Sunday, June 14, 2009

This Day In History - June 14: Birthdays of the Army, Bourbon & Superman; Peasants & Californians Revolt

Art: Napoleon In Berlin, Charles Meynier

1381 – A major development in our traditions of democracy and freedom for all traces back to the Great Revolt, also called the Peasant Revolt. And on this day in 1381, leaders of Peasants' Revolt met with Richard II on the field at Blackheath, where they presented their demands, including the dismissal of corrupt and unpopular ministers, "an end to the much-hated poll tax; an end to serfdom; and the repeal of the law that unfairly [froze] their wages to pre-Black Death rates." While the meeting was ongoing, some of the other rebels took matter into their own hands and stormed the Tower of London. There they found two of most hated ministers, Simon of Sudbury, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Lord Treasurer Robert de Hales, beheading them both. Not finding the king's uncle John of Gaunt, they burnt his home, the Savoy Palace, to the ground. Do read the entry at Brits at Their Best on the role of John Wycliffe in the Great Revolt and the revolt's aftermath.

1645 – In the pivotal battle of the English First Civil War, a Parliamentarian army under the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell decisively beat the main Royalist army loyal to King Charles I at the Battle of Naseby. The King lost his veteran infantry, including 500 officers, and all of his artillery. The war would end in a year.

1648 – Margaret Jones was hung in Boston for witchcraft.

1775 – The United States Army was born when Continental Congress authorized the formation of the Continental Army.

1777 – The Stars and Stripes was adopted by Congress as the Flag of the United States.

1789 – Survivors of the famed Mutiny on the Bounty, including Captain William Bligh and 18 others, reach Timor after a nearly 7,400 km (4,000-mile) journey in an open boat.

1789 – Bourbon - a from of whisky distilled from corn, is born on this day when the first batch is distilled by the Rev. Elijah Craig in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

1800 – Having installed himself as the leader of France in a coup in 1799, Napoleon began his famous wars of conquest of the European continent. On this date in 1800, in one of his most famous battles, he defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Marengo in Northern Italy and re-conquered Italy.

1807 – Napoleon decisively defeated a Russian Army at the Battle of Friedland, ending the War of the Fourth Coalition.

1821 – The Ottoman Empire completed the conquest of the Sudan when Badi VII, king of Sennar, surrendered his throne to Ottoman General Ismail Pasha.

1846 – Anglo settlers in Sonoma, California, start a rebellion against Mexico and proclaim the California Republic, kicking off the Bear Flag Revolt.

1900 – Hawaii becomes a United States territory.

1907 – Norway adopts female suffrage.

1938 – Action Comics issue one was released, introducing Superman.

1940 – Paris surrenders to German occupation. In less than a month, the Vichy Regime would be established and the French would begin active collaboration with Hitler.

1940 – Auschwitz concentration camp began operations when the first group of 728 prisoners, Poles from Tarnów, arrived at the camp.

1941 – In June 1940, the Red Army occupied Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and installed new, pro-Soviet governments in all three countries. A year later, facing an ongoing guerrilla war against their occupation, the Soviets began the mass deportations and murder of Estonians, Lithuanians and Latvians with the "June deportation." Men were generally imprisoned and most of them died in Siberian gulags. Women and children were resettled in Kirov oblast and Novosibirsk oblast and about a half of them eventually survived..

1954 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill into law that places the words "under God" into the United States' Pledge of Allegiance.

1962 – Albert DeSalvo, better known as the Boston Strangler, murders Anna Slesers, his first victim.

1962 – The New Mexico Supreme Court in the case of Montoya v. Bolack, 70 N.M. 196, prohibits state and local governments from denying Indians the right to vote because they live on a reservation.

1966 – In an effort to prevent the spread of heresy, the Vatican had begun banning books in 1557 by listing them in the Church's "index librorum prohibitum." Making the list over the years were books by Jean Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, Rene Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, Galileo Galilei, and Blaise Pascal. This practice came to an end on this day in 1966 by the order of then Pope Paul VI.

1967 – Mariner 5 is launched toward Venus.

1976 – The trial begins at Oxford Crown Court of Donald Neilson, the killer known as the Black Panther.

1982 – The Falklands War ends when Argentine forces in the capital Stanley unconditionally surrender to British forces.

1985 – TWA Flight 847 is hijacked by four members of Hezbollah, including Imad Mugniyah, shortly after take-off from Athens, Greece. Iran was directly involved in this hijacking. The kidnappers beat and murdered one of the passengers, U.S. Navy diver, Robert Stethem, and threw his body to the tarmac.


1811 – Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author (d. 1896)

1928 – Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Marxist Revolutionary and mass murderer for whom justice would be delayed until 1967.

1932 – Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona

1946 – Donald Trump, American businessman

1950 – Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury and, arguably, one of the most ineffective and misguided individuals to ever hold the position.


1381 – Simon Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, who lost his head to rampaging peasants over the poll tax.

1497 – Giovanni Borgia, Duke of Borgia, he was the son of Pope Alexander VI and the Pope's mistress, Vannozza dei Cattanei. He was murdered on the night of 14 June in a crime that has never been solved. Speculation is that either his brother had a hand in his death or that he was murdered by the father of a young woman whom he sought to seduce.

1914 – Adlai Stevenson I, American politician, 23rd Vice President (b. 1835)

1928 – Emmeline Pankhurst, British feminist (b. 1857)

1936 – G. K. Chesterton, English author (b. 1874)

Holidays and observances

Today is Liberation Day in the Falkland Islands, Flag Day in the U.S., and the feast day of St. Eliseus, the Prophet whose story appears in the Old Testament. he became the attendant and disciple of Elijah (1 Kings 19:16-19), and after Elijah was taken up in a fiery chariot into the whirlwind, he was accepted as the leader of the sons of the prophets, and became noted in Israel. He possessed, according to his own request, "a double portion" of Elijah's spirit (2 Kings 2:9); and for sixty years (892-832 BC) held the office of "prophet in Israel" (2 Kings 5:8).

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