Medical Miracle in Panama I

Lead: Before breaching the Panamanian land bridge, the builders of the Isthmus Canal knew they first had to deal with disease.

Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After his brilliant construction of the Suez Canal, Ferdinand de Lesseps set out in the 1870s to duplicate his achievement by crafting a shipping canal across the Isthmus of Panama. He failed. De Lesseps underestimated the enormity of the task, his technology was much too primitive, and the French design for a sea-level canal was fatally flawed, but much of the failure can be attributed to a deadly pair of diseases. Malaria and yellow fever took thousands of lives and put many more in bed for weeks of convalescence and depression. Engineers freshly graduated from the École Polytechnique in Paris would arrive in Colon filled with enthusiastic anticipation and die within a week. Thousands of manual laborers recruited from Caribbean islands fell victim in this grim harvest of death.

Read more →

Mary, Queen of Scots III

Lead: Following the dictates of her heart and possessing a romantic streak of daring, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, lost her kingdom and then her life.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Returning from France in 1561, the widow of the King of France, Mary Stuart, took on the Scottish lairds and for a time charmed them and took good counsel in state affairs. She was a Catholic ruler of an increasingly Presbyterian nation, but for the most part she deflected attempts to marginalize her power. The Queen’s downfall came not from her religion, but from her romantic lack of judgment. Mary Stuart’s cousin, Elizabeth I of England, was also a ruler without a husband, but unlike the English queen who was not at all averse to using her sexuality as a weapon, Mary made her love affairs the center of her life not the instrument of her rule. In so doing she combined the granite stubbornness of her Scottish heritage with flirtatious demeanor of a French coquette. She has emerged as one of history’s silliest women.

Read more →

Mary, Queen of Scots II

Lead: Into the burgeoning turmoil that was Scotland in the 1560s Mary Stuart, recently widowed Queen of France, returned to claim her rights as Queen of the Scots.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: As a young child Mary was sent to France to be educated and groomed in the French royal household. In 1558 she married Francis, the Dauphin of France, the heir to the French throne. When his father, King Henry II died in a hunting accident, Mary became the Queen of France. When Francis died suddenly 18 months later, Mary was left with a choice, to remain in Paris, a foreigner and a has-been, or return to Edinburgh. The thought of exchanging the sparkling social and intellectual life of Paris for the dreary isolation of Scotland must have been daunting, but Mary had a daring streak in her and Scotland loomed on a horizon filled with opportunity.

Read more →

Mary, Queen of Scots I

Lead: In August 1561 Mary Stuart, the teenaged Queen of Scotland, landed near Leith, home from France to claim her rights as ruler of a nation that had changed.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Mary Stuart was born in 1542 in the County West Lothian village of Linlothgow. She was the daughter of King James V and his wife Mary, a member of the powerful French Catholic family of Guise. Six days after her birth, James died and Mary became the infant Queen of Scotland. To conduct the affairs of state, however, the baby’s mother Mary Guise was selected as Regent, destined to rule until Mary Stuart could take her place. At the age of six Mary was packed off to France, to be groomed and educated in the French royal household, but more importantly, in view of subsequent events, she evolved into a determined, faithful daughter of the Roman Catholic Church.

Read more →