Italy: The Free State of Fiume Annexed by Italy
On this day in 1924, the small Free State of Fiume was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy. This small free state was independent between 1920 and 1924. The city of Fiume is now known as Rijeka and belongs to Croatia.
From 1719 it gained autonomy from the emperor Charles VI, having been part of the Holy Roman Empire. It became part of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1776, though it remained largely autonomous until its independence in 1920. There was a period between 1848 and 1868 when its autonomy was lost to Croatian rule.
With the end of World War II, Fiume became part of Yugoslavia and then with the break up of Yugoslavia, Croatia.
For more, visit:
The Question of the Adriatic – Fiume (booklet)
Norma Jeane Mortenson (Norma Jeane Baker) was Born
On this day in 1926, Norma Jeane Mortenson was born (though raised as Norma Jeane Baker). Mortenson is best known as Marilyn Monroe.
Marilyn Monroe gained her first film contract in 1946 and starred in such films as ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953),’ ‘The Seven Year Itch (1955)’ and ‘Some Like It Hot (1959).’
However, it is probably her relationship with President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, as well as her untimely death (with the many conspiracy theories that surround it) on the 5th August 1962 that are most prominent in her story.
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Scotland: Independence Gained and Lost
Scotland became a unified kingdom in 843 under King Cináed I, who united the Scots and the Picts. It would grow in size over time, but the Kingdom of Scotland began in 843.
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).