Thursday, May 20, 2010

POPnews - May 20th

[87 map-makers contributed to the 53 maps found in Abraham Ortelius' great work, and where it lacks accuracy - the outline of South America, for instance, and the lack of but potential for Australia - it excels at being as thorough as it is; 25 editions, some of them expanded and most of them corrected, were published before his death in 1598, and it was in demand as a general reference book until at least 1612.]

685 CE - The Battle of Dunnichen (at a village also known as Nechtansmere) was fought between a Pictish army under King Bridei III and the invading Northumbrians under King Ecgfrith, who were decisively defeated. So decisively, in fact, that Ecgfrith was killed.

1217 - The Second Battle of Lincoln was fought, coincidentally near Lincoln, resulting in the defeat of France's Prince Louis (the future Louis VIII) by William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke. Louis had been invited to England, and even proclaimed King (although never crowned) at Old St. Paul's Cathedral at the behest of the same rebellious barons who were so famously opposed to the tyranny and general ickiness of King John.

1293 - King Sancho IV of Castile created the Studium Generale in the town of Alcalá de Henares, still in existence as the Universidad Complutense Madrid, making it one of the world's oldest universities.

1498 - Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived at Kozhikode - previously known as Calicut - in India.

1521 - At the Battle of Pampeluna during the Italian War of 1521–1526 Ignatius Loyola was seriously wounded, causing him to rethink his military vocation in favour of a religious one; he later settled on a compromise, founding the Society of Jesus, a religious order with a decidedly militaristic flavour. Because that's what Jesus would have wanted*.


1570 - Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issued the first modern atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum; containing 53 maps, it was published by Gilles Coppens de Diest of Antwerp, and was in general demand for the next forty years.

1902 - Cuba gained its independence from the United States, with Tomás Estrada Palma serving as the first President of Cuba.

Photobucket1916 - The Saturday Evening Post published its first cover by Norman Rockwell, a painting entitled Boy with Baby Carriage (shown, at right); over the next forty-seven years - spanning an amazing 322 covers - Rockwell's work would become the quintessence of Americana.  Although derided as cornball and old-fashioned between the 1960s and 1980s for seemingly representing an America that never really existed, recent years have seen the work of Norman Rockwell return to favour and his artistry become appreciated once more for the consummate skill with which it was executed and the compassionate nature of its creator.

1920 - Montreal radio station XWA began broadcasting North America's first regularly scheduled radio programming.

1927 - Under the terms of the Treaty of Jedda, the United Kingdom recognized the sovereignty of King Ibn Saud of the House of Su'ūd over the Kingdoms of Hejaz and Nejd, which later merged to become the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

1932 - Amelia Earhart took off from the Newfoundland outport of Harbour Grace on the world's first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot; she landed the following day in a pasture near the Ulster village of Culmore, having flown for 14 hours and 56 minutes. In recognition of her achievement she was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by the US, the Legion of Honor from France, and the National Geographic Society's Gold Medal, which she received from the hand of US President Herbert Hoover himself.

1940 - The first prisoners arrived at the newly-built concentration camp at Auschwitz.

1941 - During the Battle of Crete Nazi paratroopers of the 7th Flieger Division invaded that island under the code name Unternehmen Merkur, or 'Operation Mercury'.

1969 - The Vietnam War's Battle of Hamburger Hill ended, events dramatized in the aptly named 1987 film Hamburger Hill.

1980 - Following a referendum the people of Quebec rejected a proposal from their government to move towards independence from Canada by a vote of 60-40; the federalist victory of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his Liberals did not deal the fatal blow to the Parti Québécois that had been hoped for, though, and Quebec Premier René Lévesque managed to hold onto power for five and a half more years, setting the stage for a second failed referendum in October 1995 under one of his successors, Jacques Parizeau.

1984 - The first line of the Miami Metrorail was opened.

1985 - Radio Martí, part of the Voice of America service, began broadcasting to Cuba with the aim of bringing down the government of Fidel Castro.

1996 - The US Supreme Court published its ruling in the case of Romer v. Evans, applying the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution against a law that would have prevented any city, town or county in the state of Colorado from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of gays and lesbians. The usual suspects gave dissenting opinions - namely then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas.

2002 - The independence of East Timor was recognized by Portugal, formally ending 23 years of rule by Indonesia and 3 years of provisional administration by the United Nations; Portugal itself was the former colonizer of East Timor, and nominally in possession of the territory until 1976.
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Daniel said...

685 CE eh? Those were the days. Hailing from Northumberland, it's great to see a piece like that, so I can actually learn something about my stomping-ground. So much of North Northumberland has haardly changed since those days- the fields still bear the marks of plough-tilling when the sun is low in the sky, the weird old Northumbrian language is still vaguely existing up in the valleys.. The whole place looks a bit, ugh, dare I say it? Enya-ish. But it looks like we got our tucus kicked in the end. First by the Scots, then by the emerging soft Southern shites. There is of course the infamous back-to-front battle of Berwick. We lost and the Scots left it to us. Barump-tiss!

michael sean morris said...

I try to include something for everyone here (obviously); fortunately I have a huge appetite for all of it myself, which makes the work immensely enjoyable. It's so easy to fall into a rut and only write about those periods that either interest me the most, or pander to those eras that grab the public's attention most - the Tudors, for example - but there's so much other interesting stuff to write about besides.

I guess I chose this item because how can I resist writing about people named Bridei and Ecgfrith? They were maternal first cousins, both Kings, and one of them killed the other on the field of battle. Which must have made family reunions a real nightmare. ;)

Also, with this battle Northumbria was weakened to such a point that there was a power vacuum - the greatest since the withdrawal of the Romans - into which swarmed the Mercians and the Britons. The former, of course, turned into the English, and the latter (ironically) into the Welsh.

Seumas Gagne said...

Not just the Picts, but the formation of the House of Saoud and the Society of Jeebus as well! How can one day have produced such a variety of activity!

michael sean morris said...

That's history for you!