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Aug. 23, 2023
August 23rd, 2023

Quiz: ”In ancient Rome, what was a hypocaust?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Is the Baja Peninsula part of Mexico or the USA?
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History for 8/23/2023
Birthdays: French King Louis XVI, Gene Kelly, Keith Moon, Rick Springfield, Sonny Jurgensen, Alphonse Mucha, River Phoenix, Queen Noor of Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Ed Benedict the designer of Yogi Bear and the Flintstones, Barbara Eden is 92, Vera Miles is 94, Shelley Long is 73, Nik Ranieri, Oscar Grillo

Roman Festival Vulcanalia, to pray to Vulcan to prevent fires.

In Kyoto Japan, this is the first day of the Fire Festival, when candles are placed at each statue in the Temple of the Eight Thousand Buddhas

In Swaziland, Happy Umhlanga Day!

408 AD- Roman Emperor Honorius killed his last competent General, Flavius Stilicho. It was rumored that Stilicho allowed a huge horde of barbarians cross the Rhine frontier last Christmas as part of a plot. But more likely Honorius was afraid Stilicho might try to overthrow him. The barbarians sacked Rome shortly after.

1305- In London, the great Scottish rebel William Wallace was hanged, then cut down while still alive and drawn and quartered. His head was stuck on a spike on London Bridge and his pieces were sent to be displayed in various parts of Scotland. But the Scots instead of being cowed, got even angrier. In 1314 won independence under their King Robert the Bruce.

1499- Christopher Columbus was fired as Governor of the Indies and sent back to Spain in chains. He was a great visionary but a lousy governor.

1524- A large armada of warships from Spain, Portugal, Genoa and the Vatican were sent to Algiers to deal once and for all with the Barbary Corsairs. These North African raiders terrorized the waters of the western Mediterranean under their bold captains like Kehir el Din "Barbarossa", Dragut and a mysterious man known only as The Jew of Smyrna. But when the Christian fleet arrived in the Bay of Algiers a large storm battered their ships and threw them on the shore. The survivors were slain or enslaved as they staggered up on the beach. The Barbary Pirates would continue to be a headache for Christian Europe sea travel for another 300 years.

1572-THE ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S DAY MASSACRE- The reason there are so few Protestants in France. Emotionally unstable King Charles IX and his domineering mother Catherine DeMedicis had been trying to cope with the growing hatred between Catholics and Protestants, called Huguenots. After several civil wars and several treaties Catherine tried to cement a permanent peace by marrying the Kings sister Margot to the Prince of the Protestants Henry of Navarre. Catholic Paris was filled with Huguenots for the wedding.
Then the night before Catholic extremists murdered the Huguenot leader Gaspar Coligny. When faced with this event King Charles blurted out,” Then slay them all, so none dare live to accuse me!” As the bells of Saint Margaret rang, a general massacre began throughout Paris. Protestants were put to the sword and the streets ran with blood. The massacre became so general that anybody who was mad at anybody declared them a Huguenot and they were promptly butchered. The Seine River flow turned red because it was choked up with corpses.
The Pope congratulated the French queen for ridding her land of heretics and ordered thanksgiving celebrations throughout Catholic Europe. In Spain, dour King Phillip II smiled for one of the few times in his life. Protestant countries were outraged and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth put her court in mourning. Even the Spanish Duke of Alba, who was burning dozens of Dutch Calvinists a day, thought this was “a base way to make war.” Protestant Prince Henry of Navarre under the Queens protection escaped and would eventually become king as Henry IV, first of the house of Bourbon. Within a year Charles IX died of tuberculosis, wracked with remorse:” What have I done? All that blood! I am damned!”

