Thursday, January 19, 2006

This Week in History: Jan 16-22

Some (mostly factual) things that happened this week in history.

Jan 16

1493 Columbus returns to Spain on his 1st trip.
1776 Continental Congress decides that blacks can die for the revolution, approves enlistment of non-slaves.
1777 Vermont declares independence from NY—hasn’t been missed yet.
1919 Nebraska becomes the 36th state to ratify prohibition, having little effect on alcohol consumption.
1920 One year after ratification, the 18th amendment becomes law, giving a big boost to organized crime.
1948 Happy birthday director John Carpenter.
1969 Jan Palach immolates himself to protest Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Soviets are unimpressed.
1989 USSR announces plan for 2-year manned mission to Mars, somehow doesn’t get around to it.
1997 RIP Innis Cosby, son of Bill Cosby.

Jan 17

1806 Happy birthday James Madison Randolph, 1st to be born in White House.
1861 Thomas Crapper invents the first flushable crapper.
1899 Al Capone born in Italy.
1917 US buys Virgin Islands from Denmark.
1977 Organ donor Gary Gilmore becomes the 1st to be executed in the US since 1967, inspires song.

Jan 18

1535 Francisco Pizarro founds Lima Peru, much to the chagrin of the inhabitants of pre-Pizarro Peru.
1644 America's 1st UFO sighting reported in Boston.
1671 Pirate Henry Morgan defeats Spanish defenders, captures Panamá, makes rum.
1730 Czar Peter II of Russia, dies at 14 of smallpox.
1813 Happy birthday Joseph Farwell Glidden inventor of commercial usable barbed wire, much to the joy of dictators everywhere.
1854 Happy birthday Watson, you’re needed in the delivery room.
1973 John Cleese does a funny walk into the sunset—his final episode of Flying Circus on BBC.

Jan 19

1808 Louis Napoleon signs 1st Dutch aviation law, anxiously awaits the invention of the airplane.
1809 Quoth the raven, “Poe is born.”
1919 Giant wave of molasses kills dozens in Boston.
1955 "Scrabble" debuts on board game market, dictionary makers rejoice.
1958 Canadian Football Council renamed Canadian Football League, Americans still refuse to watch.
1987 Guy Hunt becomes Alabama's 1st Republican governor since 1874, proving absolutely nothing about race in America.

Jan 20

1918 In Russia, Bolsheviks do away with the church.
1945 FDR sworn-in for 4th term, breaking with long held traditions which had limited presidents to two terms on their honor.
1965 JPL proposes modified Apollo flight to fly around Mars & return—NASA decides the moon is closer.

Jan 21

1522 Head inquisitor Adrian Florisz Boeyens elected pope—nobody expected it.
1932 USSR & Finland stop non-attack treaty. This turns out badly for Finland.
1961 Portuguese rebels seize cruise ship Santa Maria—fail to capture the Niña or Pinta.
1991 Football's galloping ghost gallops off into eternity. RIP Howard Grange.
1994 Lorena Bobbitt found temporarily insane for chopping off spouse's penis, finds it difficult to get a date now that she’s single.

Jan 22

1934 Happy birthday Bill Bixby.
1969 Billy Preston becomes the 5th Beatle.

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