22nd October 1909
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Illustration by Igor Kubik
Experiences

22nd October 1909

Anniversary of the Month
Adam Węgłowski
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time 4 minutes

Four necklaces made of huge pearls strung on thick silver threads and presented as votive offerings. Four enamelled gold Virtuti Militari crosses. A five-kilogram gold leg. And above all, two solid-gold papal crowns with diamonds and pearl-encrusted dress, which were decorations made especially for the Black Madonna icon. According to press reports from 110 years ago, the thieves who broke into the Jasna Góra Monastery chapel stole it all. The robbers fled with the painting of Our Lady of Częstochowa on the night of 22nd October 1909.

The press buzzed with estimates of losses. Some said the treasure was worth millions of rubles; others went

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20th September 1519
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Illustration by Igor Kubik
Experiences

20th September 1519

Anniversary of the Month
Adam Węgłowski

The greatest excursion in human history – until the first trip to the moon – began inconspicuously: at dawn, with no fanfare. The party left the Spanish port of Sanlúcar, the same one that saw Columbus take off on his third travel to the ‘New World’ (and unlucky at that, as it ended in shackles). Time showed it to be a bad omen. But who could have suspected it back then…

Perhaps there were some sceptics among the crew, though: the Spanish sailors. The expedition was led by a man who failed to inspire trust. His name was Ferdinand Magellan and he was Portuguese, which made him a representative of a rival colonialist empire. Beforehand, Magellan had tried convincing the Portuguese monarch to support his ideas, but he lost his position in court instead. In Madrid, he fared considerably better. The young king Charles V and his advisors remembered that Columbus, also a foreigner, ended up contributing to Spanish glory and wealth. And so they decided to trust Magellan too, if not without hesitation. The sailor was given command over five ships and a crew of 270 men. Enough people to ignite a spark of rebellion over the long trip.

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