Francois L’Olonnais — Source: The Library of Congress on Wikimedia Commons

The brutalities of 17th-century buccaneer François l’Ollonais are so cruel they are almost unbelievable. Indentured servitude brought him to the Caribbean at a young age. After gaining his freedom, he would become a ruthless pirate who was not afraid of torturing and murdering anyone who got in his way, especially if they were Spanish.

The Buccaneers of America by Alexandre Exquemelin was originally published in 1678, and it details many of l’Ollonais’ voyages. Exquemelin interviewed pirates who had served at l’Ollanais’ side and witnessed his brutality.

A pirate is born

Jean David Nau was born in the 1630s in Les Sables d’Ollone in Vendee…

Joséphine de Beauharnais by Andrea Appiani/Wikimedia Commons

Joséphine de Beauharnais went by Rose before she met Napoleon. Her first husband was executed by guillotine during the French Revolution. She had two children with her deceased husband. Napoleon, who was six years younger, could not resist her.

In one letter to Joséphine, highlighted by Kate Williams in Ambition and Desire, Napoleon wrote, “I awake full of you. Your image and the memory of last night’s intoxicating pleasures has left no rest to my senses.”

She had affairs with a few other French political elite before meeting Napoleon, but he did not waste any time marrying her once she…

“Jael, Deborah, and Barak” by Francisco Goya/Wikimedia Commons

Together they saved Israel over 3000 years ago as recorded in the Book of Judges, a book in the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible).

Why Deborah is a badass

There are 12 judges written about in the Book of Judges, and Deborah is the only female. Judges were leaders and prophets that were regarded as being in contact with God. It turns out they did not write much about people in the 13th century BC, only for epic things.

Deborah was the leader of Israel in a time when women rarely held leadership roles.

Deborah held court under a palm tree where she settled disputes amongst…

Screenshot from December 30th, 2020

I accepted my News Break creator contract on December 15th and posted my first article the next day. I was excited about the opportunity but was unsure how difficult it would be to hit the metrics in my contract.

If I hit certain metrics as a writer on the platform, I would be paid $1000 a month. Writing is a passion of mine, so I signed the dotted line — What did I have to lose?


  • Post 12 articles in a month (3 per week) of 1000 words in length.
  • Have an average of 500 page views (6,000 total).
  • Reach…

Janwillemvanaalst/Wikimedia Commons/Altered by the author

The Eastern Front in 1916 echoed with artillery bombardments and troop offensives that resulted in massive casualties, especially for the Russians.

The ineptitude of leadership from the Imperial Russian Army made Russia’s vast superiority of numbers hardly an advantage. No example can better paint the picture than the disastrous Lake Naroch offensive, which kicked off on March 16th.

The lead up to 1916

Throughout 1914 and 1915, the western and eastern fronts’ allied powers had little coordination in their attacks. …

The Passage of the Delaware by Thomas Sully | Museum of Fine Arts on Wikimedia Commons

One of the most iconic surprise attacks of the American Revolutionary War also happened on Christmas night, December 25th, 1776. It was the daring crossing of the Delaware River. In the cover of darkness, George Washington and his troops crossed the river and marched on the enemy troops in Trenton, New Jersey.

The turning tide of the war

The Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, but the British were not going to cede power over the 13 American colonies without a fight. …

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

“Little boy, did you do this?”

Those words still reverberate through my mind. Not just a question from a stranger but a conviction. I have hidden my shame for over twenty years—the shame of lying to a stranger.

It was a bright spring weekend morning. My mother pulled into a parking spot at the local flower shop. The lot was full, and the shop was bustling, a classic scene of the suburbs on the weekend.

I typically loved the thrill of walking into the refrigerated room inside the shop to look at the dewy flowers and experience the wash of…

Oxford Dodo display — by BazzaDaRambler on Wikimedia Commons

Before the arrival of the world’s most threatening super-predator to Mauritius, the dodo bird lived a fascinating life filled with bizarre behaviors unlike any other creature on earth. Then in 1598, humans arrived.

The Island of the Dodo

Mauritius was a small undisturbed island with lush greenery and a unique ecosystem that developed over millennia. Think of pre-17th century Mauritius as similar to one of the Galapagos Islands — only this time in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius is due east of Madagascar. …

Jordan attacking Captain Stairs with an ax/The Annals of Crime and Newgate Calendar

The trial of the pirate Edward Jordan and his wife Margaret for his crimes of piracy, felony murder, and robbery. Edward was found guilty by a Halifax, Canada court and executed on November 20, 1809; Margaret was found not guilty, spared by the court to care for their four children.

The court’s president sentenced Edward to death, saying, “You, Edward Jordan, shall be taken from hence to the place from whence you came, and from thence to the place of execution, there to be hanged by the neck until you are dead — and may God Almighty have mercy upon…

Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) — Copyright 1971 by Warner Bros.

The 1971 film, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, stands the test of time. The movie is a musical fantasy and adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that engages children and adults’ imagination. Gene Wilder’s performance as the title character is a major reason the film is so magical.

Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the film’s release, and Wilder’s portrayal of Wonka continues to bring joy to countless people. But, the story behind Wilder accepting the role of Willy Wonka shows Wilder’s true genius.

How Wilder became Wonka

In a 2002 interview on…

Samuel Sullivan

Creator of Frame of Reference | I find joy in learning and writing | I am a dog dad and a teacher by profession | My E-mail:

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