Saturday, May 22, 2010

POPnews - May 22nd

[Conrad Martens' lyrical depiction of the HMS BeagleBeagle was actually made during its second voyage as opposed to its first, and depicts an encounter between the European crew and the natives of Tierra del Fuego... But from what I've been able to ascertain there was no artist on that first voyage, or if there was his work hasn't survived, or if it has it isn't on the Internet, or if it is I sure a Hell can't find it. So there; this'll have to do. As my Grandmother used to say, 'it's as close a damnit is to swearing...']

1176 - The second of two assassination attempts made against Saladin by the Hashshashin - during the Siege of Azaz, north of Aleppo, in Syria - was foiled; well-armoured, Saladin received only superficial wounds.

1377 - Pope Gregory XI issued five papal bulls to denounce the doctrines of English theologian John Wycliffe, one of which was sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Simon of Sudbury; the British refused to enforce them, or did so fitfully at best, setting the stage for the English Reformation.

1455 - During the Wars of the Roses, Yorkists Richard, Duke of York, and Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, defeated and captured England's Lancastrian King Henry VI at the First Battle of St Albans, killing his commander Edmund, Duke of Somerset, in the process.

1762 - Peace broke out after Sweden and Prussia signed the Treaty of Hamburg.

1809 - During the second and final day of the Battle of Aspern-Essling, near Vienna, Napoleon was repelled by an enemy army for the first time in a decade; after having easily conquered much of Europe, his loss at the hands of Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen, rendered the seemingly undefeatable French emperor vulnerable, at least temporarily.

1819 - The SS Savannah left port at Savannah, Georgia - captained by Moses Rogers - in an attempt to become the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean; the ship arrived at Liverpool on June 20th.

1826 - The HMS Beagle departed Plymouth under the command of Captain Pringle Stokes with naturalist Charles Darwin aboard; during this, his first voyage, the crew surveyed much of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego while over the course of the five-year expedition Darwin began to formulate his theory of natural selection.

1842 - Farmers Lester Howe and Henry Wetsel discovered the Howe Caverns, in upstate New York's Schoharie County, when they stumbled upon a large gaping hole in the ground.

1856 - Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina savagely beat Senator Charles Sumner about the head with a wooden Gutta-percha cane in the nearly deserted hall of the US Senate for a speech Sumner had made three days earlier attacking Southerners - specifically Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois and Andrew Butler (Brooks' uncle) - who sympathized with pro-slavery violence along the Kansas-Missouri border during the so-called Bleeding Kansas Crisis in the run-up to the American Civil War; those attempting to aid Sumner were held off by Brooks' fellow Congressional thugs, Laurence M. Keitt, also of South Carolina, and Henry A. Edmundson of Virginia.

1915 - Lassen Peak erupted, making it the only volcanic eruption other than Mount St. Helens in the Lower 48 during the 20th century.

1936 - Aer Lingus (Aer Loingeas) was registered as an airline by the Irish government, making it the national airline of the Republic of Ireland.

1939 - Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Axis powers Germany and Italy signed the Pact of Steel.

1960 - An earthquake measuring 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale, hit southern Chile; now known as the Great Chilean Earthquake, it's the most powerful earthquake ever recorded. Although centered at Cañete, the city of Valdivia was hardest hit.

1964 - US President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the goals of his Great Society social reforms at a speech in Ann Arbor, Michigan; aimed at bringing 'an end to poverty and racial injustice' in America, they were largely successful - and would continue to be - except most of them were set aside by one of his successors, Ronald Reagan, at the behest of such noted neo-conservatives as Irving Kristol.

1967 - A fire at Brussels' L'Innovation department store became the most devastating fire in Belgian history, resulting in 323 dead and missing and 150 injured when the 1897 wooden structure became engulfed in flames in under 10 minutes.

1972 - Ceylon adopted a new constitution which made it a republic, changed its name to Sri Lanka, and joined the Commonwealth of Nations.

1990 - North and South Yemen were unified to create the Republic of Yemen.

2002 - The remains of missing intern Chandra Levy were found in DC's Rock Creek Park; the situation around her disappearance have never been adequately explained, especially by her lover Gary Condit, who at the time was a Congressman for California's 18th District.

2004 - The town of Hallam, Nebraska, was wiped out by a powerful F4 tornado that was later estimated to be an astounding 2.5 miles wide, killing one local resident.
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