Unknown people….famous deeds

Forgotten censor causes the Russian Revolution


In 1867, Karl Marx published Das Kapital, a monumental work of 25 years, most of which he spent researching in the Reading Room of the British Museum. The first translation of his biting critique of the capitalism was into Russian. In early April 1872, the book was released in St. Petersburg. Giving his imprimatur to the book, the censor of Das Kapital noted: “Few people in Russia will read it, and still fewer will understand it.” The censor, whose name was Skuratov (sadly, this is the only thing we know about him) was wrong. The edition of three thousand sold out quickly—the feat that alarmed the Romanovs so much that they banned the second edition. However, they were too late. In 1880, Marx wrote: “Our success is still greater in Russia, where Kapital is read and appreciated more than anywhere else.” A revolution 37 years proved him correct.


Unknown native kills Magellan


The world today remembers Ferdinand Magellan as the man who circumnavigated the globe. Well, he didn’t. Of the 237 men who set out on the five ships, only 18 completed the circumnavigation of the globe. Magellan was not one of them. In 1519, Magellan proposed his plan to circumnavigate the world to King Charles V of Spain, who put five ships Trinidad, San Antonio, Concepción, Victoria, and Santiago under his command to achieve this feat. However, the circumnavigation almost never happened. Spanish authorities distrusted Portuguese-born Magellan, and agreed to let him sail away with the ships only after he switched his crew from Portuguese men to Spaniards. On the course of his voyage, Magellan became the first European to enter the Pacific from the strait now called the Strait of Magellan, and the first European to reach the Philippines. In the Philippines, during a fight, Magellan was killed by a poison arrow shot from a native from a group which he was trying to Christianize. His body was never recovered.


Unknown kid kills Richard the Lion-hearted


Richard the Lionheart (1157 – 1199) was one of England’s greatest kings. He started commending his own army at 16, and gloriously fought against Saladin during the Third Crusade. However, his latter years were far from glorious. On his return from the Holy Land, Richard was captured by his personal enemy, Leopold V, Duke of Austria, and had to be ransomed. In March 1199, Richard was in the Limousin suppressing a revolt by a viscount. He besieged an unarmed castle of Chalus-Chabrol, which capitulated quickly. Richard was admiring the last defender of the castle, a teenager with a crossbow who was using a frying pan as a shield. The teenager shot two arrow at the king, who was without his chainmail. Richard died from gangrene of the wound. Although Richard forgave his slainer (who was confusingly recorded as John, Brandon, Harold, Dudo and Bertrand), the boy was later skinned and killed by Richard’s soldiers.


Unknown prostitute indirectly causes the Holocaust


In Mein Kampf, volume 1, Adolf Hitler wrote extensively on syphilis and prostitution. Fourteen paged litany on what he called a “Jewish disease” caused some historians to speculate whether Hitler himself had the disease. Hitler reportedly had sex with a Jewish prostitute in Vienna in 1908. His possible discovery later that year that he had the disease may have been responsible for his demeanor; while his life course may have been influenced by his anger at being a syphilitic, as well as his belief that he had acquired the disease from undesirable societal elements which he intended to eliminate. A psychiatry team studied diary entries made by Hitler’s personal doctor, Theo Morrell, and concluded that there is “ample circumstantial evidence” for the theory. (Some, however, dispute that Dr Morrell deliberately poisoned his patient).


Unknown sniper kills Lord Nelson


Horatio Nelson was one of the most iconic and heroic Englishmen. His strategy and (unconventional) tactics produced a number of decisive victories and doomed the French hopes of conquering the British fleet. He was wounded several times in combat, he lost most of one arm and the sight in one eye. However, on 21st October 1805, Nelson won the Battle of Trafalgar, gained his eternal place in the Pantheon of British heroes and lost his life. Although fanciful Victorian retellings of the story noted Nelson was killed by a cannon fire from a ship that had already surrendered, what exactly happened during the Battle of Trafalgar is a mystery. Nelson’s flagship the Victory came under fire from three French ships Bucentaure, Redoutable, and Santísima Trinidad. A sniper from the enemy ships fired onto Victory’s deck as Nelson was walking on there. Nelson, who died shortly afterwards from wounds to his backbone, was given a state funeral and the subsequent interment in the St. Paul’s Cathedral. A sniper was never identified—Nelson’s deputy claimed that they killed the sniper, while a French fuselier, Robert Guillemard later claimed he fatally shot Nelson. This hidden identity was the plot device behind Dumas’ Le Chevalier de Saint Hermine.


