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 On this day in history

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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 23 Jun 2016, 15:16

This is from a few years ago, Ferval, but the site is still not found;

Site of Bannockburn

As long as you enjoyed yourself, that counts for something

And from 2 years ago, Neil Oliver can't find it either;
Herald: Site of Bannockburn
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 23 Jun 2016, 16:56

And from 2 years ago, Neil Oliver can't find it either;

These days, Neil couldn't find his way out of the Press Bar without a written guarantee of his fee and a bank of photographers waiting.
Thankfully he hasn't been involved since he turned up occasionally during the big 2014 campaign that the BBC covered; neither enough cash nor kudos in the digs that the NTS archaeologist runs for a TV celebrity. You will gather I'm not a fan on a personal level, neither his personality not his politics appeal.

It's a standing joke now, the lack of anything substantial, but yes, it is fun, and the NTS archaeologist is a lovely guy and joins in heartily. The NTS is in big financial trouble (again) and I'd turn out empty test pits all day if I thought it might help secure Derek's job.

And with that bit cattiness out of the road, I must return to cutting the hedge.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 27 Jun 2016, 14:48

27 June 1556, thirteen persons are burned at the stake during the Marian persecutions;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 27 Jun 2016, 22:33

@Triceratops wrote:
27 June 1556, thirteen persons are burned at the stake during the Marian persecutions;



Triceratops,

I joined in the time discussions on the BBC messageboard about Protestants burned at the stake by "bloody" Mary...it is not because I am from Belgium, that I want to put the events in their right perspective, including the right numbers...
If I heard some contributors, Mary had burned half the population of England at the stake...
I had a similar experience when reading Geoffrey Parker: The Dutch Revolt, where he concluded that the bloody repressailles at Protestant heretics were some 800...and Geoffrey understanding the geopolitical role of Philip II and his agenda to oppose the insurgents against his royal rule supported by divine right...Geoffrey's daughter was studying in Holland and he had several friends among Dutch historians, but nevertheless there was a bit of friction about the book among them...
About your story:
http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/marian-government-policies/

My stance was also that in England and also in the Low Countries it was not only Protestantism that was the sole trigger to prosecute, but also a lot of other "political" reasons.
Did this evening again a quick research for the "numbers"...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Protestant_martyrs_of_the_English_Reformation
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Catholic_martyrs_of_the_English_Reformation


And for the Low Countries I found this "numbers" in two books:
https://goo.gl/Yfh3P2
which gives a thousand ones
And the second:
https://goo.gl/PK5xjn

Which gives a 877: 223 by Charles V and the rest by his son Philip II...
I know it are 900 too much but in comparison with the Thirty Years War originated by Protestant struggles where one third of the entire population starved and get murdered...

And reading these two books this evening about the Dutch Revolt I enjoyed the professional style of the authors, who described a period that I already studied in depth many times during the last years...


And even in the Dutch Republic there were Catholics burned by the Protestants, but I agree only a few. I suppose that even the intolerant Calvinists in the Dutch Republic were aware that they couldn't be as their Catholic counterparts of the Inquisition...

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 30 Jun 2016, 10:43

30 June 1908, the Tunguska Event, an asteroid (or comet) explodes above Siberia.

1927 photograph shows trees blown over by the blast;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 30 Jun 2016, 12:11

The Tunguska Event prompts an interestng "what-if" scenario ... had the asteroid/comet arrived along the same latitude* but just a few hours later, it could have exploded over St Petersburg. Since it exploded with the force of about 1,000 Hiroshima bombs, the city would have been completely obliterated up to something like a 40km radius, and with extensive fires and damage up to 100km ... I wonder what effect that would have had on the world's history? (For a start, in June 1908 the Romanov family were at the Summer Palace about 50km south of the city, while most of the members of the 3rd Duma were living in the city centre ... so depending on exactly where ground zero is, the impact would have killed off either most if not all of the royal family, or most if not all of the Duma ... but not both).

*NB - The exact trajectory and velocity aren't known, and so a few hours difference might well have meant that the asteroid/comet completely missed the Earth ... or hit somewhere else.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sat 02 Jul 2016, 14:18

July 2nd 1644 - the Battle of Marston Moor, North Yorkshire.

