Monday, June 8, 2009

This Day In History - 8 June: The Viking Age Begins at Lindisfarne, Muhammad and England's Black Prince Die

793 - Vikings from Norway landed at Lindisfarne, sacking the abbey and slaughtering the inhabitants. The entry for the year 793 in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is:

This year came dreadful fore-warnings over the land of the Northumbrians, terrifying the people most woefully: these were immense sheets of light rushing through the air, and whirlwinds, and fiery, dragons flying across the firmament. These tremendous tokens were soon followed by a great famine: and not long after . . . the harrowing inroads of heathen men made lamentable havoc in the church of God in Holy-island, by rapine and slaughter.

It marked the start of the Viking Age that would span four centuries and greatly shape Europe, from Russia to Ireland. Indeed, the Normans who would eventually conquer England were Vikings who had been ceded Normandy by the French King as tribute.

1191 – King Richard Cœur de Lion (Richard The Lionheart) arrives in Acre thus beginning his crusade. He would succeed in defeating Saladin at Acre, but eventually had to return from the Crusades as his brother John and the French King Phillip were plotting against him in his absence.

1405 – Richard le Scrope, Archbishop of York and Thomas Mowbray, Earl of Norfolk, are executed in York on Henry IV's orders after the two had led a revolt against him.

1776 – American attacks on an advancing column of British at Battle of Trois-Rivières in Quebec were driven back. It marked the end of American attempts to force the British out of Quebec.

1783 – The volcano Laki, in Iceland, begins an eight-month eruption which kills over 9,000 people and starts a seven-year famine.

1789 – James Madison introduces 12 proposed amendments to the United States Constitution in the United States House of Representatives; 10 of them are ratified by the state legislatures and become the Bill of Rights. The two amendments not ratified concerned apportionment of representatives and pay for Congressmen.

1856 – The community of Pitcairn Islands and descendants of the mutineers of the HMS Bounty consisting of 194 people arrived on the Morayshire at Norfolk Island Commencing the Third Settlement of the Island.

1906 – Theodore Roosevelt signs the Antiquities Act into law, authorizing the President, by Executive Order, to restrict the use of public land with historical or conservation value.

1912 – Carl Laemmle incorporates Universal Pictures.

1941 – Britain and Free French forces invade Vichy controlled Syria and Lebanon.

1942 – Japanese imperial submarines I-21 and I-24 shell the Australian cities of Sydney and Newcastle.

1949 – Celebrities Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, Danny Kaye, Fredric March, John Garfield, Paul Muni and Edward G. Robinson are named in an FBI report as Communist Party members.

1953 – The United States Supreme Court rules that Washington, D.C. restaurants could not refuse to serve black patrons.

1967 – In a friendly fire incident during the Six Days War, Israeli jets attacked the USS Liberty, killing 34 and wounding 171.

1968 – James Earl Ray is arrested for the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. .

1984 – Homosexuality is declared legal in the Australia state of New South Wales

1987 – New Zealand's Labour government establishes a national nuclear-free zone under the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987. One must truly appreciate the holier than thou moralism of all on the left. Fortunately for NZ's Labour Party, its country's defense was guaranteed by adults who could not afford the luxury taking the moral highground.


1810 – Robert Schumann, German composer (d. 1856)

1867 – Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect (d. 1959)

1872 – Jan Frans De Boever, Belgian painter (d. 1949)

1921 – Suharto, President of Indonesia (d. 2008)

1925 – Barbara Bush, First Lady of the United States

1925 – Eddie Gaedel, American baseball player (d. 1961)


218 – Macrinus, Roman Emperor. He was an Algerian and the first Emperor not a member of the Senate. His reign did not last long and he fell to court intrigues.

632 – Muhammad, Prophet of Islam died after having united Arabia and captured Mecca and Medina. In the years after his death, the Koran would be written and his followers would be divided between Sunni and Shia, depending on whom they believed was the rightful heir to the Caliphate.

1042 – Harthacanute, King of Denmark and England. He was a deeply unpopular king who heavilly taxed his subjects. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle gives a dismal assessment of him: "He never accomplished anything kingly for as long as he ruled." It is believed that it was his heavy taxation that led Lady Godiva to engage in her famous protest ride.

1376 – Edward, the Black Prince, son of Edward III of England and a brilliant military commander, including in his long list of campaigns Crécy and Poitiers. He is buried in Canterbury Cathedral where his sword, shield and mail are on display.

1795 – King Louis XVII of France - he was the son of Louis XVI but was never crowned. He was imprisoned along with his family during the French Revolution. After his father and mother were executed, he was kept in prison and brutalized until, at the age of ten, he died.

1809 – Thomas Paine, American revolutionary and writer (b. 1737)

1845 – Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States (b. 1767)

1874 – Cochise, Apache leader

1956 – Marie Laurencin, French painter (b. 1883)

1970 – Abraham Maslow, American psychologist (b. 1908)

Holidays and observances

Roman Empire – second day of the Vestalia in honor of Vesta. Her temple was cared for by the Vestal Virgins who swore to remain chaste for 30 years upon pain of death by fire. Vesta was the goddess of fire and the hearth at the centre of atrium and home.


Ted Leddy said...

Those damned Norweigans, we'll get them back one day.

Anonymous said...


I once, a long time ago read an article about the how the Vikings would stop off in Ireland to pick up some slaves before heading off to Iceland. Apparently, they picked up enough of them that nowadays Icelanders are more like their Irish forebears than the Norwegians.

GW said...

Lol, not surpised. Of course, there might be a bit of that going on in the UK also. I can't help but look at the blonde haired ladies of the UK and not see the resembelance in some of the unique facial characteristics to Norweigans and Swedes.