European Discovery of Cuba – I

Lead: The first voyage led by Christopher Columbus in 1492 brought Europeans to the Caribbean. One of his most significant discoveries was the largest island in the Antilles, Cuba.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: After decades of frustration, the Italian sailor and visionary, Christopher Columbus finally convinced the ruling house of Spain to commission him for a voyage of exploration out across of the Western Ocean in search of a water bridge to East Asia. King Ferdinand and his bride and fellow monarch Queen Isabella, had just achieved a seven-century long goal of the Christian kingdoms of Spain. They conquered Grenada, the last remaining Islamic kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula.

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Anglo-Zulu War – III

Lead: The war went well for the Zulu at first. British military incompetence produced some early victories for the Africans, but the defense of their homeland against the Europeans was in the end a hopeless cause.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

               

Content: Chief Cetyshwayo knew he was going to lose. He had watched the slow encroachment of European civilization, Dutch Afrikaners from the west, Brits from Natal, as they crowded the once powerful Zulu nation in Northeastern South Africa. He even secured a British agent, John Dunn, to advise when dealing with his adversaries, but by 1878 it was clear that London had decided that Zulu power had to be broken.

               

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Anglo-Zulu War – II

                Lead: The Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 arose from conflicting aspirations of the Zulu, prospectors for gold and diamonds, Christian missionaries, and Dutch and British settlers frontier in South Africa’s Natal province.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: In 1838 the decades old expansion of the Zulu nation in northeastern South Africa was abruptly halted at the Battle of Blood River. 3000 Zulu warriors were killed in a bloody confrontation with Afrikaner voortrekkers under Andries Pretorius. The Zulu retreated into their tradition homeland north and east of the Tugela River in Natal province. Their powerful army and centralized government allowed them to remain independent of European encroachment for more than four decades. By the mid-1870s this autonomy was under serious threat.

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Anglo-Zulu War – I

Lead: In the late 1870s faced with a British imperial ultimatum to disband their military system, the Zulu clans of Northeastern South Africa prepared for a war their leader was certain they would lose.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: The ancient tribal homeland of the Zulu lies north of the Tugela River in the northeastern part of South Africa’s Natal Province. The Zulu are a Bantu-speaking people, part of the Nguni ethnic grouping and were a relatively unimportant clan until the early decades of the 1800s. At that time there came to the throne one of the significant military thinkers in world history. Shaka (Chaka) subdued his family rivals and united the Zulu clans under his leadership. He then began to re-organize the Zulu war apparatus. He modified the traditional tribal weapon, the assegai, creating a new short iron sword designed for close in combat, he shaped his army into regiments, housed them in barracks for most of the year, refused to allow them to wear shoes so as to toughen their feet, thus increasing their speed, and then developed new unified flanking tactics directed by hand signals which when perfected overwhelmed his African enemies and gave the Zulu preeminence in the region.

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Guillotine

Lead: One of the most fearsome and famous methods of capital punishment  was actually developed as a more humane and democratic way of execution. It is named for an obscure member of the French National Assembly, a young physician, Joseph-Ignace Guillotine.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Decapitation as a means of execution has been a part of the human experience since the dawn of time. The quick easy removal of the victim’s head brought a swift conclusion to their earthly journey; a sharp blade, a heavy well-placed blow brought matters to a timely end. Mechanical devices for execution may have used in various European countries before 1300, but there is no evidence for this prior to the execution of Murcod Ballagh near Merton Ireland in 1307. By 1564 in Scotland such a mechanism was in common use. It was called “The Maiden,” and consisted of two grooved upright posts held together at the top by a cross-member and at the bottom by diagonal supports. The person to be offed was trussed-up, laid faced down with their neck lined up with the grooves. At the moment of execution a very heavy oblique, steel-clad, iron blade held in lead-lined wooden casing would be released and the victim’s head would be quickly and painlessly severed from his torso.

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Stonewall Jackson and Friendly Fire – Part II

Lead: At Chancellorsville, in May 1863, Robert E. Lee achieved his greatest military victory. He paid at a terrible price. Among the 13,000 Confederate casualties was his right arm, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Following the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 1862, Lee’s 60,000 men spent the winter in camps just south of that small Rappahannock village. Just across the river Joe Hooker’s Army of the Potomac, 130,000 strong.

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Stonewall Jackson and Friendly Fire – I

Lead: In May 1863, during the Civil War, Stonewall Jackson, one of the most able generals, north or south, was mortally wounded by friendly fire. It was not that unusual a circumstance.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Friendly fire (or casualties inflicted by your own side) happens in most combat situations. It is a consequence of warfare and can be very demoralizing. In the heat of battle, correctly distinguishing between friend and foe historically has been difficult.

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Spanish Cultural Diversity – III

                Lead:      In 1978 Spain adopted its first post-Franco Constitution. Included was an innovative way of giving regions a certain amount of self-government. In the time since, Spain has created seventeen autonomous communities.

 

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: In the run-up to and aftermath of the American Revolution, thirteen independent colonies or states came together to form the United States. The Constitution provides that powers not specifically granted to the federal government were retained by the states. States gave up some of their powers and kept others. The struggle to fix the powers of federal and state governments is one of the great disputes in American history. Spain developed differently. Beginning in the medieval period, the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon conquered Spain and unified its various regions under a strong central royal government. Despite powerful regional aspirations toward some degree of self-government, particularly in Catalonia the area around Barcelona and in the Basque region of the north, central government power nearly always trumped regional or provincial desires.

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