4.20.2017 Day in History

"Cannabis sativa Koehler drawing" por W. Müller
“Cannabis sativa Koehler drawing” por W. Müller

The United Nations during this twenty-four hour span marks Chinese Language Day, as many hip sorts around the planet celebrate 4/20 Day in recognition of cannabis’ cultural and medicinal role in human affairs; in Rome of the late Middle Ages, meanwhile, the Pope oversaw the inauguration seven hundred thirteen years ago of the Sapienza University of Rome; precisely one and a half centuries henceforth, in 1453, rescue ships with manpower and relief supplies from Genoa and a Byzantine blockade runner forestalled the pending collapse of Constantinople by fighting their way through the cordon of Ottoman ships surrounding the besieged city;eighty-one years onward from that, in 1534, an entirely different realm of imperial ambition opened when Jacques Cartier launched his first trek to explore Eastern Canada; a century and twenty-three years subsequently, in 1657, Jewish residents of New Amsterdam received formal approval of their right to freedom of religion;another hundred twelve years thereafter, in 1769, a leader of Ottowa indigenous peoples in Canada and the ‘old Northwest,’ Pontiac, succumbed to a fellow Native American assassin, as Pontiac’s negotiations with the English became fairly close; across the Atlantic and much of Europe three hundred sixty-five days later, in 1770, the Georgian king led troops who won out over Ottoman opponents despite his Russian ally’s abandonment of the field of battle at Aspindza; twenty-two further years along time’s path, in 1792, France’s newly constituted popular government declared war on Bohemia and Hungary, thereby instigating the French Revolutionary Wars; thirty-six years past that precise point, in 1828, Rene Caillie, a French roustabout and explorer and adventurer and advance scout for empire became the first European to enter the urban redoubts of Timbuktu and survive the experience; eight years down the pike from there, seven thousand miles Northwest in 1836 North America, the Wisconsin Territory became a geographical and technological fact; just beyond a quarter century after that, in 1862, Louis Pasteur and collaborators conducted the first experiment that proved the germ theory of decomposition, disease, and so forth; not quite a decade farther on the temporal road, in 1871, back across the Atlantic again, the Civil Rights Act of 1871, which remains, obviously, to enforce fully even today, became the putative law of the land in America; half a decade yet later on, in 1876, in Europe now, the April Uprising burst forth in Bulgaria that would lead to large-scale murder of civilians in its suppression and invite Russians to pick a fight with the Turks that would then wrest parts of the Balkans from Ottoman dominance; eight additional years further in the direction of today, in 1884, a thirteenth Pope Leo issued an encyclical that basically excoriated popular mandates, democracy, separation of church and state, and other pernicious practices of ‘Freemasonry;’ nine years hence, in 1893, the baby male cried out who would mature as the modernist genius of painting and ideas, Joan Miro; again, not quite a decade farther along, in nuclear radioactive1902, Pierre and Marie Curie took a key step in the Modern Nuclear Project when they refined Radium Chloride; a decade ever onward toward the here and now, in 1912, plus or minus 10,000 demonstrators in Lawrence, Massachusetts celebrated their union’s victory in achieving better wages and safer working conditions and more, and on the other edge of the Atlantic, the creator of modern vampires, Bram Stoker, breathed his last; seven hundred thirty days afterward, back in North America in 1914, Rockefeller coal company agents orchestrated one of the great crimes against humanity that American firms carried out against their workers, when hired ‘detectives’ near Ludlow, Colorado fired at will into a striking miner camp, killing a score of men, women, and children; a dozen years more proximate to the present pass, in 1926, monopoly media and industry, in the form of Warner Brothers and Western Electric, announced the creation of the Vidaphone process for adding sound to moving film; another thirteen years on time’s march, in 1939, Billie Holiday released what is arguably the first popular civil rights song, “Strange Fruit;” seven more years subsequent to that, in 1946, a different sort of human rights development transpired with the formal transfer of power from the League of Nations to the United Nations; two years still later, in 1948, would be assassins shot and seriously wounded Walter Reuther, an attempt to murder the esteemed leader of the United Autoworkers who died in a plane crash two decades in the future; three years even closer to the current context, in 1951, a Romanian surgeon performed the first successful transplant of an entire human organ, in this initial case

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the esophagus; a decade thereafter, in 1961, U.S. financed, trained, and directed terrorists failed spectacularly in their attempts to overthrow Cuba’s Communist government with an invasion as the Bay of Pigs; thirty-nine years back, Russian fighters shot down a Korean Airlines jet that had apparently entered Soviet airspace; two years later on, in 1980, United Autoworkers strikers successfully concluded a nearly six month labor action against International Harvester that battled wage and hour cutbacks; three years toward our present point in time and space, in 1983, the popular writer and thinker Archibald MacLeish lived out his final scene; a decade past that conjunction exactly, in 1993,the Mexican performer, producer, and screenwriter whom fans knew as Cantinflas died in Mexico City; six years down the pike, in 1999, two young men who had been taking anti-depressants and otherwise being part and parcel of an alienated civilization of megadeath went to their school at Columbine High after an early morning bowling outing and methodically murdered thirteen and wounded over twenty of their classmates and instructors before they killed themselves; eleven years afterward, in 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico caught fire and exploded, killing nearly a dozen roughnecks and releasing a catastrophic, months-long oil spill.