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The Mad Monk: Rasputin

The Mad Monk:Rasputin

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In this chapter we are going to discuss a Holy man and supposed healer from Russia, yea I know it sounds boring, but hear me out. This holy man is not your average praying type, lying prostrate at the foot of a cross or something, this holy man is a drunk womanizer who, quite literally, caused one of the largest political overthrows in world history.

For roughly 400 years from 1600 to the early 1900s, Russia was ruled by one dynasty, the Romanovs. The lineage of Czars had many impressive leaders and forgettable ones, but everyone remembers the last Czar of Russia, Czar Nicholas II. Nicholas and his wife Alexandria were happily married and had four daughters and one son, the heir to the Russian Throne, Alexei. Alexei was a sickly boy and spent much of his childhood seriously ill from hemophilia which is a disorder where the blood does not clot properly, meaning the smallest injury can lead to massive blood loss. Throughout his young life, Alexei had many scrapes with death that left his mother and father in constant fear for their son and the fate of the Romanov dynasty.

Czarina Alexandria was always looking for people to help with her son’s condition, and in 1906, she had a chance meeting with a Holy Man from Siberia, Grigori Rasputin. Rasputin was an intimidating figure, tall, with dark piercing eyes, Rasputin was a renown healer throughout the country and was in St. Petersburg to meet well-connected individuals. The Czar and Czarina meet the Holy Man and eventually get to talking about Alexei, and soon after that Rasputin becomes the de facto healer to the Romanov family.

Rasputin held power over the Royal couple because it truly seemed like he could heal Alexei. On one occasion in 1912, Alexei was injured in a carriage accident and was near death for days. In desperate need of help, the Czarina telegraphed Rasputin who was away in Siberia, through telegram, the healer told the Czarina what to do and to have the doctors leave the young boy alone. Within days, the boy went from near death, to perfectly fine. Historians have debated and attempted to figure out what exactly happened with Alexei, but it remains a mystery.

What isn’t a mystery though was the power that Rasputin held over the Royal family, they listened to everything he said. This was dangerous because Rasputin was not everything he claimed to be, while he professed holy devotion, his favorite past times were drinking himself into a drunken stupor and sleeping with as many women as he could. His actions around the city caused massive amounts of embarrassment for the Royal Couple, and many times they had a falling out with Rasputin.

After the outbreak of World War I, the Czar turned to Rasputin for guidance, with Rasputin telling the Czar to go to the front and take command. While the Czar was gone, the Czarina allowed Rasputin to make monumental decisions of national importance on her behalf. This was the final straw for many in Russia, and soon three prominent men decided to kill Rasputin. Prince Felix Yusupov invited Rasputin over to his house for wine, food and womanizing one night. The Prince gave Rasputin cakes and wine laced with cyanide, with Rasputin eating three cakes and drinking three glasses of wine.

The cyanide food did nothing do the holy man, which freaked out the three men waiting for him to die. Eventually, the Prince shoots Rasputin point-blank in the chest and runs out of the house. Hours later the three men return and walk down the stairs to the basement where Rasputin’s body was. As the Prince walked in, Rasputin jumped off the floor and attacked him, running up the stairs and out the front door.

This is bonkers stuff here, this crazy healer has had six servings of cyanide and a bullet to the chest with no damage done, he is like the final boss on those hard as hell video games I played as a kid. Well, finally the three killers chase down Rasputin in front of the house, and shoot him in the head, ultimately killing the raging priest. With Rasputin dead, attention turned to the Royal Family and their failure to rule decisively and adequately during the World War. Eventually, all the distrust with the Czar and Czarina led to the Bolshevik Revolution and the execution of the entire Royal Family. The fall of the last dynasty in Russia, and the rise of the Communist regime, all began over the distrust of a crazy holy man and the family he served.

The Underground Railroad in West Virginia

When many people think of the Underground Railroad used in the decades before and during the American Civil War, they think of the famous conducted Harriet Tubman helping escaping African Americans from the deep south reach the safety of the northeastern states.

