Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Today -100: December 17, 1913: Of meneliks, loss of honor, free speech in Paterson, and lynchings

Abyssinia (Ethiopia)’s Emperor Menelik II dies. He unified the country, abolished slavery, and fought off Italy’s attempt to make Abyssinia a colony. Italy actually tried to trick him into protectorate status through an 1889 treaty whose Italian and Amharic versions were not-so-subtly different. There’s sneaky, and then there’s just silly. Upon discovering the deceit, Menelik renounced the treaty and defeated Italy in battle in 1896.

Suffragettes burn St. Anne’s Church in Liverpool.

The Countess Treuberg of Germany is found guilty of usury, slander and blackmail, and sentenced to 15 months, a fine, and three years “loss of honor.” I don’t know what “loss of honor” means, but it sounds awesome.

Elihu Root says he would not accept the Republican nomination for president because he is too old (he is 68 and would be 71 in 1916).

Right before an IWW meeting in Paterson, NJ, the police chief (on the mayor’s orders) sees Emma Goldman and forbids her to speak and asks her to leave the city. She agrees to adjourn the meeting and is allowed to go to it. But instead of adjourning it, she began a speech attacking Paterson’s government. Detectives storm the meeting and fight with the anarchists, as was the custom.

The British Cabinet decides that Home Rule will not include transferring control over the Irish Post Office to Dublin. This is evidently a big deal.

Lynchings: two negroes shot in Blanchard, Louisiana. They had confessed to killing Calvin Ballard in revenge. Several months ago Ballard was a trustee in Louisiana Penitentiary (where he was serving 10 years for killing his brother), when he foiled an escape attempt, killing three of the escape-attempters. And in North Dakota, there’s a rare lynching of a white man, Cleve Culbertson, a day after he was sentenced to life for killing three people. (Update: even more uncommonly, the sheriff will be forced to resign over his failure to prevent the lynching.)

Pancho Villa confiscates the property of several ultra-rich men, including Luis Terrazas, Sr., who owns 2/3 of the land of the state of Chihuahua, for ransom. Now how will he pay the ransom for his son, who rebels kidnapped last week?

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1 comment:

Mark Fortin said...

While I was aware of Italy's ineptitude in colonial dealings, I did not know thestory of Menelik II...portends of further embarrassments!