Author Topic: Today in history.  (Read 1099 times)

Offline JohnP

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Today in history.
« on: March 27, 2019, 10:51:40 AM »
The University of Oregon defeats The Ohio State University 46–33 on this day in 1939 to win the first-ever NCAA men’s basketball tournament. "March Madness," as the tournament became known, has grown exponentially in size and popularity since 1939. By 2005, college basketball had become the most popular sporting event among gamblers, after the Super Bowl. The majority of that betting takes place at tournament time, when Las Vegas, the internet and office pools around the country see action from sports enthusiasts and once-a-year gamblers alike.

For the first 12 years of the men’s tournament, only eight teams were invited to participate. That number grew steadily until a 65-team tournament format was unveiled in 2001. In 2011, the field expanded even further, allowing 68 teams to qualify for the "big dance." After four “play-in” games between, now known as the First Four, the tournament breaks into four regions of 16 teams. The winning teams from those regions comprise the Final Four, who meet in that year’s host city to decide the championship.

UCLA has won 11 NCAA men’s basketball championships, the most of any school. Ten of those titles came over a 12-year stretch from 1964 to 1975, when stars such as Lew Alcindor (who later changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill Walton dominated the competition. Kentucky is in second place with eight titles, North Carolina is next with six, followed by Indiana and Duke with five each.

The NCAA held its first women’s basketball tournament in 1982. The women’s tournament started with 32 teams, expanding to 64 teams before the 1994 season. Today, the women’s format echoes the men’s, with play in four regions culminating in a Final Four held in a single location. The championship is played the day after the men’s, concluding the college basketball season.

The most dominant team in women’s tournament history has been the Connecticut Huskies, who, like UCLA, have taken home 11 national titles—all under legendary head coach Geno Auriemma. The Tennessee Volunteers are second, having won 8 championships under Hall of Fame former head coach Pat Summitt.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2019, 10:59:09 AM by JohnP »
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland

Offline JohnP

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Re: Today in history.
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2019, 11:00:36 AM »



Baltimore Colts move to Indianapolis

On this day 28 March1984, Bob Irsay (1923-1997), owner of the once-mighty Baltimore Colts, moves the team to Indianapolis. Without any sort of public announcement, Irsay hired movers to pack up the team’s offices in Owings Mills, Maryland, in the middle of the night, while the city of Baltimore slept.

Robert Irsay gained control of the Colts in 1972 when he essentially traded his ownership in the Los Angeles Rams with Caroll Rosenbloom, then the owner of the Colts franchise. The Colts, led by quarterback Johnny Unitas, halfback Lenny Moore and defensive linemen Gino Marchetti and Art Donovan, had been the best team in the NFL in the late 1950s and had come to embody the working class spirit of Baltimore. The players lived among the fans, worked alongside the fans in the off-season and performed with evident pride in their adopted city. It wasn’t until Irsay purchased the team that the franchise began its downward spiral. After winning Super Bowl V in 1971, the Colts had a few winning years, but by the late 1970s, the franchise was so bad that when future Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway was drafted number one overall by the Colts out of Stanford in 1983, he refused to report to the team, saying he would play baseball for the New York Yankees instead. The Colts were forced to trade Elway to the Denver Broncos.

To make matters worse for the Colts, Irsay was by most accounts a difficult boss–he was infamous for his temper and was known to angrily lash out at players and employees. In 1984, Irsay asked the city of Baltimore to pay for improvements to Memorial Stadium, where the Colts played. But, here again, his irascibility may have gotten in the way. Although the two sides told different stories of what went on in the negotiations, it did not go well by any account, and on March 28, the Maryland state legislature passed a law allowing they city of Baltimore to seize the Colts from Irsay. Rather than give up his team, Irsay quickly took a deal offered by the city of Indianapolis and moved the Colts before anyone knew what had happened. Baltimore fans were stunned, and the Colts marching band, long a fixture at games, defiantly continued to perform in the city.

