5.11.2017 Day in History

Today is National Technology Day in India and Human Rights Day in Vietnam; in what is now Istanbul sixteen hundred eighty-seven years ago, Byzantine rulers officially renamed their territory Nova Roma, even as most people continued to refer to the entire realm by the name of the chief metropolis, Constantinople; five centuries and thirty-eight years subsequently, in 838, five thousand miles East, Chinese printers produced a block-printed copy of the Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist text that was the world’s first date, printed volume; seven centuries and seven years before the here-and-now, in France, over fifty Knights Templar burned alive for ‘crimes’ of heresy; in a continuing contest for continental dominance in Europe four hundred ten years later, to the day, in 1720, a male infant was born who would become the real-life storyteller Hieronymous von Munchhausen, upon whom writers later based the fictional character; a quarter century thereafter, in 1745, the Battle of Fontenoy unfolded in France’s favor against Anglo-Austrian-Dutch troops in one of capitalism’s first ‘world wars,’ the War of the Austrian Succession; two hundred twenty-four years back, a U.S. mariner and commercial entrepreneur, Robert Gray, became the first documented European to sail up the Columbia River in what is now the border of Washington and Oregon; two nature waterfall mountains view inspiration choice majesticdecades beyond that conjunction, seven thousand miles away in London, in 1812, John Bellingham shot and killed the British Prime Minister in Parliament over grievances that Bellingham had against England for his troubles with the Russian trade; three hundred sixty-five days past that juncture, in 1813, half a world away in Australia, three Englishmen began the exploration of the inner regions of the continent, which laid the basis for vast commercial expansion in the region;seven years beyond that instant, back in England in 1820, boatwrights launched the Beagle, which would soon carry Charles Darwin round the globe; twenty-six years afterward, in 1846, James Polk, the U.S. President, requested and obtained a declaration of hostilities against Mexico that started the war of conquest that nearly doubled the size of the gringo continental colossus; eleven years henceforth, in 1857, on the other side of the globe, Indian rebels seized Delhi from the British for a brief interlude of indigenous independence; a year later halfway back round the world in the U.S.A., in 1858, Minnesota became the nation’s thirty-second State; thirteen additional years in the direction of today, in 1871, English astronomer and scientist John Herschel breathed his last;two decades further down the pike, in 1891, Czar Nicholas suffered a severe sword wound in what we now call the Otsu Incident, in which a crazed Japanese policeman attacked the royal personage on a visit to the Far East, and in France the prominent scientist Edmond Becquerel, who discovered the photovoltaic effect, one of a line of physicists, lived out his final scene; a thousand ninety-six days nearer to the present point in time, in 1894, in one of the biggest wildcat strikes in U.S. history,

solidarityfour thousand Pullman Company workers initiated a job action against the Illinois railroad car company that eventually involved nearly a quarter million railroad workers; a decade closer to the current day, in 1904, across the Atlantic in Spain, a baby boy came along who would mature as surrealist extraordinaire, Salvador Dali; six years yet later on, in 1910, the United States created the monumental Glacier National Park on Montana’s Canadian border; another half dozen years hence, back on the Iberian Peninsula in 1916, a male child took his first breath en route to a life as writer and stylistic innovator, Camilo Jose Sela, who would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature; three years later and back across the Atlantic, in 1919, a male child entered the world whose life would unfold as physicist and scientific thinker, Richard Feynman; three hundred sixty-six leap days after that, in 1920, the novelist and critic William Dean Howells left the land of the living behind; seven years further down the road, in 1927 on the other side of the North American continent, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences came into existence, and the acclaimed Cubist painter Juan Gris made an early exit from this life; exactly three years later, in 1930, a baby boy entered the world in the usual way on his way to a life as novelist and critic, Stanley Elkin, while across the Atlantic another male infant opened his eyes, who would rise as the snow winter cold desolation poverty unemployment depressionmasterful mathematician and programmer of computer possibilities, Edsger Dijkstra; a dozen years past that moment precisely, in 1942, William Faulkner’s short story collection, Go Down, Moses, became publicly available; a year afterward, in 1943, a male infant took his first breath on his way to a life as Matthew Lesko, a populizer of government grants and other ways of benefiting from ‘Uncle Sam;’ a thousand ninety-six days further onward toward the here and now, in 1946, a male baby howled out who would become the crooner and songwriter, Eric Burdon; an additional three years past that conjunction, in 1949, Israel gained acceptance to the United Nations, and Siam for the second time changed its name to Thailand; eleven years more proximate still to today, in 1960, a handful of Israeli Mossad agents went to Argentina and tracked down and captured Adolph Eichmann, who would go on to stand trial in Israel for mass murder and crimes against humanity that he committed in Nazi Germany; three years later, and three thousand miles to the North, in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama, Ku Klux Klan fascists detonated bombs that instigated a night of rioting against violent bigotry that authorities either permitted or failed to stop; nine years subsequently, in 1972, in an arguably even more terroristic act, the United States carried out two nuclear weapons tests in Nevada, one for Operation Grommet and the other for Operation Toggle; one year to the day beyond that conjunction, in 1973, Daniel Ellsberg succeeded in showing governmental misconduct and having charges against him dismissed for his release of the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times; six years additional on time’s march, in 1979, the renowned picker, accomplished singer, and popular lyricist Lester Flatt played his final verse; two years even closer to the current context, in 1981, crooner and songwriter Bob Marley died, supposedly, of cancer; four years past that point, in 1985, Chester Gould, who created Dick Tracy, drew his final breath; three hundred sixty-five days more proximate to the present pass, in 1986, a hero died in Soviet Ukraine, Alexander Akimov, who stood in the breech to inhibit an even deadlier accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant; a year a little bit closer to today, in 1987, a team of surgeons in Baltimore performed the world’s first heart-lung transplant; two years shy of a decade later exactly, in 1995, some 170 signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty agreed to the instrument’s continuation; two years more down the pike, in 1997, the computer program, Deep Blue, defeated Gary Kasparov in a chess match; another year along time’s arc, in 1998, on the other side of the world, India detonated three nuclear bombs underground, including one that was a thermonuclear device; three years later still, in 2001, writer Douglas Adams hitchhiked his way out of the veil of tears on his trek through the universe.