February 14, 1779- Captain Cook is Killed in Hawaii

    Talking about Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day would be too easy, so let’s instead turn to everyone’s favorite subject: death and dismemberment! Today’s victim: Captain James Cook, British explorer responsible for beginning the cultural erosion of the Hawaiian islands by setting into motion a complex series of social, cultural, and biological exchanges and…

February 12, 1554 – Lady Jane Grey is Beheaded

    Nine days. That’s all Lady Jane’s reign as Queen of England lasted.  Two-hundred and sixteen hours, give or take, from the time she was usurped and arrested. Seven months later, she would be dead. Historians still have a hard time classifying Jane Grey’s role in the English monarchy – specifically whether she was…

February 9th, 1913: The Great and Mysterious Meteor Procession

“To most observers, the outstanding feature of the phenomenon was the slow, majestic motion of the bodies; and almost equally remarkable was the perfect formation which they retained.” – University of Toronto astronomer, Clarence Chant (source) On a cloudy and cold February evening in 1913, residents of eastern North America witnessed an astronomical phenomenon that…

February 7th, 1497: The Bonfire of the Vanities

Florence, Italy must have been a fascinating place to be in the 15th century.  In the century after the bubonic plague ravished most of Europe and decimated its population, Florence had become the birthplace for a new way of life that we now refer to as the Renaissance –  meaning “the rebirth.” Art and leisure…