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

Today...
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:36 PM   #301
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My second legitimate (kind of) research paper was on Lenin's trip across Germany to Russia to begin the revolution. (My first was about the French New Wave cinema). I bet if I read them today I'd be so embarrassed I'd force myself to redo them and hand them in again 6 years later.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:22 PM   #302
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April 6.

1652. Dutch sailors establish a resupply camp that will eventually grow into Cape Town, South Africa.

1814. Napoleon I abdicates and is exiled to Elba.

1862. The Battle of Shiloh begins in southwestern Tennessee. The battle began when Confederate forces under General Johnston -- a general very highly regarded within Confederate leadership, and Beauregard attack the camped Union forces under Ulysses S. Grant. Union forces were mostly taken by surprise, but rallied quickly to save their position, which was backed by a river and thus could have resulted in complete disaster had they been routed. By the end of the day, General Sherman learned he was serving a special commander -- most Union generals had a marked propensity for turning tail at the first sign of trouble. During the evening lull, however, Sherman went to Grant, who was sitting contemplatively under a tree, easing his leg which had been broken a few weeks earlier in an accident while riding his horse.

"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

Grant looked up from his cigar. "Yep. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

The Confederates had suffered a grievous blow, already, however, General Johnston having been killed in the first day of combat.

That night, elements of Grant's forces that had been marching to meet him arrived (Grant having sent word that they should hasten along), and they crossed the river during the night. Over 15,000 fresh Union troops arrived by 4:00 a.m. Grant, a firm believer in always granting the initiative, launched his attack by dawn, and drove off the Confederates.

It was the first significant Union victory of the war, but it didn't help Grant's reputation at the time. Reporters reported that Grant had been drunk, which had resulted in the Confederates achieving surprise, and falsely reported that many Union forces had been bayoneted in their tents. The clamor rose for Lincoln to remove him. Lincoln stated (with Eastern general McClellan clearly on his mind): "I can't spare this man; he fights."

General Halleck, however, Grant's then-superior, arrived and took personal command, relegating Grant for a period of time as a useless second-in-command, with no actual power. Grant contemplated retirement, and reputedly began drinking out of sheer boredom and frustration. Sherman, however, bucked him up and when Halleck was promoted to Washington, the path to Grant's fame and success was paved.

1917. The United States declares war on Germany.

1941. Germany invades Yugoslavia and Greece, in part to rescue their Italian allies, whose invasion was in trouble. While the Germans easily trounce their enemies, the invasion diverts their forces and delays their timetables for the planned invasion of Russia, giving them less time to conquer the country before the onset of the Russian Winter.

1973. The American League starts using the Designated Hitter.
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Old 04-08-2009, 07:49 AM   #303
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
April 6.

1652. Dutch sailors establish a resupply camp that will eventually grow into Cape Town, South Africa.

I kind of romanticize the Age of Exploration. It must've been interesting to sail somewhere and land at a place that is not on any of your maps and say, "We shall name this place 'Rainmania'". And then you camp there and you're not sure if you're going to get swarmed by natives or eaten by giant heretofore unknown creatures or find a city of pure gold.
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:09 AM   #304
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
I kind of romanticize the Age of Exploration. It must've been interesting to sail somewhere and land at a place that is not on any of your maps and say, "We shall name this place 'Rainmania'". And then you camp there and you're not sure if you're going to get swarmed by natives or eaten by giant heretofore unknown creatures or find a city of pure gold.
I don't know if you're an Eddie Izzard fan, but in his Dressed to Kill video he has some very amusing comments about exploration, exploitation and empire building. Very liberal, but hilarious regardless of your political point of view I think.

Alot of names didn't take. One option for a recent day was the landing of, apparently, Swedish folks in the Delaware area -- the first to do so. They named their little place "New Sweden".