While the northeastern states played a vital role, often the role of Western Virginia goes overlooked, which is a shame because residents of Wayne County have much to learn and appreciate about the abolitionists in the area.

When the state of Virginia voted on secession(the breaking away from the Federal Union) in the spring of 1861 the eastern counties overwhelmingly voted to follow the rest of the south into the Confederate States of America, but the western counties were a different story altogether. The eastern counties were full of the slavocracy, the upper class of southern society that owned large plantations and benefitted greatly from the enslavement of African Americans.

Obviously, not everyone in the eastern counties owned slaves, but the politicians and the people in power were the driving force behind the vote for secession. This division in sentiment played a significant role in many people in the western counties deciding to take part in the Underground Railroad, the loose collection of safe houses and people who helped slaves escape to the north.

The most important stop on the Underground Railroad for Wayne Countians is the Ramsdell House in Ceredo.

Local lore has it that there is a subterranean tunnel connecting the backyard of the Ramsdell House to the bank of the Ohio River a few hundred yards behind the house. Escaping slaves would be directed to the Ramsdell House and other safehouses along the Ohio River, and there the slaves would be fed, clothed and given a place to sleep. The escaping slaves would wait until the perfect conditions existed, most notably a frozen Ohio River in the winter, and a full moon to make their move.

Quaker Bottom, Ohio, named for the pacifist religious sect that played a significant role in abolitionism was the first stop of freedom, today that town is known as Proctorville. Multiple conductors worked the Ohio River area in from the 1840s until the end of the war to do their part in righting the unbelievable wrong of human bondage.

The history of Wayne County abolitionists deserve celebrating and notice, it’s essential we understand the role our area played in divided Virginia.

Thanks to the West Virginia Encyclopedia for the source material for this article.

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Mothers who Kill

By Sherry Michaels Perry

If there is one person in this world that should supply you with unconditional love and protection, it is your mother. She should always be your safe place, your protector. The sad reality is that this is not always true, and in extreme cases, your mother can be the most dangerous person. In your life. We have all likely heard of the book, Mommy Dearest, written by Joan Crawford’s daughter and telling of the years of abuse that she and her brother suffered at the hands of the famous actress. But some mothers, just ordinary women, were worse monsters than this and actually performed filicide, killing their own children.

To start, we will look at Diane Downs, the subject of the book, Small Sacrifices, by Ann Rule which was turned into a made for TV movie of the same name. Diane lived in Oregon and was the mother of three children, two girls, and a boy. She was divorced from the father of the children and employed as a postal worker. After her divorce, she lived for a while in Arizona where she had several boyfriends. One, in particular, broke it off with her when Diane made it clear to him that she would be willing to kill his wife so they could be together. Devastated she moved back to Oregon and began having an affair with a man that did not want children.

One May evening in 1983 Diane pulls up to the emergency room entrance of the McKenzie-Willamette hospital with a gunshot wound to her arm. The hospital staff was horrified to find three blood-soaked children in the back of her car. Dead in the backseat was her daughter Cheryl, her son Danny shot in the spine and paralyzed and her daughter Christie shot and had also suffered a stroke from blood loss and trauma. Diane claimed that a “bushy-haired stranger” had attempted to hijack their car and had shot her and the three children. The ER staff noted that
Diane was acting bizarre, calling her boyfriend and asking him to come to get her and asking a lot of questions and seeming surprised that Danny was shot in the spine and not in the heart. Staff stated that she was acting very calm considering what she and the children had been through. In the coming weeks, it was discovered that the forensic evidence did not match her story. It was also discovered that she was lying about owning a 22 caliber gun. Witnesses testified that they saw Diane driving to the hospital at a speed of 5 to 7 mph, contradicting her claim that she sped to the hospital to get help for her children. However, it was nine months before she was arrested and charged. Before her arrest, she had become pregnant with her fourth child, another daughter.
Diane was eventually diagnosed as a narcissistic, histrionic and antisocial personality disorder. Her two surviving children were adopted by the prosecuting attorney and his wife, the little girl having testified against her mother at the age of 9, stating that she shot all three of them. The court seized her third child, and she was quickly adopted.
Diane has a long history of mental illness and aberrant behavior. She had been enrolled in a bible college after high school but was asked to leave due to promiscuous behavior. After her divorce, she had tried to be a surrogate mother to make some money, but she was repeatedly rejected by psychiatrists and labeled psychotic. She did, however, manage to become approved and had a successful surrogate pregnancy while in Arizona.
Diane is eligible for parole in 2020. She will be 65 years old. She continues to maintain her innocence.
Susan Smith

