Thursday, February 03, 2011

POPnews - February 3rd

[Following the devastating fire which destroyed the Centre Block of Canada's first Parliament building (shown above) the cornerstone of the current structure was laid by Governor-General Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught in September 1916, and was completed in 1927, with the construction of the Peace Tower. More recent additions to Parliament Hill have included the Centennial Flame and an equestrian statue of Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, astride her famously Canadian mount Burmese.]

1112 - Barcelona's Ramon Berenguer III and Douce I of Provence were married, uniting the fortunes of those two states.

1488 - Portugal's Bartolomeu Dias landed in Mossel Bay after rounding the Cape of Good Hope, becoming the first known European to travel so far south.

1509 - The sea-going Battle of Diu - pitting the forces of viceroy Dom Francisco de Almeida against those of (among others) Mahmud I, Sultan of Gujarat, during the Portuguese-Mamluk War - resulted in a victory for Portugal, as well as greatly increased European trade in Asia.

1787 - The Shays' Rebellion, an armed rebellion in Western Masachusetts led by Daniel Shays, was crushed; the so-called Shaysites were essentially farmers opposed to crippling taxes.

1809 - The Illinois Territory was created.

1834 - Wake Forest University was established in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

1867 - Prince Mutshito became Emperor Meiji of Japan.

1870 - The Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, granting voting rights to citizens regardless of race.

1900 - Governor William Goebel died in Frankfort, Kentucky, having been shot on January 30th shortly after his election; he was sworn in the following day on his death bed, and remains the only US governor to be assassinated - although no culprit was ever found and no one ever claimed responsibility. Goebel was succeeded by his Lieutenant-Governor, J. C. W. Beckham.

1913 - The Sixteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, authorizing a federally imposed and collected Income Tax.

1916 - Fire destroyed the old Centre Block of Canada's Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, built in 1878; the Library of Parliament was spared the devastation by its massive iron doors, as were the East and West Blocks by their distance from the conflagration.

1918 - The Twin Peaks Tunnel - which, at 3,633 meters (11,920 feet), is still the longest streetcar tunnel in the world - opened for service in San Francisco.

1931 - The Napier Earthquake - still the worst natural disaster in the history of modern New Zealand - killed 258.

1947 - Percival Prattis - executive editor of the Pittsburgh Courier - became the first African-American issued a pass to the press gallery at the US Capitol, apparently.

1958 - The Benelux Economic Union was founded, which created a testing ground for a later European Economic Community.

1966 - The Soviet Union's unmanned Luna 9 spacecraft made the first controlled rocket-assisted landing on the Moon, touching down in the Oceanus Procellarum.

1967 - Ronald Ryan became the last person executed in Australia, when he was hanged at Pentridge Prison, near Melbourne.

1989 - Paraguay's ailing dictator Alfredo Stroessner - in power since 1954 - was ousted in a coup led by his former ally Andrés Rodríguez.

1998 - Karla Faye Tucker became the first woman executed in Texas since 1984; try and guess who signed the order, refused to commute her sentence, then mocked her on national television.

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