Friday, September 24, 2010

July 13th in History

1787 the Northwest Ordinance is enacted by the Continental Congress in an ambitious attempt to set up rules for the admission of new states, and to limit the expansion of slavery in future northern states.  It referred to the Northwest Territory; not as in Pacific Northwest or Canadian Northwest.  The Lewis and Clark expeditions didn't figure out where those places were, or the location of the Pacific Ocean, on behalf of the United States, until 1804-6, nearly 20 years later.  France ceded the area to England as part of ending the French and Indian Wars in 1763 as part of the Treaty of Paris. The area had been ceded to the U.S. by England at the end of the American Revolutionary War, after Vincennes Indiana had  been captured by the Virginia Militia, in another Treaty of Paris - this one 1783.  However the Brits continued to hang around until after the War of 1812, which, instead of another Treaty of Paris, ended with the Treaty of Ghent. 
Bonus points geography points, if you know where Ghent is.  The 'old' Northwest Territory that was being handed around in all of these treaties in Europe, would later become Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the northeastern part of Minnesota up around Duluth.  George Rogers Clark, of the Virginia Militia claimed it for Virginia, having won it from the in battle fair and square.  Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut, planning on extending their western boundaries.  All of these states gave up their claims in the 1780s, out of fears by other states that they would become too big and have a disproportionate power in the new country.  All of which was purely theoretical, as the area was still largely inhabited by Brits, French and Native Americans, not citizens of the United States, a significant 'practical detail' when your claim exists only on paper.  Mega geography and history points if you know 1. where Rupert's Land was in relation to the Ol' Northwest Territory, and 2. who it was named after, and 3. who owned it.  This also ties in to the Burr conspiracy to set up his own monarchy 'way out west', so it is important to know who had it before we did and before Burr tried to get some of it.  It's also middling interesting to know how our country came to be our country, and when and how to join the original 13 colonies was established.  I find it intriguing that at this point in our history, no one had any idea where our final western borders, or the western edge of the continent, might be.

1793 Charlotte Corday stabs Jean Paul Marat to death, as he sits in his bath, writing, believing him an enemy of France for his role in the French Revolution.  Artist Jacques-Louis David then painted Marat, dead, in his tub. 

Many years later, Sir Kenneth Clark, born on this day, would lecture on these events in his series "Civilization" for the benefit of students of art and history, and art history (see below). 

 Also, on Modigliani, (see July 12th).

1878 - Treaty of Berlin.  The Balkans once again play musical chairs with whole countries.  The Ottoman Empire loses.

1903 - birth of Sir Kenneth Clark, Baron Clark, OM, CH, KCB, FBA, art historian and creator of the BBC series "Civilization".  He had some great quotes, "Opera, next to Gothic architecture, is one of the strangest inventions of western man.  It could not have been forseen by any logical process." and "Lives devoted to Beauty seldom end well." (I wonder if those devoted to beauty, small b, do better?)

1940 - birth of Sir Patrick Stewart, actor, who became famous, in part for his role in a  very popular science fiction series.

1942 - birth of Harrison Ford, actor, who became famous, in part, for his role in a very popular science fiction series.

Remember those Lumiere Brothers, from July 11th?

1943 - the end of the Battle of Kursk, the largest tank battle in history.

1967 Race-related rioting broke out in Newark, N.J.; 27 people died in four days of violence and 700 were injured.

2005 Former WorldCom Inc. boss Bernard Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years in prison for leading the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history.  

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