the american empire

‘well, the joke truly is on me. helping you win your freedom all those years ago; foolishly being the midwife to the birth of the empire that would end mine—indeed, i should have strangled you in your cradle.’

‘empire? i’m not like you.

‘call yourself whatever you like, my dear boy- shining city on a hill; special; exceptional; a grand experiment improving on the horrible Old World but no matter how much you pretend and dress it up, you and I aren’t so different.’

the spanish-american war

4

January 17th 1893: Overthrow of Hawaii

On this day in 1893, the Hawaiian monarchy of Queen Lilioukalani was overthrown with the support of the United States. Throughout the nineteenth century, a number of American sugar planters moved to the Hawaiian kingdom. Determined to secure more power for themselves, these planters pushed through measures to drastically reduce the monarch’s role and limit non-whites’ voting power. Queen Liliuokalani, who ascended to the throne in 1891, sought to reassert Hawaiian sovereignty. Concerned about their financial prospects, a group of American businessmen planned to depose the monarch. On January 17th 1893, the conspirators gathered their supporters in Honolulu to launch a coup d’etat, which had the tacit support of the U.S. government. The next day, conspirators captured the government building and declared a provisional government, which was immediately recognised by the U.S. Queen Liliuokalani stepped aside in the hope of avoiding bloodshed, and American troops raided Honolulu. The new President, Grover Cleveland, opposed annexation and supported reinstating the monarchy, but the provisional government refused. Hawaii was eventually annexed by the U.S. in 1898, as the strategic base at Pearl Harbor proved useful during the Spanish-American War. Hawaii was officially designated the fiftieth U.S. state in 1959, despite enduring concerns about the legality of the overthrow. Many indigenous Hawaiians continue to object to American rule and call for a return to sovereignty; the U.S. government officially apologised for the overthrow of Hawaii in 1993.

“The Hawaiian pear is now fully ripe and this is the golden hour for the United States to pluck it.”
- U.S. minister to Hawaii, John L. Stevens, in a letter to the Secretary of State after the coup

Coca Does Not Equal Cocaine

Use of coca leaves, the leaves which can be used to make cocaine, is traditional in the Andes. In fact, its consumption dates to the very earliest of ancient South American cultures. We have evidence that coca was consumed in what is today Ecuador as early as the 8000s BCE. This is hardly surprising. Coca is extremely useful.

The leaves contain a powerful alkaloid which acts as a stimulant. Its effects include raised heart rate, increased appetite, and suppressed hunger and thirst. Its muscle-relaxing properties mean coca leaves are great for menstrual cramps. And that also helps treat altitude sickness, by opening up the respiratory tract and relieving the feeling of shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. Further, coca leaves have antibacterial and analgesic properties. It also aids in digestion and preventing constipation. Finally, the leaves themselves are nutritionally beneficial. They are rich in iron, vitamin B, and vitamin C. No wonder coca leaves continue to be a large part of Andean culture through today.

The Top Ten 90′s Teen Comedy Movies As Chosen By Me:

1. Clueless (1995)
2. Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
3. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
4. Election (1999)
5. Never Been Kissed (1999)
6. Bring it On (2000)
7. Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)
8. Jawbreaker (1999)
9. American Pie (1999)
10. She’s All That (1999)

Honorable Mentions: Drive Me Crazy, Idle Hands, Empire Records

2

February 12th 1818: Chilean Declaration of Independence

On this day in 1818, Chile officially issued its Declaration of Independence from Spanish rule, following the initial declaration of September 1810. Desire for independence had been on the rise in Chile for a number of years, fueled by international independence movements, disaffection with the corrupt Spanish-appointed governor, and the political turmoil following Napoleon’s invasion of Spain and the capture of the Spanish king. Following Argentina’s declaration of independence in May 1810, the governor arrested patriots including the Chilean Bernardo de Vera Pintado, prompting outrage in Chile. Citizens demanded a say in their future, and 300 leading Chileans gathered for a meeting. Many of the attendees were Spaniards living in Chile, and disagreements over the question of independence divided the meeting. It was finally resolved that Chile, like Argentina, would establish an independent government, but remain nominally loyal to the exiled King Fernando VII. Count Mateo de Toro y Zambrano was named President, and the new junta set about establishing a national Congress and military. However, royalists vociferously opposed the declaration - which put Chile resolutely on the path to total independence - and the next decade saw bloody warfare between those who advocated full independence, and those who wanted to remain within the Spanish Empire. In 1814, Spanish troops reconquered Chile, but the oppressive rule of Spanish loyalists reinvigorated the independence movement. The tide turned in favour of the patriots, who retook Chile in 1818, when they defeated the last large Spanish force in the Battle of Maipú, and issued a formal declaration of independence on February 12th. The wars came to a close with the expulsion of royalists in 1821, and the surrender of the last Spanish troops in 1826. Chilean independence was therefore secured, though not formally recognised by Spain until 1844.

The Signs As Famous Land Marks
  • Aries: the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Taurus: Space Needle (Seattle)
  • Gemini: Empire State Building
  • Cancer: Grand Canyon
  • Leo: Lady Liberty
  • Virgo: Central Park
  • Libra: The White House
  • Scorpio: "Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas" Sign
  • Sagittarius: Gateway Arch (Missouri)
  • Capricorn: Lincoln Memorial
  • Aquarius: Mount Rushmore
  • Pisces: Niagara Falls
When You Discover a New Band
  • In the beginning: Hmmm…
  • 10 Hours Later: *sings along to lyrics loudly*