A Brief History On October 28, 1919, The U.S. Congress passed the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto, paving the way for Prohibition to begin the following January and setting the stage for the eventual production of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Digging Deeper Without the almost difficult to fathom actions of Congress nearly a hundred years ago today, we would not be enjoying the tales of gangsters and corrupt politicians gracing our televisions on Sunday nights thanks to HBO.  Yet, for as hard as it is for us in an age in which we are inundated constantly by beer and…

A Brief History According to Orthodox Christian tradition, on October 27, 312 A.D., the night before the Battle of Milvian Bridge against the Roman Emperor Maxentius, the Emperor Constantine the Great adopted as his motto the Greek phrase “ἐν τούτῳ νίκα” after having a vision of a Christogram in the sky. Digging Deeper This episode is one of the most unusual and controversial stories in the history of Christianity, and probably the only time the Christian religion was involved so energetically in the military battlefield.  Of course, nothing can be officially proved, and this story is a matter of faith…

A Brief History On October 27, 1838, Missouri’s governor issued an order for all Mormons to leave the state or face extermination! Digging Deeper After Joseph Smith founded the Church of Christ (later called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or popularly known as the Mormon Church), he and his followers had a downright hellacious time finding acceptance in mid-nineteenth century America.  His journeys in Ohio and Missouri were filled with violent incidents.  For example, in 1832 a mob tarred and feathered the first Mormon leader. The late 1830s were not much kinder.  The situation for the…

A Brief History On October 26, 1689, Austrian General Piccolomini burned down the Macedonian city of Skopje to prevent the spread of cholera. Digging Deeper In the aftermath of the Ottoman Empire’s failed assault on Vienna in 1683, the Austrians retaliated by launching their own offenses into Ottoman territory in Europe.  These campaigns continued late in that decade. One of the commanders of such expeditions was Enea Silvio Piccolomini, a nobleman from Italy (his ancestors included TWO popes!) fighting in Austria’s service.  His campaign was intended to capture Bosnia, Kosovo, and Macedonia from the Ottoman Empire.  Although his army was…

A Brief History On October 25, 1854, the United Kingdom, the Ottoman Empire, and the French Empire fought against Russia in the Battle of Balaclava, which included the famous (and disastrous) “Charge of the Light Brigade”. Digging Deeper The Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856) was an absolutely massive war, easily one of the most significant wars fought between Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815 and the onset of World War I in 1914.  An Alliance of France, the Ottoman Empire, Britain, and the Kingdom of Sardinia challenged the Russian Empire and Bulgaria.  The Franco-British-Ottoman alliance enjoyed a strength of…

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