History Articles

History of Thanksgiving Indian: Why Squanto already knew English

November 24, 2022 /
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We’ve all heard how the Pilgrims, landing in Massachusetts four hundred years ago on the Mayflower in 1620, were ill-equipped to survive the harsh winters of the New World. We’ve also heard how they met a Native American Indian of the Patuxet tribe, Squanto, who befriended them. He taught them how to survive in their new wilderness home, showed them how to plant and fertilize their crops, and fish, and acted as an interpreter with the Wampanoag tribe and its chief, Massasoit (pictured above from Plymouth, MA).

The fact that he already knew English before the Pilgrims landed is what is remarkable.


Squanto at Thanksgiving

The man Tisquantum, better known as Squanto, probably was present at the first Thanksgiving celebration held by the Pilgrims. He was certainly there by 1621 — after the winter when the Pilgrims lost half of their population to starvation and diseases — when another Indian, Samoset, introduced Squanto to the Pilgrim settlers, and he became a member of their colony. Because Squanto could speak English well, Governor William Bradford asked him to serve as his ambassador to the Indian tribes.

Over a decade before the Pilgrims landed, Squanto was captured from Massachusetts and taken, along with other Indians, by an English ship captain and sold into slavery in Málaga, Spain. (more…)

History of Thanksgiving: the Secular and the Sacred

November 23, 2022 /
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The origin of Thanksgiving Day in America has been attributed to a harvest feast held by the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. In 1621, Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony proclaimed a day of “thanksgiving” and prayer to celebrate the Pilgrims’ first harvest in America the year after their arrival on the merchant ship Mayflower.

Edward Winslow


But of the 102 English settlers who had spent their first year on the Massachusetts coast, forty-five or about half the passengers had died by this time.

This would have left about half the remaining fifty-seven English survivors as men. So the Native men outnumbered the Pilgrim men by over three to one!


History of John F Kennedy

November 22, 2022 /
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John F Kennedy

For one brief shining moment…

On November 22, 1963, a shot rang out in Dallas, Texas, ending the life of John F. Kennedy, the most popular post-WWII President.

He was the youngest American President voted to the office, having succeeded Dwight D Eisenhower, the oldest President at the time. Kennedy was attractive, winsome, and exuded youth and vitality, despite his health problems. Kennedy was supremely confident. The celebrities he courted in the public eye were American royalty.


History of the Gettysburg Address

November 19, 2022 /
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Lincoln at Gettysburg

Abraham Lincoln, on this day in 1863, began his address in Gettysburg:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

With only nine more sentences, he dedicated a new national cemetery, summed up the battle that had taken place there some four months earlier, cast a vision for the future of the Union, and harkened back to the Declaration of Independence four score and seven years previously when Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men are created equal.”

The three-day Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863 had been the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War, with at least 46,000 casualties among the 160,000 troops. It did not end the war but occurred just past the middle of the almost 4-year conflict. Nevertheless, it was a decisive victory for the North and a turning point, putting the South on the defensive for the rest of the War Between the States. This conflagration represented the largest number of casualties of any American war in history because both sides were counted in the total.


History of the World Cup

November 18, 2022 /
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FIFA World Cup

The World Cup 2022 Tournament takes place in Doha, Qatar starting Sunday, November 20, and running until December 18.

It is starting in November rather than the usual June or July to avoid Qatar’s summer heat. Thirty-two teams will compete in eight groups. It begins with the host country team facing Equador in Group A at Al Bayat Stadium. U.S. group games will kick off at 2:00 P.M. Eastern Time. Billions of viewers will tune in to watch, second only to the Olympics for sports viewership.

Four matches will be played each day during the group stage, which will run throughout the games and see winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16. Unlike Euro 2020, there will be a third-place play-off game on December 17.


History of Veterans Day: Lest We Forget

November 11, 2022 /
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Veterans Day Poppy

A professor once commented,

“We write things down so we can forget them.”

