Little Bits of History

June 7

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 7, 2017

1929: The Lateran Treaty is ratified by the Italian parliament. The treaty was signed by Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister under King Victor Emmanuel III and by Pietro Gasparri, Cardinal Secretary of State under Pope Pius XI. The treaty was signed at the Lateran Palace, hence the name. The palace, an ancient Roman Empire building is located on St. John’s Square in Lateran on the Caelian Hill and was the main papal residence for about a thousand years. It now houses the Vatican Historical Museum. The treaty was signed there on February 11, 1929 and settled the “Roman Question”.

On February 9, 1849 the Roman Republic took over the government of the Papal States until the following July when French troops restored the Pope (Pius IX) to power. Ten years later, still in hot debate over who should govern the small parcel of land, the Kingdom of Italy was making an attempt to unite the many different Italianate states under one ruler. Italy was founded in 1861 under King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia, who when the new kingdom was formed became King of Italy. Rome was declared the capital of the new kingdom but there was a problem. The French government had a garrison there and had since Napoleon III of France decided to offer protection for the Pope. Turin became the seat of government until it was moved to Florence in 1865.

In December 1869 the First Vatican Council met and it is believed today that part of the reason for the declaration of papal infallibility came from political reasons, not just theological ones. In 1870, with the Franco-Prussian War’s beginning, the Roman garrison was closed and France could no longer protect the Papal States. The Italian army moved in and took over Rome and the Pope’s domain. The Pope tried to ignore the Italian government as they sought to bring the seat of power to Rome. The King refused to move to Quirinal Palace (built by Pope Gregory XIII as a summer residence) and there was dissent about sharing rule between secular and religious entities. When the King finally moved into the Quirinal Palace, it was proof he was in fact as well name, ruler of Italy.

The Treaty created Vatican City, 110 acres within Rome, as an independent State. It is the world’s smallest state by both area and population (862). It is not a sovereign nation since it is held by the Holy See. It is considered to be an absolute monarchy with the Pope as the ruler. The treaty consisted of two to three parts (the Holy See presents it as having two with the second and third parts combined into one). There are 27 articles to the treaty of conciliation, a 3 article financial convention (which was not met), and a 45 article concordat. The treaty has been successfully upheld even with changes in the Italian government around Vatican City.

Whom do these thieves think they are kidding asking for the keys to open the door? Let them knock it down if they, like Bonaparte’s soldiers, when they wanted to seize Pius VI, came through the window, but even they did not have the effrontery to ask for the keys. – Pope Pius IX after being asked for the keys to Quirinal Palace

The Vatican is a dagger in the heart of Italy. – Thomas Paine

Even the most radical Islamic terrorist would not want to see the revered holy city of Medina go up. It would be like losing the Vatican in Rome. – Nelson DeMille

I sincerely hope I can contribute to the progress there has been in relations between Jews and Catholics since the Second Vatican Council in a spirit of renewed collaboration. – Pope Francis

Port Royal Destroyed

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 7, 2015
Port Royal, Jamaica map with changing coastlines

Port Royal, Jamaica map with changing coastlines

June 7, 1692: Port Royal, Jamaica is nearly destroyed by an earthquake. Jamaica, located in the Caribbean Sea, is the third largest island in the Greater Antilles and covers about 4,240 square miles. It is south of Cuba and west of Hispaniola. At the time, it was a Spanish possession called Santiago. Port Royal was the unofficial capital and one of the busiest and wealthiest ports in the West Indies. The city was said to be both the “storehouse and treasure of the West Indies” and “one of the wickedest places on earth”. Privateers and pirates used the port as their home base as they robbed the seafaring ships in the Caribbean Sea. The location of the island is on a boundary between two tectonic plates, the Caribbean Plate and the Gonâve Microplate.

Port Royal was founded in 1518 as the center of shipping in the Caribbean. The Taino lived there prior to the Spanish arriving with Christopher Columbus in 1494. Permanent European settlement was begun in 1509 when Juan de Esquevil discovered enslaving Taino to harvest sugar cane was better than trying to find silver or gold. On this day, with the earthquake and plate shifting, two-thirds of the town or 33 acres sank into the sea when the third and main shockwave struck. A stopped watch found in the harbor in 1969 indicated the time was 11.43. There were about 6,500 people living in Port Royal at the time and about 2,000 buildings existed. Most were built of brick and many were more than one story high but they were built on a base of sand.

The shaking sand liquefied and the buildings and their occupants were swept into the sea. All the wharves sunk at once and more than 20 ships capsized in the harbor. Fissures in the sand opened and closed repeatedly which crushed those who were not swept away. Other towns were also affected. Liguanea (now Kingston) and St. Jago were also destroyed. There were landslides across the island. Like many major earthquakes, this one brought a tsunami and the water further damaged surviving buildings with uppermost rooms in the few remaining buildings being flooded. A frigate from the harbor, Swan, was carried over the housetops by the tsunami.

Accounts listed the deaths at about 2000 people from the immediate effects of the earthquake and tsunami. Many more were injured and in the following days, another 3000 died from injuries and disease. Even before the ground settled down, looting began with homes and businesses broken into and anything of value taken. Some of the corpses had their fingers cut off so that could be removed. The town was partially rebuilt but civic leaders relocated to Spanish Town. Most of the sea trade moved to Kingston. Fire devastated the city in 1703 and a hurricane struck in 1722. By the end of the 18th century, Port Royal was mostly abandoned. Another major earthquake hit in 1907 and there is some reason to believe tectonic motions will bring about another of these catastrophic events soon.

War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings. – Ludwig von Mises

Which would you rather have, a bursting planet or an earthquake here and there? – John Joseph Lynch

Blizzards, floods, volcanoes, hurricanes, earthquakes: They fascinate because they nakedly reveal that Mother Nature, afflicted with bipolar disorder, is as likely to snuff us as she is to succor us. – Dean Koontz

It is always interesting to see people in dead earnest, from whatever cause, and earthquakes make everybody earnest. – John Muir

Also on this day: A Man, A Plan, A Canal – Panama – In 1914, the Panama Canal was found to work.
It’s My Body – In 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut was decided.
Treaty of Tordesillas – In 1494, this treaty was signed, parceling out the New World.
Lee, but not Robert E. – In 1776, the Lee Resolution was presented to the Second Continental Congress.
Carrie Nation – In 1899, the temperance devotee entered a saloon.

Carrie Nation

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 7, 2014
Carrie Nation

Carrie Nation

June 7, 1899: Carrie Nation enters Dobson’s Saloon and announces, “Men, I have come to save you from a drunkard’s fate.” Carrie Amelia Moore was born on November 25, 1846 in Garrard County, Kentucky. The family owned slaves and suffered many setbacks during her childhood. Carrie had little education and because of family difficulties, including many family members dealing with mental illness, the child sought refuge in the slave quarters. They moved several times during the US Civil War and ended up in Kansas City. Carrie worked nursing wounded soldier after a raid on Independence, Missouri.

In 1865, Carrie met a young doctor who had fought for the Union. She married Dr. Charles Gloyd who, by all accounts was a severe alcoholic. They married on November 21, 1867, just days before her 21st birthday and she left him shortly before their daughter was born on September 27, 1868. Gloyd died less than a year later from the effects of alcoholism. This is the time when Carrie developed her passionate dislike of all thing liquor. She sold the land she had received from her father and with that money and proceeds from her husband’s estate, she moved her daughter and mother-in-law to Holden, Missouri. Carrie attended the Normal Institute in Warrensburg, Missouri and earned a teaching certificate. She taught for four years in Holden.

