551 B.C: Birth of Chinese philosopher Confucius (d.479 B.C.). ,his teachings and philosophy are still influential in China and East Asia today, and include the importance of a virtuous life, Filial piety, Ancestor worship,Teachers, the necessity for benevolent and frugal rulers, Knowledge, benevolence, loyalty, and virtue, Self-cultivation, the ability of human effort to shape its own destiny, Mastery of classical ritual and musical forms
622 A.D.: Traditional date of Mohammad’s first arrival in Medina, after being driven out of his hometown in Mecca.
935 A.D: Death of Prince Wenceslaus I (b. circa 907 A.D.), at the hand of his brother. Wenceslaus was the first Christian king of the Czechs, resisting multiple attempts to re-convert him to the local Bohemian paganism. He was the founder of the rotunda at Prague Castle, now consecrated as St. Vitus Cathedral. At his death his remains were interred in the rotunda, and after his elevation to sainthood, they became holy relics on display. The photo shows his skull being honored as part of the celebration of the Czech Republic’s national day, which corresponds with the day of his martyrdom.
1529: The army of the Ottoman Turks, led by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, opens the Siege of Vienna with the objective of pulling that capital city and its vassal states into the Ottoman Empire. Although the siege itself failed during this campaign, the Ottomans remained a significant threat to Hapsburg Germany’s continued rule over the eastern approaches of the Holy Roman Empire. The Turks were finally and conclusively thrown back into the southern Balkans and Anatolia at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. When you hear people talking about the rising Muslim tide reaching to the Gates of Vienna, this is what they’re talking about.
1555: Emperor Charles V ratifies the Peace of Augsburg, which formalizes for the first time the principle of CUIUS REGIO, EIUS RELIGIO (lit: “Whose realm, his religion”). Before you ask “so what?” you should know that this principle, and the treaty in which it was expressed, provided the intellectual underpinnings for what will eventually become freedom of religious conscience in Western thought. It recognized, at least within the Holy Roman Empire, that many of the princes of the realm legitimately believed the new Lutheran theology, and that while their political differences with the Empire would remain, the spiritual reality that launched the Protestant Reformation demanded some kind of accommodation for the sake of peace.The Peace of Augsburg thus allowed for two different Christian denominations (Lutheran and Roman Catholic) to function within the Empire, based on the chosen religion of the Prince. For the Subjects themselves, it also permitted migration to a principality that suited their own religious beliefs. Of note, none of the other Reformed religions of the day (Calvinists and Anabaptists, among others) were included in this treaty.
1641: The British merchant ship Merchant Royal founders at sea and sinks off of the coast of Cornwall, with a cargo of £100,000 of gold, 400 bars of Mexican silver, and 500,000 pieces of eight. It has never* been found.
1664: As part of the run up to the Second Anglo-Dutch War, four British frigates array themselves off the shoreline of Nieu Amsterdam and demand the surrender of the city. Governor Peter Stuyvesant agrees, and the British take control of the strategic seaport for the first time.
1774: Birth of John Chapman, more popularly known as Johnny Appleseed (d.1845), American missionary and nurseryman who spread the Gospel and apple trees throughout the Old Northwest during the early years of the United States.
1780: Arrest of British major John Andre, General Clinton’s primary aide-de-camp, who coordinated Benedict Arnold’s treasonous surrender of West Point. Andre was captured inside American lines while wearing civilian clothes, along with Arnold’s handwritten copy of the defensive plan for the fort tucked into his stockings. Andre was tried and convicted as a spy, and with the bitter memory of Nathan Hale (9/22) still fresh, was sentenced to be hanged by the neck until dead instead of being shot like a soldier.
1789: Samuel Osgood is appointed the first United States Postmaster General. This day also sees the confirmation of the first Secretary of State, Chief Justice of the United States, and United States Attorney. How’d all that happen at the same time? Simple: he and all the other confirmations were a direct result of the recently concluded ratification of the U.S. Constitution in March of 1789. Osgood’s confirmation, and the confirmation of many others of George Washington’s cabinet took this long to get through the unprecedented first actions of the new Congress.
1806: Leaders of the 1803 Corps of Discovery, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, arrive in Saint Louis three years after their westward departure, completing their epic exploration and recording of the United States’ new Louisiana Territory.
1845: In New York, the Knickerbockers Baseball Club is formed, becoming the nation’s first professional baseball team. I think there is still an active team or two in the city, but it is hard to tell sometimes.
