" The years teach much which the days never know. "
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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USS Vincennes Shoots Down Iranian Passenger Jet

Bordered by Iran and connected to the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz was guarded by Iran during its war with Iraq in the 1980s. Ships were routinely inspected to keep war goods from reaching Iraq. As the USS Vincennes crossed the strait on the morning of July 3, 1988, it exchanged fire with Iranian gunboats, pursuing them into Iranian waters. Not long after, it fired on Iran Air Flight 655, destroying the civilian airliner and killing everyone aboard. What mistakes led to the tragedy?

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The Emin Pasha Relief Expedition

Born Eduard Schnitzer, Emin Pasha was a German explorer and doctor who served as a medical officer and governor in Equatoria, part of the Egyptian Sudan. In 1885, he was cut off from the outside world by a Mahdist uprising, prompting a European rescue mission. The rescue party undertook a year-long steamer ship journey through densely forested "Darkest Africa," where food was scarce, disease was rampant, and natives shot them with poison arrows. When they finally reached Pasha, how did he react?

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Louis XI of France, the Spider King

Louis XI ruled from 1461 to 1483 and is deemed France's first modern king for establishing a powerful monarchy and moving away from the feudal system of the Middle Ages. His web of political machinations earned him the nickname "Spider King" and destroyed his relationship with his father, King Charles VII. In 1440, at age 17, he tried to depose Charles in the uprising known as the Praguerie. Though Charles forgave his son, he exiled Louis four years later. What had Louis done this time?

Last updated on Wednesday, 3rd July 2013

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