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Henry Morgan

Sir Henry Morgan was a Welsh privateer, plantation owner, Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica. From his base in Port Royal, Jamaica, he raided settlements and shipping on the Spanish Main, becoming wealthy as he did so. With the prize money from the raids he purchased three large sugar plantations on the island. Much of Morgan's early life is unknown, he was born in south Wales, but it is not known how he made his way to the West Indies, or how he began his career as a privateer. He was a member of a group of raiders led by Sir Christopher Myngs in the early 1660s. Morgan became a close friend of the Governor of Jamaica; when diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of England and Spain worsened in 1667, Modyford gave Morgan a letter of marque, a licence to attack and seize Spanish vessels. Morgan subsequently conducted successful and lucrative raids on Puerto Principe and Porto Bello. In 1668 he sailed both on Lake Maracaibo in modern-day Venezuela, he raided both cities and stripped them of their wealth before destroying a large Spanish squadron as he escaped.

In 1671 Morgan attacked Panama City, landing on the Caribbean coast and traversing the isthmus before he attacked the city, on the Pacific coast. The battle was a rout. To appease the Spanish, with whom the English had signed a peace treaty, Morgan was arrested and summoned to London in 1672, but was treated as a hero by the general populace and the leading figures of government and royalty including Charles II. Morgan was appointed a Knight Bachelor in November 1674 and returned to Jamaica shortly afterward to serve as the territory's Lieutenant Governor, he served on the Assembly of Jamaica until 1683 and on three occasions he acted as Governor of Jamaica in the absence of the post-holder. A memoir published by Alexandre Exquemelin, a former shipmate of Morgan's, accused the privateer of widespread torture and other offences, he died in Jamaica on 25 August 1688. His life was romanticised after his death and he became the inspiration for pirate-themed works of fiction across a range of genres.

Henry Morgan was born around 1635 in Wales, either in Llanrumney, Glamorgan or Pencarn, Monmouthshire. The historian David Williams, writing in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography, observes that attempts to identify his parents and antecedents "have all proved unsatisfactory", although his will referred to distant relations. Several sources state Morgan's father was a farmer. Nuala Zahedieh, writing for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, states that details of Morgan's early life and career are uncertain, although in life he stated that he had left school early and was "much more used to the pike than the book", it is unknown. He may have travelled to the Caribbean as part of the army of Robert Venables, sent by Oliver Cromwell as part of the Caribbean expedition against the Spanish in the West Indies in 1654, or he may have served as an apprentice to a maker of cutlery for three years in exchange for the cost of his emigration. Richard Browne, who served as surgeon under Morgan in 1670 stated that Morgan had travelled either as a "private gentleman" soon after the 1655 capture of Jamaica by the English, or he may have been abducted in Bristol and transported to Barbados, where he was sold as a servant.

In the 17th century the Caribbean offered an opportunity for young men to become rich although significant investment was needed to obtain high returns from the sugar export economy. Other opportunities for financial gain were through plunder of the Spanish Empire. Much of the plunder was from privateering, whereby individuals and ships were commissioned by government to attack the country's enemies, it is probable that in the early 1660s Morgan was active with a group of privateers led by Sir Christopher Myngs attacking Spanish cities and settlements in the Caribbean and Central America. In 1663 it is that Morgan captained one of the ships in Myngs' fleet, took part in the attack on Santiago de Cuba and the Sack of Campeche on the Yucatán Peninsula. Sir Thomas Modyford had been appointed the Governor of Jamaica in February 1664 with instructions to limit the activities of the privateers. About 1,500 privateers used Jamaica as a base for their activity and brought significant revenue to the island.

As the planting community of 5,000 was still new and developing, the revenue from the privateers was needed to avoid economic collapse. A privateer was granted a letter of marque which gave him a licence to attack and seize vessels of a specific country, or with conditions attached. A portion of all spoils obtained by the privateers was given to the sovereign or the issuing ambassador. In August 1665 Morgan, along with fellow captains John Morris and Jacob Fackman, returned to Port Royal with a large cargo of valuables. Modyford was impressed enough with the spoils to report back to the government that "Central America was the properest place for an attack on the Spanish Indies". Morgan's activities over the following two years are not documented, but in early 1666 he was married in Port Royal to his cousin, Mary Morgan, the daughter of Edward, the island's Deputy Governor.

