Two monarchs gained the throne on this day in history and are now both gone -because despite all the perks of it royalty does not grant immortality. James II of England (also James VI of Scotland) became king in 1685 upon the death of his brother Charles II. In 1952 Queen Elizabeth became queen upon the death of her father George VI, on this date, even though the coronation would be later. When her father died she and Philip were in Kenya at the Treetop Hotel, so they did not find out about it till the next morning when they came back into town.
In non-royal political news in 1899 the Treaty of Paris, this time between Spain and the US, was signed, ending the Spanish-American War which had been fought largely in Cuba and the Philippines. In 1922 the Washington Naval Treaty was signed in Washington DC, limiting the naval armaments of the US, UK, Japan, France, and Italy – in order to try to stave off another war – it failed obviously. In 1918 women’s right to vote was approved in Britain – but unlike the US it was limited to only women 30 years or older who met certain minimum property ownership requirements. And in 1919 the five-day Seattle General Stike started when more than 65,000 workers walked off their jobs in protest over working conditions. Seattle has always been a proud labor town.:)
In 1996 the Willamette Valley in Oregon had a massive flood, causing over $500 million worth of property damage. And in 1978 the Blizzard of 1978 hit New England with sustained winds of 65 mph and snowfall of 4 inches per hour. I would later encounter the Blizzard when it hit the Midwest – I was in Ohio at college. On a side note in 1959 Jack Kirby of Texas Instruments filed the first patent for an integrated circuit, which would revolutionize the electronics industry – especially computers.
Three American political leaders were born on this day. Aaron Burr (“sir”) 3rd VP of the US,, but more notable or notorious for his duel with Alexander Hamilton (“not gonna throw away my shot”) was born in 1756. Ronald Reagan our 40th President, after acting and being a two-term California Governor,, was born in 1911, who also had an airport in DC named after him in 1998. And Robert La Follette, the founder of the Re Progressive Party in Wisconsin, and who served as Senator from that state, was born in 1895.
We also welcomed into the world three non-politicians who made their own unique mark on the world. Babe Ruth in 1895, Bob Marley in 1945, and Natalie Cole in 1950. We also welcomed anthropologist Mary Leakey in 1913, journalist and author Tom Brokaw in 1940, and MASH’s Mike Farrell in 1939.
We bid farewell to a historian and one who made history- Barbara Tuchman (Guns of August, about WWI) in 1989, and Emilio Aguinaldo, Filipino general and politician, first president of the Philippines, who fought both the Spanish and the US to try to keep his country free -died in 1964 after finally seeing it become a reality after WWII.
We also said goodbye on this date in 1804 to English chemist Joseph Priestley, who discovered nine gases, including oxygen. And we said a very sad goodbye to Arthur Ashe, tennis great and AIDS victim (blood transfusion) in 1993.