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June 18, 2015
June 18th, 2015

Quiz: In a famous Shakespeare play one character says ” This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,….This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.” Who says it?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: The Battle of Waterloo has been presented as the British defeating the French. But what other nationalities were represented there that day?
History for 6/18/2015
Birthdays: M C Escher, Charles Gounod, James Montgomery Flagg, Kay Kayser, William Lassell 1799- English astronomer who discovered Neptune's moon Triton, Richard Boone, Jeanette MacDonald, Key Luke, Isabella Rosselini, E.G. Marshall, Roger Ebert, Eduard Daladier, Carol Kane, Sammy Kahn, The Quay Brothers, Paul McCartney is 74

1178- According to the chronicler Gervase of Canterbury, on this evening five monks sitting near the town witnessed a "flaming torch" spring up from the moon - it has been theorized that this was a lunar meteor impact; explosion on moon. Or maybe, an interplanetary visitor?

1574- Henry III de Valois was the younger son of the King of France. Being third in line for the succession he accepted the throne of Poland as better than nothing. In Krakow after his coronation and betrothal to a Polish Princess he learned his two older brothers had died and he was now king of France! Without pausing to consider the strategic advantages of a dual monarchy on either side of Germany, the spoiled young man just desired to go home immediately. He abandoned the Polish throne and galloped for the border with his court and fiance’ in hot pursuit.

1583 - Richard Martin of London takes out the first life insurance policy on his friend William Gibbons. The premium was 383 pounds.

1682 – Quaker leader William Penn founded Philadelphia.

1757-Battle of Koln- A rare time when Frederick the Great was defeated in battle by the Austrian army under Archduke Daun. Frederick in frustration shouted at his fleeing cavalry- " What? Do you want to live forever?"

1778- The British army evacuated the American Capitol of Philadelphia. The reason General Clinton pulled back his redcoats was because of his learning of the French entry into the war. London didn’t want him to be stranded in the American interior should the French fleet attack the coast. Clinton offered protection to any Philadelphia loyalists who were afraid of Yankee revenge. Six thousand American loyalists abandoned the city with the troops, many pulling their furniture laden wagons by hand because of the scarcity of horses and oxen.
By 3:00PM the British columns were gone. Then the first elements of the U.S. Army marched into the silent city down Second St. to William Penn’s mansion. They were led by the newly appointed military governor- General Benedict Arnold.

1815- WATERLOO- One of the battles that changed history. 145,000 men in brightly colored uniforms with 400 cannons blew each other to pieces for 9 hours at a road intersection about three miles square. Many factors affected Wellington's defeat of Napoleon: The previous nights rains delayed the battle until 11:00 A.M. Napoleon had a bout of stomach cramps (he had bleeding ulcers, cystitis, piles and hypertension) and while he rested his subordinates wasted troops in fruitless assaults. The Prussian army everyone thought was running to Berlin boiled into the French right just when it seemed that the French were winning. Wellington in private admitted, "It had been a very close run thing." Suffice to say the world would have been a much different place. Napoleon said: "If I lose England will dominate the world for the next 100 years." Individual stories abound.
-Towards the end of the battle the Earl of Uxbridge was struck by a cannonball while seated next to Wellington. The Earl noticed: "My God Sir, I do believe I’ve lost my leg." Wellington looked down, then replied: "My God Sir, I do believe you’re right." Uxbridge had eloped with Wellington's younger sister so he didn't like him that much anyway.
-My favorite anecdote is about General Cambronne, leader of the French elite' Old Guard. He formed up an infantry square to take a last stand to cover the French retreat. His small band is surrounded by the victorious Anglo-Dutch German army and called upon to surrender. Cambronne had time for a one word reply before all the guns go off-" MERDE!" This is a favorite French epithete meaning "sh*t!" The writer Chateaubriand later said that he cried"The Guard dies but never Surrenders!" But we all know what he really said. To this day in France if you’re too polite to use an expletive you can say: A' la mode de Cambronne!"
-Wellington didn't have any dinner until 11 p.m. He ate alone because his entire personal staff were dead or wounded.
- In later years writer Victor Hugo lived at Waterloo for awhile and was influential in making the old battlefield field a shrine. When I visited I saw across from Hugo's statue the "Victor Hugo's Private Men's Club" with "New Hostesses!"

