Mt. Pelee II

Lead: During its deadly destruction of the Martinique port city of St. Pierre, Mt. Pelée threw up an unusual form of volcanic eruption, the nuée ardente, or glowing cloud.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Volcanoes come in different forms. Their shape is determined by a variety of factors: the amount, sequence, and contents of what comes out during an eruption and the nature of the vent and land through which it pushes its volcanic product called magma. The perfectly shaped volcanoes such as Mt. Fuji in Japan are called stratovolcanoes because in most cases, over a long period of time, they generate moderate eruptions of ash and lava which are then deposited in layers or strata. Mt. Pelée, a stratavolcano, towers 4500 feet above the northern end of the Caribbean Island of Martinique.

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Mt. Pelee I

Lead: On the morning of May 8, 1902, a massive cloud of volcanic matter rolled out of the conical summit of Mt. Pelée and plunged toward the coastal city of St. Pierre on the Caribbean island of Martinique. Within minutes the 30,000 citizens of St. Pierre had been incinerated.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Visited by Columbus on his fourth voyage in 1502, Martinique was first settled by Europeans when the French established a colony there in 1635. Except for a few years during wartime, they retained control and French Martinique remains in the twenty-first century. The island was formed by volcanoes, the principal of which was Mt. Pelée, a stratovolcano towering 4500 feet above the northern end of the Island. Until 1902 the chief commercial center of Martinique was the port of St. Pierre three miles distant from Mt. Pelée.

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Suez Canal III

Lead: Facing almost universal skepticism, the Suez Canal Company under Ferdinand de Lesseps raised the money and dug the Canal.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Prime Minister Palmerston of Britain called him a swindler and a fool. Bankers such as Baron de Rothschild rejected his pleas for capital. Yet, de Lesseps succeeded against all odds. Raising money from small investors and operating with a design approved by the International Commission for the Piercing of the Isthmus of Suez, he broke ground in 1859 near the future Port Said. It took ten years to construct the canal. At any given point 30,000 workers were employed often under harsh, forced conditions. More than a million were so engaged and thousands of laborers died on the project. Progress was often delayed by labor disputes and the outbreak of diseases such as cholera, but in the end the canal was completed primarily due to the importation of giant French-designed steam shovels and dredges.

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Suez Canal II

Lead: In 1869, finally, the land bridge between Egypt and Suez was pierced with a canal, thanks in large measure to Ferdinand de Lesseps.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: He was no engineer, had no great fortune, had no access to capital, and was in no way an effective administrator, unanimated by tedium. Yet, if anyone might be called the Father of the Suez, it was de Lesseps. Other than his indefatigable energy and dedication to the project, he largely succeeded in building the canal because of his personal connection to two people.

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Suez Canal I

Lead: In 1869 French engineers and Egyptian laborers completed work eliminating one of the world’s two great blocks to navigation. They opened the canal at Suez.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Until the 19th and 20th centuries there were two significant places in the world where the passage of oceangoing commerce and transportation were impeded by relatively short land bridges. The Isthmus of Panama fell before the assaults of U.S. doctors and engineers in 1914. Creating a passage between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea was much longer in coming. It had attracted the attention of rulers such as Ramesses II of the 12th Egyptian dynasty in the 2nd Millennium BCE and Persian conqueror Darius I. They built narrow canals from the Nile to the Red Sea but these soon fell into disuse.

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The Declaration of the Rights of Man II

Lead: Believing women should be included in the concepts of freedom and equality of the French Revolution, Gouges published a document that would prove to be too revolutionary even for the French Revolution, The Declaration of Rights of Woman and Citizen.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Olympe de Gouges was born in 1748, the daughter of a butcher and a washerwoman. After the death of her older and wealthy husband, de Gouges had funds to help support herself and was able to work as a playwright and then a writer of political pamphlets during the French Revolution. A vigorous feminist, she championed controversial political and social causes such as the rights of illegitimate children and single mothers, the right to seek divorce, national education, and the building of better roads and maternity hospitals.

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The Declaration of the Rights of Man I

Lead: During the French Revolution, the National Assembly adopted  one of the most important documents in political history – The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the summer of 1789, during the first year of the French Revolution, deputies of the Third Estate, the branch of the Estates-General, which represented the vast majority of French citizens, defying King Louis XVI, declared themselves to be the National Assembly. Shortly after the storming of the Bastille by the mobs of Paris, the Assembly formally adopted a series of revolutionary principles  called the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.

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Descartes

Lead: Considered by many to be the seminal modern thinker, René Descartes remains an integral part of the philosophical canon.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born in 1596, the year of the Declaration of Nantes with which French King Henry IV laid the foundation of religious toleration in Europe, Descartes’ work came to symbolize a philosophical break with the way in which people fundamentally organized intelligence and considered the universe.

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