Pro Patria and Swiss Castles

Pro Patria, officially Stiftung PRO PATRIA Schweizerische Bundesfeierspende, is a Swiss patriotic and charitable organization. Its purpose is to give meaning to the Swiss National Day (Schweizer Bundesfeiertag in German, Fête nationale suisse in French, Festa nazionale svizzera in Italian, and Fiasta naziunala svizra in Romansh), August 1, by collecting donations to the benefit of social and cultural works of national public interest. Pro Patria … Continue reading Pro Patria and Swiss Castles

Napoléon Makes His Prison Break

On February 26, 1815, Napoléon Bonaparte escaped from the island of Elba. The French emperor had been exiled there after his forced abdication following the Treaty of Fontainebleau in 1814. He arrived at Portoferraio on May 30, 1814, and was allowed to keep a personal guard of 600 men. Napoléon was nominally sovereign of Elba, although the nearby sea was patrolled by the French and … Continue reading Napoléon Makes His Prison Break

José de San Martín

José Francisco de San Martín y Matorras was born on Febuary 25, 1778, at Yapeyú, Corrientes, in the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata — modern-day Argentina. Known simply as José de San Martín or El Libertador of Argentina, Chile and Peru, he was a Spanish-Argentine general and the prime leader of the southern and central parts of South America’s successful struggle for independence … Continue reading José de San Martín

U.S.A. Wins the Gold!

On February 24, 1980, at Lake Placid in upstate New York, the United States Olympic Hockey Team defeated Finland 4–2 to win the gold medal. The U.S. team had beat the team from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) two nights previously in a game since called the “Miracle on Ice.” The final rankings were based on points accumulated in matches against the other … Continue reading U.S.A. Wins the Gold!

The Britten-Norman Trislander

On February 23, 532, Byzantine emperor Justinian I ordered the building of a new Orthodox Christian basilica in Constantinople which would become the Hagia Sophia. That is what I had planned to write about today. However, every stamp in my collection that I thought depicted the Hagie Sophia in fact portrayed some other mosque in Istanbul or elsewhere in Turkey, none of which I felt … Continue reading The Britten-Norman Trislander

The Iron Pagoda of Kaifeng

The Iron Pagoda (鐵塔) of Youguo Temple (佑國寺) in Kaifeng (開封), a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, China, is a Buddhist Chinese pagoda built in 1049 during the Northern Song dynasty (960–1279) of China. The pagoda is so-named not because it is made of iron, but because its color resembles that of iron. It is a brick pagoda tower built on the location of … Continue reading The Iron Pagoda of Kaifeng