630: Arab warlord and prophet Mohammad, leading an army of some 10,000 soldiers from his hometown of Medina, conquers nearby Mecca in a nearly bloodless assault that puts the city at the heart of Mohammad’s burgeoning new religion.
1349: A pogrom sweeps through the Jewish sector of Basil, Switzerland, triggered by
1412: Birth of Joan of Arc (d.1431), the young French girl who rallied French troops at the siege of Orleans and found herself martyred by the British who eventually captured her. (More ahead in DLH 2/21)
1540: Against his better judgment, Henry VIII marries his fourth wife, Ann of Cleaves, a German princess whom he admired politically, but whom he found repellent physically. Their marriage was never consummated, and after four months was annulled. Ann remained in England, taking the title of Beloved Sister of the King, and was, in fact, beloved by the mercurial king as a friend and confidant until his death. She had the satisfaction of outliving all of his other wives, and the man himself.
1735: Birth of John Jervis, 1st Earl St. Vincent, one of the Royal Navy’s greatest commanders, and primary mentor of Horatio Nelson.
1806: A State Funeral is conducted for Horatio Lord Nelson, killed at the Battle of Trafalgar on the 21st of October. More than 10,000 sailors surged into London to escort his casket* from lying in state at Greenwich to the service at St Paul’s Cathedral, where he was entombed.
1943: Formal signing of a little-known, but
1863: The Confederate commerce raider CSS Alabama, under the command of Captain Raphael Semmes, attacks and sinks the USS Hatteras off the coast of Galveston, Texas.
1873: Death of Napoleon III (b.1808), nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the only French leader to carry the titles of both Emperor and President of the Republic.
1879: Opening moves of the Anglo-Zulu War, with the British crossing the Buffalo River to begin their invasion of Zululand.
1905: Russian workers, infuriated by the slow pace of reform and brought to a fever pitch of discontent by communist agitators, storm the Czar’s Winter Palace in a short, sharp action now known as the Revolution of 1905.
1909: The Great White Fleet of the U.S. Navy transits the Suez Canal, marking ¾ of its politico-military circumnavigation of the globe.
1918: In southern Arizona, a detachment of U.S. Army troops exchanges fire with Yaqui Indians in the Battle of Bear Valley, the last battle of the U.S. Indian Wars.
1941: First flight of the Avro Lancaster bomber. Its huge bomb bay and dependable flight systems made it one of the
1947: Pan American Airlines begins scheduling full around-the-world service.
1960: Construction formally begins on Aswan High Dam, with Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser flipping a switch that detonated thousands of pounds of dynamite embedded in granite on the eastern shore of the Nile. Nasser exploited Soviet funding and construction assistance for the dam as a cudgel against the United States and the West, partly in response to the Suez crisis of 1956 (DLH 10/29) and partly because as an avowed socialist, it allowed him to play the two sides of the Cold War to the advantage of Egypt.
1991: United States Secretary of State James Baker and Iraqi Foreign Secretary Tariq Aziz meet in Geneva in a final attempt to find a diplomatic solution to Iraq’s August invasion of Kuwait, which Iraq still claimed as its “19th Province.” I can tell you, as one of the Joint Staff officers that helped work up Baker’s talking points, that this meeting would either end the