Next in our line up is another mother who killed her children to attract a man, Susan Smith. Susan was a divorced mother of two who hoped to have a relationship with a wealthy man who wasn’t interested in children. At the time of the murders, her two boys were aged 3 and 14 months. She used the same story as Diane Downs, she claimed that on October 25th, 1994, that an African American man hijacked her car at a red light and drove off with the boys inside. For nine days she stood beside her ex-husband on TV and made tearful appeals for the boys to be returned to her. The police were suspicious of her from the start, and after an intense investigation, she confessed that she let her car roll into the lake with the boys strapped inside.
Her defense attorneys tried to use the insanity plea for her but she was found guilty of two counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after serving 30 years, that will be in 2024. Apparently, she has had an exciting prison life, she had had to be moved because she was having sex with the guards at one prison, and during my research, I discovered that she is the author of crochet instructional books from prison and I believe I have actually bought one of them.

Andrea Yates
I have mixed feelings about Andrea Yates. She is a woman who, while suffering from profound postpartum depression, and schizophrenia drowned all five of her children in 2001.
Andrea married her husband, Rusty Yates in 1993 and made it known that they wanted to have as many children as God would allow. She did ok with this until the birth of the fourth child when she began to suffer from severe postpartum depression. Between her 4th and a 5th child she attempted suicide 4 times and was hospitalized. She was released on antipsychotic medication including Haldol, and the doctor instructed them not to have any more children as this would undoubtedly cause a psychotic break. She was pregnant 7 weeks later. Even though she had stopped the Haldol, she seemed to be doing well and gave birth in November of 2000. She continued to do well until the death of her father in March 2001. She had a psychotic episode and was hospitalized. She was reading the Bible feverishly. She was released but rehospitalized when she filled the tub, and they assumed she was going to drown herself. She told prosecutors later that she had planned to kill the children that day but decided to wait. Her psychiatrist released her and gave strict instructions that she was to be watched 24/7. So good ole Rusty left her home alone with the kids on June 20, 2001, his mother was supposed to be there in an hour to stay with her. During that hour she drowned each of the children one by one, even chasing the oldest one down and dragging him to the bathroom. She then called the police and Rusty.
While she was in prison, Andrea stated that she killed her children because she was not a good mother and that they weren’t developing correctly due to this. She states that due to her inadequate mothering that they were doomed to hell and couldn’t be saved.
She was initially convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Her attorneys appealed this decision after it was determined that a psychiatrist for the prosecution had lied during his testimony. She was ultimately found not guilty because of insanity and sent to a mental institution.
So here is my thought, is not her husband just as much to blame as she is? He was told no more children, but he didn’t listen. He was told not to leave her alone, but he didn’t listen. It has even been reported that he was hopeful she would be released so they could have more children together. What fantasy land did this man live in? He eventually divorced her and remarried and had another child, but this marriage ended in divorce in 2015. My feeling is that he used a mentally ill woman as his baby making machine but then didn’t have the good sense to realize that those children were in danger. He asserted that “no one ever told him Andrea was psychotic.”
Riigghht.

