The tragedy of Aberfan: what happened that fateful October 21, 1966

A terrible tragedy known across the world by the name of the South Wales village where it happened, Aberfan, occurred on this day, October 21, 1966, when millions of cubic metres of excavated mining debris came thundering down a hillside, engulfing a farm, several houses, and also Pantglas Junior school, where 116 children died. In those days big lump coal was required for domestic heating so waste and fine particles left after the washing process, was loaded onto rail trams and dumped. Every mining community had its tips, and the…

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Memorial to the victims of the Baquet Theatre fire of 1888 at the Cemitério de Agramonte of Porto, Portugal

Sometimes, a visit to an old historic cemetery can provide an insight into the history of the city in which it is located. It is the case of Agramonte Cemetery, located in the city of Porto, that also houses one of Portugal’s most important collections of sculptures. Agramonte was created in a hurry in 1855, as an appropriate burial site was urgently needed for the victims of a sizeable cholera epidemic. Subsequently, in 1869, the cemetery was restructured and incorporated private cemeteries that were run by various Brotherhoods within the…

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#March 3, 1875: Carmen, the opera that shocked Paris

Carmen, now one of the most popular and frequently performed operas in the world, had its premiere on this day, March 3 1875, in Paris. However, its story of an army officer’s seduction (and betrayal) by a voluptuous and sensuous cigarette factory worker stunned its French audience and the first performance was greeted with astonished silence. Until this “vulgar” new opera came along and shook the public, the composer, Georges Bizet, had enjoyed moderate success, but nobody was prepared for the opera’s theme of erotic obsession, the sight of women…

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