This defeat at the hands of the Parliamentarians effectively ended any Royalist ambition or power in the north of England and accelerated their eventual defeat in the protracted Civil War of which this battle is considered therefore one of the more important. Casualties were low compared to other battles in the same war - around 4,000 Royalists and as few as 300 Parliamentarians. Among the latter however Oliver Cromwell's nephew, Valentine Walton, is one of whom we know, largely because his uncle took time out in the battle's aftermath to write this letter to his brother-in-law, also Valentine Walton, recounting how he had been with his son when he died and to relay his dying words. Cromwell's surviving letters do not often make for easy reading, or for that matter reveal much about his character or mood - they are invariably dry and factual accounts of military and political developments in which he was involved. The letter to Walton however is a touching exception (even though he couldn't resist a paragraph documenting his role in the victory before he got to the point):

'To my loving Brother, Colonel Valentine Walton: These.'
'Leaguer before York,' 5th July, 1644.

DEAR SIR,
It's our duty to sympathise in all mercies; and to praise the Lord together in
chastisements or trials, that so we may sorrow together.
Truly England and the Church of God hath had a great favour from the Lord,
in this great Victory given unto us, such as the like never was since this War
began. It had all the evidences of an absolute Victory obtained by the Lord's
blessing upon the Godly Party principally. We never charged but we routed
the enemy. The Left Wing, which I commanded, being our own horse, saving
a few Scots in our rear, beat all the Prince's horse. God made them as
stubble to our swords. We charged their regiments of foot with our horse, and
routed all we charged. The particulars I cannot relate now; but I believe, of
Twenty-thousand the Prince hath not Four-thousand left. Give glory, all the
glory, to God.-

Sir, God hath taken away your eldest Son by a cannon-shot. It brake his leg.
We were necessitated to have it cut off, whereof he died.
Sir, you know my own trials this way: but the Lord supported me with this,
That the Lord took him into the happiness we all pant for and live for. There is
your precious child full of glory, never to know sin or sorrow any more. He
was a gallant young man, exceedingly gracious. God give you His comfort.
Before his death he was so full of comfort that to Frank Russel and myself he
could not express it, "It was so great above his pain." This he said to us.
Indeed it was admirable. A little after, he said, One thing lay upon his spirit. I
asked him, What that was? He told me it was, That God had not suffered him
to be any more the executioner of His enemies. At his fall, his horse being
killed with the bullet, and as I am informed three horses more, I am told he bid
them, Open to the right and left, that he might see the rogues run. Truly he
was exceedingly beloved in the Army, of all that knew him. But few knew him;
for he was a precious young man, fit for God. You have cause to bless the
Lord. He is a glorious Saint in Heaven; wherein you ought exceedingly to
rejoice. Let this drink up your sorrow; seeing these are not feigned words to
comfort you, but the thing is so real and undoubted a truth. You may do all
things by the strength of Christ. Seek that, and you shall easily bear your trial.
Let this public mercy to the Church of God make you to forget your private
sorrow. The Lord be your strength: so prays
Your truly faithful and loving brother,
OLIVER CROMWELL.

My love to your Daughter, and my Cousin Perceval, Sister Desborow and all
friends with you.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 04 Jul 2016, 11:11

The Kielce Pogrom - where a number of innocent Holocaust Survivors were killed in Poland on July 4th 1946 was mentioned on BBC's World Service today.  The link explains it better than I can http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Kielce.html

Basically it happened because a kid told lies so that he wouldn't get into trouble.  A bit  - though far more serious and it wasn't fictional - like the plot of Josephine Tey's The Franchise Affair.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 04 Jul 2016, 11:16

@Triceratops wrote:
27 June 1556, thirteen persons are burned at the stake during the Marian persecutions;

When I was in London I saw the memorial to this event in the churchyard of Stratford Church.  I think Stratford was a market garden sort of place now - all urbanised now of course.  Man's inhumanity to man 
(or should that be human's inhamanity to human)...of course there were good and bad on both sides.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 04 Jul 2016, 11:47

Hi LiR - I have seen that memorial too, a proper Victorian piece of overblown rococo but a monumental and architectural style which, I have to confess, we would be poorer without. On reading the inscription I remember I was struck by two things - firstly (and probably because Northern Ireland was prominent in my thinking at the time) I was wondering why no one thought to set up a similar memorial to all those who had been caught up in the crossfire between those two sides throughout that period (each side produces martyrs but manages to martyr many more in the process who never get remembered). Also it was unveiled by Lord Shaftesbury, a man who in Britain deserves probably the biggest rococo memorial of all of them - it was he who championed and first introduced legislation aimed at protecting children from industrial exploitation. His "Ten Years Act" was the first of many reforms he started and which banned the use of children 9 years old or younger from being forced to work in the mills and mines. He was decried as a traitor to his own in parliament by MPs representing the industrialists throughout the land. Mind you, Shaftesbury used the occasion of unveiling the Memorial to make an infamous speech lambasting Catholics along the lines of Enoch Powell's equally infamous "rivers of blood" tirade - so maybe some things never change really ...

