7.13.2017 Day in History

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Seven and a half centuries plus seven years ago, the Teutonic Knights of the Livonian Order faced its most crushing defeat at the hands of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy at the Battle of Durbe; two hundred and thirty years before the here and now, the still only ‘Continental Congress’ enacted the Northwest Ordinance which provided rules for the admission of territories as states and set limits on the expansion of slavery; six years subsequently, in 1793, across the Atlantic pond in France, the thinker and activist Jean Paul Marat died at the hands of assassin Charlotte Corday; half a decade onward from that, in 1798, across the English Channel, along the river Wye, William Wordsworth found himself so enchanted with Tintern Abbey that practically on the spot he composed one of his more famous poems that imagined being miles above the lovely spot; thirty-two years henceforth, in 1830, half a world away on the Subcontinent, Scottish ecclesiastic functionaries joined with local Indians to establish  a General Assembly’s Institution, which transformed into the Scottish Culture College, in Calcutta, India; art south america latin spanish aztec mexico-Cortez_y_moctezuma

just a year less than a quarter century later, in 1854, Mexican military forces repelled an initial French incursion that sought to establish a colonial presence in North America; five years thereafter, in 1859, five thousand miles Northeast across the wide North Atlantic, a baby boy entered the world in England who would mature as the social scientist and widely acclaimed thinker Sidney Webb; four years after that juncture, in 1863, a different sort of conflict erupted in New York City as anti-draft riots shook the metropolis; a decade and a half beyond that moment in time, in 1878, the Treaty of Berlin established the independence of many Balkan nations from the Ottoman Empire; fourteen years further along time’s track, in 1892, across the Atlantic and most of North America, the National Guard and Federal Troops assisted mine owners in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in crushing union activism; solidarity seven hundred thirty additional days in the direction of now, in 1894, six thousand miles back to the East, a male infant opened his eyes who would rise as the well-loved playwright and writer of Jewish and Russian experience, Isaac Babel; eleven years subsequent to that, in 1905, thousands of miles South and East in India, a monumental trial, bizarre and ritualistic, that entailed accusations about sexual wildness on the part of an upper caste woman and her scores of paramours, resulted in a mass excommunication of men from different social sects; ninety-four years back, meanwhile, in North America, in a different sort of transgressive Eros, Hollywood’s fathers, and mothers, erected the sign atop their community that has drawn tourists and irritated locals ever since ; eleven years more proximate to the present, in 1934, a baby boy was born in Nigeria whose destiny was to win the Nobel prize in Literature as Wole Soyinka, and roughly six thousand miles to the Northwest, an aggregate of many peasants of African descent came together with a few European Americans to form the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union; seven years thereafter, in 1941, five thousand miles to the East in the Balkans, Montenegrin partisans rose up against the fascists who were seeking to dominate the entire region; three hundred sixty-five days past that moment of struggle, in 1942, back in the United States, a male infant shouted out who would mature as the rocker and lyricist Roger McGuinn; four years still

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closer to now, in 1946, legendary photographer and lover of art and artists, Alfred Stieglitz, drew his final breath; two years yet nearer to now, in 1948, the Democratic National Committee upheld the Truman Doctrines of anti-communism, hyper capitalism, and mass surveillance as the presidential election heated up; half-a-dozen more years along the temporal arc, in 1954, the iconic and magnificent Frida Kahlo gazed one final time at the world that she so stunningly depicted; a thousand ninety-six days afterward, in 1957, a male infant bounced into the world who would grow into the filmmaker and screenwriter Cameron Crowe; eleven years later, in 1968, Rockefeller announces a new ‘peace proposal’; an additional eleven years onward through space, in 1970, the overseer and chief administrator of Manhattan Project megadeath, Leslie Groves, drew a final breath; three years hence, in 1973, Alexander Butterfield acknowledged to a Senate investigative committee that President Nixon had made tapes of his conversations about the Watergate break-in; a thousand four hundred sixty-one days still more proximate to the present pass, in 1977, Somalia unleashed the Ogaden conflict by declaring war on Ethiopia, and, as infrastructure issues surfaced during the early years of the cyclical downturn that began in the early 1970’s and continues to today, the power for the entire New York City region failed for twenty-four hours, which caused a quite noticeable birth spike roughly forty weeks after that interlude of chaotic darkness; eight years subsequently, in 1985, the so-called ‘Live Aid’ rock-and-roll fundraising initiative started in London, the first recipient of its largesse the starving Ethiopians whose plight stemmed from CIA-supported and geopolitically motivated conflicts with Somalia and others that had been ongoing since at least 1977; a decade after that, in a development that would define a trend that one could say began at this point in 1995, plus or minus 2,500 staffers—from journalists to clerical staff to skilled press operators—of the Detroit Free Press went on strike when owners and its representatives refused to bargain about cuts in wages and benefits and job loss; eight years still later, in 2003, French Special Forces decided against seeking to liberate a French citizen from Colombian rebels, but their plans leaked to the media and caused an uproar anyhow, and renowned Cuban singer-songwriter Compay Segundo; ten years thereafter, in 2013, jurors in Florida exonerated George Zimmerman’s homicide of Trayvon Martin; three hundred and sixty-five days after that, in 2014, the iconic thinker and Nobel literary laureate Nadine Gordimer went to her final rest, and author and dramatist Thomas Berger, especially famed for Little Big Man, also breathed his last.