Thursday, March 25, 2010

Colony Club, 564 Park Avenue NY

This letter is addressed to the Colony Club, 564 Park Avenue. A famous address. I had no clue untill I just googeled the address on this letter cover, the cover I have had some years now.

The city's most exclusive and prestigious private women's social club, the Colony Club was founded in 1903.

This was the earliest club in the city created just for women and its
first facility was erected on Madison Avenue at 29th Street and is now the American Academy of Arts.

In 1923, the Colony's current clubhouse opened at 564 Park Avenue. It was built to be 'the finest club-house in the world.'

Delayed by the war (brass window fixtures had been ordered from France and the chandeliers from Germany), the new Colony clubhouse finally opened in 1923.

Who knows, was this letter on an exclusive order of some French artworks or brass fixtures?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Large Indian Civet

Found this stamp on a letter addressed to me. Quite like it.

Browsing the web I found that the Indian civet produces a substance called 'civet', which is used commercially in perfumes....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Battle of Saint Georges Cay

British Honduras is now called Belize and is situated as follows:

From the early 17th century, the area now known as Belize had a troubled history.

The British Settlement of Belize in the Bay of Honduras was a base for privateers who carried out raids against Spanish vessels transporting gold and silver to Europe.

The coral reefs and sand bars of the coast provided hiding places from which to surprise and attack. By the time piracy was suppressed, toward the end of the 17th century, settlers--mostly British--had moved into the area's interior to develop logwood resources.

These logwood resourses continued to be important for the colony.

The small British settlement became a target for attacks from neighboring Spanish settlements as the rivalry between the Spanish and British intensified.

The first attack took place in 1717 when Spanish and Mayan soldiers entered the area from what is now Guatemala.

In the years that followed, Spain made several raids and incursions into various parts of the settlement.

British warships were commonly dispatched to the area in response. In times of threat, the settlers formed an irregular militia, with the help of slaves and Indians.

Hostilities resumed in 1779, however, when local residents fled from Spanish raiders who had kidnapped a number of settlers. This exodus was short-lived; the limits of the British settlement were defined in the Treaty of Versailles in 1783, and British settlers again returned.

Spain's last attempt to dislodge the settlers by force took place in 1798 when the Spanish fleet from Yucatán launched an attack on the settlement.

Although poorly armed and badly outnumbered, local settlers resisted.

The final skirmish involved a sea battle off Saint Georges Cay in which local forces, supported by the British sloop HM Merlin, forced a final Spanish retreat.

This is a picture of Saint Georges Cay now, looks like a paradise.

The Merlin was a quarterdecked sloop, effectively a miniature frigate. 22 Guns. Much like this picture of a sloop of war:

The victory of the Battle of Saint Georges Cay is celebrated each year on September 10th as a national holiday

After that British control over the settlement gradually increased and in 1862 British Honduras was formally declared a British Colony.