8.15.2016 Day in History

CC BY-NC by El_Enigma

This date marks centrally important events and commemoration in both North and South Asia, as India celebrates Independence Day in relation to the British Empire and Bangladesh declares a National Day of Mourning for an assassinated founding father, while, much to the North and East, Korea observe Independence Day in relation to Japanese imperialism, while that nation fixes on today the title of End-of-War Memorial Day, in relation to the climax of World War Two, and in parts of Mexico and the Southwestern United States, this is one of the days that notes the dominion of ‘Our Lady of the Sacred Death,’ or the power of Saint Death, Santa Muerte; in the still volatile heartland of the Levant, along the borders of modern day Syria with contemporary Jordan and Israel, thirteen hundred eighty years ago, one of history’s

‘decisive battles’ unfolded on the Yarmouk plain with a smaller Rashidun force overwhelming a Byzantine army and establishing Muslim hegemony over what theretofore had been a Christian Syria; just a smidgen past eight decades subsequently, in 717, firmly-ensconced-throughout-the-Levant Islamic hegemons oversaw the beginning of a massive siege of Byzantine Constantinople; a full year beyond that martial madness in 1718, the remnants of these forces, unable to break through the Christian defenses, left what is now Istanbul in temporary peace; two hundred nine years yet further onward, in 927, continuing conflict among varied cultures resulted in the Islamic Saracens invading and conquering the territory of Taranto; five and a half decades further in the direction of today, in 982, Saracen rulers led their forces in defeating Holy Roman Imperial troops in the Battle of Capo Colonna in the Italian mainland; a mere quarter century and year later, in 1018, Byzantine treachery demonstrated the ongoing domineering relationship of Turkey with the Balkans in the blinding, via treachery, of a Bulgarian leader and crushing of an independence movement there; twenty-two years farther on time’s relentless march, in 1040, the historical King Macbeth killed his cousin Duncan in battle scotland europe castlein Scotland; three years shy of a score of years after that, in 1057, King Macbeth suffered a similar fate at the hands of Malcolm III; a century and eight decades further along time’s path, in 1237,  to the South in the Iberian Peninsula, Spanish and Aragonese Christian forces won out against the Valencian caliphate in one of the battles in the midst of the centuries-long Reconquista; forty-four years farther along time’s inexorable march, in 1281, the planned Mongol invasion of Japan catastrophically failed when a massive typhoon sunk most of the ships under the leadership of Kublai Khan; five hundred and fifty-five years back, in the final gasp of Byzantine imprimatur, the leaders of Trebizon surrendered to the victorious armies of a second Sultan Mehmed; fifty-six years hence, in 1517, Portuguese interlopers first made contact with the Chinese Empire at an encounter on the Pearl River near what is now Hong Kong; another seventeen years onward in space and time, in 1534,  back in Europe, Ignatius of Loyola and some of his friends and fellow priests initiated the fellowship that eventually became the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits; a decade and a half afterward, in 1549, halfway around the globe, Jesuit missionaries made their first incursions into Japan at Kagoshima; two hundred twenty-two years thereafter, in 1771, back in European environs, the baby boy was born who would become the prolific poet, playwright, and writer, Walter Scott; eleven additional years toward today, in 1782, the girl child entered our midst who would grow up as Edgar Allen Poe’s cousin and marital partner, who inspired his chilling poem, “Annabel Lee;” three years precisely after that, in  1785, back across the Atlantic again, a male child looked around for the first time en route to his life as the journalist and author, Thomas De Quincey; twenty seven years more in proximity to the present point, in 1812, American troops successfully defended Fort Dearborn from British Allies among native Americans in what is now Chicago; a dozen further years on the path to the here and now, in 1824, one of the few surviving European supporters of the American Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette, arrived in New York City to start a twenty-four state tour of the United States; almost but not quite two decades further along, in 1843, a Honolulu congregation opened a church that now stands as the longest continuously operational Catholic cathedral in the United States; exactly two decades after that, in 1863, in the contentious ‘opening’ of Japan to imperial interests, English Naval Vessels bombarded coastal batteries over a period of two days, a so-called Anglo-Satsuma War; seven hundred thirty-one days onward from that, in 1865, also in Japan, a little baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as Mikao Usui, the founder of the popular, if not altogether ‘evidence-based,’ discipline of Reiki; twenty-eight years yet nearer to the here and now, in 1893, eight thousand miles or so to the Southwest in what is now Nigeria, England extended its dominance of the local scene with the establishment, via the local elites cooptation, of a ‘protectorate’ over Ibadan; a half dozen years forward from there, in 1899, across the wide Atlantic in North America, Henry Ford absconded with himself