PLAGUE                                                    1499                                                     PLANETS

Inca, Manco, as nominal sovereign of the empire, being careful to retain the real power in his own hands. In 153 5 he founded Lima as the capital of his new government. Two or three years later a fierce quarrel arose between Pizarro and Almagro, the latter claiming that he was the lawful governor of Cuzco and that he had not received his full share of the honors and riches to which he was entitled. This contest almost assumed the proportions of a civil war, and resulted in Almagro being captured and beheaded by Pizarro. But Almagro's followers, driven to desperation by the manner in which they were treated by Pizarro, formed a conspiracy against him. On June 26, 1541, he was attacked in his house and assassinated, his body being buried in the cathedral by stealth and at night. Plague, a term applied during the middle ages to all fatal epidemics but now restricted to a contagious fever prevailing at certain times and places epidemically. The general symptoms resemble those of other fevers — shivering, rise of temperature, pain in the head, back, limbs etc. Bleeding from the lungs, though rare in recent epidemics, was formerly regarded as a characteristic symptom of the "black death" in its most virulent form. About the second or third day the most distinctive features of the disease present themselves. These consist of glandular swellings, usually in the neck, armpits or groins; these generally break and lead to prolonged suppuration. The cause of the epidemic has never been determined. It certainly is very infectious, and the infection may be conveyed by clothes, bedding etc. as well as by direct contact with the sick. It also is the most destructive of all epidemics. The black death of 1348-50 is believed to have destroyed more than half the population of Europe. The first extensive outbreak of this disease was in the 6th century of our era, and devastated the whole Roman empire. It is supposed to have originated in Lower Egypt; but from this time frequent epidemics occurred in Europe. The last outbreak in England was in 1665, and was called the Great Plague of London. Nearly 100,000 persons perished in London alone during its ravages. Since the end of the 17 th century it has only twice visited western Europe; in 1704-14 it spread from Russia and Hungary as far as Sweden, Denmark and Bavaria; and in 1720-22, being introduced into Marseilles from Syria, it destroyed almost half the population there and spread through Provence. The last cases known in Egypt were in 1844, and since that date it has occurred more than once in Arabia, Tripoli, Persia, Mesopotamia and Russia.

Ptain'field, N. J., an attractive city in Union County on the Central Railroad of New Jersey, ten miles north of New Bruns-

wick and 25 west of New York City. It has many charming residences and is tastefully laid out. It has a public library, art-gallery, Muhlenberg Hospital and other civic and philanthropic institutions, and its school-system fits pupils for college entrance. Its manufatures embrace silks, gloves, safes, dynamos and other machines and a machine-tools works, together with large establishments for the manufacture of printing-presses. Population 20,550.

Plane'tree, the oriental plane, a native of Greece and the east, was planted by the Greeks and Romans as an ornamental tree, and for centuries the youth of Greece assembled under its shade in the groves of academies to receive lessons in philosophy. It is still planted for shade and ornament in the south of Europe, and there are no finer trees in London than its plane.

Plan'ets. If one observes the sky night after night he finds that practically all the stars maintain their relative positions; but there are certain heavenly bodies, besides the sun and moon, which form a striking exception to this general rule. There were five of these bodies known to the ancients who called them planets, the Greek word for wanderers. To these five bodies had been given the names of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Copernicus, by placing the sun at the center of the solar system, showed that Tellus, the earth, also belongs in this group. On March 13, 1781, Sir William Herschel discovered what he at first thought was a comet, but which within a year proved to be another planet, the one we now call Uranus. On September 23, 1846, an eighth planet, Neptune, was found by Galle at Berlin almost exactly at the point in the heavens where it had been predicted by Leverrier (a. v.) in France and by Adams in England, a discovery which is justly celebrated as the most brilliant achievement of modern astronomy. Besides these, nearly 500 smaller planets called asteroids were discovered during the 19th century. See Astronomy.

The following table, giving the distances and periods of the various planets, is taken from Young's General Astronomy:


Distance from Sun

Sidereal Period

Mercury Venus Earth Mars

0.387 0.723 1 .000 i-523

88 days 224.7

365 " 687 "

Mean Asteroid


3 to 8 years

Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune

5 ■202




11.9 years

29-5 84.0 " 164.8 "