Persia before his troops mutinied at the prospect of having to sack India as well. At the age of 33, he died of a fever on his way home after more than a decade of conquest. His empire was the greatest that had existed until that time and spread Hellenism far and wide. What city did Alexander name after his horse?

Last updated on Friday, 20th July 2012

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