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Vytautas

Vytautas known as Vytautas the Great from the 15th century onwards, was a ruler of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which chiefly encompassed the Lithuanians and Ruthenians. He was the Prince of Hrodna, Prince of Lutsk, the postulated king of the Hussites. In modern Lithuania, Vytautas is revered as a national hero and was an important figure in the national rebirth in the 19th century. Vytautas is a popular male given name in Lithuania. In commemoration of the 500-year anniversary of his death, Vytautas Magnus University was named after him. Monuments in his honour were built in many towns in the independent Lithuania during the interwar period from 1918 to 1939, it is known that Vytautas himself knew and spoke in the Lithuanian language with Władysław II Jagiełło. Vytautas' uncle Algirdas had been Grand Duke of Lithuania until his death in 1377. Algirdas and Vytautas' father Kęstutis had ruled jointly in the form of diarchy, with Algirdas governing the east and Kęstutis the west responsible for defense against the Teutonic Order.

Algirdas was succeeded by his son Jogaila, a struggle for power ensued. In 1380, Jogaila signed the secret Treaty of Dovydiškės with the Teutonic Order against Kęstutis; when Kęstutis discovered this in 1381, he seized Vilnius, imprisoned Jogaila, made himself Grand Duke. However, Jogaila raised an army against Kęstutis; the two sides never engaged in battle. Kęstutis was ready to negotiate. One week Kęstutis was found dead. Whether he died of natural causes or was murdered is still a matter of debate. In 1382, Vytautas escaped from Kreva, he sought help from the Teutonic Order. Jogaila and the Order agreed to the Treaty of Dubysa, by which Jogaila promised to accept Christianity, become an ally of the Order, give the Order part of Samogitia up to the Dubysa River. However, the treaty was never ratified. In summer 1383, the war between Jogaila and the Order resumed. Vytautas was baptised as a Catholic. Vytautas participated in several raids against Jogaila. In January 1384, Vytautas promised to cede part of Samogitia to the Teutonic Order, up to the Nevėžis River in return for recognition as Grand Duke of Lithuania.

However, in July of the same year, Vytautas reconciled with Jogaila. He burned three important Teutonic castles, regained all Kęstutis' lands, except for Trakai. In 1385, Jogaila concluded the Union of Krewo with Poland, under which he married Jadwiga of Poland and became King of Poland as Władysław II Jagiełło. Vytautas participated in the Union and in 1386 was re-baptised as a Catholic, receiving the name Alexander. Jogaila left his brother Skirgaila as regent in Lithuania. However, Skirgaila was unpopular with the people and Vytautas saw an opportunity to become Grand Duke. In 1389, he failed. In early 1390, Vytautas again allied with the Teutonic Order. Vytautas had to confirm his agreement of 1384, cede Samogitia to the Order, his army now invaded Lithuania. To gain more influence, Vytautas married his only daughter Sophia to Vasili I of Russia in 1391; the Polish nobles were unhappy. It would not bring any benefit to Poland. In 1392, Jogaila sent Henry of Masovia with an offer to make Vytautas regent instead of Skirgaila.

Vytautas again broke with the Order. He returned to Vilnius. Jogaila and Vytautas signed the Astrava Treaty in which Vytautas recovered all Kęstutis' lands, including Trakai, was given more. Vytautas would rule Lithuania in the name of Jogaila. After Vytautas' death, all his lands and powers would revert to Jogaila. Vytautas continued Algirdas' vision to control as many Ruthenian lands as possible. Much of the territory was under the Grand Duke's rule, but the rest was controlled by the Mongols. Tokhtamysh, Khan of the Golden Horde, sought help from Vytautas when he was removed from the throne in 1395 after his defeat by Timur. An agreement was reached that Vytautas would help Tokhtamysh to regain power, the Horde would cede more lands to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in return. In 1398, Vytautas' army built a castle there. Now Lithuania spanned from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. A number of Tatar captives were brought to ethnic Lithuania. Inspired by this successful campaign and Jogaila won support from Pope Boniface IX for organising a crusade against the Mongols.

This political move demonstrated that Lithuania had accepted Christianity and was defending the faith on its own, that the Teutonic Knights had no further basis for attacks against Lithuania. The campaign resulted in a crushing defeat at the Battle of the Vorskla River in 1399. Over twenty princes, including two brothers of Jogaila, were killed, Vytautas himself escaped alive; this came as a shock to the Grand Duchy of Poland. A number of territories revolted against Vytautas, Smolensk was retaken by its hereditary ruler, George of Smolensk and not re-conquered by Lithuanians until 1404. Vytautas waged a war in 1406–1408 against his son-in-law Vasili I of Moscow and Švitrigaila, a brother of Jogaila who with the support of the Teutonic Order had declared himself grand prince. A major stand-off between the two armies ended without a battle in the Treaty of Ugra, by which Ve

