Today in History for 13th September 2018

Historical Events

1953 – KGTV TV channel 10 in San Diego, CA (ABC/NBC) begins broadcasting
1969 – Plastic Ono Band’s (John, Yoko and Eric Clapton) 1st live performance
1981 – Jan Stephenson wins LPGA United Virginia Bank Golf Classic
2015 – Evian Championship, Evian Resort: Lydia Ko of New Zealand wins by 6 from Lexi Thompson to become youngest major winner, 18yrs, 142 days
2017 – UN Secretary-General António Guterres says Rohingya refugee crisis now “catastrophic” as 370,000 confirmed to have fled Myanmar
2017 – Martin Shkreli’s bail revoked after he judged risk to community for posting $5,000 bounty for a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair

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Famous Birthdays

1830 – Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Austrian writer (The Child of the Parish), born in Zdislavič, Moravia (d. 1916)
1853 – Sophia Perovskaya, Soviet icon, aristocrat, and socialist revolutionary (Narodnaya Volya), who helped orchestrate the successful assassination of Alexander II of Russia, born in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire (d. 1881)
1907 – Victor Reinganum, artist
1928 – Ernest L Boyer, educator/chancellor (NY’s State Universities-SUNY)
1973 – Brian Evans, NBA forward (Orlando Magic)
1978 – Megan Henning, American actress

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Famous Deaths

1806 – Charles James Fox, English politician (b. 1749)
1904 – Raden Ayu Kartini, Indonesian national heroine (b. 1879)
1931 – Lili Elbe [born Einar Wegener], Danish transgender woman, former painter, and 1st identifiable recipient of sex reassignment surgery (autobiography: Man into Woman), dies from complications involving a uterus transplant at 48
1971 – Lin Biao, Chinese Communist Marshal during the Civil War and party leader, dies in a plane crash at 63, possibly while fleeing from a botched coup against Mao
1994 – John William Stevens, jazz drummer, dies at 54
2001 – Dorothy McGuire, American actress (Gentlemen’s Agreement, Old Yeller, Summer Magic), dies of cardiac arrest following a short illness at 85

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Today in History for 12th September 2018

Historical Events

1733 – Polish Landowners select Stanislaw Lesczynski king
1876 – King Leopold II opens Congo-conference
1920 – 7th Olympic games close in Antwerp Belgium
1944 – US Army troops entered Germany for 1st time
1993 – Wang Junxia runs a women’s 3000 m world record (8:12.29) at the Chinese National Games
1997 – NY Met John Olerud hits for the cycle

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Famous Birthdays

1492 – Lorenzo II de’ Medici, Duke of Urbino, born in Florence, Italy (d. 1519)
1856 – Johann Heinrich Beck, American composer, born in Cleveland, Ohio (d. 1924)
1937 – Wes Hall, Barbadian former cricketer and politician, born in Glebe Land, Station Hill, Barbados
1948 – Luis Lima, Argentinian tenor
1962 – Amy Yasbeck, Blue Ash, Ohio, American actress (Casey Davenport-Wings, Mask)
1976 – Bizzy Bone (Bryon Anthony McCane), American rapper, (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony)

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Famous Deaths

413 – Marcellinus of Carthage, Christian saint
1672 – Tanneguy Lefebvre, French classical scholar (b. 1615)
1861 – George N. Briggs, American lawyer and politician, 19th Governor of Massachusetts, dies at 65
1947 – Harry Rowe Shelley, American composer (known for his hymn music), dies at 89
1995 – Jeremy Brett, [Peter Huggins], English actor (Sherlock Holmes), dies at 61
2001 – Victor Wong [Yee Keung Victor Wong], American actor (Big Trouble in Little China), dies of a heart attack at 74

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National Gallery: The Alps

National Gallery: The Alps

Rhys Griffiths

The 1,200 square miles of mountains that make up the Alps have been both frontier and a venue for fun.

