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Illjwamh

This Day In History

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11 October

1311 – The peerage and clergy restrict the powers of King Edward II of England with the Ordinances of 1311.  We are loyal subjects of the King.  We just don't trust him with our money.

1649 – Cromwell's New Model Army Sacks Wexford killing over 2,000 Irish Confederate troops and 1,500 civilians.  Silly thing, Cromwell and the Wexford leaders were attempting to negotiate Wexford's surrender, but both were being incredibly stubborn and slow.  Then someone in the Parliamentary Army lost patience and started the attack.  So the 3,500 casualties?  The devastated city and port?  It was all just a mistake.

1767 – Surveying for the Mason–Dixon line separating Maryland from Pennsylvania is completed.  In less than a hundred years, this little survey party would get blamed for everything.

1910 – Former President Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first U.S. president to fly in an airplane. He flew for four minutes with Arch Hoxsey in a plane built by the Wright brothers at Kinloch Field (Lambert–St. Louis International Airport), St. Louis, Missouri.  So much for the idea that the first time Teddy Roosevelt flew, he was carried by a flock of Bald Eagles he raised himself in their native environment at the peak of a mountain.

1957 – Space Race: Operation Moonwatch scientists calculate Sputnik 1's booster rocket's orbit.  This was the work of amateur American astronomers.

1958 – Pioneer program: NASA launches the lunar probe Pioneer 1 (the probe falls back to Earth and burns up).  This was the work of professional American engineers.

1962 – Second Vatican Council: Pope John XXIII convenes the first ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church in 92 years.  Those who want change will complain that the council does not change enough.  Those who do not want change will complain that the council changes too much.

1968 – Apollo program: NASA launches Apollo 7, the first successful manned Apollo mission, with astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn F. Eisele and Walter Cunningham aboard.  The professional American Rocket Scientists finally get one right.

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A bit of language in this one.

On October 12 in History:

529 BCE - Cyrus the Great enters Babylon, solidifying the power of his new Achaemenid Persian Empire. Interestingly, he might be the most magnanimous ruler in terms of cultural sensitivity and human rights the world will see until the twentieth century. Speaking of which, wait for it...

633 - King Edwin of Northumbria is killed at the Battle of Hatfield Chase. He must have been absolutely terrible, since an alliance of English Mercia and Welsh Gwynedd was formed to take him down. Normally those two groups can't agree what color the sky is. (Grey. It's always grey.)

1492 - Some idiot lands in the Bahamas and thinks he's in Indonesia. No one can convince him otherwise. In the short term it makes little difference; raping and pillaging is the same everywhere.

1537 - Henry VIII of England finally hears those three beautiful words: "It's a boy!" This is great news for him, since now he won't have to divorce and/or kill his wife.

1654 - Cornelis Soetens, keeper of a gunpowder storehouse in the Dutch town of Delft, opens the door to check on the powder. A spark ignites it, creating an explosion that blows up most of the city. You had one job, dude.

1692 - "What the hell are you idiots doing? Stop that this instant!" ~ Letter from Massachusetts governor William Phips to the properly chastised people of Salem (Paraphrased)

1792 - For the first time, the people of New York city celebrate that time some Italian guy came and killed or enslaved a bunch of people and took all their stuff. Killing natives so white people can take their stuff remains all the rage even 300 years later. One can only hope the holiday doesn't catch on.

1798 - Prince Pedro of Portugal, full name Pedro de Alcântara Francisco António João Carlos Xavier de Paula Miguel Rafael Joaquim José Gonzaga Pascoal Cipriano Serafim, is born.

1822 - Happy birthday, Pedro! You're Brazil's first emperor now! Shit, all I got him was a gift card.

1892 - The Pledge of Allegiance, which is TOTALLY NOT FORCED PATRIOTISM, you guys, is first recited by American schoolchildren to commemorate that same f*****g Italian guy. God DAMMIT.

1901 - Theodore Roosevelt officially renames the Executive Mansion to what everyone has been calling it anyway.

1960 - Nikita Khrushchev kills a fly with his shoe and is unfairly maligned by the world as a raving madman.

1968 - Hugh Jackman's "official" date of birth, though we all know he's been alive since at least the early 1800s.

1971 - Iran begins a five-day festival to celebrate the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of their empire. No one can say they haven't had a good run. Meanwhile, some buzzkill cleric named Khomeini derides the festival as decadent and overly extravagant. Pfft. Who cares what some fringe wack job thinks?

1998 - Matthew Shepard dies as a result of a hate crime so vile that I couldn't think of anything flippant to say about it even if I wanted to. What's wrong with people?

1999 - Abkhazia declares independence from Georgia. Georgia disagrees.

