Sunday, July 11, 2010

POPnews - July 11th

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[The Hollywood Bowl - a Los Angeles landmark since it opened on this day in 1922 - was built on the site of a natural rock amphitheatre known until then as Daisy Dell.]

1302 - At the Battle of the Golden Spurs a coalition in Flanders defeated King Philip IV of France's massive army; it's a victory celebrated by Belgium's Flemish community to this day.

1346 - The House of Luxembourg's Charles IV was elected Holy Roman Emperor to replace Louis IV of the House of Wittelsbach.

1789 - Jacques Necker was dismissed as France's Finance Minister, sparking the Storming of the Bastille three days later.

1801 - French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons discovered his first comet; over the next 27 years he would go on to discover 36 more - more than any other person in history.

1848 - London's Waterloo railway station opened.

1859 - Charles Dickens published A Tale of Two Cities... Fortunately for both Mr. Dickens and his publisher, the two cities in question were Paris and London, not Duluth and Akron, and so the novel was (to say the least) a rousing success.

1889 - The Mexican border town of Tijuana was founded; in those days (and, in fact, well into the 1930s) it was known as Tia Juana.

1893 - The first cultured pearl was obtained by Kokichi Mikimoto.

1897 - Swedish explorer Salomon August Andrée left Spitsbergen to attempt to reach the North Pole by balloon; his craft crashed en route, resulting in his death.

1906 - The murder of 20 year-old Grace Brown by Chester Gillette at Big Moose Lake in Upstate New York would later inspire Theodore Dreiser's 1925 novel An American Tragedy, which was later still adapted for the cinema as A Place in the Sun (1951) which starred Shelley Winters and Montgomery Clift as the star-crossed lovers.

1914 - Babe Ruth made his Major League baseball debut, with the Boston Red Sox. Ruth's sale to the New York Yankees in 1920 is said to have brought on the Curse of the Bambino, which turned the lacklustre Yankees into the winningest team in professional baseball while the once red-hot Red Sox had to wait another 84 years to capture another World Series pennant.

1922 - The Hollywood Bowl was opened to the public; nestled into a natural curve in the Earth, it has since hosted many well-known bands as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic and (appropriately enough) the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.

1936 - New York City's Triborough Bridge was opened; actually three bridges spanning Ward's Island and Randall's Island in the East River, it connects Manhattan with The Bronx and Queens. Construction began in 1930 but was soon halted by the Depression; it was finished by money from the WPA, and today generates massive revenues for the New York City Transit Authority, which are used to offset the cost of public transit.

1955 - The phrase In God We Trust was added to all US currency.

1957 - Prince Karim Husseini Aga Khan IV inherited the office of Imamat as the 49th Imam of Shia Imami Ismaili worldwide, after the death of Sir Sultan Mahommed Shah Aga Khan III.

1960 - To Kill A Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee and widely regarded as one of the finest novels ever written in English, was published.

1975 - Archaeologists working in China unearthed a massive and rare find; more than 6000 life-sized terracotta statues of warriors guarding the tomb of an early Emperor, Qin Shi Huang. The sculptures date from 221 BCE, and no two are alike. Since 1987 the site has been recognized by UNESCO for its unique contribution to world heritage.

1990 - The Oka Crisis, which gripped Canada throughout the summer of 1990, can be said to have begun on this day - even though our panel of experts at the Pop Culture Institute believe it began at least 300 years earlier.

2006 - 209 people were killed and over 700 were injured in a series of coordinated terrorist bombings in Mumbai, India. Seven blasts over 11 minutes disrupted the evening's commute on the city's Suburban Railway.
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