Friday, September 24, 2010

July 16th in History

 622- Beginning of the Islamic calendar, also called the Arabic calendar, or the Hijri.
 It has 12 lunar months and 354 - 5 days and it is their year 1431 AH (Anno Hegirae). The calendar has a 'drift' of 11 to 12 days, so the months do not correspond to the same seasons each year. The current Islamic year ends on our December 6, 2010.

1212 – Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa: After Pope Innocent III called European knights to a crusade, forces of Kings Alfonso VIII of Castile, Sancho VII of Navarre, Pedro II of Aragon and Afonso II of Portugal for the "Reconquista" or reconquest of Muslim control of the Iberian peninsula into what became a number of small medieval kingdoms, which later developed into modern Spain and Portugal.

1216 – Pope Innocent III died.

1731 – Birth of Samuel Huntington, signer of the Declaration of Independence and president of the Continental Congress.

1749 – Birth of Cyrus Griffin, tenth and final president of the Continental Congress.

1790 – The District of Columbia is established as the capital of the United States.

1896 – Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, Hitler-era German physician and prominent advocate for the racial theory of eugenics (d. 1969)

1907 Birth of Orville Redenbacher, American agronomist and gourmet popcorn entrepreneur famous for his trademark bow ties. Known as the Popcorn King whose devotion to creating and promoting a fluffier, tastier popcorn. His interest in popcorn developed from growing it to earn extra spending money on the family farm in Indiana when he was young. In the 1940s, while operating a 12,000-acre farm where he was growing popcorn, Redenbacher and a friend, Charles Bowman collaborated with Purdue University in experimenting with hybrids. Some 30,000 hybrids later, they introduced gourmet popcorn, with Redenbacher's name and picture on the brand.

1918 – Czar Nicholas II, Emperor of all the Russias, King of Poland, Archduke of Finland, his family, the family doctor, their servants and their pet dog are shot by the Bolsheviks, who had held them captive for 2 months in the basement of a house in Ekaterinberg, Russia. To the left is the last known photo of him alive, after his 1917 abdication. After his death he was subsequently canonized as a saint in the Russian Orthodox church.

1935 – The world's first parking meter is installed in the Oklahoma capital, Oklahoma City. A small development which changed people's daily life.

1940, Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain, World War I hero, becomes prime minister of the Vichy government of France. In the photo at left, Petain is on the left across from Hitler.

Petain was famous for his defense of Verdun in WW I against the Germans had to surrender to Hitler in an attempt to protect what remained of France by cooperating . He was 84 years old. Leading the Free French in competition to be recognized as the legitimate France was Charles deGaulle, who had served with Petain in WWI. Despite his best efforts, Petain became little more than a figurehead until deGaulle retook France in 1944. Petain fled to Germany, but was returned for trial as a traitor. Petain was sentenced to death but deGaulle interceded for life in prison, in recognition of Petain's bravery and service in WWI. Petain died in prison at the age of 95.

1945 – World War II: The leaders of the three Allied nations, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Harry S Truman and leader of the Soviet Union Josef Stalin, meet in the German city of Potsdam to decide the future of a defeated Germany.

– Manhattan Project: The Atomic Age begins when the United States successfully detonates a plutonium-based test nuclear weapon at the Trinity site near Alamogordo, New Mexico.

1948 – The storming of the cockpit of the Miss Macao passenger seaplane, operated by a subsidiary of the Cathay Pacific Airways, marks the first aircraft hijacking of a commercial plane.

1969 – Apollo program: Apollo 11 is launched from appropriately named Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. Although he did not live to see it, sending a man to the moon, ahead of the Soviet Union in the 'space race' had been one of John F. Kennedy's dearest goals. Today in history is an explosive one, from pop corn, to atomic bombs, and rockets 'bursting in air' all the way to the moon.

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