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Second Decade

Recorded History Podcast Network

40
Followers
547
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Second Decade

Second Decade

Recorded History Podcast Network

40
Followers
547
Plays
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About Us

This is a historical show examining the momentous events and interesting people of the second decade of the 19th century, the 1810s. From Jefferson to Napoleon, from Iceland to Antarctica, historian Sean Munger will give you a tour of the decade's most fascinating highlights.

Latest Episodes

Theo the Pipe Smoker

The bodies of dead human beings can tell us a lot about the past, but most human remains from the distant past tend to be rich or important people. A discovery in Basel, Switzerland in 1984 proved an exception to this rule when a number of skeletons were recovered from a forgotten graveyard for the city’s poor. One particular set of bones entranced researchers because of two strange notches found in his front teeth. An exhausting effort to identify the man known only as “Theo the Pipe Smoker” would eventually involve a worldwide search for his relatives, sophisticated DNA analysis, and possibly unearth evidence of a 200-year-old murder. In this episode of Second Decade, historian Dr. Sean Munger will profile the Theo case, the physical evidence from his bones, the historical questions raised by his discovery, and the possible identities that he might have had. In doing so you’ll get a glimpse of life among Basel’s underclass, a world of bakeries, tanneries, factories and dead-end jobs where disease was rampant and economic survival precarious. You’ll meet the two men who are the most likely candidates for being Theo, who surprisingly died on the same weekend in 1816 but whose life stories are markedly different. We may not be able to reach a full resolution of the mystery of Theo, but the journey is illuminating. History Classes Online at Sean's Website Free Webinar on the Vietnam War, 17 November 2020 Sean’s Patreon Make a PayPal Donation Additional Materials About This Episode Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

49 minOCT 26
Comments
Theo the Pipe Smoker

Heritage Lost

America was growing rapidly in the 1810s, and growth meant building. Buildings of all kinds, from churches, markets and houses to banks and government offices, were sprouting up everywhere. Only a tiny fraction of the many buildings constructed between 1810 and 1820 still survive today, and the loss of the majority—through demolition, development, decay, accident, neglect, or deliberate destruction—represents a staggering loss of architectural heritage and history. Though many buildings have been lost, traces of some remain, through photographs, drawings, eyewitness accounts, memories, and, in a few lucky cases, some physical artifacts. These traces tell tantalizing and compelling stories of what the built environment of the Second Decade was like, and, by extension, glimpses of the lives of the people who lived and worked within it. In this unique, stand-alone episode of Second Decade, historian Sean Munger will profile 9 specific buildings, constructed between 1808 and 1820 and ...

48 min2019 DEC 22
Comments
Heritage Lost

Year Without Summer, Part III

The mysterious weather and climate anomalies of the Year Without Summer did not end with the coming of fall or the end of the calendar year 1816. The Tambora effect—the chilling of the world’s climate by volcanic dust from the 1815 mega-eruption—lingered long after that. The failure of summer crops in many parts of America, Europe and the world meant a lean and hungry winter for millions of people. And for many of them, the brutally cold winter of 1816-17 was much colder and more harrowing than any they had ever lived through before, or would again. In this episode, the final in this minseries, you’ll shiver along with missionaries and Indians on the frontier; you’ll learn about some of the bizarre theories that people advanced for what was causing the events, such as an “electrical fluid” around the Earth supposedly linked to earthquakes; and you’ll meet a very eccentric Scotsman whose obsession with weather, sparked by the 1816 anomalies, utterly consumed his life for the next half century. This episode contains threads that connect to various other SD installments, including Episode 6 (Jefferson in Winter), 7 (Volcano), 24 (New England’s Cold Friday), and 25 (The Man in the Buffalo Fur Suit). Sean’s Patreon Make a PayPal Donation Sean's Book: "The Warmest Tide: How Climate Change is Changing History" Additional Materials About This Episode Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

