1282: The last native Prince of Wales is killed by the forces of England’s Edward I at the Battle of Orewin Bridge, thus becoming Llywelyn the Last. With the extinction of the Welsh line of succession, Edward then assumed the title Prince of Wales for the heir of the British throne.
1287: A dyke ruptures on the North Sea approaches near Texel, creating a flood that completely submerges the marshes and lakes of the north-central Netherlands. In Friesland province scores of towns and cities are demolished, with over 50,000 deaths. The Saint Lucia Flood actually created a new body of water, the Zuiderzee, that which leads to the growth of Amsterdam on the Amstel River.
1545: Opening prayers at the Council of Trent, called by Pope Paul III in response to calls for administrative and spiritual reform within the Roman Catholic Church. The Council of Trent (Latin: Concilium Tridentinum),was held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent, or Trento, in northern Italy. It was an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church. Prompted by the Protestant Reformation and the 1517 publication of Luther’s 95 Theses, it has been described as the embodiment of the Counter-Reformation. The consequences of the Council were also significant as regards the Church’s liturgy and practices. During its deliberations, the Council made the Vulgate the official example of the Biblical canon and commissioned the creation of a standard version, although this was not achieved until the 1590s. In 1565, a year after the Council finished its work, Pius IV issued the Tridentine Creed (after Tridentum, Trent’s Latin name) and his successor Pius V then issued the Roman Catechism and revisions of the Breviary and Missal in, respectively, 1566, 1568 and 1570. These, in turn, led to the codification of the Tridentine Mass, which remained the Church’s primary form of the Mass for the next four hundred years.
1577:Sir Francis Drake sets out from Plymouth with a fleet of four ships on a voyage that would eventually lead to the circumnavigation of the globe.
1725: Birth of Virginian George Mason (d.1792), a key intellectual partner of Patrick Henry, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, and a crucial voice of ensuring the rights of citizens during the development of a functioning, but limited republican government in the newly independent United States. Mason was the driving force for insisting on the inclusion of the Bill of Rights as integral to the Constitution.
1803: Birth of French composer Hector Berlioz (d.1869), a romanticist who pioneered the use of huge orchestras- upwards of 100 pieces (and once with over a thousand)- and dramatic musical themes.
1806: Birth of Stand Waite (d.1871), tribal Chief of the Cherokee nation in Georgia, colonel of Confederate cavalry during the Civil War, and the only Native American to be made general officer on either side of the war. Waite’s forces remained effective and active in Arkansas and east Texas throughout the war. With his surrender after a battle in the Indian Territory in late June 1865, he became the last Confederate leader to surrender his “land” forces to the Union. Captain James Waddell of CSS Alabama bears the honor of being the last Confederate to surrender; however, he surrendered to the British, not the hated Union.
1862: General Ambrose Burnside orders the Union Army of the Potomac to cross the Rappahannock River at the Battle of Fredericksburg and make a frontal assault across a mile of open ground against elevated and fortified Confederate positions on Marye’s Heights just south of town. When darkness fell, the Confederate positions were un-moved, and the field below the heights was littered with Union dead and wounded. The Union slaughter is the most lopsided in the entire course of the war, 12,653 (1,284 killed) to the Confederate 5,377 (608 killed).
1882: Birth of Firoello LaGuardia (d.1947), the three-term mayor of NYC during the 30s and 40s. A “moderate Republican” with a strong populist bent, the 5’0” LaGuardia made an early name for himself when he launched a crusade to throw organized crime bosses out of the city. He leveraged Federal funding to build roads, subways, airports, city buildings in NYC.
1937: Japanese forces expel the Chinese army from the port city of Nanking. This is followed by a week of destruction that reduces the city and its population to rubble. This became known as The Rape of Nanking, and was one of the causes of the increasing friction between the Japanese Empire and the United States.
1941: Cascading war declarations continue as a direct result of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor last week. The United Kingdom declares war on Bulgaria; Hungary and Romania declare war on the United States; India declares war on Japan.