The Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance is Signed
The Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, also known as the Warsaw Pact, was signed in Warsaw, Poland. This was the military alliance signed by the Eastern Bloc of nations, namely the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania. The treaty came about in response to West Germany being included in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on the 9 May 1955. These were the two major treaties to come out of post war (WWII) Europe and were the opposing parties of the Cold War.
For more information on the Cold War see:
Timeline of the Cold War:
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.
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.
Giovanni da Verrazzano: Discovery of New York Bay
On this day in 1524, navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano, discovered New York Bay. Verrazzano was employed by the French king, Francis I, to find a sea route to the Pacific Ocean in order to reach China. After a failed first expedition, Verrazzano in the ‘La Dauphine,’ left France on the 17th January 1524 for the North American mainland. Once in American waters he explored the east coast of North America, including the area from North Carolina to New York. During his journey he came into contact with native American Indians and entered the Hudson River. The area explored by Verrazano was named ‘New France.’
Verrazzano is thought to have been born in 1485, south of Florence in Italy, though more recent research would suggest he was born in Lyon, France. Verrazzano died during a third trip to America, when he was killed and eaten by native Carib Indians on the island of Guadeloupe in 1528.
As with any other day, there was plenty more that happened on this day in history. Among the more important events on this day in the past were:
In 1492, Christopher Columbus signed a contract with Spain to find the Indies.
In 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1534, Sir Thomas Moore was confined in the Tower of London.
In 1970, Apollo 13 sucessfully returned to earth.