This Week in History

The Creation of Vatican City State: February 11, 1929

This text comes from our book, Light to the Nations II: The Making of the Modern World. See sample chapters, here. For ordering information on Light to the Nations II and our other texts, please click here.

Pope Pius IX in 1930

“Gladly do We offer Our life for the Peace of the World!” These words were among the last spoken by Pope Benedict XV. The day after he uttered them, January 22, 1922, at 6 o’clock in the morning, the pope of peace “with great holiness fell asleep in the Lord.” Once again, in perilous times, the Church—and the world—was left without a shepherd. The conclave to elect the new pope opened February 3, 1922; three days later, the cardinals had made their choice—Cardinal Achille Ratti, the archbishop of Milan, a close friend of Benedict XV. A theologian and scholar, Ratti had served as head of the Vatican Library and as the pope’s nuncio to the new nation of Poland. He took the name Pius XI and announced that he would guide his reign by the motto, pax Christi in regno Christi—“The Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ.” Continue reading


Catholic Textbook Project today announced the Catholic student and school winners of its Fall 2016 History Essay Contest.

“We were pleased to receive more than double last year’s entries,” says Michael Van Hecke, M.Ed., president of Catholic Textbook Project.I am delighted to hear from teachers that this contest continues to be an enriching experience for their students, helping to bring history alive for them. This year, our judges found the high school entries particularly notable …  Read full list of winners, prizes…

This Week in History

Mexico Surrenders at Guadalupe-Hidalgo: February 2, 1848

This text comes from our high school book, Lands of Hope and Promise: A History of North America. Please visit our webpage to peruse sample chapters of our book. For ordering information on Lands of Hope and Promise and our other texts, please click here. For a previous installment on this topic, please go here.

American soldiers assault Chapultepec

It was September 13. [General Winfield] Scott had granted Santa Anna a fortnight’s truce to consider terms of surrender. When Santa Anna refused the terms, Scott renewed his assault. Chapultepec was the last obstacle standing between the U.S. forces and the Mexican capital. Abandoned by Santa Anna, the few defenders of Chapultepec could not withstand the American assault. In their number were the boys of the Mexican military academy, since called Los Niños Heroes (the boy heroes), who fought doggedly, but futilely, against the invader. All were killed as the Americans scaled the fortress walls. Soon the Mexican flag was lowered over Chapultepec. In its place hung the Stars and Stripes. Continue reading

Teresa "Terry" Chapman

Teresa “Terry” Chapman

Catholic Textbook Project is excited to welcome Teresa Chapman of Columbus, Ohio, to its expanding sales team, effective immediately. Terry’s territory is all Catholic schools and dioceses within the states of Indiana, New York, Michigan (with the exception of the Diocese of Marquette), Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

“Terry is a seasoned sales rep with a substantial sales background in both elementary and high schools in the Continue reading

This Week in History

Gold Discovered in California:

January 24, 1848

This text comes from our high school text, Lands of Hope and Promise: A History of North America. Please visit our webpage to peruse sample chapters of our book. For ordering information on Lands of Hope and Promise and our other texts, please click here.

James Marshall stands before the mill where he discovered gold

It was January 1848. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had not yet been signed, but the war with Mexico was effectively over. California remained what it long had been — a sparsely settled Mexican frontier province. Except for the American flag that waved over the plazas and the presence of American troops, there was little evidence that California now belonged to the United States of America.

That was soon to change.

John Sutter had hired a carpenter named James Marshall to build him a saw mill on the American River, which flows from the Sierra Nevada southwestward into the Sacramento. One day, January 24, Marshall saw in the millrace “something shining … I reached my hand down and picked it up. It made my heart thump, for I was certain it was gold. The piece was about half the size and shape of a pea. Then I saw another piece in the water. After taking it out I sat down and began to think right hard.” Marshall told Sutter of his find, and Sutter thought to keep the matter a secret. However, he told his servants, who spread word of the discovery. Soon, the California Star, a small paper in San Francisco, got wind of it. But E.C. Kemble, the Star’s editor, thought the rumors of gold a “sham, as superb a take in as ever was got up to guzzle the gullible.” Continue reading