2017 - The United States leaves UNESCO, immediately followed by Israel, one can only guess because "to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom" is for suckers.

2018 - A British royal wedding involving a couple most people have never heard of takes place. Even the Americans aren't interested, and that's saying something.

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13 October

AD 54 – Emperor Claudius dies from poisoning under mysterious circumstances, supposedly after eating mushrooms.  One legend claims his final words were "Damn it!  I can feel myself becoming a god."  His 17-year-old stepson Nero succeeds him.  Strangely enough, the "Poisoning" may have been a purely accidental case of food poisoning, or even some other natural causes.  While there isn't usually too much nice to say about Nero, it doesn't look like he was directly involved with the death of Claudius.  Nero's mother, Agrippina the Younger, on the other hand...

1307 – Hundreds of Knights Templar in France are simultaneously arrested by agents of Phillip the Fair, to be later tortured into a "confession" of heresy.  To be fair to Philip, "Fair" has several meanings.  It would be unfair to say that Philip received "the Fair" as an epithet for his behavior towards the Templars, or the Jews, or the English, or the Papal Court...

1773 – The Whirlpool Galaxy is discovered by Charles Messier.  This is the Galaxy now known as M51a.  Not a washing machine.

1884 – The International Meridian Conference, in Washington, votes on a resolution to establish the meridian passing through the Observatory of Greenwich, in London, as the initial meridian for longitude.  Most of Europe and the Americas would have their clocks synchronized with Britain, ± n hours, within a decade.  Most.  France would take their time, keeping their own time for some time.

1903 – The Boston Red Sox win the first modern World Series, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth game.  For a World Championship, teams from outside the United States have won it only twice.

1923 – Ankara replaces Istanbul as the capital of Turkey.  If the capital is not Constantinople, it might as well be Ankara.  Even though they didn't include that town in the song.

1983 – Ameritech Mobile Communications launched the first US cellular network in Chicago.  Finally, we can drive around the city and never need to put down our phones.

2010 – The mining accident in Copiapó, Chile comes to an end as all 33 miners arrive at the surface after surviving a record 69 days underground awaiting rescue.  While this was a compelling story with a happy ending, an even better result would have occurred if the mine had been run with safety standards in the first place.

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On October 14 in History:

1066 - Still exhausted from stabbing Norsemen in the testicles (among other places) and then marching the full length of the country in two weeks, King Harold Godwinson's English army falls to Duke William's Normans at the Battle of Hastings, and that's why we call cow meat "beef".

1322 - Robert the Bruce, a.k.a. "the other guy, not Mel Gibson" from Braveheart, defeats Edward II and forces England to recognize Scotland's independence. It lasts forever.

1773 - A bunch of British tea ships are burned in the harbor of Annapolis. Bostonians will later deride the perpetrators for a lack of showmanship and branding.

1805 - France beats the crap out of Austria.

1806 - France beats the crap out of Prussia.

1808 - France annexes the Republic of Ragusa. Is...is anybody going to do anything about this?

1894 - poet e e cummings is born in cambridge massachusetts

1908 - The Chicago Cubs win the MLB World Series for the second year in a row. I tell you, we might just be witnessing the birth of a dynasty!

1912 - Before a campaign speech in Milwaukee, former U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt is shot in the chest. Unconcerned and not about to let a petty thing like a seeping bullet wound disrupt his schedule, Roosevelt proceeds to deliver his 90-minute speech as planned, though the crowd presumably has difficulty hearing him over the sound of his massive, thunderous balls.

1927 - Roger Moore is born spotless, calm and quiet, wearing a tuxedo.

1958 - In a shockingly progressive move, the Bar Association of the federal district of the freest nation on Earth decides that it's okay if black people want to be lawyers.

1962 - "Oh, shit." ~Pilot of an American U-2 reconnaissance plane flying over Cuba.

1982 - President Ronald Reagan declares a War on Drugs. It remains one of his most resounding success stories; members of his party to this day have yet to find a better way to keep minorities from voting.

1991 - Aung San Suu Kyi, a.k.a. the lady who took the "both sides are at fault" route [redacted] regarding the persecution and possible genocide of Rohingya Muslims and refugees in her country of Myanmar, is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

2012 - Some dude jumps from space. I guess so we'll all drink more Red Bull?

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On October 15 in History:

70 BCE - Virgil is born. If it weren't for him, we'd only know about one made-up story of the founding of Rome.

1066 - The day after Harold Godwinson's death, Edgar Ætheling is proclaimed King of England. Come, brothers! We shall drive these Norman dogs back into the sea!

1529 - Austria and Christian Europe to Suleiman and the Ottomans at the Siege of Vienna: "All right, that's far enough."

