Saturday, September 25, 2010

July 22nd in History

1298   Wars of Scottish Independence: Battle of Falkirk; King Edward I of England and his longbowmen defeat William Wallace the Guardian of Scotland, and his Scottish schiltrons outside the town.
 His exploits inspired Sir Walter Scott  to write Exploits and Death of William Wallace in part.  Descendant Randall Wallace wrote the screenplay for the 1995 movie Braveheart based on his life which won 5 Academy Awards.  The tower at left is a monument in William Wallace's honor.

1376    Rat Catcher's Day celebrating the story of the Pied Piper of Hamlin, as dated by Robert Browning in his poem.  The Brother's Grimm used the date of June 26, 1284, which is the date of celebration by the German city of Hamlin.  Hamlin has a major Rat Catcher festival every 25 years, and still employs an official Rat Catcher.  The pied Piper took his name from his coat and scarf which were half, red on one side, and half yellow.

1587   Colony of Roanoke: a second group of English settlers arrive on Roanoke Island to re-establish the deserted colony.  Originally part of the Virginia colony, the island is now part of North Carolina  Sir Walter Raleigh received the Charter for the colony from Queen Elizabeth I of England, "the Virgin Queen".  The document gave him ten years to get the colony established, for the purpose of getting New World riches for England, and a base from which to launch naval raids on Spanish treasure fleets.  Raleigh never visited his own colony, or the continent of North America.  He did eventually go to South America looking for 'El Dorado'.  The first expedition sent by Raleigh were all soldiers, veterans of military action in Ireland.  In a conflict with the local Native Americans, they captured and burned to death the tribal chief.  Sir Francis Drake rescued the expedition on his return from raiding, taking them back to England when their supply ship was overdue.  The second expedition of 115 to establish the colony included women, one of whom gave birth to Virginia Dare almost a month after the colonists arrived.  The Spanish Armada of 1588 interrupted aid being sent to the colonists; when help was sent, the captains of the two ships decided they would rather attack Spanish ships, but instead had their own cargoes taken, and returned to England. Because of the Anglo-Spanish War, no one returned to supply the colonists for three years.  When ships did return, the colony had disappeared, with their settlement not only abandoned but dismantled, suggesting their departure was neither violent nor hurried.  All that was left was the word Croatoan carved on a post, and the letters CRO on a tree. The Croatoan were the local Native American tribe.  The mystery has produced many theories, but no conclusive explanation for the disappearance.  Theories include the colonists being absorbed into local Native populations,  Indian massacres, a Spanish massacre, and cannibalism by the colonists.

1686   Albany, New York is formally chartered as a municipality by Governor Thomas Dongan, 2nd Earl of Limerick.  Before his sojourn to the New World, he had led an adventurous life, including having been Lieutenant-Governor of Tangiers.  Dongan had been a member of the Irish Parliament earlier in his life, and was responsible for convening the first representative assembly in New York.  This various traditions of representative government became a powerful impetus to the American Revolution.

1793  Sir Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific Ocean becoming the first Euro-American to complete a transcontinental crossing of Canada. He marked the end of his journey by marking a stone.  Today the area is a park named in his honor.

1796   Surveyors of the Connecticut Land Company name an area in Ohio "Cleveland" after Gen. Moses Cleveland.  Cleveland was a part of the Connecticut convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution, and had been elected to the Connecticut Assembly.  That part of Ohio originally belonged to the new state of Connecticut.  The state of Connecticut sold the land to the Connecticut Land Company who surveyed it; he lead the surveying expedition and was a shareholder in the company.  Cleveland embodies many of the qualities of the patriots of the American Revolution; pictured, right.

1849 Birth of Emma Lazarus, poet, who wrote the words inscribed ont he Statue of Liberty.

1882 – Edward Hopper, American painter painter and print maker of the 'Ashcan' school, and did many of his most famous works during the Great Depression.  He was noted for his use of geometric elements in composition and his ability to create tension and relationships between the human subjects by their careful placement in relation to each other and their surroundings.  Above is his most famous painting, "Nighthawks".

1894 – First ever motorized racing event is held in France between the cities of Paris and Rouen. The race is won by Comte Jules-Albert de Dion. He was one of the founders of the French auto industry - and a notorious duellist.  Photo, right.

1933 – Wiley Post becomes the first person to fly solo around the world traveling 15,596 miles in 7 days, 18 hours and 45 minutes.  Post pioneered high altitude flight, and flight with an auto-pilot device and a radio directional finder.  Post died in a plane crash, accompanied by famous humorist Will Rogers who also died.

1934 – Outside Chicago's Biograph Theatre, "Public Enemy No. 1" John Dillinger is mortally wounded by FBI agents.  There is some disagreement about who was Public Enemy No.1 at any given time; it was known as the "Public Enemy Era". Dillinger had, ironically, been to see a movie starring Clark Gable and William Powell, titled "Manhattan Melodrama", described as a 'gang and gun' movie in the newspapers of the time.  Dillinger had undergone a face lift, and had his fingerprints removed with acid, and died his hair darker in an attempt to disguise his identity.There were so many plain clothes federal agents present in wait for Dillinger to emerge from the movie, that the theater manager thought something was wrong - and called police before the movie concluded. Dillinger was reported to have been reaching for a gun at the time he was shot and killed.  A woman with him, which history indicates wore a red dress, was a madam.  She gave the signal that prompted the FBI to launch their attack, another instance of criminals turning on each other.

1942    The United States government begins compulsory civilian gasoline rationing due to the wartime demands, which is as much or more about saving tire rubber as it is about the need for gasoline.
            Holocaust: the systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto begins.

1944   The Polish Committee of National Liberation publishes its manifesto, starting the period of Communist rule in Poland until 1989 with the election of Lech Walesa from the Solidarity movement.

1946   King David Hotel bombing: Irgun bombs King David Hotel in Jerusalem, headquarters of the British civil and military administration, killing 90. The Irgen was a zionist organization labelled as terrorists around the world in headlines.  The King David continues in business to this day as a prominent Jerusalem hotel despite the obvious extensive damage at the time.

1951  Dezik (Дезик) and Tsygan (Цыган, "Gypsy") were the first dogs to make a sub-orbital flight. Both dog survived the flight and were recovered unharmed.  Dezik made a second flight with another dog, but did not survive.  In the Soviet Union, prior to launching a human in space, a series of dogs were used rather than primates. The dogs wore pressure suits and acrylic bubble-style helmets. Tsygan was adopted out of the space program by a Soviet scientist.

1976  Japan completes its last reparation to the Philippines for war crimes committed in Japan's imperial conquest of the country in the Second World War.

1981  Turkish extremist Mehmet Ali Agca was sentenced in Rome to life in prison for shooting Pope John Paul II. (He served 19 years.)

1998  Iran tested a medium-range missile capable of reaching Israel or Saudi Arabia.

2002  Israel kills Salah Shahade, the Commander-in-Chief of Hamas's military arm, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

2003  Members of 101st Airborne of the United States, aided by Special Forces, attack a compound in Iraq, killing Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay, along with Mustapha Hussein, Qusay's 14-year old son, and a bodyguard.

2004  The Sept. 11 commission issued a report saying America's leaders failed to grasp the gravity of terrorist threats before the 9/11 attacks.

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