Monday, September 27, 2010

August 30th in History

Ming Musketeers illustration

1363   Beginning date of the Battle of Lake Poyang; the forces of two Chinese rebel leaders— Chen Youliang and Zhu Yuanzhang—are pitted against each other in what is one of the largest naval battles in history, during the last decade of the ailing, Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty that had been founded by Kublai Khan and his Golden Horde.
  It was Kublai Khan who constructed the capital of China at Beijing, although he called it Dadu (not to be confused with the summer capital at Xanadu). There were three main groups separately struggling to defeat each other before they could defeat the Mongol Yuan forces, who themselves had as a larger group been weakened by factionalism.  In this battle, the Ming forces beat the Han forces, and after the subsequent defeat of the Yuan Dynasty, founded the Ming Dynasty which lasted from 1368 until 1644.  The Chinese had invented gunpowder somewhere in the 800's AD, and had used it against Kublai Khan, whom Marco Polo met in his travels.  In contrast, gunpowder had been used ineffectively at the Battle of Crecy in 1346 in western Europe, where it was still a relative novelty.  The military use in the accompanying illustration demonstrates the very different military use of gunpowder in the earlier era, between east and west.  By 1350,  some form of guns were equally prevalent in both east and west.

The Golden Temple

1574   Guru Ram Das became the Fourth Sikh Guru Master.  Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, founded in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan.  It was founded in the 15th century, and is monotheistic, teaching belief in a single, universal, non-anthropomorphic God, based on the teachings of eleven Gurus. He founded the sacred city of Sikhism, Amritsar, and the Golden Temple, the Harmandir Sahib.

folding screen painting of Edo Castle

1590  Tokugawa Ieyasu enters Edo Castle. Ieyasu was the Shogun in power at the time of the voyage of English navigator William Adams, the real life model for the fictional James Clavell character in the book and miniseries 'Shogun'.  Tokugawa Ieyasu founded the Tokugawa shogunate, which lasted from 1603 to 1868, is known as the Edo period of Japan's history, from the name of the city Edo (now Tokyo).

portrait of Capt. Bligh
HMS Bounty
1791  HMS Pandora sank after running aground on a reef the previous day on the Great Barrier Reef. The Pandora was sailing the Pacific looking for the mutineers and the HMS Bounty, and had captured 14 prisoners on the Island of Tahiti before sinking, losing 31 of the crew and 4 of the 14 prisoners to drowning. Captain Edward Edwards never found the sunken Bounty or Pitcairn Island, and the remaining mutineers.

Gabriel 'Prosser'

1797   Birth of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, English writer (d. 1851), author of Frankenstein in 1816.

1800   Gabriel Prosser organizes a slave rebellion in Richmond, Virginia.  Gabriel (he was not actually named Prosser) was a literate blacksmith slave.  He and 26 others in the rebellion were hanged; they never actually started the rebellion.
  Information was leaked before it took place.  Restrictions as a result of the almost-slave rebellion limited free blacks as well as the hiring out and educating of black slaves.

1835    Melbourne, Australia is founded, and renamed after William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourn in 1837.  The original city was founded by Dutch settlers from Tasmania, which had been named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, and then renamed Van Diemen's Land.  Melbourne had originally been called Bearbrass.  Queen Victoria declared Melbourne a city in 1847, and it became the capital of the colony of Victoria in 1851.  Today Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia.

Burgess Shale fossil

1909   Burgess Shale fossils discovered by Charles Doolittle Walcott, in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.  The fossils, mid-Cambrian, are some 505 million years old, and unique for preserving not only fossilized bone but also fossilizes soft tissue.  Walcott himself collected 65,000 fossil specimens in his 14 years of excavation.  It was not understood until the 1960's that these fossils couldn't be categorized into modern taxonomic classifications, and are distinctly unlike any known modern species.  For more information, see both the Smithsonian museum and the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation.

Fanny Kaplan

1918   Fanny Kaplan shoots and seriously injures Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin. This, along with the assassination of Bolshevik senior official Moisei Uritsky days earlier, prompts the decree for Red Terror.  Kaplan hit Lenin in the jaw and shoulder, and he is thought never to have fully recovered; it is possible that the lack of medical care Lenin received at the time of his injuries contributed to his death from strokes later.  The 'Red Terror' was an official campaign of mass executions and arrests, and subsequent imprisonment of anyone suspected of counter-revolutionary sympathies.  It was an opposition move specifically to counter the earlier 'White Terror' anti-Revolutionary similar mass violence.

1945   Hong Kong is liberated from Japan by British Armed Forces. Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, and General Douglas MacArthur lands at Atsugi Air Force Base.

1962   Japan conducts a test of the NAMC YS-11, its first aircraft since the war and its only successful commercial aircraft from before or after the war.

1963    Hotline between the leaders of the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union goes into operation.

Justice Marshall

1967   Thurgood Marshall is confirmed as the first African American Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

1974   A powerful bomb explodes at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries headquarters in Marunouchi, Tokyo, Japan. 8 killed, 378 injured. Eight left-wing activists are arrested on May 19, 1975 by Japanese authorities.

1984   The Space Shuttle Discovery takes off on its maiden voyage.

1995   NATO launches Operation Deliberate Force against Bosnian Serb forces.

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