History: July 29

July 29

1030 Norwegian King Olav Haraldsson is killed in the Battle of Stiklestad (near Nidaros, now Trondheim). During his reign as Viking king, he used harsh methods to convert Norwegians into Christians. It was only with his death, and alleged supernatural events surrounding it, that Norway embraced Christianity. After his death, Olav Haraldsson is declared a saint.

1588 Off the coast of Gravelines, France, Spain's so-called 'Invincible Armada' is defeated by an English naval force under the command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake. After eight hours of furious fighting, a change in wind direction prompts the Spanish to break off from the battle and retreat toward the North Sea. Its hopes of invasion crushed, the remnants of the Spanish Armada begin a long and difficult journey back to Spain. In the late 1580s, English raids against Spanish commerce and Queen Elizabeth I's support of the Dutch rebels in the Spanish Netherlands led King Philip II of Spain to plan the conquest of England. Pope Sixtus V gave his blessing to what was called 'The Enterprise of England', which he hoped would bring the Protestant isle back into the fold of Rome. A giant Spanish invasion fleet was completed by 1587, but Sir Francis Drake's daring raid on the Armada's supplies in the port of Cádiz delayed the Armada's departure until May 1588.

On 19 May, the Invincible Armada set sail from Lisbon on a mission to secure control of the English Channel and transport a Spanish army to the British isle from Flanders. The fleet was under the command of the Duke of Medina-Sidonia and consisted of 130 ships carrying 2,500 guns, 8,000 seamen, and almost 20,000 soldiers. The Spanish ships were slower and less well armed than their English counterparts, but they planned to force boarding actions if the English offered battle, and the superior Spanish infantry would undoubtedly prevail. Delayed by storms that temporarily forced it back to Spain, the Armada did not reach the southern coast of England until 19 July. By that time, the British were ready. On 21 July, the English navy began bombarding the seven-mile-long line of Spanish ships from a safe distance, taking full advantage of their long-range heavy guns. The Spanish Armada continued to advance during the next few days, but its ranks were thinned by the English assault. On 27 July, the Armada anchored in exposed position off Calais, France, and the Spanish army prepared to embark from Flanders. Without control of the Channel, however, their passage to England would be impossible. Just after midnight on 29 July, the English sent eight burning ships into the crowded harbor at Calais. The panicked Spanish ships were forced to cut their anchors and sail out to sea to avoid catching fire. The disorganized fleet, completely out of formation, was attacked by the English off Gravelines at dawn. In a decisive battle, the superior English guns won the day, and the devastated Armada was forced to retreat north to Scotland. The English navy pursued the Spanish as far as Scotland and then turned back for want of supplies. Battered by storms and suffering from a dire lack of supplies, the Armada sailed on a hard journey back to Spain around Scotland and Ireland. Some of the damaged ships foundered in the sea while others were driven onto the coast of Ireland and wrecked. By the time the last of the surviving fleet reached Spain in October, half of the original Armada was lost and some 15,000 men had perished. Queen Elizabeth's decisive defeat of the Invincible Armada made England a world-class power and introduced effective long-range weapons into naval warfare for the first time, ending the era of boarding and close-quarter fighting.

1602 The Duke of Biron is executed in Paris for conspiring with Spain and Savoy against King Henry IV of France.

1603 Bartholomew Gilbert is killed in Virginia by Indians, during a search for the missing Roanoke colonists.

1693 The Army of the Grand Alliance is destroyed by the French at the Battle of Neerwinden.

1715 Ten of fifteen Spanish treasure galleons are sunk off the Florida coast by a hurricane.

1871 Death: John Slidell, in London.

1773 The first schoolhouse to be located west of the Allegheny Mountains is built in Schoenbrunn, Ohio.

1775 US Revolutionary War: The US Army Chaplaincy is founded, making it the second oldest branch of that service, after the Infantry.

1805 Birth: Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian, statesman, writer, (Democracy in America).

1830 French Revolution: Liberals led by the Marquis of Lafayette seize Paris in opposition to the king's restrictions on citizens' rights.

1848 At the height of the Potato Famine in Ireland, an abortive nationalist revolt against English rule is crushed by a government police detachment in Tipperary. In a brief skirmish in a cabbage patch, Irish nationalists under William Smith O'Brien are overcome and arrested. The nationalists, members of the Young Ireland movement, had planned to declare an independent Irish republic, but they lacked support from the Irish peasantry, who were occupied entirely with surviving the famine.

1862 US Civil War: Confederates are routed by Union guerrillas at Moore's Mill, Missouri.

1862 The Alabama: Palmerston's advisors recommend that the ship, being built in an English shipyard for the Confederacy, should be detained.