1582 - Some countries start adopting the Gregorian calendar. Not all, just some. Because the goal is to make this whole thing as confusing for everyone as possible.

1815 - Napoleon begins his exile on St. Helena, which is about as physically far from anywhere as it's possible to get. If he gets out of this one, we'll have to figure out a way to send him to the moon.

1894 - French army officer Alfred Dreyfus is arrested for being Jewish during another man's treasonous espionage. It's an obscure charge.

1917 - Mata Hari is executed by firing squad for the crime of spying so masterfully that she single-handedly caused all of France's hardships in the war thus far. Or for being a "woman of loose morals" and thus a convenient scapegoat for a country about to collapse from war exhaustion. One of those. France, you're really bad at this.

1945 - Former Vichy prime minister Pierre Laval is executed for treason. Okay, at least this one sounds reasonab...wait, I'm being told that his trial was rushed in about a week to get it in before elections, and he was sentenced in absentia without speaking in his own defense. God dammit, France.

1953 - The British test their nuclear weapon Totem I at Emu Field in Australia. Damn, this Emu War has gotten entirely out of hand.

2011 - Protesters around the globe have had enough, and now they're going to make sure everyone hears about it. It is the most organized complaint in the history of humanity.

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On October 16 in History:

690 - Wu Zetian comes to power in China. She would later be declared emperor - not empress. Because having a woman in charge would be silly.

1384 - In an odd coincidence, King Louis the Great's daughter Jadwiga is crowned King of Poland. Yes, King. Apparently pretend penises are worth more than real vaginas when it comes to ruling places.

1793 - Marie Antoinette loses her head. Understandable, as she's being led to her death. Then she is executed.

1841- Queen's University is founded in...Kingston, Ontario. Okay, now they're just messing with us.

1859 - Abolitionist John Brown attempts to incite a slave rebellion by attacking a U.S. fort at Harper's Ferry with a contingent of 21 men. He is as unsuccessful as you are imagining.

1923 - The Walt Disney company is founded by Roy Disney and his brother whose name escapes me. Several Academy Award Statuettes are prepared in advance.

1995 - The Eight Hundred Thirty-Seven Thousand Man March on Washington takes place. History book editors would round up for the sake of expediency.

2002: The Library of Alexandria is reestablished after roughly 1800 years of absence. Library cards from the old building are not accepted.

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Just now, Illjwamh said:

1841- Queen's University is founded in...Kingston, Ontario. Okay, now they're just messing with us.

If you really want to be technical, the University of Western Ontario is more on the Eastern side.

Though I imagine it's just a remnant of when Ontario was just the southern portion back in 1878.

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On October 17 in History:

1091 - A massive freaking tornado hits right in the middle of London. I dunno, this feels like a really sloppy cover-up for some wizard shenanigans.

1534 - A bunch of signs go up all over France railing against Catholicism, including one on King Francis's bedroom door. Ironically, he's so freaked out by this that he stops trying to protect Protestants from persecution. Whoops.

1660 - The new king of England's restored monarchy shows us that revenge is a dish best served cold, having the 9 men who signed the execution order of his father hanged, drawn and quartered. Charles in charge, indeed.

1781 - George Washington captures Yorktown, effectively defeating the greatest empire on the planet with what - in comparison - is little more than a ragtag band of misfits. This explains every American sports movie ever made.

1806 - Former Haitian revolutionary leader Emperor Jacques I is assassinated in response to his oppressive rule. I feel like he ought to have seen this coming.

1814 - Several vats burst, leading to a literal flood of beer in London. Now I'll make an obvious joke about it! Except eight people die, you monster.

1931 - Al Capone, one of America's most notorious organized crime bosses, is finally arrested...for tax evasion. Punchline redacted.

1961 - As many as 100 to 400 Algerian protesters are beaten, thrown into the river, or straight-up killed by police, under personal direction of chief of police Maurice Papon. Fun fact, he got that job while under the Nazi collaborationist regime and nobody ever thought to replace him. Whoops.

1973 - "No oil for you!" ~OPEC

2018 - Canada, already one of the most chill, laid-back places on Earth, legalizes recreational marijuana use. Word is still out on whether they have achieved some sort of friendly Nirvana.

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Just for some context, today's ma birfday.

 

On Oct. 18 in History:

320 - Observation of a solar eclipse leads to one of the most definitive explanations on the workings of the universe until Copernicus came along. Like 99.9% of things people have claimed to know about the universe in our relatively short history, it's laughably wrong.

614 - The Edict of Paris is issued, laying out the rights of Frankish nobles. This is great if you are a Frankish noble. Not so much if you are a Jew - or, you know, anyone other than a Frankish noble.

