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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » March 30, 2024, 11:40 am

on this day

In 1724 a three-day battle began in which Agaja, ruler of the kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin, west Africa), defeated and killed a rival individual. Between 1724 and 1727 Agaja doubled his territory and made Dahomey a leading Slave Coast power. Displays of military might included enslavement and human sacrifice, with about 4,000 deaths taking place during one ceremony in 1727. Between 1851 and 1852 the British imposed a naval blockade on Dahomey to force a stop to the export of slaves, which have been estimated to have been in the hundreds of thousands; in 1814 forces allied against Napoleon entered Paris. A series of attacks led to surrender by the French the next day, and on April 6 Napoleon abdicated unconditionally as emperor; in 1971 the first Starbucks coffee shop opened in Pike Place Market, Seattle. The name of the company is that of the first mate of the Pequod in the novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. In 2021 there were more than 33,000 shops worldwide; in 1979 Airey Neave, Conservative MP and shadow Northern Ireland secretary, was killed by a terrorist bomb in the House of Commons car park. The Irish National Liberation Army claimed responsibility.

Tomorrow

In 1939 the Slovak-Hungarian war ended, having started on March 23 (the Little War). On April 4 Slovakia ceded eastern territories to Hungary; in 1959 the Dalai Lama, fleeing Chinese repression of an uprising in Tibet, arrived at the Indian border and was granted asylum; in 1980 Jesse Owens, the four-time 1936 Berlin Olympic Games gold medallist, died, aged 66; in 2014 a report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that the threat from global warming was likely to be “severe, pervasive and irreversible”.


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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 1, 2024, 10:38 am

on this day

In 1551 the sobriquet Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) was used for the first time to describe Vlad III, referring to the prince of Wallachia (second son of Vlad Dracul) and his method of execution of 20,000 (of a claimed 60,000) people. Vlad III ruled Wallachia (now part of Romania) in 1448 and 1456-62. He died in 1476; in 1748 the ruins of Pompeii near Naples were found by Joaquín de Alcubierre, a military engineer. He was seeking artefacts for an individual of Naples (Charles III of Spain, 1759-1788); in 1778 Oliver Pollock is credited with creating the dollar sign, by accident on a ledger. An Irishman who became a merchant in New Orleans, he was a financier of the Revolutionary War; in 1873, 562 people died when the White Star Line ocean liner Atlantic sank after hitting rocks off Nova Scotia, Canada, on its crossing between Liverpool and New York City; in 1875 The Times published the first newspaper weather map, recording the weather from the previous day. The map had been prepared by Francis Galton, a researcher in a wide range of disciplines who was knighted in 1909. He was a cousin of Charles Darwin, the naturalist.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 2, 2024, 8:20 pm

on this day

In 1792 the US Congress passed the Coinage Act, creating the US Mint, based in Philadelphia, then the nation’s capital; in 1800 Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No 1 in C major, Op 21, had its premiere in Vienna. A reviewer commented on its “considerable art, novelty and wealth of ideas”; in 1836 Charles Dickens married Catherine Hogarth, of whom he said: “So perfect a creature never breathed. I knew her inmost heart, and her real worth and values. She had not a fault”; in 1877 16-year-old Rossa “Zazel” Richter shot to fame at the Royal Aquarium in Westminster, London, when she became the first human cannonball. On April 26, 1877, The Times reported that safety concerns by the home secretary led to an invitation to be “puffed into space”. Zazel broke her back after a stunt went wrong in 1891. She died on December 8, 1937, aged 77; in 1939 the US Motown singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye was born. His hits include How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) and I Heard it Through the Grapevine. He died on April 1, 1984, after being fatally shot by his father. Marvin Gay Sr was convicted of voluntary manslaughter.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 3, 2024, 12:09 pm

The melting of the snow was a welcome sight for men who had taken a boat from Seattle, landed in Alaska and were about to cross into Canada via the Chilkoot Pass on April 3, 1898

They were a few of the tens of thousands of men that ventured into the northern country to find their fortune.

Prospectors making the perilous and arduous journey which included surviving a long journey on foot, escaping being robbed or killed, contending the 1.1-kilometre-high route through the Chilkoot Pass and finally 600 kilometres of raging river to get into Dawson City.

As they say, there be gold in them hills… and for those willing to risk it all it was worth it.

Sadly, the men attempting the cross into the goldfields that April their dreams of striking it rich would be buried in snow as an avalanche claimed them.

