the history of chocolate

The history of chocolate dates back millenia. For much of this history, chocolate played a more crucial role in various societies than helping to satiate a sweet-tooth. With roots, both literally and metaphorically, in Mesoamerica, chocolate played economic roles for the Aztec, Maya, Toltec, and many others. But, for this post, I’d like to fast forward […]

History of Washington DC

During the Revolution, the American colonies had no one, set capital, nor did they even refer to the city as their capital – referring to it simply as the “meetingplace of Congress.”1 After being chased between Philadelphia, New York, Trenton, and a few other places, when independence came, Congress hankered for a permanent home. The […]

Little Ice Age

Some people may say that a centuries long climatological phenomenon wouldn’t make for a compelling story – but I beg to differ! While the date range is disputed, the Little Ice Age affected large swathes of the globe, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, for several centuries. While its name suggests a period of severe cold, […]

The Expulsion of the Acadians began in 1755. Sadly, the Acadians’ troubles did not end with their forced migration from their homeland. Packed into British transport ships like French-speaking sardines, they were sent as far afield as Boston, Maryland, England, and France. Ousted from their land during the French and Indian War, the British made […]

Expulsion of the Acadians

On September 5, 1755, the men and boys of Grand Pré, Nova Scotia gathered in the warmth of the town’s church. Huddled together in the pews as the chill of the Canadian winter crept in over their lands, they listened to a proclamation from the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, Charles Lawerence. “… your Land & […]

In 1626, Peter Minuit, a Belgian working for the Dutch Empire, arrived in New Netherland, Holland’s territories along the Hudson River. After taking over as the colony’s governor, he made contact with one of the Lenape nations living on the island we call Manhattan. Later that year, Pieter Schagen, a fellow colonist in New Netherland, […]

Spanish Requirement of 1513

The Spanish conquest of many parts of the Americas is one of the darkest periods in human history. Reading accounts of conquistadors, one gets the sense that they were psychopaths; white, bearded, and odorous psychopaths. While their actions were reprehensible, and they even had contemporary nay-sayers like Bartolomé de las Casas, they did create justifications […]

Nova Scotia in the American Revolution

Growing up in the United States, one almost gets the impression that the American Revolution, with the exception of Yorktown, began, was fought, and ended in New England; or, really, even just Massachusetts. But this colonial struggle for independence took place on a much grander scale than the original 13 colonies so lovingly memorialized on […]

Canadian Martyrs

We’ve all read about those Europeans who came to the colonial Americas to live. But what of those who came to die? Among the more religiously minded colonists, especially those who belonged to the Society of Jesus, the notion of being a martyr, of joining the hallowed ranks of the early converts slaughtered in Roman […]