December 8, 2022


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130 years later a time capsule was opened

The Time Capsule, which has occupied the pedestal of the Confederate General’s statue for more than 130 years, opened on Wednesday, revealing books, envelopes and coins.

Established in 1890 in Richmond, Virginia, the former separatist capital, the magnificent equestrian statue represents General Robert Lee, commander of the Confederate Army during the Civil War (1861-1865). The statue, which was seen by many Americans as a symbol of the nation’s slavery, was removed in September, amid questions of federal monuments.

After the statue was removed, experts began searching for the mysterious time capsule placed in 1887 at its base. After several days of search failure, the job was abandoned. But the box was finally discovered last week and opened to authorities in Richmond. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam formally hoisted the card on Wednesday after experts spent several hours sealing it.


The capsule, the size of a shoe box, was the subject of all fantasies. According to an article published in 1887, it must have contained buttons or bullets, a Confederate coin, a Bible or a photograph of President Abraham Lincoln in his coffin, and a photograph of a historic bomb. Collectors may cause panic in the market.

The capsule, which opened Wednesday, contained three books, a cloth envelope with a photo and a coin of unknown origin, the only item that survived the water damage.

A work has been a guide for astronomers and navigators since 1875. But another was published in 1889, two years after the capsule was supposed to be buried, suggesting that another container of this type might be under the pedestal.

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“Tear” America’s History

The statue of General Lee in Richmond became the target of anti-racist protests in Minneapolis in May 2020 after the death of an African-American, George Floyd, who suffocated below the knee of a white police officer and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Another controversial equestrian statue of General Lee in Charlottesville sparked violence in the summer of 2017 when a white extremist went inside a crowd of anti-racist protesters and killed a young woman. At the time, Republican President Donald Trump believed that breaking the statues of southern officials was tantamount to “tearing apart” American history.

During the Civil War, the Southern Confederation fought to maintain slavery that had been abolished during the conflict in other parts of the country.

(Essential / AFP)

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