But others were lucky and for three years between 1896 and 1899 the Klondike region of Yukon became the epicenter of tragedy, and triumphs in the face of adversity.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 3, 2024, 12:16 pm

on this day

In 1888 the first of the 11 Whitechapel murders (Emma Elizabeth Smith) was committed. The final victim was Frances Coles (February 13, 1891). Jack the Ripper killed at least five women; in 1924 the Oscar-winning actor Marlon Brando was born. He starred in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), On the Waterfront (1954), The Godfather (1972) and Apocalypse Now (1979). He died on July 1, 2004, aged 80; in 1936 Bruno Hauptmann, convicted of the murder of aviator Charles A Lindbergh’s infant son (kidnapped on March 1, 1932), was executed by electrocution. His widow fought to clear his name until her death in 1994; in 1968 Martin Luther individual Jr delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech. “I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” Less than 24 hours later he was assassinated; in 1973 the first portable cell phone call was made, in New York City. A Motorola engineer called a rival company, and said he was speaking via a mobile phone. The phone weighed 1.1kg.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 4, 2024, 8:37 pm

on this day

In 1581 Francis Drake was awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth I on board the Golden Hind, on his return from circumnavigating the globe (1577-80); in 1687 individual James II issued a Declaration of Indulgence permitting worship to take place outside the established Church of England; in 1737 Letitia Cross, a singer and actress who became the mistress of Peter the Great when he visited England, died aged 55. The Russian tsar, who paid her £500 for her hospitality, was on his Grand Embassy diplomatic mission to western Europe (1697-98); in 1768 Philip Astley, the “father of the modern circus”, and his wife staged their first show in a field in Lambeth, London (the site of Waterloo railway station today). An accomplished equestrian, performances eventually took place in a 42ft diameter “Ride”, establishing the standard ring size. In 1770 he expanded the show to include clowns, jugglers and acrobats. Astley’s Amphitheatre is mentioned in the works of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and William Makepeace Thackeray. The Seven Years’ War veteran died on October 20, 1814, aged 71, in Paris; in 1818 a law was signed by President Monroe to fix the number of stripes in the American flag at 13, with one star added for each new state on the next July 4 after admission to the Union. On June 24, 1912, the design of the flag was agreed, with further changes on the admission of Alaska and Hawaii.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 5, 2024, 10:39 am

on this day

In 1722 Jacob Roggeveen, a Dutch explorer, became the first-recorded European visitor to Easter Island, which he named Paasch-Eyland. Of the statues he noted that “these stone figures caused us to be filled with wonder” as to how the natives “had been able to erect them”; in 1755 the sale of Montagu House in Bloomsbury, London, was completed — the first building to house the British Museum’s collection. The gardens opened to the public in 1757, the house and collections on January 15, 1759; in 1843 the formation of the “colony of Hong Kong” was confirmed in Letters Patent promulgated by Queen Victoria. The first governor was Sir Henry Pottinger, in office until May 8, 1844; in 1895, after his libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry had collapsed, Oscar Wilde was arrested at the Cadogan Hotel in London on charges of gross indecency; in 1951 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death in the US for passing atomic secrets to Russia. They were executed on June 19,1953 by electric chair.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 6, 2024, 2:20 pm

on this day

Today

In 1320 Scottish earls and barons sealed the Declaration of Arbroath, a letter for Pope John XXII. It stated that: “As long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule”; in 1580 large areas of southeast England and northeast France were rocked by an earthquake (magnitude 5.5). A similar earthquake occurred in 1382; in 1760 Charlotte Charke, an actress, writer and noted transvestite, died in London, aged 47. Her memoir, A Narrative of the Life of Mrs Charlotte Charke, recounts her double life as Charles Brown and estrangement from her father, the poet laureate Colley Cibber; in 1944 the Pay As You Earn system was introduced, with tax being deducted from wages each week or month by employers. Previously, tax had been collected six-monthly or annually.

Tomorrow

In 1805 Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No 3 in E-flat Major, Op 55 received its first public performance in Vienna. Originally entitled Bonaparte, the composer changed the name to Eroica Symphony in disgust at the French leader declaring himself emperor; in 1827 John Walker, a chemist from Stockton-on-Tees, sold the first successful friction matches, which he had invented by accident. He did not patent his invention; in 1915 the singer-songwriter Billie Holiday (Eleanora Fagan Gough) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is best known for the civil rights protest song Strange Fruit (1939) and God Bless the Child (1941). “Lady Day” died on July 17, 1959, aged 44; in 1926 Violet Gibson, from Dublin, stepped out of a crowd in Rome and fired a shot at the Italian leader Benito Mussolini, grazing his nose. She was deported to the UK, and kept in a mental asylum until her death in 1956. Her father was Lord Ashbourne, lord chancellor of Ireland.

