Monday, September 27, 2010

August 28th in History

Tiffany stained glass window of St. Augustine

  430    Death of Augustine of Hippo, North African saint and theologian (b. 354) Augustine lived in the Roman African Province which was at one time Carthage, and is now Tunisia.  He is considered a founding church father of Christianity and is considered the originator of the concepts of original sin and just war in church doctrine.

  489    Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths defeats Odoacer at the Battle of Isonzo, forcing his way into Italy. Both Theodoric and Odoacer were German invaders, marking the end of the Roman Empire, and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Acre crusader castle interior

1189     Third Crusade: the Crusaders begin the Siege of Acre under Guy of Lusignan, more of that conflict between Christian and Moslem political ambitions.
1521     The Ottoman Turks occupy Belgrade, part of the military, political and religious expansion of Islamic empire into Europe, in an ongoing conflict between Islamic and Christian political and territorial ambitions.

De Gama print

1542     Turkish-Portuguese War (1538-1557)   Battle of Wofla: the Portuguese are scattered, their leader Christov√£o da Gama is captured and later executed.  Christovao de Gama was the son of famous explorer Vasco de Gama.  The Battle of Wofla took place in Ethiopia, part of the ongoing conflict, see above.

1609     Henry Hudson discovers Delaware Bay.

1619    Ferdinand II is elected emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, a party to the Thirty Years War which involved most of the countries of Europe, and which changed colonial European empires.

1749    Birth of Johann Wolfgang Goethe, German poet, novelist, playwright and philosopher

Juniper Serra

1784    Death of Jun√≠pero Serra, born 1713, Spanish missionary responsible for founding an extensive chain of Spanish Roman Catholic missions in California, including the still-extant Mission San Juan Capistrano, the oldest building in California.  He was beatified in 1988.  Serra learned the language of the Pame Indians, and translated the catechism into their language.  During the American Revolutionary War, Serra took up a collection of $137.00, and sent it to George Washington.  Serra converted approximately 5,309 from 1770 to 1784.


1789    Sir Frederick William Herschel discovers a new moon of Saturn.  Herschel was born in Hanover, Germany, and emigrated to England as a child with his family because his father was a musician in the employ of George II when he ascended the throne of England.  George I of the house of Hanover ascended the English throne on the death of Queen Anne of England, the last of the Stuarts.  The German House of Hanover, which later gave us George III and the American Revolution, ascended to the English throne because while 50 potential monarchs were closer by blood to inherit, the Act of Settlement of 1701 prohibited Roman Catholics from being King or Queen of England.  William Herschel at first followed his father as a royal musician, before switching to astronomy where he became one of the most exceptional astronomers of his day.  He also wrote 24 symphonies, numerous concertos, and was an accomplished player of oboe, harpsichord, organ, violin and cello. Herschel's interest in mathematics, astronomy, and specifically lenses, led him to build his own reflecting telescopes for his astronomy, but also microscopes for the study of cellular structures.  Herschel was an extraordinary polymath and polyhistor, eventually in 1782 was appointed King's Astronomer.  His sister Caroline shared his interest in astronomy, and was one of the most successful female astronomers in a field dominated by men.

1830   The Tom Thumb presages the first railway service in the United States.  The 'Tom Thumb' was an early steam engine which helped steam engines become the primary form of rail power.

1845   The first issue of Scientific American magazine is published.

1859    A geomagnetic storm causes the Aurora Borealis to shine so brightly that it is seen clearly over parts of USA, Europe, and even as far away as Japan.

1867   The United States takes possession of the, at this point unoccupied, Midway Atoll. Midway Atoll is now an unincorporated territory of the United States, and was significant for the June 1942 naval Battle of Midway that was significant in turning the tide of WW II in the Pacific theater.


1879    Cetshwayo, last king of the Zulus, is captured by the British. This was part of the same Anglo-Zulu war Battle of  Roarke's Drift in the movie Zulu. He was nephew of the more well known Shaka Zulu.  The Zulus were part of the conflict between the English and the Dutch farmers and settlers in the Boer Wars that shaped the country which became South Africa.

first Pepsi poster

1898    Caleb Bradham renames his carbonated soft drink "Pepsi-Cola".  Bradham was a North Carolina pharmacist who experimented with creating soft drinks for his soda fountain, a part of his drug store.  The success led him to devote himself to the beverage business full time.  The artwork for his posters, right, was done by a neighbor.

1903    Birth of Bruno Bettelheim, American psychologist (d. 1990)
            Death of Frederick Law Olmsted, American landscape architect, designer of Central Park (b. 1822)
1914    World War I: the Royal Navy defeats the German fleet in the Battle of Heligoland Bight.
            World War I: German troops conquer Namur.

