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#onthisday  in 1671, Colonel Thomas Blood and his gang tried to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.

Colonel Thomas Blood (cashiered) had quite a track record in conning, rebelling, backstabbing and what not when he attempted his chef d’oeuvre – stealing the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. A hair-raisingly hare-brained scheme, but read for yourself below what happened to the good Colonel, the merry monarch’s preciousnesses and how Blood gave the lie to the platitude that crime doesn’t pay on:

http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2015/05/a-lad-who-had-once-come-within-ace-of.html


Depicted below is the English history painter Henry Perronet Briggs’ (1793 – 1844) imagination of “Colonel Blood Stealing the Crown Jewels”.

#crownjewels  #culturalhistory  #europeanhistory  #history  #merryoldengland  #toweroflondon
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19 September, #onthisday since 1995, the International #talklikeapirateday (ITLAPD) is celebrated in Tortuga and harbour pubs, especially inland harbour pubs, all over the world.

"Pour, O King, the pirate sherry", and lots of “Hurrahs”, recited with an endless flow of rolling West Country “rrr”s, actually pirate language is all Gilbert and Sullivan’s fault. And even though no “Arrr”s occur in “Pirates of Penzance”, it is quite possible that the Dorset man Robert Newton was a bit overdosed with said comic opera when he was a child. However, his West Country accent, a wee bit on the over exaggerated side in his role as Long John Silver in the 1950 film adaption of “Treasure Island”, became archetypical for our conception of how a pirate is supposed to talk. And credited with the first use of "Arrrrh, matey!", he became something of a patron saint for the “International Talk Like a Pirate Day”. Historical accuracy, however, was the last thing John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy) had in mind anyway when they created the infamous #talklikeapirateday in remembrance of a memorable ballgame they played back in 1995 in Albany, Oregon, packed with spontaneous outburst of “Arrs” and “Avasts!” for no particular reason. The two jolly tars agreed to talk like a Disney pirate on one day of the year. Why they chose the birthday of Summers’ ex-wife of all things is a bit obscure, but the general idea is to communicate in a phoney pirate brogue for a day. What began as a private joke somehow caught the interest of the author and, back then, “Miami Herald’s” humour columnist Dave Barry in 2002 who gave Ol' Chumbucket’s and Cap'n Slappy’s fancy a bit of media coverage and the gag went viral. Twelve years later, “ITLAPD” is an official holiday for Pastafarians and has, so far, been recognised by the State of Michigan.

But read more on:

http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2015/02/you-blasted-wharf-rat-mutiny-will-ee.html


Depicted below is an illustration by N.C. Wyeth from the Golden Age of Illustrations around 1920 called “Stand and Deliver”, using almost all of the pirate clichés already established in his day.

#ageofsail #culturalhistory #history #pirates

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7 April 1771, #onthisday the Italian brigand chief, guerrilla leader and folk hero Michele Arcangelo Pezza, better known as Fra Diavolo, was born in Itri.
 
It’s not quite without irony that Schiller’s play of eponymous noble robbers was written on the wings of the storm of the French Revolution and many real life brigands fought the French afterwards as guerrilleros and alleged freedom fighters as soon as their area of operation was invaded and made a satellite state, first of the French Republic and later Napoleon’s Empire. They became folk heroes, over and beyond the once quite popular image of scarily wonderful robber chiefs and highway men. One such case was Fra Diavolo. But read more on:
 
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2016/04/it-pains-me-that-i-am-condemned-as.html
 
Depicted below is an illustration from the 1920s showing Fra Diavolo and his Merry Men fighting the French.
 
#culturalhistory #europeanhistory  #history  #militaryhistory  #napoleonicwars  #socialhistory
 
 
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7 September 1695, #onthisday, somewhere in the Indian Ocean, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s heavily armed trading ship “Ganj-i-Sawai”  (Anglicized as “Gunsway”), one of the richest prizes in naval history, was captured by the pirate Henry Every (or Avery) in an orgy of violence.

