On this day in history:
36 – – – – – Two days after conquering the separatist Chengiia empire, Eastern Han general Wu Han orders the looting and burning of its capital Chengdu.
537 – – – – The construction of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople is completed. The Hagia Sophia was a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, later an Ottoman imperial mosque and is now a museum – in Istanbul, Turkey.
1512 – – – The Spanish Crown issues the Laws of Burgos, governing the conduct of settlers with regard to native Indians in the New World. I must admit, I have never heard of these laws. They forbad the maltreatment of the indigenous people (as they saw it back then) and endorsed their conversion to Catholicism. The scope of the laws was originally restricted to the island of Hispaniola but was extended later to Puerto Rico and Jamaica. These laws authorized and legalized the colonial practice of creating Encomiendas, where Indians were grouped together to work under a colonial head of the estate for a salary, and limited the size of these establishments to between 40 and 150 people. They also established a minutely regulated regime of work, pay, provisioning, living quarters, hygiene and care for the Indians. Women more than four months pregnant were exempted from work. The document also prohibited the use of any type of punishment by the encomenderos reserving it for officials established in each town. There was more but this is I believe the basics.
1657 – – – The Flushing Remonstrance articulates for the first time in North American history that the freedom of religion is a fundamental right.
1814 – – – The War of 1812 – – The American schooner USS Carolina is destroyed. It was the last of Commodore Daniel Patterson’s makeshift fleet that fought a series of delaying actions that contributed to Andrew Jackson’s victory at the Battle of New Orleans.
1845 – – – Ether anesthetic is used for childbirth for the first time by Dr. Crawford Long in Jefferson, Georgia.
1918 – – – The Great Polish Uprising against the Germans begins.
1922 – – – Japanese aircraft carrier Hosho becomes the first purpose built aircraft carrier to become commissioned in the world.
1929 – – – Soviet General Secretary Joseph Stalin orders the “liquidation of the kulaks as a class.” It is hard to imagine but many – certainly many in the American press – referred to Stalin as “Uncle Joe.” Really – sounds like a term of endearment for a mass murderer. His Dekulakization program was a campaign of political repressions, including arrests, deportations and executions of millions of peasants and their families in the period of 1929-1932. To facilitate the expropriations of their farmland, the Soviet government (read that as Stalin) portrayed kulaks as class enemies of the USSR. This policy was carried out simultaneously with collectivization in the Soviet Union, effectively bringing all agriculture and all peasants under state control. And, of course, the “collectivization in the Soviet Union” was in fact the Holodomor (“to kill by starvation”), the man-made famine of 1932-33 that killed millions of Ukrainians and others.
1935 – – – Regina Jonas is ordained as the first female rabbi in the history of Judaism.
1945 – – – The International Monetary Fund is created with the signing of an agreement by 29 nations.
1949 – – – Indonesian Revolution – – The Netherlands officially recognizes Indonesian independence – End of the Dutch East Indies.
1968 – – – Apollo program – Apollo 8 splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon.
1978 – – – Spain becomes a democracy after 40 years of fascist dictatorship.
1983 – – – Pope John Paul II visits Mehmet Ali Aqca in Rebibbia’s prison and personally forgives him for the 1981 attack on him in St. Peter’s Square.
1985 – – – Palestinian guerrillas kill 18 people inside airports in Rome and Vienna.
1989 – – – The Romanian Revolution ends as the last minor street confrontations and stray shootings abruptly end in Bucharest.
2007 – – – Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated in a shooting incident.
Composed by Robert A. McConnell
Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the writer and not necessarily those of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation.