The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack

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Today in History: Cannibalism

Posted by Gilbert Stack on December 23, 2016 at 6:50 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (December 23) in 1972 sixteen survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 were rescued after spending 73 days in harsh frozen conditions at 11,800 feet in the Andes Mountain. Flight 571 had crashed in the Andes on October 23 with 45 crew and passengers (mostly a Rugby team and their friends and family). 18 people died in the initial crash and another 11 in an avalanche a few days later. The survivors did not have cold weather gear or food. They obtained water by pla...

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Today in History: Party Prep Begins

Posted by Gilbert Stack on December 22, 2016 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

On this day (December 22) in 1826 cadets at West Point smuggled two gallons of whiskey and one gallon of rum into the U.S. Military Academy in preparation for the party that would result in the notorious Eggnog Riot. (You will have to wait until December 24 to learn more.)

Today in History: The U.S. Gets a Lot Bigger

Posted by Gilbert Stack on December 20, 2016 at 5:15 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (December 20) in 1803 the Louisiana Purchase was finalized in New Orleans. The transaction added 828,000 square miles to the United States at a cost of roughly $15 million ($250 million in 2016 currency). The territory included land from fifteen states and two Canadian provinces: all of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and portions of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Texas, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Louisiana, Alberta and Saskatch...

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Today in History: A New King

Posted by Gilbert Stack on December 19, 2016 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (December 19) in 1154, Henry II was crowned king of England in Westminster Abbey. Henry was a strong ruler who restored order to England after the twenty year Anarchy of his predecessor’s reign. He rebuilt the government, reformed the legal system and famously struggled against the church’s efforts to centralize authority under the pope. He was the husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the father of Richard the Lionhearted and John. His mint reforms were t...

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Today in History: New York City Burns

Posted by Gilbert Stack on December 18, 2016 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

On this day (December 17) in 1835 the Great Fire broke out in a five story warehouse in New York City. The temperature was -17 degrees and the East and Hudson Rivers were frozen solid. Firefighters had to drill holes in the ice to access the water—which froze in the hoses as they tried to extinguish the blaze. The flames were visible in Philadelphia 80 miles away. The fire was so hot that copper roofs melted and ran like liquid spilling in great drops to the streets below...

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Today in History: The Boston Tea Party

Posted by Gilbert Stack on December 16, 2016 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (December 16) in 1773, American colonists calling themselves the Sons of Liberty, disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians and forcibly boarded ships in Boston harbor carrying British East India Company tea and dumped the cargo into the harbor. The disguises were the equivalent of 18th century ski masks—everyone knew they were not Mohawks but it was hoped that the pretense would keep individuals from being identified.

The tea was a g...

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Today in History: The Bill of Rights

Posted by Gilbert Stack on December 15, 2016 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (December 15) in 1791 the United States Bill of Rights became part of the constitution when it was ratified by the Virginia General Assembly. Since that time the Bill of Rights has stood as the premier barrier to despotism within the United States by clearly defining civil rights which the government cannot encroach upon.

Today in History: Black Friday

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 25, 2015 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 24) in 1869. Ulysses S. Grant broke the attempt by J. Gould and Jim Fisk to corner the gold supply in the United States. Fisk and Gould had been influencing Grant’s brother-in-law, Abel Rathbone Corbin, with very generous gifts to keep Grant from acting to lower the price of gold. On September 23, Grant figured out what his brother-in-law was doing and warned him to immediately get out of his gold speculations. Corbin immediately ran to Gould to tel...

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Today in History: Bruno Hauptman Arrested

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 19, 2015 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 19) in Bruno Hauptman was arrested for kidnapping and murdering Charles Lindbergh’s son. The 20 month old child was taken out of his room on the night of March 1, 1932. A ladder and a ransom note was left at the scene. With the help of a controversial figure named John Condon (who claimed he had been contacted by the kidnappers) Lindbergh paid a $50,000 ransom to recover his son. The boy was not returned and his body was found in a woods near the Li...

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Today in History: The Original Great Depression

Posted by Gilbert Stack on September 19, 2015 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)

On this day (September 18) the original “Great Depression”, the Panic of 1873, began. The Panic was sparked in part by the decision of the German government to stop minting silver thalers in 1871 and is a lesson in the Law of Unintended Consequences. Germany’s decision caused a sharp reduction in the price of silver, much of which was mined in the United States. The reduction in the price of silver cost the U.S. government lots of money because by statute it m...

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