Monday, September 27, 2010

August 29th in History

Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama

1498   Vasco da Gama decided to leave Calicut in southwest India, and returned to Portugal.    Portuguese trade and imperial expansion encountered conflict with the rival Ottoman Empire in the Indian Ocean and around  the Horn of Africa for control of trade routes with India.

Ottoman Navy in the Indian Ocean

1521   The Ottoman Turks capture Nándorfehérvár, now known as Belgrade.

1526   Battle of Mohács: The Ottoman Turks led by Suleiman the Magnificent defeat and kill the last Jagiellonian king of Hungary and Bohemia  The Jagiellonian dynasty were kings of Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, and Bohemia.  Hungary was divided between the Austrian Habsburgs, the Principality of Transylvania, and the Ottoman Empire.  A modest soul, Suleiman held the impressive titles "Imperial Majesty, Grand Sultan, Commander of the Faithful, Successor of the Prophet of the Lord of the Universe,  Protector of the Holy Cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem,  Emperor of the Three Cities of Constantinople, Adrianople and Bursa, and of the Cities of Damascus and Cairo, and went on to a longer laundry list of countries - Serbia, Bosnia, Albania, Greece, somewhere called Bogdania, Turkistan, Circassia, Georgia, and too many others to list here fully. Suleiman the Magnificent had advanced as far west as Vienna, most of the middle east, and northern Africa as far west as Algeria.  His navy dominated not only the Mediterranean, but as far south and east as the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.  Suleiman was a polymath, spoke four languages (Persian, Arabic, Serbian, and Uighur Turkish).  This was the height of the Ottoman Empire, and the push west and north into Europe.  He drove the Knights of Rhodes out of their island fortress, relocating to Malta.

1533 The last Incan king, Atahualpa, was murdered on orders from Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro.

1541  The Ottoman Turks capture Buda, the capital of the Hungarian Kingdom, half of Buda Pest.  Buda was named for the nephew of Attila the Hun, Bleda aka Buda the Hun, part of the 'Great Migration' from central Asia into Europe that finished off the ancient Roman Empire.  The capture of Buda was a further expansion eastward by the Moslem Turkish empire.

John Locke

1632    Birth of John Locke, English philosopher, physician, and empiricist, died 1704.  He was known as the Father of Liberalism,  one of the principle advocates for the Enlightenment concept of government as a social contract between the governed and their government. His ideas were central to the Declaration of Independence.  He also originated the theory of mind as a basis for a sense of individual identity and awareness or consciousness, and was intrigued by the relationship of the human mind to the human body.   Politically, Locke was a strong advocate for separation of church and state.

1655   Warsaw falls without resistance to a small force under the command of Charles X Gustav of Sweden during The Deluge.

1769   Death of Edmund Hoyle, English author and teacher, and famous compiler of the rules for card games. (b. 1672)

1786  Shays' Rebellion, an armed uprising of Massachusetts farmers, begins in response to high debt and tax burdens.

1831   Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction.

1833   The United Kingdom legislates the abolition of slavery in its empire.

1842   Treaty of Nanking signing ends the first Opium Wars, giving Hong Kong to England, and opening 5 ports to international trade with Europe and the U.S.  The Treaty was one of the 'unequal' treaties imposed on Asian countries by European countries expanding their colonial empire.  England, in an effort to reduce trade imbalances created by the Chinese monopoly on exporting their tea, began growing opium in India specifically to send to China where the problems of opium use, and abuse, expanded dramatically.  Attempts to prevent drug addiction in China by ending the opium trade failed.  An estimated 2 million Chinese had become addicted.  The illegal opium trade was effectively and enthusiastically supported through the UK military backing of the East India Company.  The first and second Opium Wars, and drug addiction profits, have interesting parallels in modern 'drug wars', including the origins of growing opium poppies in places like Afghanistan.

1885   Gottlieb Daimler patents the world's first motorcycle.

1891   Death of Pierre Lallement, inventor of the bicycle

1907  The Quebec Bridge collapses during construction, killing 75 workers.

1910    Japan changes Korea's name to Chōsen and appoints a governor-general to rule its new colony.

1916    The United States passes the Philippine Autonomy Act.

1936    Birth of  John McCain, American politician.

1944    Slovak National Uprising takes place as 60,000 Slovak troops turn against the Nazis.

1949    Soviet atomic bomb project: The Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb, known as First Lightning or Joe 1, at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.

1957   Sen. Strom Thurmond, D-S.C., ended the longest filibuster in Senate history after talking for 24 hours, 18 minutes against a civil rights bill.

1981   Death of Lowell Thomas, American writer and pioneer broadcaster (b. 1892)

1991   Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union suspends all activities of the Soviet Communist Party.

2005   Hurricane Katrina devastates much of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, killing more than 1,836 and causing over $80 billion in damage.

2007   United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident: six US cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads are flown without proper authorization from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Base.

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