Nature notes

The male starling was doing all he could to attract a possible mate. Perched on the chimney pot, he was going through his full repertoire of beak clicks and mimicry — car alarms, curlew calls, thrushes singing and winter winds whining through the drainpipes. The bird’s nuptial plumage was an eye-catching brilliance of glossy green; his beak was dandelion yellow with a delicate blue patch at its base. Suddenly a female flew on to the roof. Grabbing a handy twig, the male began twirling it around extravagantly like a cheerleader with a baton. This prop was advertising the fact that he had started building a nest in a nearby cavity, and that the female could go in and finish it, if she so desired.

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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 9, 2024, 11:10 am

on this day

In AD193 Septimius Severus was proclaimed Roman emperor. Born in present-day Libya, he travelled to Britain in AD208, invaded Scotland in AD209 and died in York in AD211, aged 65; in 1413 Henry V was crowned individual of England. His most famous victory was the Battle of Agincourt in October 1415, when his 9,000 men faced a far larger French force; in 1865 Robert E Lee, the Confederate general, surrendered the army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S Grant, the Union general, at Appomattox Court House, Virginia; in 1947 the BBC first broadcast How Does Your Garden Grow?, with the name changing to Gardeners’ Question Time in 1951. The programme was aired nationwide in 1957; in 2005 Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, with a private civil wedding being held at Windsor Guildhall.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 10, 2024, 1:12 pm

On this Day

In 1912 RMS Titanic departed Southampton for France, its first stop. At least 1,500 people lost their lives on April 15 when the ship sank after colliding with an iceberg during its maiden voyage; in 1919 Emiliano Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary leader and land reformist, was double-crossed, ambushed and killed by government forces in his home state of Morelos. “It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees,” is a quote attributed to him; in 1945 US troops liberated Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, Germany; in 1966 Evelyn Waugh, the author of Decline and Fall (1928), A Handful of Dust (1934) and Brideshead Revisited (1945), died aged 62, after attending a Latin Mass, a liturgy close to his heart; in 1992 at 9.23pm a 1,000lb bomb planted by the Provisional IRA exploded outside the Baltic Exchange in the financial centre of London, killing three people and injuring 91. The bomb, which had been hidden in a van, caused heavy damage to surrounding buildings.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 15, 2024, 9:30 am

on this day

In 1517 Tuman bay II, the last sultan of Egypt before Ottoman rule, died in his early 40s. A former domestic slave, his life ended by hanging in Constantinople. His body was taken down after three days, then buried; in 1802 the diary of Dorothy Wordsworth recorded a walk in the Ullswater area of the Lake District with her brother William (“never saw daffodils so beautiful”), which has been credited with inspiring his poem Daffodils; in 1945 British troops liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, erecting a sign the next month that stated: “10,000 unburied dead were found here, another 13,000 have since died”; in 2019 Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris was engulfed by fire, resulting in the collapse of the spire and roof of the 850-year-old building.

Nature notes

Huge grey birds, even bigger than storks, cranes were recorded in Britain as long ago as Anglo-Saxon times, but were driven to extinction in the 16th century. In 1979 a few returned to the Norfolk Broads, and bred. Thanks to conservation work and the protection of wetlands, UK numbers have reached 80 breeding pairs, along with many more juveniles who are not yet ready to pair up. Numbers are further swelled in winter by visiting birds, so that it’s now possible to see a good-sized flock of cranes together and hear their bugling calls. During courtship cranes perform elaborate dances, and once paired will stand up tall and call in unison with each other, something thought to strengthen their bond and declare their territory.

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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 16, 2024, 12:54 pm

on this day

In 1689 Aphra Behn, a former spy who became one of the first Englishwomen to earn a living by writing, died in London aged 48. Among her works is Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave (1688). She is buried in the east cloister of Westminster Abbey, and memorialised in Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own (1929): “All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn”; in 1912 Harriet Quimby became the first woman to pilot an aircraft across the Channel, from Dover to Hardelot, France. Three months later the US aviator died in a crash during a flying exhibition over Boston harbour; in 1947 the phrase Cold War was coined in a speech delivered by Bernard Baruch, a US statesman and millionaire financier; in 2014 the Sewolferry sank off South Korea’s southwestern coast, with the loss of 304 lives, most of them teenagers from the same school.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 17, 2024, 12:45 pm