629 - Dagobert I is crowned king of the Franks. Naturally, he still must answer to an incompetent, pointy-haired Pope.

1009 - The armies of the Fatimid Caliphate completely destroy the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Like, literally, completely. Down to the bedrock. I'm thinking there are some bitterness issues being worked through here.

1648 - Shoemakers in Boston form the first American labor organization. They are immediately blamed for every problem in the entire Massachusetts Bay colony.

1775 - Early in the American Revolution, the Royal Navy burns the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts. This prompts the 2nd Continental Congress to say, "We should maybe have a navy, or something."

1851 - Moby Dick is first published (as "The Whale") in London. An entire country full of schoolchildren become inexplicably drows...zzzzzzzzzzzz

1867 - Alaska is purchased for the U.S. from Russia at a price of $7.2 million. In 1867 dollars, that's like the equivalent of Zeus's diamond-encrusted golden testicles. Everyone thought it was a worthless purchase and William Seward, who oversaw the deal, would never live it down. No, really. Because even though gold and oil and down-to-earth folksy hockey-moms were later found in abundance, he would die nearly five years to the day (Oct. 10) later and never got to see any of that. He may have lucked out on that last one.

1898 - The United States takes Puerto Rico from Spain. Because we feel like it. If the pattern holds, this means Sarah Palin 2.0, now in Latina form, has already been born.

1922 - The BBC is founded, which among other things eventually leads to the creation of both Dr. Who and Monty Python. And there was much rejoicing.

1929 - I won't bore you with the details, but long story short: The Supreme Court of Canada is overruled and it is determined that women are, in fact, considered "persons" under Canadian law. What were they considered before? Given Canada's national animal, I'm trying REALLY hard not to make the obvious joke. You're welcome.

1945 - Up and coming Argentine politician Juan Perón marries actress Eva "Evita" Duarte. Several Tony Award statuettes are prepared in advance.

1983 - The first human being to live to the age of 150 is born. Interestingly, that is also his I/Q. Rumor has it he is also very witty and charming.

1991 - Azerbaijan officially declares independence from the USSR. Hipster Baltic states scoff at them for merely following a trend.

2013 - Former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Tom Foley dies at 84. I like to imagine that with his last breath, he shook his fist at the sky and cried out, "Nethercutt!"

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19 October

202 BC – Second Punic War: At the Battle of Zama, Roman legions under Scipio Africanus defeat Hannibal Barca, leader of the army defending Carthage.  This sounds very impressive...

439 – The Vandals, led by King Gaiseric, take Carthage in North Africa.  Wait a minuet.  Carthage fell to Vandalism?  I am much less impressed with General Scipio.

1216 – King John of England, yes the King John who was the younger brother of Richard the Lionheart.  The King who committed the unforgivable sin of not being Richard the Lionheart.  The King who suffered countless insults with every retelling of the Robin Hood legend.  The King began the long British tradition of surrendering Royal power to the minor nobles by signing the Magna Carta (not the Japanese comic version of the Manga Carta).  The King who was the youngest of five sons of King Henry II of England and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine.  The King who proved unable to hold his mother's territories in France.  This King dies at Newark-on-Trent and is succeeded by his nine-year-old son Henry III.  It would be several more Henrys before England found a king more notorious than John.

1453 – The Hundred Years' War ends with the French recapture of Bordeaux, leaving English control only on Calais.  Maybe there is some place other than France England could try conquering?

1469 – Ferdinand II of Aragon marries Isabella I of Castile, a marriage that paves the way to the unification of Aragon and Castile into a single country, Spain.  It also permits Ricky Ricardo to frequently exclaim "Lucy!  You got some Spaining to do!"

1781 – At Yorktown, Virginia, representatives of British commander Lord Cornwallis hand over Cornwallis' sword and formally surrender to George Washington and the comte de Rochambeau.  Why were the British fighting so hard to keep these troublesome colonies in the first place?

1805 – Napoleonic Wars: Austrian General Mack surrenders his army to the Grande Armée of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Ulm; 30,000 prisoners are captured and 10,000 casualties inflicted on the losers.  Careful Monsieur Bonaparte.  Not every battle will go so well for the Grande Armée.

1812 – Napoleon Bonaparte retreats from Moscow.  Tough loss, but a great musical score.

1813 – The Battle of Leipzig concludes, giving Napoleon Bonaparte one of his worst defeats.  Maybe there is some place other than Europe France could try conquering?

1933 – Germany withdraws from the League of Nations.  But how does Germany expect to peacefully resolve its diplomatic issues without league backing?

