Friday, July 30, 2010

POPnews - July 30th

[England captain Bobby Moore accepted the coveted (and only recently recovered) Jules Rimet Trophy from his Queen on this day in 1966 and fortunately neither from World Cup Willie nor a dog called Pickles.]

762 CE - The city of Baghdad was founded by Abu Ja'far Al-Mansur.

1419 - The First Defenestration of Prague occurred when seven members of that city's council were thrown from a window at Charles Square's Novoměstská radnice (Town Hall) by a crowd of radical Hussites under the command of Jan Želivský; those who didn't die from the fall were handily dispatched by the angry mob waiting in the street below. Upon hearing the news, King Václav IV reportedly suffered such a shock that he died shortly after.

1619 - The first representative assembly in the Americas, the House of Burgesses, convened for the first time, in Jamestown; it was presided over by the Governor, George Yeardley, who appointed the journalist John Pory as speaker - although Pory was, in fact, little more than a recording secretary.

1729 - The city of Baltimore was founded, named after Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore; it then took the city more than 200 years to spawn John Waters, who would go on to immortalize it so memorably on film. Well worth the wait, I'd say...

1756 - Bartolomeo Rastrelli presented the newly-built Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo to Russia's Empress Elizabeth and her courtiers.

1811 - For having uttered the Grito de Dolores in September 1810 - thereby setting off the Mexican War of Independence - Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, leader of the insurgency, was executed by the Spanish outside the Government Palace of Chihuahua.

1825 - Malden Island was discovered by Captain George Anson, Lord Byron, of the HMS Blonde, who'd been charged with the solemn duty of repatriating the remains of the King and Queen of Hawai'i - Kamehameha II and Kamāmalu - after they died of measles during a state visit to Britain; the island was named for Lieutenant Charles Robert Malden, the ship's navigator, who first sighted it.

1859 - The first ascent of Grand Combin, one of the highest summits in the Alps, was made by Charles Sainte-Claire Deville with Basile Dorsaz and brothers Daniel, Emmanuel and Gaspard Balleys.

1871 - The Staten Island Ferry Westfield's boiler exploded, killing more than 85 people.

Photobucket1916 - A series of small deliberately-set fires triggered an explosion at a munitions depot on New Jersey's Black Tom Island, in New York Harbor near Jersey City, killing 7 and injuring hundreds... Despite the low death count (which can be attributed to the fact that it occurred just after 2 AM) the explosion caused massive damage (valued at some $20 million*) lodging shrapnel in the Statue of Liberty** and the clock tower of the Jersey Journal building in Journal Square a mile away, as well as breaking windows all over Lower Manhattan (as far north as Times Square) and elsewhere in a radius estimated at 40 kilometres (25 miles). The initial blast - equivalent to an earthquake of between 5 and 5.5 on the Richter Scale - could be felt as far away as Philadelphia and Maryland, and as the fire continued to rage throughout the day there were dozens of smaller explosions at the site. While the crime remains officially unsolved, German saboteurs (such as Lothar Witzke and Franz von Papen) have been blamed for what is still one of the worst acts of terrorism to have ever been committed on US soil. The story has been thrillingly retold in The Detonators: The Secret Plot to Destroy America and an Epic Hunt for Justice by Chad Millman.

*Akin to $390 million in today's money! Imperial Germany was later sued for damages; a $50 million settlement (like, $976 million today) was ordered paid to the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company in 1953, and the last payment was finally made in 1979.
**The arm and torch of the Statue of Liberty closed as a result of the explosion, and have yet to reopen!

1932 - The Games of the X Olympiad (or the 10th Olympic Summer Games) opened in Los Angeles; plagued by the worsening Great Depression, the games had just half as many participants as the 1928 Games held in Amsterdam, and weren't even attended by US President Herbert Hoover.

1945 - The Japanese submarine I-58 sank the USS Indianapolis (CA-35), killing 883 seamen.

1954 - Elvis Presley made his first public performance at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis, Tennessee, performing as part of the Blue Moon Boys, who opened for Slim Whitman.

1956 - In God We Trust was made the official motto of the United States, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a Joint Resolution passed by Congress.

1966 - At Wembley Stadium, host England won the World Cup, defeating what was then West Germany 4-2.

1971 - David Scott and James Irwin - on board the Apollo Lunar Module module Falcon - landed on the moon with first Lunar Rover as part of the Apollo Program's Apollo 15 mission.

1980 - Vanuatu gained its independence from France and the UK.

2002 - The accounting law referred to as 'The Sarbanes Oxley Act' was signed into law by US President George W. Bush.

2006 - BBC Two aired the final broadcast of Top of the Pops after 42 years, during which time every notable (as well as many not) act in the music business appeared.
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Seumas Gagne said...

I love informing people of how recently "In God We Trust" was plastered all over every damn thing in this country. I'm absolutely *absolutely* convinced that the framers of the Constitution would have been appalled.

I can only keep being appalled on their behalf.

michael sean morris said...

Well, it appeared on the money first, in 1861; there was a real upswing in evangelical activism during the Civil War. In addition to showing how recent certain developments in American society are, I think the anecdote also demonstrates the evolution of religiosity over a long period of time.

"In God We Trust" was always one of the four mottoes of the United States (the obscure Annuit Cœptis and Novus Ordo Seclorum from the Great Seal, along with the more famous "E Pluribus Unum"), but it was only made the national motto in 1956.