2.17.2017 Day in History

Six hundred forty-six years ago, invading Danes, Swedes, and other ‘Viking’ or Teutonic Europeans continued their campaigns against pagan locals in the Baltic region, in what historians now term the Northern Crusades; four hundred seventeen years back, Catholic inquisitors in Rome oversaw the immolation of philosopher Giordano Bruno for heresy; three hundred forty-four years before this exact point, the acclaimed dramatist and thinker, Moliere, breathed his last; the House of Representatives two hundred sixteen years prior to today decided an Electoral College tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr in Jefferson’s favor, leaving Burr as Vice President; a hundred ninety-eight years before the here-and-now, Congress first passed the Missouri compromise to permit a continued dual development of the United States as half slave and half free; one

"1670 virginia tobacco slaves" by Unknown
“1670 virginia tobacco slaves” by Unknown

hundred seventy-nine years ago, hundreds of Dutch migrants met their end in a battle on the Blaukraans River in what is now Natal Province of South Africa, when indigenous Zulus massacred them; one hundred sixty-one years prior to this juncture, the acclaimed German poet Heinrich Heine died; in Geneva, a hundred fifty-four years prior to the present pass, a group of bourgeois citizens founded the organization that would become the International Red Cross; Prussian troops one hundred forty-six years back marched in martial glory through the streets of a conquered Paris after their brutal victory in the brief Franco-Prussian War; a hundred thirteen years ago, a baby boy took his first breath on his way to a peripatetic life as philosopher and political theorist Hans Morgenthau; five years later, in 1909, the brilliant Native American leader Geronimo drew his last breath; four years subsequently, in 1913, the Armory Show opened in New York with works of American artists who would for decades be critical taste-makers; ninety-three years before this day, a baby girl entered book horthe world who would grow up in politics and end up as popular writer, Margaret Truman; half a decade beyond that point, in 1929, a baby boy uttered his first shout en route to a life as a rabbi, thinker, and writer, Chaim Potok; four years hence exactly, in 1933, the Blaine Act ended the disaster of U.S. prohibition of alcohol; seventy-five years ago, a baby boy was born who would grow up to face official murder as leader and writer Huey Newton; seven years down the road, in 1949, Chaim Weizman became Israel’s first President; fifty-eight years back, the U.S. launched the world’s first weather satellite, Vanguard II; six years after, in 1965, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched Ranger 8, which would map out the landing sites for the first manned mission to the moon; five years further on, in 1970, the Ukrainian-Israeli Nobel literary laureate Schmuel Yosef Agnon had his last day on Earth; the Chinese went to war with Vietnam exactly thirty-eight years ago; chess champion Gary Kasparov fended off International Business Machines computer, Deep Blue, twenty-one years before this conjunction in time and space.