from Thomas Edison’s employ to begin an automobile company; eight years henceforth, in 1907, the Orthodox Church in Constantinople ordained its first African American priest as a missionary whose destination would be the West Indies; half a decade beyond that, in 1912, the female infant cried out for the first time who would grow up as the maven of cookery, Julia Child; two years subsequent to that, in 1914, after plus or minus 20,000 deaths in its construction, the Panama Canal opened to shipping; a thousand ninety-six days even closer to the current context, in 1917, a male infant in El Salvador came along whom fate had designated as the heroic priest and Church leader Oscar Romero, whose destiny was assassination as he preached the mass in San Salvador; another three years along time’s arc, in 1920, more or less six thousand miles Northeast in Poland, a Polish army on the verge of defeat used British assistance and the fortunes of war to defeat and drive off the Red Army that was on the verge of occupying the city; a thousand four hundred and sixty-one days thereafter, in 1924, to the West in England, a baby male entered the world in standard fashion who would become the esteemed and lauded playwright and screenwriter Robert Bolt; two years further down the temporal stream, in 1926,across the Atlantic in Texas, a male infant shouted out on his way to fame and controversy as John Silber, at once a ‘liberal’ and a ‘reactionary’ in politics and educational administration in Massachusetts; nine years still more proximate to the present pass, in 1935, a plane crash near Barrow, Alaska killed both Wiley Post and Will Rogers, one of the most popular comic performers in history, while thousands of miles East in France, the French painter and author Paul Signac also died; just one year more toward the current instant, in 1936, the acclaimed Italian poet and novelist and Nobel Laureate, Grazia Deledda, breathed her last; three years after that exact point, in 1939, the Wizard of Oz opened in Los Angeles; twice that length of time into the future, in 1945, Japan effectively gave up all pretense of a fight in the Pacific, and Korea formally became an independent nation; an additional two years along the raucous road to now, in 1947, thousands of miles to the South and West, India officially established itself as a sovereign entity, and the first Governor General of Pakistan also assumed command in Karachi; seven years still later, in 1954, the Washington-approved dictator of Paraguay, Alfredo Stroessner, began his decades of repression in the Southern Cone, and eight thousand miles or so to the North and East, a male baby bounced into our presence en route to his life as the scribe and storyteller Stieg Larsson;nine years past that, again thousands of miles South in 1963, one of the strangest creatures that imperialism had ever created, Fulbert Youlou, a semi-priest, lost his Presidency in the Republic of the Congo after several days of riotous uprising; seven hundred thirty-one days still farther along time’s pathway, in 1965, a much more ‘civilized’ sort of chaos accompanied the appearance of the Beatles before sixty thousand fans or so at Shea Stadium in New York; four further years en route to this present moment, in 1969, a steamy muddy field in Jefferson County, New York opened the now-iconic Woodstock Music Festival; two years later, in 1971, President Richard Nixon instituted a freeze on the convertibility of dollars to gold that in essence ended the Gold Standard; a year even closer to the present light and air, in 1972, a male child screamed out who would end up as the noted actor and screenwriter, Ben Affleck; two years hence, nearly half a world away in Korea in 1974, the nation’s ‘first lady’ died in an apparent assassination attempt against her husband, Korea’s President; in even direr circumstances a year after that in the newly initiated nation of Bangladesh in 1975, the ‘father’ of that realm and several members of his family succumbed to murderers in the brutal political environment that then held sway in that part of the world; two years from that juncture, in 1977, on the opposite side of the Earth in Ohio, a so-called “Big Ear” telescope recorded a “Wow!” incoming signal from deep space as part of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence; two years onward from there, in 1979, the chilling film, Apocalypse Now, premiered in the United States; half a decade subsequently, in 1984, the Kurdish Workers Party in Turkey amplified its demands for rights and independence by initiation a campaign of attacks on police stations and military outposts in the country; an extra five years on the march to today, solidarityin 1989, a Communications Workers of America local leader in a bitter strike against NYNEX died on the picket line when a plant manager’s daughter ran over him with her car; sixteen years forward in time from that point, in 2005, Israel began its ‘disengagement’ from the Gaza Strip and Northern portions of the West Bank of the Jordan River with the eviction of small numbers of Jewish settlers from those territories; three years yet closer to now, in 2008, Walmart workers in Canada won a contract that forced the recognition of their union, to which the company soon responded by eliminating their department from the store; five years even later, in 2013, a massive bombing in Beirut near a Hezbollah outpost killed dozens and seriously injured hundreds more, the work of a theretofore unknown Syrian Sunni terrorist group.