Spanning eight European countries (and, of course, predating them all), the Alps have meant different things to the various people who have confronted them. As this juxtaposition of troops and tourists shows, the 1,200 square miles of mountains have been both frontier and a venue for fun. The Romans felt aversion to the Alps and crossed them in pursuit of imperial expansion; later, pilgrims and Holy Roman emperors travelled in the opposite direction. During the Enlightenment, they inspired a theory that mountains were debris deposited by the Great Flood; later, their geological study helped prove this was not the case. The Alps have inspired science, art and feats of endurance, but a further proof of their historical importance can be found in their metaphorical value, here neatly employed by the US editor and writer E.W. Howe (1853-1937): ‘Some men storm imaginary Alps all their lives, and die in the foothills cursing difficulties which do not exist.’NO OBSTACLERome’s notorious foe carries out the feat for which he is best known. Carthaginian general Hannibal crossed the Alps en route to face Rome in the Second Punic War in 218 BC. He led an army of various sizes depending on the source – Greek historian Polybius (who placed great emphasis on factual integrity) asserted 90,000 foot soldiers, 12,000 horses and 37 elephants. Though his route is unknown, the achievement is testament to a truth articulated by the classicist Walter Woodburn Hyde: ‘The Alps have never formed an impassable barrier to plants, animals or men.SLEDGES AND LADDERSWhat a difference two millennia make: more than 2,000 years after Hannibal’s crossing (in which many men and all but one elephant died from the cold), author and mountaineer Leslie Stephen described alpine Switzerland as ‘the playground of Europe’, in a travelogue of that name in 1871. This mountain-themed board game, produced around 50 years later, embraces this soubriquet literally.STONE’S THROWBuilt in south-east France around 6 BC, the Tropaeum Alpium marks Augustus’ subjugation of 45 alpine tribes, whose names are inscribed on the monument. Rome’s war with the people of the Alps began under Julius Caesar, who, in 44 BC, became unable to complete the task for well-documented reasons. Achieved by 7 BC, Augustus became the first of only two rulers to control the entire range (Charlemagne being the other). As Woodburn Hyde writes, the Romans built roads along existing trails and ‘never developed any sentimental interest’ in the mountains. HOW ROMANTICRoman aversion to Alpine scenery was not shared by the 19th-century artists known collectively as the Romantics. Pictured here is J.M.W. Turner’s evocative painting of the rebuilt ‘Devil’s Bridge’. Crossing Schöllenen Gorge in Switzerland, it was built in 1230, rebuilt in 1595 and collapsed in 1888. Its name comes from a legend which postdates the original bridge by hundreds of years, but, with satanic involvement or not, its construction in the 13th century made the Gotthard Pass a primary route between Italy and Germany.ROYAL CITYThe great imperial Habsburg city, Vienna, lies north-east of the Alps – but, as this postcard reveals, alpine Innsbruck also has a regal past. The Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519) made Innsbruck his capital due to its proximity to medieval Europe’s biggest silver mine at nearby Schwaz. But his most famous legacy comprises a different precious metal. Beneath the coat of arms is the Goldenes Dachl, or Golden Roof (a fact not apparent from this monochrome rendering). Built in 1500, it overlooks Innsbruck’s Old Town square, giving the emperor a view of festivities beneath. GODS AND DOGSAs well as roads and bridges, pilgrims, travellers (and even emperors) required shelter on journeys over the mountains. Among the most famous due to its position on a busy route, the hospice at the Great St Bernard Pass was founded by Bernard of Menthon in 1050. Bernard dedicated his life to converting alpine peoples and was confirmed as the Alps’ patron saint by Pius XI in 1923. The hospice is also known for the breed of rescue dog kept there since at least the early 18th century. ALPINE STATEIn 1291, Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, the Swiss cantons surrounding Lake Lucerne, rebelled against Habsburg rule. This Old Swiss Confederacy was later joined by Zurich, Glarus, Bern, Lucerne and Zug, forming the basis of the Swiss Confederation. The Swiss folk legend of William Tell celebrates the country’s defiant formation. Here, the Matterhorn defends the border with Italy in the southern canton of Valais.SUCH GREAT HEIGHTSTourists survey the Rigi massif in a photo which helpfully includes the peaks’ various heights. From the Enlightenment, the Alps provoked scientific curiosity. The theory that mountains were formed by tectonic plate movement was not widely accepted until the 20th century, but the Alps had long inspired pioneering ideas; Thomas Burnet’s ‘Sacred Earth Theory’ (1681), for example.  FAIRY TALEOne of the Alps’ most recognisable landmarks, King Ludwig II of Bavaria’s Schloss Neuschwanstein inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Designed ‘in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles’, construction began in 1869 (the scaffolding is a giveaway). Ludwig was not alone in seeking refuge in the alps; Adolf Hitler spent much of the Second World War at his alpine residence, Berghof. NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGHThe first recorded ascent of Mont Blanc, the Alps’ highest peak, was achieved by Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard on 8 August 1786. The pair won a reward from the Swiss geologist Horace Benedict de Saussure, who, having failed the climb in 1757, offered an incentive to the first person who could. Other alpine summits were climbed in the early 19th century; the decade between 1854 and 1865 became known as the ‘Golden Age of Alpinism’. The first mountaineering society, The Alpine Club, was founded in London in 1857. TOURIST GAZETourists arrived in the Alps en masse in the 19th century. Where tourism arrives, disapproving comments are never far behind. Amelia Edwards, the British Egyptologist, complained of ‘hackneyed sights, overcrowded hotels and the flood of Cook’s tourists’ as early as 1872. Alpine tourism accelerated with the railway and – pictured – the ski lift. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1934 novel of wealthy American expats in Europe, Tender is the Night, protagonist Dick Diver overhears a British couple aboard a cable car: ‘I can see it would be a terrible thing for Switzerland if a cable broke.’ UTOPIA?In 1918, towards the end of the First World War, the pacifist German architect Bruno Taut produced Alpine Architecture, a series of annotated drawings which presented his vision of a utopian city made of glass in the Alps, to be built at the Monte Rosa massif between Switzerland and Italy. Dedicating his book to Kaiser Wilhelm II – who had abdicated by the time of the book’s publication in 1919 – Taut argued that the cause of war was boredom. The pan-European creation of such a city might prevent another. Sadly, no glass metropolis was created and the rest is history. 