Football did not return to the Charm City until 1996, when Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell (1925-2012), in a dispute with the city of Cleveland over the stadium the Browns played in, agreed to move the Browns to Baltimore in return for a brand-new stadium built with taxpayer money. Although the Browns had enjoyed many years of success and rabid fan support while in Cleveland, Modell claimed that financial hardship forced his hand. The Browns were renamed the Baltimore Ravens after the poem “The Raven,” penned by Baltimore native Edgar Allen Poe. Under the leadership of General Manager Ozzie Newsome, a Browns Hall of Famer, the franchise has seen consistent success in Baltimore, including victory in Super Bowl XXXV in 2001.
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland

Offline JohnP

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Re: Today in history.
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2019, 11:20:24 AM »

Appomattox, the final campaign in the Civil War, begins

On this day in 1865, the final campaign of the Civil War begins in Virginia when Union troops under General Ulysses S. Grant move against the Confederate trenches around Petersburg. General Robert E. Lee’s outnumbered Rebels were soon forced to evacuate the city and begin a desperate race west.

Eleven months earlier, Grant moved his army across the Rapidan River in northern Virginia and began the bloodiest campaign of the war. For six weeks, Lee and Grant fought along an arc that swung east of the Confederate capital at Richmond. They engaged in some of the conflict’s bloodiest battles at Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor before settling into trenches for a siege of Petersburg, 25 miles south of Richmond. The trenches eventually stretched all the wayto Richmond, and during the ensuing months the armies glowered at each other across a no man’s land. Periodically, Grant launched attacks against sections of the Rebel defenses, but Lee’s men managed to fend them off.

Time was running out for Lee, though. His army was dwindling in size to about 55,000, while Grant’s continued to grow–the Army of the Potomac now had more than 125,000 men ready for service. On March 25, Lee attempted to split the Union lines when he attacked Fort Stedman, a stronghold along the Yankee trenches. His army was beaten back, and he lost nearly 5,000 men. On March 29, Grant seized the initiative, sending 12,000 men past the Confederates’ left flank and threatening to cut Lee’s escape route from Petersburg. Fighting broke out there, several miles southwest of the city. Lee’s men could not arrest the Federal advance. On April 1, the Yankees struck at Five Forks, soundly defeating the Rebels and leaving Lee no alternative. He pulled his forces from their trenches and raced west, followed by Grant. It was a race that even the great Lee could not win.
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland

Offline JohnP

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Re: Today in history.
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2019, 10:59:21 AM »
1700
April Fools’ tradition popularized

On this day in 1700, English pranksters begin popularizing the annual tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes on each other.

Although the day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery.

Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.

These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as poisson d’avril (April fish), said to symbolize a young, “easily hooked” fish and a gullible person.

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland

Offline JohnP

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Re: Today in history.
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2019, 11:07:23 AM »
1974
"The Sting" sweeps the Oscars and ragtime composer Scott Joplin gets his due

The name Scott Joplin is now nearly synonymous with ragtime—the loose, syncopated musical style that swept the nation in the late-19th century and laid the groundwork for the emergence of jazz in the early 20th. Yet the most important figure in the history of ragtime was a virtual unknown as recently as the late 1960s. It was then that a grassroots ragtime revival began making Joplin and his music known within a growing community of dedicated enthusiasts. It took the star-making power of Hollywood, however, to transform him from a relatively minor cult figure into a household name. The transformation was completed on this day in 1974, when the musical score to The Sting earned Scott Joplin a share of an Oscar, more than five decades after his death in 1917.

The Sting starred Robert Redford and Paul Newman in a story of good-guy con men in 1930s Chicago. Ragtime music had passed out of fashion more than three decades before the events depicted in The Sting, but director George Roy Hill had fallen for Scott Joplin’s piano music after hearing his son play an album by classical musicologist and ragtime revivalist Joshua Rifkin. Hill gave the job of scoring The Sting to a young Hollywood composer named Marvin Hamlisch, who worked largely from 1909 sheet music to arrange and orchestrate six of Joplin’s compositions for use in The Sting—the melancholy “Solace” and upbeat “The Entertainer” most prominent among them. Historical accuracy aside, Joplin’s music proved to be an incredibly effective choice for evoking the mood of Depression-era America.

