Saturday, October 12, 2013

Today -100: October 12, 1913: Of Volturnos, dictators, new kings, new archipelagos, and tangos

The steamship Volturno, sailing from Rotterdam to Canada, bringing emigrants from Russia, Poland, etc, catches fire in the mid-Atlantic. 125 die but wireless distress calls brings ships which rescue 521 after several hours of being prevented from doing so by a storm, which also smashed some of the lifeboats against the ship (although lack of training of the crew was also responsible). The captain was the last off the ship, along with his dog Jack. The Volturno was regulated by the British, who didn’t require hand fire extinguishers, so there weren’t any.

Huerta dissolves the Mexican Congress. He says this will restore peace and prevent anarchy, so yay.

Suffragists mob King George and Queen Mary as they arrive at a music hall, shouting “Women are being tortured in prison!”

Prince William Frederick of Wied accepts the job of king of Albania.

Russian Arctic explorers have discovered a body of land as large as Greenland (it really isn’t). They name it Emperor Nicholas II Land (the Soviets will imaginatively rename it Severnaya Zemlya, or Northern Land.)

Headline of the Day -100: “Boston Bans the Tango.” A cop and a matron will be stationed in every public dance hall to prevent the dance, by order of Mayor John Fitzgerald (JFK’s grandfather). The turkey trot is also banned, and youths under 17.

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