Usually, the infamous exploits of the so-called Golden Age of Piracy of the 17th and early 18th century get located in the Caribbean and the Spanish Main in popular belief. In fact, the richest prize of the era was taken in the Indian Ocean by a man who did not quite reach the posthumous popularity of buccaneers like Morgan, Kidd or Blackbeard Teach, but, for a while, shook British trade with India to its very foundation – the Arch Pirate “Long Ben Avery”. But read more on:

http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2015/09/the-arch-pirate-long-ben-avery-capture.html

Depicted below is Howard Pyle’s imagination of: "The Buccaneer was a Picturesque Fellow" (1905), certainly a fitting description for Long Ben Avery.
  


#ageofsail #culturalhistory  #history  #navalhistory  #pirates
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#onthisday  in 1717, the pirate captain Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy and his treasure-laden ship “Wydah Gally” perished in a storm off Cape Cod.

Rated by Forbes as #1 in its list of "Top-Earning Pirates", “Black Sam“ Bellamy, who saw himself as “Robin Hood of the Seas”, had a dashing and very successful career until he ran afoul of a lovelorn witch’s curse off Cape Cod. But read for yourself on:  

http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2015/04/26-april-1717-thepirate-captain-samuel.html

Depicted below is A piratical romance, as imagined by the American author and illustrator Howard Pyle in his “Book of Pirates”, posthumously published in 1921.

#ageofsail  #americanhistory  #folklore #history #pirates
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#onthisday in 1671, the Don Cossack ataman and hero of the folk song “Ponizovaya Volnitsa” Stepan Timofeyevich Razin, leader of a major rebellion, was seized by his followers and turned over to the authorities.
 
Stenka Razin, sometimes called the “Russian Robin Hood”, whose Cossacks controlled large parts of Southern Russia for about a year, certainly has left a colourful, if gory, heritage, including drowned Persian princesses, sacked cities, lots of blood and thunder and, of course, the song. But read for yourself on…:
 
http://wunderkammertales.blogspot.de/2015/04/from-beyond-wooded-island-to-river-wide.html
 
Depicted below is The Imagination of the contemporary Russian artist Sergei Alekseevich Kirillov (1960 - ) showing Stenka Razin proceeding to the scaffold (1988) found on 
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergei_Kirillov

 
#culturalhistory   #europeanhistory , #history , #socialhistory
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#onsthisday  in 1631 in Ireland, the West Cork town of Baltimore was raided by Barbary Corsairs who kidnapped most of the villagers and sold them as slaves in Algiers.

