A Brief History On December 5, 1933, history was made that would change the United States (back) forever!  Well, you never know, so maybe not forever.  In any event, this date was the day Prohibition ended in the United States, although its legacy lives on in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Digging Deeper The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, known as the Volstead Act had been passed in 1920 riding a wave of anti-alcohol sentiment, largely by women that had previously been active in the women’s suffrage movement. Apparently, women especially were likely to be anti-alcohol as they saw drunkenness as a…

A Brief History On December 4, 1872, in the Atlantic Ocean west of the Iberian peninsula, the American brigantine Mary Celeste was found by the British brigantine Dei Gratia sailing east without its crew toward the Mediterranean. Digging Deeper Digging deeper, we find this most famous case of an unexplained derelict vessel to have started when the ship first known as the Amazon was launched in 1861 from Nova Scotia.  107 feet long, 16 feet wide and displacing about 282 tons, the Mary Celeste (as it was renamed by its new American owners in 1869 after her purchase in 1867)…

A Brief History On December 3, 1984, the terrible tragedy at Bhopal, India took place when a huge quantity of methyl isocyanate (MIC) escaped and exposed 500,000 people to this poison and other chemicals, over 2,200 of whom died immediately and perhaps 16,000 more deaths over the ensuing weeks. Digging Deeper Digging deeper we find the table set for disaster at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) plant built in 1969 to produce the pesticide “Sevin” and later the pesticide MIC when numerous leaks and other safety violations took place leading up to the disaster. Ignoring normal safety practices and…

A Brief History On December 2, 1993, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot (through the ears!) and officially killed in Medellín by Colombian National Police, although his brothers claim the death was a suicide. Digging Deeper In 1993, the second of December was a bloody day of victory for international law enforcement.  That day marked the end of Pablo Escobar (aka: Pablo Emillio Escobar Gaviria), the head of the Medellin drug cartel and the second worst (best) money launderer in human history. Born December 1, 1949, Escobar started a long criminal career by stealing grave stones, running a variety…

A Brief History Apparently there is something about the first day of December that makes it significant to the history of civil rights concerning persons of African ancestry. Digging Deeper Digging deeper we find, first, that in 1768 the former slave ship Fredensborg sank from unknown causes (maybe cosmic karma?) of the coast of Tromoy, Norway.  Although not carrying slaves at that time, it had previously been involved in the “triangular trade” of slaves and goods in the Caribbean. Second, in 1834 in accordance with the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, slavery was abolished in the Cape Colony (now South…

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