" The soul most free is that most bound in thraldom to the ancient tyrant Love. "
Miguel de Cervantes

Back in the day


Zambia Gains Independence

The area that is now Zambia came under British control in the early 1900s with the development of the copper mining industry. After decades of nationalist struggle, the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia became the independent Republic of Zambia. Kenneth Kaunda, a former schoolteacher who had been jailed for nationalist political activities prior to independence, became its first president. Zambia may have been the first country to do what during the Olympics?



European Heat Wave of 2003

The 2003 European heat wave was one of the hottest summers on record in Europe. Tens of thousands of people—mostly elderly—died in the extreme weather, with more than 14,000 perishing in France alone. Melting glaciers caused avalanches in Switzerland, and deadly forest fires wreaked widespread destruction in Portugal. In Germany, the lowest river levels in a century hindered shipping traffic. Wheat crops across Southern Europe failed. What agricultural product actually benefited from the heat?

Born on a day like today


Annie Edson Taylor

On her 63rd birthday, Taylor became the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel. The interior of the barrel was cushioned and the air was compressed with a bicycle pump. Before her trip, Taylor sent a cat over the falls in her barrel—and it lived. Days later, she drifted over the falls in the same barrel and walked away from the plunge with minor injuries. However, she did not significantly profit from the stunt. According to some accounts, her barrel was stolen by whom?

Last updated on Wednesday, 24th October 2012

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