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Old 01-01-2009, 09:36 PM  
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This Day in History

Today...
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:21 PM   #76
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Old 01-14-2009, 10:22 AM   #77
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Jan 14th 1784, The United States ratified a peace treaty with England ending the Revolutionary War.
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:54 PM   #78
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January 14.

Good guess Chasedude. The event of the day is America's ratification of the Treaty of Paris on this date in 1784, officially ending the American Revolutionary War. It was a close call, however. On this date in 1990, the Simpsons made its debut on Fox-TV.

Back to the Treaty of Paris -- it was signed in, you guessed it, Paris, by three very well known Americans, Benjamin FRanklin, John Adams, and John Jay back in September 1783, and ratified on this date 1784. Although it officially ended the war, it took some considerable time to resolve all of the disputes that arose as a result of the treaty, including most significantly the confiscation of loyalist property, payment by Americans of debts owed to Britons, claims by American slave owners of confiscated property (i.e. slaves), boundary disputes relating to the border with Canada.

Perhaps the most notable thing about the Treaty and the American victory that it proclaimed -- the American Revolution was the only war lost by England during a period of about 150 years during the height of the British Empire.
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:03 PM   #79
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January 15, 1559, Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England.

Although historians are cautious about glorifying her, there is little doubt that he lengthy reign of 44 years stabiilzed England, helped further national identity and unity. Last of the Tudors, she oversaw a "golden age" of the arts, including Shakespeare. The victory over the Spanish Armada and her moderate rule ensured her popularity and fame.
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Old 01-16-2009, 10:45 PM   #80
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January 16.

heck of a day. Lots of stuff happening. On this day in 27 BC, the Roman Senate bestows the title "Augustus" on Octavian. While not strictly translating as "Emperor", it denotes a group of rights that, when combined, more or less means the same thing. Thereafter, Roman Emperors would append the title of Augustus to their names. Regrettably, this starts a trend amongst Roman Emperors of appending all kinds of titles to their official names, and invariably the weaker the Emperor, the more titles he has. This is best exemplified by the otherwise forgettable Gordian II, whose official name upon ascension was "Caesar Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus Augustus." The weight of his titles perhaps slowed him down, as he died a few months into office in 238 fighting the Battle of Carthage.

1547, Ivan IV becomes Tsar of Russia. He would go on to become known as Ivan the Terrible. Most likely suffering from mental illness at various times, his most infamous acts were to massacre the population of Novgorod (est. 60K to 200K killed) and to turn the wealthiest region of Russia into one of its poorest.

1777, Vermont declares independence from New York. It goes on to raise cows, make really good ice cream, and otherwise never be heard of again.

1909, Ernest Shackleton find the magnetic South Pole.

1919, the US passes the 18th amendment, cleverly prohibiting all alcoholic beverages (other than for religious use) in the United States. This paves the way for bootlegging, and the rise of the mafia and other gangs. About 15 years later, everyone wakes up, realizes that they really like alcohol, that this was a fantastically stupid idea, and repeals the Amendment.

1945. Adolf Hitler moves into his bunker in Berlin. Happily for the entire rest of the world, it turns out to be a one way trip.

1979. Shah of Iran flees Iran for Egypt.
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Old 01-16-2009, 11:03 PM   #81
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January 17.

1377. Pope Gregory XI moves his papacy from Avignon back to Rome, ending the Avignon Papacy but laying ground for the Great Schism of Western Christianity, or the Western Schism, which would commence upon Gregory's death the following year.

1917. The US pays the Dutch $25 million for the US Virgin Islands.

1991. The US launches Operation Desert Storm against Iraq.
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:16 PM   #82
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January 18.

Nothing all that tremendously historically significant occurred today, and I have time, so I'll select the end of the Nika Riots on this day, 532 A.D.

It was still early in the reign of one of the most undeservedly famous monarchs in ancient history, Justinian I (Justinian the Great). The Roman Empire had split, and the western portion of the Empire had stood tremulously for centuries, and then finally fallen, leaving only the eastern portion of the Empire, latterly known as the Byzantine Empire.

One thing Byzantium had inherited from the Roman Empire were the various games. Some had been abolished, leaving chariot racing in particular as one of the most popular. Like modern sports fans, various groups rooted for their "players", or factions, of which there were four, the Blues, the Greens, the Reds and the Whites. Of these, the Blues and Greens were the most numerous.

Unlike modern times, however, these factions also spilled over into every day life. These colors came to represent not just what team you rooted for, but your political faction as well. And, to a degree, they were also the modern equivalent of "gang colors". Violence often resulted from a faction member being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As a result of arrests for murder that had occurred, the greatest city of the age, Constantinople, was uneasy. The Blues and the Greens demanded that the accused be released. Justinian the Weak, errr....Great, decreed that the death sentences would be commuted to imprisonment, and that games would be held on January 13.

