Sir Francis Drake

Sir Francis Drake, English knight, a navel officer, a pirate

Sir Francis Drake (1540 – 1596) was an English knight, a navel officer, a pirate, and the favorite sea dog of Queen Elizabeth I.


Queen Elizabeth I issued a special mandate encouraging attacking and stealing the bounty of Spanish ships. With the mandate Drake became a privateer. He helped fund Britain’s war against Spain.

Spanish armada

Drake was largely responsible for defeating the Spanish armada bringing Queen Elizabeth her first major military victory and bringing about the supremacy of England ruling the seas.

Sir Francis Drake, English knight, a navel officer, a pirate
Sea dog

First to navigate the globe and claiming California for England, Drake enraged Spanish King Philip II which did nothing to assuage conflicts with Britain.

Despite his exploits he came in and out of favor with the Queen, his fate was unstable.

Simón Bolívar

Simon Bolivar, the great Liberator
The Great Liberator

Simón Bolívar (1783-1830) born Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios was a Venezuelan military genius and political leader. He led a revolution that liberated South American countries that are now Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Panama and Bolivia from the Spanish Empire.

Caste System

Born to a wealthy, politically connected, Venezuelan family, Bolívar was still not as high in the caste system as Spaniards born in Spain. This was part of the reason his allegiance belonged to his home in South America.

18th-century liberal thinkers

As a youth his tutor Simón Rodríguez introduced Bolívar to the world of 18th-century liberal thought. In 1804 Napoleon I was approaching the height of his career. Rodríguez and Bolívar sailed to Europe. In Paris Bolívar was discovered to the works of 18th century great minds like John LockeThomas HobbesVoltaireMontesquieu, and Rousseau.

Spanish colonies

As liberation took hold world wide Bolívar came believe that the Spanish colonies were ripe for independence. A year later the the fight for independence began. He sailed for England in hope of eliciting help for the cause from the British. It didn’t work. But Bolívar persuaded exiled Venezuelan Francisco de Miranda to return and lead the revolution. Miranda’s leadership failed. But eventually Bolívar took over, financing the revolution with his own money.

Fight for independence

The attach on New Granada is considered a military masterpiece, as daring and hazardous as Hannibal‘s crossing the Alps. Bolívar’s small army of 2,500 including a British legion forded rivers and and plain during the rainy season. For a week they waded through waist high waters. They crossed the Andes, a mountain range considered impossible by the defending Spaniards. Though Bolívar lost men, the Spaniards were caught flat footed and in 1819 surrendered. This was the turning point of the war.

Peace and legacy

Still it would be nearly another decade before peace was finally negotiated. Simón Bolívar is considered Latin America’s greatest military genius. His legacy is of mythical proportions.

Jacques Offenbach

Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) was a German, French composer and impresario
German, French composer and impresario

Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) was a romantic era German, French composer and impresario. A child prodigy, at four he studied violin with his father; at nine he fell in love with the cello. At 14 he was accepted as a student to the prestigious Paris Conservatoire.

International Fame

But Offenbach grew bored and left after a year. He was able to make a living as a cellist and conductor. This led to international fame.

The Dream

Finally Offenbach began to compose comic pieces for the musical theatre, his dream. During his life he composed nearly 100 operettas. His work influenced future composers. Many of his operettas continue being staged and performed.

Tales of Hoffmann

E. T. A. Hoffmann, German author of fantasy and Gothic horror
E. T. A. Hoffmann

The Tales of Hoffmann was his final work. It is an uncompleted masterpiece.
The opéra is based on three of T.A. Hoffmann’s stories. While it remains part of the standard opera repertory it has been made into films. The first a 1916 silent German film, followed by a 1923 and a 1951 movie. There will likely be more to movies to come.

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E. T. A. Hoffmann

E. T. A. Hoffmann, German author
Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann

E. T. A. Hoffmann, (1776-1822) born Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann was a German author of fantasy and Gothic horror. He was also a jurist, composer, music critic and artist. Hoffmann is one of the major creators of the Romantic movement.

Jacques Offenbach

Jacques Offenbach, created the opera The Tales of Hoffmann
Jacques Offenbach

His stories were the basis of the famous opéra fantastique by Jacques Offenbach, The Tales of Hoffmann. Hoffmann became the heavily fictionalized hero.


The opéra is based on three of Hoffmann’s stories and was Offenbach’s final work.


Offenbach’s opera was eventually transformed into a 1916 silent German film, a 1923 film and a 1951 movie.