“The summer sun is falling soft an Carbery's hundred isles—/ The summer's sun is gleaming still through Gabriel's rough defiles— / Old Innisherkin's crumbled fane looks like a moulting bird; / And in a calm and sleepy swell the ocean tide is heard: / The hookers lie upon the beach; the children cease their play; / The gossips leave the little inn; the households kneel to pray— / And full of love, and peace, and rest—its daily labour o'er— / Upon that cosy creek there lay the town of Baltimore. // A deeper rest, a starry trance, has come with midnight there; / No sound, except that throbbing wave, in earth, or sea, or air, / The massive capes, and ruined towers, seem conscious of the calm; / The fibrous sod and stunted trees are breathing heavy balm. / So still the night, these two long barques, round Dunashad that glide / Must trust their oars—methinks not few— against the ebbing tide— / Oh! some sweet mission of true love must urge them to the shore— / They bring some lover to his bride, who sighs in Baltimore! // All, all asleep within each roof along that rocky street, / And these must be the lover's friends, with gently gliding feet— / A stifled gasp! a dreamy noise! "The roof is in a flame!" / From out their beds, and to their doors, rush maid, and sire, and dame— / And meet, upon the threshold stone, the gleaming sabre's fall, / And o'er each black and bearded face the white or crimson shawl— / The yell of "Allah!" breaks above the prayer, and shriek, and roar— / Oh, blessed God! the Algerine is lord of Baltimore! // Then flung the youth his naked hand against the shearing sword; / Then sprung the mother on the brand with which her son was gor'd; / Then sunk the grandsire on the floor, his grand-babes clutching wild; / Then fled the maiden moaning faint, and nestled with the child: / But see, yon pirate strangled lies, and crushed with splashing heel, / While o'er him in an Irish hand there sweeps his Syrian steel— / Though virtue sink, and courage fail, and misers yield their store, / There's one hearth well avengèd in the sack of Baltimore! // Midsummer morn, in woodland nigh, the birds began to sing— / They see not now the milking maids—deserted is the spring! / Midsummer day—this gallant rides from distant Bandon's town— / These hookers crossed from stormy Skull, that skiff from Affadown; / They only found the smoking walls, with neighbours' blood besprent, / And on the strewed and trampled beach awhile they wildly went— / Then dash'd to sea, and passed Cape Clear, and saw five leagues before / The pirate-galleys vanishing that ravaged Baltimore! // Oh! some must tug the galley's oar, and some must tend the steed— / This boy will bear a Scheik's chibouk, and that a Bey's jerreed. / Oh! some are for the arsenals, by beauteous Dardanelles; / And some are in the caravan to Mecca's sandy dells. / The maid that Bandon gallant sought is chosen for the Dey— She's safe—she's dead—she stabb'd him in the midst of his Serai; / And when, to die a death of fire, that noble maid they bore, / She only smiled—O'Driscoll's child—she thought of Baltimore. // Tis two long years since sunk the town beneath that bloody band, / And all around its trampled hearths a larger concourse stand, / Where, high upon a gallows-tree, a yelling wretch is seen— / 'Tis Hackett of Dungarvan—he who steered the Algerine! /  He fell amid a sullen shout, with scarce a passing prayer, / For he had slain the kith and kin of many a hundred there— / Some muttered of MacMurchadh, who brough the Norman o'er—/ Some cursed him with Iscariot, that day in Baltimore. (Thomas Davis, 1814 – 1845, “The Sack of Baltimore”)

In the wee hours of a fine Friday morning, about the time when not even the fishermen of the market town of Baltimore would be up and about, a unique and memorable, if somewhat threatening spectacle happened on the beaches of West Cork. More than 200 heavily armed Barbary corsairs came sneaking from all sides, and all of a sudden, crying havoc, they fell upon the village, making short work of anyone trying to get in their way, setting the homesteads on fire and those who could not flee, mostly women and children, were rounded up and herded to the beach. About 100 people were brought on board the two xebecs lying in the straits between Coney Island and Gortadrohid. Around noontime, the raid was over, Baltimore was burning against the skyline, the two xebecs under the command of the notorious Corsair captain Murat Reis the younger of the Salé Rovers, formerly known as Jan Janszoon from Harleem, sailed towards Gibraltar and the Barbary Coast where their human cargo was to be sold on the slave markets of Algiers and only three women among them would ever see Ireland again.
 
A hundred years before Britannia began to rule the waves in earnest, Northern African piracy raised to an all time high. Western renegades such as Simon de Danser, John Ward and Jan Janszoon helped the Corsair lords of Algiers, Tripoli, Tunis and Salé (or Sallee, near modern Rabat) on the Barbary Coast to equip the already hugely successful pirate ships of the Barbary States with new square rigs, allowing them to sail the Atlantic. The corsairs range literally exploded from the Mediterranean to the coasts of western Spain, Portugal and France – their main booty being people to be sold on the slaves markets throughout Northern Africa and the Near and Middle East. In 1627, Murat Reis had occupied an old pirate stronghold on Lundy, 12 miles off the coast of Cornwall, and raided as far north as Iceland in the same year, capturing about 250 people and preying on local shipping and coastal villages afterwards. According to local tradition, a Catholic fisherman named John Hackett from Dungarvan was captured by the corsairs off the Old Head of Kinsale and ransomed himself by leading Murat Reis to the Protestant settlement of Baltimore, leased by one Englishman, Thomas Crooke, from the local chieftain, Fineen O’Driscoll, during the last days of the reign of Good Queen Bess and the settlers from Cornwall and Devon had grown rich on fishing the rich pilchard shoals that appeared on the coast of Cork every year and the rest of their Catholic neighbours did not like them one bit for it.