1973 – President Richard Nixon rejects an Appeals Court decision that he turn over the Watergate tapes.  He's sure to rethink this position and release all the tapes, complete and unedited.

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On October 20 in History:

1720 - Pirate Calico Jack Rackham is captured by the royal navy. He is notable for having not one but two famous female pirates in his crew, and for being one of the chief inspirations for Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow. It is unknown whether infusing him with Keith Richards made him more or less eccentric.

1740 - Maria Theresa takes the throne of Austria. France, Prussia, Saxony, and Bavaria say that's ridiculous because she has lady parts. A war begins.

1781 - The Habsburgs declare that you can Christian however you want, but if you're not Catholic we don't want to see it.

1819 - Birth of the Báb, one of the most important religious figures you've never heard of.

1944 - "Told you." ~Douglas MacArthur, Philippines

1973 - U.S. President Richard Nixon fires Attorney General Elliot Richardson and his deputy, William Ruckelshaus, for their refusal to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. I feel like there's a relevant parallel that I could call attention to, but I just can't put my finger on it.

2011 - Rebel forces in Libya reenact the deposition of King Edward II of England.

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21 October

1520 – Ferdinand Magellan discovers a strait now known as Strait of Magellan.  A narrow body of water connecting two larger bodies of water in a relatively straight line named for the commander of the vessel that "discovers" it?  Sounds much too simple.  What did the locals call it before Magellan got there?  Oh, that's right.  If you don't have guns and Church backing, your opinions don't count.

Same date a little farther north...

1520 – João Álvares Fagundes discovers the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, bestowing them their original name of "Islands of the 11,000 Virgins".  The French Overseas Collectivity can barely support a population of less than 7,000 today.  How did eleven thousand virgins, and who knows how many not-so-virgins, manage to survive off the Newfoundland coast back then?

1797 – In Boston Harbor, Old Ironsides (Not Raymond Burr) the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution is launched.  She's still afloat and ready to defend Boston Harbor against any brig, sloop, or schooner the British might send to retaliate for that tea incident.

1805 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Trafalgar: A British fleet led by Vice Admiral Lord Nelson defeats a combined French and Spanish fleet under Admiral Villeneuve.  The Brits are going to remember this one for a while.

1824 – Joseph Aspdin patents Portland cement.  Water proof mortar is fine for those who can't be bothered to shape and fit stones with surgical precision.

1845 – Birth of Will Carleton, American poet and journalist (d. 1912).  If you're not from Michigan, you've probably never heard of him.  But as he lived and worked near my hometown, I am obliged to comment on him at every opportunity.  http://www.poorhousestory.com/over_the_hill.htm

1854 – Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 nurses are sent to the Crimean War.  Why Britain and France were involved in a war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire is difficult for historians to explain.  What Florence Nightingale did for Nursing and Medicine must not be forgotten.  Nightingale was trained as a statistician.  I don't know how, but the medical profession's dependence on paperwork seems to begin here.

1867 – The Medicine Lodge Treaty is signed by southern Great Plains Indian leaders. The treaty requires Native American Plains tribes to relocate to a reservation in western Oklahoma.  What medicine was in that lodge that made the Native leaders think the US Government would honor this treaty?

1879 – Thomas Edison applies for a patent for his design for an incandescent light bulb.  What a brilliant idea:icon_idea:

1895 – The Republic of Formosa collapses as Japanese forces invade. When Japan managed to capture some islands near Taiwan without much effort, the Qing Dynasty decided that giving Japan Taiwan would be in their best interest.  The people on Taiwan didn't agree, and declared their independence.  This independence lasted until the Japanese fleet arrived and, with Qing forces already gone, took over.

1910 – HMS Niobe arrives in Halifax Harbour to become the first ship of the Royal Canadian Navy.  Canada, you have a LOT of coastline.  You really should have been taking steps on your own before this.

1921 – President Warren G. Harding delivers the first speech by a sitting U.S. President against lynching in the deep South.  So Americans as a people are not officially sure something is wrong until the President tells us it is wrong?

1945 – Women's suffrage: Women are allowed to vote in France for the first time.  Are you sure it's still not too soon?  Maybe you want to wait until after the next war.

1973 – Fred Dryer of the Los Angeles Rams becomes the first player in NFL history to score two safeties in the same game.  For those unfamiliar with American Gridiron Football, a Safety is scored when a team downs the ball in their own end zone, giving two points (or in very rare cases, one point) and control of the ball to the other team.  It's often as embarrassing as an Own Goal in that other kind of Football.

1983 – The metre is defined at the seventeenth General Conference on Weights and Measures as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.  So if you are ever measuring something and you don't have a meter stick, just get out your stopwatch that can track time to at least one part in three hundred millionths of a second.