1817- With the Iron Duke (Wellington), himself in attendance London opened a new bridge across the Thames, named the Waterloo Bridge. Later the guests sat down at the traditional Waterloo banquet and were served- you guessed it.....Beef Wellington. No crème napoleons for desert, through.

1879 - W H Richardson, an African American inventor, patents the baby buggy or perambulator.

1892 - Macademia nuts first planted in Hawaii

1898 - 1st amusement pier opens in Atlantic City, NJ

1900- The Dowager Empress of China Xiao Chin Xi calls for the killing of all foreigners during the Boxer Rebellion. She commits the Chinese Imperial Army to the expulsion of all the European colonialist powers. Empress Xiao Chin Xi was the first person westerners called the Dragon Lady, later used by Milt Caniff in his comic strip Terry & the Pirates.

1903 - 1st transcontinental auto trip begins in SF; arrives NY 3-mo later

1913- composer Cole Porter graduated from Yale.

1916- German Max Immelman, the first true fighter ace, died when the synchronizing mechanism that enabled his machine gun to fire through his propeller blades failed and he shot his own propeller off. Ach, Himmel! To take your plane in a large loop-de-loop around someone else is still called an Immelman Turn.

1923- The first Checker Cab was manufactured in Chicago. The big boxy durable Checkers were the most famous city taxicabs until dying out in the 1980s.

1927- The last radio transmission of the flying boat carrying famous arctic explorer Roald Ammundsen to the arctic circle. Norwegian Ammundsen had conquered the South Pole and flew over the North Pole. He was now called out of retirement to lead an international effort to save Italian Polar explorer General Nobile , who’s zeppelin had crashed on the arctic ice. Ironically Ammundsen disliked Nobile personally. Nobile and his men were rescued but Ammundsen and his plane were never found.

1931- The Metropolitan Museum of NY had in its collection a little blue statue of a Hippo from the tomb of the Egyptian Steward Senbi from the Twelfth Dynasty. People nicknamed it Willie and this day an article about it with a color picture appeared in Punch Magazine. Soon museum craftsmen made little replicas of Willie that they gave as gifts to donors and eventually started selling to the public. The massive retail business in museum reproductions and merchandise began with little Willie the Hippo.

1940- As the shattered French armies fall back from the Nazis onslaught Marshal Petain telephoned the German High Command and requested an armistice. Meanwhile across the Channel an obscure French colonel made a dramatic radio broadcast from London calling for Free French Resistance. Charles DeGaulle's career begins.

1945- During the battle raging for Okinawa the US Army commander General Simon Bolivar Buckner went up to the front to see better and was killed by a Japanese tank shell. At the same time the Japanese commander committed hari-kari. Okinawa was one of those rare battles like Quebec in 1759 where both commanding generals died. General Buckner’s father was a Confederate General in the Civil War who had fought Gen Douglas MacArthur's father.

1953- Dr Martin Luther King married Corretta Scott.

1959 - 1st telecast transmitted from England to US.

1959- Earl Long the Governor of Louisiana was ordered confined to a State Mental Hospital for his erratic behavior. Earl’s response was to arrange for the director of the hospital to be fired and replaced with another who declared him perfectly sane.

1967- At the Monterey Pop Rock festival Jimi Hendrix electrified the audience then finished his set by burning and smashing his guitar on stage. Until then musicians didn’t behave in such a way towards their instruments. Ravi Shankar was particularly shocked.

1980 –"We are on a mission from God." John Landis movie " The Blues Brothers" with Dan Ackroyd & John Belushi premiered.

1983- Sally Ride becomes the first U.S. woman in Space. Russian Valentina Tereshkova had gone up in 1963.

2002- President George W. Bush said:” When we talk about war, we are really talking about peace.”

2010- Pixar’s Toy Story III premiered.

Yesterday’s Question: The Battle of Waterloo has been presented as the British defeating the French. But what other nationalities were represented there that day?

Answer: Wellington’s Army besides Scots and Irishmen had Portuguese and Dutch units, As well Brunswickers and Prussians. Napoleon’s army had Polish and Neopolitan units.