1510 The muslim ruler of Goa surrendered on terms to the Christian Portuguese admiral Afonso de Alburquerque who ignored the terms and slaughtered the population of muslims because god told him to do so. Christianity struck again with the sword.


1799 France adopted the meter and the metric system. A meter was one ten-millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the equator as it was calculated at the time. Several specimens were made but one survives.

1869 Governor John Campbell of the Wyoming Territory signed the first law in the U.S. explicitly granting women the right to vote. Twenty years later it was explicitly written into the state constitution making Wyoming the Equality State. While that slogan appears on the automobile license plates the logo is a cowboy on a horse. The cowboy is certainly a man. Get it? The one pictured below was hard to find.

Wyoming plate.jpg

1927 The Grand Old Opry made its first radio broadcast from Nashville, Tennessee. It is a foundation stone of Country and Western music. I spent a week in the state archives in Nashville once upon a time.


1948 The United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Committee that brought it forward was chaired by Eleanor ‘Everywhere’ Roosevelt. The statement was written by Canadian lawyer John Humphrey. None of the diplomats at the founding of the United Nations wanted anything to do with such an airy fairy project and so they left it to Roosevelt who made it happen, overcoming indifference and hostility. It has been often cited since, justifying much of the work of the International Court of Justice in Den Haag. A biography of Eleanor Everywhere is discussed elsewhere on this blog.

Eleanor Human Rights.jpg

1793 NYC: Noah Webster published New York's first daily newspaper, the 'American Minerva.' A biography of Noah Webster, the dictionary man, is discussed elsewhere on this blog.

1868 London: Traffic lights were installed outside the Palace of Westminster in London. Like railway signals, they used semaphore arms and were illuminated at night by red and green gas lamps.
Traffic lighs semaphore.png

1936 MCG: Australia all out for 58 v England in the Bodyline Ashes Tour. Don Bradman was out for duck (0). A rarity indeed for this Lord of the Bat. Not, however, a golden duck. Those who do not know what MCG means will never understand anyway.
Bradman duck plus.jpg

1979 Geneva: WHO said smallpox had been eradicated by vaccination, not prayer.
W H O logo.png

1993 In low earth orbit: Hubble Telescope was repaired and put back into service and it remains in operation.

1609 In Milan the Biblioteca Ambrosiana opened its reading room, the second public library of Europe. There are many claimants for the first public library in Europe, depending on definition of 'library' and 'public.'


1660 The first actress to appear on an English stage was Desdemona in 'Othello' at the Thomas Killigrew's Vere Street Theatre. Her name was not recorded to protect her reputation. Killigrew was an impresario who innovated in many ways.


1813 - Ludwig van Beethoven's "Symphony No. 7 in A major" premiered in Vienna with Ludi at the rostrum at a charity concert for wounded soldiers from the Napoleonic wars.

Beethoven 7.png

1991 The Belavezha Accords was signed by Ukraine, Russian Federation, and Belarus. Though members soon fell into conflict among themselves, the Accords were the obituary of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1917-1991).

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2004 The two-page Cuzco Declaration was signed in Peru to establish a South American Community of Nations for summit meetings on health, agriculture, trade, defence, policing, free movement of people, terrorism, energy, tariffs, and other matters of mutual interest. The membership fluctuates with regime changes. The Passport Mercosul arose from it to facilitate the free movement of people. I have seen a few in hand while waiting in passport control lines at airports.


185 Chinese Emperor Lo-Yang observed and recorded supernova (MSH 15-52). Astronomers still study the remnants of MSH 15-52. Observing the stars was not a hobby for the Emperor. It was part of his duties to take note of the heavens and the portents therein revealed that might affect the realm.

1941 English-Speaking Harvard educated, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto reluctantly gave the Go (Tora) order. Below is the cable sent under fire from Pearl Harbor. The operator was killed a few minutes later. Having seen the industrial capacity of the United States first hand, Admiral Yamamoto realised the prospects were slim and counselled against war. He was overruled and he obeyed. He was killed during the war.

1960 The first episode of the longest running TV soap opera "Coronation Street" was broadcast by the BBC. It is up to 9,716 episodes and counting. Below is the logo upon entering its 50th year.
Coronation St.jpg

1975 Indonesia invaded East Timor by air, land, and sea. Blind eyes were turned in Canberra and elsewhere. Because several Australian journalists were killed in the ensuing conflict, the media rehashes it regularly with nothing new but righteous indignation.

1979 ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ premier and heralded the revitalisation of the franchise. I saw in Boston upon release.

1735 London: The first recorded appendectomy was performed at St George’s Hospital. I had one of those with anaesthetic unlike the chap portrayed.
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1784 London: His Majesty’s Government authorised the transportation of convicts to Australia. Pitt the Younger was Prime Minister. With the loss of the American colonies transportation there was precluded. 60,000 had been transported to Georgia and Maryland. Now it the turn of Botany Bay.
Will Pitt.jpg

1917 Halifax: a Norwegian tanker and a French munitions ship collided in the harbour and blew up in the Halifax Explosion that killed 2,000, injured another 9,000, left 25,000 homeless in the north Atlantic coast winter and flattened all of the port and much of the city. Meanwhile the long lists of the dead, wounded, and missing on the Western Front continued to come. The explosion provides the backdrop to Hugh MacLennan’s novel 'Barometer Rising.' Been there in January!

1921 The Anglo-Irish Treaty made Ireland a sovereign dominion. The conflict had begun with the Easter Rising on 1916 which was crushed, but led to the 1919 birth of the IRA and its campaign. This settlement did not stick and more conflict followed among the Irish and with the British.
Anglo_irish Treaty.jpg

1973 Gerald Ford was sworn in as Vice President, unelected, who went on to be an unelected President with a second unelected Vice President in Nelson Rockefeller. Unique in all three respects. He was born in Omaha.
Gery Ford Omaha.jpg

1766 London: Christie’s held the first sale in Pall Mall. Still going there at home and around the world.

1831 D.C.: Former President John Quincy Adams took a seat in the House of Representatives where his many accomplishments include creation of the Smithsonian Institute(s) and defending the mutineers of the Amistad. He died at his desk in Congress. He did more good as a representative than as a president. A biography of JQA is discussed elsewhere on this blog. Go there for further enlightenment.
Q Adams.jpg

1909 Sydney: George Taylor made the first heavier-than-air flight in Australia in a glider from the sand hills at Narrabeen. He made 20 flights that day of 100 to 250 metres. The Child Bride grew up in those environs.
Taylor replica.jpg

1945 Florida: Flight 19 left Fort Lauderdale for a three-hour training fight and flew into legend in the Bermuda Triangle to became the ‘Lost Squadron.' The incident is demystified in the book below.
Bermuda BS 1.jpg

1952 London: The Great Smog began and lasted until March of 1953. Thousands died in accidents and respiratory ailments.

1791 Britain's Observer, the first Sunday newspaper in the world, began publication and is still going.
Sunday Obo 2.jpg

1872 The 'Mary Celeste' was found abandoned near the Azores, with its cargo intact, but no sign of its crew or passengers. President Tiny said Hillary did it.

1873 Manila paper (made from sails, canvas and rope) was patented in Massachusetts. I always wondered why it was called that. Much of sail hemp came from the Philippines through the port of Manila.
Manila file folder.jpg

1961 The female contraceptive 'pill' became available on the National Health Service in Britain. The sky did not fall, contrary to assertions.
Time Pill.jpg

1998 Assembly began in space of the International Space Station, a joint project between USA, Russia, Japan, Canada with eleven members of the ESA. The space station is in low orbit and can be seen from Earth. It has been in use continually.

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Thoughts on the canon of poltical theory and life.

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