Obviously -- "New York" is famous, while "New Amsterdam" didn't hold except as a trivia question.
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:10 AM   #305
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
I kind of romanticize the Age of Exploration. It must've been interesting to sail somewhere and land at a place that is not on any of your maps and say, "We shall name this place 'Rainmania'". And then you camp there and you're not sure if you're going to get swarmed by natives or eaten by giant heretofore unknown creatures or find a city of pure gold.
Oh, and you can romanticize all you like, but I'll pass on the teeth falling out due to scurvy and the like, thanksallthesame. I've read enough about sailors' lives during that era to know that it was often highly unpleasant.
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Old 04-10-2009, 06:03 AM   #306
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April 7

1788. Pioneers arrive at the site of what will become Marietta, Ohio, establishing the first permanent United States base in the Northwest Territory and opening the westward expansion of the country.

1795. France adopts the meter as the basic unit of length.

1798. The Mississippi territory is created from land ceded by Georgia and South Carolina, and is later expanded to include additional territory that was previously under dispute.

1827. John Walker sells the first friction match, an item that he developed the previous year.

1922. The Secretary of the Interior leases Teapot Dome petroleum reserves in Wyoming, paving the way to the future corruption scandal.

1945. The Battleship Yamato -- the largest battleship ever built, is sunk by American airplanes 200 miles off Okinawa. A very anti-climatic end for this monstrous warship.

2003. US troops capture Baghdad.
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Old 04-10-2009, 06:09 AM   #307
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April 8.

1820. The Venus de Milo is discovered on the Aegean island of Melos.

1913. The 17th Amendment becomes law, allowing hte direct election of United States Senators. Previously, they had been elected by the state legislatures.

1918. Actors Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin sell war bonds on the streets of New York's financial district.

1952. President Harry Truman, in the midst of fighting the Korean war, calls for the seizure of all domestic steel mills to stop an anticipated strike.

1974. Hank Aaron hits his 715th home run, surpassing Babe Ruth's 39 year old record.
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Old 04-11-2009, 06:53 AM   #308
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April 9

1241. At the Battle of Leignitz, Mongol forces rout the combined armies of Polish Duke Henry II. His Polish, German and Czech army also had a number of knights and other adjuncts sent in response to the call of the Pope in a desperate bid to stop the Mongol advance into Europe. Henry II is killed and his forces seriously routed.

What really demonstrates the hopelessness of divided Europe in facing the Mongols is that this army was routed by what was basically a Mongol diversionary force. Consisting of only two tumens, this force turns into Hungary and rejoins the main part of the invading Mongol army. Europe will soon be saved not by defeating the Mongols, but by the Mongols own political instability -- the arrival of word to the Mongols in Europe that their Great Khan has died, and a kurultai is to be held to select a new Great Khan.

As a result, despite their victory, this was the furthest west the Mongol army ever advanced.

1865. Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Union General Ulysses S. Grant.

1940. Germany invades Denmark and Norway. The move is a brilliant strategic move by the Nazis, and a serious blow to the British, who were hoping to control Norway and among other things try to cut supplies of iron ore from Sweden to Germany to feed the Nazi war machine.

1942. American forces in the Bataan pensinsula pn the island of Luzon in the Phillipines surrender to the Japanese. Soon they will begin what will become known to history as the Bataan Death March.

1965. The Houston Astrodome opens and hosts history's first indoor MLB baseball game.
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Old 04-11-2009, 08:33 AM   #309
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April 11
1512 - The forces of the Holy League were heavily defeated by the French at the Battle of Ravenna.

1689 - William III and Mary II were crowned as joint sovereigns of Britain.

1713 - The Treaty of Utrecht was signed, ending the War of Spanish Succession.

1783 - After receiving a copy of the provisional treaty on March 13, the U.S. Congress proclaimed a formal end to hostilities with Great Britain.

1803 - A twin-screw propeller steamboat was patented by John Stevens.

1814 - Napoleon was forced to abdicate his throne. The allied European nations had marched into Paris on March 30, 1814. He was banished to the island of Elba.

1876 - The stenotype was patented by John C. Zachos.

1876 - The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was organized.