Found a picture of it when it was new:



And now:



Why has everything shrunk since cars were invented?
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 06 Jul 2016, 10:20

July 6th 1348 - Pope Clement VI has a cow and promptly issues a bull absolving the Jews from having started the Black Death. His bovine intervention didn't help matters much - pogroms against Jews all over Europe continued unabated. This led to him sending out another bull in September threatening to excommunicate any pogrommers as satanists, as well as declaring that anyone who died of the plague would go straight to heaven and could hop over the purgatory bit. That was nice of him.

In fact Clement seems to have been an all round good egg. He regarded the pope job as a licence for self-indulgence but at least made no bones about it - declaring on his accession "My predecessors did not know how to be pope" and then immediately hiring his own personal orchestra, composer and head chef at Avignon. During his reign he excommunicated the Holy Roman Emperor (always a good move) and even put the English king Edward on notice of same when he found out Eddie was siphoning funds from the church and monasteries way ahead of the Reformation. After his death he received probably the best eulogy any pope has ever received many years later from the German historian Ferdinand Gregorovius, an expert on what went on in medieval popes' bedrooms - "a fine gentleman, a prince munificent to profusion, a patron of the arts and learning, but no saint!"
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 08 Jul 2016, 09:33

8 July 1709 ( New Style Calendar; 28 June OS Calendar, 29 June Swedish Calendar), the Battle of Poltava. Peter the Great's victory over the Swedish Army of Charles XII, establishes Russia as a major European power.

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 12 Jul 2016, 13:25

12 July ( Gregorian Calendar ) 1690, the Battle of the Boyne.

12 July (Julian Calendar ) 1691, the Battle of Aughrim.

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sun 17 Jul 2016, 02:54

July 17, 1976:  Beginning of the summer Olympics in Montreal.  Several African countries boycotted it because of New Zealand's support of playing rugby against apartheid South Africa.  Actually the country was pretty split on this issue - I myself marched against contact with SA, but I think that was a bit later.  But our PM at the time was very firm that NZers had the right to travel whereever they wanted and that sports should not be mixed with politics.  It was a bit of a catchcry at the time, since discredited as a valid argument, I think.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sun 17 Jul 2016, 09:13

The Montreal olympics were a disaster on nearly every level: soaring costs, corruption, incompetance and strikes meant they very nearly didn't open on time, and when it was all over the final tally was that it had cost the city 13 times what had been budgeted and saddled it with several costly, unwanted, unusable and unfinished white elephants. The debts crippled Montreal for decades and were only finally paid off about 10 years ago. I suspect Rio is going to be similarly broke after this year's affair. Why would any city want to take the risk of hosting the olympic games?
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 22 Jul 2016, 11:59

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sat 23 Jul 2016, 02:14

@Meles meles wrote:
The Montreal olympics were a disaster on nearly every level: soaring costs, corruption, incompetance and strikes meant they very nearly didn't open on time, and when it was all over the final tally was that it had cost the city 13 times what had been budgeted and saddled it with several costly, unwanted, unusable and unfinished white elephants. The debts crippled Montreal for decades and were only finally paid off about 10 years ago. I suspect Rio is going to be similarly broke after this year's affair. Why would any city want to take the risk of hosting the olympic games?
Report on BBC R4 Wednesday suggesting a fixed venue for all future Olympiads, and that it should be Los Angeles. I'd suggest a different route - the chosen Olympic venue should also hold the world championships in Olympic disciplines for the 4 years following its games (and probably Rugby, Soccer, T20 etc world cups).
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 28 Jul 2016, 14:05

150 years ago, Beatrix Potter was born;



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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 17 Aug 2016, 07:57

Davy Crockett, a boyhood hero of mine was born on this day in 1786.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txcRQedoEyY