1871 Birth:  Rasputin (Gregory Efimovich), the mad Russian monk.

1875 Peasants in Bosnia and Herzegovina rebel against the Ottoman army.

1877 Birth: Charles William Beebe, American biologist, explorer, writer.

1883 Birth: Benito Mussolini born in Dovia di Predappio, Italy

1890 Death: Vincent van Gogh, artist, in Auvers, France, at the age of 37, two days after he blasted himself in the chest with a revolver. The brilliant artist had exhibited signs of epilepsy and schizophrenia, for which there was little treatment at the time, and unable to handle his depressions and hallucinations any longer, he commits suicide. The Dutch painter created more than 1,600 paintings and drawings in only ten years, of which Starry Night was one of his most important works. Van Gogh's final words were, 'There is no end to sorrow'.

1898 Birth: Isidor Isaac Rabi, in Poland, physicist, explored the atom, Nobel-1944.

1900 Death: Umberto I, Italian king, is shot to death in Monza, Italy, by Gaetano Bresci, an Italian-born anarchist who resided in America before returning to his homeland to murder the king. Crowned in 1878, King Umberto became increasingly authoritarian in the late 19th century. He enacted a program of suppression against the radical elements in Italian society, particularly members of the popular anarchist movements. Gaetano Bresci, who was born into poverty in Tuscany, immigrated to America in the 1890s seeking a better life. Bresci settled with his family in Paterson, New Jersey, and was employed in a weaving mill. The city was a hotbed of Italian American radicalism at the time, and Bresci became a cofounder of an anarchist newspaper, La Questione Sociale. Sacrificing his free time and scarce extra money to the paper, Bresci was regarded by his political allies as a devoted anarchist. He never forgot his countrymen back in Italy, and he read with horror of the events that unfolded in 1898. The crops were poor that year, and much of the peasantry was starving. Seeking a respite from their government, peasants and workers marched to Milan to petition the king for relief. King Umberto ordered the demonstrators to disperse, and when they did not, he ordered the Italian army under General Bava Beccaris to force them out of Milan. Beccaris' soldiers fired cannons and numerous rounds into the crowd, and hundreds were killed. When Umberto then decorated Beccaris for the military action, Bresci resolved that the king should die. Taking money from the newspaper without explaining to his compatriots why, Bresci traveled to Italy and in July 1900 finally got close to the king, who was making a royal visit to Milan. Umberto had already survived two attempts on his life, but on this day, Bresci hit his mark, felling the king with three bullets. Bresci was arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to a life of hard labor at Santo Stefano Prison on Ventotene Island. On 22 May 1901, he was found dead in his cell, allegedly a victim of suicide.

1900 Birth: Hermann Esser, one of Hitler's earliest comrades. NSDAP propaganda chief, 1925-26. Appointed Bavarian Economy minister in 1933, president of Reich Tourist Traffic Association in 1936 and state secretary of the Reich Propaganda Ministry. In 1950, Esser was sentenced to five years in labor camp but was released in 1951. Kept a low profile in Germany for the next thirty years.

1905 Birth: Dag Hammerarskjold, Swedish diplomat, Nobel Peace Prize winner (1961), 2nd secretary-general of the United Nations (UN) (1953-1961). His spiritual journal Markings was published in 1964, three years after his untimely death in a plane crash.

1914 WW1: Austrian forces invade Serbia and begin an artillery bombardment of Belgrade, the Serbian capital.

1914 WW1: Russia mobilizes its troops near the Austrian border.

1920 Birth: Hank Ketchum, cartoonist, creator of Dennis the Menace.

1921 The Council on Foreign Relations is founded in Washington D.C. It's British counterpart is the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

1933 Holocaust: Professor Fischer, recently elected as Rector of the University of Berlin, in which capacity he is responsible for signing his Jewish colleagues' dismissal notices, says in his inaugural address: "The new leadership, having only just taken over the reins of power, is deliberately and forcefully intervening in the course of history and in the life of the nation, precisely where this intervention is most urgently, most decisively, and most immediately needed. To be sure, this need can only be perceived by those who are able to see and to think within a biological framework, but it is understood by these people to be a matter of the gravest and most weighty concern. This intervention can be characterized as a biological population policy, biological in this context signifying the safeguarding by the state of our hereditary endowment and our race, as opposed to the unharnessed processes of heredity, selection, and elimination." (Science)

1933 Holocaust: Germany revokes the citizenship of naturalized eastern European Jews.

1937 Otto Rahn makes a second expedition to Montsegur.

1939 Holocaust: Jews in Slovakia are forbidden to live in rural areas.

1940 Holocaust: German Jews are forbidden to have telephones in their homes. (Persecution)

1941 WW2: Army Bishop Rarkowski issues a pastoral letter to the German armed forces describing Germany as "the savior and champion of Europe." We know he added, that this war against Russia is waged by us as "a European Crusade," a task similar to that fulfilled in earlier times by the Teutonic knights. (Lewy)

