Little Bits of History

January 18

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 18, 2017

1915: Japan issues Twenty-One Demands to the government of China. During World War I, the Empire of Japan had Ōkuma Shigenobu as Prime Minister. He sent a list of demands to China which would extend Japanese control of Manchuria as well as increase control over the economy. The Japanese had gained a great deal of influence in northern China and Manchuria during the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War. At the time, Japan ranked with European imperialist powers in their quest to take control of China. The Qing dynasty was overthrown and a new Republic of China was created under General Yuan Shikai. Japan saw this development as a way to increase her own power on the mainland.

Early drafting of the demandswas done by Shigenobu and Foreign Minister Katō Takaaki, who would later serve as Prime Minister of Japan. They were presented to the Genrō and Japanese Emperor Taishō. They went next to the Diet who approved the list of demands after which they were presented to Shikai on this date. Along with the demands came threats of dire consequences if they were not met. The demands were divided into five groups.

The first group demanded that Japan’s seizure of German ports and operations be recognized along with control over infrastructure in the Shandong Province. Groups two and three sequentially granted Japan a wider sphere of influence over greater territories and natural as well as manmade resources. Group four barred China from making similar deals with other foreign powers. And the most aggressive and final list demanded China hire Japanese advisors who would take control of China’s finances and police as well as freedom to build their own infrastructure. They attempted to keep this last section secret while putting pressure on the new Chinese government.

A new list of Thirteen Demands was sent on May 7, almost two weeks after China’s rejection of the first list. Shikai was not in a strong enough position, since he was still in battle with other warlords over total control of China and he capitulated and signed the reduced document on May 25, 1915. The consequences for Japan were mainly negative. The signing of the demands did little to increase the de facto power Japan already had in China but it did greatly antagonize relations between Japan and the US and Great Britain who had been Japan’s greatest ally up to this point. The British Foreign Office was dismayed by Japan’s overbearing and bullying behaviors. The Chinese themselves organized a total boycott of all Japanese imports and the economic consequences were considerable.

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. – Frederick Douglass

As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce. – Adam Smith

Freedom is our most precious commodity and if we are not eternally vigilant, government will take it all away. Individual freedom demands individual responsibility. – Lyn Nofziger

No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow. – Alice Walker

Second Reich

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 18, 2015
William I of Germany

William I of Germany

January 18, 1871: William I becomes Germany’s first Emperor. William or Wilhelm Friedrich Ludwig was born on March 22, 1797 in Berlin, Prussia. He was of the House of Hohenzollern and was the second son of King Frederick William III. At age ten, he was appointed by his father as an officer in the Prussian army and served from 1814 onward. He fought against Napoleon I of France and was reported to be a brave soldier. In 1815, at age 18, he was promoted to Major and also worked in a diplomatic capacity, honing skills he would use later in life. In 1829, unable to marry the woman of his choosing, he married a Princess selected by his father instead. In 1840, William’s older brother became King of Prussia but he had no children and so William was next in line for the throne.

On January 2, 1861 William rose to the throne when his brother died. William crowned himself on October 18, the anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig and it was the only crowning of a German king in the 19th century. In the midst of the Franco-Prussian War, on this date, William was proclaimed German Emperor in the Hall of Mirrors in the Versailles Palace. Even the title bestowed upon the man was hotly contested. Bismarck carefully chose German Emperor over William’s preference, Emperor of Germany because this would have signaled a claim to lands outside his realm. The title of Emperor of the Germans was also ruled out as was the designation of having himself chosen “by the grace of God” and not the people of the republic.

William was now Emperor of the Second Reich. The first Reich/Realm was the Holy Roman Empire. The Second was also unofficially known as Germany and was the German nation state in existence from this date until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in November 1918 when Germany became a federal republic. These are all predecessors of today’s country – Germany. The German Empire was made up of 27 constituent territories with most of them ruled by royal families. The Kingdom of Prussia held both the most territory and the largest population but the Prussian leaders were supplanted by leaders from all over Germany.

The House of Hohenzollern were a group of various types of leaders including kings and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire, and Romania. They arose from an area around Hechingen in Swabia during the 11th century and got their name from the Hohenzollern Castle. The first mention of the family was in 1061. The family split into two branches, the Catholic Swabian and the Protestant Franconian branches. Further political and religious affiliations lasted until Germany’s defeat in World War I led to the German Revolution and the family was overthrown and the Weimer Republic was established, ending the German monarchy. The House itself remains alive and well in Prussia and in the Swabian line.

Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too. – Marcus Aurelius

Empires inevitably fall, and when they do, history judges them for the legacies they leave behind. – Noah Feldman

Empires won by conquest have always fallen either by revolt within or by defeat by a rival. – John Boyd Orr

Ideas have unhinged the gates of empires. – Paul Harris

Also on this day: Rudyard Kipling – In 1936, Rudyard Kipling died.
Botany Bay – In 1788, HMS Supply reached Botany Bay.
Daredevil Success – In 1911, the first plane was landed on a ship at sea.
Dr. William Price – In 1884, Price attempted to cremate his deceased infant son.
The Lap of Luxury – In 1919, Bentley Motors Limited was founded.

The Lap of Luxury

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 18, 2014
1935 Bentley  Cabriolet

1935 Bentley Cabriolet

January 18, 1919: Bentley Motors Limited is founded. Brothers HM (Horace Millner) Bentley and WO (Walter Owen) Bentley sold DFP (Doroit, Flandrin, & Parant) cars in France prior to World War I. WO dreamed of designing his own cars to sell which would proudly display the family name. He founded the company and by August 1919, Bentley Motors Ltd. was registered and a chassis without an engine was exhibited at the London Motor Show a few months later. By December Clive Gallop, previously with the Royal Flying Corps, had designed a new engine with 4 valves per cylinder. Orders were taken and it was hoped that cars could be delivered beginning in June 1920. It took much longer than that and cars finally were ready by September 1921.

The cars were not only luxurious, but fast. The first event to see a Bentley race was the 1922 Indianapolis 500 where Douglas Hawkes drove to finish the entire race in 13th place. He had started in 19th place and managed an average speed of 74.95 mph. They rushed back to the UK to race in the RAC (Royal Automobile Club) Tourist Trophy. The next year, Bentleys were part of the 24 hours of Le Mans Grand Prix Endurance race. They raced each year between 1923 and 1930. In 1925 and 1926, the cars did not finish the race. However, between 1927 and 1930, Bentley took at least first place each year. In 1929, Bentleys were in first, second, third, and fourth place.

Woolf Barnato bought his first Bentley in 1925 and a year later he bought the company. He was one of a group of wealthy Britons who preferred the British car and the entire group was known as the Bentley Boys. The company was habitually underfunded and Barnato initially brought more than £100,000 to the company. The creditors were paid off and the company was saved. It took another £35,000 the next year, £40,000 the year after, and £25,000 in 1929 to keep the cars coming. This gave WO time to design a new generation of cars. Cars were made at the Cricklewood plant outside London until 1931.

In July 1931 with the Great Depression cutting into sales, there were two mortgage payments due which were unable to be made. The company went into receivership. Napier & Son negotiated for the company and it seemed like the deal was clinched when a bid from British Central Equitable Trust offered a counter-proposal. This was eventually taken and after the deal was closed it was found out that it was a front for Rolls-Royce which now owned Bentley. The company went through other iterations and today is made under the Volkswagen AG banner. In 2012, there were 8,510 Bentleys sold with the majority of them purchased in the Americas (2,457) and China (2,253). There were 9,107 of them made. There were nearly 1200 cars built but not sold in the years 2011 and 2012.

The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury. – Charlie Chaplin

Living in the lap of luxury isn’t bad except that you never know when luxury is going to stand up. – Orson Welles

Every luxury must be paid for, and everything is a luxury, starting with being in this world. – Cesare Pavese

The greatest luxury of riches is that they enable you to escape so much good advice. – Arthur Helps

Also on this day: Rudyard Kipling – In 1936, Rudyard Kipling died.
Botany Bay – In 1788, HMS Supply reached Botany Bay.
Daredevil Success – In 1911, the first plane was landed on a ship at sea.
Dr. William Price – In 1884, Price attempted to cremate his deceased infant son.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 18, 2013
Arthur Phillip

Arthur Phillip

January 18, 1788: HMS Supply reaches Botany Bay, the first of the First Fleet ships to do so. Eleven ships sailed from England on May 13, 1787. The mission of the First Fleet was to establish a convict settlement in New South Wales, Australia. The Fleet was led by Captain (later to become Admiral) Arthur Phillip.

There were 772 convicts (579 men and 193 women) along with 14 children on board the ships. There were a total of 1,418 people who left Portsmouth, England. During the eight month journey, 22 babies were born and 69 people either died, were discharged, or deserted so 1,373 people were aboard as the ships entered the harbor at Botany Bay. The whole project began on August 18, 1786 when the British Government decided to export convicts to Australia with Home Secretary Lord Sydney responsible for implementing the project.

