December 4, 2018 all-day

On this day in history:

1429 – – – Armagnac-Burgundian Civil War – Joan of Arc liberates Saint-Pierre-le-Moutier. The Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War was a conflict between two cadet branches of the French royal family — the House of Orléans (Armagnac faction) and the House of Burgundy (Burgundian faction) from 1407 to 1435. It began during a lull in the Hundred Years’ War against the English and overlapped with the Western Schism of the papacy.  As for Joan, is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War. She was born to, a peasant family, at Domremy in north-east France. Joan claimed to have received visions instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orleans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII’s coronation at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory. Unfortunately for Joan on 23 May 1430, she was captured at by the Burgundian faction, a group of French nobles allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English and put on trial by the pro-English bishop Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. After Cauchon declared her guilty she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age. In 1456, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, debunked the charges against her, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr.

1576 – – – Eight Years’ War – In Flanders, Spain captures Antwerp.

1677 – – – The future Mary II of England marries William, Prince of Orange – they later jointly reign as William and Mary.

1780 – – – The Rebellion of Tupac Amaru II against Spanish rule in the Viceroyalty of Peru begins.

1791 – – – The Western Confederacy of American Indians wins a major victory over the United States in the Battle of the Wabash. This was a very complicated time but here goes a quick effort – – The 1783 Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution (a war in which Native American tribes were overwhelmingly allied with the British and were treated as defeated powers, following the American victory over the British), recognized United States sovereignty of all the land east of the Mississippi River and south of the Great Lakes. The native tribes in the “old” Northwest, however, were not parties to this treaty and many of them, especially leaders such as Little Turtle and Blue Jacket, refused to recognize American claims to the area northwest of the Ohio River. The young United States government, deeply in debt following the Revolutionary War and lacking the authority to tax under the Articles of Confederation, planned to raise funds via the methodical sale of land in the Northwest Territory. This plan necessarily called for the removal of both Native American villages and any squatters living there. During the mid and late 1780s, American settlers in Kentucky and travelers on and north of the river suffered approximately 1,500 deaths during the ongoing hostilities, in which white settlers often retaliated against Indians. The cycle of violence threatened to deter settlement of the newly acquired territory, so John Cleves Symmes and Jonathan Dayton petitioned President Washington and his Secretary of War, Henry Knox, to use military force to crush the Miami. A (probably “the”) critical battle of this effort was fought on this date in the Northwest Territory as part of the Northwest Indian War and was considered the “most decisive defeat in the history of the American military.” And, it was the largest victory ever won by Native Americans. The Native Americans were led by Little Turtle of the Miamis, Blue Jacket of the Shawnees and Buckongahelas of the Delawares. The war party numbered more than one thousand warriors, including a large number of Potawatomis from eastern Michigan and the Saint Joseph. The opposing force of about 1,000 Americans was led by General Arthur St. Claire. The forces of the American Indian confederacy attacked at dawn, taking St. Clair’s men by surprise. Of the 1,000 officers and men that St. Clair led into battle, only 24 escaped unharmed. As a result, President Washington forced St. Clair to resign his post and Congress initiated its first investigation of the Executive Branch.

1791 – – – Beginning of the Russo-Ottoman siege of Corfu.

1847 – – – Sir James Young Simpson, a Scottish physician, discovers the anaesthetic properties of chloroform.

1864 – – – American Civil War – Confederate troops bombard a Union supply base and destroy millions of dollars in material at the Battle of Johnsonville.

1868 – – – Camaguey, Cuba, revolts against Spain during the Ten Years’ War.

1918 – – – World War I – The Armistice of Villa Giusti between Italy and Austria-Hungary is implemented.

1921 – – – Japanese Prime Minister Hara Takashi is assassinated in Tokyo.

1924 – – – Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming becomes the first woman elected as governor in the United States.

1939 – – – (a) World War II – President Roosevelt orders the United States Customs Service to implement the Neutrality Act of 1939, allowing cash-and-carry purchases of weapons by belligerents. An number of Neutrality Acts were passed in the 1930s, in response to the growing turmoil in Europe and Asia that eventually led to the war. They were spurred by the growth in isolationism and ono-interventionism in the U.S. following its costly involvement in World War I, and sought to ensure that the US would not become entangled again in foreign conflicts. The legacy of the Neutrality Acts is widely regarded as having been generally negative: they made no distinction between aggressor and victim, treating both equally as “belligerents”; and they limited the US government’s ability to aid Britain and France against Nazi Germany. The acts were largely repealed in 1941, in the face of German submarine attacks on U.S. vessels and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (b) USSR Supreme Soviet adopted a border change  between the Ukrainian SSR and the Belarusian SSR which transferred the region of Brest from Ukraine to Belarus. This was one of many instances of such territorial transfers in the Soviet history. They had never been disputed – until the little KGB Colonel Vladimir Putin made a phony claim that Ukraine’s Crimea should belong to Russia.

1942 – – – WWII – Disobeying a direct order from Adolph Hitler, General Field Marshal Erwin Rommel begins a retreat of his forces after a costly during the Second Battle of El Alamein.  The retreat would ultimately last five months.

1952 – – – The National Security Agency (NSA) is established.

1956 – – – Soviet troops enter Hungary to end the Hungarian revolution against the Soviet Union that started on October 23.  Thousands are killed, more are wounded, and nearly a quarter of a million leave the country. I can still remember the black and white television images of Soviet tanks rolling through Budapest.

1962 – – – The United States concludes Operation Fishbowl, its final above-ground nuclear testing series, in anticipation of the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

1970 – – – Salvador Allende takes office as President of Chile, the first Marxist to become president of a Latin American country through open elections.

1979 – – – A rabid group of Iranians overruns the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and take 90 hostages.

1980 – – – Ronald Reagan is elected the 40th President of the United States. The hostages in Iran are released.

1987 – – – USSR Council of Ministers adopted a resolution that imposed restrictions for Crimean Tatars in obtaining “propiska” (residence registration) in the Crimea. Although Soviet authorities had recognized that their whole nation had been wrongfully deported from the Crimea under Stalin, they tried to prevent the Crimean Tatars from returning to Crimea. It was only after Ukrainian independence that the independent Ukrainian government welcomed the return of the Crimean Tatars.

1989 – – – Leaders of Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany,  Poland and the USSR jointly condemned their predecessors’  decision on military occupation of   Czechoslovakia in 1868.

1995 – – – Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated by an extremist Israeli.

2008 – – – Barack Obama is elected President.

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. 


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