1895 - Anaheim, CA, completed its new electric light system.

1898 - U.S. President William McKinley asked Congress for a declaration of war with Spain.

1899 - The treaty ending the Spanish-American War was declared in effect.

1921 - Iowa became the first state to impose a cigarette tax.

1921 - The first live sports event on radio took place this day on KDKA Radio. The event was a boxing match between Johnny Ray and Johnny Dundee.

1940 - Andrew Ponzi set a world's record in a New York pocket billiards tournament when he ran 127 balls straight.

1941 - Germany bombers blitzed Conventry, England.

1945 - U.S. troops reached the Elbe River in Germany.

1945 - During World War II, American soldiers liberated the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald in Germany.

1947 - Jackie Robinson became the first black player in major-league history. He played in an exhibition game for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

1951 - U.S. President Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur as head of United Nations forces in Korea.

1961 - Israel began the trial of Adolf Eichman, accused of World War II war crimes.

1968 - U.S. President Johnson signed the 1968 Civil Rights Act.

1970 - Apollo 13 blasted off on a mission to the moon that was disrupted when an explosion crippled the spacecraft. The astronauts did return safely.

1974 - The Judiciary committee subpoenas U.S. President Richard Nixon to produce tapes for impeachment inquiry.

1979 - Idi Amin was deposed as president of Uganda as rebels and exiles backed by Tanzanian forces seized control.

1980 - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued regulations specifically prohibiting sexual harassment of workers by supervisors.

1981 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan returned to the White House from the hospital after recovering from an assassination attempt.

1985 - Scientists in Hawaii measured the distance between the earth and moon within one inch.

1985 - The White House announced that President Reagan would visit the Nazi cemetery at Bitburg.

1986 - Dodge Morgan sailed solo nonstop around the world in 150 days.

1986 - In Groton, CT, the submarine Nautilus exhibit opened to the public.

1986 - Kellogg's stopped giving tours of its breakfast-food plant. The reason for the end of the 80-year tradition was said to be that company secrets were at risk due to spies from other cereal companies.

1991 - U.N. Security Council issued a formal cease-fire with Iraq.

1996 - Forty-three African nations signed the African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty.

1996 - Seven-year-old Jessica Dubroff was killed with her father and flight instructor when her plane crashed after takeoff from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Jessica had hoped to become the youngest person to fly cross-country.

1998 - Northern Ireland's biggest political party, the Ulster Unionists, announced its backing of the historic peace deal.

1999 - Daouda Malam Wanke was designated president of Niger. President Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara had been assassinated on April 9.

2001 - China agreed to release 24 crewmembers of a U.S. surveillance plane. The EP-3E Navy crew had been held since April 1 on Hainon, where the plane had made an emergency landing after an in-flight collision with a Chinese fighter jet. The Chinese pilot was missing and presumed dead.
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Old 04-11-2009, 09:18 AM   #310
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April 10. The 100th day of the year.

1710. The first law regulating copyrights is promulgated in Britain.

1821. On Easter Sunday, directly after celebrating the Easter liturgy, Patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople was taken by the Ottoman Turks and hanged while still wearing his full vestments. His body was thrown into the Bosporus. The hanging was the result of his inability to control the Greek uprising in the Greek War for Independence.

1912. The Titanic leaves port for her maiden and only voyage.

1925. The Great Gatsby is published.

1970. Paul McCartney announces the breakup of the Beatles.

1972. For the first time since November, 1967, American B-52 Bombers begin bombing North Vietnam.

(I find this last interesting -- I didn't know we took a five year break on B-52 bombings, though I imaigne they were still in use to the extent needed in areas of South Vietnam. Anyone know the background of why a moratorium was called on bombing North Vietnam?)
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Old 04-11-2009, 10:54 AM   #311
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April 11.

As RedNeckRaider has covered the options, I'll mention one item that he didn't list, then go back into greater detail on an item recently covered.