Nurses who Kill Part Two

By: Sherry Michaels Perry Licensed Nurse Practitioner and Medical Historian

As a nurse of 32 years, I have seen people join the profession for a number of reasons. The most common of these reasons is the desire to help people and make a difference in their lives. I have also met nurses who freely admitted that the only reason they became a nurse was to marry a doctor. Some of them became nurses because they thought they were going to make big money and it was going to be like Greys Anatomy. I think these reasons cover almost everyone who has become a nurse. But there is a small subset of people who became a nurse so it would be easier for them to practice their real profession……serial killer!

Enter Amelia Dyer, aka the Ogress of Reading who is believed to have killed over 400 infants starting around 1869. She was trained as a nurse in Victorian England and she opened a “baby farm” at her home. She would accept unwanted infants from typically impoverished families and sell them to people who could not have children of their own. She had two children of her own and there is no mention of a husband. Gradually the community became aware that there was a high mortality rate at her farm and she was convicted of negligence and sentenced to six months hard labor. When she was released she returned to the farm and the deaths continued.  She was finally stopped and convicted of murder when the corpse of a bagged infant was found in the Thames with evidence linking it to Dyer. It was discovered during the trial that she had a long history of mental illness with multiple hospitalizations. She was hanged by the neck till dead on June 10th 1896.

We move on to Jane Toppans, aka Jolly Jane who confessed to killing 33 of her patients in 1901. She would inject them with a lethal dose of morphine and then climb into bed with them and hold them till they died. She admitted during her trial that she found this to be sexually thrilling and that it was her goal to kill more people than anyone else in the world. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and spent the rest of her life in an asylum.

Genene Jones was another so-called angel of mercy who killed 60 infants and children from 1977-1982.  She would inject her young charges with digoxin, heparin and succinylcholine then “discover” them in distress and save them, all the while basking in the praise of everyone who thought she was a hero. She was convicted of one murder and sent to prison and when it was discovered by the DA that she was going to be released   in 2018 due to prison overcrowding she was tried for another murder in 2017. This prevented her release. It is unknown exactly how many children she killed because the hospital administration “misplaced” a large amount of the records for the time period she worked there.

Orville Lynn Majors who between 1993-1995 killed 130 patients that he believed to be whiny or demanding. He stated that he believed all elderly patients should be “gassed”. He was convicted and sentenced to 360 years in prison.

According to Psychology Today, nurses who kill prefer to work the night shift when there are fewer people around. They do not like anyone else to check on their patients and tend to complain excessively about what a burden their patients are. They seem to crave attention and love to respond to patient emergencies. Of course this is not an iron clad description and can likely describe a number of perfectly wonderful nurses.

The Destruction of the Roman Army at Cannae

Total Envelopment: The Destruction of the Roman Army at Cannae By Matthew A. Perrycannae

Battle of Cannae Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

 

Ancient warfare was much different than the modern form of combat that soldiers know today. Very often, soldiers are hundreds of yards away from each other when hostilities begin, but in ancient warfare, it was always handed to hand and face to face combat. One of the most celebrated armies of the ancient world was the Roman army in the empire period,  but they were at the center of one of the most devastating losses in the entire history of warfare.

 

Psychology is a huge aspect of all warfare; one must balance themselves when in combat and this has been true as long as there has been armed conflict. It is difficult to imagine for a civilian like myself what battle is like and the mental toll it takes upon people. I would argue that one of the most hellacious and terrifying battles in world history is the battle I will be discussing in this article. Soldiers were surrounded on an ancient battlefield, they saw death coming for them, and they had zero chance to fight back. There was no way out, they were surrounded by a tactical genius, and this genius’ soldiers were hacking, with impunity, their foes. Slowly, as the day moved on, the soldiers on the outside of the formation were slaughtered, and the Carthaginians moved into the belly of the beast. Those poor souls that stood and waited for death for hours at this battle went through a mental torture that is hard to fathom today. So how did a small North African army completely slaughter the most powerful force in the known world? How could the Romans allow their soldiers to be hacked to pieces by little more than a barbarian tribe? It is time to explore the most costly Roman defeat in their Empire’s history, the Battle of Cannae.

