Saturday, April 10, 2010

POPnews - April 10th

[Due to the efforts of Julius Sterling Morton, as many as a million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day; curiosity has me wondering how many of them might still be standing. Certainly this one no longer is...]

1606 - The Charter of the Virginia Company of London was given by England's King James I with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.

1815 - Following several centuries of dormancy Mount Tambora, a volcano on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, began to erupt - a period of eruption that would last more than three months.

1821 - Following that year's Easter Sunday Mass Constantinople's Patriarch Gregory V was removed from the Patriarchal Cathedral by the Turks and hanged from the main gate of the Patriarchate, following which his body was thrown into the Bosphorus; the corpse was later recovered by Greek sailors, and is today interred in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.

1856 - The Theta Chi Fraternity was founded, at Vermont's Norwich University.

1864 - Austrian Archduke Maximilian was elected Emperor of Mexico; his reign was unpopular both in Mexico and the rest of the world right from the start, and would struggle to last three years - after which time he was summarily executed.

1866 - The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in New York City by Henry Bergh.

1874 - The first Arbor Day was celebrated, in Nebraska City; a holiday designed to honour trees, its importance - like them - ought to be growing with each passing year. Yet with up to a quarter of urban tree cover at risk due to real estate development, and an ongoing soil erosion issue which threatens ground water levels in both rural and urban settings, promising an increase in drought - and let's not forget the wholesale destruction of rain forests in South America (due to cutting) and North America (due to the mountain pine beetle)! - each successive Arbor Day promises to be a hotter, drier, nastier one than any of those that came before.

1912 - The 'unsinkable' RMS Titanic left port in Southampton on her first and only voyage.

1919 - Mexican Revolution leader Emiliano Zapata was ambushed and shot dead by government forces in Morelos.

1941 - Europe's Axis Powers established the Independent State of Croatia from occupied Yugoslavia, with Ante Pavelić's Ustase fascist insurgents in power.

1944 - Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler escaped from Birkenau dressed in Dutch clothing; once safely across the Polish-Slovakian border they dictated a 32-page dossier - now known as the Vrba-Wetzler Report and published by Dr Oscar Krasniansky - which became the first-ever first-hand account of the goings-on inside a Nazi death camp.

1953 - Warner Bros premiered House of Wax - the first 3-D film to be accompanied by sterephonic sound; the film starred Vincent Price and Carolyn Jones (the future Morticia Addams).

1959 - Japan's Crown Prince Akihito, future Emperor of Japan, wed commoner Michiko Shōda at a solemn Shinto ceremony in Tokyo - despite the objection of Empress Kōjun, and other conservatives in the Imperial Household.

1963 - 129 people died when the submarine USS Thresher sank at sea off Cape Cod.

1968 - The TEV Wahine - a ferry connecting Lyttelton to Wellington across Cook Strait in New Zealand - foundered on Barrett Reef and capsized at Steeple Rock near the entrance to Wellington Harbour; of the 610 passengers and 123 crew on board, 53 people lost their lives.

1970 - Paul McCartney announced the break up of The Beatles, a week before the release of his debut solo album McCartney.

1972 - 20 days after he was kidnapped in Buenos Aires, Paraguayan businessman Oberdan Sallustro was executed by communist guerrillas from the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo.

1991 - The Italian ferry Moby Prince collided with an oil tanker in dense fog off Livorno, killing 140.

1998 - The Belfast Agreement was signed.

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