More than 15 years later attempts had been made to ransom the people taken in Baltimore and other victims of Corsair raids. Most of them chose to stay as slaves along the Barbary Coast rather than return home to Europe. Admittedly, the Corsair city states experienced something of a Golden Age during the mid-1600s and not all ended up as galley slaves or in a harem. Back home in Ireland, Baltimore remained deserted for decades, the survivors had settled in Skibbereen and John Hackett was caught and hanged for his role in the raid. By the end of the century the Europeans and later the young United States began to fight back in earnest, but it took them more than a hundred years to end the threat of the Barbary Corsairs and the white slave trade for good in 1816. Autobiographies and various reports of the “Christian-abducted-by-the-Corsairs”-genre existing during the 17th and 18th century with various literary quality and credibility until “Abducted-by-Indians”-tales took over the market and became fantasy erotic novels, serving a certain taste of 19th century Europe and America, especially after the Barbary States ceased to be a real threat and became French and Spanish colonies.

Depicted to the left is a 19th century imagination of Jan Janszoon dressed up as Murat Reis in Barbary Corsair outfit, to the upper left a 17th century polacca, a ship with a sail plan similar to that of a xebec after their Northern European modifications with a square-rigged main mast and lateen sails on her fore and mizzen mast, bottom left is a contemporary illustration depicting a slave market in Algiers.

And more on:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sack_of_Baltimore

and Murat Reis on:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Janszoon

#history   #europeanhistory   #ageofsail  
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#onthisday in 1701, Captain William Kidd was hanged at Execution Dock in Wapping, London, for murder and piracy.
 
“Some thousands they will flock when we die, when we die, / Some thousands they will flock when we die, / Some thousands they will flock / To Execution Dock, / Where we must stand the shock and must die.” ("Captain Kid's Farewel to the Seas, or, the Famous Pirate's Lament", printed in London 1701)
 
Between 1513 and 1737, the Armenian capital of Yerevan changed hands 14 times and the actual Kingdom of Armenia had ceased to exist in 1375. Nonetheless, the good ship “Quedagh Merchant” ran under an Armenian flag, whatever that was in 1698, owned by an Indian, operated out of Surat under the protection of the French East India Company, the Armenian merchants who chartered the 350-ton ship were represented by an agent of the Honourable East India Company, the vessel was captained by an English skipper with an Asian crew and a French plenipotentiary who started negotiating when the privateer “Adventure Galley”, Captain William Kidd, out of Deptford, came alongside. Thus, in terms of maritime law, things were as confused as the boarding of a banana freighter sailing out of Singapore under Panamanian colours with a shipload of Chinese missiles bound for a crisis region. In case of the “Quedagh Merchant” it was luxury goods and Captain Kidd decided to board her as a legitimate prize of war.
 
Captain Kidd’s privateering cruise during the Nine Years’ War was ill-fated from its beginning in 1695. Tasked by the governor of colonial New York, the Whig Richard Coote, 1st Earl of Bellomont, to harass enemy French shipping, most of his hand-picked crew was pressed into service in the regular Navy already in the Thames, he had to replace them with the dregs of colonial society in New York and was threatened with mutiny when no ships to capture turned up in his hunting grounds in the Indian Ocean – privateersmen did not receive regular pay but a share of the prize money and loot they had captured. The capture of the “Quedagh Merchant” and the sale of her cargo in Cochin in Southwest India seemed to solve Kidd’s problems at once, but he got cold feet already on his return trip into the Atlantic – was the Indo-Armenian ship a legitimate prize of war or was her capture an act of piracy against friendly nations and the East India Company? Kidd was uncertain himself, hid the fabulous amount realised from selling “Quedagh Merchant’s” goods, the bulk of Kidd’s famous treasure, somewhere between the Indian Ocean and the Americas and changed ship thrice until he returned to New York and was immediately imprisoned by Governor Coote for piracy.
 
