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Old 01-01-2009, 10:36 PM  
Amnorix Amnorix is offline
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This Day in History

Today...
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Old 04-04-2009, 09:36 AM   #286
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March 28.

A light day. Really light.

1871. The Paris Commune is established and rules Paris, France for a mere two months. It leaves an important historical legacy, however, as the first uprising of a socialist/communist government. It becomes a focus of study for future Communist revolutionaries such as Lenin and Mao.
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Old 04-04-2009, 09:49 AM   #287
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By the way, if anyone has any particular interest in naval history and enjoyed the snippet regarding the six frigates, I would particularly recommend the aptly named "Six Frigates" by Ian Toll, which covers the controversy over the early American navy, the ships' construction and careers.

Wider in scope but a bit more ponderous is "If by Sea" by George Daughan, which covers the entire development of the US Navy through the War of 1812.

Neither would be of interest to the casual reader, however. You must have an interest in military and/or naval history for either book to have any appeal.
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:13 PM   #288
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March 29.

1806. Construction begins on the Cumberland Road, becoming the first federal highway.

1847. American forces under General Winfield Scott take Veracruz in the Mexican-American War after a 12 day siege. The forces that invested Veracruz were offloaded in the first significant amphibious operation in United States history. Among the officers under Scott are a few people you may have heard of -- Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, and George Meade, and among the naval leaders was Commodore Matthew Perry, who opened Japan to the west, and the younger brother of Oliver Hazard Perry.

1865. The Battle of Appomatox Courthouse begins. It will end the American Civil War.

1886. Dr. John Pemberton brews the first batch of Coca-Cola in his backyard in Atlanta, Georgia.

1951. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage.

1973. The last American combat soldiers leave Vietnam.
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:14 PM   #289
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March 30

240 BC. The passage of what will later become known as Halley's Comet is recorded for the first time.

1842. Anesthesia is used for the first time.

1867. Secretary of State William Seward engineers the purchase of Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, or about 2 cents/acre. At the time, this is popularly referred to as "Seward's Folly" and Alaska itself as "Seward's Icebox". To this day the last Monday of March is a holiday in Alaska to commemorate the purchase -- and the man who made it possible -- as "Seward's Day".

1945. A defecting German pilot brings a ME 262A to the Ameircans -- their first Turbojet plane.

1981. President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest by would-be assassin John Hinckley.

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Old 04-06-2009, 04:22 PM   #290
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March 29.


1847. American forces under General Winfield Scott take Veracruz in the Mexican-American War after a 12 day siege. The forces that invested Veracruz were offloaded in the first significant amphibious operation in United States history. Among the officers under Scott are a few people you may have heard of -- Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, and George Meade, and among the naval leaders was Commodore Matthew Perry, who opened Japan to the west, and the younger brother of Oliver Hazard Perry.

I remember reading once that they got the "go" signal before the "provocation" occurred, and that they invaded and put up the American flag. Then they realized they were early, took it back down, apologized, and retreated to their ships for a day or two before doing it again.
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:18 PM   #291
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I remember reading once that they got the "go" signal before the "provocation" occurred, and that they invaded and put up the American flag. Then they realized they were early, took it back down, apologized, and retreated to their ships for a day or two before doing it again.
Wouldn't surprise me. While it's hard to argue with the results, the war was a joke from a "justifiable" point of view. It was just a typical war of conquest. No real moral justification at all.
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:44 PM   #292
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March 31.

1822. As a result of the growing Greek War of Independence, a number of Greeks from the neighboring island of Samos land at Chios, an island mostly inhabited by Greeks lying about 5 miles off the Turkish coast. Initially reluctant, the islanders join the uprising. As a result, the Ottoman Turks order the islanders massacred, and 5/6ths of the islanders are killed or exported.

1854. Commodore Matthew Perry (formerly of Veracruz, Mexico), signs the Treaty of Kanagawa with the government of Japan, opening certain ports in Japan to American trade.

1889. The Eiffel Tower is inaugurated. When built, it was the world's tallest tower, a title it retained until New York's Chrysler Bulding was built in 1930.
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:59 PM   #293
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April 1.

527. Byzantine Emperor Justin I names his nephew, Justinian, his co-ruler and successor. Justinian goes on to become one of the most overrated monarchs in history (in this writer's opinion), Justinian the Great.

1826. Samuel Morey patents the internal combustion engine.

1867. Singapore becomes a British colony.

1924. Adolf Hitler is sentenced to 5 years in jail after the Beer Hall Putsch. He serves only nine months, however, during which he writes Mein Kampf.

1948. The Soviet-controlled East German military sets up a land blockade to Berlin, preventing the other former Allied powers from accessing the theoretically jointly controlled/occupied city. The Soviet plan was to make the western-controlled sectors of Berlin dependent on the Soviets for food/fuel, and their effective control. As a result, the western powers, in one of the first face-offs of the brewing Cold War, begin an airlift. The Soviets continually denigrate the airlift, stating that it cannot possibly work. The airlift requires nearly 4,000 tons of supplies per day, more than ten times the tonnage needed (and ultimately unable to be delivered) to German Sixth Army forces surrounded at Stalingrad. Nonetheless, by the spring of 1949 it becomes clear that the airlift is working. By April 1949 the city was receiving more supplies by air than it had previously received by rail. The Soviets dropped the blockade once it became clear that they had lost. A lasting legacy of the blockade were the three major airports in Berlin, which lasted in service for many decades afterwards.