In 1874, she married David Nation – a lawyer, minister, and journalist. Already a father, he was 19 years older than Carrie. They purchased a farm and since neither of them knew anything about farming, it was unsuccessful. They eventually moved to Medicine Lodge, Kansas where Carrie ran a successful hotel while her husband found work as a preacher. She began her temperance work there and prayed for guidance to help curb drinking. She claimed a heavenly vision on June 5, 1899 and two days later, the nearly six foot tall, 175 pounds woman entered the saloon armed with many rocks (which she called smashers) and began breaking the casks of alcohol.

Her smashing in saloons soon turned to hatchet jobs. She would either come alone or with hymn-singing women for company as she wreaked havoc in saloons across the state. She divorced her husband in 1901 and carried on with her temperance work. In the first decade of the 1900s, she was arrested about 30 times. She paid her jail fine from lecture-tour fees and sales of souvenir hatchets. She continued to destroy bars and found her calling in the US which did not translate to overseas success. She became ill while giving a speech and was taken to Evergreen Place Hospital and Sanitarium in Leavenworth, Kansas. She died there on June 9, 1911. Both her mother and daughter had been confined to mental institutions earlier but her cause of death has not been linked to the family tendency toward mental illness.

Taste every fruit of every tree in the garden at least once. It is an insult to creation not to experience it fully. Temperance is wickedness. – Stephen Fry

Temperance is moderation in the things that are good and total abstinence from the things that are foul. – Frances E. Willard

I neither drink nor smoke, because my schoolmaster impressed upon me three cardinal virtues; cleanliness in person, cleanliness in mind; temperance. – John Burns

Regardless of what one’s attitude towards prohibition may be, temperance is something against which, at a time of war, no reasonable protest can be made. – William Lyon Mackenzie King

Also on this day: A Man, A Plan, A Canal – Panama – In 1914 the Panama Canal was found to work.
It’s My Body – In 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut was decided.
Treaty of Tordesillas – In 1494, this treaty was signed, parceling out the New World.
Lee, but not Robert E. – In 1776, the Lee Resolution was presented to the Second Continental Congress.

It’s My Body

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 7, 2013
Estelle Griswold

Estelle Griswold

June 7, 1965: Griswold v. Connecticut is decided. The US Supreme Court case 381 U.S, 479 (1965) was argued March 29, 1965. Estelle T. Griswold and C. Lee Buxton v. Connecticut had begun in 1962 in the Circuit Court for the Sixth Circuit. The case was brought to Circuit Court, Appellate Division in 1963 and the Connecticut Supreme Court in 1964. The case challenged a Connecticut law prohibiting “any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception.” The law had been passed in 1879 but was rarely enforced.

Tileston v. Ullman (1943) saw a doctor/mother challenge the constitutionality of the law. The case was dismissed by the Supreme Court who said the plaintiff had no standing to sue on behalf of her patients. Poe v. Ullman (1961) was dismissed again, this time because the plaintiffs had not been charged or threatened with prosecution. Justice John Marshall Harlan II filed a dissenting opinion in the Poe case decrying the lack of Due Process by imposing laws of “arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints.”

Estelle Griswold was the Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut. Dr. C. Lee Buxton was a physician and professor at Yale School of Medicine. To once again test a law prohibiting contraception, the two opened a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Haven, Connecticut. They were immediately arrested, tried, found guilty, and fined $100 each (≈ $700 today). The court system upheld the convictions as the case moved up the appeals ladder.

The Supreme Court heard arguments by Griswold stating the law was unconstitutional because it was in conflict with Amendment 14, Section 1, that states “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…nor deny any person the equal protection of the laws.” This early reversal only applied to married couples. Single women were not afforded the same protection until 1972 when Eisenstadt v. Baird found they, too, had a right to privacy.

