Germany: Heinrich Himmler Committed Suicide
On this day in 1945, Heinrich Luitpold Himmler committed suicide, thereby avoiding war crimes prosecution following Nazi Germany’s defeat in World War II. He had been arrested the previous day by British forces. He was one of the main leaders of Nazi Germany and oversaw many of the vile projects that the Nazis enforced throughout their conquered lands, including that of the Holocaust.
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India Annexes Sikkim
On this day in 1975, following a referendum in which the people of the Himalayan country of Sikkim voted in favour of merging with India, India annexed the country.
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The link below is to an article with a number of rarely seen photos of Berlin following the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
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Fort Sumter Surrenders to Confederate Troops
ABOVE: Fort Sumter
ABOVE: Fort Sumter from the Charleston Defences
On this day in 1861, Fort Sumter, the island fort in the entrance to Charleston Harbor surrendered to Confederate troops following a fierce bombardment that had begun the previous day. The Battle of Fort Sumter was the first major battle of the American Civil War.
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– Within Fort Sumter, by A. Fletcher
– Major Robert Anderson and Fort Sumter, by Eba Anderson Lawton
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.
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American Civil War: Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson Died
On this day in 1863, Confederate General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson died from wounds sustained from friendly fire during the American Civil War. Following a magnificent victory at Chancellorsville on the 2nd May 1863, Jackson was making his way back to his own lines when he was accidently shot by Confederate pickets who mistook him and his staff for Union troops.
Having been returned to Confedrate lines, Jackson survived the amputation of an arm only to die of pneumonia on the 10th May 1863. It was a loss the south could ill afford. He was one of the greatest generals of the war.
William Bligh: Mutiny on the Bounty
William Bligh was born on the 9th September 1754 to Francis and Jane Bligh in St Tudy, Cornwall. He was signed up for a career in the Royal Navy when aged 7 in 1761.
In 1776, Bligh was with Captain James Cook as Sailing Master on the Resolution for Cook’s third and final voyage during which Cook was killed. Following this Bligh served on various ships and saw military action at a number of locations including Gibraltar in 1782.
In 1787 Bligh was made commander of the Bounty. On this day in 1789, the mutiny on the Bounty took place. The mutiny was led by Fletcher Christian, Master’s Mate. Bligh and a large number of the crew were provided with a ship’s launch and a small amount of provisions and Bligh made for Timor (from near Tonga). The journey was completed in 47 days and covered a remarkable distance of 6 700km.
It is thought that the mutiny took place in order to escape from the hardline discipline of Bligh and to escape to the island pleasures of Tahiti. Evidence would suggest that Bligh was far more easy going than other captains, though the future ‘mutiny’ in Sydney (see below) would suggest otherwise. Bligh was treated well in the court-martial and was acquitted.
From the Bounty, Bligh served in various roles, including Governor of New South Wales from the 13th August 1806 to the 26th January 1808. His post ended with the Rum Rebellion, which essentially was an on land mutiny by the New South Wales Corps under Major George Johnston. He succeeded Philip Gidley King and was replaced by Lachlan Macquarie.
Bligh’s rise through the ranks of the Royal Navy continued until he was appointed Vice Admiral of the Blue in 1814, though he never again received an active command. He died on the 7th December 1817.
As an interesting side point, the current premier of Queensland (Anna Bligh) is a descendant of William Bligh.
England: Charles II Crowned in Westminster Abbey
Following the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658, political events led eventually to the restoration of the English monarchy and the ascension of Charles II to the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland. His father, Charles I, was executed by Oliver Cromwell at Whitehall on the 30th January 1649 towards the end of the English Civil War and Charles fled the country. With the death of Cromwell and the collapse of the English Commonwealth, Charles was invited to return to England and did so with great public fanfare on the 29th May 1660. He was crowned in Westminster Abbey on the 23rd April 1661.
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