51 min2019 NOV 17
Comments
Year Without Summer, Part III

Year Without Summer, Part II

For many people around the world, 1816 was the oddest summer they ever lived through. Snow from the previous winter was still left in places well into the deep summer; rains and floods lashed central Europe; New England was cold and parched; and nearly everybody worried about what the anomalies were going to do to that season’s crops and foodstuffs. The effects of the strange weather ran deeper, however. It caused some people to be depressed and melancholy; others sought answers in prayers and religion; some, particularly in Europe, literally thought the end of the world was nigh. But everyone filtered the events through their own uniquely human experiences, reflecting a diverse range of reactions and world-views that our scientific understanding of the phenomenon can’t really communicate. In this episode, the second in the series, you’ll experience a shocking midnight hallucination with Percy Bysshe Shelley; you’ll rub shoulders with recently-exhumed corpses in a New England ce...

55 min2019 OCT 14
Comments
Year Without Summer, Part II

Year Without Summer, Part I

The “Year Without Summer,” 1816, is one of those things that many people have heard of, but very few know anything substantive about. It was the largest environmental event of the Second Decade. Two volcanic eruptions, one from an unknown mountain in 1809 and the second the disastrous blast of Mt. Tambora in April 1815, filled the atmosphere with toxic particulates and triggered a period of global temporary climate change. But what was it like on the ground to the people who lived through it? What does the name “Year Without Summer” really mean, and what doesn’t it mean? Who noticed it first, and how? These are some of the many questions still swirling around this much-misunderstood event in environmental history. In this episode, perhaps the touchstone of the entire podcast, historian Sean Munger will take you to the frigid roads of New England during an unseasonable blizzard, and the decks of ships sailing the South Pacific in conditions that baffled even the most seasoned ma...

53 min2019 SEP 23
Comments
Year Without Summer, Part I

The Fires of St. John's

In the 1810s, St. John’s, Newfoundland was possibly the most remote and inaccessible corner of British America. Located on an island that was often icebound in the winter months, St. John’s was far from self-sufficient, depending on the Royal Navy for its food, building materials and governance. In February 1816, during the midst of an already dangerous winter made lean by economic depression, fire broke out on the city’s waterfront. It was only the beginning of a cycle of destruction that would char the streets of St. John’s four more times in just a few years, igniting class, ethnic and religious tensions as well as having political repercussions. This is the story of how St. John’s dealt with—or failed to deal with—numerous challenges to its very existence. In this episode, historian Sean Munger not only recounts the story of the fires themselves, but also examines the complicated social and political backdrop against which they occurred. You’ll meet the hapless and bronc...

46 min2019 JUL 15
Comments
The Fires of St. John's

Austen-tatious

Jane Austen is rightly considered perhaps the greatest British novelist of her day, or any age. Her novels about women, marriage and family among the English gentry, especially Pride and Prejudice, have defined how we think about British society in the late Georgian and Regency eras for all time. Like almost no other person, Austen is the living historical embodiment of the 1810s, the decade that saw the publication of all of her novels—and her untimely death. But how did she come to be? What was her story? What drove her, and why, after a lifetime of writing, did she finally achieve her long-awaited success during the Second Decade? In this episode of Second Decade, Dr. Sean Munger takes you into the modest bedrooms and parlors of Chawton Cottage, Jane Austen’s home for the most productive period of her life, and investigates how Jane’s wonderful literary creations came to be and why they reflect the spirit of the time and the society in which she lived. You’ll get a crash cour...

49 min2019 JUN 10
Comments
Austen-tatious

Tomb Raider

One of the most bizarre and mysterious cultures in human history, ancient Egypt still holds considerable interest for us today. This was even more true in the 1810s, not long after battles between France and Britain in the region of the Nile brought European travelers, scholars and opportunists to the desert to hunt for ancient Egyptian artifacts. One of the most notorious of these characters was Giovanni Battista Belzoni, a former barber and circus strong man who in 1815 became the go-to guy for British agents seeking to make a killing on selling Egyptian artifacts back in Europe. Belzoni’s incredible run of luck in the tomb raiding business, especially in October 1817, resulted in the discovery of numerous undiscovered and forgotten tombs in the Valley of the Kings, bringing to light their mysteries and questions that have lingered for the past 3,000 years. In this episode of Second Decade, Dr. Sean Munger will trace the rise of Europe’s interest in Egypt, why the 1810s was such...