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1 hour ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

1910 – HMS Niobe arrives in Halifax Harbour to become the first ship of the Royal Canadian Navy.  Canada, you have a LOT of coastline.  You really should have been taking steps on your own before this.

When no one has had any desire to invade since 1812, the need for a navy hasn't been very high on Canada's list.

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22 October

362 – The temple of Apollo at Daphne, outside Antioch, is destroyed in a mysterious fire.  Destroyed "mysteriously" near Antioch?  
Book of Armaments, Chapter 4, Verses 16 to 20: Then did he raise on high the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, saying, "Bless this, O Lord, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy."...

451 – The Council of Chalcedon adopts the Chalcedonian Creed regarding the divine and human nature of Jesus Christ.  Yes, Jesus is God.  Yes, except for the sin, Jesus is Human.  What is so hard to understand?

1730 – Construction of the Ladoga Canal is completed.  
You'll always know your neighbour
And you'll always know your pal
If ya ever navigated on Ladoga Canal

1790 – Warriors of the Miami people under Chief Little Turtle defeat United States troops under General Josiah Harmar at the site of present-day Fort Wayne, Indiana, in the Northwest Indian War.  Today, people from Fort Wayne invade Miami.

1797 – André-Jacques Garnerin makes the first recorded parachute jump from one thousand meters above Paris.  Parking is a problem in most cities today.  But is parking your transportation a kilometer above the city and then parachuting down really a viable solution?

1844 – The Great Anticipation: Millerites, followers of William Miller, anticipate the end of the world in conjunction with the Second Advent of Christ. The following day became known as the Great Disappointment.  Remember folks, every prediction about the "end of the world" has, so far, been wrong.

1883 – The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City opens with a performance of Gounod's Faust.  What kind of diabolical deal was made to get this place open?

1910 – Dr. Crippen is  convicted at the Old Bailey of poisoning his second wife and is subsequently hanged at Pentonville Prison in London.  As he was born and began his career near my home town, I am obliged to discuss him.   You've probably never heard of Hawley Harvey Crippen unless you are a fan of tawdry soap-opera stories of sex and murder.  He is notable as the first criminal suspect apprehended through the use of wireless telegraphy.

1964 – Jean-Paul Sartre is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, but turns down the honor.  Existentialism taken to a ridiculous extreme?

1964 – Canada: A Multi-Party Parliamentary Committee selects the design which becomes the new official flag of Canada.  As far as art designed by committee goes, it isn't so bad.

1976 – Red Dye No. 4 is banned by the US Food and Drug Administration after it is discovered that it causes tumors in the bladders of dogs.  So we can ban substances that cause tumors in dog bladders.  But we can't ban substances that cause tumors in human lungs?

1978 – Papal inauguration of Pope John Paul II.  Second time they tried this ceremony this year.  I think they got it right this time.

1998 – October 22 was designated International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD).  The day is intended to raise public awareness of the millions of people – one percent of the world's population – who have the speech disorder of stuttering.  I for one am acutely aware of stuttering.  Suffice to say that there is a reason why I prefer text-based communications.

1999 – Maurice Papon, an official in the Vichy France government during World War II, is jailed for crimes against humanity.  He was released for "Humanitarian" reasons after a few years while people he unjustly prosecuted were still incarcerated.  For more details, see 10/17/1961.

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23 October

First, if you happen to be reading this between 06:02 AM and 06:02 PM local time on October 23, HAPPY MOLE DAY! (6.02 x 1023)

42 BC – Liberators' civil war: Second Battle of Philippi: Mark Antony and Octavian decisively defeat Brutus's army. Brutus (the one who ate two) commits suicide.  Mark Antony and Octavian would, after this point, find working together increasingly difficult.

425 – Valentinian III is elevated as Roman emperor at the age of six.  The empire is falling apart, so what better way to preserve it than by crowning a child?

1157 – The Battle of Grathe Heath ends the civil war in Denmark.  In 1146 Eric III had abdicated and two, eventually three, men had been declared King in different parts of Denmark. Fast forward through a decade of Viking Politics and King Sweyn III is killed with an axe by peasants after losing his own armor and weapons following the Grathe Heath battle.  Valdemar I restores the country.  

1295 – The first treaty forming the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France against England is signed in Paris.  We know the French and Scots both have a strong dislike for the English.  But is that really enough common ground to form an alliance?

1707 – The first Parliament of Great Britain meets.  Even though the people of Scotland may not like the English any more now than they did then, this pretty much ends the Auld Scottish alliance with France.

