8.17.2016 Day in History

Everywhere today that likes a touch of mystery celebrates Black Cat Appreciation Day, while Argentina today celebrates the liberator San Martin; in a continuing Balkan theme of resistance to empire one thousand thirty years ago, Bulgarian fighters overwhelmed Byzantine armies at the Gates of Trajan; four centuries to the day thereafter, in 1386, the ruling classes of Albania entered an ongoing pact with Venice so as to resist Ottoman incursions; four hundred sixty-seven years ahead of today, a huge battle in Cornish England crushed an uprising against the nascent Church of England and the cultural aspects of a switch to religious vernacular from Latin; eleven years henceforth, just to the North in Scotland, in 1560, popular feeling and key leaders together overturn Catholic imprimatur in the land of kilts; twenty-five years after the fact, in 1585, Spanish forces captured Antwerp and forced Protestants to leave the city, and, across the Atlantic, the fated Roanoke Colony is settled for the first time; just over four decades subsequent to that, in 1601, the baby boy first gave voice who would mature as the mathematical genius Pierre de Fermat; in a precursor of more recent carnage, a hundred sixteen years later, in 1717, Austria successfully completed its siege of Belgrade and stripped control of much of Serbia from the Ottomans; ninety years after that moment in time, in 1807, a Robert Fulton steamship began the first regular boat transportation between Manhattan and Albany on New York’s Hudson River; fifty-five years closer to the current juncture, in 1862, Lakota raiding parties responded to American aggression and land grabs with attacks on White settlements on the Minnesota River, starting the Dakota War; precisely a quarter century after that, in 1887, the baby boy was born whose destiny was to be the leader Marcus Garvey; six years hence, in 1893, a baby girl came along who would wow audiences with her performances and screenplays as Mae West; three years afterwards, in 1896, the first documented pedestrian automobile casualty took place when a Benz car ran over a woman in front of London’s Crystal Palace, and across the pond, the baby boy destined to grow up to become Leslie Groves, the administrative head of the Manhattan Project, uttered his first cry; one hundred eight years back, French filmmakers released the world’s first animated movie, Fantasmagorie; two years subsequently, in 1910, women garment factory strikers, who were toiling for as little as 50 cents for a 15 hour day, broke through police lines and demolished a New York garment factory that tried to break a strike; five years still nearer to now, in 1915, a lynch mob in suburban Atlanta’s Cobb County murdered Jewish businessman Leo Frank; three years later, in 1918, almost 100 Wobblies were sent to prison for up to 20 years for refusing to die over the imperial war in Europe; twelve years on the dot beyond that point, in 1930, the British babe who would become iconic poet and controversial husband of Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, entered the world in standard fashion; seven hundred thirty-one days after that day, in 1932, a West Indian male child took his first breath en route to acclaim and renown as Nobel Laureate, V.S. Naipaul; three years subsequently,

Charlotte Perkins Gilman The Yellow Wallpaper Licensed under PD-US
Charlotte Perkins Gilman The Yellow Wallpaper Licensed under PD-US

in 1935, the not so well-known but nonetheless well-regarded sociologist and storyteller, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, drew her final breath; eight years still closer to contemporary time, in 1943, Anglo American and British leaders met in Quebec to plot out the course of World War Two, including the acceleration of the development of atomic weapons; two years hence, in 1945, Indonesian leaders that included Sukarno led the uprising against the Dutch empire that resulted in an independent Indonesia; two years further along time’s arc, in 1947, a thousand miles Northwest in the Subcontinent, British imperial leaders orchestrated the exact details of the division of its empire into India and East and West Pakistan with the establishment of the Radcliffe Line’s boundaries; half a dozen years even more proximate to the present day, in 1953, the first meeting of Narcotics Anonymous occurred in the Los Angeles area, and the baby girl first cried out who would rise as the Romanian German writer, Herta Müller, acclaimed poet and author and Nobel Laureate; five years beyond that juncture, in 1958, America’s first attempt at lunar orbit was launched but failed; one more years further along, in 1959, the baby boy entered our midst who would one day become writers, one as Jonathan Franzen, and the other as food-industry muckraker Eric Schlosser, and, in the musical front, Miles Davis’ much acclaimed and iconic Kind of Blue played over the airwaves for the first time in the history of humankind; one year still further on, in 1960, Gabon declared its independence from its previous Colonial master, France; forty-six years in the past, Venera 7, the first aircraft to successfully transmit data from the surface of another planet, was launched; three years later, in 1973, the socially prominent poet and critic and child of tragedy, Conrad Aiken, had his final stanza; thirty-four years ago, the first Compact Discs, which revolutionized music consumption for a while, were released to the German public; another year past that day, in 1983, the prolific tunesmith, Ira Gershwin, died far from his native New York, in Beverly Hills; two additional years from that, in 1985, an ill-fated and ill-advised strike by members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union against Hormel, makers of SPAM, first began; ten years years onward, in 1995, the blacklisted writer Howard E. Koch died as he neared the century mark, and a decade further along time’s arc, in 2005, Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan begun the first forced evacuation of settlers.