Monday, September 27, 2010

August 27th in History

contemporary bas relief of one of the
Persian 'Achamenid' Kings, probably
either Xerxes I or his father Darius I
from Persepolis

479 BC  In the Greco-Persian Wars, Persian forces led by Mardonius are routed by Pausanias, the Spartan commander of the Greek army in the Battle of Plataea.  This was part of the ancient wars between the city states of Greece and Perisa, first under the legendary Persian King, Darius, and later under his son Xerxes.  It was during the two separate invasions that the famous battles of Marathon, which they won, and Thermopylae, which they lost.  The army Battle of Plataea and the subsequent navy Battle of Mycale effectively ended 50 years of war between Greece and Persia.  It was the conquest of parts of Greece, and the establishment of Persian rulers over their occupation which gave rise to the word tyrant.  Interestingly, the word originally had a very different meaning from the later one, and simply indicated imposed outside authority as distinct from what the Greeks considered legitimate, native Greek authority rather than a term for a harsh  or abusive ruler.  It is the subject of some of the earliest recorded histories of the ancient world, principally by the 'Father of History", the ancient Greek Herodotus.  This is considered the Hellenic period of ancient Greece, meaning before Alexander the Great; the export of Greek philosophy, art, and language outside Greece, by Alexander and later, is encompassed by the word Hellenistic.  I would point out that the historic representations look nothing like the grotesque artistic liberties that have been taken in rendering the historic figures in modern film, video and other portrayals.
663   Battle of Baekgang: Remnants of the Korean Baekje Kingdom and their Yamato Japanese allies engage the combined naval forces of the Tang Chinese and Silla Koreans on the Geum River in Korea.  This is from the three kingdom era of Korea, Baekje and Silla were two of the the three (the third was Goguryeo), which lasted from 57 BC to 668.  Silla won, and established two new kingdoms, effectively an early North Korea, the Balhae Kingdom  and South Korea, the Silla Kingdom - although obviously not with a border defined by the 38th parallel.  Silla was actually more east, and Baekje more on the western side of the Korean peninsula.  After the Silla Kingdom defeated Baekgang, they subsequently defeated the other Kingdom in Korea, the Goguryeo. The expanded Silla Kingdom lasted until 935.  The Balhae Kingdom lasted from 698 to 926.

1172  Henry the Young King and Margaret of France are crowned as junior king and queen of England. Henry was the son of Henry II and Elinor of Aquitaine. He predeceased his father at the age of 28; his father was considered the 'senior king', the senior / junior king arrangement was a French tradition.  He was superseded by his brothers  King Richard the Lionheart, who was his next oldest brother; and Bad King John Lack-land, his youngest brother. Margaret was not originally crowned with her husband Young Henry - he never got a number of his own - so a second coronation was staged which included her. She was unable to provide heirs to Henry, was alleged to have had an affair with the famous knight Sir William Marshal, and subsequently became Queen of Hungary after she was no longer Queen of England, which entailed the return of the French province of the Vexin which had been her diary.

1538 Venus of Urbino

1577 – Death of Titian, Italian artist, aka Tiziano Vecelli, Venetian School painter of the Italian Renaissance. Noted for his use of color, his mastery of brushstroke, and fondness for painting women with a certain shade of auburn hair, sometimes referred to as 'titian'.  For a complete collection of his works, and an expansion on his life, see the Titian Foundation,

1689 – The Treaty of Nerchinsk is signed by Russia and the Qing empire, establishing a new Russian/Chinese border.
1776   The Battle of Long Island, in what is now Brooklyn, New York, British forces under General William Howe defeat Americans under General George Washington.  It was the first major battle of the American Revolution, and the largest.

1798   Wolfe Tone's United Irish and French forces clash with the British Army in the Battle of Castlebar, part of the Irish Rebellion of 1798, resulting in the creation of the French puppet Republic of Connaught, which lasted about 13 days.

1828  Uruguay is formally proclaimed independent at preliminary peace talks brokered by Great Britain between Brazil and Argentina during the Argentina-Brazil War.

1859   Petroleum is discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania leading to the world's first commercially successful oil well.

1896   Anglo-Zanzibar War: the shortest war in world history (09:00 to 09:45) between the United Kingdom and Zanzibar.

1916   Romania declares war against Austria-Hungary, entering World War I as one of the Allied nations.  It spent the first two years of WW I as a neutral country, and had previously been a signatory to treaties supporting the Central Powers, including Austro-Hungarian Empire.

1921   The British install the son of Sharif Hussein bin Ali (leader of the Arab Revolt of 1916 against the Ottoman Empire) as King Faisal I of Iraq.

1928   The Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing war is signed by the first fifteen nations to do so. Ultimately sixty-one nations will sign it. Also called the General Treaty for the Renunciation of War, it  didn't quite work out as planned, see WW II.  The initial signing countries were.. the United States, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy and Japan.  The Pact was named for U.S. Secretary of State, Frank B. Kellogg, and French foreign minister, Aristide Briand.

1939   First flight of the turbojet-powered Heinkel He 178, the world's first jet aircraft.

1962   The Mariner 2 unmanned space mission is launched to Venus by NASA.

1965   Death of Le Corbusier, Swiss architect (b. 1887) leading figure in the Modern Architectural movement known as the International style.  He was also an urban planner, painter, sculptor, writer, and furniture designer.  His nickname 'Corbusier' means crow like.  His actual name was Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris.

1969   Israeli commando force penetrates deep into Egyptian territory to stage a mortar attack on regional Egyptian Army headquarters in the Nile Valley of Upper Egypt.

1971  An attempted coup fails in the African nation of Chad. The Government of Chad accuses Egypt of playing a role in the attempt and breaks off diplomatic relations.

1979   An IRA bomb kills British World War II admiral Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma and 3 others while they are boating on holiday in Sligo, Republic of Ireland. Another bomb near Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland kills 18 British soldiers.

1982   Turkish military diplomat Colonel Atilla Altıkat is shot and killed in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada's capital. Justice Commandos Against Armenian Genocide claim responsibility, saying they are avenging the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

1990   Death of Stevie Ray Vaughan, American guitarist (b. 1954)

1991   The European Community recognizes the independence of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from the USSR.  Moldova declares independence from the USSR.

Ostankino fire

2000   540-metre (1,772 ft)-tall Ostankino Tower - tallest in Europe, and 4th tallest building in the world - in Moscow catches fire, three people are killed.  The fire started from outdated wiring; the fire shut down Moscow radio and television broadcasting, because of loss of the tower.

2003   Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, passing 34,646,418 miles (55,758,005 km) distant.

2007   Bluegrass Army Depot Sarin(GB) leak in Lexington, Kentucky. Officials reported the Sarin levels 85 times above the safe limit.  There was a second leak of the nerve gas in 2008.

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