Monday, September 27, 2010

August 17th in History

Davy Crockett
1786   Birth of Davy Crockett, folk hero, American frontiersman, congressman for Tennessee, soldier and raconteur (d. 1836). Crockett was so angry with the policies of President Andrew Jackson over the Indian Removal Act which forced Native Americans to be moved to the west of the United States so that land grabs could be made in their indigenous tribal areas, that he left the United States entirely and moved to Texas.  Texas at the time was a separate country - see earlier days in history here for the item on swapping with Spain, giving up our claims to Texas in exchange for Florida, and then having a nasty little war to ship the Seminole Indians out of southern states, including Florida.  Crockett subsequently died at the Alamo.  Spain hadn't been able to hold on to Mexico when Mexico staged their own revolution; and Mexico wasn't able to hold on to Texas, when Texas staged a revolution.  The difference was that the Texas revolution was not of native Mexicans, but rather one of immigrants from other places - notably the U.S.

Fulton's first steamboat

1807   Robert Fulton's first American steamboat leaves New York City for Albany, New York on the Hudson River, inaugurating the first commercial steamboat service in the world, a kind of paddle boat, .  In 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte had commissioned him to design the Nautilus, the first submarine, named for the French author Jules Verne's science-fictional submarine.  Not an unrelated interest, as the early steamboats had a tendency to sink easily.  Fulton's first steamship, a paddle boat patterned on one he had seen in France created by another inventor, operated on the Seine, before Fulton returned to America to make the innovations which made steamboat river travel a commercial success.  Fulton married the daughter of his partner, Robert Livingston, U. S. Ambassador to France, whom he met while he was in France.

Fort Sumter, interior view,
in 1864, taken by  a
Confederate photographer

1862   The Lakota (Sioux) Dakota War of 1862 begins in Minnesota as Lakota warriors attack white settlements along the Minnesota River.

1863   American Civil War: In Charleston, South Carolina, Union batteries and ships bombard Confederate-held Fort Sumter.  Fort Sumter fired the shots which began the military conflict of the Civil War.

1907   Pike Place Market, the longest continuously-running public farmers market in the US, opened in Seattle.

image from Fantasmagorie

1908   Fantasmagorie, the first animated cartoon, realized by Émile Cohl, is shown in Paris.

1915   Jewish American Leo Frank is lynched for the alleged murder of a 13-year-old girl in Marietta, Georgia.

1943   First Québec Conference of Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and William Lyon Mackenzie King begins.

1947  The Radcliffe Line, the border between Union of India and Dominion of Pakistan is revealed.

Norm Coleman

1950   Birth of Norm Coleman, former Senator from Minnesota, and controversial opponent to Senator Al Franken who defeated him in the 2008 election.  Challenges to the election results concluded in the State Supreme Court after a protracted period of litigation.

1953   Addiction: First meeting of Narcotics Anonymous in Southern California.

1959   Quake Lake is formed by the magnitude 7.5 1959 Yellowstone earthquake near Hebgen Lake in Montana.

1959   Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, the much acclaimed and highly influential best selling jazz recording of all time, is released.

Peter Fechter, 1962

1962   East German border guards kill 18-year-old Peter Fechter as he attempts to cross the Berlin Wall into West Berlin becoming one of the first victims of the wall.  The Berlin Wall became a flash point for the Cold War conflicts.

1970   Venera Program: Venera 7 launched. It will later become the first spacecraft to successfully transmit data from the surface of another planet (Venus).

Double Eagle II
1978   Double Eagle II becomes first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean when it lands in Miserey near Paris, 137 hours after leaving Presque Isle, Maine.

1982   The first Compact Discs (CDs) are released to the public in Germany.

George Gershwin, left;
Ira Gershwin, right

1983   Death of Ira Gershwin, American lyricist, born Israel Gershovitz in 1896, brother and musical collaborator with George Gershwin.

Hess in 1930

1987   Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler's inner circle, died at Spandau prison in West Berlin at age 93, having apparently committed suicide by strangling himself with an electrical cord. He had been the only inmate at Spandau for 21 years.

1988   Pakistani President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel are killed in a plane crash.

1998   Monica Lewinsky scandal: US President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony that he had an "improper physical relationship" with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. On the same day he admits before the nation that he "misled people" about his relationship.

2005  Israeli security forces began the forcible removal of Jews from four settlements in the Gaza Strip.
          Over 500 bombs are set off by terrorists at 300 locations in 63 out of the 64 districts of Bangladesh

2009   The Magna Carta for Women enters into force, allowing further protection for the women in the Philippines.

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