It was a tense, anxious and ready to riot crowd that showed up for the games at the Hippodrome

Site of the Hippodrome today (partial ruins visible):



The Hippodrome was next to, and partially annexed to, the Palace, so the Emperor could oversee the races personally and safely. At first, all seemed normal. Soon, however, it became clear that a great change had taken place: the Greens and Blues were united, and their clamor was directed not at each other, as had always been the case, but at the Emperor. "Nika!" "Nika!!", they cried, the normal word of encouragement -- "Win!" "Win!!" In the past, they had always tried to shout each other down, cheering their own faction member. Now, in menacing chorus, they changed the single word alone, over and over. Factional differences forgotten, united in hatred against the Emperor who had imprisoned their members.

The games were abandoned. The mob poured out of the great circus, bent on destruction. They stormed the City Prefecture, killing the guards, releasing all the prisoners, and setting fire to the building. The Praetorian Prefecture, Senate House, Baths of Zeuxippus and the great Churches of St. Irene and St. Sophia were each visited in turn and reduced to smoking ruins.

Some Senators, sensing opportunity and disliking Justinian's high taxes, saw the opportunity to try to overthrow him. They appointed a cousin, Hypatius, as Emperor.

For five days smoke lay thick over the city, as Constantinople, the greatest city in the Western World, burned.

Justinian was resolved to flee. An opportunity existed for him to take his family out of the city. His wife, however, the infamous Theodora, his wife, the Empress intervened. To her, having risen from lowly actress and, cough, courtesan, to flee was out of the question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Empress Theodora
I myself [will] never willingly shed my imperial robes, nor see the day when I am no longer addressed [as Empress]. If you, my Lord, wish to save your skin, you will have no difficulty in doing so. We are rich, there is the sea, there too are our ships. But consider first whether, when you reach safety, you will not regret that you did not choose death in preference. As for me, I stand by the ancient saying: the purple [a color that could only be worn by monarchs] is the noblest [burial shroud].
Shamed into action, Justinian turned to his great general, Belisarius, and other military leaders and came up with a plan. His brilliant eunuch, Narses, was sent to the Hippodrome with a small bag of gold. Empty-handed other than this, Narses went to the Blues, whom Justinian had supported, and pointed out that Hypatius, whom they were trying to crown, was a Green. Then he distributed the gold. The Blues walked out. The Greens sat stunned. Then the Imperial Troops, led by Belisarius, stormed the Hippodrome. The rebels were cut down.

A trembling Hypatius was led before the Emperor. An old friend of Justinian's, Hypatius had been rushed along by events beyond his control. Justinian was inclined to mercy. Theodora, however, noted that he had been crowned by the mob, and might be raised up by them once again. Hoving to her will, as he always did, Justinian ordered Hypathius summarily executed.

The capital lay in ruins. Nearly half the city had been burned to the ground. 30,000 had died in the rioting. However, on February 23, 532, the Church of the Holy Wisdom, St. Sophia (sometimes Hagia Sophia), one of the most famous Churches in Christendom until the fall of Constaninople to the Ottoman Turks a thousand years later, was rebuilt for the third and final time.

It stands to this day.





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Old 01-19-2009, 02:05 PM   #83
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January 19.

On this day, 1919, the Paris Peace Conference officially commenced to finalize the terms of the end of the First World War. Insanely complex, with four victorious countries with differing aims for peace, plus the added complexity of competing Arab and Zionist movements for independence or land rights, it took over a year to complete, with the commencement of the League of Nations in January 1920.

Most often debated is whether the harsh terms imposed on Germany helped pave the way for the rise of Hitler and National Socialism, and the Second World War.

My particular opinion is that there were many factors that helped give rise to Hitler, but that the Versailles Treaty was at least a fairly significant contributing factor.
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Old 01-19-2009, 02:07 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
January 19.

On this day, 1919, the Paris Peace Conference officially commenced to finalize the terms of the end of the First World War. Insanely complex, with four victorious countries with differing aims for peace, plus the added complexity of competing Arab and Zionist movements for independence or land rights, it took over a year to complete, with the commencement of the League of Nations in January 1920.

Most often debated is whether the harsh terms imposed on Germany helped pave the way for the rise of Hitler and National Socialism, and the Second World War.

My particular opinion is that there were many factors that helped give rise to Hitler, but that the Versailles Treaty was at least a fairly significant contributing factor.

Agreed, a long with the world wide depression.
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Old 01-20-2009, 02:04 PM   #85
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January 20.

