20th February Snipers

Today is the anniversary of the mass murder in Kyiv, Ukraine. During the Euromaidan, the revolution to overthrow the corrupt pro-Russian government, on the 20th of February 2014, pro-Russian and actual Russian snipers were sent into the city centre to shoot and kill dozens upon dozens of civilians.

The world has all but forgotten about the war in Ukraine now, but it has not ended. I still have family members who are refugees, we will be visiting them in Ukraine in a few weeks.

Pro-Russian snipers shooting Ukrainians in Kyiv, Ukraine. 20th February 2014.

On this day: Literature censorship in the United States

God’s Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell

On the 19th of February, 1953, the United States’ first literature censorship board was established in Georgia.

Misleadingly named the Georgia Literature Commission, the first publication targeted was God’s Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell.

Facing legal challenges from the outset, the board lasted about two decades and then was left to die out.

Delaware’s controversial age of consent, and girl prostitutes.

tatnall-streetChildren playing next to a reputed house of prostitution on Tatnall Street, Wilmington, Delaware, 1910.

Children in Delaware outside a brothel in 1910.

Technically, until 1972, the US state of Delaware had the age of consent set at seven. It was 1972 that the old law codes were completely overhauled.

It was in February 1889 that the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union submitted a petition to the Delaware General Assembly to have the age raised. The petition had ten yards of signatures of Delaware residents on it.

The age had been lowered to seven in 1871, having previously been ten. It was the lowest age of consent in the United States.

blacklist-of-states-arenaage of consent and rpae laws in nineteenth century unites states

A list of the age of consent in various states.

Click to enlarge and read.

The idea of the low age of consent for girls had a lot to do with proving rape (and dealing with – or ignoring! – child prostitution). Investigators in a rape case had to prove force and lack of consent, and the changed law helped cover for men having sex with young girls.

The states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida had the age set at ten.

At the end of the 1880s, the lowest age a girl could work as a prostitute in Delaware was raised to fifteen.

Read More:

http://blogs.lawlib.widener.edu/delaware/2014/07/07/the-age-of-consent-and-rape-reform-in-delaware/

http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjlh/vol9/iss1/1/

http://delaware.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15323coll1/id/53650

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_the_United_States

On this day: the bombing of the Hilton

The Hilton Hotel in Sydney, Australia was bombed in the early hours of the 13th of February, 1978.

Two garbage collectors and a policeman were killed when a bomb was left in a rubbish bin outside. Eleven other people were injured.

It is still unclear who was behind the attack.

The scene of the Hilton Hotel bombing on George Street, Sydney. SUPPLIED.

A Visitor’s Guide To Jane Austen’s England by Sue Wilkes

A Visitor's Guide To Jane Austen's England by Sue Wilkes

Discover Jane Austen’s England

Immerse yourself in the vanished world inhabited by Austen’s contemporaries. Packed with detail, and anecdotes, this is an intimate exploration of how the middle and upper classes lived from 1775, the year of Austen’s birth, to the coronation of George IV in 1820. Sue Wilkes skilfully conjures up all aspects of daily life within the period, drawing on contemporary diaries, illustrations, letters, novels, travel literature and archives.

•Were all unmarried affluent men really ‘in want of a wife’?
•Where would a young lady seek adventures?
•Would ‘taking the waters’ at Bath and other spas kill or cure you?
•Was Lizzy Bennet bitten by bed-bugs while travelling?
•What would you wear to a country ball, or a dance at Almack’s?
•Would Mr Darcy have worn a corset?
•What hidden horrors lurked in elegant Regency houses?

Put on your dancing gloves and embrace a lost era of corsets and courtship!

A Visitor’s Guide To Jane Austen’s England by Sue Wilkes

There are many books like this one, a “travel guide” of sorts through the day to day events of Georgian, Regency and Victorian England. However, there aren’t many that pack as much information in as this one does, and so I really enjoyed it.

The thing the author of A Visitor’s Guide To Jane Austen’s England does right is that she uses primary sources for her information, and quotes letters and journal entries of the time from all sorts of people. There’s no guessing about things here; everything we’re told comes from something recorded back in the day.

The anecdotes taken from day to day life in the Georgian and Regency days Jane Austen lived are interesting, taught me more than a few things, and painted a stronger picture from the era than pretty much any book I’ve read.

Any historical fiction reader worth their salt is going to know quite a bit of what is in here, especially so for fans of Jane Austen. However, there was so much I learnt that I even found the rehashing of more commonly-known facts interesting all over again.

If more authors consulted primary sources rather than learning the world of the Regency from other Regency romances, there would be far fewer mistakes (with language, for example) turning up in books, and there would be a much more historical “feel” to the stories.

An interesting read for fans of history and historical fiction.

On this day: Queen Victoria’s Wedding

Queen Victoria, already queen at the time and yet still only twenty, married her first cousin (also twenty) on the tenth of February, 1840.

Victoria had her wedding portrait painted years after her marriage. After her obsessive relationship with her husband, he died about four decades before she did. She insisted on being buried in her wedding veil when she died at eighty-one.

Queen_Victoria,_1847 Wedding Dress Portrait After Her Wedding.

On this day: Baghdad fell to the Mongols in 1258

The Siege of Baghdad ended on the 10th of February, 1258.

The Mongols began the siege on the 29th of January, and it was characterised by many atrocities, including the mass murder of civilians.

The siege is considered to mark the end of the Islamic Golden Age.

Illustration circa 1430

Mongols besieging Baghdad in 1258 circa 1430