54 min2019 MAY 13
Comments
Tomb Raider

Caragea's Plague

If you’ve never heard of John Caragea and have no idea where Wallachia is, you’re certainly not alone. This look at the seamy underbelly of Eastern Europe in the 1810s may be obscure, but it’s no less fascinating than anything else covered on Second Decade. Wallachia, now part of the modern nation of Romania, was 200 years ago a minor province of the Ottoman Empire, and except as a breadbasket the Turkish sultans couldn’t be bothered to care much about it. That’s why rule of provinces like Wallachia ultimately fell to an elite class of Turkish-born Greeks, the Phanariotes, who outdid each other at sending the sultan lavish gifts to secure political offices. But in 1813 the new hospodar of Wallachia, John Caragea, immediately inherits a hot mess when people start dropping like flies from one of the most virulent outbreaks of the bubonic plague since the 14th century. Things get even worse when Caragea puts the city of Bucharest on lockdown, triggering a wave of lawlessness, viol...

48 min2019 APR 27
Comments
Caragea's Plague

Antarctica

For most of human history, Antarctica was more of a concept than a reality. Geographers from ancient times and voyagers in the Age of Discovery supposed there was a continent at the bottom of the world, but no one had actually seen it, and some, like Captain Cook, declared that there was nothing useful down there at all. Then, quite suddenly, at the end of the Second Decade, the envelope of humanity’s geographic knowledge stretched just far enough to enable discovery of the icy islands that lie at Antarctica’s northern tip. Exactly who “discovered” Antarctica is not entirely clear, both because there are differing definitions of what “counts” both as discovery and as Antarctica. But we know it happened in 1819 or 1820, and one of the discoveries coincided with the single deadliest disaster ever to occur on the frozen continent. In this episode, Dr. Sean Munger will paint the historical context in which the discovery of Antarctica occurred, and he’ll take you onto the ships an...

49 min2019 APR 8
Comments
Antarctica

Latest Episodes

Theo the Pipe Smoker

The bodies of dead human beings can tell us a lot about the past, but most human remains from the distant past tend to be rich or important people. A discovery in Basel, Switzerland in 1984 proved an exception to this rule when a number of skeletons were recovered from a forgotten graveyard for the city’s poor. One particular set of bones entranced researchers because of two strange notches found in his front teeth. An exhausting effort to identify the man known only as “Theo the Pipe Smoker” would eventually involve a worldwide search for his relatives, sophisticated DNA analysis, and possibly unearth evidence of a 200-year-old murder. In this episode of Second Decade, historian Dr. Sean Munger will profile the Theo case, the physical evidence from his bones, the historical questions raised by his discovery, and the possible identities that he might have had. In doing so you’ll get a glimpse of life among Basel’s underclass, a world of bakeries, tanneries, factories and dead-end jobs where disease was rampant and economic survival precarious. You’ll meet the two men who are the most likely candidates for being Theo, who surprisingly died on the same weekend in 1816 but whose life stories are markedly different. We may not be able to reach a full resolution of the mystery of Theo, but the journey is illuminating. History Classes Online at Sean's Website Free Webinar on the Vietnam War, 17 November 2020 Sean’s Patreon Make a PayPal Donation Additional Materials About This Episode Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

49 minOCT 26
Comments
Theo the Pipe Smoker

Heritage Lost

America was growing rapidly in the 1810s, and growth meant building. Buildings of all kinds, from churches, markets and houses to banks and government offices, were sprouting up everywhere. Only a tiny fraction of the many buildings constructed between 1810 and 1820 still survive today, and the loss of the majority—through demolition, development, decay, accident, neglect, or deliberate destruction—represents a staggering loss of architectural heritage and history. Though many buildings have been lost, traces of some remain, through photographs, drawings, eyewitness accounts, memories, and, in a few lucky cases, some physical artifacts. These traces tell tantalizing and compelling stories of what the built environment of the Second Decade was like, and, by extension, glimpses of the lives of the people who lived and worked within it. In this unique, stand-alone episode of Second Decade, historian Sean Munger will profile 9 specific buildings, constructed between 1808 and 1820 and ...

