One millennium, five centuries, and fifteen years ago, a pagan king in what is now France issued a codex that mandated the same laws and treatment for Gallo-Romans as for Burgundians; nine hundred twenty-eight years subsequent to that date, in 1430, the early Ottoman rule flexed its muscles with the capture of
Thessalonica from the crumbling Byzantium; two hundred eight years onward in time, in 1638, Swedish immigrants became the first residents of Delaware in British North America; two hundred forty-five years ahead of our day in time, the esteemed Swedish thinker and scientist and scion of great wealth, Emanuel Swedenborg, passed out of this life;
three decades and four years subsequently, in 1806, the United States authorized construction of the Cumberland Road, a Great National Pike that marked the beginning of the American love affair with highways; precisely two decades past that point, in 1826, a baby boy cried out en route to a life as the journalist, revolutionary, and thinker, Wilhelm Liebknecht; five years later, in 1831, to the South of Europe, Bosniaks precipitated a massive Balkan and Bosnian uprising against imperial Turkey’s Ottoman rule; sixteen years beyond that juncture, in 1847, Westward over the Atlantic, the United States furthered its imperial designs on the continent with a victory over the Mexicans in the siege of Veracruz; two years hence and half a world away, in 1849,England increased its stranglehold on the Indian Subcontinent with the annexation of Punjab; three more years along time’s arc, in 1852, around the globe again, the State of Massachusetts passed legislation that limited women’s and children’s hours at work to ten hours a day; a half decade further along, in 1857, back in India, the British nearly lost control of their ‘possession’ when Bengali imperial troops rose up and initiated the bloody and protracted Sepoy rebellion; one hundred thirty-eight years back, England’s round-the-clock empire expanded further with the defeat of a force of 20,000 or more Zulu fighters in the Anglo-Zulu War’s Battle of Kambula; three years afterward, in 1882, seven thousand miles Northwest, the Knights of Columbus started out as a small Catholic fraternal organization that sought to provide practical assistance to poor, often immigrant papists; in a backyard almost a thousand miles South in Georgia four years yet later on, in 1886, Dr. John Pemberton brewed the first batch of Coca Cola; three decades thereafter, in 1916, a male child entered our midst in standard fashion on his way to life as the poet and politician of human progress, Eugene McCarthy; thirteen years more down the pike, in 1929, the boy infant opened his eyes who would rise as the monumental radical biologist, Richard Lewontin; seven years nearer to now, across the ocean in Germany in 1936, Adolf Hitler received well over 99% of the vote in a referendum about the German reannexation of the Rhineland, an abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles; another fourteen hundred sixty-one days subsequent to that exact moment, in 1940, many thousands of miles Southwest in Brazil, a baby girl sang out who would mature as the magnificent
songwriter and singer, Astrud Gilberto; an extra year henceforth, in 1941, the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement took effect and organized a ‘free-trade-area’ for broadcasting on the continent; half a dozen years still closer to today, in 1947, African residents of Madagascar rebelled against French rule in the Malagasy Uprising; another year additionally in the direction of now, in 1948, unionized financial workers caused the ‘Battle of Wall Street’ with their decision to lie down at the entrance to the stock exchange, the first and only strike against Wall Street by financial sector workers; three years past that, on the dot, in 1951, a jury sealed the fates of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg by finding them guilty of conspiring to commit espionage in order to obtain atomic secrets for the Soviet Union; seven years subsequently, in 1958, the stage première of Max Frisch’s dark comedy Biedermann und die Brandstifter (The Fire Raisers) appeared at the Schauspielhaus Zürich; a decade hence, in 1961, the Twenty-third Amendment to the Constitution took effect, permitting residents of the District of Columbia to vote for the first time; three hundred sixty-five days more along time’s path, in 1962, thousands of miles South in Argentina, military plotters overthrew a democratically elected president who was too liberal and nationalist in order to
install a junta of pro-business and pro-American militarist gangsters; nine years on the nose farther in the future, in 1971, Lieutenant William Calley received a life sentence following his court martial conviction for carrying out mass murder against civilians at My Lai, Vietnam; two years afterward, in 1973, the final ‘combat troops’ in Vietnam abandoned the attempt to stop North Vietnam’s fight to control its own and its country’s future; eight more years nearer to now, in 1981, the renowned radical, philosopher, political economist, and practical politician, Eric Williams, lived out his final day; nine more years forward from that instant in space and time, in 1990, Czechs debated what to call their newly ‘liberated’ country, the so-called “hyphen wars;” yet another nine years past that day, in 1999, the Dow Jones Stock Exchange closing tally rose above 10,000 dollars for the first time, as the dot-com bubble got closer and closer to bursting; three years still later, in 2002, the Israeli Defense Force launched a massive incursion into the West Bank, “Operation Defensive Shield,” following Passover bombings by Palestinian militants; another two years more proximate to the present point, in 2004, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and five other former Warsaw pact nations joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, completely reneging on the U.S. promises to the Soviets that a dismantling of their alliance would not result in NATO’s moving “a single inch Eastward” toward Russia.