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Nat Love

Nat Love, cowboy, (1854-1921) was born a slave. When slavery ended he traveled to Dodge City, Kansas. He lived the live of a wild west cowboy. Love had a gift for working with horses and won rope, throw, tie, bridle, saddle, and bronco riding contests.
Wild west cowboy

Nat Love (1854-1921) was a slave born on Robert Love’s Tennessee plantation. After the civil war ended and the slaves were freed his parents became sharecroppers. His father Sampson died shortly after and Nat took a job at a local farm to help breaking horses.


Eventually Nat traveled to Dodge City, Kansas where he worked as a cowboy on a cattle drive. From Dodge City it was on to Deadwood in the Dakota Territory.


At a Deadwood rodeo Nat won the roping, bridle, saddle, and bronco riding contests. He said fans started calling him Deadwood Dick. The name was taken from a popular dime novel character.

Captured by Indians

Like a lot of good looking smart men of the time Nat Love was his own best promoter and embellisher. Continuing west he said he was captured by Pima Indians in Arizona and almost married the chief’s daughter.

Calm life

His wild life calming down Nat got a job as a Pullman porter on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad then moved to southern California


Having learned to read and write as a child he published his autobiography entitled Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as ‘Deadwood Dick.’

His final job was a security guard and courier for a Los Angeles securities company.

Martin Luther

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a German professor of theology, a composer, a priest, and a monk.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a German professor of theology, a composer, a priest, and a monk. Horrified by the indulgences of the Roman Catholic Church he became a major initiator of the Protestant Reformation.

Protestant Reformation

The Protestant Reformation was a religious reform movement. It swept through Europe in the 1500s. The Reformation divided the Roman Catholic Church. Many religious groups separated due to doctrine. They were listed under an umbrella know as Protestantism.


Martin Luther remains one of the most influential figures in Christianity.

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Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was an escaped slave. He was an author, editor, diplomat, suffragist, and a national leader of the abolitionist movement.

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was an escaped slave from Maryland. He was an author, editor, diplomat, suffragist, and a national leader of the abolitionist movement.

Orator & writer

A brilliant orator Northerners had a hard time imaging that he had once been a slave. This inspired him to write his first autobiography which became a best seller.


Douglass supported women’s suffrage, though he played a large part in the ratification of the 13th Amendment, 14th Amendment and the 15th Amendment to the Constitution.

Constitutional Amendments

  • The 13th Amendment outlaws slavery.
  • The 14th Amendment provides citizenship and equal protection under the law.
  • The 15th Amendment protects all citizens from racial discrimination in voting.

Vice Presidential nominee

Frederick Douglass was the first African American to be nominated for vice president.

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Sir Kenelm Digby

Sir Kenelm Digby (1603 –1665) was a romantic 17th century English figure.

Dashing 17th century courtier

Sir Kenelm Digby (1603 –1665) was a dashing 17th century courtier. During his time on the continent Marie de Medici fell madly in love with him and wrote about him in her memoirs.

An English courtier, diplomat, philosopher, and astrologer Digby was also a privateer.


A privater is a government sanctioned pirate. Captured ships were subject to sale under prize law. The proceeds were divided among the privateer’s sponsors, shipowners, captains and crew.

Thus Digby helped the crown fund wars, but also extracted better treatment for English ships in Algiers and helped free slaves.

He was an English courtier and diplomat. He was also a highly reputed natural philosopher, astrologer. Later he became a leading Roman Catholic intellectual and Blackloist.


Blackloist was one of a school of dissident English Roman Catholics in the 17th–18th centuries, opposed to ultramontanism and advocating obedience to secular authorities.

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Thomas Carlyle

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) was a Victorian sage
Carlyle circle, a method used in quadratic equations
Carlyle circle, a method used in quadratic equations

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) was a Victorian sage. He was an often brilliant writer, historian, philosopher, and teacher. He was born in Scotland. Carlyle was also a mathematician and developed the Carlyle circle, a method used in quadratic equations.


Carlyle is known for his theories the Great man and Hero-worship. He was influenced by William Shakespeare, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Jonathan Swift, Johann Gottlieb Fichte.


His books included The French Revolution, On Heroes, Hero-Worship, the Heroic in History, and The History of Friedrich II of Prussia. He also wrote the philosophical novel Sartor Resartus.

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Emily Brontë

Emily Bronte, English Romantic era novelist and poet

Emily Bronte (1818-1848) was an English Romantic era novelist and poet. She wrote a single novel Wuthering Heights. It was an imaginative story of passion and hate set on the Yorkshire moors. The book got terrible reviews when first published. It is now considered one of the English language’s finest novels.

The Bronte sisters

Emily was one of the three Bronte sisters, all writers. Her sister Charlotte was the most famous having written Jane Eyre and three other novels. The least famous Anne wrote The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. The sisters never married.

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