Saturday, October 30, 2010

POPnews - October 30th

[The Bosphorous Bridge has proven more effective at joining Turkey to Europe than Turkish legislators, who have dragged their heels on passing the kind of progressive legislation that could make it happen.]

1137 - The Battle of Rignano pitted traditional rivals Ranulf of Apulia and Sicily's King Roger II against each other; in this case, the victory went to Ranulf of Apulia and his allies Robert II of Capua and Sergius VII of Naples.

1270 - The Eighth Crusade and a siege of Tunis ended by an agreement between Sicily's King Charles I (brother to King Louis IX of France, who had died months earlier) and the Sultan of Tunis.

1340 - The Battle of Rio Salado pitted Portugal's King Afonso IV and King Alfonso XI of Castile against Morocco's Marinid dynasty commanded by Abu al-Hasan 'Ali and Yusuf I of the Kingdom of Granada; the Marinid defeat marks the last time a Muslim army was able to invade the Iberian Peninsula, an important turning point in the Reconquista.

1470 - England's Lancastrian King Henry VI was 'readepted' to the throne after the Earl of Warwick - known as the Kingmaker - defeated Yorkist troops in battle during the Wars of the Roses, marking the first and only time in English history a sovereign was returned to power after being deposed. It was not to last... Henry VI was murdered in the Tower of London the following May.

1485 - Henry VII was crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey after usurping the throne from his predecessor Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field on August 22nd.

1501 - At a banquet called the Ballet of Chestnuts - held by Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI, in the Papal Palace - fifty prostitutes or courtesans were in attendance for the entertainment of the guests.

1831 - Escaped slave Nat Turner was captured and arrested in Southampton County, Virginia, for leading the bloodiest slave revolt in US history ten weeks earlier.

1863 - Denmark's Prince Wilhelm arrived in Athens to assume the throne as George I, King of the Hellenes.

1864 - The Second War of Schleswig - which finally answered the Schleswig-Holstein Question - ended with the signing of the Treaty of Vienna, following which Denmark renounced all claim to Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg; the territories thenceforth came under Prussian and Austrian (now German) administration.

1905 - Tsar Nicholas II was presented with the October Manifesto; in accordance with its terms he granted Russia its first constitution and gave greater powers to the Duma, in order to end a short-lived but bloody revolution.

1929 - The Stuttgart Cable Car was opened in the German city of Stuttgart.

1938 - Orson Welles broadcast his radio play of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds, causing a nationwide panic.

1944 - Anne Frank was deported from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen where she died, in March 1945, weeks before the camp was liberated.

1957 - Britain's House of Lords announced plans to begin admitting its first female peers, which happened following the passage of the Life Peerages Act 1958; the act also allowed for the creation of life peers.

1973 - Istanbul's Bosphorus Bridge was completed, connecting two continents over the Bosphorus for the first time in history in much the same way Turkey is the symbolic bridge between Europe and Asia; it wouldn't be joined by a second crossing until July 1988, when Prime Minister Turgut Özal drove the first car over the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.

1974 - A boxing match dubbed The Rumble in the Jungle between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman took place at the Mai 20 Stadium in Kinshasa, Zaire; promoter Don King's first venture only came about through the intercession (and deep pockets) of the country's president, Mobutu Sésé Seko.

1975 - Prince Juan Carlos became Spain's acting head of state, taking over for the country's ailing dictator, Generalissimo Francisco Franco.

1995 - Quebec sovereignists narrowly lost a second referendum - 50.6% to 49.4% - for a mandate to negotiate the province's independence from Canada; the first such loss occurred in May 1980.

2005 - The rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche (destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II) was reconsecrated after a thirteen-year rebuilding project.
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