Wednesday, March 31, 2010

POPnews - March 31st

[This 1901 map of Vancouver Island - which, at 32,134 km² (12,407 sq mi), is Canada's 11th and the world's 43rd largest island - doesn't even begin to demonstrate the myriad charms of the place, unlike the website it links to...]

1146 - In a field outside the French village of Vézelay and in the presence of France's King Louis VII Bernard of Clairvaux preached a sermon urging the necessity of a Second Crusade, which convinced the King if no one else.

1492 - Under the terms of the Alhambra Decree, Queen Isabella of Castile ordered her 150,000 Jewish subjects to convert to Christianity or face expulsion.

1717 - In the presence of King George I the Bishop of Bangor - aka Benjamin Hoadly - delivered a sermon entitled The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ which argued that no temporal Church government had any spiritual authority, provoking the Bangorian Controversy.

1774 - In the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party Parliament in London ordered the port of Boston closed with its passage of the Boston Port Act, one of the so-called Intolerable Acts which precipitated the American Revolutionary War.

1778 - Captain James Cook first landed on and then claimed what later came to be known as Vancouver Island for Great Britain.

1854 - Commodore Matthew Perry signed the Convention of Kanagawa with Shogun Tokugawa Ieyoshi as the representative of the Empire of Japan (on behalf of Emperor Kōmei, who by custom and temperament was neither allowed nor cared to interact with foreigners); the treaty opened the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade, albeit against their will and at the end of a cannon, ending a two-century period of insularity known as Sakoku.

1889 - The Eiffel Tower was inaugurated.

1917 - The United States took possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark, renaming the territory the US Virgin Islands.

1959 - The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, crossed the border into India and was granted political asylum at Dharamsala, where he established the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.

1964 - The Dictatorship in Brazil, under the aegis of General Castello Branco, began.

1968 - US President Lyndon B. Johnson shocked the nation when, in a televised address, he announced that he would not be running for re-election; although he would have been eligible for another term (since his 'first' term was technically the remainder of President Kennedy's) his health was poor and his popularity was suffering due to the ongoing Vietnam War.

1970 - Explorer 1 re-entered the Earth's atmosphere after 12 years in orbit; having discovered the Van Allen radiation belt, it made its last fiery flight over the southern Pacific Ocean.

1979 - The last British soldier left Malta upon that country's independence; the day is still celebrated as Freedom Day, or Jum il-Ħelsien, as well as being commemorated by a monument in the town of Birgu (Vittoriosa).

1986 - The Thatcher government abolished six metropolitan county councils under the terms of the Local Government Act 1985.

1990 - 200,000 protestors took to London's Trafalgar Square to show their displeasure at the Thatcher government's newly introduced Community Charge. The so-called Poll Tax Riots lasted more than ten hours, during which time 45 police officers were among the 113 people injured; 20 police horses were also hurt in the fracas.

1991 - In the Georgian independence referendum nearly 99 per cent of the voters supported that country's independence from the Soviet Union.

1992 - The US Navy's last active battleship - the USS Missouri (BB-63) - was decommissioned in Long Beach, California.

1995 - 23 year-old Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla Perez - better known as Selena - was shot and killed in Corpus Christi, Texas, by Yolanda Saldivar, the president of her own fan club.

2008 - Aloha Airlines permanently ended passenger service following bankruptcy.

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