This tune - local version - was heard all day for quite some time.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 17 Aug 2016, 09:42

17 August 1896 - Mrs Bridget Driscoll, accommpanied by her 16-year-old daughter, May, was enjoying a church fete being held in the grounds of Crystal Palace in south-east London, but while crossing a small road in the gardens (Dolphin Terrace) she was struck by a motor car ... thereby earning herself the unwanted distinction of being the first UK pedestrian to be killed by an automobile. It was rather bad luck as at the time there were probably only a few dozen petrol engine vehicles in the whole country. The car that killed Bridget was an imported Roger-Benz owned by the Anglo-French Motor Carriage Co. which was at the time part of a motoring exhibition taking place at Crystal Palace. The driver was a local man, James Arthur Edsall, and he was carrying two demonstration passengers at the time.

A new Act of Parliament had been passed only three weeks earlier which had raised the speed limit for motorised vehicles to a racey 14mph (from 2mph in towns and 4mph in the country) and so inevitably a lot of attention was focused on the speed of the car at the time of the accident. As reported in the local newspaper ('The Norwood News', 22 August 1896), at the inquest Florence Ashmore, one of Edsall’s passengers, gave evidence that the car went at a "tremendous pace, like a fire engine - as fast as a good horse could gallop". However the driver, Edsall, stated that he was doing just 4mph when he collided with Mrs Driscoll, and added that he had rung his bell and had shouted a warning, although he conceded that his voice might have been drowned out by the very loud noise of his vehicle. Moreover the car's maximum speed, the inquest heard, was only 8mph and for the purposes of the exhibition had been deliberately limited further. Alice Standing, the other passenger, alleged Edsall had modified the engine to go faster, but an independent engineer, having inspected the engine and transmission, confirmed to the court that the vehicle was incapable of going at more than 4.5mph.

There were also conflicting reports as to the manner of Mr Edsall’s driving. He had been driving only three weeks at the time (legally there was no licence requirement) and had been given no particular instruction to keep to one side of the road (again there being no legal requirement to do so). Alice Standing told the inquest she heard the driver shout "stand back" and then the car swerved. She said Mrs Driscoll had hesitated in front of the car and seemed "bewildered" before being hit. The victim’s daughter claimed the driver "did not seem to understand what he was doing", and that he had zig-zagged towards them ..... "The car then swerved off, and the witness looked to see where it was, and it was then going over her mother. (Here witness broke down.) Her mother was knocked down, and the car was at once pulled up," ... as the newspaper reported in rather dramatic equine terms.

The court debated for 6 hours before returning a verdict of accidental death and the coroner added that, he "hoped hers would be the last death in this sort of accident". A rather vain hope …. in the 120 years since Mrs Driscoll’s untimely death, some half a million persons have been killed on Britain’s roads.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 18 Aug 2016, 08:21

Not to mention all the hedgehogs, badgers, foxes, pheasants and - as I was distressed to observe the other day - barn and other lovely owls that have been killed by speeding cars. So many slaughtered down here - there are fresh corpses every day - especially on North Devon link road.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 12 Sep 2016, 09:06

On this day in 1888 Maurice Chevalier was born, he passed away on January 1, 1972.




From the start of WWI he served in the French army, was wounded, and taken prisoner by the Germans.
According to wiki it was through the personal intervention of the Spanish king Alfonso XIII that Chevalier was released in 1916.
Having studied English as a p-o-w he took up entertaining of soldiers and made a succes in London as well.
Following the war he did entertainment world wide, and made several films in Hollywood but still returned to France.
He was in France during WWII following which he was accused of collaborationism, of which a French court acquitted him.
Having signed the Stockholm Appeal he was refused a visum to the USA in 1951 during McCarthyism but returned in 1955, and continued making films many years following.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 15 Sep 2016, 06:50

On this day 125 years ago, Agatha Christie was born
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 29 Sep 2016, 10:42

Don't try this at home;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 29 Sep 2016, 12:53

Trike, hopefully both pilots could walk away.

At the risk of being accused of being copy-catting, somewhere I have a picture of two army lorries doing the same. At the time there were comments like 'a new meaning to double parking', as well as 'that's NOT the way to make a new jeep', and then the comments got rude ...


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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 29 Sep 2016, 14:29

All the crewmen survived the crash, Nielsen.