The Fighting Pilot

The Fighting Pilot is a 1935 American action film directed by Noel M. Smith and starring Richard Talmadge, Gertrude Messinger and Robert Frazer; when an inventor develops a new type of aircraft, a crooked businessman attempts to steals the aircraft and its blueprints. The company test pilot, the boyfriend of the inventor's daughter, foil the criminals. In Washington D. C. Mr. Jones receives a telegram from Los Angeles asking him to secure rights to a newly designed aircraft from inventor F. S. Reynolds; that day, Cardigan, a gangster, lies to Jones that Reynolds is not interested in his offer. Cardigan tries unsuccessfully to buy its plans from Reynolds. Test pilot Hal Foster and his girl friend, Reynolds' daughter Jean and Hal throws Cardigan out. Afterwards, Hal test flies the new aircraft and as he and Reynolds discuss its problems, Cardigan's henchmen arrive and steal the aircraft and the plans. Hal follows their car on his motorcycle and Berty, Hal's goofy friend, follows in a car. Hal catches up with the henchmen and they engage in a brawl.

After Berty arrives, he and Hal go to Cardigan's Chinatown home, but Cardigan's Chinese butler refuses them admittance. As Cardigan phones Jones to let him know that the aircraft is secure at an abandoned desert airfield and Berty break into his headquarters and overhear the location of the aircraft. Hal is captured, but Berty, disguised as a Chinese servant, releases Hal and they use one of Reynolds' aircraft to fly to the desert airstrip. A government agent, a pilot, arrives at Reynolds' headquarters, searching for Cardigan, Jean guides him to the secret airfield. Cardigan's henchmen see Hal's approaching aircraft and try to chase him down, but he jumps from his aircraft into theirs and upon subduing them, lands the aircraft. Jean and the agent arrive; the agent arrests Cardigan and his men, Jean and Hal embrace. The Fighting Pilot was a low-budget affair that featured the stunts rather than story; the star, Richard Talmadge, made a career of doing action films, never rose far from the B-movie format.

The aircraft used in The Fighting Pilot, were: Kinner SportsterK c/n 150, NC14237 Cycloplane C-1 c/n 3, NC12202 Stearman C3B c/n 235, NC8820 Travel Air 2000 c/n 322, NC3948 Alexander EaglerockA1 c/n 752, NC6375 Reviewer Hal Erickson in Allmovie.com, stressed the stunts in The Fighting Pilot was a highlight. The Fighting Pilot on IMDb

Clarence H. Cooke House

The Clarence H. Cooke House known as the Marks Estate, at 3860 Old Pali Road, Hawaiʻi, was built for Clarence Hyde Cooke, the second son of Charles Montague Cooke and Anna Rice Cooke, heirs of the Castle & Cooke fortune, it was designed by the architect Hardie Phillip, built in 1929-32, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 as a fine example of the upper-class, Hawaiian-style, great mansion of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Phillip first worked in Honolulu as a member of the firm of Bertram Goodhue and Associates of New York City, who designed the Honolulu Museum of Art on the site of the former home of Anna Rice Cooke, the C. Brewer Building downtown, Lihiwai, the residence of Territorial Governor George R. Carter in Nuʻuanu Valley. For Clarence Cooke, Phillip designed a sprawling 24-room mansion fit for the lavish entertainment it became known for. Features of the evolving Hawaiian Regional style of the era include numerous lanai and open spaces, double-pitched hipped roof, lushly landscaped grounds.

The two-story, whitewashed building is constructed of brick on the ground floor and board and batten on the upper floor. A porte cochere topped by an open lanai leads to a formal entry hall with staircase, which provides access to both floors of two wings running in opposite directions. There are three guest cottages, a gatehouse, a four-car garage with servants' quarters above, a swimming pool with dressing rooms at the rear of the property; the pool area was earlier designed in Neoclassical style by Hart Wood. Cooke left the estate to the Academy of Arts, which sold it in 1946 to Elizabeth Marks, the wealthy daughter of Lincoln L. McCandless, her husband Lester Marks was a land commissioner for the Territory who resigned in 1949 when Governor Ingram M. Stainback decided to build a new Pali Highway up Nuʻuanu Valley, right through the middle of their estate, they sued to block the use of their land for the highway, but in 1956 the Territory bought the estate for $624,000. However, the Markses were allowed to live in their old home until 1976.

By that time, she was a widow, but still wealthy enough to buy a new house at Black Point in Kahala. State government departments took it over, using it for office space and special events. After trying to sell it for years, in 2002 the State auctioned off the property, appraised at $4.5 million. The winning bid of $2.5 million came from Unity House Incorporated, a labor union nonprofit organization, which planned to use it for office space and a retiree activity center. In 2006, it was purchased by Douglas Himmelfarb, a Hawaii art and furniture dealer, for $4.41 million. During that time, much of the house was renovated and in 2010 was put up for sale at $9.9 million reduced to $8.5 million without finding a buyer. After Himmelfarb experienced financial difficulties, JPMorgan Chase Bank took possession of the property in 2014 for $6.5 million through a foreclosure. The home was sold in late 2016 for $3.9 million