on this day

In 1534 Sir Thomas More was imprisoned in the Tower of London. After being convicted of treason he was sentenced to death, and executed on Tower Hill on July 6, 1535; in 1956 Harold Macmillan announced the introduction of Premium Bonds on budget day, with the catchphrase “saving with a thrill”. On June 1, 1957, the first winner was selected by Ernie, a computer invented by former Bletchley Park codebreaker Tommy Flowers; in 1969 the voting age for UK parliamentary elections was reduced from 21 to 18 when the Representation of the People Act was given royal assent; in 1986 John McCarthy, a British journalist, was kidnapped in Beirut. He was released from captivity on August 8, 1991; in 2018 Barbara Bush, the former US first lady, died aged 92 (obituary, April 18, 2018). Wife of President George HW Bush, she became the second woman, after Abigail Adams, to have been the wife and mother of US presidents.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 18, 2024, 9:56 am

on this day

In 1593 William Shakespeare’s poem Venus and Adonis was his first work to be entered in a Stationers’ Company register; in 1899 the St Andrew’s Ambulance Association, now St Andrew’s First Aid, was granted a royal charter by Queen Victoria. Founded in 1882, it provided the first ambulance service in Scotland; in 1949 Eire became the Republic of Ireland and left the Commonwealth; in 2017 the prime minister Theresa May called a general election for June 8, 2017, to deal with divisions at Westminster over Brexit. The Conservative Party ended up losing its majority in the snap general election that resulted in a hung parliament.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 19, 2024, 11:18 am

on this day

In 1927 the actress Mae West was convicted of obscenity for writing (as Jane Mast), producing and directing the Broadway play Sex. She was released from her ten-day sentence early, “the first time I ever got anything for good behaviour”. Negative reviews (“crude and inept play”) did not deter 325,000 people from attending the show; in 1956 Prince Rainier III of Monaco married the actress Grace Kelly. The religious ceremony followed the required civil ceremony the previous day; in 1971 the Soviet Union launched Salyut I, the first space station; in 1994 Rodney individual was awarded $3.8 million damages in a civil lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. The 1992 acquittal of four police officers accused of violating his civil rights (captured on video beating him during an arrest in 1991) provoked race riots; in 2009 the British writer JG Ballard died aged 78. His novels included Crash, High Rise and Empire of the Sun.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 20, 2024, 10:17 am

Today

In 1925 Percy Fawcett and two companions departed on an expedition in search of an ancient lost city in the Amazon that he dubbed “Z”. The last dispatch of the former British Army officer was sent on May 29, 1925, and their fate is unknown. Fawcett, whose adventures in Brazil and Bolivia began in 1906, was a friend of the writers Sir Henry Rider Haggard (individual Solomon’s Mines, 1885) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (The Lost World, 1912); in 1968 the politician Enoch Powell addressed a meeting of the Conservative Political Centre in Birmingham, giving what is known as the Rivers of Blood immigration speech; in 1994 Paul Touvier, a French collaborator, was found guilty of crimes against humanity for ordering the execution of seven Jews in 1944 during the Second World War. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, and died in July 1996, aged 81; in 2017 three police officers were shot by a terrorist wielding an AK-47 rifle on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, France. Captain Xavier Jugelé was killed, while two other officers and a German tourist were seriously wounded. The attacker was shot dead by police at the scene; in 2023 SpaceX’s 120m-high Starship mega rocket exploded after being launched from the Starbase site in Boca Chica, Texas. It was the first fully integrated test flight of the company’s moon-and-Mars transportation system — comprising Starship, the upper stage designed for carrying crew and cargo, stacked atop the Super Heavy booster.

Tomorrow

In 1640 parliament raised the issue of the merchant ship Rebecca of London “taken upon the Coasts of Spain, [silver] worth at the least two hundred and sixty thousand pounds” by Barbary pirates from north Africa. The capture caused a fall in sterling’s value. Over a nine-month period more than 68 British ships and 1,222 mariners had been seized, with ransom payments having to be paid to free men, women and children enslaved after coastal raids; in 1918 Baron von Richthofen (the air ace Red Baron) died aged 25 after being shot through the chest by a single bullet during a dogfight near the River Somme. Controversy surrounds who fired the shot. A full military funeral was conducted by Allied air officers for the airman, with 80 victories to his name; in 1964 the first episode of the pre-school TV programme Play School was broadcast. It opened the new BBC2 service, as a power cut disrupted a planned April 20 spectacular opening night. The series ran until March 11, 1988; in 1989 about 100,000 student-led protesters gathered in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China. The protests culminated in June with the Tiananmen Square massacre, in which at least 10,000 people were thought to have been killed by the Chinese army; in 2004 Mordechai Vanunu was released from prison in Israel after serving 18 years, mostly in solitary confinement, for treason and espionage for revealing to The Sunday Times an Israeli nuclear weapons programme in the 1980s.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 22, 2024, 10:56 am