 

In the 3rd century B.C. the Roman Empire was at war with a conglomeration of city-states from northern Africa under the command of the Carthaginian General, Hannibal. There is no doubt, Hannibal was brilliant, and he struck a decisive blow from the onset of the war. Hannibal pulled off one of the gutsiest and impressive army movements in recorded history, he took his entire army across the sea, and, with war elephants in tow, crossed his entire army over the Alps and invaded Italy from the north, which was completely unexpected. The two armies would meet many times in the Italian countryside, and Hannibal moved further south, and by 216 B.C. Hannibal had his army near the southern settlement of Cannae.

 

In taking Cannae, Hannibal had cut a major supply line for the Roman Army under their new consuls of Gaius Terentius Varro and Lucius Aemilius Paullus. These two men were extremely wary of Hannibal because their political and military careers hinged upon the defeat of the Carthaginians. Varro and Paullus only gained power over the military because the Roman Senate fired the previous commanders for their lack of fight and their inability to destroy Hannibal’s army. In August of 216, the two Romans were closing in on Cannae and were about to engage Hannibal in battle. Hannibal had somewhere between 40 and 50 thousand men under his command. These men were seasoned and hardened troops, the absolute finest warriors that Carthage could bring to the field. The Romans greatly outnumbered the Carthaginians with around 80,000 men, but large portions of the army were not seasoned recruits.

 

The two sides met on an open plane which was common for ancient warfare, Hannibal struck the first psychological blow with his unique formation. Instead of the traditional straight lines and blocking his men into geometric shapes, Hannibal took the unique formation of what looked like a left-pointing wedge. The point of the wedge faced the Roman Army. Hannibal also had his cavalry near the center of the fight with large portions of his infantry on the wings of the wedge. Hannibal invited the Romans to pour their infantry into the middle of his formation and hoped that the two consuls would take the bait.

 

As the two armies came together, Hannibal moved his cavalry and engaged the Romans on the flank. The Romans took the bait and poured their soldiers into the middle of the wedge shape, hoping to push the Carthaginians so far back that it would cause a retreat, and they could kill Hannibal’s soldiers at will. Hannibal stood with his soldiers in the middle and slowly moved them back a few paces at a time; he was inviting the Romans further into his formation and imploring his men to fight as they moved back. This was when the great trap was closed, as the Romans pushed further in, Hannibal brought the wings of his army and shut the Romans in like a vice. The Romans were trapped, they had nowhere to go, Hannibal had achieved the most coveted battlefield maneuver of an ancient warrior, the total envelopment.

 

Think of the horrific nature of this battle, as I stated before, ancient warfare was hand to hand combat; these two armies were literally on top of each other. Hannibal and his men had the Romans so thoroughly defeated and trapped, that they had no place to go. The Carthaginians began hacking at the Romans soldiers on the outside of the formation and slowly worked their way into the center of the Romans. Casualty numbers are impossible to fathom with ancient sources, with some claiming that only 300 Romans survived out of the 80,000, but one thing can be said for sure, Hannibal had pulled off the most impressive, and destructive victory over the Roman Empire in its history. It was unfathomable to the Romans that these people from North Africa could have destroyed the most vaunted and celebrated army of the ancient world.

 

Unfortunately for Hannibal and his people, his army would soon lose steam and would be defeated by the Romans in the second Punic War. The two would fight again in the Third Punic War, with yet another Roman victory. Carthage would cease to exist after this defeat, but their military prowess on the battlefield of Cannae lives today.cannae

 

Adolf Hitler was More Weird Than We All Thought

Strange Facts about Adolf Hitler

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In my opinion, Adolf Hitler was a monster. How he rose to the position he did and amassed such a following is an enigma to me. Perhaps he just found the right group of people who harbored the same hates and prejudices within them. This is not an article to discuss him in depth, we do not have that kind of time. This is just a collection, of odd facts about Hitler that would no doubt make a psychologist go hmmm….

