In 1611 the KJV -the shorthand for the King James Version – of the Bible was published for the first time, in London. It was called that because the translation was done during the reign of King James I of England and issued as the authorized version. There had been a number of translations done during the prior couple hundred years, but most of them got their creators executed as heretics by the Catholic Church. This one escaped due to Henry VIII’s break from the Church and the power of the English crown. It gained primacy during the next 300 years, until the rise of new translations just before WWI.
Two other government-backed actions on this date created a surge of development. In 1670 King Charles II granted a permanent charter to the Hudson’s Bay Company to open up the fur trade in North America – which spurred exploration and the spread of pioneers across the US and Canada. Much later, in 2000 President Clinton announced that access to accurate GPS data would not be restricted to the US Military, thus spurring the proliferation of civilian electronic navigation applications. And in 2011 9-11 mastermind terrorist Osama bin Laden was finally hunted down and killed by US Special Forces in Pakistan.
In another relatively overlooked bit of history in 1945 a death march from the Dachau concentration camp to the Austrian border was halted by the segregated all-Nisei (second-generation Japanese-American citizens) 522nd Field Artillery Battalion of the US Army in southern Bavaria, saving hundreds of lives. These were men who had been born in the US, but who were themselves locked up with their parents and families in US internment camps because of their ethnic background. They enlisted in the army of the country that had locked them up and distinguished themselves even though the government did not trust them to join with Anglo units.
Those who celebrate this date as their birthday include Russian empress Catherine the Great (1729), Austro-Hungarian Zionist philosopher, journalist, and author Theodor Herzl (1860), German WWI ace Manfred von Richthofen (1852) the Red Baron, and American baby doc, Benjamin Spock(1903).
We lost a genius, a couple of rogues, and a few other notables on this date. Italian painter, sculptor, and visionary Leonardo da Vinci ceased to create in 1519. Red-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy (1957) and notorious keeper of files on anyone FBI director J Edgar Hoover (1972) finally passed away leaving a legacy of suspicion behind. Ironically we also bade farewell to actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr (2014) whose signature role was as an agent on the series F.B.I. And we said goodbye to two stand-out football players: Norm Van Brocklin, who went on to coach, , and Jack Kemp, who went on the serve as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and also run with Bob Dole as his VP candidate.