In an indication that the world does not revolve around the US, here are three historical notices from this date. The oldest university in the Americas was the National University of San Marcos, in Lima, Peru, founded in 1551, way before there were even colonists in what is now the US. The Italian-built airship Norge became the first vessel to fly over the North Pole in 1926. And in 1941 German Konrad presented the Z3 as the world’s first programmable fully automatic computer in Berlin.
In other news London playwright Thomas Kyd was arrested and tortured by the British Privy Council (advisors to the Crown ) for libel in 1593 against Queen Elizabeth I. Queen Mary wasn’t the only one with blood on her hands and persecution in her methods. And in a nervous notice that lets us know that WWII wasn’t always remote US Tanker SS Virginia was torpedoed by a German U-Boat, U-507, in the mouth of the Mississippi River in 1942.
Those who strode onto the world’s stage on this date include the “lady of the lamp” Italian-English nurse and social reformer Florence Nightingale(1820); Academy Award-winning actress Katherine Hepburn (1907); and Grammy, Oscar, and Emmy Award songwriter Burt Bacharach (1928), who died earlier this year.
It is also the birthdate for three funnymen, only one of whom worked in standup comedy; Edward Lear (1812) English illustrator and nonsense poetry writer; Famed Yankee catcher and later big league manager Yogi Berra (1925) who not only earned a Purple Heart in the D-Day invasion but also entertained us with utterings like “it was like deja vu all over again”. And stand up comedian George Carlin (1937) , who dared to say the words you’re not supposed to say.
We bid farewell on this date to English poet, playwright, and critic Jon Dryden (1700), Czech composer and educator Bednich Smetana (1884) who brought us the opera The Bartered Bride, and American crooner Perry Como (2001).
In honor of Florence Nightingale, with her service in the bloody Crimean War, and all her compatriots who served in war and peace, this is International Nurses Day.