4.14.2017 Day in History

Two thousand sixty years ago, more or less to the day, Mark Antony defeated the forces of one of Caesar’s assassins and lost out to the other, as the empire followed its imperial pathway toward carnage and chaos; a century and thirteen years later, in 70, current era, the son of Emperor Vespasian led four legions to surround Jerusalem in the ongoing struggles of that place that continue to this day; just four years short of nine centuries thereafter, in 966, a Polish ruler first converted to Christianity from his pagan beliefs and laid the foundations for a modern Polish state; one hundred sixty years henceforth, in 1126, a baby boy entered the world in the usual fashion on the Iberian Peninsula on his way to a life as the still legendary Spanish thinker and writer, Averroes; a single year shy of eight decades beyond that point, in 1205, Crusaders battled in the Bulgarian Balkans at the Battle of Adrianople; just shy of nine decades hence, in 1294, on the other side of the world, Kublai Khan’s grandson Temur rose to the imperial throne of China; three hundred eighty-eight years prior to the present pass, a baby boy was born who would mature as the renowned mathematical thinker and natural philosopher, Christian Huygens; seventy years yet later on, in 1699 on the other side of the planet, adherents of a Brotherhood of Warrior Saints constituted themselves for the first time as representatives of Sikh religion and culture; exactly sixteen years further along, in 1715, in South Carolina, colonial English began the war that overturned Yamasee Native American culture in the Southern piedmont and Appalachian foothills; forty-four years subsequent to that, in 1759, the great composer George Friedrich Handel has his swan song; sixteen years henceforth, in 1775 in Philadelphia, two Benjamins—

Rush and Franklin—constituted the first American society to abolish chattel slavery; just over four decades beyond that, in 1816, the killing of a slave who led a rebellion in British Barbados leads to his martyrdom as the island nation’s first heroic figure; a dozen years subsequently, back stateside in 1828, Noah Webster published the first edition of his eponymous Dictionary; eighteen years farther down the pike, in 1846, the ill-fated Donner party departed Illinois in what they hoped would be a relatively straightforward cross-country trek to California, that unfortunately evolved into freezing, starvation, and cannibalism; a hundred fifty-seven years back, the initial Pony Express delivery arrived from the East in San Francisco; half a decade past that moment, across the continent to the East in 1865, reactionary defenders of slavery cut down Abraham Lincoln, the nation’s first ‘corporate’ President; almost but not quite a quarter century thereafter, in 1889, across the Atlantic the baby boy cried out for the first time who would grow up as establishment historical voice, Arnold Toynbee; just three hundred sixty-five days beyond that, in 1890, across the Atlantic in Washington, the predecessor to a century-long corruption of democracy started with the U.S. imperial Pan-American Union, which now has the title Organization of American States and has even shown a little gumption in regard to resisting the toeing of Washington’s line; four years later, up the East Coast in New York in 1894, the first commercial moving picture gallery opened its doors; eleven years beyond that conjunction, in 1905, a baby male first shouted out en route to a long life as the thinker, writer, and activist, Jean Pierre Bloch; three hundred sixty-five days farther along time’s road, in 1906, a revival took place in Los Angeles at which the foundation of Pentecostalism first formed; three years still farther down the road, in 1909, across the Atlantic and along the Mediterranean, Ottoman fighting forces slaughtered as many as 20,000 or so Armenians in the Cilicia region of Southeastern Turkey; another three years later, in 1912, the unsinkable Titanic settled at the bottom of the icy North Atlantic after an iceberg ripped its hull; seven hundred thirty days nearer to now, in 1914, the cofounder of the petty bourgeois Fabian Socialists, Herbert Bland, breathed his last;an additional three years in the direction of our own light and air, in 1917, L.L. Zamenhof, who originated Esperanto, uttered his final clauses;thirteen years still later, in 1930, delegated authorities in California arrested upwards of a hundred farmworkers for the solidaritySyndicalist ‘crime’ of advocating a union, and the prolific and renowned Russian avant-garde and Soviet writer and producer and performer Vladmir Mayakovsky breathed his last; a year subsequently, in 1931, on the other side of Europe a popularly constituted Spanish Cortes overthrew the King, leading to the founding of the Republic and civil war against fascists; a leap year more proximate to the present pass, in 1932, the baby girl came along who would mature as the songwriter and iconic Country Music singer, Loretta Lynn; another year even closer to the current context, in 1933, back in the Soviet Union, a male infant opened his eyes who would rise as the iconic storyteller and popular gadfly, Boris Strugatsky; one more year along the path to the current juncture, back in North America in 1934, a male infant took his initial breath on the path to a life as Marxist thinker and literary maven, Frederic Jameson; a bundle of three hundred sixty-five days onward in space and time, in 1935, a massive dust storm unfolded in central North America, perhaps an early correspondence between climate and desperate political economic circumstances; another single year hence, in 1936, a baby male was born who would go on to become a different sort of working class hero, a police officer named Frank Serpico, who struggled against New York’s official corruption and nearly died for his troubles; three years beyond that moment in time, in 1939, John Steinbeck first released his iconic

CC BY by Nick Kenrick.

tale of social struggle, The Grapes of Wrath; six years precisely past that juncture, in 1945, a little baby boy took his first breath who would become the rocker and lyricist Ritchie Blackmore; nine years afterward, in 1954, a male child came along who would become the acclaimed science-fiction interlocutor, Bruce Sterling; two years hence, in 1956, the first demonstration of videotape technology occurred in Chicago;another seven hundred thirty days on the approach to today, in 1958,the first spacecraft to carry life beyond Earth’s atmosphere fell from its more than five month flight with the carcass of the dog that had advanced Russian and human knowledge about what would happen to mammals in orbit; six years after that exactly, in 1964, beloved environmental thinker and writer Rachel Carson breathed no more; fourteen years afterward, in 1978, thousands of residents of Tbilisi took to the streets to protest a diminution of the status of the Georgian language; eight years closer yet to now, in 1986, Ronald Reagan, in response to attacks in Berlin that killed two U.S. soldiers, ordered an erstwhile ‘retaliatory’ bombing of Libya that killed scores, and brilliant feminist theorist, Simone de Beauvoir, lived out her final scene; seven further years along the temporal arc, in 1995, mellifluous crooner and estimable songwriter Burl Ives died; another five years upward and onward toward today, in 2000, one of the inventors of the zip-file format, Phil Katz, gazed one last time on the world; seven hundred thirty days even later, in 2002, Hugo Chavez returned to power after a U.S. orchestrated officers’ coup fell apart in Venezuela; a year further along the path to today, in 2003, the human genome project announced a nearly complete sequencing of Homo Sapiens DNA; four more years in the general direction of the here and now, in 2007, as many as a million and a half Turkish citizens rallied against Islamist policies that served as the platform of Recep Erdogan; seven years later still, in 2014, Boko Haram militants abducted well over two hundred schoolgirls from their classrooms in Nigeria’s Northern interior, few if any of whom have ever returned to kith and kin.