THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Saturday, April 01, 2017

April 2

1963 - The USSR launched Luna 4 - it missed the Moon by 8,500 km.

1966 - The Soviet Union's Luna 10 became the first spacecraft to orbit the Moon.

It's easy to rip on the Soviet space program for its flaws, but it's important to be honest enough to admit they had an awesome program and were ahead of the Americans in many ways in these early years of space exploration...
Partly due to their willingness to take human losses - which is something the U.S. rightly chose not to absorb.


999 - Gerbert of Aurillac was elected the first French Pope.

The period of the 'Dual Papacy' is very complicated, and unknown to most Catholics. What's important to know is the reason for this event was due to politics, not religion...This has been the case for much of the history of the Church.


1453 - Mehmed II began the siege of Constantinople.

The great city fell on May 29, 1453, and the Roman Empire finally came to an end...The fact the Eastern Empire lasted 1,000 years longer than the Western Empire is a near miracle. How it survived 700 years of constant Islamic attacks is almost as impressive.


1513 - Explorer Juan Ponce de León claimed Florida for Spain.

The New World had been Spanish for decades, but de Leon opened a whole new region to Spanish domination with the founding of Florida...Luckily the Spanish were never able to get as strong a hold on the territory of the modern-day U.S.

It's amazing to see what became of every former Spanish conquest, compared to that of those ruled by England and France (primarily England)...The difference is massive, and I've often wondered if the difference is due to Spain or due to Catholicism?


1559 - Treaty of Le Cateau-Cambresis: Ended the Habsburg-Valois War.

This treaty was a British-French agreement ending the war between Spain and France, which was fought over control of Italy...If that explanation makes your head spin it should, but such was the state of dynastic wars in 16th Century Europe - make that most of post-Roman European history.

The result of the treaty was Spain kept control of Italy...The truth of this result was it merely began a new phase of battles over control of Italy.


1792 - The U.S. Congress passed the Coinage Act, authorizing the establishment of the U.S. Mint.

The new nation was growing up, and no nation can be truly independent without its own currency.


1865 - Confederate President Davis, and most of his Cabinet, fled the capital of Richmond, Virginia:  U.S. Civil War.

1865 - After a ten-month siege, Union forces under Ulysses S. Grant captured the trenches around Petersburg, Virginia, and Confederate General Robert E. Lee led his troops on a desperate retreat westward:  U.S. Civil War.

The Confederates were on the run and nearly surrounded...The war was coming to an end, but there were still five days of killing left.


1866 - President Andrew Johnson ended the state of war in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Almost a year after the war ended and a state of war still existed...It was many more years before Union troops left the South.

Keep this in mind with all of our wars, because winning wars is often easier than winning the peace.


1876 - The Philadelphia A's and Boston Red Caps played the first National League game, in Philadelphia.

Baseball is the great American game, and this game began Major League Baseball history...It's important to remember this wasn't the first game or the first league, however.

The National League, officially known as the 'National League of Professional Baseball Clubs,' replaced the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, and to this day is the longest running professional sports league in the United States...And please don't try to pull out some obsolete sports league, because I only recognize baseball, football, basketball and hockey as legitimate American sports.


1917 - President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war against Germany:  WWI.

"...the day has come when America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured…The world must be made safe for democracy."


President Wilson's War Message

1917 - Jeannette Rankin became the first female member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

I'd be much more excited about this event if Rankin wasn't such a POS.

For the record:  She voted against entering WWI and WWII...The only congressman with such a dubious honor.


1980 - Wayne Gretzky became the first teenager to score 50 goals in an NHL season.

'The Great One' was the most dominant athlete in the history of North American team sports...Yes, he was greater than Babe Ruth, and he was much more dominant than Michael Jordan.


Amazingly, this 50 goal season was a mere blip on his path towards destroying every important offensive record.

1982 - Several thousand troops from Argentina seized the disputed Falkland Islands, located in the south Atlantic, from Britain.

Argentina thought the Brits would flinch...Before and after Margarette Thatcher they may have been correct. Unfortunately for them, this was during the time of the Iron Lady.

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