Thread: Life This Day in History
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Old 02-08-2009, 06:51 PM   #161
Amnorix Amnorix is offline
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February 8.

1587. Mary, Queen of Scots, is executed on suspicion of trying to overthrow her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.

1692. A doctor in the town of Salem, Massachusetts, suggests that two girls in the family of the village minister may be suffering from bewitchment. This begins the Salem Witch Trials. Before all is said and done, nearly everyone (seemingly) is accused, over 150 are formally arrested and imprisoned, with 19 executed. 5 men and 14 women, most are hanged, one is crushed to death under stones while refusing to confess, and several more die in prison.

1904. The Japanese launch a successful surprise attack on the Russian Naval Base at Port Arthur. This commences the Russo-Japanese War. The immediate attacks badly damage the two heaviest battleships of the Russian Asian Fleet (keep in mind that this is pre-aircraft carrier days, and the battleships were the most important ships of any fleet). Subsequently, the Japanese launch additional attacks, then a blockade of Port Arthur, and then a siege, with Port Arthur subsequently falling to hte Japanese. A relief fleet sent by Russia sails from the Baltic to the area, a trip of 18,000 miles (because the British refuse to let it use the Suez Canal), only to have the Japanese spot the fleet, cross teh T, and inflict a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Tsushima. President Roosevelt negotiates a treaty between the Russians and Japanese at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which results in the Treaty of Portsmouth.

The impact of this war was significant. It was the first defeat of a European power by an Asian country in the modern era, and resulted in significant Russian surrenders of territories/claims in Korea, Manchuria and Sakhalin Island. It also greatly weakened the Tsarist leadership in Russia, which would only survive for another 13 years.

1910. The Boy Scouts of America is founded.

1943. The Battle of Guadalcanal ends with the last Japanese troops having evacuated.

1971. The Nasdaq stock market index debuts.
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