In 1700, Kidd was committed back home to England where the Whig Junto was succeeded by a Tory government and the former privateer captain, once commissioned by a Whig, was not well-liked at all anymore, became the only pirate who was questioned by parliament and while his former supporters withdrew, his case degenerated into a show trial. He was sentenced to death, for murder and piracy and was brought to Execution Dock in Wapping, hanged, the rope broke and Kidd was strung up again, this time for good, and swung in a gibbet over the Thames at Tilbury Point as a warning example to other would-be pirates. His tale and that of his fabled treasure, once taken from the quasi-Armenian merchantman, began to carry away writers and readers of adventure fiction as well as treasure hunters and the stories based on Kidd’s treasure became true classics, from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Gold-Bug" and Washington Irving's The Devil and Tom Walker to Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.
Depicted below is Howard Pyle’s fanciful illustration of William "Captain" Kidd overseeing the burial of his fabled treasure (1911) from “Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates: Fiction, Fact & Fancy Concerning the Buccaneers & Marooners of the Spanish Main” (1921).
 
And more on:
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Kidd
 
And the complete lyrics of the song quoted above can be found on:
 
http://davidkidd.net/Captain_Kidd_Lyrics.html

#history #ageofsail #piratelife  
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#onthisday  1702, the pirate Anne Bonny was born in Kinsale in Ireland.

“You may have seen the picture, in Johnson's Historie, which shows Anne Bonney as a strapping virago in deplorable trousers and inadequate blouse, armed with cutlass, battle-axe, and pistols, one of which she is discharging at some unfortunate off camera. But that was ages ago, when she'd been a wild young pirate groupie racketing around with Calico Jack, scuttling ships, slitting throats, ravishing innocent youths, and styling herself “Ms.” Nowadays the bra-burning buccaneerette had become an exquisitely languid young matron who ate far too much creamy food, dieted self-indulgently, read popular novels in bed, crammed herself into fashionable creations, and couldn't have roused herself to scuttle or slit a paper bag, although she remained passionately addicted to young men, innocent or not, because (she maintained) it took her mind off slimming.“ (George MacDonald Fraser, “The Pyrates”)

Born out of wedlock in Kinsale in Ireland and emigrating to America at a very young age with her father, little Anne Cormac must have been something of an enfant terrible: A redhead with a fierce temper who ran off with a pirate from Charleston and was disinherited by her father who got his plantation burned down for his pains by his little darling. Anne ended up as Mrs Bonny in the pirate sanctuary of New Providence, known as Nassau these days, and while the husband of her bosom earned a penny on the side as an informer for the governor of the island, the illustrious Woodes Rogers, Anne hung round in sailor taverns, met the notorious pirate captain “Calico Jack” Rackham, the two fell in love, went aboard Charles Vane’s sloop “Ranger” where Rackham had a job as first mate and the two became an eighteenth century version of “Bonnie and Clyde”.

Soon famed and feared among her victims as well as by the crew of the “Ranger” for her skill at arms, Anne was on parental leave in 1720, giving birth to her and “Calico Jack’s” son in Cuba. She returned to work soon afterwards only to go into business for themselves when she and Jack gathered a crew and stole the sloop “Revenge”. Anne showed some interest in one of her new mates, a sailor named Read, taken on board after the capture of a Dutch slaver, and things threatened to end up in a drama of jealousy until it turned out that Read was actually a girl called Mary. In something of a ménage-à-trois, Rackham, Bonny and Read terrorised Caribbean waters while a warrant was issued by Governor Rogers and on a fine October morning off Jamaica’s west coast, while Jack and his crew recovered from a rum party, HM Frigate “Phoenix”, Cpt Jonathan Barnet, turned up, boarded the “Revenge” and while Anne and Mary were the only ones being halfway sober and putting up some resistance, “Revenge’s” crapulous crew was captured.

The whole rum lot was sentenced to the rope in New Providence, Anne and Mary escaped that fate by pleading their bellies, meaning they were pregnant and couldn’t be hanged immediately under English law, Mary died in prison, probably in childbirth, in 1721. Jack went to the scaffold with his wife’s words: “I’m sorry to see you here, Jack, but if you’d fought like a man, you wouldn't need to hang like a dog.” already in 1720 and Anne herself was very probably ransomed by her father, returned to his repaired plantation, married a Charleston local named Joseph Burleigh in December 1721, bringing ten more children into the world over the next decades and dying at the ripe old age of 80 in 1782 in York County, Virginia.

