Monday, September 27, 2010

August 12th in History

First crusade
1099   First Crusade: in the Battle of Ascalon,  Crusaders under the command of Godfrey of Bouillon defeated Fatimid forces under Al-Afdal Hunch, ending the initial military actions of the First Crusade.

1164   Battle of Harim: Nur ad-Din Zangi defeats the Crusader armies of the County of Tripoli and the Principality of Antioch.  Clearly, even after the nominal crusade had ended,  battles continued. This specific battle had a direct effect on the subsequent eventual fall of Jerusalem, the Second Crusade, and the rise of an ethnic Kurdish leader, Saladin, one of the most important historic Muslim leaders.  Lessons of history should inform our expectations of additional military involvement in present conflicts.

Samuri Board Mongol Ship
in Hakata Bay 1281

1281   The fleet of Qubilai Khan is destroyed by a typhoon while approaching Japan.

1323   Treaty of Nöteborg between Sweden and Novgorod (Russia) regulates the border for the first time.

Cathedral of Otranto

1480   Battle of Otranto, Ottoman troops behead 800 Christians for refusing to convert to Islam.  The remains of many of the 800 - all men - remain in the Cathedral of Otranto.

1499   First engagement of the Battle of Zonchio between Venetian and Ottoman fleets.

1687   Charles of Lorraine defeats the Ottomans at the Battle of Mohács.

1833   Chicago is founded.

original Singer Sewing Machine 1851
patent model

1851   Isaac Singer is granted a patent for his commercial sewing machine.  The patent model and the 1854 patent model are in the collections of the Smithsonian, and this photos is from the Smithsonian.  Singer did not invent the sewing machine, he made improvements to the inventions of other people - as did a number of sewing machine inventors of his era.  What is more interesting than the invention itself of the sewing mahcine is the unprecedented pooling of patents by the group of these inventors as an alternative to sueing each other, that allowed them to market their inventions without litigation. That new approach to their respective patents and to doing business was more unique than any sewing machine or pattern. Singer made a fortune for his invention not only in commercial sewing, but by making a home-use model, which revolutionized home sewing in the United States.  Sometimes it is better not to follow your 'bliss'; Singer fancied himself an actor, not an inventor.  Included here because history is not only about who kills whom and other dramatic events.

1856 Birth of "Diamond Jim" Brady, American financier in the Gilded Age (d. 1917).  Brady earned his nickname from his habit of collecting precious gemstones.  He made his money in the railroad business, some of it more honestly, some less. He had a famously large appetite, and his autopsy revealed his stomach was six times normal size.  Famous actress and chanteuse, the volutpuous Lillian Russell was 'associated' with him over a span of forty years, adding to his notoriety.


1877   Asaph Hall discovers Deimos, the smaller of the two moons of Mars.

1881   Birth of Cecil B. DeMille, American film director (d. 1959)

Quagga, 1870
London Zoo

1883   The last quagga a sort of partially striped zebra like animal, dies at the Artis Magistra zoo in Amsterdam. They were one time a very abundant species.  Some 20+ stuffed specimens exist worldwide, from which DNA has been extracted, in the hopes of eventually recreating the breed.  At one time they existed in a number of zoos; Louis the XIV had one in his menagerie.

1886   Birth of Sir Keith Murdoch, Australian journalist and newspaper owner, father of Rupert Murdoch. (d. 1952)

1898, the Rough Riders
Atop San Juan Hill

1898   Armistice ends the Spanish-American War, formalized with the Treaty of Paris.  The U.S. took temporary control of Cuba, and long term control of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean, as well as Guam and the Philippines in the Pacific. Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders are reported charging up San Juan Hill.  Spain declared war on the U.S. on April 23rd; the U.S. declared war on Spain on April 25th - backdating it to be effective as of April 21st.
      The Hawaiian flag is lowered from Iolani Palace in an elaborate annexation ceremony and replaced with the American flag to signify the transfer of sovereignty from the Republic of Hawai`i to the United States.

1925   Birth of Norris McWhirter (d. 2004) and his brother Ross McWhirter (d. 1975), Scottish co-founders of the Guinness Book of Records.

1930   Birth of George Soros, Hungarian-American financier and political activist, bane of (some) conservatives.

1943    Alleged date of the first Philadelphia Experiment test on United States Navy ship USS Eldridge.

1944   Waffen SS troops massacre 560 people in Sant'Anna di Stazzema.
           Alençon is liberated by General Leclerc, the first city in France to be liberated from the Nazis by French forces.

1952   The Night of the Murdered Poets – thirteen most prominent Jewish intellectuals are murdered in Moscow.

1953   Nuclear weapons testing: the Soviet atomic bomb project continues with the detonation of Joe 4, the first Soviet thermonuclear weapon.

Echo 1

1960    Echo I, the first communications satellite, was built in Northfield, Minnesota, and launched on this date.  The Echo Project consisted of metallic satellite balloons that acted as as passive reflectors for microwave signals.

1964    South Africa is banned from the Olympic Games due to the country's racist apartheid policies.
            Charlie Wilson, one of the Great Train Robbers escapes from Winson Green Prison in Birmingham, England.

1968    L. Ron Hubbard establishes 'Sea Org' Day for church of scientology members.

1976    Between 1,000-3,500 Palestinians killed in the Tel al-Zaatar massacre, one of the bloodiest events of the Lebanese Civil War

Shuttle Enterprise test flight

1977    The first free flight of the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

1981    The IBM Personal Computer is released.

1982    Mexico announces it is unable to pay its enormous external debt, marking the beginning of a debt crisis that spreads to all of Latin America and the Third World.

1992    Canada, Mexico, and the United States announce completion of negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a mere ten years after the Latin America /Third World debt crisis.

1998 Swiss banks agreed to pay $1.25 billion as restitution to Holocaust survivors to settle claims for their assets.
         The California Supreme Court voided the nearly 4,000 same-sex marriages sanctioned in San Francisco earlier in the year.

2000    The Oscar class submarine K-141 Kursk of the Russian Navy explodes and sinks in the Barents Sea during a military exercise.

2004    New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey comes out publicly as a gay man.

2007    Bulk carrier M/V New Flame collides with newer double hulled oil tanker Torm Gertrud at the southernmost tip of Gibraltar, ending up partially submerged. Torm Gertrud is able to continue to port without any loss of oil.  The New flame breaks into two pieces, involving complex salvage operations.

No comments:

Post a Comment