captain morgan panama feature

This Day in History – January 27 – Hijinx, Humor, and Insight


NewsWhistle is pleased to feature Gary Jenneke’s “This Day In History” column.

You can read the original at Gary’s THIS DAY IN HISTORY blog — or scroll down to enjoy Gary’s unique look at life’s comings and goings.




1671 – Pirate Henry Morgan arrives at Panama City.

captain morgan panama

With 1,500 pirates gathered from around the Caribbean, Morgan attacked the city in the early hours of the 28th. Once victory was secure, they engaged in the traditional sacking, plundering, and drunken debauchery. The booty was not as large as expected, and many pirates were disappointed in their take. They suspected Morgan had cheated them. Which in fact he had.

Morgan returned to Jamaica with the lion’s share of the gold and silver, retired from privateering, and lived the life of a country gentleman on his farm.

I arrived in Panama City on January 27th, 2016, exactly 345 years after Morgan. Due to advanced age at the time of my visit, sacking, plundering, and drunken debauchery were held to a minimum.


1915 – U.S. Marines occupy Haiti. The idea was to stabilize the government.

President Wilson claimed the occupation was a mission to re-establish peace and order. Under U.S. government control, a total of 40% of Haiti’s national income was designated to repay debts to American and French banks. For the next nineteen years, U.S. government advisers ruled the country, their authority provided by the United States Marine Corps.

With bridges, roads, and housing being built during this period, there was significant improvement in the country’s infrastructure. Haiti’s government, however, is still searching for stabilization.


1945 – Walraven van Hall arrested by Nazis. Van Hall was an Amsterdam banker and stockbroker.

After Germany invaded Holland in 1940, he joined the resistance. The president of the Dutch National Bank, where van Hall worked, was a leading member of the Dutch Nazi party. Under his nose, van Hall began embezzling money from the bank, and funneling it to various resistance groups in Holland. Using different code names, he became known as the banker of the resistance.

The Nazis eventually found him out and he was arrested on the same day the Russians liberated Auschwitz. Several weeks later, two days after van Hall’s thirty-ninth birthday, the Nazis executed him.

A heroic banker. In this day and age, that indeed would be quite an oxymoron.



1850 – Edward J.  Smith. Captain of the Titanic.

edward j smith titanic

On April 15, 1912, he went down with his unsinkable ship.

My grandmother, a teenage farm girl at the time, had found employment as a servant for a rich Minneapolis family. The family had well-to-do friends aboard the ship. My grandmother described to me the pall that settled over the house when the news arrived. She was a devoutly religious person and she believed it was God’s way of humbling the arrogance of man. Not long after, she abandoned the big city and returned to farm life.


1955 – John Roberts. 17th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

According to “Roberts has advocated and implemented a refocusing of the Supreme Court to an era of judicial restraint and deference to the existing power structure in American politics.”

A deference to the existing power structure…hmmm. Is that what the Supreme Court is supposed do? Just asking.

At least now he can correctly administer the President’s swearing in oath.


1959 – Keith Olbermann. An American sports and political commentator and writer.

He is currently the host of GQ’s political webshow The Resistance with Keith Olbermann. Olbermann spent the first twenty years of his career in sports journalism.

Many of Olbermann’s former colleagues describe him as brilliant but insufferable. Admits one anchor, “We felt not so much relief when Keith left as unrestrained #%#*#%& joy.”

When he was on MSNBC, competing with that other “fair and balanced” faux news channel, his rants were truly a marvelous thing to behold.



At various junctures of his life, Gary has been an indifferent grade school student, poor high school student, good Navy radioman, one-time hippie, passable college student, inveterate traveler, dedicated writer, miscast accountant (except for one interesting stint at a Communist café), part-time screenwriting teacher, semi-proud veteran, unsuccessful retiree and new blogger.

You can reach him at



The above information was sourced from the following websites:

John Roberts –

Walraven van Hall –


We’d also thank to the following photographers and videographers for the use of their images:

* Lead-In Image (Captain Morgan Rum) –  LunaseeStudios /; “IRVINE, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 13, 2017: Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. Named after the 17th-century Welsh privateer of the Caribbean, Sir Henry Morgan.”

captain morgan embed

* Panama Viejo – Nicholas Billington / – “General views of the original Spanish Panama City, known as Panama Viejo. it now lies in ruins after being sacked in 1671 by the pirate Henry Morgan, Panama City, Panama, Central America.”

* “US in Haiti” Video – International Focus /

* Titanic Stamp, Featuring Capt. Edward J. Smith – Olga Popova / – “ST. THOMAS AND PRINCE ISLANDS – CIRCA 1998: A stamp printed in St. Thomas and Prince Islands shows Captain Edward John Smith and the Titanic, circa 1998.”

* Keith Olbermann Rant – GQ /

* Outro (Man-In-Museum Cartoon) – SkyPics Studio /



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