1617- The invention of the One-Way Street (London).
1628- The Duke of Buckingham was a favorite of King James I. After James’s death the Duke continued to hold great influence over his son Charles I. Many people blamed Buckingham for England’s problems, and for reversing James’s peace policy and dragging England into the disastrous Thirty Years War that was destroying Europe. Parliament loudly demanded the duke’s imprisonment while Charles stood by his father’s old confident. This day a lunatic solved the problem by buying a kitchen knife, hiking sixty miles to London and plunging it into the Duke of Buckingham’s chest, killing him in front of his wife and family. It was one but not the only argument Charles would have with his parliament.

1634- Spain’s greatest playwright Lope De Vega wrote his last poem “El Siglo de Oro” – the Golden Age. He died the next day at age 73. A duelist and sailor on the Spanish Armada, Voltaire ranked him alongside Shakespeare. His work was so popular, the Holy Office of the Inquisition got angry when people sang a blasphemous doggerel that began “We believe in One Lope, the Poet Almighty…”

1750- 37-year-old Swiss writer Jean Jacques Rousseau published his first mature work- Discourse on the Arts & Sciences. In it he breaks with the other French philosophers like Voltaire and Diderot and began his theory of the Noble Savage- that Civilization is the problem, and we were all a lot happier when we were primitives. Voltaire laughed “the pamphlet made me want to get down on all fours and live among the bears of Canada!”

1775- KING GEORGE III ISSUED A PROCLAMATION DECLARING HIS AMERICAN COLONIES IN A STATE OF REBELLION. Many English politicians like Charles Fox and John Wilkes felt the American colonists had some legitimate grievances that could have been peacefully addressed. Lord Chatham (Pitt the Elder) had gone as far to say in the House of Lords "The Englishmen on the other side of the Atlantic are only fighting for what the Englishmen at home should be fighting for, namely their rights!" He suggested several seats in Parliament be set aside for British North America.
But King George rejected all further debate and refused the "Olive Branch Petition", a final plea to avert war brought by the loyalist Governor of Pennsylvania William Penn III. "They must decide now whether they are our subjects or our enemies." -The King stated flatly.

The King's proclamation was that now the only solution would be by force of arms. Pardons would be given to those Americans who returned to their loyalty to the Crown, but British generals were given a secret list of ringleaders to be brought to London for trial like John Adams and Ben Franklin. Up to this point many Americans, even George Washington, felt complete independence was going too far and compromise with the motherland might still be possible. But after news of this Royal Proclamation reached America in October most then felt there was now no turning back.

1784- Frontiersmen west of the Alleghenies tried to found the independent state of Franklin. It later entered the union in 1796 as the state of Tennessee.

1864- Abe Lincoln was in despair. After four years of Civil War all the Northern armies were bogged down or defeated, the Confederacy showed no sign of collapse, and a popular General George McClellan announced he would run against Lincoln in the fall elections as a peace candidate. On this day Lincoln made all his cabinet sign a secret Presidential memo: " Seeing that it becoming more apparent that this Administration shall not continue in office, we pledge to work with the next President to save the Union between the election and the inauguration, because the next administration by its very nature shall be unable to accomplish this." In several days Sherman's capture of Atlanta and Sheridan's victories in the Shenandoah Valley would reverse public opinion and Lincoln would win re-election.

1872- The first commercial ship ever sent from Japan arrived in San Francisco carrying tea.

1914- Japan declared war on Germany. World War I, not two. The Japanese wanted to attack and capture the German held Chinese province of Tsingtao, where their big brewery was.

1922- Leader of the Irish IRA, Michael Collins was ambushed and killed by other Irish guerrillas while driving through his home county of Cork.

1926- Screen idol Rudolph Valentino died in a New York hospital of an infection due to a burst appendix and bleeding ulcer. He was only 30. Today his condition could be controlled by antibiotics, but they weren’t invented yet. Women around the world went mad with grief. From L.A. to Budapest, women committed suicide before his picture. In Japan two women jumped into a volcano shouting his name.

1937- At the urging of the Stanford Dean of engineering Fred Terman, graduate Bill Hewlett had his first meeting with David Packard. They called their company started out of their Palo Alto garage the Engineering Service Company. The Hewlett-Packard Company would one day be one of the biggest names in computers and their garage hailed as the birthplace of Silicon Valley.