Hitler’s grandmother was employed by a Jewish family from Graz, and it is rumored that the son of that family, Leopold Frankenberger, impregnated his mother. Although no official record of this can be found, Hitler’s confidante Hans Frank who was a Nazi official has made this claim. I would imagine that if there were a shred of truth to this that Hitler would have made sure any possible record of this was destroyed. The man who raised Hitler was a cruel man, and he beat young Adolf for not doing well at school. Frank stated that Hitler intentionally did poorly at school and acted out because his father would not support his desire to study Fine Arts. After his father died his performance at school greatly improved. He was however rejected twice when he attempted to enroll at a school for the Fine Arts in Vienna.  Could the monster who was responsible for the death of so many Jewish people have had Jewish blood in his veins?

 

Another childhood friend of Hitler, August Kubizek stated in his book “Adolf Hitler, My Childhood Friend” asserts that Adolf was wildly in love with a young Jewish girl, Stefanie Isak. She was a year older than Hitler and in a higher social class, and Kubizek states that Hitler loved her to the point of suicide even though he never spoke a single word to her. He would try to approach young Stefanie, but would back out at the last minute and say he would “talk to her tomorrow.”  He would watch her pass in her carriage, and if she smiled at him, he would be wildly happy till the next day, if there was no smile he would be equally despondent and talk of suicide. He planned to kidnap Stefanie and kill her, then kill himself; I do not know why he never acted on this plan.

The man who could have millions of Jews slaughtered without a qualm would not eat meat because he claimed to be against animal cruelty. Albert Spier, in his book “Inside the Third Reich,” stated that no one could eat meat in front of him because he would launch into a gruesome diatribe about animal cruelty and explain in great detail how they were slaughtered. However, it is felt that his issue with eating meat was a psychological reaction to his niece’s death and not true love of animals.

Hitler had a half-sister Angela whom he employed as a housekeeper at his Bavarian mountain retreat. She had a young teenage daughter named Geli Raubal. Hitler took a shine to young Geli and moved her to an apartment in Munich away from her mother’s watchful eye. He took her to meet s with him and paraded her about town. They had a stormy relationship, they were both jealous, she of Eva Braun and he of any man who showed her the slightest attention, and she was a pretty and charismatic girl. She found him suffocating and ironically he would not allow her to attend the college for Fine arts in Vienna, the same one his father would not allow him to attend and then ultimately rejected him twice. It is uncertain whether he had intercourse with Geli, He had lost a testicle in WWI, and there were rumors that he was homosexual or asexual. He would state that he was wedded to the German nation and did not have time for women. Geli would claim that he made her do things that sickened her, but she would not elaborate. In 1929 Hitler wrote such an explicit letter to Geli that it could have ruined his career and he had to get a Catholic priest named Father Bernhard Stemple to retrieve the letter from Geli. Strangely right after doing this, the priest was found with a broken neck and three bullets in his heart.

On September 18, 1931, Geli was found dead from suicide in Hitler’s apartment. Right before this, a loud and terrible row was heard from the apartment with Hitler leaving and shouting “for the last time, No”! as she slammed the door behind him. It was rumored that the passage of the bullet was not consistent with suicide but the first policeman on the scene, Heinrich Muller, was later made head of the Gestapo. Hitler became very depressed and stated that the sight of meat reminded him of Geli’s corpse. He sealed her bedroom off as a shrine and moved on to fulfill his evil destiny.

Obviously, the man who loved Disney, Snow White, and the Seven Dwarfs being his favorite was a complex and psychologically unstable man.  Was he pure evil and vengeful, or was he insane? I guess that the answer to that question will not undo his evil deeds.

 

 

Spanish Conquest of the Aztecs

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Staff Writer J.D. Perry

The Spanish-Aztec War. The Fall of an Empire.

