Tune in to my interview with Phil Johnson!

Tune in to my interview with Phil Johnson!
Positive reviews on itunes are appreciated!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Another website about Olivier Levasseur

I always enjoy coming across these websites. They often have an interesting mixture of fact, fiction, and speculation.
This one was brought to my attention by Baylus Brooks. Give it a read, it has some good information. Keep in mind, though, that it is machine translated, so some parts of it are going to come out a bit goofy.


Olivier Levasseur says La Buse

Friday, May 5, 2017

Horse Racing in 1700

In honor of Kentucky Derby weekend, I threw some paragraphs together from different websites to put together a rather brief history of Thoroughbred racing.
The racing of horses has occurred since man discovered he could jump on their backs and ride. Most of these early races were match races, meaning they were contests directly matching one horse against another.

Most were run over much greater distances than what we’re used to in today’s racing. They most likely didn’t have the meticulously groomed courses that we have today, either.
Horse racing first came under royal patronage during the reign of James I, when the monarch had a royal palace built near Newmarket - then an obscure village. Members of the Royal Court, who had developed a passion for horse racing in Scotland, helped to establish Newmarket as the home of organized horse racing in Britain. Public races were soon set up all over England. Many of the events were held at Bell Courses. They got this name because the prize for most races was usually a silver bell.

From 1660, during King Charles II’s reign, match horse racing events began being held at Newmarket. When Queen Anne was in power (1702 to 1714), horse racing advanced to including several horses, with spectators placing bets. Thus the Sport of Kings was born as a professional discipline. 

Charles II was perhaps the most enthusiastic racing royal. He competed in races himself and founded a series of races known as Royal Plates. His connection with Newmarket survives to this day because the Rowley Mile course near the town is derived from his nickname of Old Rowley - in turn after the name of his favourite hack.

As horse racing became all the rage thanks to its royal connections, the breeding of racehorses developed very rapidly too. This was mainly thanks to the import of Arabian stallions, with which British mares were bred to create the forefathers of the Thoroughbred racehorses we see racing today.

The Byerly Turk

I found this part about establishing the Thoroughbred breed from Arabian stallions interesting since it is not entirely true. While the Darley and Godolphin stallions were Arabians, the Byerly Turk was not. As the name implies, he was a Turk horse, a breed that at that time was considered to be amongst the finest of horses on the planet. 

A number of racecourses were established and the Jockey Club was created in 1750 to govern the sport. Along with creating rules, sanctioning racecourses and naming races, the Jockey Club also set up the General Stud Book to record the pedigree of all racing Thoroughbreds.

Around the middle of the 18th century, horse racing became the first regulated sport in Britain, thanks to the formation of the Jockey Club. 

The first racetrack was established in the United States in 1665 and the American Stud Book was put in place in 1868. By 1894 the American Jockey Club was set up. In the early 1900s bookmaking was banned, but pari-mutuel betting saved horse racing in 1908. 

Likely the second-oldest race in history, the Epsom Derby, was established by the 12th Earl of Derby (pronounced darby) and his friend Sir Charles Bunbury. They tossed a coin. The Earl of Derby got to name the race, but Sir Bunbury won the first running in 1780 with his colt, Diomed. The oldest race, the Oaks, was first run in 1779.

Originally run over a distance of one mile, it was increased to a mile and a half in 1784.
The Kentucky Derby is the longest running sporting event in the United States, dating back to 1875.  The race is often referred to as "The Run for the Roses®" and has continuously produced “the most exciting two minutes in sports”; uninterrupted, even when coinciding with profound historical events like The Great Depression and World Wars I & II.

The first Kentucky Derby was won by a horse named Aristides.



Silver, Caroline. Superhorses: The Making of Champions,  Ballantine Books, 1973.

About the Byerly Turk:

About Aristides:

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Judgment of La Buse, The Original Documents!

I recently received permission from Damien Vaisse, Directeur, Archives départementales de la Réunion, to publish these copies of the original judgment of Olivier Levasseur on Reunion Island in 1730. 

These are scanned copies of the originals. As you can see, they are not the easiest things to read!

As a friend of mine said, the handwriting is ridiculous. For a translation, please see the featured post, Judgment of La  Buse. 


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Savate - The Martial Art of Pirates, Pt. 2

Here is a video I was pointed to that explores some Savate techniques, including a short segment on how it would have evolved from being used on board ships.

I remember watching this show years ago. I'd forgotten about this episode. It certainly brings back memories!


Saturday, April 1, 2017

You know what You can do with It

David Johnson of Port Royal, Mariner, &c. maketh Oath, that on the 9th of Jan. 1712. being on Board the Sloop Charles, whereof this Deponent was sole Owner, and Anthony Smith, Master; 3 Leagues to Leeward of Withywood, on the said Island, and laden with Sugar, Rum, and other Commodities, the Produce of the Island, taken in at Blewfields in order to transport them to Port Royal: which said Sloop and Cargo was worth 4214 l. they met with a Sloop commanded by Monsieur Norat, and Commissioned out of Trinadado, who took and made Prize of the said Sloop and Cargo.

            That upon Application to Lord Archibald Hamilton, late Governor of this Island, he obtain'd a Letter to the Governor of Trinadado, demanding Restitution of the said Sloop and Cargo. That the said Governor of Trinadado, instead of a Compliance, abruptly answered, that the Governor of Jamaica was not a Gentleman, that there was not any Gentlemen in Jamaica; and that he might take his Demand and wipe his A-se with it. This Deponent further saith, that he never had any Satisfaction for the said Vessel and Cargo thus illegally taken, and further saith not.


"Deposition of David Johnson [before John Warner]" Jamaica. August 9, 1716. Knight 1726:54-55.