1939-THE NAZIS-SOVIET PACT. Nazi minister Von Ribbentrop flew to Moscow and signed the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. This cleared the way for Hitler's attack on Poland. Many in the west saw this as Stalin's untrustworthiness, but the Russians said they were reacting to the lack of enthusiasm shown by the Western Democracies in stopping Fascism. This was evident in Ethiopia, Czechoslovakia and particularly evident in Spain, where the Soviets backed the anti-Fascists to the hilt, with no help at all from the democracies.
But Stalin was genuinely duped by Hitler; maybe through the political rhetoric Stalin imagined he saw a fellow opportunist demagogue. It was obvious to Uncle Joe that the strategy of the West was to try and push Germany and Russia into war, so why would Hitler be stupid enough to do it? Even two days before the Nazis Invasion of Russia Stalin refused to believe the reports of his spies that Hitler was going to betray him.
Josef Stalin’s action for temporary tactical advantage destroyed the intellectual justification for Russia’s leadership of Global Communism. All though the 1920’s and 30’s Communism seemed to some the best hope of the Left for stopping the Fascist dictators and winning Civil and Labor rights. But when Moscow ordered all good Communists to stop criticizing Hitler, they lost the sympathies of many progressives. Americans, Britons and Zionist Jews began to leave the party in droves.

1939-The Meeker St Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens completed. It was renamed the Kosciusko Bridge in honor of the Polish patriot who fought in the American Revolution. In George Washington’s time no one knew how to say his name either. They called him Colonel Koz. The bridge was rebuilt in 2017.

1942-THE BATTLE OF STALINGRAD BEGAN. As clouds of Nazi planes bombed the city to flaming rubble, the tanks of the Nazi 16th Panzer Division reached the Volga River and began to fight their way into the northern suburbs of the City of Stalingrad. The 16th’s General was one-armed Hans Huber, whom his men nicknamed Die Mensch- The Man!
The Germans were met by elements of the Red Army mixed with marines and civilians driving new unpainted T-34 tanks fresh from their factory assembly line. An estimated 40,000 civilians died just in this first attack, as many people as had died at Waterloo, and the battle just beginning. The German 6th Army attack stalled in the city center and the fighting went on until next February.

1942- Fascist Italian troops were aiding their Nazi allies in the invasion of Russia. At Izbushensky near the Don River a regiment of Savoy cavalry charged Soviet troops with drawn sabers. It was called the last cavalry charge with drawn sabers in history.

1944- Romania was declared liberated from the Nazis by the Red Army.

1947-President Truman’s daughter Margaret gave her first public singing concert. President Truman spent the following day personally telephoning music critics and threatening any who dared to give her harsh reviews. Paul Hume, the Washington Post’s music critic, wrote that Margaret Truman “cannot sing very well. She is flat most of the time.” The furious father dashed off a letter to Hume, warning that if they ever meet, “You’ll need a new nose, and plenty of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”
1948- The World Council of Churches set up.

1953- David Mullany of Shelton Conn. invented the Whiffle Ball. He did it to help his son who was lousy at throwing a curve ball.

1964- Twist and Shout! The Beatles played the Hollywood Bowl.

1967- The record album “Are You Experienced” the debut album by Jimmy Hendrix and the Jimmy Hendrix Experience first went on sale. With songs like “Purple Haze, Hey Joe, and Foxy Lady “, it became one of the top albums of the year.

1996- In Afghanistan, an obscure terrorist group called Al Qaeda led by some guy named Osama bin Laden held a press conference where they actually declared holy war (Jihad) on the United States. Five years before the 9-11 attacks.

2007- Open-source advocate Paul Messina created the hashtag for Twitter.
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Yesterday’s Question: Is the Baja Peninsula part of Mexico or the USA?

Answer: It is called Baja California, but it is actually a state of Mexico.


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