Saturday, January 15, 2011

POPnews - January 15th

[From its cramped if elegant riverside headquarters in Bloomsbury's Montagu House, the British Museum moved to South Kensington, where Sir Robert Smirke designed a vast neo-classical complex to house the nation's treasures; between 1825 and 1850 it would be the largest building site in Europe.]

69 CE - Otho seized power in Rome, making him the second in the so-called Year of the Four Emperors; he ruled for only three months before committing suicide.

1559 - Elizabeth I was crowned queen of England at Westminster Abbey in London.

1759 - The British Museum was opened to the public at Montagu House in the tony Bloomsbury section of London at the behest (and due to the bequest) of Sir Hans Sloane.

1777 - New Connecticut - better known these days as Vermont - declared its independence from the United Kingdom; it would not join the United States until March 1791, at which time it became the 14th state.

1822 - During the Greek War of Independence, Demetrius Ypsilantis was elected president of the legislative assembly.

1844 - The University of Notre Dame received its charter from the state of Indiana.

1885 - Wilson Bentley took his first photograph of a snowflake, which was the first one ever taken.

1919 - The Boston Molasses Disaster killed 21 people; meanwhile, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, two of Germany's most prominent socialists, were tortured and murdered by the Freikorps in Berlin.

1943 - The world's largest office building, The Pentagon, was dedicated in Arlington, Virginia.

1947 - The brutalized corpse of Elizabeth Short was found in Los Angeles' Leimert Park; her story has been told in James Ellroy's 1987 book The Black Dahlia as well as Brian De Palma's 2006 movie of the same name, which was based on it.

1951 - Ilse Koch, the Bitch of Buchenwald or Buchenwälder Schlampe, was sentenced to life in prison for her role as wife of Karl Otto Koch, commandant of the concentration camps Buchenwald (1937-41) and Majdanek (1941-3); having met and married in 1936 while she was working as a secretary at Sachsenhausen, near Berlin, they were soon embezzling from and murdering prisoners at their own whim.

1966 - The government of Nigeria's Abubakar Tafawa Balewa is overthrown in a military coup d’état.

1967 - The first Super Bowl was played - in Los Angeles, California - during which the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.

1969 - The Soviet Union launched Soyuz 5.

1974 - Dennis Rader (better known as the BTK Killer) claimed his first victims by binding, torturing and killing four members of the Otero family - Joseph, Joseph II, Josephine and Julie - in their Sedgwick County home, near Wichita.

1982 - Mark Thatcher, the son of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was found safe after going missing in the Sahara Desert during his inaugural Paris-Dakar Rally with co-driver Charlotte Verney and their mechanic, known only as Jackie.

1986 - The Living Seas exhibit opened at EPCOT Center in Florida's Walt Disney World.

1997 - Princess Diana caused a political firestorm - in the UK and throughout the world - by advocating against the use of anti-personnel ordnance, or land mines, during a visit to Angola; her actions are said to have shamed many nations into signing the Ottawa Treaty. Despite her efforts, though, the People's Republic of China, India, the United States and Russia have yet to sign the treaty, despite being amongst the foremost users of these devices.

2001 - Wikipedia, the free Wiki content encyclopedia, went online; despite numerous and often frustrating inconsistencies, the Pop Culture Institute is nevertheless grateful for its innovation.
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