Wednesday, March 09, 2011

POPnews - March 9th

[The Murder of David Rizzio, painted by William Allen in 1833, had previously been painted by John Opie in 1787.]

1202 - Norway's King Sverre died; he was succeeded by his illegitimate son Håkon, as chronicled in the Sverris saga and the Bagler sagas.

1230 - Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Asen II defeated Theodore of Epirus at the Battle of Klokotnitsa.

1566 - David Rizzio - the private secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots - was murdered in her presence in Edinburgh's Palace of Holyroodhouse; stabbed more than fifty times before being thrown down a flight of stairs, his body was then taken and hastily buried. The Queen's jealous husband Lord Darnley was said to be responsible, although the plot may have been funded by her rival Elizabeth I of England in an effort to weaken Mary both politically and emotionally; Darnley's equally ghastly murder in February 1567 is thought to have been in retribution.

1765 - After a public campaign by the writer Voltaire, judges in Paris posthumously exonerated Protestant merchant Jean Calas of murdering his own son Marc-Antoine three years to the day after Calas had been sentenced to die. The elder Calas had been tortured and executed in March 1762 on the charge, even though the younger Calas had actually committed suicide; the harsh and ultimately spurious judgement against him had been motivated by religious bigotry in what was still a very Catholic country.

1776 - Adam Smith's landmark book on economics, The Wealth of Nations, was published.

1796 - Napoléon Bonaparte married his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais.

1841 - The US Supreme Court delivered its decision in the Amistad case, concerning captive Africans who had seized control of the slave-trading ship carrying them in July 1839: the court ruled that they had been taken into slavery illegally, events recounted cinematically in Steven Spielberg's 1997 film Amistad.

1842 - Giuseppe Verdi's third opera Nabucco premiered at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan; concerning the anti-Semitism of Nebuchadnezzar, its success established Verdi as one of Italy's foremost opera writers.

1862 - During the American Civil War the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia fought to a draw at the Battle of Hampton Roads, the first fight between two ironclad warships.

1908 - The Italian football club Inter Milan was founded.

1910 - The Westmoreland County Coal Strike, involving 15,000 coal miners represented by the United Mine Workers trade union, began in Pennsylvania; the strike would last until July 1911.

1916 - Outraged at the US government's support for the regime of President Venustiano Carranza, revolutionary Pancho Villa led 1,500 Mexican raiders in an attack against Columbus, New Mexico, killing 17.

1933 - Congress began its first 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation - with the aim of alleviating an ever-worsening Great Depression - when President Franklin D. Roosevelt submitted the Emergency Banking Act.

1954 - CBS television broadcast an episode of its news program See It Now, entitled A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy; produced by Fred W. Friendly and legendary newsman Edward R. Murrow, the program's attack on McCarthyism has since been called 'Television's Finest Hour'.

1957 - The magnitude 8.6 Andreanof Islands Earthquake and its resultant tsunami (which caused damage as far away as Hawai'i) struck Alaska's Aleutian Islands.

1977 - During the Hanafi Muslim Siege approximately a dozen armed Hanafi Muslims seized 3 buildings in Washington, DC (city hall, B'nai B'rith headquarters, and the Islamic Center) killing reporter Maurice Williams and security guard Mack Cantrell and taking 149 hostages; the situation ended 2 days later with only the two fatalities, due in part to the intervention of three Muslim ambassadors - Egypt's Ashraf Ghorbal, Pakistan's Sahabzada Yaqub-Khan and Iran's Ardeshir Zahedi.

1990 - Dr. Antonia Novello was sworn in as Surgeon General of the United States, becoming both the first female and Hispanic American to serve in that position.

1997 - Rapper The Notorious B.I.G. - aka Christopher Wallace - was murdered, following an after-party for that year's Soul Train Music Awards at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles; a 2009 biopic entitled Notorious starring Jamal 'Gravy' Woolard dramatized his life and death.

2006 - Liquid water was discovered on Enceladus, the sixth largest moon of Saturn.
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