Ships were acquired and then manned with the crew to sail and militia to guard the convicts. The convicts were held below decks with strong hatch bars in place to keep the villains and crew separated. Food stores and equipment were transported below decks as well. The colonists needed tents as shelter while the first buildings were constructed. They also needed to bring agricultural goods, both tools and seeds, so the colony would be self-sustaining.

The first ship to arrive was the HMS Supply under the command of Henry Lidgbird Ball. The ship continued service sailing between the established colony and Norfolk Island, making ten trips before she was sold in 1792. While the original landing site was at Botany Bay, the area was unsuitable and could not sustain the penal colony. Rather, under the direction of Captain Phillip the colony was established at Port Jackson, an area better suited to the needs of the colonists. Establishing the colony was more difficult than necessary because when selecting prisoners to send, no thought was given to the skill sets they possessed. Therefore there were many gaps in knowledge and skills as the colony was being launched.

“Many laws as certainly make bad men, as bad men make many laws.” – Walter Savage Landor

“This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“Punishment is now unfashionable… because it creates moral distinctions among men, which, to the democratic mind, are odious. We prefer a meaningless collective guilt to a meaningful individual responsibility.” – Thomas Szasz

“Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.” – Jonathan Swift

This article first appeared at in 2010. Editor’s update: Arthur Phillip was born in 1738 and was apprenticed to the merchant navy at the age of 13. About two years later, he joined the Royal Navy and fought in the Seven Year’s War. In 1762 he was promoted to Lieutenant but when the War ended, he was placed on half pay. At that time he married and farmed to support his family. In 1774 he joined the Portuguese Navy as a captain and fought against Spain. Four years later, Britain was once again at war and Phillip was recalled to fight with them. He served in India and did so with distinction. In October 1786 he was named captain of the HMS Sirius and named governor-designate of New South Wales.

Also on this day: Rudyard Kipling – In 1936, Rudyard Kipling died.
Daredevil Success – In 1911, the first plane was landed on a ship at sea.
Dr. William Price – In 1884, Price attempted to cremate his deceased infant son.

Dr. William Price

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 18, 2012

William Price

January 18, 1884: Dr. William Price attempts to cremate his recently deceased infant son. Calling the Welsh-born physician an eccentric may be understating the case. He was born on March 4, 1800 near Caerphilly in southern Wales. As a teenager, he walked the countryside naked, to his neighbors’ dismay.  At age 20, he went to London and attended the Royal College of Surgeons. He was fluent in English and Latin as well as his native Welsh. He returned to Wales and practiced medicine at Treforest Iron Works.

The miserable working conditions and the effects on the populace were precipitating factors to the doctor’s membership in the Chartism cause. This social reform movement’s name sprang from a petition placed in 1838 with six main goals to help equalize the citizenry before the law. Dr. Price’s involvement eventually led him to flee Great Britain for Paris. He returned to Wales, fled for Paris again in 1860 after a warrant was placed for his arrest, and eventually returned to Wales permanently.

Dr. Price refused to treat anyone who smoked. He was also a Druid and appointed himself archdruid in 1840. He thoroughly washed all coins in his possession to rid them of germs. He was a vegetarian. He did not believe in marriage stating the institution enslaved women. He did father three children, a daughter born in 1841, a son in 1883, and a second daughter in 1886. He was anti-capitalist after watching the owners of coal mines and the local gentry abuse their positions of power. He was famous for wearing a fox-skin headdress but never socks – thinking the latter were unhygienic.

His son, Jesus Christ (Iesu Grist in Welsh) Price, was five months old when he died. Dr. Price thought burial was a “sin against the earth” and built a pyre of coal in order to cremate his son’s body. He was arrested before completing the act and prosecuted. At trial, he spoke in his own defense (wearing his fox headdress). The judge said there was no law banning the practice. The case set a precedence and the first official cremation took place in 1885. Dr. Price died at the age of 92. He was cremated, atop two tons of coal, in front of 20,000 onlookers.

It is not right that a carcass should be allowed to rot and decompose in this way. It results in a wastage of good land, pollution of the earth, water and air, and is a constant danger to all living creatures. – Dr. William Price

You get this argument that burial is big and ugly and corporate and fat and it’s the Cadillac. Cremation is hip and new and happening. It’s the VW bug with the “small is beautiful” kind of thing. – Stephen Prothero

It (cremation) used to be kind of taboo, but anymore it’s become real popular. It takes up less space, and you’re dead anyway, so what’s the difference? – Bob Young

Cremation is almost always chosen by the deceased. Surveys show people choose it because it’s easier to arrange. – Jack Springer

Also on this day:

Rudyard Kipling – In 1936, Rudyard Kipling died.
Botany Bay – In 1788, HMS Supply reached Botany Bay.
Daredevil Success – In 1911, the first plane was landed on a ship at sea.