Alfrēds Kalniņš

Alfrēds Bruno Jānis Kalniņš was a Latvian composer, pedagogue, music critic and conductor. Kalniņš is remembered for his national opera Baņuta. Kalniņš took violin lessons at an early age, he attended the school of music in Riga. He visited the Riga theatre, where he could listen to operas and concerts, he made acquaintance with a composer and organist, who gave him private lessons. From 1897 until 1901 he studied composition at Saint Petersburg Conservatory. After a short stay in Riga, which he spent writing a series of songs, he accepted a post as an organist at the Saint Nicholas Church in Pärnu in 1903. At present Pärnu is located in Estonia, but it belonged to the Russian Governorate of Livonia. Kalniņš gave music lessons at the local grammar school and conducted the school choir. In Pärnu his son Jānis Kalniņš, who would become a composer too, was born in 1904. Kalniņš stayed in Pärnu until 1911. In that year he took the post of organist at the Church of Saint Anne at Liepāja, where he conducted the choir of the local music society.

Apart from the church services he played organ concertos and was involved in the restoration of the church organ. In 1914 the First World War broke out. In 1915 Liepājā fell into the hands of the Germans. Kalniņš fled to Tartu. There he gave private music lessons; when in 1918 Tartu fell into the hands of the Germans too, he returned to Liepāja. In 1919 he accepted a job as head of the Department of Music at the Ministry of Education and chairman of the Music Council at Riga, now the capital of independent Latvia. Besides, he acted as organist of Saint James’s Church, wrote criticisms and conducted the students choir of the University of Latvia. In 1926 he acted as chief conductor at Dance Festival. In the years 1927-1933 he lived in New York, where he worked as an organist, played concertos and gave music lessons. In 1933 Kalniņš returned to Riga. Between 1944 and 1948 he was the Rector of the Latvian Academy of Music, where he gave organ lessons too. In 1948 he retired, died three years later. On Kalniņš’s one hundredth birthday in 1979, a bronze bust of Kalniņš was unveiled in Cēsis, his place of birth.

In 2004 it was replaced to the local school of music, which carries his name: Alfrēda Kalniņa Cēsu Mūzikas vidusskola. In 1979 Riga got a statue of the composer too, it is located at the opera building. In Viestura Park in Riga, there is a monument portraying eight Latvian composers, among them Alfrēds Kalniņš. Kalniņš was a prolific composer, who wrote hundreds of songs, both for solo voice with piano accompaniment and for choir. Of his six cantatas the best known is Jūra. In 1918 Kalniņš started working on his most famous piece of music, the opera Baņuta, which went into premiere in 1920 in Riga, it is the first opera with a libretto in Latvian. When Kalniņš lived in New York, he rewrote a big part of its music; this version of the opera was performed for the first time in 1937. In 1940, under Soviet rule, Kalniņš had to change the end of the opera. In the original version the principal person Baņuta and her lover Vižuts commit suicide. On 5 June 1982 the opera was performed for the first time in the West, namely in New York.

This production was based on the 1937 version. The 1940 version has not been performed since; the opera has always remained popular in Latvia, is still performed from time to time. Kalniņš’s second opera Salinieki is lesser known. Moreover, he composed Staburags, an orchestral suite and pieces for organ and piano. Baņuta, Choir of the Latvian National Opera, Symphony Orchestra of Latvian TV and Radio, dir. Aleksandrs Viļumanis. Rīgas Skaņu RS010, 1996. Jānis Kalniņš, Potter’s Field, Latvian Radio and Consum Choirs, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, dir. Andrejs Jansons / Alfrēds Kalniņš, The Sea, Latvian Radio and Versija Choirs, Latvian National Opera Orchestra, dir. Andrejs Jansons. Latvian Concert NYLCC 007, 2004. Organ Music: Prelude, Pastorale in B major, Fantasia for organ, Variations on a Theme of Jāzeps Vītols - Performed by Pēteris Sīpolnieks, Melodiya LP C10-12381-2, 1980. A document about Kalniņš’s life, in Latvian, Word format Biruta Sūrmane, Text in the booklet accompanying the cd Baņuta, RS010, 1996.

