15 Minute History
In the 17th and 18th centuries, France had its eyes on creating a worldwide trading empire. French merchant families began sending young men–teenagers by modern definitions–to the Ottoman Empire, India, and Southeast Asia, where they were expected to learn local languages and trading customs, while representing French values and serving as the vanguard of French imperialism. However, things didn’t always go according to plan.
Guest Julia Gossard shares her research into the fascinating world of child ambassadors who were expected to live in two worlds and create lasting relationships between France and a global network of allies.
In 1885, the world’s attention was focused on a series of grisly murders that took place in the otherwise quiet town of Austin, Texas. Several African-American women were murdered in the middle of the night, leading the press to dub the unknown assailant “the Servant-Girl Annihilator.” The serial killer phenomenon was so new that some even went so far as to speculate that Jack the Ripper was the same person.
Lauren Henley describes America’s first (known) serial killer, what the events tell us about the racial history of the region and the reason why true crime fascinates so many.