Brocklesby mid-air collision
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 21 Oct 2016, 09:12

21 October 1966:

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 28 Oct 2016, 14:31

28 October 1956, Elvis gets a Polio injection. The Polio immunisation rates in the US at this date were 0.6%. Thanks to this publicity, they were over 80% six months later:

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 02 Nov 2016, 13:12

80 Years ago today, the BBC begins regular broadcasts;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 02 Nov 2016, 21:56

Triceratops,

for Belgium it was on 31 October 1953. And from the start on it was separated in a Dutch language one and a French language one and broadcasted from Brussels.
I wanted to give some links but unfortunatlly each time I want to post  a second one, the whole message is gone.
I will send the links separate...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 02 Nov 2016, 21:58

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 02 Nov 2016, 21:59

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 02 Nov 2016, 22:00

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 10 Nov 2016, 11:33

10th November 1793, in a certain part of the world was known as 20th Brumaire, year 2. On this day was proclaimed "The Festival of Reason", a feature of which was that every church in the realm got to be renamed "Temples of Reason". The greatest church of all, previously known as "Our Lady's", had its altar removed and a new one dedicated to Liberty (why couldn't they just rename it?) was installed. The beautiful epithet "To Philosophy" was carved in the giant lintel over the main door, and a great festival was conducted within the ancient walls in which women, dressed in rather Hollywood interpretations of ancient Roman and Greek attire, frolicked and gyrated in "reasonable" style as they approached the great Goddess of Reason herself (played by the organiser's missus).

Thomas Carlyle later reported (he wasn't yet born but his gramps had been there, he said) that Madame Sophie Momoro "made one of the best Goddesses of Reason; though her teeth were a little defective."

The "Cult of Reason", as it was known, was short-lived and humanity prevailed in the end. The next year this state-sponsored substitute for religion was itself replaced with the new state-sponsored "Cult of the Supreme Being".

Remember him?

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 11 Nov 2016, 12:35

November 11th, the day we pause in remembrance of an armistice which finally ended the terrible bloodshed which had, for years, engulfed the known civilised world. Though as the world was soon to find out, the relief that the war to end all wars was finally over proved misplaced indeed.

The place? Austria of course.

The year? 308 CE

The venue? The small border outpost of Carnuntum on the Danube.

The belligerents? The three extant emperors of what had become a much fractured Roman Empire - Diocletian (temporarily back from retirement), Galerius and Maximianus, the only three still alive from a total of twenty six "emperors" who had been approved by the Senate, at one point six at the same time, since what became known as the "Military Anarchy" had erupted fifty years before.

The deal? In what became known as the "Great Diocletian Peace" the retired emperor secured the other two men's agreement to accept a compromise candidate, Licinius, as "first among imperial equals", the rest content with deputy status while continuing with the lucrative administration of the empire, now officially split once more into four separate regions.

The effect? The "Great Peace" lasted probably only a few months, if even that. Licinius proved himself incompetent. Galerius still manoeuvered in the background to grab the whole caboodle through setting one so-called colleague against another in the hope of a power vacuum into which he could move from his Eastern reaches of the empire. Maximianus attempted to stake a claim himself, and it was his bid for glory that was to prove the most cataclysmic. Thinking another "young pretender" who had recently consolidated his authority over legions based in Britain and Gaul would be a pushover, Maximianus directly challenged Constantine and attempted to take over his armies and his territory. The upstart won however, and seeing his chance, advanced on the territories of all the others, armed not only with a battle-hardened legionary force but with a new religion to boot which seems to have served as an effective tool to suck every disaffected and disillusioned citizen into his camp, even those who knew his success would very likely spell the end of the empire's chance of ever being seen as a credible unified entity again. The Donald Trump of his day.

The outcome? Diocletian, in despair as "peace in our time" evaporated, and in very poor health, committed suicide. Maximianus, faced not only with defeat by Constantine but - worse - complete humiliation, did likewise. Galerius, whose relative isolation in the eastern extremity of the empire watching over ten percent of its territory kept him out of the thick of the hassle, ended up recognising Constantine as joint emperor of the other ninety percent. He lived long enough to approve a reversal of the Diocletian "persecution" of the Christians (an obvious attempt at one point by Diocletian to stymie the rise of upstarts just like Constantine). Tellingly, the "christian" Constantine let Galerius take all the "credit" for this measure (which was bound to alienate the Senate and could trigger yet more bloodshed which he could then take all the credit for fixing) and then almost immediately denounced his partner as unfit for office. If Constantine's plan was to eventually eliminate Galerius completely, as he had done everyone else in his way, he was spared the effort anyway. Galerius died of what was described as a "horribly gruesome" bowel disease just three years after the Great peace had been declared.

