The last king of France was not even a king at the time of his execution. He had been arrested the previous August and stripped of all his titles and styles when the monarchy was abolished a month later – his name at the time of his death, according to the newly formed French republic, was Citoyen Louis Capet. Louis faced his beheading bravely, and spoke to the onlookers, forgiving those who called for his execution.
The tragedy of it all is that Louis had been one of the greatest reformers in the history of the French monarchy, and had repeatedly instituted (or attempted to institute) policies that would help the common people of France. However, his reforms were repeatedly blocked by a nobility jealous of its privileges – especially those reforms that would have harmed them financially. The reforms they did allow through often proved economically disastrous – Louis and his advisers were poor economists. As king, the ultimate responsibility rested with Louis, and as a man, he paid the ultimate price for it.
History Is Made By Stupid People — The Arrogant Worms
Columbus was not the brightest of navigators. His math regarding how far away Asia was by the western route was off by more than double the actual distance. In fact, he expected to sight land even earlier than he actually did, let alone that it was the wrong land. But he sailed out of Palos de la Frontera on the evening tide, leading his tiny fleet of three ships, and quite confident in his own abilities as captain and navigator. Whatever you may think of his mathematics, you cannot deny his courage.
In the course of his first voyage, when searching for Japan, he landed instead in the Bahamas a little over two months after leaving Spain, where he introduced the natives to such European specialities as Christianity, firearms and diseases they lacked immunities for.
The LZ 129 Hindenburg was the lead ship of its class (which was also named for it). A German passenger lighter-than-air craft, it was approaching Lakehurst Naval Station in New Jersey on the evening of May 6, 1937, to disembark passengers, having set out from Frankfurt in Germany three days earlier.
At 7:25pm local time, the Hindenburg caught fire. The reason for the fire is unknown, even today. The hydrogen-filled gasbag of the airship burned quickly and hotly, being consumed in the first 90 seconds or so of the blaze. The cloth and wood that made up most of the body of the ship – and all of the areas actually inhabited – continued to burn after this. Of the 97 passengers and crew on board, 35 were killed in the blaze (and a member of the ground crew was also killed). The Hindenburg disaster effectively spelled the end of the zeppelin era, and air travel from 1937 onwards has been almost entirely conducted in heavier-than-air vehicles.
It’s really not clear when exactly Robert Falcon Scott – better known as Scott of the Antarctic – actually died. Certainly, he, Henry Bowers and Edward Wilson were all still alive, albeit in rather poor shape, when his previous diary entry was written six days earlier. It is possible that Scott survived writing this last entry for as much as a day – from the positions of the three men in the tent when their bodies were recovered, he seems to have been the last one to die.
The three were found in their tent in November that year, after the long the southern winter had abated. Scott and his men became martyred heroes to the British empire. Amundsen, whose team had beaten Scott’s to the south pole by five weeks, stated that he “…would gladly forgo any honour or money if thereby I could have saved Scott his terrible death”. Later, as Antarctic exploration slowly transformed into colonisation, Scott’s reputation suffered as historians examined the records of his journey.
A Human Body — Queen
Restless – Australian Crawl
Dr. Livingstone, I Presume — Moody Blues
History Is Made By Stupid People – Arrogant Worms
General George Armstrong Custer went into battle at Little Big Horn under a number of false impressions.
He was under the impression that he would be facing no more than 800 Native Americans, rather than more than twice that number – Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse had recruited assiduously, knowing that a battle was coming. He was under the impression that his major challenge would be preventing the escape of the enemy forces, rather than defeating them. And finally, he was under the impression, based on these assumptions, that the force under the command of his subordinate Major Reno would be far more effective in battle than it proved.
But with Reno’s forces isolated and routed, Custer’s forces were outnumbered and surrendered. More than 200 men in Custer’s army, including Custer himself, were killed.
Custer – Johnny Cash
General Custer – Swan
Jim Bridger – Johnny Horton
Little Big Horn – Running Wild
I Love America – Alice Cooper
Custer Had It Coming – Redbone
Custer Song – Buffy Sainte-Marie
The Punch Line – The Minutemen
Custer Died A-Runnin’ – David Wilkie
Some Fool Made A Soldier Of Me – The Kingston Trio
Please Mister Custer, I Don’t Wanna Go – Larry Verne
History is Made By Stupid People – The Arrogant Worms