Saturday, September 25, 2010

July 23rd in History

 636  Arabs gain control of most of Palestine from Byzantine Empire, in the Byzantine-Arab wars that spanned from the 7th to the 12th century.  These wars were one of the fundamental reasons for the expansion of the religion and politics of Islam into their current position in the middle east.
 At some points this led to Muslim conquest as far east as parts of Italy and Sicily.  It was an important factor in the subsequent launch off the many crusades. (You didn't think the crusades just started for no reason did you?)  These events directly influenced the modern status quo, and for that reason deserve to be better known and better understood.  Above is a depiction of a naval battle.

1148 Crusaders attack Damascus, and the conflicting expansion of Christianity and Islam across history and geography continues. 

1253 Jews are expelled from Vienne, France by order of Pope Innocent III, who turns up a lot in 'day in history' items.  This is not an isolated event, and is an important historic context for understanding 20th and 21st century history. 

1298 Rindfleish Persecutions-Jewish community Wurzburg, Germany annihilated.  This is also not an isolated event, and is an important historic context for understanding 20th and 21st century history.  

1827 - The first swimming school in the U.S. opened in Boston, MA. Actually, the first lesson proved interesting: A student was suspended from a pole on a rope while “learning the use of his limbs.” Famous people who were former students: John Quincy Adams, James Audubon.

1888   Birth of Raymond Chandler, American-born author and creator of the fictional detective Philip Marlowe.  Chandler turned his hand to many jobs before he began writing, from civil servant, to tennis-racket stringer, to reporter, to book-keeper and oil executive.  Once he did finally begin writing, he met with both popular and critical success, and went on to be a movie screenwriter.  He also wrote everything from magazine articles and short stories, to full novels.  In The Big Sleep, Marlowe was most famously portrayed by Humphrey Bogart, opposite Lauren Bacall.  Many other actors went on to play Chandler characters, some famous, some less so.  Raymond Chandler continues to be one of the most famous mystery authors of all time, and was influenced the entire genre.

1914 – Austria-Hungary issues an ultimatum to Serbia demanding Serbia to allow the Austrians to determine who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Serbia rejects those demands and Austria declares war on July 28, beginning World War I.  In the conflict from 1914 to 1918, more than 70 million military personnel were mobilized. There were more than a dozen countries on the allied or 'Entente' side, as it was called in this conflict, including Japan.  On the opposite side, there were only four countries / empires on the  'Central Powers' side.  The war included military campaigns in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The war included the usual atrocities, instances of genocide and ethnic cleansing, and war crimes.  It was concluded by the Treaty of Versailles. The map of Europe was irrevocably changed; 8 million soldiers died, 7 million were permanently disabled, another 15 million were seriously injured.  An estimated 7 million civilians died from starvation and diseases like the 1918 flu epidemic that were directly or indirectly a result of the war.  The Balfour Declaration created a Jewish Homeland in Palestine, and the conflict resulted in the League of Nations which eventually evolved into the United Nations.

1929 – The Fascist government in Italy bans the use of foreign words.

1936 – In Catalonia, Spain, the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia is founded through the merger of socialist and communist parties, and becomes a party to one side of the Spanish Civil War against the Spanish Fascists, the Falange.  Pablo Picasso, himself a Spaniard, was inspired by these events of this conflict to produce what is generally considered his finest and most famous works, Guernica.

1942   The Holocaust: The Treblinka extermination camp is opened.  Treblinka I was a forced labor camp; Treblinka II was an extermination camp.

1944  Conference of Bretton Woods signed; IMF operations begin.  There were 44 nation involved.  In the photo at right are the chief American representative, Harry Dexter White, and the famous John Maynard Keynes, of Keynesian economic fame.

1962   Telstar relays the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite.

1967   12th Street Riot: In Detroit, Michigan, one of the worst riots in United States history begins on 12th Street in the predominantly African American inner city (43 killed, 342 injured and 1,400 buildings burned).

1968   Glenville Shootout: In Cleveland, Ohio, a violent shootout between a Black Militant organization led by Ahmed Evans and the Cleveland Police Department occurs. During the shootout, a riot begins that lasted for five days.

1972   The United States launches Landsat 1, the first Earth-resources satellite.

1992   A Vatican commission, led by Joseph Ratzinger, establishes that it is necessary to limit rights of homosexual people and non-married couples. Ratzinger subsequently became the current pope, Benedict XVI.

1995    Comet Hale-Bopp is discovered and becomes visible to the naked eye nearly a year later.
             In Alaska BP America has agreed to pay an additional $20 million in Back taxes to the state of Alaska , this is on top of an earlier settlement to the state in 1993 of $650 million.
Which is interesting, as they apparently also had to pay $379 million in back taxes to Alaska for 2000-2002.
It puts the escrow fund amounts into an interesting perspective.

1997   Digital Equipment Company files antitrust charges against chip maker Intel.

1999   With the launch of the space shuttle Columbia, Eileen Collins becomes the first woman to command a U.S. shuttle flight.

2003   The Massachusetts attorney general report claims clergy members and others in the Boston Archdiocese possibly sexually abused more than 1,000 children over sixty years.

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