The world was united again. The world was Christian. And the wars got worse.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 14 Nov 2016, 11:42

November 14th 1973.

Bobby Moore plays for and captains England for the final time, winning a then record 108th cap.

The occasion was a "friendly" at Wembley between the hosts and Italy, watched by over 80,000 fans of a side which, unlike their opposition, had learnt just four weeks before after a dismal draw with Poland at the same ground that they would not now be progressing to the following year's World Cup in West Germany.



Along with Moore, it was to be the last cap also for Peter Osgood and Kevin Hector, though many fans would have argued that Ramsey's failing had been not to end quite a few more international careers all the sooner. The manager himself would get the chop not too long afterwards.

In a show of gritty defiance of their inevitable dive in world rankings England were to dominate the play against the previous World Cup's beaten finalists, themselves undergoing something of a transition period which would take a decade or so to finally work in their favour. Nevertheless, in a pattern familiar to many England fans today, despite their "three lions'" share of the game, an opportunistic goal late in the second half sealed a 1-0 victory for the visitors.

The scorer?

Him:
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 14 Nov 2016, 13:18

This took place the same day:



Captain Mark Phillips ( aka "Foggy", as he was "thick and wet") marries Princess Anne.
No horsey jokes, please!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 14 Nov 2016, 13:49

And on the same day too ... one for the Deadheads!

14th November 1973 - The Grateful Dead played live (oxymoron alert) at the San Diego Sports Arena.



A fantastic hi fidelity bootleg (I mean REALLY good quality) with Jerry in the best form I've ever heard him in can be listened to here!
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 18 Nov 2016, 11:33

At the risk of being accused of bashing (so with apologies to all bashees).

Another one that is left out of British history books ... and interestingly enough, omitted from modern Nigerian history books too, most likely as it firmly ensconces the roots of Nigerian independence within undeniably socialist origins, something which the modern autocrats, demagogues and oligarchs in charge of that country would rather forget about now.

On November 18th, 1949, the British Colonial Police Force opened fire on unarmed striking miners outside the Iva Valley Coalmine at Enugu, murdering 21 in cold blood and injuring another 51 innocent victims in what the colonial administration hoped would be interpreted by the locals as a grave warning against any action, political or industrial, which challenged their rule.

The political scientist Richard L Sklar later commented "Historians may conclude that the slaying of the coal miners by police at Enugu first proved the subjective reality of a Nigerian nation. No previous event ever evoked a manifestation of national consciousness comparable to the indignation generated by this tragedy."



He wasn't joking - the local British administration's initial statements that the miners' demand to be upgraded to "artisan" (this was the basis of the strike) was "incendiary" simply led to a national artisans' strike which then mushroomed throughout the country and cost a fortune to subdue. They then claimed that the miners were on their way to appropriate the company's stock of dynamite - a subsequent commission concluded that this would have meant the miners having an absolutely atrocious sense of direction as they were several miles from where they knew the explosives were stored and going away from the area anyway. They then claimed, in an uncanny echo of what would transpire in Derry in 1972, that they "thought" they'd heard gunfire from the miners, then that maybe it came from "near" them, and finally that they'd only heard someone say that they had heard it, none of which the eventual commission said was trustworthy testimony.

The Fitzgerald Commission that did so much to discredit the colonial power was itself an interesting conundrum. As the disquiet surrounding the massacre spread not just throughout Nigeria but to other "colonies" as well the British Government decided they had better intervene. The aim of the 1950 commission, as directed by a Labour government in Whitehall, was to establish that the Trade Union system in Nigeria was essentially a British "benefit" bestowed on the natives by their colonial masters and therefore any deviation from a policy in accord with British interests by this group could be justifiably regarded by the local administration as potentially seditious. Their brief, in other words, was to chastise the mine owners and local bureaucrats and military for "over reacting" to what was nevertheless "a potentially real threat" of a British institution being corrupted from within.

