12.21.2016 Day in History

main_solstices_equinoxesIn general, today marks the solstice, the furthest extent of light in the Southern Hemisphere and of the dark in more Northern climes, while Plymouth, Massachusetts commemorates Forefather Day; in Rome, as restiveness and even rebellion threatened a thousand nine hundred and forty-seven years ago, the fourth emperor in a year, Vespasian, who had commanded the crushing of the Great Jewish Revolt, assumed command; a mere three years into the future, in 72, the author of the Gospel According to Thomas, died at the hands of persecutors; eight hundred ninety-eight years ahead of today, the baby boy first cried out who would rise as the martyr and leader of the British Church, Thomas Becket; a hundred nineteen years past that conjunction, in 1237, Mongol fighters under Batu Khan, having used catapults to reduce the city’s fortifications, sacked the ancient Rus city of Ryazan and executed almost everyone in it; precisely a hundred twenty-four years later, in 1361, Castilian forces in the midst of ‘reconquering’ Spain from Muslim control emerged victorious in the Battle of Linuesa against the Emirate of Granada; a farther fourteen years down the pike, in 1375, the acclaimed thinker and storyteller, Giovanni Boccaccio drew a final breath; two centuries and twenty-four years subsequently, in 1598, now imperial Spanish forces suffered a crushing defeat in Southern Chile at the hands of Mapuche indigenous battlers at Curalaba;

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half a decade hence, in 1603, many thousands of miles North, in 1603, a male British infant was born who matured as the leader and popular thinker, Roger Williams; English Pilgrims seventeen years afterward, in 1620, landed at Plymouth Rock; seventeen decades beyond that instant, in 1790 across the Atlantic, Rhode Island’s Slater Mills began operation, in some sense initiating the industrial revolution in the U.S., as often as not a transition that depended on child labor, such that over half of Rhode Island’s textile employees forty years hence were youngsters less than twelve years of age; more or less exactly thirty-six years still later on, in 1826, Gringo settlers in East Texas proclaimed their independence and instituted the Fredonia Rebellion; six years further along the temporal trail, in 1832, Egyptian forces that had plenty of English help triumphed over Ottoman attempts to maintain imperial control in the Nile Delta; another dozen years onward, in 1844, the modern Cooperative Movement began with the formation of the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers; three and a half decades thereafter, in 1879, further East in Denmark, Henrik Ibsen oversaw the world premiere of his liberal feminist classic A Doll’s House; twenty-eight years nearer to now, in 1907, on the same day of the year that the Mapuche rid themselves for a time of Spanish rule three hundred years prior to that, Chilean military forces massacred upwards of 2,000 miners who were organizing as a union in Iquique, far in the nation’s North; a thousand ninety-six days henceforth, in 1910, seven thousand miles Northeast in the coal country of England, nearly three hundred and fifty miners died in a horrific colliery accident that as usual profiteering owners were responsible for causing; a year even closer to the current context, in 1913, The New York World published the first word puzzle, the “word-cross”, the predecessor of today’s crossword

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riddles; four years even further along, in 1917, a baby German boy took his first breath who would grow up as the Nobel Literary Laureate, Heinrich Boll; two years subsequent to that date, in 1919, the U.S. deported Emma Goldman to the Soviet Union; seven hundred thirty-one days more along the temporal arc, in 1921, the Supreme Court issued a typical holding against the rights of labor, declaring picketing an illegal act, “an unlawful annoyance and hurtful nuisance;” seventy-nine years back, the world’s first full-length feature cartoon film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, premiered in the United States; three years past that juncture, in 1940, F. Scott Fitzgerald lived out his final scenario at age forty-four, and across the country, the infant destined to become the iconic singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer Frank Zappa uttered his first cry; three years thereafter, in 1947, a male baby first opened his eyes in Spain who would adopt the name Paco de Lucia as one of the greatest Flamenco guitarists and songwriters ever; three years still closer to now, in 1950, the male infant bounced into this world on his way to becoming Jeffrey Katzenberg, the screenwriter and producer who co-founded DreamWorks Animation studio; thirteen additional years after that moment in time, in 1963, tensions among ethnic Cypriots exploded in violence that led to the displacement of as many as 25,000 Turks or more; four years still afterward, in 1967, the first man to undergo a heart transplant died after having lived for over two weeks; two years hence, in 1969, the United Nations General Assembly passed its International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; forty-three years back, the Geneva Conference on the Arab – Israeli conflict opened; six year henceforth, in 1979, the Lancaster Agreement, an independence agreement for Rhodesia, was signed; four years subsequently, in 1983, the esteemed philosopher and literary critic breathed his last; twelve years still more proximate to the present, in 1995, Bethlehem temporarily transferred to Israeli to Palestinian control; nine years still later, in 2004, a suicide bomber killed 22 at the forward operating base next to the main US military airfield at Mosul, Iraq, the single deadliest attack on American soldiers.