And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

10 April

1497
Vasco da Gama,
explorer

‘On Tuesday, when weighing anchor to enter the port, the captain-major’s vessel would not pay off, and struck the vessel which followed astern. We therefore again cast anchor. When the Moors who were in our ship saw that we did not go on, they scrambled into a zavra attached to our stern; whilst the two pilots whom we had brought from Moçambique jumped into the water, and were picked up by the men in the zavra. At night the captain-major “questioned” two Moors whom we had on board, by dropping boiling oil upon their skin, so that they might confess any treachery intended against us. They said that orders had been given to capture us as soon as we entered the port, and thus to avenge what we had done at Moçambique. And when this torture was being applied a second time, one of the Moors, although his hands were tied, threw himself into the sea, whilst the other did so during the morning watch.

About midnight two almadias, with many men in them, approached. The almadias stood off whilst the men entered the water, some swimming in the direction of the Berrio others in that of the Raphael. Those who swam to the Berrio began to cut the cable. The men on watch thought at first that they were tunny fish, but when they perceived their mistake they shouted to the other vessels. The other swimmers had already got hold of the rigging of the mizzen-mast. Seeing themselves discovered, they silently slipped down and fled. These and other wicked tricks were practised upon us by these dogs, but our Lord did not allow them to succeed, because they were unbelievers.

Mombaça is a large city seated upon an eminence washed by the sea. Its port is entered daily by numerous vessels. At its entrance stands a pillar, and by the sea a low-lying fortress.Those who had gone on shore told us that in the town they had seen many men in irons; and it seemed to us that these must be Christians, as the Christians in that country are at war with the Moors.

The Christian merchants in the town are only temporary residents, and are held in much subjection, they not being allowed to do anything except by the order of the Moorish King.

It pleased God in his mercy that on arriving at this city all our sick recovered their health, for the climate (“air”) of this place is very good.

After the malice and treachery planned by these dogs had been discovered, we still remained on Wednesday and Thursday.’

Cloves, cumin, ginger

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1691
John Evelyn,
writer

‘This night, a sudden and terrible fire burned down all the buildings over the stone gallery at Whitehall to the water side, beginning at the apartment of the late Duchess of Portsmouth (which had been pulled down and rebuilt no less than three times to please her), and consuming other lodgings of such lewd creatures, who debauched both King Charles II. and others, and were his destruction.’

A most excellent person

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1852
Polly Lavinia Crandall Coon,
teacher

‘Reached the Mississippi at Eagle Ferry 2 miles above Dubuque found a number of teams in wait to go over.’

We hope for better times

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1863
Taylor Beatty,
lawyer

‘Rode out to a review of Hardee’s troops to-day - the troops did very well - weather was good but ground dusty - A great many spectators especially ladies - for whom Genl Hardee has given the entertainment - he has several at his house - and this is the second or third time they have come up from Huntersville. The report is that the fight at Charleston is still going on.’

Manliness of the soldier

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1907
Frederic Remington,
artist

‘Sketched all day - Mountain and horses beautiful weather fine sunsets on pine tress. Picture ‘The dead cow boy and outlaw horse’ . . . Henry wants to go Grand Canyon.’

The Broncho Buster

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1944
Alexander Cadogan,
civil servant

‘Went to ‘Something for the Boys’ at the Coliseum. An American musical show, slick without being tuneful, well-drilled and quite uninteresting. There was one good tune. The rest was jazz, which all sounds alike to me - a pulsating noise, such as one hears when one has run upstairs too fast . . . Shall have an awful fortnight with the P.M. in charge [of the F.O.], complicated by Stettinius [US Under-Secretary of State], but hope to get through.’

Went to see P.M. (in bed)

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In general, these diary extracts are quoted as given in the published (book or online) source referred to in the reference articles. Each extract may be all, a large part of, or a small part of the complete entry for that day. I have tried to indicate where text has been removed from within a quote by the use of trailing dots in square bracket.

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