[If you're like me - and let's face it, would you be if you didn't have to be? - you like gawking at super fit college aged men clad only in revealing sporting costumes, all the while enjoying yourself a pleasant afternoon in an idyllic riverside setting... Which makes the annual Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race the ideal way to combine my hobbies (and/or pervs). The image above shows a practice run by the Cambridge team in 1866 along the River Cam, near the Plough Inn at Fen Ditton. You know the place I mean. Anyway, that year Cambridge lost to Oxford - a race which included a dramatic near-collision with a barge!]
1190 - Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa drowned in Turkey's Saleph river while leading an army to Jerusalem on his way to fight the Third Crusade.
1619 - The Battle of Záblatí proved a turning point in the Bohemian Revolt during the Thirty Years' War when Karel Bonaventura Buquoy won the day for the Holy Roman Empire, while Ernst von Mansfeld suffered heavily losses in personnel and a baggage train as well, following which he was forced to lift the siege of Budějovice.
1692 - During the Salem Witch Trials, Bridget Bishop was hanged at Gallows Hill for 'certaine Detestable Arts called Witchcraft & Sorceries'. Which, I'm sure, is what Jesus would have done...
1719 - The Battle of Glen Shiel proved a decisive victory for its commander Joseph Wightman and put an end to the Jacobite Rising, whose commander Lord George Murray (among others) had hoped to put the Catholic Bonnie Prince Charlie on the throne of England as Charles III in place of the Protestant George I.
1786 - A landslide dam on the Dadu River created by the Kangding Louding earthquake ten days earlier collapsed, killing 100,000 in the Chinese province Sichuan province as far as 1400 km upriver, making it the second deadliest landslide on record.
1805 - Yussif Karamanli signed a treaty ending hostilities with the United States following the First Barbary War; try and guess whether or not that lasted...
1829 - The first Boat Race between the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge took place; annually pitting eights against each other on the River Thames since 1856 (and four times unofficially elsewhere during the Second World War) the brain-child of Charles Merivale, a student at St John's College, Cambridge, and his chum Charles Wordsworth, who was at Christ Church, Oxford, today the 6.8 km- (4 mile, 374 yard-) long race is attended by a quarter million spectators bankside along the course from Putney to Mortlake, while 7-9 million watch on telly in the UK, and more than 20 million people tune in worldwide.
1838 - At Australia's Myall Creek Massacre 28 Aboriginals were murdered near Inverell, a sheep station in New South Wales; seven of the 11 whites responsible were later found guilty, a first for Australian jurisprudence.
1886 - Following the eruption of New Zealand's Mount Tarawera, 153 people were killed and the country's famous Pink and White Terraces were destroyed.
1924 - Fascists kidnapped and killed Italian socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti in Rome, a crime which historians now believe was ordered by Il Duce himself, Benito Mussolini.
1925 - The inaugural service for the United Church of Canada - a union of Presbyterian, Methodist, and Congregationalist churches - was held in Toronto Arena.
1935 - With the assistance of Bill Wilson, Dr. Robert Smith took his last drink, thereby helping to found Alcoholics Anonymous.
1942 - The Nazi occupiers of Czechoslovakia burned the village of Lidice in reprisal for the earlier killing of Reinhard Heydrich as part of Operation Anthropoid.
1944 - 15-year old Joe Nuxhall of the Cincinnati Reds became the youngest player ever in a Major League game.
1967 - The Six-Day War 'ended' when Israel and Syria agreed to a cease-fire... There are those, however, who feel a war cannot truly be over as long as one side continues to call for the death of all of those on the other side, in addition to all of their co-religionists throughout the world, and the total destruction of their country besides. I'm just saying, is all.
1977 - James Earl Ray escaped from Brushy Mountain State Prison in Petros, Tennessee; he was recaptured three days later.
1986 - Patrick Magee was found guilty of planting the bomb that damaged Brighton's Grand Hotel during a Conservative Party conference in October 1984, killing five.
2001 - Pope John Paul II canonized Lebanon's first female saint, Rafqa.
2003 - The Spirit Rover was launched, beginning NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission; it landed successfully the following January 4th, three weeks before its twin Opportunity landed on the other side of the planet.
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