As testimony after testimony from eye witnesses unfolded however Fitzgerald saw through this political fabrication and realised he was dealing with something very different. For a start the miners' union, it transpired, had been anything but a "bestowed benefit" of Britain but had been very much independently founded, with great sacrifice and struggle in the process by locals. He then heard from the horse's mouth, as it were, official after official use pejorative and derogatory language about not only the union's leaders but even those who had been summarily massacred on the day (the word "dog" features in this testimony over a hundred times - referring to the sub-management employees of the mine). W J Fitzgerald, whose previous task as commissioner had been to "settle" the Palestine land issue for once and for all (and we all know how well that one worked out), could see he was being set up as a patsy yet again and concluded, much to the Labour government's ire (not to mention the absolute fury of the local administration), that further criminal charges had to be brought against all the officials involved in the police action on the day, that their leaders also be further investigated by another royal commission, and that a TUC or similar congress be established to put Nigerian trade unions on a par with European counterparts and with more of a political say. Finally he concluded that the miners' original claim should be amended - and that those engaged in skilled labour such as the machinists, equipment handlers etc, not be classed as "artisans" at all but each with respect to their actual duty and then paid as their British equivalent would be paid. Fitzgerald may not have been a good colonial official in the sense that his bosses would have defined it, but he was a good man (and a good union man at that).

We don't hear much about W J Fitzgerald after 1950 either (he retired to West Cork actually).

The Iva Valley Massacre is still marked annually by the ANC and others as a seminal moment in the establishment of self-government in Africa.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sat 19 Nov 2016, 12:27

@nordmann wrote:
... (so with apologies to all bashees).



I read that as "banshees" at first. Suspect
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sat 19 Nov 2016, 18:22

@nordmann wrote:
On November 18th, 1949, the British Colonial Police Force opened fire on unarmed striking miners outside the Iva Valley Coalmine at Enugu

Thanks for that entry nordmann. I hadn't heard of that event or of the Fitzgerald Commission. As you say, the history of West Africa is notable by its absence in the popular histories of the British Empire. I would go further and say that I didn't even know that there were coal mines in Nigeria let alone striking miners and trade unions etc. The UK narrative of empire tends to give us a little bit about Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah and maybe also a little bit about Sierra Leone - but Nigeria (by far the most populous British imperial territory in Africa) is generally a blank page. You've prompted me to want to read further on the Iva Valley massacre and on the wider history of British rule in Nigeria.  

Regarding little known events (or rather events little known in the UK) then today marks the 75th anniversary of the bizarre and tragic engagement in the Indian Ocean between the light cruiser Sydney of the Royal Australian Navy and the auxiliary cruiser Kormoran of the German Navy. Both ships sank with the former going down with all hands. The sinking of Sydney wasn't even the worst Allied naval loss that month, let alone during the war which may explain its lack of fame. The loss of all officers and ratings in the clash off the coast of Carnarvon in Western Australia on 19th November 1941, however, means that the actions and decisions taken by the Australian captain remain shrouded in mystery.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sat 19 Nov 2016, 21:20

It's not unknown to me, or any readers of the Jiglu board, where it was discussed extensively.  (Though I am not very interested in the minutiae of military manoevres so I haven't retained the information.) Of course that board includes an Australian and a NZer and others who are very interested in military matters.  I seem to be the only member who isn't interested though I am interested in the social history of war, and read quite a lot of that.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 29 Nov 2016, 06:23

29th November was a day when NZ seems to have a lot of constitutional history for some reason, probably to do with when our elections are generally held.

1893: the day after women in New Zealand voted for the first time, Elizabeth Yates was elected mayor of Onehunga, the first woman in the British Empire to achieve this.
1949: the first Maori woman, Iriaka Matiu Ratana was elected into Parliament.
1969 and 1975: the voting age is lowered respectively to 20 and 18.  The latter applies to all permanent residents, whether or not they are citizens (though my husband is not a NZ citizen and he voted before that, he is sure).

Earlier and less importantly my newspaper tells me that in 1880 Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon took office as governor of NZ.  "His term will be remembered for his numerous disagreements with the Government..."  As far as I can ascertain his term and name would only be known to 1 in a 1000 people, if that.  I certainly am not familiar with it, and I am probably more interested in NZ political history than most people in the country.

Then in 1910, Robert Falcon Scott and his expedition left from Port Chalmers near Dunedin for the South Pole. And in 1929 Richard E. Byrd radioed that he had made the first aircraft flight over the South Pole.