48 min2019 DEC 22
Comments
Heritage Lost

Year Without Summer, Part III

The mysterious weather and climate anomalies of the Year Without Summer did not end with the coming of fall or the end of the calendar year 1816. The Tambora effect—the chilling of the world’s climate by volcanic dust from the 1815 mega-eruption—lingered long after that. The failure of summer crops in many parts of America, Europe and the world meant a lean and hungry winter for millions of people. And for many of them, the brutally cold winter of 1816-17 was much colder and more harrowing than any they had ever lived through before, or would again. In this episode, the final in this minseries, you’ll shiver along with missionaries and Indians on the frontier; you’ll learn about some of the bizarre theories that people advanced for what was causing the events, such as an “electrical fluid” around the Earth supposedly linked to earthquakes; and you’ll meet a very eccentric Scotsman whose obsession with weather, sparked by the 1816 anomalies, utterly consumed his life for the next half century. This episode contains threads that connect to various other SD installments, including Episode 6 (Jefferson in Winter), 7 (Volcano), 24 (New England’s Cold Friday), and 25 (The Man in the Buffalo Fur Suit). Sean’s Patreon Make a PayPal Donation Sean's Book: "The Warmest Tide: How Climate Change is Changing History" Additional Materials About This Episode Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

51 min2019 NOV 17
Comments
Year Without Summer, Part III

Year Without Summer, Part II

For many people around the world, 1816 was the oddest summer they ever lived through. Snow from the previous winter was still left in places well into the deep summer; rains and floods lashed central Europe; New England was cold and parched; and nearly everybody worried about what the anomalies were going to do to that season’s crops and foodstuffs. The effects of the strange weather ran deeper, however. It caused some people to be depressed and melancholy; others sought answers in prayers and religion; some, particularly in Europe, literally thought the end of the world was nigh. But everyone filtered the events through their own uniquely human experiences, reflecting a diverse range of reactions and world-views that our scientific understanding of the phenomenon can’t really communicate. In this episode, the second in the series, you’ll experience a shocking midnight hallucination with Percy Bysshe Shelley; you’ll rub shoulders with recently-exhumed corpses in a New England ce...

55 min2019 OCT 14
Comments
Year Without Summer, Part II

Year Without Summer, Part I

The “Year Without Summer,” 1816, is one of those things that many people have heard of, but very few know anything substantive about. It was the largest environmental event of the Second Decade. Two volcanic eruptions, one from an unknown mountain in 1809 and the second the disastrous blast of Mt. Tambora in April 1815, filled the atmosphere with toxic particulates and triggered a period of global temporary climate change. But what was it like on the ground to the people who lived through it? What does the name “Year Without Summer” really mean, and what doesn’t it mean? Who noticed it first, and how? These are some of the many questions still swirling around this much-misunderstood event in environmental history. In this episode, perhaps the touchstone of the entire podcast, historian Sean Munger will take you to the frigid roads of New England during an unseasonable blizzard, and the decks of ships sailing the South Pacific in conditions that baffled even the most seasoned ma...

53 min2019 SEP 23
Comments
Year Without Summer, Part I

The Fires of St. John's

In the 1810s, St. John’s, Newfoundland was possibly the most remote and inaccessible corner of British America. Located on an island that was often icebound in the winter months, St. John’s was far from self-sufficient, depending on the Royal Navy for its food, building materials and governance. In February 1816, during the midst of an already dangerous winter made lean by economic depression, fire broke out on the city’s waterfront. It was only the beginning of a cycle of destruction that would char the streets of St. John’s four more times in just a few years, igniting class, ethnic and religious tensions as well as having political repercussions. This is the story of how St. John’s dealt with—or failed to deal with—numerous challenges to its very existence. In this episode, historian Sean Munger not only recounts the story of the fires themselves, but also examines the complicated social and political backdrop against which they occurred. You’ll meet the hapless and bronc...

46 min2019 JUL 15
Comments
The Fires of St. John's

Austen-tatious

Jane Austen is rightly considered perhaps the greatest British novelist of her day, or any age. Her novels about women, marriage and family among the English gentry, especially Pride and Prejudice, have defined how we think about British society in the late Georgian and Regency eras for all time. Like almost no other person, Austen is the living historical embodiment of the 1810s, the decade that saw the publication of all of her novels—and her untimely death. But how did she come to be? What was her story? What drove her, and why, after a lifetime of writing, did she finally achieve her long-awaited success during the Second Decade? In this episode of Second Decade, Dr. Sean Munger takes you into the modest bedrooms and parlors of Chawton Cottage, Jane Austen’s home for the most productive period of her life, and investigates how Jane’s wonderful literary creations came to be and why they reflect the spirit of the time and the society in which she lived. You’ll get a crash cour...

49 min2019 JUN 10
Comments
Austen-tatious

Tomb Raider

One of the most bizarre and mysterious cultures in human history, ancient Egypt still holds considerable interest for us today. This was even more true in the 1810s, not long after battles between France and Britain in the region of the Nile brought European travelers, scholars and opportunists to the desert to hunt for ancient Egyptian artifacts. One of the most notorious of these characters was Giovanni Battista Belzoni, a former barber and circus strong man who in 1815 became the go-to guy for British agents seeking to make a killing on selling Egyptian artifacts back in Europe. Belzoni’s incredible run of luck in the tomb raiding business, especially in October 1817, resulted in the discovery of numerous undiscovered and forgotten tombs in the Valley of the Kings, bringing to light their mysteries and questions that have lingered for the past 3,000 years. In this episode of Second Decade, Dr. Sean Munger will trace the rise of Europe’s interest in Egypt, why the 1810s was such...

54 min2019 MAY 13
Comments
Tomb Raider

Caragea's Plague

If you’ve never heard of John Caragea and have no idea where Wallachia is, you’re certainly not alone. This look at the seamy underbelly of Eastern Europe in the 1810s may be obscure, but it’s no less fascinating than anything else covered on Second Decade. Wallachia, now part of the modern nation of Romania, was 200 years ago a minor province of the Ottoman Empire, and except as a breadbasket the Turkish sultans couldn’t be bothered to care much about it. That’s why rule of provinces like Wallachia ultimately fell to an elite class of Turkish-born Greeks, the Phanariotes, who outdid each other at sending the sultan lavish gifts to secure political offices. But in 1813 the new hospodar of Wallachia, John Caragea, immediately inherits a hot mess when people start dropping like flies from one of the most virulent outbreaks of the bubonic plague since the 14th century. Things get even worse when Caragea puts the city of Bucharest on lockdown, triggering a wave of lawlessness, viol...

48 min2019 APR 27
Comments
Caragea's Plague

Antarctica

For most of human history, Antarctica was more of a concept than a reality. Geographers from ancient times and voyagers in the Age of Discovery supposed there was a continent at the bottom of the world, but no one had actually seen it, and some, like Captain Cook, declared that there was nothing useful down there at all. Then, quite suddenly, at the end of the Second Decade, the envelope of humanity’s geographic knowledge stretched just far enough to enable discovery of the icy islands that lie at Antarctica’s northern tip. Exactly who “discovered” Antarctica is not entirely clear, both because there are differing definitions of what “counts” both as discovery and as Antarctica. But we know it happened in 1819 or 1820, and one of the discoveries coincided with the single deadliest disaster ever to occur on the frozen continent. In this episode, Dr. Sean Munger will paint the historical context in which the discovery of Antarctica occurred, and he’ll take you onto the ships an...

49 min2019 APR 8
Comments
Antarctica
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