A Harry Potter Virgin

I recently started reading the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

It wasn’t until I was just about finished with the first chapter that I realized that I was one of probably only a dozen people in the world that hadn’t read the first Harry Potter book. (I’m also one of only a likely handful that hasn’t seen the movie Titanic yet!) I thought I HAD read HP1 before, but it was the finer details that emerged from the book that I began to read that made me quickly realize otherwise.

Somehow, when I had first watched the movie, I never cottoned onto one of the most fundamental details of the story: the fact that Harry’s notoriety was solely caused by his survival of the attack by You-Know-Who. I had assumed it was caused more by the fact that it was somehow inexplicably known that he was GOING to be a great wizard of some kind in the future.

Signing off for a while — off to read more HP…

Mexico and the Golden State

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the action that ended the war between the United States and Mexico, was signed on February 2, 1848.

Not only did it give the still fledgling United States a new border that extended to the Pacific Ocean and granted 525,000 square miles of territory that included present-day Arizona, California, western Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah, but it absolved $3 million of claims made against Mexico by US citizens. All that for the paltry sum of $15 million.

More importantly, the treaty brought in an entirely different legal system to the region. Mexico had been a territorial possession of Spain for more than three hundred years, and had adopted Spanish civil law. Under Spanish law, all land was owned by the King of Spain. In contrast, the United States’ legal system was inherited from English common law, which allowed that real property could be owned by individuals. Any land not already claimed by settlers became the property of the federal government.

The treaty was signed February 2 — nine days after gold was discovered in Coloma — making the land upon which gold was found owned by both private individuals and the United States government.

The timing intrigues me. I wonder if either the Mexican or United States governments knew of the discovery and, if so, whether or not it had any impact on the treaty. Food for thought.