April 11, 1241. On this date at the Battle of Mohi the main part of the Mongol forces invading Eastern Europe crushed the Hungarian army. This left Hungary wide open for Mongol forces to decimate, which they did. Hungarian leaders fled west, pleading for help. Europe, divided and weak, was strangely passive about forming an organized resistance to the Mongols, who were now only a week away from the borders of France. They seemed to misunderstand the profound threat posed by teh Mongols, who had now conquered over 4,000 miles of territory between Mongolia and Hungary. All this is not to say, however, that the Mongol victories had been effortless. The Hungarians had fought hard and had inflicted casualties on the Mongolians, and they proved difficult to pacify in the coming months.


Revisiting the loss of Richmond and the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, all of which occurred during early April, 1865.

By this point in the war, attrition and supplies had become extremely serious problems for the rebels. Confederate supplies were unreliable, and logistics completely shot. While 1864 had been an extremely good year for crops, the march of Sherman had disrupted supplies and ravaged teh breadbasket of the Confederacy. Lee, locked into a siege with the unrelenting Grant, lost men to both as casualties and as deserters. By April 1864 Grant's army was about three times larger than Lee's. with approximately 128,000 soldiers under grant facing Lee's 44,000.

Worse, Grant was a bulldog who did not let go. Forcing Lee into a siege took away Lee's superior tactical abilities and the vaunted maneuvering talents of the Army of Northern Virginia. Knowing he had superior numbers, Grant kept up the pressure by constantly stretching out the siege lines, forcing Lee to repeatedly extend his own lines to match pace, and thinning out his ranks.

After several battles in late March, Grant ordered a general assault. Breakthroughs were starting to occur, albeit quickly contained.

"Well, Colonel", Lee said to one of his staff as he drew rein, "it has happened as it told them it would at Richmond. The line has been stretched until it has broken."

Before evacuating his lines, he needed to give his commanders notice. Before disconnecting the telegraph, Lee dictated a message to the Secretary of War and the the President of the Confederacy. "I see no prospect of doing more htan holding our position here till night. I am not certain that I can do that. If I can I shall withdraw tonight north of the Appomatox, and if possible it will be better to withdraw the whole line tonight from James River."

Midway through church services, a War Department messenger arrived at the presidential pew in St. Paul's Church with a dispatch. Nearby worshippers saw "a sort of gray pallor creep over his face" as he read the dispatch, then watche dhim rise and stride back down the aisle. Arrangements were made for the prompt dispatch of the remaining Confederate funds -- about $528,000 in gold and silver coins, bricks and ingots.

What began as the Confederate retreat from Richmond and Petersburg soon became a race against Grant and starvation. For six days the Army of Northern Virginia trudged ever westward, hoping to link up with General Joseph Johnson. Harried and harrassed by the ebullient Union soldiers, who had finally found a decent cavalry commander in General Sheridan, they were constantly harrassed.

Lacking supplies, Lee had to call halts while his soldiers foraged for food. They came with an appeal -- a letter from Lee -- "To the Citizens of Amelia County to supply as far as each one is able the wants of the brave soldiers who have battled for your liberty for four years."

And as soldiers are wont to do, they find gallows humors in the worst of times. Having found "poor old Dixie's bottom dollar", one of Longstreet's Deep South veterans put it best:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unknown Confederate veteran
My shoes are gone; my clothes are almost gone. I'm weary, I'm sick, I'm hungry. My family has been killed or scattered, and may now be wandering helpless and unprotected. I would die; yes, I would die willingly because I love my country. But if this war is ever over, I'll be damned if I ever love another country!
All this was Grant's doing. "He commanded Lee's army as much as he did ours; caused and knew beforehand every movement htat Lee made, up to the actual surrender. . . . There was no let up; fighting and marching and negotiating, all at once."