1739 – War of Jenkins' Ear starts: British Prime Minister Robert Walpole, reluctantly declares war on Spain.  DID YOU HEAR THAT, JENKINS?  ENGLAND IS GOING TO WAR WITH SPAIN!

1812 – Claude François de Malet, a French general, begins a conspiracy to overthrow Napoleon Bonaparte, claiming that the Emperor died in Russia and that he is now the commandant of Paris.  Would Monsieur de Malet prefer a firing squad or the Guillotine?

1861 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus in Washington, D.C., for all military-related cases.  Yes, there is a war going on.  But please Abe, granting and preserving some freedoms is not justification for stamping out others.

1941 – World War II: Field Marshal Georgy Zhukov takes command of Red Army operations to prevent the further advance into Russia of German forces and to prevent the Wehrmacht from capturing Moscow.  To be blunt, the Soviets finally found a competent commander who had not been purged by Stalin on the eve of war with Germany.

1942 – World War II: Second Battle of El Alamein: At El Alamein, an obscure city in northern Egypt that had previously been the site of yet another inconclusive battle in the desert campaign, the British Eighth Army under Field Marshal Montgomery begins a critical offensive to expel the Axis armies from Egypt.  This would mark the turning point for the Western Allies in the war against Germany or, as Winston Churchill would describe it, the end of the beginning.  Herr Schicklgruber, one problem with quickly conquering very large areas is that it allows your enemies to test their weapons and practice their tactics against your forces where they are spread most thin.

1946 – The United Nations General Assembly convenes for the first time, in Flushing, Queens, New York City.  Really UN?  Most English speakers don't think of "Flushing" as a Long Island neighborhood.

1973 – The Watergate scandal: US President Richard M. Nixon agrees to turn over subpoenaed audio tapes of his Oval Office conversations.  Was that really so hard, Mr President?  The Courts and Congress are certain to be reasonable in how they proceed as long as you cooperate and don't tamper with the...  Oh no.

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On 10/23/2018 at 3:50 AM, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

First, if you happen to be reading this between 06:02 AM and 06:02 PM local time on October 23, HAPPY MOLE DAY! (6.02 x 1023)

Is guaca-mole made with avogadros?

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24 October

1260 – Chartres Cathedral is dedicated in the presence of King Louis IX of France; the cathedral is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It is an excellent example of Gothic architecture.  But it is also the fifth Cathedral to stand at that site since the first one was destroyed by Danes (who else?) in 858.  Why the tradition of building on the exact site of what had been previously destroyed by fire, war, or disaster?  It is like building a castle in the swamp only to see it sink into the swamp then building another castle in the swamp...

1360 – The Treaty of Brétigny is ratified at Calais, marking the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years' War.  Because Intermission is also useful outside the Theatre.

1590 – John White, the governor of the second Roanoke Colony, returns to England after an unsuccessful search for the "lost" colonists.  Will no one admit that it was alien and/or time travel abduction?

1795 – Third Partition of Poland: The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth is completely divided among Austria, Prussia, and Russia.  We get it.  The rest of Europe is determined to keep Poland from doing something terrible, like existing.

1851 – William Lassell discovers the moons Umbriel, and Ariel, orbiting Uranus.  Ask your local eight-year-old to supply the joke here.

1857 – Sheffield F.C., the world's oldest association football club still in operation, is founded in Sheffield, England.  Old-Timers and Throw-Back-Jersey games provide a lot of choices and marketing opportunities.

1861 – The first transcontinental telegraph line across the United States is completed.  This destroyed the entire Pony Express industry.

1901 – Annie Edson Taylor becomes the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.  She did this for financial reasons.  She thought people would pay to meet, hear the story, and have their businesses associated with the first person to go over Niagara Falls and survive.  It turned out, no, people really weren't all that interested.

1926 – Harry Houdini's last performance takes place at the Garrick Theatre in Detroit.  Yes, even Houdini could not escape Detroit.

1931 – The George Washington Bridge opens to public traffic.  It may not be as aesthetically pleasing as the Brooklyn Bridge on the other side of Manhattan.  But it is a far more comfortable way into New Jersey than what George Washington himself used on Christmas Night 1776.

1946 – A camera on board the V-2 No. 13 rocket takes the first photograph of earth from outer space.  So with all the V-2s herr von Braun launched in the war, none of them included a camera?

1947 – Famed animator Walt Disney testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee, naming Disney employees he believes to be communists.  Great job promoting the family atmosphere, Uncle Walt.

1954 – Dwight D. Eisenhower pledges United States support to South Vietnam.  Good idea, but perhaps not executed properly.

1975 – In Iceland, 90% of women take part in a national strike, refusing to work in protest of gaps in gender equality.  To think that workers only making 60% as much as the men could shut down nearly 100% of a country.

