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The Viking King Harald Hardrada: Eastern Exile and Mercenary Life, 1030-1042 (Part I)

Harald Sigurdsson (1015-1066), also known as Harald Hardrada (“hard”) was one of the most fabled kings in Norwegian history. Harald and his half-brother Olaf Haraldsson – who later became Saint Olaf – fought together in 1030 while trying to reclaim the throne from the Danish king Cnut the Great – who made an alliance with the jarls of Lade in the Trondheim region.

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General Grant Encounters Terrorism in Madrid: The 1878 Attempted Regicide of King Alfonso XII

When former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant visited Europe on a post-presidential world tour in the late 1870s political terrorism was in its nascent stage. The International Workingmen’s Association (or First International) split in 1872 between anarchist and statist factions and disbanded in 1876. After that, violence against heads of state increased.

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A Traitor’s Justice: The Execution of the St. Patrick’s Battalion in the Mexican-American War, 1847

Despite overtures to the Catholic Church by American political and military leaders during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), the need to enforce discipline in theater was paramount to the U.S. Army’s success. When more than seventy Irish-American deserters, known as the Saint Patrick’s Battalion (San Patricios), were captured by U.S. forces in late August of 1847 following the Battle of Churubusco on the outskirts of Mexico City, they were summarily court-martialed. The former U.S. soldiers had been induced by Mexican incentives of free land and money to switch sides and fight for Mexico. Eventually their numbers reached a few hundred. They also fought well and were therefore doubly hated by U.S. Army officers. In contrast, the San Patricios are remembered as heroes in Mexico. 

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Conquer and Divide: The Spanish Resistance that Broke Napoleon’s Second Strategy

Although he was a brilliant military tactician, one of the ways Napoleon managed to hold on to conquered regions was by employing a strategy of carving up states based on historical precedent. The Rhodanic Republic (1802-1810), the Kingdom of Italy (1805-1814), and the Republic of Danzig (1807-1814) were among a few “sister republics” created by Napoleon. These client states, formed under the guise of revanchist history, aided the control of occupied lands in the First French Empire. When Napoleon invaded Spain in 1808, he set about to redraw its map in a similar fashion.  

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