588 BC: Traditional start date for Nebuchadnezzar II’s siege of Jerusalem, which steadily tightens the noose around the Jewish
1412: The Medici family of Florence is formally appointed to act as banker to the Papacy, an account that greatly accelerated their rise as the most powerful family in Italy, to say nothing of hastening the development of modern banking and accounting methods to accurately deal with vast sums of money.
1493: From his anchorage off the Caribbean island of
1559: Coronation of Elizabeth I as Queen of England.
1707: The Scottish Parliament ratifies the Act of Union with England, beginning the process of creating the United Kingdom of England, Scotland and Wales (and later, Northern Ireland). Interestingly, back in January 2011, the Scottish Parliament decided to hold a plebiscite on the de-ratification of the Act of Union, in order to make Scotland an independent country within the EU. The independence vote was finally taken in September of 2014 and was handily defeated 54/46, with a historically high turnout of 85% of the electorate making their voices heard.
1759: Opening day for the British Museum.
1761: Great Britain captures Pondicherry, India from its former French overlords. Despite coming under British rule from this point, the city never lost its French colonial flavor. It served culturally as a competitive rival to Bombay and Calcutta, both of which were under British influence from the early days of the East India Company.
1784: The new United States government ratifies the Treaty of Paris, which acknowledges its existence as an independent political entity.
1741: Birth of Benedict Arnold (d.1801).
1786: The Virginia General Assembly accepts the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson– as part of the supreme law of the Commonwealth. Jefferson was so pleased with this concise document that he insisted it be included in his epitaph.
1794: Death of British historian and man of letters, Edward Gibbon (b.1737), best known for his seminal work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. His research and subsequent publication of this true magnum opus sets the standard for scholarly work to this day.
1815: The frigate USS President, under the command of Commodore Stephen Decatur, is captured by a squadron of four British frigates as it tries to break out of its year-long blockade of New York harbor.
1875: Birth of Albert Schweitzer (d.1965), musician, theologian, and medical doctor whose work in easing the lives of African tribesmen in Gabon, and his deep intellectual response to the real problems of both colonialism and the de-colonizing movement earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952.
1889: In Atlanta, incorporation of the Pennington Medicine Company, which became famous and wealthy from their premier retail product, Coca-Cola.
1902: Birth of Scottish runner and Christian missionary to China, Eric Liddell (d.1945). He is the protagonist of the Academy
1919: Death of Rosa Luxemburg (b.1871), a fiery Marxist absolutist who played a crucial role in agitating German workers during the 1918 revolution, through her pamphleteering and communist agitation in the immediate aftermath of the Great War. With the functional dissolution of the German government, bands of vigilante enforcers known as the Freicorps roamed the cities and countryside, enforcing a harsh German nationalism against the untrammeled influences of outside forces. As a particularly blatant exemplar of those outside forces, Rosa Luxemburg found herself increasingly harassed by the Freicorps and finally on this day, she was arrested, tortured, and murdered- her corpse thrown into the Landwher Canal for good measure. Since her death, the international communist movement has worked to beatify her as a martyr for the Marxist-Socialist movement.
1929: Birth of Civil Rights activist and Baptist preacher, Martin Luther King, Jr.
1932: Birth of Don “Big Daddy” Garlits. A pioneer in the field of drag racing, he perfected the rear-engine Top Fuel dragster, an innovation motivated by the loss of part of his foot in a dragster accident.
1938: Norway formally annexes for itself a huge slice of Antarctica, naming the area Queen Maude Land. It remains the only du jure territorial occupation on the continent, although the rest of it is divided up between six other claimants and multiple non-claimants (including the U.S. and Russia) who maintain permanent scientific stations above and below the ice.
1943(a): After over 6 months of brutal combat and continuing losses to the U.S. Marines, the Japanese army completes Operation KE, the evacuation of Guadalcanal, which they consider a great success.
1943(b): First day of the Casablanca Conference between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill with representatives of the Free French forces. Joseph Stalin was invited but declined to attend because of the ongoing siege of Stalingrad. This conference was notable for publicly declaring unconditional surrender as the core Allied war aim against Germany. The decision was also made to not attempt to open a second European front via cross-channel invasion, but to continue the pressure on the southern flank by invading Sicily. As an aside, in order to get to the conference, Roosevelt became the first President to fly in an airplane while serving in office, taking a plane between Miami and Casablanca across the Atlantic Ocean.
1943(c): Opening day for The Pentagon, at the time and for decades afterward, the world’s largest office building. The building remains a uniquely functional space; despite its size, a normal person can walk from any office to any other in 12 minutes or less. Its hubs and spokes provide for a straightforward office numbering system and the courtyard in the middle provides a very nice respite from the cube-farm world inside.
1950: First flight of the prototype MiG-17 fighter plane, a workhorse of the communist bloc through the 1980s.
1991: At midnight local time, the United States-led coalition opens fire in Operation Desert Storm. President George H.W. Bush, in his Address to the Nation, puts it very simply: “The liberation of Kuwait has begun.”
2001:Wikipedia goes on line.