Sunday, August 29, 2010

POPnews - August 29th

[The islands of the St. Kilda archipelago, off the west coast of Scotland, were purchased by Lord Dumfries in 1931, and bequeathed to the National Trust for Scotland in 1957. Although they'd been occupied for nearly 2,000 years, currently the only residents of the islands are seabirds (including Northern Gannets, Atlantic Puffins, Northern Fulmars, as well as the endemic species the St Kilda Wren), the St Kilda Field Mouse, and military personnel.]

1350 - During the Battle of Winchelsea (or, if you prefer a more Continental flavour, Les Espagnols sur Mer) the English navy of 50 under King Edward III and his heir the Black Prince defeated a Castilian fleet of 40 ships commanded by Don Carlos de la Cerda. 

1475 - The Treaty of Picquigny ended a brief war over the supposed claim to the French throne by the English king... As a result France's Louis XI paid England's Edward IV a very kingly sum of 75,000 crowns and a yearly pension thereafter of 50,000 crowns. The French King also ransomed Queen Margaret of Anjou (wife of Henry VI) with 50,000 crowns and many other English lords as well; among them only Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) refused the pension owing to his opposition to the treaty. 

1498 - Vasco da Gama decided to depart Calicut and returned to Portugal. 

1526 - At the Battle of Mohács the Ottoman Turks led by Suleiman the Magnificent defeated and killed Louis II - the last Jagiellonian king of Hungary and Bohemia - as well as his commander Pál Tomori. 

1786 - Shays' Rebellion - an armed uprising of Massachusetts farmers - began in response to high debt and tax burdens. 

1825 - The Kingdom of Portugal recognized the independence of Brazil when it signed a treaty to that effect with the United Kingdom; in reality, the Empire of Brazil had been independent of Portugal (with a Portugese prince serving as Emperor Pedro I) since September 1822, which is the date Brazilians celebrate on their Independence Day. 

1842 - The signing of the Treaty of Nanking ended the First Opium War. 

1882 - English cricket died, at least according to those who care about such things, like the renowned wits at The Sporting Times, who wrote the sport's obituary; when Australia beat England at Lord's Cricket Ground for the first time it was the scandal of its age. The Ashes, a biennial tournament between the two countries, commemorates this event. 

1885 - The first motorcycle was patented by Gottlieb Daimler. 

1907 - The Quebec Bridge - spanning the Saint Lawrence River west of Quebec City - collapsed during construction, killing 75 workers. 

1911 - Ishi, considered the last Native American untouched by white culture, emerged from the woods near Oroville in northeastern California; most of his people, the Yahi, had been wiped out by the Three Knolls Massacre in 1865. 

1930 - The last 36 resident of the Scottish offshore island of St. Kilda were relocated to Morvern; among the many works of art inspired by this event is a song by folk-rockers Runrig, whose song called Edge Of The World appears on their 1991 album The Big Wheel. 

1943 - Following the imposition of martial law during the Nazi occupation of Denmark, the Danish Navy scuttled 32 of its larger vessels to prevent their falling under German control; half of the scuttled ships were eventually salvaged, though, but they deserve props for having at least made the effort. 

1944 - The so-called Slovak National Uprising took place as 60,000 Slovak troops turned against Nazi occupation. 

1966 - The Beatles gave their last scheduled concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, following which the controversy accompanying their opposition to the Vietnam War caused them to retreat back into the studio, where they recorded a string of hugely popular albums - including Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles (aka The White Album), Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road, and Let It Be - before finally breaking up in 1970. 

1970 - At a rally in East Los Angeles held by the Chicano Moratorium against the Vietnam War, a police riot killed three people, including journalist Ruben Salazar. 

1991 - Sicilian Libero Grassi, a clothier from Palermo, was killed by the Mafia after taking a stand against paying the extortion (or 'pizzo') demanded to protect his lucrative business, Sigma. Grassi's spirited defiance of organized crime in what is arguably its capital city - in addition to writing broadsides for the Giornale di Sicilia, he'd gone so far as to identify the men who'd been extorting him by name - made him a celebrity throughout Italy; so popular was he that as many as 10,000 people took to the streets to protest his killing. Salvatore 'Salvino' Madonia - whose father, Francesco Madonia, was patriarch of the area's Resuttana family - was later arrested, convicted, and jailed for his murder. 

2005 - Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States; hardest hit was the Mississippi Delta, while much of New Orleans was devastated. The city has been in turmoil ever since... 

2007 - A United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident took place at Minot Air Force Base and Barksdale Air Force Base.
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Seumas Gagne said...

There are actually a large numbers of songs and tunes about the evacuation of St. Kilda. (Hiort in Gaelic). Despite the small number of people involved, it was a cultural watershed which has impacted the ethnic identity of Gaels hugely.

St. Kilda had to be evacuated essentially because Hebrideans allowed themselves to become dependent on supplies shipped from the mainland. Their relinquishing of independent subsistence economy doomed their way of life.

Ultimately, the treacherous seas around the island, which had provided abundance for generations of St. Kildans took its vengeance for being abandoned in favor of fancy goods shipped from Glasgow.

michael sean morris said...

See, this is where it comes in handy to have someone on hand who knows what they're talking about.