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RMS Lusitania

RMS Lusitania was a British ocean liner, sunk on 7 May 1915 by a German U-boat 11 miles off the southern coast of Ireland, killing 1,198 passengers and crew. The sinking presaged the United States declaration of war on Germany two years later. Lusitania held the Blue Riband appellation for the fastest Atlantic crossing and was the world's largest passenger ship until the completion of her sister ship Mauretania three months later; the Cunard Line launched her in 1906 at a time of fierce competition for the North Atlantic trade. She was sunk on her 202nd trans-Atlantic crossing. German shipping lines were aggressive competitors for the custom of transatlantic passengers in the early 20th century, Cunard responded by trying to outdo them in speed and luxury. Cunard used assistance from the British Admiralty to build Lusitania, on the understanding that the ship would be available as a light merchant cruiser in time of war, she had gun mounts for deck cannons, but no guns were installed. Both Lusitania and Mauretania were fitted with revolutionary new turbine engines that enabled them to maintain a service speed of 25 knots.

They were equipped with lifts, wireless telegraph, electric light, provided 50-percent more passenger space than any other ship. The Royal Navy had blockaded Germany at the start of the First World War. In the spring of 1915, all food imports for Germany were declared contraband. RMS Lusitania left New York for Britain on 1 May 1915 when German submarine warfare was intensifying in the Atlantic. Germany had declared the seas around the United Kingdom a war zone, the German embassy in the United States had placed newspaper advertisements warning people of the dangers of sailing on Lusitania. Objections were made by the British that threatening to torpedo all ships indiscriminately was wrong, whether it was announced in advance or not. On the afternoon of 7 May, a German U-boat torpedoed Lusitania 11 miles off the southern coast of Ireland inside the declared war zone. A second internal explosion sank her in 18 minutes, killing crew; the Germans justified treating Lusitania as a naval vessel because she was carrying hundreds of tons of ammunition, making her a legitimate military target, they argued that British merchant ships had violated the cruiser rules from the beginning of the war.

The internationally recognized cruiser rules were obsolete by 1915. The Germans argued that Lusitania was transporting ‘war munitions’, they claimed that she was a non-neutral vessel in a declared war zone, with orders to evade capture and ram challenging submarines. However, the ship was not armed for battle and was carrying thousands of civilian passengers, the British government accused the Germans of breaching the cruiser rules; the sinking caused a storm of protest in the United States because 128 American citizens were among the dead. The sinking shifted public opinion in the United States against Germany and was one of the factors in the declaration of war nearly two years later. After the First World War, successive British governments maintained that there were no munitions on board Lusitania, the Germans were not justified in treating the ship as a naval vessel. In 1982, the head of the British Foreign Office's American department admitted that, although no weapons were shipped, there is a large amount of ammunition in the wreck, some of, dangerous and poses a safety risk to salvage teams.

Lusitania and Mauretania were commissioned by Cunard, responding to increasing competition from rival transatlantic passenger companies the German Norddeutscher Lloyd and Hamburg America Line. They had larger, more modern and more luxurious ships than Cunard, were better placed, starting from German ports, to capture the lucrative trade in emigrants leaving Europe for North America; the NDL liner Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse captured the Blue Riband from Cunard's Campania in 1897, before the prize was taken in 1900 by the HAPAG ship Deutschland. NDL soon wrested the prize back in 1903 with the new Kaiser Wilhelm Kronprinz Wilhelm. Cunard saw its passenger numbers affected as a result of the so-called "Kaiser-class ocean liners". American millionaire businessman J. P. Morgan had decided to invest in transatlantic shipping by creating a new company, International Mercantile Marine, and, in 1901, purchased the British freight shipper Frederick Leyland & Co. and a controlling interest in the British passenger White Star Line and folded them into IMM.

In 1902, IMM, NDL and HAPAG entered into a "Community of Interest" to fix prices and divide among them the transatlantic trade. The partners acquired a 51% stake in the Dutch Holland America Line. IMM made offers to purchase Cunard. Cunard chairman Lord Inverclyde thus approached the British government for assistance. Faced with the impending collapse of the British liner fleet and the consequent loss of national prestige, as well as the reserve of shipping for war purposes which it represented, they agreed to help. By an agreement signed in June 1903, Cunard was given a loan of £2.6 million to finance two ships, repayable over 20 years at a favourable interest rate of 2.75%. The ships would receive an annual o

John Wilson (British Army officer, died 1819)

John Wilson was Lieutenant Governor of Lower Canada in 1816. A career army officer in the West Indies, Wilson was ensign in the 48th Foot in 1782, he was captain in the 55th Foot in 1794, lieutenant-colonel in the 8th West India Regiment in 1798. He served in the 21st Regiment in 1804, was in the 5th garrison battalion in 1805. In 1815 Wilson was selected to govern Canada in place of George Prévost. With rank Major-General, Wilson administered Lower Canada from 21 May to 21 July 1816, he arrived late to relieve his predecessor, Gordon Drummond had taken over, the two quarrelled. Wilson returned to the United Kingdom from Canada and suffered about 18 months bad health, dying on 18 January 1819, at age 54, his will was granted probate on 1 March 1819, describing him as of Northumberland. Wilson married Margaret Oswald, daughter of George Oswald

1898 Belgian general election

Partial legislative elections were held in Belgium on 22 May 1898, with run-off elections held on 29 May. Under the alternating system, elections for the Chamber of Representatives were held in only four out of the nine provinces: Hainaut, Limburg, Liège and East Flanders. Thus, only 75 seats out of the 152 seats in the Chamber of Representatives were up for election; the Catholic Party retained their absolute majority. Notably, Adolf Daens, elected in 1894 for Aalst and served one term, was convinced not to run for re-election, his fight for a social Christian Democratic party was opposed by conservative Catholics fellow Aalst MP Charles Woeste. None of the other "Daensists" who ran were elected. A special election in Bastogne was held on 24 July 1898. Henry Delvaux de Fenffe was elected to replace Emile Van Hoorde, they were the last regular legislative elections under a majority system. The newly elected legislature met in regular session on 8 November 1898. Liberals gained two seats from Catholics in Ath, socialists gained a seat from Catholics and a seat from liberals in Thuin, socialists gained a seat from liberals in Huy and Catholics gained four seats from socialists in Verviers, resulting in a total of one seat changing from socialists to Catholics