There were positive and negative news on the religious front on this date. In 1404 Italian professor Galeazzo performed the first postmortem autopsy in Vienna. He did it for the purpose of teaching and demonstration. You might think it common, but at the time there were laws against it on moral and religious arguments. It was seen as a violation of the sanctity of the human body. These arguments would hold up progress in medicine for a long time.
In 1502 Queen Isabella I of Castile issued and edict outlawing Islam, after the Reconquista of Spain which pushed the Islamic Moors out of Spain. It forced most of her Muslim subjects to convert. On the other hand in 2016 Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill signed an Ecumenical Declaration after the first meeting between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox church leaders since their split in 1504. And in 2004 the city of San Francisco began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in response to a directive from Mayor Gavin Newsom. Again, clashing with traditional church doctrine.
There was exploratory and revolutionary news this date: On the same day that Isabella gave her edict, Vasco De Gama, from neighboring Portugal, set sail with 15 ships and 800 sailors on his second voyage to India. in 1541 Santiago, Chile was founded by Pedro de Valdivia and in 1818 Bernardo O’Higgins formally declared the Chilean Declaration of Independence from Spain. And in 1832 the newly free Ecuador annexed the Galapagos Islands.
This date in history has been proclaimed Georgia Day, because in 1733 James Ogelthorpe landed in Savannah and founded the colony of Georgia, the last of the original 13 colonies. The first stone of the Lincoln Memorial was laid in 1915 – appropriately because it is the birthdate of Abraham Lincoln – born the same day as Charles Darwin.
There was a safe landing and a crash. In 2001 the spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker touched down on 433 Eros, being the first landing on an asteriod. But predating the disasterous fire of the Hindenburg two years later in New Jersey, the USS Macon, the largest helium filled airship crashed into the Pacific Ocean off California and sank.
The NAACP was founded in 1909, construction began on the Gateway Arch in 1963, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Russian Nobel Prize winner, was exiled by the Soviet Union in 1974.
Along with Darwin and Lincoln we welcomed in some other notables on this date in history: colonial minister and author Cotton Mather (1663); miner and labor leader/organizer John L Lewis (1880); American WWII general Omar Bradley (1893) and basketball great (9 NBA titles) Bill Russell in 1934.
American Revolutionary general Ethan Allen marched off the world’s stage in 1789. The German philosopher Imanuel Kant (1804) and his fellow German philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher, who tried to integrate the Enlightenment with Protestant theology (1934) ceased to write on this date.
The American painter, Grant Wood (1942) and the talented voice actor Gary Owen (2015) who painted pictures with his words did their last works on this date. And, on a day when we again experience the spectacle of the Super Bowl, Dallas Cowboy coach Tom Landry, who experienced it was laid to rest in 2000,
And one last note – today is Red Hand Day, designed to highlight the plight of child soldiers – kids forced to fight instead of left to enjoy being children.
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