The link below is to an article that takes a look at how Bibles began to appear in hotel rooms, a practice begun by the Gideons.
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World War II: The United Kingdom Invades Iceland
On this day in 1940, Operation Fork (The Invasion of Iceland) began early in the morning in the capital Reykjavik. The objective was to prevent German occupation and the promise was made to withdraw at the conclusion of the war. The British troops were relieved by American troops a year later, before the US had officially entered the war.
The Titanic Hits an Iceberg and Starts to Sink
ABOVE: An Iceberg in the North Atlantic
On this day in 1912, at 11.40pm, the Titanic struck an iceberg and began to sink.
Australia – New South Wales: Transportation of Convicts to New South Wales Ended
On this day in 1840, the transportation of convicts to the colony of New South Wales in Australia ended. Transportation of convicts to New South Wales began with the departure of the first convicts from England on the 13th May 1787, with the first convicts arriving at Botany Bay on the 20th January 1788. Transportation of convicts continued in to other areas of Australia until the last ship arrived in Western Australia on the 10th January 1868.
Luxembourg Independence Maintained
Luxembourg, known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a small country in western Europe bordered by Belgium, France and Germany. It has a population of about 500 000 people and is almost 1000 square miles (2 586 square kilometers) in size. It’s ‘life’ began as a small fortress in 963, from which a town developed and eventually the state of Luxembourg.
Luxembourg lost its initial independence in 1437 and from that point it was ruled by various states, but regained a form of independence following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. From then however, it lost territory and was greatly reduced in size. Its independence was affirmed with two treaties, the first in 1839 and the second on this day in 1867, following what
is known as the Luxembourg Crisis.
First Glass of Coca-Cola Sold: Coca-Cola now Celebrates 125 Years
OK, so this may not be of great historical note in the overall scheme of things, but since I am a huge fan of the drink I have to mention it. Coca-Cola is celebrating 125 years of existence in one form or another – what it is today is not what it was back in the beginning. In the United States, Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton invented (or perhaps stumbled upon would be more accurate) Coca-Cola while seeking a ‘remedy’ for headache and fatigue (among other claims of things it cured or helped). It was on this day in 1886 that he sold his first Coca-Cola drink at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 1888 Asa Candler bought the rights to the recipe and began mass producing Coca-Cola as a soft drink. The rest they say is history.
Scotland: Independence Gained and Lost
Edward 1 (England) brought the majority of Scotland under his control in 1296, though Scotland regained its independence via the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. The wars for regaining Scottish independence was begun by William Wallace and Robert the Bruce (King Robert I). The independence of Scotland was recognized by England with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, signed on this day in 1328.
In 1603 the realms of England and Scotland were united by the accession of James VI to the throne of England. However, it wasn’t until this day in 1707, when the Treaty of Union was passed by the Parliament of Scotland which brought into being the United Kingdom. With this act Scotland lost its independence and there remains a movement to regain it.
Christopher Columbus: Receives His Commission of Exploration from Castile (Spain)
Christopher Columbus was born between the 22nd August and the 31st October 1451, in Genoa (now in Italy). Contrary to common belief Columbus did not discover America, but he did greatly increase European awareness of the New World.
The maritime career of Christopher Columbus began when he was 10 years old. In the years that followed he undertook a number of journeys on the open sea in various roles on various ships. In 1485 he began looking for an opportunity to explore and discover a western route to Asia. He presented his ideas to the king of Portugal and was ultimately frustrated after several attempts. He also tried England, Genoa, Venice and then Spain (Castile) in 1486. He was frustrated in all these attempts (England eventually agreed, but by that time Columbus was already in league with Castile), but the king and queen of Castile (Ferdinand II and Isabella I) retained his services and after many attempts he finally gained the support of Ferdinand II and Isabella I on this day in 1492.
In all, Columbus would make four voyages between Castile and America. His life would end in great disappointment, having been jailed and having the terms of his contract with Castile overturned due to various claims and convictions of abuse of power and mismanagement of the domains over which he governed in the New World. Columbus died on the 20th May 1506 in Valladolid, Crown of Castile (now in Spain).
Robert E. Lee: Turns Down Offer to Lead Union Troops
On this day in 1861, with the Civil War in the United States in its very early stages, Colonel Robert E. Lee was offered the role of Major General in the United States Army. Knowing that Virginia was likely to secede from the Union, Lee turned the offer down and resigned from the United States Army two days later. This despite having said to his son in a letter that ‘I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union.’ However, it was love for and loyalty to his home state of Virginia, that forced his hand to join the Confederacy. On the 23rd of April Lee took command of the armed forces of Virginia and began his role in the southern rebellion, in which he would rise to be the General-in-Chief of all Confederate forces. Almost four years later, on the 9th April 1865, his role in the war ended with his surrender to U.S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.