1916    World War I: Italy declares war on Germany, after having been neutral.  Italy had signed the Treaty of London in 1915, joining the 'Triple Entente' after having previously been part of the 'Triple Alliance with Germany and Austro-Hungary" known as the Central Powers in WW I.  It had been a specific alliance dating back to 1882, renewed in 1902, and in other forms, as the Holy Roman Empire before that.  What Italy got for secretly signing the Treaty of London was an expansion of their northern border into the Tirol area of the Alps, part of Austria and Hungary, parts of Slovenia and Croatia / Montenegro, a bunch of Greek Islands - the Dodecanese, part of Albania, parts of the Ottoman Empire, and parts of the German empire in Asia and Africa.  The pact was supposed to be kept secret, but after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia, it was published in Izvestia in November 1917.  More than 650,000 Italian soldiers died in WW I, the economy collapsed, and Italy only gained a very few border territories, not what was promised in the Treaty of London.  WW I and the Russian revolution directly contributed to the rise of the Fascists in Italy under Mussolini, and eventually to the politics that led to WW II.

1917    Ten Suffragettes are arrested while picketing the White House.  The term 'Suffragette' was intended to be derogatory, coined by the tabloid UK newspaper 'The Daily Mail' in the late 19th century.  It was originally applied to UK women who were attempting to gain the right to vote.  The action by Suffragettes in 1917 was in part to gain recognition for the support roles, both traditional and non-traditional, which women in the U.S. had assumed during WW I, as an illustration of women having the same competence and capability as their male counterparts.  Women in the UK gained the vote in 1918, while it was not changed in the U.S. until 1920; however, there were limitations on the UK rights of women to vote which did not become equal until 1928.

1924    The Georgian opposition stages the August Uprising against the Soviet Union.

1937    Toyota Motors becomes an independent company.

1953    Nippon Television broadcasts Japan's first television show, including its first TV advertisement.

1955    Black teenager Emmett Till is murdered in Mississippi, galvanizing the nascent American Civil Rights Movement.

1963    March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr. gives his I Have a Dream speech

Martin Luther King, "I Have a Dream Speech"
Whitmore, left;
Robles, right

            Emily Hoffert and Janice Wylie are murdered in their Manhattan flat, prompting the events that would lead to the passing of the Miranda Rights.  Known as the 'Career Girls' murder, an innocent man, George Whitmore, Jr. was accused of these murders and another attempted rape and murder.  Police misconduct in coercing a confession by beating Whitmore, led to the Miranda Rights guidelines being issued by the U. S. Supreme Court.  George Whitmore, Jr. was black; the actual murderer was a white drug dealer, Richard Robles.  This case was also significant in the ending of the death penalty in New York.

1964    The Philadelphia race riot begins.

1968    Riots in Chicago, Illinois, during the Democratic National Convention, over issues of race related in part to the assassination of Martin Luther King earlier in 1968, and in part as a protest against the Viet Nam War.

1981   The National Centers for Disease Control announce a high incidence of pneumocystis and Kaposi's sarcoma in gay men. These will soon be recognized as symptoms of an immune disorder, which will be called AIDS.

Jerry A. Whitworth

1986    United States Navy officer Jerry A. Whitworth is sentenced to 365 years imprisonment for espionage for the Soviet Union, along with another Navy officer, Chief Warrant Officer, John Anthony Walker, Jr. and his son Michael Walker. Walker and Whitworth spied for the soviets during the Cold War from 1968 to 1985.  They helped the Soviet Union decipher more than a million encrypted naval messages.  The New York Times described them as "the most damaging spy ring in history".

1990    Iraq declares Kuwait to be its newest province, leading to the subsequent Gulf War.

1991    Ukraine declares its independence from the Soviet Union.
            Collapse of the Soviet Union – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.

1996   Democrats nominated President Bill Clinton for a second term at their national convention in Chicago.

1998   Pakistan's National Assembly passes a constitutional amendment to make the "Qur'an and Sunnah" the "supreme law" but the bill is defeated in the Senate.

2003   An electricity blackout cuts off power to around 500,000 people living in south east England and brings 60% of London's underground rail network to a halt.

Mayor Ray Nagin in a LIFE magazine
photo from September 2005, with
Vice Admiral Thad Allen
of the U.S. Coast Guard (now known for
his efforts in the BP Oil spill disaster)

2005 New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered everyone in the city to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Katrina.
2008 Barack Obama accepted the Democratic presidential nomination with a speech at Invesco Field in Denver.

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