4.07.2017 Day in History

Internationally, today is World Health Day, and in Rwanda, Genocide Memorial Day; in Italy sixteen hundred and nineteen years ago, the emperor Honorius banned any wearing or personal display of barbarian attire in the City of Rome; four years past a half-century beyond that point, in 451, forces under the leadership of Attila sacked the town of Metz, in modern day Belgium, while ravaging other cities in Gaul; seventy-eight years onward in time on the dot, in 529, Justinian issued the first iteration of the influential legal work, Corpus Juris Civilis, from the seat of his empire in Constantinople; fourteen centuries and six years before the here and now, in what is now Mexico, the Mayan ruler of Calakmul led forces in the destruction and looting of rival city-state Palenque; five hundred thirty years thereafter, in 1141, Northwest across the Gulf and North Atlantic, Matilda became the first British empress, Lady of the English; two hundred seven years further on, in 1348, Czech prelates and scholars founded Charles University in Prague, which continues operation as one of the world’s premier institutions of higher learning to this day; four hundred ninety-five years prior to the present pass, Ferdinand Magellan, on his round the world voyage for the Spanish crown, arrived in Cebu, Philippines, where he converted much of the populace before picking the fight in which he died on a nearby island; two decades hence, in 1541, Frances Xavier embarked from Lisbon on a mission to the nearby Portuguese East Indies; three years beyond four centuries before today’s exact conjunction, the masterful painter who went by the name El Greco

El Greco Portrait of a Man
El Greco Portrait of a Man

breathed his last; two hundred fifty-six years back, the preacher and eminent mathematician of chance, Thomas Bayes, took his final breath; not quite a decade afterward, in 1770, a baby boy was born who would mature as the acclaimed bard, William Wordsworth; seven hundred thirty-one days thereafter, in 1772, another male infant came along who would rise in French society as a champion of ‘utopian socialism,’ Charles Fourier; sixteen years past that, in 1788, the first United States settlers to the newly-formed Northwest Territories arrived at what is now Marietta, Ohio, advancing the continuing occupation of Indian lands and displacement of indigenous peoples; across the Atlantic and along the length of the Mediterranean three hundred sixty-five days closer to now, in 1789, the erstwhile Ottoman reformer, a third Selim, became imperial Sultan and Caliph of Islam; nine years thereafter, in 1798, the United States formed the Mississippi Territory on land that both Spain and America had been claiming; just a year short of three decades later, in 1827, English chemist John Walker sold the first friction match based on a design that he had formulated; twenty three years further along, meanwhile, in 1850, a venerable master of the sonnet of nature, William Bowles, died in England; almost four decades henceforth, in 1889, six thousand miles Southwest, a humble family bore a baby book gabriela-mistral-desolacion-poemas-1a-ed-nueva-yorkgirl into the world who would go on to win the Nobel Prize as poetess, Gabriela Mistral of Chile; a year precisely after that, in 1890, a few thousand miles North, another female child came into our presence who would grow up as an activist and environmentalist and author of wild places, Marjory S. Douglas; meeting in Algeciras a decade and a half yet later on, in 1905, French and Spanish imperialists divvied up Morocco as a ‘protectorate;’ a decade to the day subsequent to that juncture, in 1915, a baby girl uttered a first cry on her way to a life as the singer, gadfly, songwriter, and civil rights activists, Billie Holiday; seven years beyond that point, in 1922, the United States Secretary of the Interior began to lease out oil exploration properties to companies in such flagrantly corrupt fashion that a major scandal soon ensued; half a decade later, in 1927, the first long-distance television broadcast took place, from Washington to New York City; a year after that to the second, in 1928, revolutionary thinker, physician, storyteller, and Marxist, Alexander Bogdanov, lived out his final scene in the Soviet Union; three years more proximate to this juncture, in 1931, two males first entered the world, one destined to grow up as writer and controversial scholar, Daniel Ellsberg, the other fated to become novelist and critic Donald Barthelme; just two years further on, in 1933, the U.S. partially deconstructed the disastrous policy of prohibition by permitting sale of 3.2% beer; exactly half a dozen years onward in space and time, in 1939, a baby boy came squealing into the social realm as future filmmaker and scribe of scripts, Francis Ford Coppola; another year closer to today, in 1940, Booker T. Washington’s was the first African American visage to grace a U.S. postage stamp; a further thousand ninety-five days in the direction of now, in 1943, German soldiers in Easter Ukraine forced well over a thousand residents of a small town, likely all Jewish, to disrobe before the members of Germany’s Wehrmacht marched them down the road to a ditch, where the heavily armed soldaten summarily shot all of the hapless villagers, and across the English Channel, a male child cried out who would mature as the writer and performer of rock ballads, Mick Abrahams; three years even closer to the here-and-now, in 1946, France acceded to Syria’s national independence;a year yet later on, in 1947, a National Labor Relations Board lawyer ordered International Labor Workers Union members in Alaska to “lie down like good dogs” and not strike, while over 300,000 members of the nascent Communication Workers of America did strike against the Bell Telephone companies, much to their and the union movement’s benefit; one more year down the pike, in 1948, the United Nations first formed the World Health Organization; a year farther along time’s path, in 1949, a male infant opened his eyes who would rise as the crooner and lyricist John Oates; two years still more proximate to the present day and time, in 1951, a baby girl entered our midst en route to a life as the soulful singer and songwriter, Janis Ian; three years subsequently, in 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower lionized anticommunism in a speech that hypothesized other nations as “dominoes” that would fall in a row if even one became social democratic; two years nearer to today, in 1956, in a refutation of such nonsense, Spain accepted that its half-century of ‘protection’ was a racket, granting Morocco its independence five and a half decades after it had conspired to rob the place of its freedom; eight years more toward today’s hours and minutes and seconds, in 1964, the International Business Machine Corporation introduced its first 360/Series computer, a network computer internetmainframe system that massively increased computerization in large firms; five years closer to this point in time, in 1969, an Advanced Research Project Agency Network engineer developed and issued the first Request-For-Comment, an RFC protocol that many thinkers view as the birth of the Internet; two years thereafter, in 1971, Richard Nixon announced a speedier rate of troop withdrawal from Indochina; seven years later still, in 1978, President Jimmy Carter rejected plans to develop a new class of nuclear weapons, neutron bombs, that would have killed people but left more property standing; two years afterward, in 1980, the United States and Iran severed diplomatic ties in the aftermath of the overthrow of the U.S.’s favorite mass murderer, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the installation of a theocratic Islamic Republic; a half decade further along time’s arc, in 1985, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev unilaterally suspended deployment of medium range missiles that targeted Europe;another five years forward, in 1990, the conviction of John Poindexter as the result of the Iran-Contra scandal demonstrated the deeper issues beneath the decade-earlier diplomatic sundering; fourteen hundred sixty-one days closer to the current context, in 1994, a hideous genocide began with the slaughter of Tutsis in Rwanda; another half dozen years past that conjunction, in 2000, plus or minus 15,000 janitors went on strike in Los Angeles; nine years later, in 2009, former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori received a twenty-five year prison sentence for crimes against his own people, an arguably excellent model for U.S. citizens to ponder, and Dave Arneson, creator of Dungeons and Dragons, lived out his final day; three years hence, in 2012, journalist and entertainer Mike Wallace spent his last day alive.