Anonymous letter brings down a government


Many famous British political criticisms are anonymously authored, and so were the Federalist Papers. However, the most famous and damaging political missive in English history came in 1922. In September 1922, the British and French troops guarding the Dardanelles neutral zone near Chanak were threatened by Turkish troops. The British cabinet led by Prime Minister David Lloyd George issued a communiqué threatening Turkey with a declaration of war. The public, however, was alarmed by the possibility of going to war again. After the Commonwealth prime ministers explicitly stated that they didn’t want to go to war either, an anonymous letter appeared in “The Times” by “A Colonial” supporting the government but stating that Britain could not “act as the policeman for the world”. Beleaguered at home and aboard, Lloyd George resigned. The identity of this “Colonial” was never discovered by many believed he was Andrew Bonar Law (above) who succeeded Lloyd George as the Prime Minister.


Unknown Solider lights the first match to WWI



WWI started with the high-profile assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Serbia, but WWII’s first shots were fired by an unknown solider in Manchuria. Tensions between the Empire of Japan and China had been inflamed since the Invasion of Manchuria in 1931. In June 1937, Japanese troops were carrying out military training at the western end of the Marco Polo Bridge using the cover of the night. One night, the local Chinese, thinking an attack was underway, fired a few ineffectual rifle shots which resulted in a Japanese soldier being missing in action. Although the missing Japanese soldier—whose identity remains a mystery—had turned up unharmed afterwards, the border security on the both sides was tightened after the incident. Shortly after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, Japan began a full invasion of China.


Unknown Serial Killer reforms London


His victims were women earning income as casual prostitutes. Their throats were cut, their cadavers mutilated. His murders were carried out in a public or semi-public places. In the second half of 1888, the person known only by the pseudonym ‘Jack the Ripper’ became active in the largely impoverished Whitechapel area of London. The name is taken from a letter to the Central News Agency by someone claiming to be the murderer. Although many theories have been advanced, Jack the Ripper’s identity was never determined. While not the first serial killer, Jack the Ripper was the first to create a worldwide media frenzy around his killings. Mass-circulation newspapers of late Victoria era helped his publicity. On the flipside, the nature of the killings exposed the dark underbelly of London. For centuries, the poor of the East End had long been ignored by the affluent society. Jack the Ripper unintentionally drew attention to these wretched living conditions, and exposed the fact that the poor couldn’t be ignored much longer.


Unknown Father of Music Theory


Anonymous IV is the name given to the writer of an important treatise of medieval music theory. We know him as an English student studying at Notre Dame University in Paris in the 1270s or 1280s. Nothing else is known about his life, not even his name. His writings, which survive in two partial copies from Bury St Edmunds, are extremely important to the development of polyphony. The anonymous author also recorded the works of Léonin and Pérotin, the earliest European composers, and recorded Pérotin’s the four-part organa quadrupla Viderunt and Sederunt, and music-theorist Franco of Cologne’s treatises. His lasting legacy, however, is in his thorough descriptions of the musical instruments, rhythmic modes, musical notation, and genres of his day.


The Most Dangerous Unknowns


CrimethInc. (Ex-Workers Collective) is an underground anarchist group, which has published numerous articles and magazines widely read within and without the anarchist movement. First formed in the mid-1990s, CrimethInc. mainstreamed the American anarchist movement by publishing books, releasing records and organizing large-scale national campaigns against globalization and representative democracy, as well as by taking traditional controversial actions like arson and hacking. CrimethInc.’s activities and its philosophies are controversial even among the anarchists. CrimethInc. also has a long association with the North American anarcho-punk scene.



The Proverbial Unknown Soldier


The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier At the Westminster Abbey 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: