Monday, September 27, 2010

August 23rd in History

Pompeii fresco of Vesuvius
c. 79 AD

   79   Mount Vesuvius begins stirring, on the feast day of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire; the subsequent eruption destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum. 
 The eruption changed the course of the Sarno river, and altered the coastline.  Both towns were abandoned until Pompeii was accidentally rediscovered in the 1590s while workmen were trying to dig a trench to divert the Sarno river, and then hey covered up the ruins again.  And rediscovered a second time by accident, in 1738 for Herculaneum, and 1748 for Pompeii.  Vesuvius is still an active volcano, a potential danger to the 3,000,000 inhabitans in and around Naples, Italy which make it the most densely populated volcanic region world-wide.

1514   Battle of Chaldiran ended with a decisive victory for the Sultan Selim I, Ottoman Empire, over the Shah Ismail I, Safavids founder. This was the opening salvo in a 125 year conflict between the Persians and the Turks.  Mentioned here because it is important to be aware that Islamic countries have never been politics, geography, language or religion.

1555   Calvinists are granted rights in the Netherlands; part of the second 'phase' of the Protestant Reformation.

St. Bartholomew's Day massacre

1572   Roman Catholic mob violence against Huguenots (French Calvinists) in Paris, called theSt. Bartholomew's Day massacre as part of an eradication attempt allegedly instigated by Catherine de Medici which included political assassinations. Death tolls from violence nationwide are estimated as high as 30,000.  All part of the French Wars of Religion.

1708   Meidingnu Pamheiba is crowned King of Manipur.  He converted to Hinduism, and made it the state religion, although many of his subjects were Buddhists and Moslems.

George III

1775   King George III declares that the American colonies exist in a state of open and avowed rebellion. A little less than a year later the American colonies issued the Declaration of Independence, making it official, and agreeing with King George that they were in open and avowed rebellion.

1784   Western North Carolina (now eastern Tennessee) declares itself an independent state under the name of Franklin; it wasn’t accepted into the United States, and only lasted for four years.

1799   Napoleon leaves Egypt for France en route to seize power, naming himself First Consul, then Emperor.  Approximately 1,000,000 Frenchmen died in the subsequent Napoleonic Wars.

1839   The United Kingdom captures Hong Kong as a base as it prepares for war with Qing China. The ensuing 3-year conflict will later be known as the First Opium War.

First Philippine Republic

1896   First Cry of the Philippine Revolution is made in Pugad Lawin (Quezon City), in the province of Manila, beginning the effective secession of the Philippines from Spain. There are some indications that this was encouraged if not actually incited by the U.S. through Admiral Dewey. The First Philippine Republic was formed, but no one seemed to notice; it was largely unacknowledged by other countries, notably Spain and the U.S.  The U.S. and Spain were at war in the 1898 Spanish - American War, the conclusion of which gave the Philippines to the U.S., in the 1898 Treaty of Paris.  This led to the disestablishment of the Roman Catholic church as the official religion, and switched the official language to English. It also started the Philippine - American War. The First Philippine Republic lost, but the country was promisedd autonomy in 1916, allowed autonomy in 1934, and given full independence after WW II in 1946.

1914  World War I: Japan declares war on Germany and bombs Qingdao, China.

1923   Capt. Lowell Smith and Lt. John P. Richter performed the first mid-air refueling on De Havilland DH-4B, setting an endurance flight record of 37 hours.

1926 Silent film star Rudolph Valentino died at age 31.

1929   Hebron Massacre during the 1929 Palestine riots: Arab attack on the Jewish community in Hebron in the British Mandate of Palestine, continuing until the next day, resulted in the death of 65-68 Jews and the remaining Jews being forced to leave the city.

1939   World War II: Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression treaty, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. In a secret addition to the pact, the Baltic states, Finland, Romania, and Poland are divided between the two nations. (see below, 1989)

1942   World War II: Beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad.
           World War II: The last cavalry charge in history takes place at Izbushensky.

1944    World War II King Michael of Romania dismisses the pro-Nazi government of General Antonescu, who is arrested. Romania switches sides from the Axis to the Allies.

1948    World Council of Churches is formed.

1951   Birth of Dowager Queen Noor of Jordan, as Lisa Najeeb Halaby, in Washington D.C.

1958   Chinese Civil War: The Second Taiwan Strait crisis begins with the People's Liberation Army's bombardment of Quemoy.

1966   Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.

1977   The Gossamer Condor wins the Kremer prize for human powered flight.

1985    Hans Tiedge, top counter-spy of West Germany, defects to East Germany.

1989    Hungary: the last communist government open the Iron curtain and causes the exodus of thousands of Eastern Germans to West Germany via Hungary (September 11).

1989    Singing Revolution: two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stand on the Vilnius-Tallinn road, holding hands (Baltic Way), leading to the independence of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania from the Soviet Union after being annexed in 1940.
            Yusuf Hawkins, an African-American teenager, was shot dead after he and his friends were confronted by white youths in a Brooklyn neighborhood.

Saddam with Hostages

1990   Saddam Hussein appears on Iraqi state television with a number of Western "guests" (actually hostages) to try to prevent the Gulf War. It didn't work.
            Armenia declares its independence from the Soviet Union.
            West Germany and East Germany announce that they will reunite on October 3.

'Lieutenant' Bullard

1994   Eugene Bullard, The only black pilot in World War I, is posthumously commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.  Better late than never,

declassified and redacted
 CIA memo, Dec. 4, 1998,
accessible from Wikipedia
and other sites on-line
(see Osama bin Laden footnote 72)

1996   Osama bin Laden issues message entitled 'A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places.'  An appropriate event to remember, in the discussion of the NOT ground zero, NOT a Mosque controversy.  Bin Laden followed up his declaration with two simultaneous U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, putting him on the FBI's most wanted list. On December 4, 1998, the director of the CIA reported to President Clinton, that al-Queda was preparing attacks on the US, including training personnel to hijack aircraft.  During this time both Saudi and other governments were attempting to assassinate bin Laden, or to capture him,  in response to threats and attacks.

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