Now, of course, this is true in the sense of writing down appointments so we don’t have to worry about missing meetings. But that’s just it; we do forget things. As individuals, we forget things that are important to us. Companies seem to possess little in the way of corporate memory to do things better the next time. Countries forget the things that have occurred in their past, things that make them unique.

In many parts of the world — Europe in particular and several of the former British Commonwealth countries specifically — there are memorials in the town square commemorating their war heroes, usually with the words “Lest we forget.”


History of Veterans Day

Armistice Day

Veterans Day used to be called Armistice Day, commemorating the ending of hostilities on the western front of World War I on November 11, 1918

the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

At 5:45 am on that day, Germany signed the Armistice (truce) in the Forest of Compiegne, and the order was given for a cease-fire later that morning, after four years of war.


Whither Twitter: What’s Next for the Social Platform?

November 10, 2022 /
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I wrote about Twitter several years ago because many people I knew “didn’t get it.” Endeavoring to explain what it was, how it worked, and what made it different from other social technologies like the better-known Facebook, I talked about Twitter’s history and its use at the 2008 Academy Awards.

From its beginning in 2006, it exploded in popularity the following year because of the South by Southwest Interactive conference (@sxsw), where 60,000 attendees tweeted each day at the event. Today the 16-year-old platform has 500 million per day. The rest, as they say, is history.



History of Hedy Lamarr: Technology Inventor

November 9, 2022 /
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Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr, the Austrian-American actress and Hollywood legend known as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” is remembered today, November 9, on the anniversary of her birthday for her pioneering work on the technology that would become the basis for today’s WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth communications systems.

What? you say. Indeed, say I.

More than a pretty face, she had a genius-level IQ of around 140. The Vienna-born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler began studying engineering at an early age but put her studies aside to dedicate herself to the theatre.


History of Election Day: Why we Vote on a Tuesday in November

November 7, 2022 /
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Election Day

Why does the U.S. vote on a Tuesday in November?

Historically, the United States was an agrarian society where much of the calendar revolved around farming. In 1840, Congress set voting day on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November.

This time provided a convenient month for farmers, who needed to travel perhaps overnight to the county seat’s polling places following the Autumn harvest season. The weather would not yet have turned bad enough to make rural roads impassable.


History of Daylight Saving Time – Fall Back

November 5, 2022 /
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Daylight Saving

Daylight Saving Time, or DST, is a brilliant campaign to convince us that we’re getting more daylight each day when in reality, we’ve simply changed our clocks and then forgotten about it within two weeks.

DST begins each year at 2:00 A.M. on the second Sunday in March in most of the United States and its territories; however, some places have not bought into this campaign: it is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the city of South Bend, Indiana nor the state of Arizona… except for the Navajo Indian Reservation, which does observe DST.


History of Guy Fawkes Night: How Gunpowder Mixed with Parliament

November 4, 2022 /
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Guy Fawkes

For our friends across the Pond

November 5th is known as “Bonfire Night” or “Guy Fawkes Night,” and all over Britain, people fire off fireworks, light bonfires, and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes. Guido Fawkes was an Englishman who, in popular legend, tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament with barrels of gunpowder. He was caught, imprisoned, tortured on the rack, and finally executed.


History of All Souls Day: Day of the Dead

November 2, 2022 /
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All Souls Day


Today, November 2,  is All Soul’s Day or Day of the Dead. As I mentioned previously in my article on the History of HalloweenAllhallowstide includes these three holidays:

  • October 31: All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween)
  • November 1: All Hallows’ Day (All Saints’ Day, Feast of All Hallows, Hallowmas)
  • November 2: All Soul’s Day


What’s the Difference Between these Holidays?

  • Halloween we have already discussed at length.
  • All Saints’ Day commemorated those perished saints and martyrs (from the Greek word “witness” who died in persecution) who are now in Heaven.
  • All Soul’s Day is a day of prayer — especially in the Roman Catholic church — for the souls of believers in Purgatory, who await having their souls purged of sin.