August 09, 2005

Today in History

Been awhile since I've done one of these but there were lots of interesting things to note, so:

Births, today, in

*1593 Izaak Walton, a name known to anyone who ever picked up a fly fishing rod. He wrote the Compleat Angler in 1653 or thereabouts.

*1930 Betty Boop born in in Max Fleischer's animated cartoon Dizzy Dishes.

*1938 Rocket Rod Laver, one of the greatest Australian tennis players, winning the Grand Slam in 1962 and 1969. He also never lost at Davis Cup play.

Events, today, in

*BC 480 Persian forces of hundreds of thousands defeat Greek forces of 7000 led by Spartan king Leonidas and 300 other Spartans at the Hot Gates of Thermopylae. The Spartans were wiped out to a man but caused huge casualties among the Persians. The epitaph remains:

Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie.

*378 Battle of Adrianople (with nice diagrams), the surprise arrival of the Visigoth heavy calvary defeats Roman Army, setting the stage for the end of the Roman Empire.

*1638 Jonas Bronck (link is to cool page on history of the Bronx) becomes the first European settler in what later becomes known as "da Bronx". Always, "the", by the way, the only borough in New York City to be named that way.

*1854 Henry David Thoreau publishes his essay, "Walden", on his time spent on Walden Pond in his cabin:


*1902 Edward VII crowned King of England after death of his mother, Queen Victoria. The Victorian age ended.

*1936 Jesse Owens wins his fourth gold medal of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, making Hitler crazy. See article at ESPN on Owens. Owens died from lung cancer after smoking a pack a day for much of his life. I note that Owens, America's greatest track star, never denied taking steroids (whether he was asked is, of course, besides the point).

*1945 US drops the second atomic bomb ("Fat Man") on Japan and destroys part of Nagasaki.

*1965 Singapore gains independence from Malaysia. Celebrates National Day. See message from Prime Minister here.

*1974 Richard Nixon (bio from Nixon Foundation website), our only Quaker president, resigns presidency in wake of Watergate. Gerald Ford takes over "under extraordinary circumstances". I've been to Ford's museum in Grand Rapids. Not too bad, but I really hate Grand Rapids.

Posted by Random Penseur at August 9, 2005 10:28 AM | TrackBack

Is there some particular reason you "really hate Grand Rapids?" I've been there (only once), and it seemed nice. There is a river going right through town, and it is easy to get out of town for fun recreation.

What's not to like?

Posted by: tex ritter at August 9, 2005 01:02 PM

never been there myself - but i was left asking the same question as tex..
please, do tell.

Posted by: sn at August 9, 2005 09:52 PM
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