3761 BC: The “epoch reference date” for the modern Hebrew calendar. If you every wondered why your Jewish friends gave something of a “meh-“ reaction to the hysteria of Y2K, it is because it was already Y5K plus (!) by then.
1571: Battle of Lepanto- The last exclusive galley-versus-galley naval battle, fought between the navies of the Ottoman Turks and a Christian coalition formed by Don Juan of Austria. The lopsided victory stopped the Ottoman coastal surge in its tracks, and is considered one of the three* great battles that ensured the continued development of a Christian Europe under the spiritual guidance of the Pope, as opposed to a Muslim Europe under the political and spiritual control of the Caliphate of Ottoman Turkey.
1691: Great Britain issues a Royal Charter establishing the Province of Massachusetts, ‘way across the sea in the New World, where the Plymouth Plantation was continuing to prosper.
1763: King George III issues the Royal Proclamation of 1763 stating, among other things, that aboriginal lands north and west of the Appalachians and Alleghenies were closed to white settlement. The edict came on the heels of the Treaty of Paris that ended the 7 Years War (a.k.a. French and Indian War), which ceded to Britain all French claims to the eastern drainage of the Mississippi River. The king and Parliament reasoned that by keeping white settlers out, it would not only stabilize relations with the Indian tribes of the Ohio Valley, but would inhibit the rampant land speculation that was sure to get worse as the new territory was surveyed. British colonists along the seaboard did not see it quite that way, helping set the conditions for further unrest and dissatisfaction with the Crown in the years to come
1780: At the Battle of Kings Mountain, near Blacksburg, South Carolina, an American Patriot militia, loosely organized as a collection of scores of smaller militias from “over the mountain” regions, and under the nominal command of ten different colonels, decisively defeat a superior force of Loyalist militia under the command of British Major Patrick Ferguson. The Loyalist force was part of Lord Cornwallis’ Southern Strategy, which attempted to exploit Loyalist sentiment in the coastal regions by creating local militias that would take the fight to- and thence out of- their Patriot-leaning neighbors inland, led and supported by British Regulars. The previous months saw repeated vindication of this strategy with the capture of Charleston, the Battle of Camden, the Battle of Waxhaws, and Tarleton’s Massacre. Major Ferguson expected to make a short, violent thrust inland from the Waxhaw area to put down the last of the Patriots. What he didn’t know is that the news of Tarleton’s Massacre inflamed Patriots hundreds of miles away, and the intervening weeks gave the distant militias time to gather and loosely organize a defense. Ferguson finally learned of the gathering force, and took a strong defensive position atop Kings Mountain. When the Patriot attack started, Ferguson rode up & down the line, fully exposed to fire, blowing commands with a silver whistle. The Patriot militias, meanwhile, broke into 20 separate groups and charged screaming up the hill, pausing behind rocks to load their rifles, carefully aiming at and pickicking off individual Loyalists, and eventually Ferguson himself. It was a terribly lopsided victory, completely unexpected by either side, but it unleashed Patriot momentum throughout all the colonies, and most especially in the Carolinas, where Cornwallis’ Regulars were on the cusp of an even more strategic defeat at Cowpens.
1884: Under the tutelage of Commodore Stephen Luce, the United States Naval War College is established in Newport, Rhode Island. The school nurtured among it first faculty Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, one of the most brilliant intellects ever to don a Navy uniform, and developer of the seminal theory of naval warfare that holds naval fleets as the key to controlling events ashore. A “Mahanian Navy” is one comprised primarily of capital ships that can duke it out on the high seas with other capital ships, after which they can turn their attention to the land campaign, if necessary.
1888: Birth of Henry Wallace (d.1965). Wallace served as Franklin Roosevelt’s Vice President, 1941-45. He was the 1948 nominee for President of the Progressive Party. He was a Socialist through and through, regularly alienating Democrats, to say nothing of the rest of the country, with his outspoken admiration for the advances of the Soviet Union. If you take a stroll through some of his thinking, it is more than a little frightening that, for a time, he was one heartbeat away- as they say.
1889: American inventor Thomas Edison publicly displays his motion picture device for the first time.
1892: Death of British Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson (b.1809).
1908: The government of Austria-Hungary annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina into their polyglot empire. The two provinces are normally always mentioned in tandem, although those of you who have been over there know that the people who actually live in the places would rather not be connected with each other. Think back to DLH 8/12 Addendum, and the multiple threads of conflict that led to the final outbreak of open war. This is one of those threads.
1927: Opening night for The Jazz Singer, starring the versatile Al Jolson. The movie was the first commercial presentation of a “talkie” where sound and music were synchronized with the visual images on the screen. It didn’t take long for the silent movies to go away, along with a number of silent movie stars whose voices didn’t quite fit in with their on-screen images.
1981: Death of Anwar Sadat (b.1918), President of Egypt, at the hand of a core of Army officers egged on by an Islamist fatwa issued by Omar Abdel-Rhaman, a.k.a. “The Blind Sheikh” who also was also convicted for the first attack on the World Trade Center. Sadat’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel negated in Islamist’s eyes any gains he made by launching the 1973 Yom Kippur War against the Jewish state. Abdel-Rhaman finally died last year in a New York prison, to the end issuing fatwas against the West and any Muslim who would dare to resist the Islamist movement.
1977: The Supreme Soviet adopts the 4th Soviet Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
1985: The Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro is hijacked by terrorists of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. The cretins who captured the ship took wheelchair-bound American tourist Leon Klinghoffer to the upper deck, shot him in the head, and then rolled him and his chair into the cold Mediterranean.