Depicted below is a colourised version of Anne Bonny’s portrait from Charles Johnson’s “A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates“ (1724), found onhttp://pirates.hegewisch.net/pirates.html

And more on:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Bonny


#history   #ageofsail  
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#onthisday in 1849, 165 years ago, the shoemaker Wilhelm Voigt, who gained fame as the Captain of Köpenick (Hauptmann von Köpenick) and gave the German Empire a lesson in overstated obedience, was born in Tilsit.

“For years the Kaiser has been instilling into his people reverence for the omnipotence of militarism, of which the holiest symbol is the German uniform. Offences against this fetish have incurred condign punishment. Officers who have not considered themselves saluted in due form have drawn their swords with impunity on offending privates.” (“The Illustrated London News”, October 1906)

Around noontime on 16 October 1906 in a western part of Berlin during the changing of the guard, a captain of the 1st Foot Guards (1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß) commandeered a platoon, marched them to the Berlin city railway, took them on a train to nearby Köpenick, bought them lunch and paraded onward to the Köpenick town hall, occupied the building, interned every civil servant to his office, prohibited any phone calls, ordered the present gendamery to cordon off the surroundings and arrested the treasurer and the mayor by order of HM the Kaiser without giving any further credentials than wearing a captain’s uniform. Then he ordered a closing of the town’s accounts, seized the cash holdings, 3.557, 45 marks (about 20.000 Euros), attested a difference to the nominal balance of 1,67 marks, signed a receipt with “von Malzahn, H.i.1.G.R.” (Hauptmann im 1. Garde-Regiment, captain of the 1st Foot Guards), had the two arrested civil servants carted off to Berlin in a cab under escort, left the rest of the platoon and the gendarms standing guard for half an hour, took a train back to the capital and disappeared.

Von Malzahn was actually the name of the prison governor of the jail in Posen where the shoemaker Wilhelm Voigt had served 15 years for his attempt to rob the court cashier’s office in Wongrowitz following four more sentences for forgery of documents and theft. Allegedly, the old soldier von Malzahn had drilled his inmates quite thoroughly and when Wilhelm was released from prison and stayed in Berlin with his sister and could not keep his job because he had no residence permit for the capital and would get none as an ex-con from another province, he came up with the idea to impersonate an army captain to obtain a passport and leave the country – he would get none because he had no residence permit in the first place. Allegedly, Voigt was quite crestfallen when Köpenick’s burgomaster told him that the next passport office was in nearby Teltow when he asked for papers to be issued besides seizing the town accounts. Another reason for Voigt’s cunning plan to capture Köpenick might have been that several million marks were rumored to have been stored in the strongbox of the town hall. Whatever Voigt’s motives might have been, he was arrested a week later by the police after a tip from one of his former fellow prisoners and sentenced to four years hard.

The Kaiser almost killed himself laughing after Voigt’s stunt became public and so did the rest of the world, but, on a more somber note, Germany’s emperor added that no other country would be able to copy his underlings’ obedience and discipline and that he’d expect to be able to order a lieutenant to “take ten men and dissolve the Reichstag” any old time. The Kaiser pardoned Voigt after two years, the ex-captain finally got his passport, went to Luxemburg, wrote his memoirs and gained some notoriety for the tone of open anarchy resonating with his many public appearances. When the Great War broke out and Luxemburg was occupied by German troops, Voigt was questioned and an officer noted afterwards “It is difficult to imagine how this pathetic fellow was able to unsettle Prussia once”. Voigt died in 1922 at the age of 72 and made one last bow. A platoon of French soldiers passed by during his funeral in Luxemburg and when the mourners answered the question of their CO about who was buried there with “Le Capitaine de Coepenick”, the French captain ordered his troop to give full military honours.

Depicted below is a photo of Wilhelm Voigt (to the left) wearing a Prussian officer’s coat over civilian clothing during a visit to London in 1910.

And more on

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Voigt

#history #europeanhistory  
 
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