Tuesday, May 11, 2010

POPnews - May 11th

[1812 has been called the worst year in British history by BBC History magazine - not least because it saw the Prime Minister murdered... While readers of the Daily Mail may disagree, who gives a shit about them, their reactionary fascism, and shocking lack of historical perspective anyway?]

1502 - Christopher Columbus left Cadiz on his fourth and final voyage to the West Indies.

1812 - British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval was assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons - the only head of government in that country's history to have met such a fate - whereupon he was removed to 10 Downing Street for the five days prior to his burial. Bellingham shot the Prime Minister in retaliation for financial reverses he'd suffered; a week later he was hanged for his crime, after which his widow and children were provided with a hefty sum raised by public subscription.

1813 - William Lawson, Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth undertook an expedition westwards from Sydney through the Blue Mountains, looking to open up the interior of Australia for expansion.

1820 - The HMS Beagle was launched at Woolwich Dockyard near London; the vessel remained unused for six years, when it was refitted as survey barque in preparation for use by Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage.

1858 - Minnesota became the 32nd US state.

1867 - Following the Luxembourg Crisis that country gained its independence from Holland under the terms of the Second Treaty of London.

1894 - Four thousand employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company held a wildcat strike in Illinois following a 28% pay cut by the company in response to the Panic of 1893; the Pullman Strike and its ensuing lockout snarled rail traffic west of Chicago for months, and resulted in more than a dozen deaths.

1910 - Glacier National Park in Montana was established by an Act of Congress.

1934 - A two-day storm removed massive amounts of topsoil from the American Great Plains in one of the worst events of the Dust Bowl.

1944 - Axis Sally made her most infamous broadcast - prior to the D-Day invasion of Normandy - which was a play called Vision of Invasion. In it she played an American mother who dreamed that her son had died a horrific death in the English Channel, following which an announcer intoned, 'The D of D-Day stands for doom...disaster...death...defeat...Dunkerque or Dieppe.' It was intended as a warning to any soldiers who dared come ashore that day, although it failed to prevent anything except, ultimately, her post-war career.

1949 - Siam - which changed its name to Thailand in 1939, and changed its name back to Siam in 1945 - changed its name yet again to Thailand.

1960 - Four agents of Israel's Mossad (working in conjunction with the Shabak) - including Zvi Aharoni and led by Peter Malkin - captured fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann, who'd been living in Buenos Aires under the assumed name Ricardo Klement.

1970 - Henry 'Dickie' Marrow was murdered by Robert Teel and his sons Roger and Gerald (who had been a childhood friend of Marrow's) in Oxford, North Carolina - apparently for speaking to Teel's daughter. When an all-white jury exonerated all three murderers, the town's black community went on a rampage, burning and pillaging many of its buildings. The story is related in Timothy Tyson's book Blood Done Sign My Name, which is currently being made into a motion picture by writer-director Jeb Stuart.

1971 - The Daily Sketch - then Britain's oldest tabloid (having been founded in 1909 by Sir Edward Hulton) - closed.

1981 - The musical Cats premiered in the West End's glittering London; it closed 21 years later to the day in 2002.

1985 - 56 spectators died when a flash fire struck a football ground during a match in Bradford.

1987 - Klaus Barbie went on trial in Lyon for war crimes committed during World War II.

1997 - IBM Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeated Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player.

2002 - Dutch Princess Margriet unveiled the Man With Two Hats monument in Ottawa - having previously unveiled an identical one in Apeldoorn - symbolically linking the two countries, commemorating their relationship throughout World War II.
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