History is a subject that possesses the potentialities of both a science and an art. It does the inquiry after truth. History is a science and is on a scientific basis. Also, it is based on the narrative account of the past; thus it is an art or a piece of literature. Physical and natural sciences are impersonal, impartial, and capable of experimentation. Whereas, absolute impartiality is impossible in history because the historian is a narrator, and he looks at the past from a certain point of view. History cannot remain at the level of knowledge only. History is a social science and art. In that lie, its flexibility, its variety, and excitement.
Let’s discuss a few major Historical events in Today’s History.
1609: Henry Hudson discovers the Hudson River and Manhattan Island, where New York City now stands.
Henry Hudson was an English explorer of the 1500s. He was the first European to sail up what is now known as the Hudson River, New York. In 1607 he was hired by the English Muscovy Company to lead an expedition from England to discover a northeastern sea passage to Asia and the spice islands of the South Pacific. Making his way as far as Greenland and Spitzbergen, he found his route was blocked by ice. He attempted a second voyage a year later, sailing farther to the east along the northern coast of Norway, but was again blocked by ice.
In 1609, he was hired by another company, the Dutch East India Company, to attempt yet another voyage to find a northeastern passage. After being thwarted by ice again at Spitzbergen, Hudson sailed in the opposite direction, to North America. He explored along the coast of Nova Scotia and down to what is now New York Harbor, sailing up the Hudson River on 11 September 1609 as far north as the site where Albany now stands.
Because Hudson had been hired by the Dutch East India Company, the Dutch later claimed the area and established a colony, naming it New Amsterdam. Peter Minuit of the Dutch West Indies Company bought the island in the year 1626 from the Manhattan Indians for $24 worth of merchandise. However, it was renamed New York when the English took control in 1664.
1863: Bushranger Captain Thunderbolt escapes from the supposedly escape-proof Cockatoo Island Jail.
Bushranger Captain Thunderbolt was born Frederick Ward at Wilberforce near Windsor, NSW, in the year 1836. Being an excellent horseman, his specialty was horse stealing. For this, he was sentenced in the year 1856 for ten years on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. In July 1860, Ward was released on a ticket-of-leave to work on a farm at Mudgee. While he was on ticket-of-leave, he returned to horse-stealing and once again sentenced to Cockatoo Island. Conditions in the jail were harsh, and he endured solitary confinement several times. On the night of 11th September 1863, he and another inmate escaped from the supposedly escape-proof prison by swimming to the mainland.
After his escape, Ward embarked on a life of bushranging, under the name of Captain Thunderbolt. Much of his bushranging was done around the small NSW country town of Uralla. A rock originally known as “Split Rock” became known as “Thunderbolt’s Rock”. After a six-year reign as a “gentleman bushranger”, Thunderbolt was shot dead by Constable Alexander Walker in May in the year 1870.