Biography and list of Kalniņš’s works Kalniņš’s statue in Riga

ARA General Belgrano

ARA General Belgrano was an Argentine Navy light cruiser in service from 1951 until 1982. Commissioned by the U. S. as USS Phoenix, she saw action in the Pacific theatre of World War II before being sold by the United States Navy to Argentina. The vessel was the second to have been named after the Argentine founding father Manuel Belgrano; the first vessel was a 7,069-ton armoured cruiser completed in 1896. She was sunk on 2 May 1982 during the Falklands War by the Royal Navy submarine Conqueror with the loss of 323 lives. Losses from General Belgrano totalled just over half of Argentine military deaths in the war, she is the only ship to have been sunk during military operations by a nuclear-powered submarine and the second sunk in action by any type of submarine since World War II. The warship was built as USS Phoenix, the sixth ship of the Brooklyn-class cruiser design, in Camden, New Jersey, by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation starting in 1935, launched in March 1938, she survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 undamaged, went on to earn nine battle stars for World War II service.

At the end of the war, she was placed in reserve at Philadelphia on 28 February 1946, decommissioned on 3 July that year and remained laid up at Philadelphia. Phoenix was sold to Argentina in October 1951 and renamed 17 de Octubre after the "People's Loyalty day", an important symbol for the political party of the then-president Juan Perón. Sold with her was another of her class, the USS Boise, renamed ARA Nueve de Julio, withdrawn in 1977.17 de Octubre was one of the main naval units that joined the 1955 coup in which Perón was overthrown, was renamed General Belgrano after General Manuel Belgrano, who founded the Escuela de Náutica in 1799 and had fought for Argentine independence from 1811 to 1819. General Belgrano accidentally rammed her sister ship Nueve de Julio on exercises in 1956, which resulted in damage to both. General Belgrano was outfitted with the Sea Cat anti-aircraft missile system between 1967 and 1968. After the 1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands, on 2 April 1982 Britain declared a Maritime Exclusion Zone of 200 nautical miles around the Falkland Islands within which any Argentine warship or naval auxiliary entering the MEZ might be attacked by British nuclear-powered submarines.

On 23 April, the British Government clarified in a message, passed via the Swiss Embassy in Buenos Aires to the Argentine government that any Argentine ship or aircraft, considered to pose a threat to British forces would be attacked. On 30 April this was upgraded to the total exclusion zone, within which any sea vessel or aircraft from any country entering the zone might be fired upon without further warning; the zone was stated to be "...without prejudice to the right of the United Kingdom to take whatever additional measures may be needed in exercise of its right of self-defence, under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter." The concept of a total exclusion zone was a novelty in maritime law. Its purpose seems to have been to increase the amount of time available to ascertain whether any vessel in the zone was hostile or not. Regardless of the uncertainty of the zone's legal status it was respected by the shipping of neutral nations; the Argentine military junta began to reinforce the islands in late April when it was realised that the British Task Force was heading south.

As part of these movements, Argentine Naval units were ordered to take positions around the islands. Two Task Groups designated 79.1, which included the aircraft carrier ARA Veinticinco de Mayo plus two Type 42 destroyers, 79.2, which included three Exocet missile armed Drummond-class corvettes, both sailed to the north. General Belgrano had left Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego on 26 April. Two destroyers, ARA Piedra Buena and ARA Hipólito Bouchard were detached from Task Group 79.2 and together with the tanker YPF Puerto Rosales, joined General Belgrano to form Task Group 79.3. By 29 April, the ships were patrolling the Burdwood Bank, south of the islands. On 30 April, General Belgrano was detected by the British nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarine Conqueror; the submarine approached over the following day. On 1 May 1982, Admiral Juan Lombardo ordered all Argentine naval units to seek out the British task force around the Falklands and launch a "massive attack" the following day. General Belgrano, outside and to the south-west of the exclusion zone, was ordered south-east.

Lombardo's signal was intercepted by British Intelligence. As a result, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her War Cabinet, meeting at Chequers the following day, agreed to a request from Admiral Terence Lewin, the Chief of the Defence Staff, to alter the rules of engagement and allow an attack on General Belgrano outside the exclusion zone. Although the group was outside the British-declared total exclusion zone of 370 km radius from the islands, the British decided that it was a threat. After consultation at Cabinet level, Thatcher agreed that Commander Chris Wreford-Brown should attack General Belgrano. At 15:57 on 2 May, Conqueror fired three 21 inch Mk 8 mod 4 torpedoes, each with an 805-pound Torpex warhead. While Conqueror was equipped with the newer Mark 24 Tigerfish homing torpedo, there were doubts about its reliability. Initial reports from Argentina claimed that Conqueror fired two Tigerfish torpedoes on General Belgrano. Two of the three torpedoes hit General Belgrano. According to the Argentine gov