1846: Under the leadership of General Zachary “Old Rough and Ready” Taylor, the U.S. Army captures Monterrey, Mexico in the first large-scale urban battle of the Mexican War.
1861: Birth of Robert Bosch (d.1942), who came into prominence in the nascent automobile industry with his invention of a dependable magneto for spark plug ignition. He continued to invent and manufacturer a line of the highest quality electrical equipment in his Stuttgart plant. Today, the company that bears his name has added retail electrical tools and equipment to its product line.
1890: Congress authorizes the establishment of Sequoia National Park in California.
1894: Birth of Lothar von Richthofen (d.1922), Manfred’s little brother, and a fighter ace in his own right with 40 confirmed kills.
1895: Death of Louis Pasteur (b.1822), one of the great minds of micro-biology, who helped develop and later proved the germ theory of disease, and whose name is forever attached to the process of ensuring milk and wine do not carry their traditional threat of illness. He also created the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax.
1897: Birth of Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner William Faulkner (d.1962).
1898: Birth of Jacob Gershowitz, better known as George Gershwin (d.1937), composer of Rhapsody in Blue.
1900: Birth of Ruhullah Khomeini (d.1989), architect of the Iranian Revolution and the first leader (rahbar) of the Islamic republic established in 1979.
1903: Derailment of the Southern Railway’s “Old 97” at the Stillhouse trestle near Danville, Virginia. The engineer was trying to make up an hour and a quarter delay to get the mail in on time down in Spencer, North Carolina. They didn’t make it. The speeding train jumped the track on the turn leading to the trestle and plunged into the canyon below, killing 9 of the 18 men on board. The locomotive was re-built after the wreck and served until 1932.
1918: Opening guns of the Muse-Argonne Campaign, the final Allied push against the Hindenburg Line, and the largest American battle in the Great War. Between this day and the armistice on November 11th, this continuous eight-week battle created 117,000 American casualties, the highest butcher’s bill of any battle in American history.
1929: Air racer Jimmy Doolittle becomes the first pilot to takeoff, navigate and land an aircraft without reference outside the cockpit, using artificial horizon and navigation instruments he helped develop. The development of dependable instrument flying capabilities and procedures- pioneered by Doolittle– remains the single most important development in aviation since 1903.
1939: Death of Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud (b.1856), who gave us such useful tools such as: the Freudian Slip; the use of free-association as a means to identify the relationship between the unconscious self and conscious actions; the Id and super-ego; the Oedipus Complex.
1939: A month into Germany’s invasion of Poland, the Nazi and Soviet governments publicly agree to divide the country between themselves.
1941: Launch of the SS Patrick Henry, the first of 2,751 Liberty Ships built between 1941 and 1945. Shown below: SS John W. Brown, one of two remaining operational Liberty ships. Brown is on display up in Baltimore. The other one is SS Jeremiah O’Brien at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Warf, which makes annual charity cruises around SF Bay. Her engine room was used as part of the set for the movie Titanic.
1944: The final day of Operation Market Garden, a massive and bold Allied attempt to capture the Dutch bridges crossing the Meuse, Waal and Lower Rhine Rivers, particularly the bridges at Arnhem. Between the complexity of the multi-pronged assault, the unavailability of supporting fires (sounds more than a little like JDO (FYI- that’s an ‘insider’ reference to a not-to-be lamented project at JFCOM (RIP))), and the tenacious German defenses, the operation collapsed with the Allies failing to secure the primary road bridge at Arnhem. The battle became remembered by the wider public when Cornelius Ryan published his book “A Bridge Too Far” in 1974, followed by the film of the same name in 1977.
1945: Death of German physicist Hans Geiger, for whom the counter is named. The Geiger counter is an electronic instrument used for detecting and measuring ionizing radiation.
1957: 1,200 U.S. Army troops of the 101st Airborne Division forcibly integrate 9 black students into Little Rock’s Central High School. 10,000 federalized National Guard troops area also mobilized to provide a security perimeter around the school and in surrounding sections of the city.
1960: Launch of the United States’ first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVAN-65), just up the river a couple miles from here at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. The complexity of this vessel cannot be overstated, beginning with its EIGHT nuclear reactors that produce the steam to both drive the ship and launch the airplanes, in addition to all the other stuff steam does on these ships.
1970: Death of German author Erich Maria Remarque (b.1898), best known for his novel of the Great War, All Quiet on the Western Front (1929).
1973: The Mach 2 airliner Concorde makes its first, record-breaking run across the Atlantic.