This Week in History: March 19-25


This week in history: As with much of history, this week in the past was filled with war and conflict. Read more below and dive deeper with The Great Courses Plus.

March 19th, 1840 — Council House Fight

Courthouse MassacreRelations between the Republic of Texas and Comanche chiefs was tepid at best. Invited to a “peace conference” in San Antonio, Texas, the 12 Comanche chiefs brought women and children as well as men. Dressed in their ceremonial attire, they also had their faces painted in hopes of negotiating for the Comancheria (sovereign land of the Comanche). The chiefs did bring some prisoners, but not all of their captives, as the Texans expected. The Comanche expected to ransom their captives one at a time for a handsome exchange, but the Texans were to have none of that. “Of the 65 members of the Comanches’ party, 35 were killed (30 adult males, 3 women, and 2 children), 29 were taken prisoner (27 women and children, and 2 old men), and 1 departed unobserved (described as a renegade Mexican).¹ Seven Texans died, including a judge, a sheriff, and an army lieutenant, with ten more wounded.²” This bloody altercation lead to years of war and hostility in the region.

The incident ended any chance for peace and led to years of further hostility and war.

Learn more about the Comanche and much more in Native Peoples of North America

March 20th, 1956– Tunisia is independent

Between 1952-1956, Tunisia distanced itself from its ruler, France. This was a long time coming, as the first separatist movement started in 1907. That was followed in 1934 when a generation of young nationalists strove for independence. The stage was set for Habib Bourguiba to lead the resistance in the mid 1950’s.

Because of its unique cultural position, Tunisia has a diversified cuisine. It is a blend of Mediterranean food and African cuisine. It’s distinctively spicy which comes from the peoples that ruled them before: Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Spanish, Turkish, Italians, French, and the native Punics-Berber people.  Like all countries in the Mediterranean basin, Tunisia offers a “sun cuisine,” based mainly on olive oil, spices, tomatoes, seafood and meat. HarissaOther well-known Tunisian dishes are brik, a savory harissa-spiced pastry; a Tunisian tagine; and a chakchouka featuring merguez sausage—a food, along with preserved lemon, that reflects the country’s Muslim faith.

Learn more about the delicious foods of Tunisia with The Everyday Gourmet: The Joy of Mediterranean Cooking 
¹Hugh McLeod’s Report on the Council House Fight, March 1840 – Page 3 – Texas State Library
²Noyes (1993), p. 284