Browsing: Travel

A Brief History On August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal was opened for traffic, with the SS Ancon making the first transit of the great canal. Constructed from 1904 to 1914 by the United States, a previous French attempt at building the canal from 1881 to 1894 failed miserably, with thousands of workers killed by disease and venomous snakes, a rate of fatalities that reached 200 per month. Despite an asking price of $100 million dollars, the US was able to purchase the rights to the canal project for only $40 million. Completion of the canal became a great source…

A Brief History On August 7, 1679, a small ship named Le Griffon (The Griffon) that had been built under the direction of famous explorer of the New World René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, was towed to a point on the Niagara River from which it became the first European sailing vessel worthy of the designation “ship” to ever sail the Great Lakes.  As the Great Lakes Region Native Americans did not build sailing vessels, Le Griffon was by default the first ship of any origin to sail the Upper Great Lakes.  European explorers had brought sail technology to…

A Brief History On August 5, 1620, 2 small English sailing ships left Southampton Water in England on a trip to the New World, carrying a group of Puritans seeking a land where they could practice their brand of religion without interference. The larger of the 2 ships, the Mayflower, has gone down in history as one of the most famous ships in the English speaking world, while the other, the Speedwell, became an historical afterthought. On July 22, 1620, the pinnace Speedwell left Delfshaven, now part of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, with a cargo of English Pilgrims bound for…

A Brief History On July 30, 2012, the Tamil Nadu Express train caught fire as passengers lay sleeping at 4:22 am, roasting 32 of them and injuring another 27. Only quick action by a railroad emergency crew prevented further carnage when the flaming sleeping car was detached from the other cars. Some died leaping from the moving train, some died trying to leave through the forward exit, and some died asleep in their beds. Digging Deeper The S-11 sleeping car carried 78 passengers that morning, bound from New Delhi to Chennai. Of those passengers, 72 had reservations to be on…

A Brief History On July 20, 1973, British race car driver Roger Williamson met his death when his Formula 1 race car crashed at the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort Circuit in the Netherlands. The 25 year old 2 time British Formula 3 champion was trapped under his flipped car, not seriously hurt from the crash, but was burned to death as the car was engulfed in flames. We wrote about that crash in our July 29 article, “10 Famous Car Wrecks” and followed that article with “5 More Famous Car Wrecks.” Today we look at another 5 famous/infamous car…

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