Thursday, March 10, 2011

POPnews - March 10th

[Today the Chinese occupiers of Tibet operate Lhasa's Potala Palace as a museum; until the flight into exile of the 14th Dalai Lama on this day in 1959 it served as his official residence. Begun by the 5th Dalai Lama, Lozang Gyatso, in 1645, it wouldn't be finished in 1694, 12 years after his death; it was the 6th Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso, who was first to use it, which he did as a winter palace. Slightly damaged in the uprising of 1959, it was spared total destruction during the Cultural Revolution of 1966 by Zhou Enlai although as many 100,000 of its literary and artistic treasures were destroyed.]

1629 - England's King Charles I dissolved Parliament for the fourth and final time - which was nonetheless his Royal Prerogative - thereby beginning the Eleven Years Tyranny, during which era the King ruled without the advice of the 'people'.

1762 - French Huguenot Jean Calas, who had been wrongly convicted of killing his son Marc-Antoine, died after being tortured on the Catherine wheel; the event inspired Voltaire to begin a campaign for religious tolerance and legal reform, which would later lead to Calas' posthumous exoneration in March 1765, when it became clear the younger Calas had committed suicide and not been murdered.

1804 - A ceremony was conducted in St. Louis to formalize the Louisiana Purchase, thereby officially transferring ownership of the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States.

1814 - Napoleon was defeated by the Prussian forces of Blücher at the Battle of Laon.

1831 - The French Foreign Legion was established by King Louis-Philippe to support his war in Algeria.

1846 - Prince Osahito, fourth son of deceased Emperor Ninko of Japan, became Emperor Kōmei.

1848 - The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was ratified by the US Senate, thus ending the Mexican-American War.

1864 - The Red River Campaign began as Union troops under Major-General Nathaniel P. Banks reached Alexandria, Louisiana; there they would clash with a Confederate army led by Major-General Richard Taylor until May, with the aim of cutting off supply lines from Texas.

1893 - Côte d'Ivoire became a French colony.

1906 - The Courrières mine disaster - Europe's worst ever - killed 1099 miners in Northern France's Pas-de-Calais département.

1922 - Mahatma Gandhi was arrested in India; he was later tried for sedition and sentenced to six years in prison, although he would be released after only two years in February 1924 following an operation for appendicitis.

1945 - American forces conducted the firebombing of Tokyo; the resulting firestorm killed more than 100,000 people, mostly civilians.

1948 - The Indian Union Muslim League was founded by remnants of the old Muslim League.

1952 - Fulgencio Batista led a successful coup in Cuba.

1959 - An unsuccessful uprising against ten years of unlawful Chinese occupation in Lhasa - a pivotal moment in the Tibetan resistance movement - resulted in the massacre of thousands of Tibetans by occupying soldiers and the exile of the 14th Dalai Lama to the Indian city of Dharamsala. China continues its illegal occupation of Tibet to this day.

1969 - James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to assassinating Martin Luther King Jr; he recanted his guilty plea three days later, but pleaded guilty anyway and was sentenced to 99 years in prison for the crime, even though in later years the King family lobbied for his release.

1977 - Astronomers discovered rings around Uranus, which the planet's discoverer William Herschel first claimed to have seen in 1798; the same day those same scientists rediscovered how those jokes never gets old.

1990 - Prosper Avril was ousted 18 months after seizing power in Haiti following the departure of Jean-Claude Duvalier; he was succeeded by Herard Abraham.

2006 - The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrived, appropriately enough, at Mars.

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