August 7, 2011 - Solar Eclipse Saved Lives?

– 1869

On this day in 1869, George Davidson's knowledge of science may have saved his life.

According to historians, geographer and astronomer George Davidson led a party to Alaska to view a total eclipse of the sun. They had been warned that the Chilkat Indians were angry because of earlier incidents with white people, and indeed Davidson's August 6 meeting with the Indians was very tense. He told the Chilkat that he was anxious to see the total eclipse of the sun that he had predicted to occur the next day and explained that he and his group meant no harm. Although the Chilkat didn't seem to believe him, they left the group alone for the night. The next day, when the sun did indeed disappear as predicted, the Chilkat fled to the woods and left Davidson's party alone for the rest of their stay. Some people believe that the correct prediction saved the party from attack.

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