Throughout history, we see empires rise and fall, and often we find out there are multiple contributing factors.

Today we’ll talk a bit about The Spanish-Aztec War also known as The Spanish Conquest of the Aztec Empire, the actual war spanned just two years (1519-1521) when Spanish Conquistadors led by Hernán Cortés with enemies of the Aztec Empire bolstering their ranks fought and defeated the Aztecs and marked the end of the Aztec Empire and the eventual Spanish conquest of the entirety of Mesoamerica.

A fair number of the men that accompanied Cortés on his expedition to conquer the Aztec Empire had never even seen real combat before including Cortés himself, knowing this he spent some time forging alliances with political rivals and rebelling states of the Aztec Empire to bolster the Spanish army’s numbers the Spanish’s success in these negotiations was aided greatly by a multilingual (Nahuatl a Maya dialect and Spanish) slave woman the Conquistadors called Doña Marina.

Somehow, the Aztecs managed to hold out for 2 years scoring actual victories against the Spanish in a few skirmishes despite being outmatched heavily in regards to equipment, the Aztecs didn’t have metal armor, and weapons like the Spanish did, the Aztecs fought with clubs of wood lined with sharpened Obsidian known as Macuahuitl, bows and arrows and a weapon known as Atlatl used to throw spears and darts, shields made of reeds and cloth armor. Yes, CLOTH ARMOR

If you’re a gamer like me, your thoughts may be drifting to that harrowing moment in games like Final Fantasy where you stumble onto the games the first boss a dragon or heavily armored knight and you’re still in rags with a wooden sword and rare healing items.

Cortés and the Spaniards and allies after months of battles and negotiations finally entered the capital city of Tenochtitlan on November 8, 1519; he later left with a division of soldiers to deal with another Spanish expedition that was sent to arrest Cortés for insubordination leaving his right-hand man Pedro de Alvarado in charge.

Cortés defeated Pánfilo de Narváez’s expedition and told the defeated soldiers about the riches of Tenochtitlan they agreed to join him and they made their way back to the city.

Alvarado allowed a huge feast to take place on May 22nd, 1520 a large number of nobles attended the sounds of a feast and jolly good times was soon replaced with the sounds of a massacre, yes this was the date of what came to be known as the Alvarado Massacre, the Spanish slaughtered the Aztec Nobels this incited rebellion in the citizens of the city, a slaughter of Aztec Nobility taking place in the main temple of their capital city by these Spanish invaders must have been quite the offense.

Accounts vary on what exactly happened next, but Aztec ruler Moctezuma II was killed, some say he was killed by a projectile of some sort while trying to give a speech to calm the people down but they were done with him they saw him as nothing more than a puppet of the Spanish invaders. Indigenous accounts say the Spanish killed him.

Cortés returned to the city on June 20th, 1520 (La Noche Triste or The Night of Sorrows) and managed to pull his men out of the city and after a few weeks on the run fighting off pursuing Aztecs managing to kill a commander they arrived at the safety of the allied Tlaxcala.

Cortés spent the next year licking wounds and eventually marching back to the city of Tenochtitlan over the Summer of 1521 the final year of the war the Aztecs battered and weakened by war, disease, and famine could not hold and surrendered. The capital city fell, and the Spanish sacked and tore down the city establishing a firm foothold to launch further campaigns to take over the rest of Mesoamerica, they dubbed the former Aztec capital, Mexico City.

Yes, the capital of the Aztec Empire stood on what is now known as Mexico City.

Imagine visiting or being a resident of Mexico City nowadays, people going about their lives not knowing or caring that on the ground they walk on today a mighty empire once stood.

After the fall of the empire Aztec leadership changed to Spanish, the Spanish tried to convert the defeated Aztecs into Catholics and made them act like Spanish people.

The Aztec nobles were allowed to become Spanish nobles to make the change from Aztec to Spanish rule easier.