1976. Apple Computer is formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

1979. Iran becomes an Islamic Republic by a 98% vote, officially overthrowing the Shah.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:37 AM   #294
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1973. The last American combat soldiers leave Vietnam.
Do you recall whether or not 30,000 to 50,000 supposedly "non combat" troops remained behind for a substantial period after this happened?
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:11 PM   #295
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Do you recall whether or not 30,000 to 50,000 supposedly "non combat" troops remained behind for a substantial period after this happened?
There may have been an "enhanced, vigorous embassy security detachment", now that you mention it....

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Old 04-07-2009, 12:27 PM   #296
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April 2.

1453. Mehmed II, Ottoman Emperor, begins his siege of Constantinople. He is a ripe old 21 years of age.

1801. The British destroy the Danish fleet at the Battle of Copenhagen. This naval battle has one of the most amusing quotes in naval history. Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson is tapped to lead the attack against the Dutch. Although well known, Nelson is not yet the reknowned hero and legend. He is, however, already blind in one eye as a result of a prior battle. Overall command of British forces is held by Admiral Sir Hyde Parker.

The Dutch are mostly moored, with some of their order of battle comprised of obsolete or out of service ships that are still yet powerfully armed. Parker gives Nelson a dozen of the lighter draft British ships to approach and attack the Dutch, while Parker stays back with msot of the heavy British forces to prevent any external interference. Three British ships become grounded on the shoals, and are at least temporarily in distress and mostly or entirely out of action.

Unable to see much other than smoke and the signals from the three ships that are out of action, Parker raises his signals to recall Nelson and his fleet. He steadfastly ignores the signal to retreat for some time. The captain of his ship, after a while, calls to Nelson and points to Parker's ship. "Sir, the admiral has signaled for a retreat." Nelson puts the telescope to his blind eye and says "I really cannot see it."

He reputedly tells the Captain "You know, I only have one eye, I'm entitled to be blind sometimes." The battle continues and superior British gunnery tells. The British score a resounding victory and Nelson's legend grows.

1982. In a move of highly questionable wisdom, Argentina invades the Falkland Islands. Unsurprisingly, the British -- former and soon-to-be-restored owners of the islands -- immediately go to war. The real question is why anyone is fighting over a small group of islands mainly populated by sheep.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:33 PM   #297
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1982. In a move of highly questionable wisdom, Argentina invades the Falkland Islands. Unsurprisingly, the British -- former and soon-to-be-restored owners of the islands -- immediately go to war. The real question is why anyone is fighting over a small group of islands mainly populated by sheep.
Heh. Silly Argies.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:35 PM   #298
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April 3.

1865. Union forces capture the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.

1882. Jesse James is killed by Robert Ford.

1885. Gottlieb Daimler is granted a patent by the German government for his engine design.

1917. Vladimir Lenin arrives in Russia from exile, beginning the rise and eventual takeover of Russia by communists.

1936. Bruno Hauptmann is executed in the Lindbergh baby kidnapping/murder case.

1948. President Harry Truman signs the Marshall Plan into law.

1973. The first portable cell phone is made in the United States.

1986. IBM unveils its first laptop computer.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:22 PM   #299
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April 4.

1660. Charles II issues the Declaration of Breda, setting forth the conditions for his acceptance of the crown, and cementing the terms for the ending of the Commonwealth period.

1818. The United States Congress sets forth the formal design for the United States flag, with 13 red and white stripes and a star for each state. Previously, the flag had included a strip for each state, leading to some odd looking (to our modern eyes) flags.

15 stripe flag in use from 1795 to 1818:



1841. President William Henry Harrison dies, becoming the first President to die in office and the one with the shortest term. "Tippecanoe", wanting to show he was still the tough, steadfast military hero, gave the longest inaugural speech in American history on a cold, rainy day (March 4, the old day on which Presidents were inaugurated) without either a topcoat or hat. After the two hour speech, he rode through the city in the inaugural parade. A month later, he died of pneumonia. Harrison died nearly penniless, and Congress voted his widow a pension of $25,000, equivalent to $500,000 in 2009 dollars, and the right to mail letters for free.

1850. Los Angeles, California, is incorporated as a city.

1865. President Lincoln arrives in the city of Richmond, Virginia, captured only one day earlier by Union forces. He is accompanied by his son, Tad, and it is Tad's 12th birthday.

1975. Bill Gates and Paul Allen team up and form the Microsoft corporation.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:30 PM   #300
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April 5.

456. St. Patrick returns to Ireland as a missionary bishop.

1614. Native American Pocohontas marries English colonist John Rolfe.

Yeah, uhh, not much else to report.
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