“A crying baby is the best form of birth control.” – Carole Tabron

“Contraceptives should be used on every conceivable occasion.” – Spike Milligan

“It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry.” – H.L. Mencken

“When the history of civilization is written, it will be a biological history and Margaret Sanger will be its heroine.” – H.G. Wells

“Those who in principle oppose birth control are either incapable of arithmetic or else in favor of war, pestilence and famine as permanent features of human life.” – Bertrand Russell

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Trying to control fertility is an ago old problem. Since ancient times, women have increased the amount of time they breastfed babies in the hopes of forestalling the next pregnancy. Even in the Bible, there is evidence of coitus interruptus used as birth control (and where the Catholic Church gets its stance on the subject) when Onan uses the method. Both birth control and abortion were documented in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. The Kahun Gynecological Papyrus lists various methods of birth control and is dated about 1859 BC. It lists pessaries and acacia gum which acts as a spermicide. There were a variety of plants used throughout the Middle and Far East as well as in Ancient Greece and Rome that would help with contraception. Silphium was once such plant and was in such demand that eventually the plant went extinct. 

Also on this day: A Man, A Plan, A Canal – Panama – In 1914 the Panama Canal was found to work.
Treaty of Tordesillas – In 1494, this treaty was signed, parceling out the New World.
Lee, but not Robert E. – In 1776, the Lee Resolution was presented to the Second Continental Congress.

Lee, but not Robert E.

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 7, 2012

Richard Henry Lee (From the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.)

June 7, 1776: The Lee Resolution is presented to the Second Continental Congress. Richard Henry Lee was from the Virginia colony. He was instructed by Edmund Pendleton, the President of the Virginia Convention, to propose the resolution to the august men debating the future of the American Colonies. Pendleton spoke on Wednesday, May 15, 1776 to 112 Members of the Virginia Convention calling for independence from the British Empire. He sent the text of his speech to Richard Lee who then presented it to the Continental Congress as a resolution. John Adams seconded the resolution.

The resolution was then tabled for discussion the next day and still not resolved. By Monday, the Congress opted to postpone the implementation of Lee’s resolution but appointed a committee to “prepare a declaration to the effect of the said first resolution.” On Friday, June 28 a first draft was presented and was ordered to “lie on the table.” On Monday, July 1, Congress began to “take into consideration” the resolution. They considered and debated for two more days and finally, on Thursday, July 4, the Declaration of Independence was approved. The text and list of signatures was entered into the Journal. It would later be formally signed on August 2.

The Second Continental Congress began their sessions on May 10, 1775 as essentially a reconvening of the First Continental Congress. Many of the same 56 delegates were present. Peyton Randolph was again elected President of the Congress with Charles Thomson once again Secretary. Within two weeks Randolph was called back to Virginia to sit in the House of Burgesses. This led to a new member as a replacement, Thomas Jefferson. Other new members were Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock. Henry Middleton was elected President, but declined, so Hancock took the position.

Twelve of the thirteen colonies were represented. Georgia did not send delegates to the First Congress and was late in sending men to this reconvening. However, Lyman Hall did finally arrive to represent the Parish of St. John’s in Georgia. He represented the Parish and not the Colony itself. The First Continental Congress met in 1774 and expressed dissatisfaction with the British rule. Hostilities broke out on April 19, 1775 causing this second meeting to evolve. Georgia finally joined in the cause in July 1775. The Colonies not only declared their independence, but won their freedom from British rule as the Revolutionary War ended on September 3, 1783.

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. – from Lee’s Resolution

The first maxim of a man who loves liberty, should be never to grant to rulers an atom of power that is not most clearly and indispensably necessary for the safety and well being of society. – Richard Lee

Taken in all he was the ablest man in debate I ever met. – Thomas Jefferson said of Edmund Pendleton

There, I guess King George will be able to read that. – John Hancock

Also on this day:

A Man, A Plan, A Canal – Panama – In 1914 the Panama Canal was found to work.
It’s My Body – In 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut was decided.
Treaty of Tordesillas – In 1494, this treaty was signed, parceling out the New World.

Treaty of Tordesillas

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 7, 2011

Treaty of Tordesillas map

June 7, 1494: The Treaty of Tordesillas is signed. The treaty divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between Spain and Portugal. The line of demarcation was set about half way between the islands of Cape Verde, already under Portuguese control, and the lands discovered by Christopher Columbus when he sailed for Spain. The lands to the east of the line were to go to Portugal, and those west of the line would be Spanish.

