Seattle's Segregation: It's All About The Mortgage

"Redlining" is when a bank refuses to give a mortgage, or a government refuses to back a mortgage, to someone because they live in an area deemed to be a poor financial risk. In the United States, this term came to be in the Great Depression when the US government took over responsibility of backing mortgages -- but only in areas deemed sufficiently low-risk. In practice, "sufficiently low-risk" meant mostly-white or all-white neighborhoods.

Redlining was a tool of racial segregation and separation. If a family cannot purchase a home than that family cannot acquire capital on that capital to the next generation. The family's money is spent on rent, the value of which disappears to the landlord, instead of a mortgage, the value of which stays with the family. Redlining hurts families for multiple generations.

Here is the map that delineated where mortgages would be given in Seattle, in Washington state.

Eighteen for Eighteen

In eighteen years of military service, Napoleon Bonaparte had eighteen horses shot out from under him!

Lincoln's Voice Didn't Match His Frame

Abraham Lincoln's voice, according to contemporaries, was high-pitched, reedy, and shrill.

A Very Victorian Fear

Hans Christian Anderson, the children’s author, had a typical fear for the Victorian era. He was very afraid of being buried alive. To make sure no one mistook his sleeping body for a dead body, Anderson slept with a note on his bedside table that read “I only appear to be dead.” History does not record if anyone ever read the note.

The Moon Star Flag: How Turkey’s Flag Came To Be

The Turkish national flag is mostly red, with a white star and a crescent in the center. Ottoman Sultan Selim III formalized the look in 1793, but the flag is actually much older.

The crescent-and-star combination has been used in Turkey since Hellenistic times (400s to 100 BCE). It likely came from ancient Mesopotamian iconocraphy. Ancient depictions of the symbol always show the crescent with horns pointing upward and with the star placed inside the crescent, for reasons that have been lost to time. When it came to Turkey, they gave it their own meanings. For Byzantium the moon symbolized Diana, also known as Artemis, the patron goddess of the city.

In 1453, when the city was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, the flag remained unchanged. With time, it became not just Istanbul’s flag but the Ottoman flag, with its design formalized in 1793 and its status as national flag formalized in 1844. Turks affectionately call the flag "ay yildiz" -- the "moon star" flag.

Many nations that were once part of Ottoman Empire adopted the star-and-crescent when they gained independence, including Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria. In the 1900s the symbol became associated with not just the Ottomans, but with Islam in general, and many states that were never part of the Ottoman Empire adopted it too, including Pakistan, Malaysia, and the Maldives. Pretty amazing that an ancient Mesopotamian symbol is flown around the world today.

Hockey Fun Fact

Hockey used to have seven men playing for each team, instead of the six we have today. The septet included a goalie, two defensemen, three forwards, and a "rover" who switched from defense to offense as needed. This did not last long, though. The six-man rule was instituted in the 1911-12 season.

This was once worn in someone's ear! It is an early Classic Maya ceramic ear flare, with the painted image of a deity. Circa 300 - 600 CE.

A Classroom In The Sand

Students following a lesson written in the Sahara sand. Taken in Tunisia, this appeared in National Geographic in 1914.

The World's Largest Pearl

Discovered by a Filipino diver in the Palawan Sea in 1934, the world's largest pearl is known as the “Pearl of Lao Tzu,” or “Pearl of Allah.” The pearl is believed to be 600 years old. It weighs 14 pounds (6.35 kg) and measures 9.5 inches (24 cm) long and 5.5 inches (0.4 cm) in diameter. Formed by a giant clam, it is not an iridescent pearl, like one would see on a piece of jewelry.

The Creation of Rotterdam

What would become the important port city of Rotterdam has been inhabited since at least the Roman period. It was part of the frontier province Germania Inferior, and there is evidence of wooden locks, trenches, and ditches built by the Romans to control water levels. After the Romans withdrew in the second half of the 200s CE, the population steeply declined. Partially because sea levels rose, making much of the region uninhabitable.

It was not until 900 CE that pioneering farmers returned to the riverbanks of the Rotte River, or "Muddy Water" River. Archaeologists have found the remains of six farmsteads, dating from 950 to 1050 CE. Life in Rotta Village was difficult: flooding was always a threat, and attempts to drain the peat they farmed on just caused the ground level to sink when drained, making flooding even worse. Unable to make a living, Rotta Village was abandoned around 1050.

It was thanks to a local noble looking to protect his nearby lands that Rotterdam ever came to be. In the year 1270, the Count of Holland, Floris V, ordered the construction of a single sea wall to protect the region from floods. The resulting dike was 1,300 feet long, 23 feet wide, and nearly five feet high. It was constructed across the Rotte River, not far from the now-abandoned Rotta Village.

A town sprang up after the dike was built. Because it was close to the North Sea and the River Rotte, the area was between two trade systems: the Baltic Region which included Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, and the north Atlantic coastal area, which included France, England, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Because the new dike blocked direct passage to the Rotte River, traders had to unload their goods and reload them on the other side, or temporarily store them in Rotterdam. This made Rotterdam an important port and market for staple goods, such as beer and textiles, which people had to buy no matter the difficulty in getting it across the dike. It also developed a fishing industry, selling its herring along the trade systems it linked. And the rest, as they say, is history!

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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