The Sting and Marvin Hamlisch both had big nights at the 46th annual Academy Awards on April 2, 1974. The Sting won Best Picture, among seven total Oscars, and Hamlisch won three, including Best Song and Best Dramatic Score for The Way We Were along with the award for Best Song Score and/or Adaptation for The Sting. The win for the Joplin-based score of The Sting brought the ragtime revival to the mainstream. Less than two weeks after the Oscars, “The Entertainer” was released as an instrumental single, reaching #3 on the Billboard pop charts in mid-May, while the soundtrack album from The Sting reached the #1 spot on the album charts simultaneously. At the Grammy awards the following year, “The Entertainer” helped propel Marvin Hamlisch to a win in the Best New Artist category, prompting Hamlisch to call Scott Joplin “the real new artist of the year” in his acceptance speech.
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland

Offline JohnP

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Re: Today in history.
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2019, 10:33:07 AM »
1860
Pony Express debuts

On this day in 1860, the first Pony Express mail, traveling by horse and rider relay teams, simultaneously leaves St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. Ten days later, on April 13, the westbound rider and mail packet completed the approximately 1,800-mile journey and arrived in Sacramento, beating the eastbound packet’s arrival in St. Joseph by two days and setting a new standard for speedy mail delivery. Although ultimately short-lived and unprofitable, the Pony Express captivated America’s imagination and helped win federal aid for a more economical overland postal system. It also contributed to the economy of the towns on its route and served the mail-service needs of the American West in the days before the telegraph or an efficient transcontinental railroad.

The Pony Express debuted at a time before radios and telephones, when California, which achieved statehood in 1850, was still largely cut off from the eastern part of the country. Letters sent from New York to the West Coast traveled by ship, which typically took at least a month, or by stagecoach on the recently established Butterfield Express overland route, which could take from three weeks to many months to arrive. Compared to the snail’s pace of the existing delivery methods, the Pony Express’ average delivery time of 10 days seemed like lightning speed.

The Pony Express Company, the brainchild of William H. Russell, William Bradford Waddell and Alexander Majors, owners of a freight business, was set up over 150 relay stations along a pioneer trail across the present-day states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. Riders, who were paid approximately $25 per week and carried loads estimated at up to 20 pounds of mail, were changed every 75 to 100 miles, with horses switched out every 10 to 15 miles. Among the riders was the legendary frontiersman and showman William “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846-1917), who reportedly signed on with the Pony Express at age 14. The company’s riders set their fastest time with Lincoln’s inaugural address, which was delivered in just less than eight days.

The initial cost of Pony Express delivery was $5 for every half-ounce of mail. The company began as a private enterprise and its owners hoped to gain a profitable delivery contract from the U.S. government, but that never happened. With the advent of the first transcontinental telegraph line in October 1861, the Pony Express ceased operations. However, the legend of the lone Pony Express rider galloping across the Old West frontier to deliver the mail lives on today.
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland

Offline JohnP

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Re: Today in history.
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2019, 11:31:20 AM »
1843
Yellowstone photographer William Jackson is born

William Jackson is born in Keeseville, New York. His powerful photographs of Yellowstone helped make it the first national park.

Jackson received no formal training in photography. As a young man, he began experimenting with simple cameras, and he gradually mastered the arcane skills needed to capture images on chemically prepared glass plates. In 1866, Jackson joined a wagon train and traveled west to California, lugging along his heavy camera equipment. The awesome size and ruggedness of the western landscape sparked his imagination, and he began to focus his efforts on what would later be termed “nature photography.”

In 1871, Jackson’s ability to produce excellent images while working in primitive wilderness conditions attracted the attention of the geologist Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden. Hayden convinced Jackson to join his government-sponsored expedition into the still relatively unknown wilds of the Yellowstone region in the northern Rocky Mountains. Earlier explorers of the area had returned with tales of towering geysers, vast canyons, and bubbling mud pots, but their stories and drawings of these natural wonders failed adequately to convey the beauty of Yellowstone. Hayden hoped Jackson could capture the miracles of Yellowstone on his photographic plates, so millions could enjoy the wonders seen by only a few.

During 1871 to 1872, Jackson produced hundreds of brilliant photographs of Yellowstone while traveling with the Hayden expedition. For the first time, the American public saw accurate images of the area rather than paintings or drawings. The photographs offered visual proof that Yellowstone really was home to many awesome natural wonders. Thanks in no small part to Jackson’s photos, U.S. congressmen decided the Yellowstone region should be preserved in its natural state. On March 1, 1872, Congress established 1,221,773 acres of the Yellowstone area as the world’s first national park.

After his work at Yellowstone, Jackson became one of the pioneering photographers of the American West. The magazine Harper’s Weekly commissioned him to make a popular series of photographic reports on many sections of the West. Though he was also a successful painter, his photographs were far more influential in establishing the American visual understanding of the West.
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland

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Re: Today in history.
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2019, 10:11:43 AM »
1792
Washington exercises first presidential veto

George Washington exercises the first presidential veto of a Congressional bill on this day in 1792. The bill introduced a new plan for dividing seats in the House of Representatives that would have increased the amount of seats for northern states. After consulting with his politically divided and contentious cabinet, Washington, who came from the southern state of Virginia, ultimately decided that the plan was unconstitutional because, in providing for additional representatives for some states, it would have introduced a number of representatives higher than that proscribed by the Constitution.

After a discussion with the president, Jefferson wrote in a letter that votes for or against the bill were divided along perfectly geographical lines between the North and South. Jefferson observed that Washington feared that a veto would incorrectly portray him as biased toward the South. In the end, Jefferson was able to convince the president to veto the bill on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and introduced principles that were liable to be abused in the future. Jefferson suggested apportionment instead be derived from arithmetical operation, about which no two men can ever possibly differ.” Washington’s veto sent the bill back to Congress. Though representatives could have attempted to overrule the veto with a two-thirds vote, Congress instead threw out the original bill and instituted a new one that apportioned representatives at “the ratio of one for every thirty-three thousand persons in the respective States.”

Washington exercised his veto power only one other time during his two terms in office. In February 1797, the former commanding general of the Continental Army vetoed an act that would have reduced the number of cavalry units in the army.
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland

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Re: Today in history.
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2019, 12:26:12 PM »
1896
First modern Olympics is held

On April 6, 1896, the first modern Olympic Games are held in Athens, Greece, with athletes from 14 countries participating.

The International Olympic Committee met for the first time in Paris in June 1984 and chose Greece as the site of the inaugural modern Olympiad. The ancient games are believed to have originated in 776 B.C. in Olympia, Greece, where athletes competed in one event: a foot race. Over the years, other events were added, including chariot racing, boxing, wrestling and the pentathlon. Participants, who were all young men from Greek city-states and colonies, often battled it out in the buff, as a way to celebrate the human body, and winners received olive branches. The last ancient Olympics are thought to have taken place in A.D. 393.

At the first modern Olympics, 241 male athletes (and no women) representing 14 nations competed in 43 events. America’s James Connolly became the first modern Olympic champion when he won the triple jump on the opening day of the Games. For his achievement, he was awarded a silver medal and an olive branch. Connolly later finished second in the high-jump event and took third in the long jump.

France, Great Britain, Germany and Greece had the largest number of athletes participating. Nevertheless, the U.S. took home the most first-place finishes (11) of any nation, followed by Greece (10) and Germany (6). All told, America placed first, second or third in 20 events while Greece scored in 46 events and Germany placed in 13 competitions. To the delight of the hometown crowd, Greek runner Spyridon Louis won the marathon. The first Olympiad closed on April 15, 1896.

The second Olympiad was held in Paris in 1900 with 997 athletes (22 of them women) from 24 countries competing in 95 events. The U.S. hosted the Olympics for the first time in 1904, in St. Louis. The third Olympiad marked the first time gold, silver and bronze medals were given out to first, second and third-place finishers.

Starting in 1992, the summer and winter games, which had traditionally been held in the same year every four years, took place two years apart. The Summer Games returned to Athens in 2004, with 10,625 athletes (4,329 women and 6,296 men) from 201 nations participating in 301 events.
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland

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Re: Today in history.
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2019, 11:17:53 AM »
1805
Lewis and Clark depart Fort Mandan

After a long winter, the Lewis and Clark expedition departs its camp among the Mandan Indians and resumes its journey West along the Missouri River.

The Corps of Discovery had begun its voyage the previous spring, and it arrived at the large Mandan and Minnetaree villages along the upper Missouri River (north of present-day Bismarck, North Dakota) in late October. Once at the villages, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark directed the men to build a sturdy log fort. The following winter was a harsh one, but the expedition had plenty of provisions. The two captains made the best of their enforced halt, making copious notes in their journals and preparing maps of their route. Most importantly, they met frequently with the local Indians, who provided them with valuable information about the mysterious country that lay ahead.

As spring came to the upper Missouri, Lewis and Clark prepared to resume their journey. Lewis penned a long report for President Thomas Jefferson that would be sent back down to St. Louis with 16 men traveling on the expedition’s large keelboat. Although Lewis had yet to explore any truly unknown country, his report provided a good deal of valuable information on the upper Missouri River region and its inhabitants. He optimistically predicted the expedition would be able to reach the Pacific and make a good start on the return journey before the coming winter. “You may therefore expect me to meet you at Monachello [Monticello] in September 1806,” he told the president.

In fact, the journey was more difficult and slow than Lewis anticipated. The expedition actually spent the winter of 1805-06 along the Pacific Coast, and Lewis did not finally meet with Thomas Jefferson in Washington, D.C., until January 1, 1807. However, as Lewis and Clark prepared to leave Fort Mandan on this day in 1805, they did not know the trials ahead and were likely filled with optimism and excitement. As the keelboat shoved off and started down the Missouri with Lewis’ report to Jefferson, the Corps of Discovery (and their female guide, Sacagawea) resumed the far more difficult task of rowing their small boats upstream.

That night Lewis wrote in his journal that, “Our vessels consisted of six small canoes, and two large pirogues. This little fleet altho’ not quite so rispectable as those of Columbus or Capt. Cook, were still viewed by us with as much pleasure as those deservedly famed adventurers ever beheld theirs.” As Lewis began his journey into a land “on which the foot of civilized man had never trodden,” he proclaimed this day of departure as “among the most happy of my life.”
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland

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Re: Today in history.
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2019, 10:39:36 AM »
1974
Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record

On this day in 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th career home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s legendary record of 714 homers. A crowd of 53,775 people, the largest in the history of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, was with Aaron that night to cheer when he hit a 4th inning pitch off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Al Downing. However, as Aaron was an African American who had received death threats and racist hate mail during his pursuit of one of baseball’s most distinguished records, the achievement was bittersweet.

Henry Louis Aaron Jr., born in Mobile, Alabama, on February 5, 1934, made his Major League debut in 1954 with the Milwaukee Braves, just eight years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier and became the first African American to play in the majors. Aaron, known as hard working and quiet, was the last Negro league player to also compete in the Major Leagues. In 1957, with characteristically little fanfare, Aaron, who primarily played right field, was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player as the Milwaukee Braves won the pennant. A few weeks later, his three home runs in the World Series helped his team triumph over the heavily favored New York Yankees. Although “Hammerin’ Hank” specialized in home runs, he was also an extremely dependable batter, and by the end of his career he held baseball’s career record for most runs batted in: 2,297.

Aaron’s playing career spanned three teams and 23 years. He was with the Milwaukee Braves from 1954 to 1965, the Atlanta Braves from 1966 to 1974 and the Milwaukee Brewers from 1975 to 1976. He hung up his cleats in 1976 with 755 career home runs and went on to become one of baseball’s first African-American executives, with the Atlanta Braves, and a leading spokesperson for minority hiring. Hank Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland

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Re: Today in history.
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2019, 09:54:20 AM »
1859
Mark Twain receives steamboat pilot’s license

On this day in 1859, a 23-year-old Missouri youth named Samuel Langhorne Clemens receives his steamboat pilot’s license.

Clemens had signed on as a pilot’s apprentice in 1857 while on his way to Mississippi. He had been commissioned to write a series of comic travel letters for the Keokuk Daily Post, but after writing five, decided he’d rather be a pilot than a writer. He piloted his own boats for two years, until the Civil War halted steamboat traffic. During his time as a pilot, he picked up the term “Mark Twain,” a boatman’s call noting that the river was only two fathoms deep, the minimum depth for safe navigation. When Clemens returned to writing in 1861, working for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, he wrote a humorous travel letter signed by “Mark Twain” and continued to use the pseudonym for nearly 50 years.

Clemens was born in Hannibal, Missouri, and was apprenticed to a printer at age 13. He later worked for his older brother, who established the Hannibal Journal. In 1864, he moved to San Francisco to work as a reporter. There he wrote the story that made him famous, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."

In 1866, he traveled to Hawaii as a correspondent for the Sacramento Union. Next, he traveled the world writing accounts for papers in California and New York, which he later published as the popular book The Innocents Abroad (1869). In 1870, Clemens married the daughter of a wealthy New York coal merchant and settled in Hartford, Connecticut, where he continued to write travel accounts and lecture. In 1875, his novel Tom Sawyer was published, followed by Life on the Mississippi (1883) and his masterpiece Huckleberry Finn (1885). Bad investments left Clemens bankrupt after the publication of Huckleberry Finn, but he won back his financial standing with his next three books. In 1903, he and his family moved to Italy, where his wife died. Her death left him sad and bitter, and his work, while still humorous, grew distinctly darker. He died in 1910.
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland

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Re: Today in history.
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2019, 09:41:37 AM »
1963
Atomic submarine USS Thresher sinks in the Atlantic, killing all on board

On this day in 1963, the USS Thresher, an atomic submarine, sinks in the Atlantic Ocean, killing the entire crew. One hundred and twenty-nine sailors and civilians were lost when the sub unexpectedly plunged to the sea floor 300 miles off the coast of New England.

The Thresher was launched on July 9, 1960, from Portsmouth Naval Yard in New Hampshire. Built with new technology, it was the first submarine assembled as part of a new class that could run more quietly and dive deeper than any that had come before.

On April 10, 1963, at just before 8 a.m., the Thresher was conducting drills off the coast of Cape Cod. At 9:13 a.m., the USS Skylark, another ship participating in the drills, received a communication from the Thresher that the sub was experiencing minor problems.

Other attempted communications failed and, only five minutes later, sonar images showed the Thresher breaking apart as it fell to the bottom of the sea. Sixteen officers, 96 sailors and 17 civilians were on board. All were killed.

On April 12, President John F. Kennedy ordered that flags across the country be flown at half-staff to commemorate the lives lost in this disaster. A subsequent investigation revealed that a leak in a silver-brazed joint in the engine room had caused a short circuit in critical electrical systems. The problems quickly spread, making the equipment needed to bring the Thresher to the surface inoperable.

The disaster forced improvements in the design and quality control of submarines. Twenty-five years later, in 1988, Vice Admiral Bruce DeMars, the Navy’s chief submarine officer, said “The loss of Thresher initiated fundamental changes in the way we do business–changes in design, construction, inspections, safety checks, tests, and more. We have not forgotten the lessons learned. It’s a much safer submarine force today.”
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland

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Re: Today in history.
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2019, 10:59:43 AM »
1803
French Foreign Minister Talleyrand offers to sell Louisiana Territory to U.S.

In one of the great surprises in diplomatic history, French Foreign Minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand makes an offer to sell all of Louisiana Territory to the United States.

Talleyrand was no fool. As the foreign minister to French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, he was one of the most powerful men in the world. Three years earlier, Talleyrand had convinced Napoleon that he could create a new French Empire in North America. The French had long had a tenuous claim to the vast area west of the Mississippi River known as Louisiana Territory. In 1800, Napoleon secretly signed a treaty with Spain that officially gave France full control of the territory. Then he began to prepare France’s mighty army to occupy New Orleans and bolster French dominion.

When President Thomas Jefferson learned of Napoleon’s plans in 1802, he was understandably alarmed. Jefferson had long hoped the U.S. would expand westward beyond the Mississippi, but the young American republic was in no position militarily to challenge France for the territory. Jefferson hoped that his minister in France, Robert Livingston, might at least be able to negotiate an agreement whereby Napoleon would give the U.S. control of New Orleans, the gateway to the Mississippi River.

At first, the situation looked bleak because Livingston’s initial attempts at reaching a diplomatic agreement failed. In early 1803, Jefferson sent his young Virginia friend James Monroe to Paris to assist Livingston. Fortunately for the U.S., by that time Napoleon’s situation in Europe had changed for the worse. War between France and Great Britain was imminent and Napoleon could no longer spare the military resources needed to secure control of Louisiana Territory. Realizing that the powerful British navy would probably take the territory by force, Napoleon reasoned it would be better to sell Louisiana to the Americans than have it fall into the hands of his enemy.

After months of having fruitlessly negotiated over the fate of New Orleans, Livingston again met with Talleyrand on this day in 1803. To Livingston’s immense surprise, this time the cagey French minister coolly asked, “What will you give for the whole?” He meant not the whole of New Orleans, but the whole of Louisiana Territory. Quickly recognizing that this was an offer of potentially immense significance for the U.S., Livingston and Monroe began to discuss France’s proposed cost for the territory. Several weeks later, on April 30, 1803, the American emissaries signed a treaty with France for a purchase of the vast territory for $11,250,000.

A little more than two weeks later, Great Britain declared war on France. With the sale of the Louisiana Territory, Napoleon abandoned his dreams of a North American empire, but he also achieved a goal that he thought more important. “The sale [of Louisiana] assures forever the power of the United States,” Napoleon later wrote, “and I have given England a rival who, sooner or later, will humble her pride.”
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland

Offline JohnP

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Re: Today in history.
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2019, 10:40:07 AM »
1861
Civil War begins as Confederate forces fire on Fort Sumter

The bloodiest four years in American history begin when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard open fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”

As early as 1858, the ongoing conflict between North and South over the issue of slavery had led Southern leadership to discuss a unified separation from the United States. By 1860, the majority of the slave states were publicly threatening secession if the Republicans, the anti-slavery party, won the presidency. Following Republican Abraham Lincoln’s victory over the divided Democratic Party in November 1860, South Carolina immediately initiated secession proceedings. On December 20, the South Carolina legislature passed the “Ordinance of Secession,” which declared that “the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other states, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved.” After the declaration, South Carolina set about seizing forts, arsenals, and other strategic locations within the state. Within six weeks, five more Southern states–Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana–had followed South Carolina’s lead.

In February 1861, delegates from those states convened to establish a unified government. Jefferson Davis of Mississippi was subsequently elected the first president of the Confederate States of America. When Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861, a total of seven states (Texas had joined the pack) had seceded from the Union, and federal troops held only Fort Sumter in South Carolina, Fort Pickens off the Florida coast, and a handful of minor outposts in the South. Four years after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, the Confederacy was defeated at the total cost of 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers dead.
I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take an ass whipping.

"Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and numbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy." - Hamlin Garland