Lands has been disputed between the two voyaging countries. The Pope was the man in charge of international issues, since Europe was basically under his purview. In 1481, the Pope declared all land south of the Canary Islands would belong to Portugal. Pope Alexander VI was elected in 1493 and he was Spanish-born. He wrote another bull or charter giving more land to Spain. In fact, his letter didn’t even mention Portugal. The 1493 bull gave lands belonging to India to Spain.

Portuguese King John II was not satisfied by this turn of events and so he began to negotiate with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Both countries were eager to possess the land and mining rights to the new lands, even though neither had seen very much of the New World at that point. Spain was granted most of the Americas, but Portugal was given possession of the easternmost part of Brazil since it bulged past the line drawn line.

Where the line was drawn was unclear. The line was to be drawn a specific number of leagues from the Cape Verde Islands. It was not written in degrees and didn’t mention specifically which island was to be used as a starting point. The idea was for the two nations to decide the details between them. They differed in opinions. Even so, the treaty was ratified by Spain on July 2 and by Portugal on September 5. More treaties would follow, further parceling out the globe.

“Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last.” – Charles de Gaulle

“Weak nations sign treaties; strong ones break them.” – Paul Eldridge

“The best negotiated treaties are but the law of the stronger.” – Vauvenarbues

“Treaties which are not built upon reciprocal benefits are not likely to be of long duration.” – George Washington

Also on this day:
A Man, A Plan, A Canal – Panama – In 1914 the Panama Canal was found to work.
It’s My Body – In 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut was decided.

A Man, A Plan, A Canal – Panama

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 7, 2010

Sailing routes before and after the Panama Canal

June 7, 1914: Although the Panama Canal does not officially open until August of this year, on this date, the first ship, Alliance,  passes through the locks. The idea of a canal in Panama originated in the sixteenth century. Construction was started by the French in 1880 and completed by the Americans in 1914 after they took over the project in 1904. About 80,000 people worked on the canal. Over 30,000 of them died during construction. The American government spent $352 million on construction of the canal. The combined monies spent by the US and the French was approximately $639 million.

On September 7, 1977, a treaty was signed between Panama and the US transferring ownership and maintenance from the US to Panama. On October 1, 1979, the Panama Canal Treaty returned canal jurisdiction to Panama. The US managed, operated, maintained, and improved the Canal through 1999.

The length of the canal is 46.8 miles. The canal joins the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. A typical trip through the canal takes about nine hours. It shortens the trip by about 8,000 miles by negating the need for travel around the South American continent. It also keeps ships from having to traverse the Drake Passage and Cape Horn to reach the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean. The average toll is around $54,000.

The canal is a booming business. In 2008, 14,702 ships passed through the canal, moving 309.6 million (PC/UMS) tons. It was once estimated that the maximum capacity of the canal was 80 million tons. The canal has now reached maximum capacity and there is difficulty with newer, larger ships fitting through the locks. At the present time, half of all ships already use the full width of the locks. It is thought by 2011, 37% of the container ships on the seas will be too large for the present canal. As a result, there is current construction of another set of locks by the Panamanian government in partnership with the US. The new locks have a proposed cost of $5.25 billion (USD) and should be completed by 2015.

“All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise or wonder, are instances of the resistless force of perseverance; it is by this that the quarry becomes a pyramid, and that distant countries are united with canals.” – Samuel Johnson

“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.” – John Paul Jones

“Each of us is carving a stone, erecting a column, or cutting a piece of stained glass in the construction of something much bigger than ourselves.” – Adrienne Clarkson

“If you take advantage of everything America has to offer, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.” – Geraldine Ferraro

Also on this day:
In 1965,
birth control was legal (in Connecticut) (for married women).
In 1494, the
Treaty of Tordesillas was signed.

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