The Confederates -- tired, hungry and fleeing, were bound to make a mistake, and os they did, on April 6, 1865, the "Black Thursday" of the Confederacy. Failures to communicate between senior corps commanders with many years of experience with respect to the need to stop and fight off flanking attacks created huge fissures in the Confederate ranks, through which the Union forces seeped, splitting off forces and creating confusion. Topping a ridge overlooking Sayler's Creek valley, Lee came upon union batteries firing rapidly and pounding the shattered remnant of one Confederate corps, whicl fugitives streamed out the bottom of the ravine. "My God," Lee exclaimed, witnessing the worst defeat in the 34 months since he had been in command, "Has the army been dissolved?!"

And yet the resilient Confederate troops weren't done yet. They continued staggering westward.

HEADQUARTERS, ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES
APRIL 7, 1865

General R. E. Lee,
Commanding C.S. Army

General: The results of the last week must convince you of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia in this struggle. I feel that it is so, and regard it as my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of any further effusion of blood by asking of you teh surrender of that portion of the C.S. Army known as the Army of Northern Virginia.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U.S. GRANT, Lieutenant General
Commanding Armies of teh United States


Lee read the dispatch without comment and handed it to Longstreet, who had been with him for so very long. Old Peter read the message and said two words. "Not yet."

Lee made no reply to Longstreet, and yet wrote a response.

7th Apr. '65
Genl

I have recd your note of this date. Though not entertaining the opinion you express of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the army of N. Va. I reciprocate your desire to avoid the useless effusion of blood, & therefore before consdiering your proposition, ask the terms you will offer on condition of its surrender.

Very respy your obt svt
R.E. Lee, Genl


Grant's reply:

Peace being my great desire, there is but one condition I would insist upon -- namely that the men and officers surrendered shall be disqualified for taking up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged.

They continued to dance about, Lee suggesting he lacked authority, and otherwise engaging in delaying tactics, which Grant would have none of. Eventually, Lee relented and agreed to meet Grant and effect the surrender.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert E. Lee
Then there is nothing left for me to do but go and see General Grant, and I would rather die a thousands deaths.
On the morning of April 9, 1865, Lee wore a splendid new gray uniform. When a senior staffer expressed surprise, Lee simply said "I have probably to be General Grant's prisoner, and thought I must make my best appearance."

The Civil War was full of ironies uncounted. Not least was one involving the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. The surrender took place in a house owned by Wilmer McLean. McLean had owned a farm near Manassas Junction, stretching along the banks of Bull Run, at the time of the first of the two battles fought there. In fact, a shell had come crashing through the window of his house, and he had therefore resolved to find a new home for his family, away from the figthing, "where the sound of battle would never reach them." Appomatox Courthouse was 2 miles from the nearest railroad and a remote hamlet, with absolutely no military value to anyone.

And thus the man who had seen the war start on his property was about to see the war end on his property, in his very parlor.

Grant arrived, rumpled as ever. In his memoirs he would note that he could not figure Lee's emotions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulysses S. Grant
As he was a man of much dignity, with an impassable face it was impossible to say whether he felt inwardly glad that the end had finally come, or felt sad over the result and was too manly to show it. Whatever his feelings they were entirely concealed from my observation; but my own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on receipt of his letter, were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I beleve, one of the worst for which a people ever fought
They spoke for some time. Grant seemed in the mood to draw it out, engage in idle discussion, reminisce about their times in the Mexican-American War. Lee, instead, clearly wanted to end the business quickly. Grant offered 25,000 rations for Lee's troops, and Lee stated it would be "an abundance." Grant, whom one staffer stated "looked like a fly on a shoulder of beef", knew that he was underdressed, but stated that he had not expected Lee's note offering immediate terms, and had "thought you would rather receive me as I was than be detained." Lee agreed and said he was "very glad" Grant had met him so quickly.

They negotiated somewhat, then signed the document by which Lee surrendered his army. Returning to his troops, they asked "General! General!! Are we surrendered?!?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert E. Lee
Men, we have fought the war together, and I have done the best I could for you. You will all be paroled and go to your homes until exchanged.
Tears filled his eyes as he tried to say more, but he could only manage a barely audible "Goodbye."

