In 1920, Azerbaijan was taken by the Red Army and made into a Soviet republic. However, for a brief time before that, it had been an independent country. During that time, the 26 Baku Commissars—a group of Bolsheviks who tried to set up a Soviet government in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku—were executed after their attempt at imposing Soviet rule in Azerbaijan failed. Curiously, when their remains were exhumed in 2009, some of the Commissars were missing. Who might have escaped?
W. Somerset Maugham
Back in the day
Prior to 1938, Saudi Arabia was not considered an oil-rich nation. Today, the oil industry dominates its economy, making up 90 percent of all Saudi exports. Oil was first discovered there in the mid-1930s by the US-owned Arabian Standard Oil Company, which became the Arabian American Oil Company. However, it was not until 1938 that a commercially viable oil field was found, yielding one of the largest supplies in the world. How large are Saudi Arabia's oil reserves estimated to be?
Born on a day like today
Possibly the most famous con man in history, Ponzi is now synonymous with a particular type of ruinous investment scheme. By promising impossibly high returns on a "get rich quick" scheme, Ponzi attracted enough new investors to use their money to pay off old investors, which made his outfit appear successful and solvent. It was not. After a series of trials, he was deported from the US, but in at least one case in 1922, he was found not guilty. Who was his lawyer at that trial?