1941 WW2: Japan freezes Dutch assets.

1941 WW2: The Germans execute 122 "Communists and Jews" for resistance in Serbia. (Atlas)

1942 Holocaust: Eduard Schulte, general manager of the Giesche mining operation near Auschwitz, departs Breslau by train for Switzerland, where he plans to disclose the German plan for the "final solution of the Jewish question," which he apparently had learned of not long after Himmler's visit to Auschwitz on July 17. He soon gives his information to several Jewish organizations, and through them, anonymously, to the rest of the world. Schulte's warning seems to have been the first report to reach the West of an overall Nazi plan, authorized at the highest levels, to eliminate the Jewish people entirely. (Silence)

1943 WW2: Allied terror bombers again hit Hamburg by day and night.

1944 WW2: Radio Moscow urges the inhabitants of Warsaw to revolt: "The hour of action has already arrived."

1944 Holocaust: The Germans begin a "death march" evacuation of 3,250 slave laborers from Warsaw. (Atlas)

1945 WW2: Japanese warships sink the American cruiser Indianapolis, killing 883 seamen in the worst loss in the history of the US navy. As a prelude to a proposed invasion of the Japanese mainland, scheduled for 1 November, US forces bombed the Japanese home islands from sea and air, as well as blowing Japanese warships out of the water. The end was near for Imperial Japan, but it was determined to go down fighting. Just before midnight of the 29th, the Indianapolis, an American cruiser that was the flagship of the Fifth Fleet, was on its way, unescorted, to Guam, then Okinawa. It never made it. It was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Interestingly, the submarine was commanded by a lieutenant who had also participated in the Pearl Harbor invasion. There were 1,196 crewmen onboard the Indianapolis; over 350 died upon impact of the torpedo or went down with the ship. More than 800 fell into the Pacific. Of those, approximately 50 died that first night in the water from injuries suffered in the torpedo explosion; the remaining seamen were left to flounder in the Pacific, fend off sharks, drink sea water (which drove some insane), and wait to be rescued. Because there was no time for a distress signal before the Indianapolis went down, it was 84 hours before help arrived. This was despite the fact that American naval headquarters had intercepted a message on 30 July from the Japanese submarine commander responsible for sinking the Indianapolis, describing the type of ship sunk and its location. The Americans assumed it was an exaggerated boast and didn't bother to follow up. Only 318 survived; the rest were eaten by sharks or drowned. The Indianapolis's commander, Captain Charles McVay, was the only officer ever to be court-martialed for the loss of a ship during wartime in the history of the US Navy. Had the attack happened only three days earlier, the Indianapolis would have been sunk carrying special cargo, the atom bomb, which it delivered to Tinian Island, northeast of Guam, for scientists to assemble.

1947 ENIAC, one of the world's first digital computers, Is turned back on after receiving a memory implant. The machine, built by a team of engineers headed by John Mauchly and Presper Eckert at the University of Pennsylvania, had been accepted by the Army in June 1946, then moved to army facilities in Aberdeen, Maryland. Meanwhile, John Von Neumann had come up with a proposal to give the machine rudimentary storage capacity, which the machine lacked. The machine was shut off 9 November 1946, for refurbishment. After it was rebooted on 29 July, the machine remained turned on and in service until 2 October 1955.

1948 King George VI opens the 14th, the first post-war, Olympic Games in London.

1952 A federal court in Chicago rules that a broadcasting company is not to be held liable for a guest's ad-lib remarks, unless malice or negligence on the station's part is proven.

1957 The International Atomic Energy Agency is established.

1958 The United States Congress passes legislation formally inaugurating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The establishment of NASA is a sign that the United States is committed to winning the 'space race' against the Soviets. President Eisenhower signs it into law. (National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Space Act of 1958).

Central Afghanistan from Gemini 5

1965 Gemini 5 returns to earth after 12 days 7 hours 11 minutes and 53 seconds.

1967 Fire sweeps the USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin. 134 US servicemen are killed.

1968 Pope Paul VI's encyclical reaffirms his stand against artificial birth control.

Mars from Mariner 6

1969 Mariner 6 begins transmitting far-encounter photos of Mars.

1974 A second impeachment vote against Richard Nixon is taken by the House Judiciary Committee.

1975 OAS (Organization of American States) members vote to lift collective sanctions against Cuba. The US government welcomes the action and announces its intention to open serious discussions with Cuba on normalization.

1975 President Gerald Ford becomes the first US president to visit Auschwitz.

1993 The Israeli Supreme Court acquits retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk of being Nazi death camp guard 'Ivan the Terrible.'  His death sentence is thrown out and he is set free.

1999 A federal judge in Little Rock, Arkansas, fines President Bill 'That Woman' Clinton $89,000 for lying about his relationship with Lewinsky in his deposition in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.



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