1977 – Veterans Day is observed on the fourth Monday in October for the seventh and last time. (The holiday is once again observed on November 11 beginning the following year.)  Yes, the United States did go a little nuts in the 70s attempting to move EVERY holiday to be observed on Monday.  We've found other ways to go nuts since then.

2003 – Concorde makes its last commercial flight.  It turned out that many passengers paying for a luxury ticket would rather be comfortable for a long flight instead of cramped on a fast flight.

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On 10/24/2018 at 2:08 AM, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

Concorde makes its last commercial flight.  It turned out that many passengers paying for a luxury ticket would rather be comfortable for a long flight instead of cramped on a fast flight.

Plus one of the 6 14 had crashed and there was some question about their safety.

 

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8 hours ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

1901 – Annie Edson Taylor becomes the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.  She did this for financial reasons.  She thought people would pay to meet, hear the story, and have their businesses associated with the first person to go over Niagara Falls and survive.  It turned out, no, people really weren't all that interested.

Sadly, they were, but her manager ran off with the barrel and hired a younger, prettier woman to pretend to be Annie.

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4 hours ago, Pharaoh RutinTutin said:

1260 – Chartres Cathedral is dedicated in the presence of King Louis IX of France; the cathedral is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It is an excellent example of Gothic architecture.  But it is also the fifth Cathedral to stand at that site since the first one was destroyed by Danes (who else?) in 858.  Why the tradition of building on the exact site of what had been previously destroyed by fire, war, or disaster?  It is like building a castle in the swamp only to see it sink into the swamp then building another castle in the swamp...

Considering the current one has lasted long enough to become a heritage site, obviously building enough castles in a swamp will eventually create a suitable foundation. ;)

 

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On October 25 in History:

285(ish) - Shoemakers Crispin and Crispinian are executed for Christianing under Emperor Diocletian. They are thrown to the bottom of the barrel, where they will later be scraped out by Church leaders trying to come up with excuses for feasts.

1147 - Crusader forces successfully Reconquist the city of Lisbon. I mean, it's no Guimarães and certainly no Coimbra, but every little bit helps.

1154 - Death of English King Stephen, which, while nothing against him personally, is honestly some of the best news England has had in a while.

1415 - Some lightly armed English archers and infantry under Henry V beat the ever-loving shit out of a much larger, heavily armed and mounted French force at the Battle of Agincourt. To understand the magnitude of this victory, imagine that a Little League team beat the New York Yankees by a score of 378 to 12. Jokes about French military impotence will continue unabated until the present day, with only a brief interruption in the early 19th century.

1747 - 14 British ships of the line beat the ever-loving shit out of a French fleet comprised of 8 ships of the line and several hundred smaller vessels during the Second Battle of Cape Finisterre. Whatever the opposite of a national holiday is, October 25 is that in France.

1760 - George III is crowned King of Great Britain. He'll face many difficulties, but when push comes to shove, he'll kill your friends and family to remind you of his love.

1854 - Some poor communication during the Battle of Balaclava causes a brigade of British light cavalry to charge headlong into a well-fortified Russian artillery battery. It went about as well as one might expect, but at least we got a sweet Tennyson poem out of the deal about valor, honor, and doing incredibly and obviously stupid things because somebody told you to.

1861 - The Toronto Stock Exchange is established. New York pretends not to notice.

1944 - The largest naval battle in all of history takes place in Leyte Gulf between the United States and the Japanese Empire. The Japanese emergency backup strategy of killing themselves along with the enemy proves ultimately ineffective.

1971 - The UN kicks out China and replaces them with China.

1983 - The U.S. invades Grenada upon request from surrounding Caribbean states and also from Grenada. "Well, twist our arms..."

2017 - Winnie the Pooh begins his second term as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, and his personal political philosophy is written into the party's constitution.

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2 hours ago, Illjwamh said:

1415 - Some lightly armed English archers and infantry under Henry V beat the ever-loving shit out of a much larger, heavily armed and mounted French force at the Battle of Agincourt. To understand the magnitude of this victory, imagine that a Little League team beat the New York Yankees by a score of 378 to 12. Jokes about French military impotence will continue unabated until the present day, with only a brief interruption in the early 19th century.

It's kind of odd... most of the military victories that became part of England's (not Britain's, just England's) national self-image occurred in this war, which lasted about 70 years and thus is known as the Hundred Years War.

But... England decisively lost the war. At the start of it, nearly half of modern France owed fealty to England's king or was substantially surrounded by fiefdoms that did... at the end, almost none of modern France reported to England. Like, one or two small port cities on the English Channel were all that was left of that half of the kingdom.

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