© 1996 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Times of upheaval in the world, such as the American Civil War, the Boer War, or the Great Depression, can loom so ominously over an era that we lose perspective when we look back to the period. Name something that happened in 1775. Not easy!

But those shadowy past figures not directly engaged in these major events, continued on with their lives and their pursuits.

From time to time, we'll take a look at such periods; see what the rest of the world was doing, little affected by the major events, if at all.

1775 for example. What was happening while Britain as her colony drifted further and further apart; while their armies drew ever nearer to combat and death? Much of Europe, soon to be drawn into the quarrel, kept busy with other matters.

On January 8th, England loses type designer John Baskerville, who dies in Birmingham. April 23rd sees the birth of painter Joseph Mallord William Turner, near London's Covent Garden. Also in London, Parliament takes time out of an increasingly hectic schedule to offer a £20,000 prize for the person who discovers the Northwest Passage. The Reverend Andrew Burnaby's Travels through the Middle Settlements in North America, an account of his 1759, two-year tour, is published.

On the continent comic opera composer Francois Adrien Boieldieu is born in Rouen, France, on December 16th. Also in France, the Marquis de Lafayette joins the lodge Saint-Jean de la Caneur, becoming a Mason.

Madrid opens its municipal Zoo.

And another British New World possession, Nova Scotia, struggles for its existence. An immigrant ship is wrecked on St. John Island. The passengers are rescued after nearly starving to death. It's a case of out of the frying pan, as a plague of rats has nearly destroyed the colony's food supplies.

Probably one of the busiest people in the world in 1775, is composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. On January 3rd his opera La finita Giordiniera premieres at Munich. On April 23rd another opera, Il Re Pastore premiere at Salzburg. And on December 20th, his Concerto No. 5 in A major for Violin and Orchestra (Turkish) also has a Salzburg premiere.

© 1996 David Minor / Eagles Byte