European Town Graves Reveal Historical Clues

April 16, 2014 by · Comments Off on European Town Graves Reveal Historical Clues
Filed under: America 

Two years following Christopher Columbus ‘s journey across the Atlantic in 1492, Columbus and colonists took off on a second trip. The result of their subsequent voyage was the foundation of the first established European town in the New World. It was given the name La Isabela.

La Isabela had a short four year existence. The demise of the town has always been believed by historians to have been the result of the diseases smallpox, influenza, and malaria.

However, recent findings from the town’s graves, from the bones that remained, also show that the colonist suffered as well from a condition known as scurvy. To be sure scurvy would have made the towns people vulnerable targets to the diseases that befell them.

Scurvy is a condition developed from low levels of Vitamin C. Before 1747 when James Lind was able to prove the connection between scurvy and vitamin c depletion, people did not know the importance of eating citric fruit and other fresh foods that contain Vitamin C. Therefore in the 15th century town of La Isabela scurvy was rampant and contributed to the vulnerability of the immune system to fight off disease.

Read more in National Geographic:

Severe Scurvy Struck Christopher Columbus’s Crew

IBM Introduces the System/360

April 7, 2014 by · Comments Off on IBM Introduces the System/360
Filed under: Firsts in History, Science, This Day in History 

May the computers unite and with that revolutionary concept the IBM System/360 was born. Before the uniting of computers into a network of systems, each was its own creation uniquely customized for each of IBM’s clients.

It has been 50 years since the 360 mainframe was introduced in 1964. It boasted the first mainframe computers that IBM customers could optimize from a lower cost model to something upgraded in power. ABC News



Ebola Virus: One of Its Most Deadly Forms

March 26, 2014 by · Comments Off on Ebola Virus: One of Its Most Deadly Forms
Filed under: Medicine 

The history of the Ebola virus is believed to date back to the beginning of our planet, though it was only first discovered in 1976. A clue that indicates an ancient origin is that the molecule’s genetic code is one of the most primitive and ancient  having a single strand of RNA. The Hot Zone

The recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, upon careful DNA analysis, is determined to be of the most deadly of the Ebola viruses known as the Zaire strain. This version of the Ebola virus typically kills up to 80 percent of the victims it infects. The name is derived from the 1976 outbreak in northern Zaire; for the Ebola River in Zaire (see table below from WHO International for exact number of deaths)

It takes only a small number of particles contracted through Blood-borne pathogens for an “extreme amplification” to erupt in Ebola Zaire’s host.


Table: Chronology of major Ebola haemorrhagic fever outbreaks (as of May 2012)


Year Country Virus subtype Cases Deaths Case fatality
2011 Uganda Ebola Sudan 1 1 100%
2008 Democratic Republic of Congo Ebola Zaire 32 14 44%
2007 Uganda Ebola Bundibugyo 149 37 25%
2007 Democratic Republic of Congo Ebola Zaire 264 187 71%
2005 Congo Ebola Zaire 12 10 83%
2004 Sudan Ebola Sudan 17 7 41%
2003 Congo Ebola Zaire 35 29 83%
2003 Congo Ebola Zaire 143 128 90%
2001-2002 Congo Ebola Zaire 59 44 75%
2001-2002 Gabon Ebola Zaire 65 53 82%
2000 Uganda Ebola Sudan 425 224 53%
1996 South Africa (ex-Gabon) Ebola Zaire 1 1 100%
1996 Gabon Ebola Zaire 60 45 75%
1996 Gabon Ebola Zaire 31 21 68%
1995 Democratic Republic of Congo Ebola Zaire 315 254 81%
1994 Cote d’Ivoire Ebola Ivory Coast 1 0 0%
1994 Gabon Ebola Zaire 52 31 60%
1979 Sudan Ebola Sudan 34 22 65%
1977 Democratic Republic of Congo Ebola Zaire 1 1 100%
1976 Sudan Ebola Sudan 284 151 53%
1976 Democratic Republic of Congo Ebola Zaire 318 280 88%

The Ebola Zaire strain

History Topics

March 17, 2014 by · Comments Off on History Topics
Filed under: Research History 

End of War Kiss

March 14, 2014 by · Comments Off on End of War Kiss
Filed under: World War II 

Glenn Edward McDuffie, a U.S. Navy sailor in World War II and  believed to be the man in the famous kiss picture taken by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, died today March 3, 2014.

It was decades ago  on Aug. 14, 1945 in Times Square when McDuffie and a nurse celebrated the end of the war in an embracing kiss that is an iconic image in American history.

famous kissing photo

V-J Day in Times Square, a photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt, was published in Life in 1945 with the caption, In New York’s Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her purse and skirt as an uninhibited sailor plants his lips squarely on hers

Ole Miss Riot

March 13, 2014 by · Comments Off on Ole Miss Riot
Filed under: Black History, Civil Rights, This Day in History 

On Oct. 1, 1962 Mississippi University admitted James Meredith; their first black student.  This Federally ordered act of integration resulted in a violent mob riot on the campus. Two people were killed and hundreds injured. Mississippi had segregationist laws that Governor Ross Barnett tried to uphold despite President Kennedy’s order to obey the federal law against segregation. The fight to preserve James Meredith’s civil right to attend the University of Mississippi is sometimes referred to as “the last battle of the Civil War”.

Learn more about the facts and people involved.

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