On this day, 1937, for the first time the President of the United States was inaugurated on January 20th. Previously inaugurated in March, the inauguration date was moved up to January 20th by virtue of the 20th Amendment to the US Constitution. The President taking the oath on this date was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was being sworn in for his 2nd term.

Also on this day, 1265, England's parliament held its first meeting. Previously, under Anglo-Saxon Kings, nobles and other notables would advise the king. This group was known as the Witenagemot. (Harry Potter fans may note the similarity of this word to the Wizengamot). This group was abolished by William the Conqueror, and replaced by a King's Counsil.

On this day in 1265, however, for the first time a parliament of supporters of the Earl of Leicester was summoned, without royal authorization. In addition to the usual notables, two knights from each shire and two burgesses from each burough were summoned to join the parliament. Later adopted in 1295 as the model form of Parliament, the representation of the commoners on this day 1265 paved the way to the lower house of "Commons".
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Old 01-20-2009, 02:17 PM   #86
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January 20, 1981
Iran Hostage Crisis ends

Minutes after Ronald Reagan's inauguration as the 40th president of the United States, the 52 U.S. captives held at the U.S. embassy in Teheran, Iran, are released, ending the 444-day Iran Hostage Crisis.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:14 AM   #87
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January 21.

1813. The pineapple si introduced to Hawaii. While not of tremendous historical significance, I was surprised it wasn't native, so I'll throw this in.

1793. Russia and Prussia sign a partition treaty. Poland ceases to exist as a country until 1815.

1861. As a result of the recent secession of their home states, Jefferson Davis and a few other United States Senators resign their Senate seats.

1968. The Battle of Khe Sanh, Vietnam, begins. Referenced yesterday in Obama's inaugural speech, I will give a brief synoposis of the battle and the even more interesting "Riddle of Khe Sanh" later if I have time.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:41 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
January 21.

1813. The pineapple si introduced to Hawaii. While not of tremendous historical significance, I was surprised it wasn't native, so I'll throw this in.

1793. Russia and Prussia sign a partition treaty. Poland ceases to exist as a country until 1815.

1861. As a result of the recent secession of their home states, Jefferson Davis and a few other United States Senators resign their Senate seats.

1968. The Battle of Khe Sanh, Vietnam, begins. Referenced yesterday in Obama's inaugural speech, I will give a brief synoposis of the battle and the even more interesting "Riddle of Khe Sanh" later if I have time.
Do you have any idea where the pineapple came from? I wouldn't have guessed it was non-native either.

Looking forward to your Khe Sanh story if you have time. Cold Chisel, an Australian band, had a minor hit with a song called Khe Sanh. (I suppose it was probably a big hit in Australia).

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Old 01-21-2009, 07:45 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
January 19.

On this day, 1919, the Paris Peace Conference officially commenced to finalize the terms of the end of the First World War. Insanely complex, with four victorious countries with differing aims for peace, plus the added complexity of competing Arab and Zionist movements for independence or land rights, it took over a year to complete, with the commencement of the League of Nations in January 1920.

Most often debated is whether the harsh terms imposed on Germany helped pave the way for the rise of Hitler and National Socialism, and the Second World War.

My particular opinion is that there were many factors that helped give rise to Hitler, but that the Versailles Treaty was at least a fairly significant contributing factor.
Looking back I think we can say it was a complete FAIL on all levels.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:49 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Do you have any idea where the pineapple came from? I wouldn't have guessed it was non-native either.

Looking forward to your Khe Sanh story if you have time. Cold Chisel, an Australian band, had a minor hit with a song called Khe Sanh. (I suppose it was probably a big hit in Australia).
I never heard of that song. I'll listen to it a bit later.

Hope to do Khe Sang over lunch. It will be a bit lengthy.

Looked up the pineapple thing, and found this:

"Origin: The pineapple is native to southern Brazil and Paraguay where wild relatives occur. It was spread by the Indians up through South and Central America to the West Indies before Columbus arrived. In 1493 Columbus found the fruit on the island of Guadaloupe and carried it back to Spain and it was spread around the world on sailing ships that carried it for protection against scurvy. The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines and may have taken it to Hawaii and Guam early in the 16th Century. The pineapple reached England in 1660 and began to be grown in greenhouses for its fruit around 1720."

The above suggests that the date on which the pineapple was introduced to Hawaii can't be identified with certainty. Another website, however, says:

"When you think of pineapples, you think of Hawaii. So close has the association become that most people assume that the plant is native to the islands. In fact, pineapples originated in South America and probably did not reach Hawaii until early in the 19th century-the first record of their existence there is dated January 21, 1813-after having been spread by Europeans across much of the world."

So apparently this date, 1813 is the first time someone wrote "hey, there are pineapples here", as opposed to "hey, we stuck a pineapple seed in the ground, and it's going like gangbusters and my name is Bob Dole..."
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