Reformation500: A Primary Source

We hear about Martin Luther and the 95 Theses that launched the Reformation. And I always wondered what that document actually said.

Today’s blog post is a primary source. It’s a translation of Luther’s statements, and you can study, scan, or just reference as you like. After-all, it’s important to read primary sources, and this is one of those primary sources that altered the course of history.

Keep in mind that the sale of indulgences (a sort of “free pass” to heaven or around punishment for sin) was one of the main triggers that prompted Luther to pen these words. Continue reading

Reformation500: An Introduction

It’s Reformation500 this month. That’s right. Five hundred years since the Protestant Reformation officially began in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five statements to the door of the Catholic Church, forever changing religious and world history.

Since it’s the anniversary of such a historic moment, Gazette665’s historical theme of the month is Reformation: Changed Hearts, Changed World. In the next couple weeks, we’ll take a historical perspective to discuss the events and people leading to influencing the Reformation movement.

Today’s post introduces the reformation, the historical setting, and some men who called for religious reformer prior to 1517. We’ll also reveal a technological advancement which literally changed the world one word at a time. Continue reading

A Dozen Facts You Should Know About The War Of 1812

19th-century-american-maritimeThe loss of its colonies frustrated Britain. After-all, those 13 American colonies had been a major source of income for the mother country. Now, the United States wanted to trade and make money (and complete) with Britain, and that wasn’t a preferred situation for the English merchants. The Napoleonic Wars in Europe further complicated maritime interests for America.

Irritations grew on both sides and eventually erupted into the War of 1812. This conflict – primarily rooted in maritime interests – allowed the new U.S. Navy to test its strength and the outcome would establish America as a rising world power, setting the stage for the continued rise of maritime trade and strength.

Since the War of 1812 is incredibly important to understanding the success of American Maritime during the 19th Century, we thought we’d share the top 12 things you should know about the conflict. Continue reading

The Top 10 Things You Should Know About The Barbary Wars

19th-century-american-maritimeSo, America built six frigates, but those weren’t the only warships in the fledging navy. The Barbary Wars tend to be forgotten conflicts in overview studies of U.S. History, but they are incredibly important for understanding diplomacy and America’s earliest national interactions with Islamic countries.

They are particularly interesting to our study of 19th Century maritime for two reasons. 1) They take place at the very beginning of the 19th Century 2) They are fought to protect American maritime commerce in the Mediterranean.

Here are the top 10 things you should know about the First & Second Barbary Wars:

(And just to be clear, here are the conflict dates. First – 1801 to 1805. Second – 1815 to 1816.) Continue reading

The First Six Frigates


The Naval Act of 1794 permitted the construction of six frigates during time of conflict. The captains and ship yards got started, but the potential conflict on the horizon disappeared and according to the agreement, construction was supposed to stop too. Learning that he had to have force to ensure his country’s neutrality, President Washington convinced Congress to pass a bill in 1796 allowing the first three frigates to be finished. In 1798, in the midst of troubles with France, Congress finally approved the funds for three more frigates.

Today’s blog post introduces the first six ships built specifically for the United States Navy and some of their famous moments in history. Designed by Joshua Humphreys, these ships were constructed to last and to be the best-built and fastest for their size. Although small than British ships-of-the-line, the maneuverability, speed, and armament of the American frigates would give the new navy a significant advantage in forthcoming combats. Continue reading

Their First Vote

In U.S. history, who was the first African American to vote? Who was the first woman? What year? (Yes, I said “year”, not “years.”) No, that first vote wasn’t in a presidential election. It wasn’t even in a state election.

The first recorded time in U.S. history when an African American and a woman voted was in 1805 at a location on the Pacific Northwest Coast. The election was held by the Corps of Discovery to determine the location of the winter fort.

York – William Clark’s slave – voted. Sacagawea – a Native America woman and one of the expedition’s guides – was also allowed to vote.

Continue reading