Saint-Domingue, Whisper of beauty

Where whispers come from
Where whispers come from

Saint-Domingue (French pronunciation: ​[sɛ̃ dɔ.mɛ̃ɡ]) was a French colony on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola from 1659 to 1804. The French had established themselves on the western portion of the islands of Hispaniola and Tortuga by 1659. In the Treaty of Ryswick of 1697, Spain formally recognized French control of Tortuga island and the western third of the island of Hispaniola.

French buccaneers established a settlement on the island of Tortuga in 1625 before going to Grande Terre (mainland). At first they survived by pirating Spanish ships, eating wild cattle and hogs, and selling hides to traders of all nations. Although the Spanish destroyed the buccaneers’ settlements several times, on each occasion they returned due to an abundance of natural resources: hardwood trees, wild hogs and cattle, and fresh water. The settlement on Tortuga was officially established in 1659 under the commission of King Louis XIV.

Among the first buccaneers was Bertrand D’Ogeron, who played a big part in the settlement of Saint-Domingue. He encouraged the planting of tobacco, which turned a population of buccaneers and freebooters, who had not acquiesced to royal authority until 1660, into a sedentary population. D’Orgeron also attracted many colonists from Martinique and Guadeloupe, including Jean Roy, Jean Hebert and his family, and Guillaume Barre and his family, who were driven out by the land pressure which was generated by the extension of the sugar plantations in those colonies. But in 1670, shortly after Cap-Français (later Cap-Haïtien) had been established, the crisis of tobacco intervened and a great number of places were abandoned. The rows of freebooting grew bigger; plundering raids, like those of Vera Cruz in 1683 or of Campêche in 1686, became increasingly numerous, and Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Marquis de Seignelay, elder son of Jean Baptist Colbert and at the time Minister of the Navy, brought back some order by taking a great number of measures, including the creation of plantations of indigo and of cane sugar. The first sugar windmill was built in 1685.

Crissy Field, The Presidio, Pet Cemetery, San Francisco

The Whisper Catcher
The Whisper Catcher
Pet Cemetery, Crissy Field

Surrounded by a white picket fence and shaded by a dozen Monterey pines, the pet cemetery contains a variety of grave markers, most of which mimic those found in official military cemeteries. Most markers are wooden, painted white with large black stenciled lettering. Some headstones provide evidence of the pets’ military lifestyle, listing birthplaces like China, England, Australia, and Germany. Many markers include family names and owners’ ranks, which include majors, colonels and generals. Some contain only a simple epitaph, such as “A GI pet. He did his time.” Like many military cemeteries, there are markers and tributes to several “unknowns”

A pet cemetery is not unknown on an Army base, but there are no existing records for the Presidio’s pet cemetery. Consequently legends have developed alluding to burial grounds for 19th century cavalry horses or World War II guard dogs. The oldest markers date only to the early 1950s, when the Presidio was under command of Lt. General Joseph M. Swing, and some give him credit for the authorization of the pet cemetery. Most pet owners don’t recall any particular Army regulations for pet burial; they simply found a suitable spot for their pet’s final resting place.

The Presidio pet cemetery has enchanted and intrigued Presidio visitors and residents for fifty years. The cemetery provides insight into the loving personal relationships between military personnel and their pets. Its mysterious origins and continued maintenance contribute to its fascination. Finally, the role it played in the establishment of a new form of park management in the national park system adds to its significance and notoriety. www.nps.gov

Kanji Emperor, 康熙帝, elhe taifin hūwangdi, ᠡᠩᠭᠡ ᠠᠮᠤᠭᠤᠯᠠᠩ

康熙帝

The Kangxi Emperor

康熙帝
Chinese Emperor Kangxi,
康熙帝

The Kangxi Emperor 康熙帝elhe taifin hūwangdi;  ᠡᠩᠭᠡ ᠠᠮᠤᠭᠤᠯᠠᠩ engke amuɣulang 'peace and tranquility'; 4 May 1654 – 20 December 1722) was the fourth emperor of the Qing dynasty, the first to be born on Chinese soil south of the Pass (Beijing) and the second Qing emperor to rule over China proper, from 1661 to 1722.

Kangxi's reign of 61 years makes him the longest-reigning emperor in Chinese history (although his grandson, the Qianlong Emperor, had the longest period of de facto power) and one of the longest-reigning rulers in the world. However, since he ascended the throne at the age of seven, actual power was held for six years by four regents and his grandmother, the Grand Empress Dowager Xiaozhuang.