Allies of the Spanish were granted gifts including Aztec slaves that they treated like something less than the dirt they eventually switched to African slaves which were treated even worse.

These slaves were not just working the farmland but the discovery of Silver in them there hills sent the Spanish into a frenzy, and they had these slaves work the silver mines.

Today, not much remains of the Aztecs, there are still people that hold traditional Aztec ceremonies dressed in appropriate garb but its a mere shadow of its former self, throughout history empires, rise and empires fall, and you have to ask yourself will that happen to us?

The Great Pestilance

The Great Pestilence

By Sherry Michaels Perry

In the mid-1300’s a devastating plague raged across Europe, leaving millions dead. There was no treatment, and superstition and panic held sway over the helpless population. This was the Bubonic Plague or the Black Death, also known as, The Great Pestilence. It spread quickly and caused rapid death; a person could go to bed healthy and be found in their bed the next morning covered with boils that leaked pus and blood and be quite dead.
Pope Gregory IX and his superstitions generated a substantial contributing factor to this plague. During the latter part of the 12 the century Pope Gregory decided that cats were evil and associated with witchcraft and the devil. So in his infinite wisdom, he ordered the mass execution of any cats which ultimately lead to the overpopulation of rats and their fleas. And rats love to hang out at the pier and climb aboard ships looking for food, and so it began.
In October of the year of Our Lord 1314 twelve ships docked at the Sicilian port of Messina. The caused much excitement and the townspeople flocked to the pier to see what delights the vessel must surely hold. Imagine their horror when they realized that most of the sailors on the ships were dead, and the few remaining were covered with boils seeping pus and blood. The authorities immediately ordered the vessel away from the docks, but it was too little too late. For even though flea and rat bite spread the Black Death, it was also airborne and highly contagious. And so it began and over the course of the next five years 20 million Europeans died, over 1/3 of the population. By the early 1340’s it had already spread to China, India, Persia, Syria, and Egypt.
The panic was real. No one knew at that time how it spread and no one knew how to stop it. According to history.com, a doctor was quoted as saying “instantaneous death occurs when the aerial spirit escaping from the eyes of the sick man strikes the healthy person standing near and looking at the sick.” Doctors at first tried to treat the disease by bloodletting, lancing the boils, which caused even more problems in the unsanitary conditions and burning aromatic herbs. The suggested bathing in vinegar and rosewater to ward off the disease.
Doctors eventually began refusing to get near the sick, priests would refuse to perform last rites, shopkeepers were closed, and no one could obtain any supplies they needed to care for the sick. Families eventually fled to the countryside, leaving their sick behind to die, but succeeded only in taking it with them and the cows, sheep, goats, pigs, and chickens sickened and disappeared from the disease. This incidentally led to a considerable wool shortage throughout Europe.
Being that they were a superstitious society, people began to believe that the plague was Gods punishment so this led to a purge of who was thought to be heretics and troublemakers, the Jews. Between 1348 and 1349 thousands of Jews were slaughtered, forcing them to seek asylum in other countries. Since killing the Jews didn’t work and the doctors were useless, men of the upper class became “flagellants” and traveled from town to town performing public displays of penance and punishment. They would beat themselves and others with a device similar to a “cat-o-nine tails,” heavy straps of leather studded with sharp metal. They did this for 33 days three times daily until the Pope decided it was taking attention away from him and the church and he put a stop to it.
The plague had pretty much run its course by 1350, and the cases slowly dwindled down, rearing its ugly head every few generations, but never to the extent of the first plague. Modern sanitation and public health practices brought about this change. At the end of the 19th century Alexander Yersin, a French biologist isolated and identified the bacillus Yersinia Pestis as the culprit. There are no effective vaccines, but it can now be treated with streptomycin and doxycycline. It is predominately seen in Africa these days.
Interestingly enough, many economists believe that the plague was a turning point for the European economic development because there was such an intense need for workers that wages were increased. It’s sad that it took millions of deaths to bring that about.