Monday, February 21, 2011

POPnews - February 21st

[Incas, the last known Carolina parakeet, ironically died in the same cage where Martha, the world's last known Passenger Pigeon, had cooed her last four years earlier in September 1914.]

1245 - Thomas, the first known Bishop of Finland, was granted resignation by Pope Innocent IV having confessed to torture and forgery; after donating his books to a Dominican convent in Sigtuna he retired to a similar institution in Visby to live out the remaining three years of his life.

1543 - At the Battle of Wayna Daga a combined army of Ethiopian and Portuguese troops commanded by Ethiopia's Emperor Galawdewos defeated the Muslim army of Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi.

1613 - Mikhail I was unanimously elected Tsar by a national assembly, beginning the Romanov dynasty of Imperial Russia, although it took them five weeks to find the teenager and his mother at the Ipatiev Monastery near Kostroma.

1848 - Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto; it took the world just under a hundred and fifty years to discover that, however laudable their aims might have been in principle, the book's tenets are utterly unworkable in practice.

1874 - George Staniford and Benet A. Dewes published the first issue of the Oakland Daily Tribune.

1878 - The first telephone book was issued, in New Haven, Connecticut; it was all of a single page, and listed just 50 numbers.

1885 - The newly completed Washington Monument was dedicated in the presence of US President Chester A. Arthur and Civil War hero William Tecumseh Sherman.

1916 - The First World War's pivotal Battle of Verdun began; lasting until mid-December, it was a crucial engagement along the Western Front between France and Germany.

1918 - The last Carolina parakeet died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo, although it wouldn't be until 1939 that the species was considered extinct.

1919 - The German socialist Kurt Eisner was assassinated by Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley; his death resulted in the establishment of the Bavarian Soviet Republic and parliament and government of Bavaria fleeing Munich.

1945 - The Empire of Japan's Kamikaze planes sank the escort carrier USS Bismarck Sea and badly damaged the USS Saratoga near Iwo Jima, where the two craft had been assisting the American invasion of that island.

1948 - NASCAR was incorporated.

1952 - In Dhaka, capital of East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh), police opened fire on a procession of students who were demanding the establishment of Bengali as the country's official language, killing four people and starting a country-wide protest which eventually led to the recognition of Bengali as one of the national languages of Pakistan; the day has since been declared International Mother Language Day by UNESCO.

1958 - The Peace symbol was designed and completed by Gerald Holtom; it had been commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, in protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, and remains a powerful emblem of both the 1960s and the anti-war movement to this day.

1971 - The Convention on Psychotropic Substances was signed at Vienna.

1972 - US President Richard Nixon made an historic visit to the People's Republic of China in an attempt to normalize Sino-American relations.

1973 - Over the Sinai Desert, a pair of Israeli F-4 Phantom II fighter aircraft shot down Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 jet killing 108 of the 113 passengers and crew on board over the jetliner's refusal to leave Israeli airspace.

1995 - Steve Fossett landed in Leader, Saskatchewan, making him the first person to make a solo flight across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon.

2004 - Europe's first political party organization, the European Greens, was established in Rome.
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