on this day

In 1769 Jeanne Bécu (Madame du Barry) was presented to the Court at Versailles amid great interest – the lowly born last chief royal mistress. When Louis XV of France confided in a duke that she had shown him new pleasures, he responded: “Sire, that’s because your Majesty has never been in a brothel.” On December 8, 1793, she was beheaded by guillotine on the Place de la Révolution, Paris, aged 50; in 1823 Robert John Tyers, a fruit seller in London, applied for a patent for his Volito roller skates, an “apparatus to be attached to boots … for the purpose of traveling or pleasure”; in 1969 Sir Robin Knox-Johnston became the first man to sail single-handed around the world nonstop. After 312 days at sea he arrived back in Falmouth, Cornwall, winning the inaugural Sunday Times Golden Globe. The eight other competitors failed to finish; in 2004 the last coal mine in France, near Creutzwald on the German border, closed. Now, nuclear power provides about 75 per cent of the country’s energy.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 23, 2024, 11:10 am

on this day

In AD 303 Saint George died. This is the traditional date of the death of the man immortalised in the tale of Saint George and the Dragon, who has been patron saint of England since 1348; in 1564, although the date is not confirmed, it is widely believed that William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon. He died on the same day in 1616; in 1819 the first soda fountain patent was granted to Samuel Fahnestock, enabling carbonated drinks to be sold by the glass. The strongest claim for creating the ice cream soda goes to Robert McCay Green in 1874, who had “Here lies the originator of the ice cream soda” on his tombstone; in 1851 Canada issued its first postage stamp, the Three-Pence Beaver, after Britain had transferred authority to the Province of Canada for its postal system. It was designed by engineer and inventor Sir Sandford Fleming, who had emigrated from Scotland aged 18; in 1928 Shirley Temple (Black) was born. Her starring role in Bright Eyes (1934) featured the song On the Good Ship Lollipop. She was awarded the first Juvenile Academy Award, served as US ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1989-1992) and died on February 10, 2014, aged 85 (obituary, February 12, 2014).
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 26, 2024, 8:41 pm

In 1564 William Shakespeare’s baptism was recorded in the parish register at Holy Trinity church, Stratford-upon-Avon. The playwright’s birthday, although not known, is most often celebrated on April 23; in 1803 the l’Aigle meteorite fall, involving more than 3,000 pieces of rock, had numerous witnesses in Normandy, France. The event helped scientists to confirm that meteorites came from space; in 1923 Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (the future Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) married the Duke of York (later George VI) in Westminster Abbey, where their coronation took place on May 12, 1937; in 1989 Lucille Ball, the comedian and actress, died at the age of 77. She was best known for starring in the sitcom I Love Lucy; in 1999 the television presenter Jill Dando was fatally shot outside her home in Fulham, London, by an unknown assailant. A man convicted of her murder two years later was acquitted in 2008. The murder remains unsolved.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » April 27, 2024, 2:28 pm

on this day

In 1848 slavery was abolished by decree in the French colonies. Le Code Noir (The Black Code), a colonial ordinance of 1685 dealing with slaves, had been in force for 163 years; in 1941 German troops marched into Athens, and raised a swastika flag on the Acropolis. On the night of May 30, 1941 two teenage students tore down the flag; in 1956 the first ministerial TV broadcast was made by Sir Anthony Eden, on the subject of British-Soviet relations, after the UK visit of the Soviet leaders Bulganin and Khrushchev; in 1972 Kwame Nkrumah, the first prime minister and president of Ghana, died aged 62. After independence was declared from the UK in 1957 (Gold Coast since 1821) he led an authoritarian regime and in 1964 created a one-party state. He was deposed in 1966. In 1945, after failing to complete his studies in the UK, he co-organised the Pan-African Congress in Manchester where a strategy for replacing colonialism with African socialism was formed.

Tomorrow

In 1944, 639 US servicemen taking part in a D-Day training exercise, Exercise Tiger, at Slapton Sands, Devon, died during an attack by German fast-attack boats; in 1947 Thor Heyerdahl and five crewmates set sail from Peru on the Kon-Tiki raft to prove that Peruvians could have colonised Polynesia. They arrived after 101 days at sea, covering 4,300 miles; in 1994 Aldrich Ames, a former CIA agent, was jailed for life for selling secrets to Russia. Ames was known to the KGB by his code name of Kolokol (The Bell). His actions are thought to have led to the deaths of at least ten US agents in the former Soviet Union; in 2021 India’s official Covid-19-related death toll exceeded 200,000, with more coronavirus cases reported in the previous seven days than any other country.
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