7.12.2017 Day in History

Pixabay Image 2389745In what is now Northern Israel eight centuries and twenty-six years ago, the European fighters of the Third Crusade, the so-called ‘Leaders’ Crusade’ to reconquer Jerusalem and more, accepted the surrender of Saladin’s troops at the city of Acre; just shy of twenty-eight decades forward in time, in 1470, another instance of Mediterranean butchery, warfare that appeared religious but always boiled down to power and plunder, unfolded as Ottoman forces captured the island of Euboea off of Greece, from which they administered much of their control of Greece for the next three hundred sixty years; precisely twenty-three years further along time’s arc, in 1493, one of the key moments in modern publishing took place with the fulfillment of the private contracts to produce the Nuremberg Chronicles, a narrative that integrated graphics and modern tales of Europe’s urban origins into a story that itself paralleled the Bible; four hundred eighty-one years ahead of today, one of the monumental thinkers of the early modern period, Desiderius Erasmus, lived out his final philosophical moments; twenty-six years subsequently, in 1562, across the wide Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, the leading Catholic prelate in the Yucatan, in the midst of torture and murder of Mayans for the ‘crime’ of having their own culture, oversaw the torching of thousands of artifacts and all but a few of the compiled texts that documented Mayan existence; four hundred thirty-seven years back, one of the first Slavic language holy writs became available as the Ostrog Bible; a single year short of two centuries and a decade later, in 1789, a radical journalist in Paris delivered a fiery call to arms about the sacking of the ‘people’s finance minister,’ Jacques Decker, oratorical fire that contributed to the storming of the Bastille forty-eight hours afterwards; a single three hundred sixty-five day passage around the sun beyond that, in 1790, a perhaps more revolutionary development transpired in France with the passage of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which not only formalized the primacy of civilian authority over clerical influence, but also helped to consolidate the confiscation of certain Church properties and the removal of the requirement that residents must tithe to the priestly class; nine years thereafter, in 1799, half a world away in Southwest Asia, the dynamic leader and strategist Ranjit Singh led armies that, in occupying Lahore in what is now Lahore, Pakistan, established the Sikh Empire as a powerful blockade to Afghan expansion and stalwart adjunct of expanding British hegemony throughout the region; a half decade further along, again roughly halfway round the planet in 1804, in North America, the estimable and politically ambitious thinker Alexander Hamilton died from wounds that he received the prior day in a duel with the Vice President of the United States; seven hundred thirty addition days in the direction of now, in 1806, across the Atlantic, sixteen German principalities followed the directives of Napoleon and left the Holy Roman Empire to form the Confederation of the Rhine, a combination of protection racket and civil reform that only lasted less than a decade but created a basis for civil society and, eventually, the manifestation of a German nation;eleven more years along time’s path, in 1817, back in North America, the little baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the essayist of individual freedom and philosopher of personal responsibility, Henry David Thoreau; thirty-two years henceforth, in 1849, estimable thinker and former First Lady Dolley Madison gave a final glance at the world before she exited; civil war history dixie southa dozen years afterward, in 1861, the administrators of the Confederate States of America revealed both their venal skill at divide and conquer and their idiocy in regard to ‘racial’ thinking by signing treaties with the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians, a way to set Native Americans with plenty of grievances against the objectives of the Union; just beyond three decades even closer to the current context, in 1892, the hopes of the Homestead strikers began to collapse as the National Guard intervened on Frick’s and Carnegie’s behalf, and Pinkerton agents began to shoot to kill with impunity, and the inventor of baseball, Alexander Cartwright, lived out his final inning, while the baby boy called out who would mature as the popular writer and storyteller, Bruno Schulz; a thousand ninety-five days onward in time and space, in 1895, an additional male infant entered our midst on his way to a life as the polymath and thinker, Buckminster Fuller;

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nine years subsequent to that happy event, roughly five thousand mile South in 1904, in Chile, a working class boy came squalling into the world en route to a life of adventure and poetry and thoughtful social commentary as Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda; nine years more still farther down the pike, again some five thousand miles North and East, Serbian forces besieged the Romanian city of Vidin in their Second Balkan War warm-up for World War One; precisely four years yet later on, in 1917, the final day of the heinous Bisbee Arizona deportations took place, with over a thousand primarily Hispanic International Workers of the World members dumped in the desert in support of the copper mine owners of the territory; three years yet nearer to now, in 1920, the new Soviet Union and Lithuania mutually agreed to the smaller nation’s complete independence; six years onward in the direction of today’s light and air, in 1926, the redoubtable child of privilege and British spy for recruiting Levantine Arabs to the British point of view, Gertrude Bell, died in the Mandatory Iraq that she had made her home; seven extra years on time’s forward march, in 1933, Buckminster Fuller celebrated his birthday as the first Dymaxion car, a special experience of vehicular possibility that he had designed, rolled out of the factory, while the United States instituted the first minimum wage of $.40/hour, and the Screen Actors Guild held its first meeting in California; a decade hence, in 1943, a baby girl was born into the world whom fate and talent and je nais sais quoi served to turn into the crooner and lyricist Christine McVie; three hundred sixty-five days still later, in 1944, a child of screenwriting parents took the name Delia Ephron on her way to a life with film and story and other writing plaudits of her own; two more years onward in time’s passage, in 1946, the Wilsonian bigot and erstwhile muckraking journalist, Ray Stannard Baker, lived out his final chapter;  another seven hundred thirty-one days thereafter, in 1948, David Ben Gurion ordered the expulsion of Palestinians from two towns in an early instance of Israeli ‘ethnic cleansing;’palestine israelseven years still more proximate to the present pass, in 1955, a male child bounced into the world who would grow up to become the darling of British establishment modern history, Timothy Garton Ash; seven years again closer in proximity to the instantaneous now, in 1962, also in England, the Rolling Stones played their first gig at London’s Marquee Club; a thousand four hundred and sixty-one days even closer to today, in 1966, around the globe in Japan, the venerable champion of Zen and popularizer of Buddhism, D.T. Suzuki, made a graceful exit; a mere year beyond that conjunction, in 1967, across the great Pacific Ocean and the North American continent in Newark, New Jersey, an immense upheaval broke out that would end up one of the most deadly and momentous riots in U.S. history; half a dozen further years toward the here and now, in 1973, a fiery inferno destroyed the sixth floor of the United States National Personnel Records Center; twenty-three additional years along the temporal arc, in 1996, monopoly media journalist John Chancellor’s final story ended; a year further along, in 1997, a girl baby shouted out en route to a life as the youthful Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai; still another three hundred sixty-five days later, in 1998, the estimable country singer and songwriter Jimmie Driftwood sang out his final stanza;just under a decade subsequently, in 2007, United States helicopter forces committed what would have been an anonymous and impossible-to-prove war crime when they butchered two journalists and plus or minus ten other civilians, a video of which showed the level of depredation in play when Wikileaks made it available to view online; three years after that horror story, in 2010, the dour illustrator and storyteller Harvey Pekar lived out his final frame.