The formal surrender ceremony was by agreement to take place a few days later. The troops, in meeting, were cordial and civil. Teh Confederates surrendered their flags and weapons.

Guns bloomed and church bells rang across the North in celebration of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Last edited by Amnorix; 04-11-2009 at 10:59 AM..
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Old 04-11-2009, 11:02 AM   #312
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I used two sources for the prior post, both of which I heartily recommend. First, Shelby Foote's fantastic "The Civil War", a three book, detailed but introductory level series on the Civil War. If you have not read anything about the Civil War, then start with this.

Second, the Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. A highly readable and very enjoyable two volume autobiography. While best if the reader has a background in the Civil War, it si among the most "readable" autobiographies of any military commander (and I have read many).
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Old 04-12-2009, 07:00 PM   #313
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April 12.

A whopper of a day. Be sure to avoid this one for trying to get into the record books for doing something notable on any given day. The competition is intense.

1204. In a cruel twist of irony, the Christian city of Constantinople falls to the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade. The Crusade was organized under the aegis of Pope Innocent III, and by general agreement was to make directly for the Muslim city of Cairo. Pope Innocent solemnly banned attacks by the Crusaders upon Christian states. Venice, however, under her ancient and blind Doge, Enrico Dandolo, intentionally steered the Crusading fleet to Constantinople which was one of, if not THE, foremost cities among Christiandom.

Speros Vryonis in Byzantium and Europe gives a vivid account of the sack of Constantinople by the Frankish and Venetian Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade:
Quote:
The Latin soldiery subjected the greatest city in Europe to an indescribable sack. For three days they murdered, raped, looted and destroyed on a scale which even the ancient Vandals and Goths would have found unbelievable. Constantinople had become a veritable museum of ancient and Byzantine art, an emporium of such incredible wealth that the Latins were astounded at the riches they found. Though the Venetians had an appreciation for the art which they discovered (they were themselves semi-Byzantines) and saved much of it, the French and others destroyed indiscriminately, halting to refresh themselves with wine, violation of nuns, and murder of Orthodox clerics. The Crusaders vented their hatred for the Greeks most spectacularly in the desecration of the greatest Church in Christendom. They smashed the silver iconostasis, the icons and the holy books of Hagia Sophia, and seated upon the patriarchal throne a whore who sang coarse songs as they drank wine from the Church's holy vessels. The estrangement of East and West, which had proceeded over the centuries, culminated in the horrible massacre that accompanied the conquest of Constantinople. The Greeks were convinced that even the Turks, had they taken the city, would not have been as cruel as the Latin Christians. The defeat of Byzantium, already in a state of decline, accelerated political degeneration so that the Byzantines eventually became an easy prey to the Turks. The Crusading movement thus resulted, ultimately, in the victory of Islam, a result which was of course the exact opposite of its original intention.
1606. Great Britain adopts the Union Jack as it's official flag.

1861. The American Civil War begins with the firing by Confederate Forces on Fort Sumter.

1945. FDR dies. Harry Truman is sworn in.

1955. The Polio Vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, is declared safe and effective.

1961. Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin becomes the first human to travel into outer space.

1981. The first space shuttle is launched. Columbia launches on the STS-1 mission.



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Old 04-14-2009, 09:44 AM   #314
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April 13


1256. The Augustinian Order is created by a Papal Bull.

1598. Henry IV of France issues the Edict of Nantes, granting certain freedoms to the Huguenots.

1796. The first elephant ever seen in America arrives from India.

1861. Fort Sumter surrenders to Confederate forces.

1902. James C. Penney opens his first store, in Wyoming.

1970. An oxygen tank on Apollo 13 explodes while the ship is en route to the moon, setting the stage for a dramatic return voyage to EArth and a really terrific movie.

1997. Tiger Woods becomes the youngest golfer to win the Masters.
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:30 AM   #315
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1902. James C. Penney opens his first store, in Wyoming.
Heh. I didn't know the first store was in Wyoming.
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