In 1922 archaeologists report that they have found treasures in the tomb of Tutankhamun.

There's also the usual war activities and disasters.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 29 Nov 2016, 11:16

Maybe not as profound as Caro's entries but Google says it's Louisa M Alcott's 184th birthday.  I liked her first book about the March girls "Little Women" but was disappointed when "Good Wives" went down a different direction - that Jo married the old professor instead of Laurie; and after all the fuss about saving Beth in "Little Women" to bump her off in "Good Wives".  Though I guess in truth real life doesn't always go the way people want it to.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 29 Nov 2016, 21:33

I am more accepting of authorial ideas so this never bothered me, and I really liked Jo's Boys.  I think I have always liked books which don't concentrate on just one character or idea.  (Stephen King's Misery is an example of a book I just loathed. It just went on and on with its two characters.) The part where Amy and Laurie get together is one that I have remembered (perhaps not quite correctly) all my life.  Something about them rowing well together and Laurie saying, "Shall we row together for life?" or something like that. Sounds sickeningly sentimental now but I have never minded a bit of sentimentality.     Jo and her professor always seemed to me to continue her philanthropic upbringing.

Death always forms a major part in children's books of the 19th and early 20th century, probably because it was a major part of life then.  It was the same in the Anne books where her friend Ruby dies of TB in one book. And Anne saves Mrs Barry's baby (was it?) from dying of croup.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 16 Dec 2016, 21:52

On December 16th, 1773 the Boston Tea Party occurred.           
Did the colonists replace their tea with coffee?
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sat 17 Dec 2016, 19:22

They still haven't got it sussed. Sons of relatives exiled there think that the best tea surely comes from our M and S and then they make it badly and offer cream with it which turns out to be milk (from a tin) and I'm not sure what they call milk..... the fresh sort. I never question because everything US must be perfect...... however they have got the stuff served with hotdogs  at rounders matches well named.... Goop.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sun 18 Dec 2016, 22:44

On December 18th, 1865 slavery was abolished in the United States. In order to achieve this, it was unfortunate that a war, the Civil War, had to be fought. So many men were sadly killed.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 19 Dec 2016, 09:30

On December 19th, 1848, around two o' clock in the afternoon, Emily Jane Bronte gave up the ghost.

Her death has been ascribed to all sorts of Romantic causes by the inquest of history: excess of genius, exhaustion of genius, heartbreak at the death of her brother, anguish that, her private world having been exposed in her poetry and her one novel, the actual world had rejected her vision - but the truth is possibly more prosaic. As Stevie Davies puts it - bluntly, but no doubt accurately - "...it is important to emphasise the cause of her death as nothing more sublime than the tuberculosis bacillus, that endemic Victorian leveller. Nobody chose it; it chose anybody, no doubt aggravated by living conditions, nutrition, constitution and state of mind".

Ah, "state of mind". All disease, Novalis said, was a projection of the mind: "Every illness can be called soul-sickness". Perhaps he had a point, perhaps not. But it should be noted that Emily's early death has also been called an "anorexic's suicide" and Wuthering Heights described as "a monumental suicide note".

Whatever the truth, this day saw the departure of a remarkable woman.

RIP, Emily (or not, as you choose) - you were/are brilliant, kid.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 18 Jan 2017, 23:15

19 the January, 1967: Strongman mining disaster kills 19 men 50 years ago today. 

Five years on there is still strong desire on the part of the families to get out the 29 men killed in the Pike River mining collapse close to the Strongman mine.  The families (some of them) have blockaded the road to the mine to prevent the entrance to the mine being sealed off.  I don't really understand their strong wish to get the men out - I might have thought the mine was a suitable resting place for them, and if there was an explosion there wouldn't be much remaining of them anyway.  But I am not in the district anymore and not affected by this tragedy, except as everyone in the country was. The mine is owned by Solid Energy which is government owned or controlled, and they support the decision of the company that it is unsafe to go in.  It has become something of a political hot potato  with various politicians wading in with ideas for resolving the issue including taking away liability from Solid Energy, so they don't have to worry about health and safety sanctions or being sued.  (Not that we have suing for accidents now, and they would have public liability insurance: I don't totally understand insurance.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 25 Jan 2017, 14:40

25th January is Burns' Night; Tam o' Shanter as expressed in the paintings of Alexander Goudie:

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