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Today in History for 11th September 2018

Historical Events

1875 – 1st newspaper cartoon strip
1919 – US Marines again send troops to Honduras
1940 – Hitler begins operation Seelöwe (Sealion – aborted invasion England)
1943 – Jewish ghettos of Minsk and Lida Belorussia liquidated
2002 – Through extreme and coordinated effort, The Pentagon is rededicated after repairs are completed, exactly one year after the attack on the building.
2013 – 12 Alawite sect members are killed by rebel fighters in central Syria

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Famous Birthdays

1681 – Johann Gottlieb Heineccius, German jurist, born in Eisenberg, Germany (d. 1741)
1723 – Johann Bernhard Basedow, German educational reformer, born in Hamburg, Germany (d. 1790)
1899 – Nelly “Nell” Knoop, Dutch actress (Jenny, Driestuivers Opera), born in Batavia, Batavia, Dutch East Indies (d. 1971)
1908 – Everhardus J van Romondt, physician/Dutch Antillean minister of Eco
1960 – Neal X [Whitmore], English musician (Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Love Missile F-111), born in Henley-on-Thames, England
1962 – Kristy McNichol, actress (Buddy-Family, Barbara-Empty Nest), born in Los Angeles, California

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Famous Deaths

1677 – James Harrington, English political philosopher (b. 1611)
1721 – Rudolph J Camerarius, German physician (sexuality plans), dies
1851 – Sylvester Graham, American nutritionist and minister (Graham cracker) (b. 1794)
1946 – Arthur van Schendel, writer (Holland Drama), dies at 72)
1991 – Ernst Herbeck, German Poet (b. 1920)
2001 – John P. O’Neill, American anti-terrorism FBI agent (b. 1952)

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Today in History for 10th September 2018

Historical Events

1913 – Lincoln Highway opens as 1st paved coast-to-coast highway
1942 – RAF drops 100,000 bombs on Dusseldorf
1972 – US Open Men’s Tennis: Ilie Năstase of Romania beats Arthur Ashe 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 for his first Grand Slam title
1990 – 1st time since 1966 that all 8 grand slam tennis champs are different
1994 – Chong Hey swims female record 400m medley (4:01.67)/100m backstroke
2016 – US Open Women’s Tennis: Angelique Kerber beats Karolína Plíšková 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to become first German player to win the event since Steffi Graf in 1996