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Daredevil Success

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 18, 2011

Eugene B. Ely lands his Curtiss pusher biplane on USS Pennsylvania.

January 18, 1911: Eugene B. Ely lands his plane on a 199-foot wooden platform attached to the deck of the USS Pennsylvania. This first plane landing on a ship at sea occurred in San Francisco Harbor. Ely was flying a 50 horsepower Curtis pusher biplane specially equipped with hooks on the landing gear. These hooks were designed to catch ropes tied to sandbags and stretched across the landing platform. They were intended to slow the plane to a stop and the tailhook method based on this system is still in use today.

The USS Pennsylvania was also called ACR-4 or Armored Cruiser No.4 and the ship was later named Pittsburgh and numbered CA-4. The ship was laid down on August 7, 1901 and launched on August 22, 1903. She received her commission on March 9, 1905 and was decommissioned on July 10, 1931. This day marks the ship’s claim to history books although the ship served well in World War I and in the inter-war period. The bow ornament from the ship was presented to the Carnegie Institute of Technology after she was decommissioned.

Eugene Ely was born in Williamsburg, Iowa. After graduating from college in 1904, he moved to San Francisco and was active in the sale and racing of cars, something new at the time. He married in 1907 and he moved to Oregon where he went to work for E. Henry Wemme. Wemme purchased one of the Glenn Curtiss’s first four-cylinder biplanes. Wemme could not fly the plane, but Ely believed it couldn’t be harder than driving a car, so he offered to fly it. He crashed and felt so bad, he purchased the wreck from Wemme. Ely repaired the plane and learned to fly. He flew in his first exhibition in Winnipeg. He moved to Minnesota and met Curtiss and was soon working for him. Ely got his federal pilot’s license [#17] on October 5, 1910.

In October, Ely met Captain Washington Chambers of the US Navy. Chambers was tasked with investigating uses of aviation within the Navy. Ely and Chambers began to experiment and on November 14, 1910 Ely became the first pilot to take off from a ship at sea, the USS Birmingham. It wasn’t picture perfect, but did prove the possibility of this maneuver. Ely loved to fly dangerously and never used a parachute. On October 19, 1911 while flying at an exhibition in Macon, Georgia, he was late pulling out of a dive and crashed. He jumped clear of the wrecked aircraft, but his neck was broken. He died only a few minutes later.

“It was easy enough. I think the trick could be successfully turned nine times out of ten.” – Eugene Ely after landing on the USS Pennsylvania

“I guess I will be like the rest of them, keep at it until I am killed.” – Eugene Ely, when asked if he would retire from flying

“The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of the air.” – Wilbur Wright

“My soul is in the sky.” – William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Also on this day:
Rudyard Kipling – In 1936, Rudyard Kipling died.
Botany Bay – In 1788, the First Fleet landed at Botany Bay.


Rudyard Kipling

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 18, 2010

Rudyard Kipling

January 18, 1936 – British novelist, short story writer and unofficial poet laureate, Rudyard Kipling dies at the age of 70. He was born in India where his father was an art teacher. At the age of six, he was taken to England where he was mistreated in foster homes for the next five years.

He entered United Services College in 1878, hoping for a military career. But his poor grades and poorer eyesight ended his dream of a life in the military. He returned to India and began writing, glorifying the British Empire and racial prejudices that were common at the time. He traveled to the US and to Africa and continued his writing.

He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907, and was the first Englishman as well as the youngest person to do so. He was offered both a knighthood and the post of British poet laureate but turned down both offers. Some of his most famous works are The Jungle Book, a work of fiction containing the short stories such as Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. The Man Who Would Be King is another of his famous short stories. He also wrote the famous poems Gunga Din and If –. He also wrote a series of children’s book. Just So Stories for Little Children was just the first.

Kipling’s association with the British Empire and expansive European colonialism led to his being adversely affected by World War I. His eldest son, John, was killed in 1915 at the Battle of Loos. Kipling joined Sir Farbian Ware’s Imperial War Graves Commission, the group founded in 1917 and responsible for the garden-like appearance of gravesites of fallen soldiers.

“He wrapped himself in quotations- as a beggar would enfold himself in the purple of Emperors.”

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”

“The silliest woman can manage a clever man; but it needs a very clever woman to manage a fool.”

“All the people like us are we, And everyone else is They.” – all by Rudyard Kipling

Also on this day, in 1788 the First Fleet landed at Botany Bay.

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