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Famous Birthdays

1169 – Alexios II Komnenos, Byzantine emperor (d. 1183)
1588 – Nicholas Lanier, composer
1934 – Vasil Kazandzhiev, composer
1956 – Johnny Hickman, American musician
1971 – Brandon Harrison, NFL wide receiver (San Diego Chargers)
1979 – Jacob Young, American actor and singer

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Famous Deaths

1759 – Ferdinand Konščak, Croatian explorer (b. 1703)
1862 – Carlos A Lopez, president of Paraguay (1844-62), dies at 71
1971 – Bella Darvi [Bajla Węgier], Polish actress (The Egyptian, Hell and High Water, Racers), commits suicide at 42
1985 – Alexa Kenin, actress (Mousie-Coed Fever), dies at 23
1991 – Sarah Sally Lawrence, entertainer, dies at 61
1994 – Charles Drake [Ruppert], American actor (Harvey, Air Force, Glenn Miller Story), dies of heart attack at 92

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Today in History for 9th September 2018

Historical Events

1914 – Meeting held at Gaelic League headquarters between Irish Republican Brotherhood and other extreme republicans; initial decision made to stage an uprising while Britain is at war
1944 – US 113th cavalry passes Belgian-Dutch borders
1956 – 76th U.S. Men’s National Championship: Ken Rosewall beats Lew Hoad (4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3)
1960 – Denver Broncos beat Boston Patriots, 13-10 in the American Football League’s first game before 21,597 fans at Nickerson Field in Boston
1985 – President Reagan orders sanctions against South Africa
2007 – US Open Men’s Tennis: Roger Federer wins 4th consecutive US title; beats Novak Đoković (7-6, 7-6, 6-4

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Famous Birthdays

1923 – Clifford “Cliff” Robertson, American actor (Charly, Spider-Man) and spokesman for ATandT, born in La Jolla, California (d. 2011)
1941 – Karin von Aroldingen, German ballet dancer (NYC Ballet Co), born in Griez, Germany (d. 2018)
1959 – Eric Serra, French composer
1972 – Miriam Oremans, Berlicum Neth, tennis star
1976 – Juan A. Baptista, Venezuelan actor
1978 – Mariano Puerta, Argentine tennis player

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Famous Deaths

1680 – Henry Marten, English regicide (b. 1602)
1683 – Algernon Sidney, English Whig politician/plotter, beheaded
1866 – Gergely Czuczor, Hungarian/Czech poet/translator, dies at 65
1952 – Joseph Allen Sr, American actor, dies at 79
1959 – O’Neil Gordon “Collie” Smith, West Indian cricket all-rounder, dies in a car crash at 26
1966 – Antonio Massana, composer, dies at 76

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Today in History for 8th September 2018

Historical Events

1919 – Babe Ruth hits his 26th HR off Jack Quinn in NY, breaking Buck Freeman’s 1899 HR mark of 25
1967 – Uganda abolishes traditional tribal kingdoms, becomes a republic
1969 – Suleiman Maghrabi appointed premier of Libya
1995 – Cleveland Indians clinch 1st AL Central Division title
2001 – US Open Women’s Tennis: Venus Williams successfully defends title; beats younger sister Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4
2013 – 11 people are killed after a minibus collides with a train in Lasi, Romania

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Famous Birthdays

1918 – Derek Barton, British chemist (Nobel 1969)
1934 – Peter Maxwell Davies, composer (Prolation, Taverner), born in Manchester, England (d. 2016)
1941 – Donald “Dante” Drowty, American singer (The Evergreens), born in Los Angeles, California
1942 – Brian Cole, rock vocalist/bassist (Association), born in Tacoma, Washington
1975 – Lee Eul-Yong, South Korean footballer
1977 – Maria Helena Selin, ice hockey right wing (Finland, Olympics 1998)

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Famous Deaths

1811 – Peter S Pallas, German geologist/zoologist, dies at 69
1990 – Denys Watkins-Pitchford, British writer and illustrator (The Little Grey Men), dies at 85
1991 – Brad Davis, American actor (Midnight Express, Chariots of Fire), dies at 41
1992 – Quentin N Burdick, (Sen-D-ND, 1960-91), dies at 84
1995 – Olga Ivinskaya, mistress of Boris Pasternak, dies of cancer at 83
1995 – Safa Khulusi, Iraqi writer and historian, dies at 78

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