History: September 2

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September 2

490BC The Great Marathon Myth: The Athenian trained runner Pheidippides leaves the town of Marathon for the city of Sparta to seek help against the invading Persian army. He then turns around and runs all the way back.

31BC The Battle of Actium: Off the coast of Greece, Roman leader Octavian's fleet faces that of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII, queen of Egypt. "Antony's fleet consisted primarily of massive quinqueremes with bronze plates while Octavianus' fleet was made up mainly of smaller Liburnian vessels. The quinqueremes had the advantage of height from which to shoot or attack from and the advantage of the plates which protected them from ramming. The Liburnian ships were much more maneuverable. At the time the primary nature of Roman naval battles was to maneuver into position to ram the opponent and thus sink their ship. Since the quinqueremes couldn't maneuver quick enough to ram the faster Liburnian ships and the Liburnians couldn't do much damage even if they did ram the plated quinqueremes the battle progressed more as a land battle than a standard sea battle. Antony's ships rowed out in two wings where Octavianus' ships were gathered at the entrance to the Gulf. Antony tried to flank Octavianus' right but the sudden move threw his own center into confusion. When Octavianus' center took advantage of the confusion the fighting grew heavy.

All day the unusual battle progressed with the land tactics of arrows and spears being fired back and forth without much chance of tangible gain. Late in the afternoon, Cleopatra and her squadron of 60 ships suddenly raised their sails and raced away from the center of the battle to the open ocean. Antony's reaction has baffled historians for ages. When he saw Cleopatra leaving, Antony immediately left his command ship and followed her with 40 of his own ships following. Some have attributed Antony's rash departure to being caught off guard when his lover decided to leave him. Others have argued that Antony and Cleopatra had always secretly planned for him to steal away with her once her ships had the opportunity to break free. What is certain is..."

1547 Death: Hernan Cortes, Spanish general, conqueror.

1666 The Great Fire of London: The fire that began in a baker's shop in Pudding Lane yesterday, rapidly spreads (There had been a drought since 27 June.) throughout the city, destroying most of London's buildings and houses. Although 13,000 buildings are destroyed in the four-day blaze only six people die. The fire finally ends on September 6 at Pye Corner when it rains. Note: It is this fire that prompts the first fire insurance polices. To rebuild the city, Londoners will use stone and brick instead of timber, the common building materials of the time. 

1752 The last day of the Julian calendar in Britain and its colonies. It is replaced by the Gregorian calendar and parliament decides that an 11-day discrepancy between the two will be rectified by making the following day 14 September.

1758 The first Anglican service of worship to be held on Canadian soil is led by Reverend Robert Wolfall at Frobisher Bay, on Baffin Island.

1766 Birth: James Forten, abolitionist movement supporter.

1775 US Revolutionary War: Hannah, the first American war vessel, is commissioned by General George Washington.

1792 Verdun, France, surrenders to the Prussian Army.

1798 The Maltese people revolt against the French occupation, forcing the French troops to take refuge in the citadel of Valetta in Malta.

1804 K. L. Harding discovers Juno, the third known asteroid. Note: In the sequence above, the bright object on top is the planet Jupiter; Juno is the object whizzing down from the upper right-middle to the lower left.

1807 The British begin bombarding Copenhagen to stop Napoleon Bonaparte from using the Danish fleet against Britain.

1838 Birth: Queen Lydia Kamekeha Liliuokalani, last queen of Hawaii (1891-93).

1839 Birth: Henry George, land reformer, writer (Progress & Poverty).

1853 Birth: Wilhelm Ostwald, in Germany, physical chemist (Nobel 1909).

1856 Birth: Yang Hsiu-ch'ing, commander in chief of the Taiping Rebellion.

1864 US Civil War: Union forces under General William Tecumseh Sherman occupy Atlanta, Georgia.

1865 Fighting between Maori tribes and English settlers ends in New Zealand.

1866 The general assembly of Crete proclaims the abolition of the Turkish authority and union with Greece.

1869 Birth: Hiram Maxim, who will succeed in making the world a quieter place by inventing the automobile muffler and the firearm silencer.

1869 Birth: Hiram Maxim, who will succeed in making the world a bloodier place by inventing the Maxim gun and other munitions of mass destruction.

1870 The captured Napoleon III capitulates to the Prussian forces at the Battle of Sedan, France. This leads to the fall of the Second French Empire, as well as the unification of Germany under Bismark's Prussian leadership.

1877 Birth: Frederick Soddy, will name an isotope and receive the 1921 Nobel prize for chemistry.

1878 Birth: Werner von Blomberg, German Field Marshal and Minister of War from 1935 to 1938. Instrumental in Hitler's rise to power, he is subsequently disgraced by marrying a woman of ill repute at a ceremony attended by Hitler, who is said to have kissed the bride. Even though he sat out Hitler's war, his role in Hitler's rise is enough for him to be incarcerated by the Allies. A bedridden wreck, he dies in American detention on March 14, 1946.

1884 Birth: Frank Laubach, in Benton, Pennsylvania, educator, taught reading through phonetics.

1885 In Rock Springs, Wyoming Territory, 28 Chinese laborers are killed and hundreds more chased out of town by striking coal miners.

1898 Battle of Omdurman: Sir Herbert (Lord) Kitchener's Anglo-Egyptian forces decisively defeat the Dervishes in Sudan, taking Khartoum.

1899 Birth: Philipp Bouhler, Reich Business Manager of the NSDAP in 1925. Director of the "Office of the Fuehrer" in 1934. Bouhler will head Aktion T-4 which will supervise the killing of millions of Germans in mental institutions and later millions of Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs in mobile operations and the concentration camps. Will commit suicide in May 19, 1945.

1901 Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, in a speech at the Minnesota State Fair, makes his famous declaration: "Speak softly and carry a big stick."

1910 Alice Stebbins Wells is admitted to the Los Angeles Police Force as the first woman police officer to receive an appointment based on a civil service exam.

1915 WW1: Austro-German armies take Grodno, Poland.

1918 Russian Revolution: The All-Russian Central Executive Committee recommends the introduction of a Red terror campaign in retaliation for the recent attack on Lenin. (Polyakov)

1923 Hitler attends the second day of a rally of Nationalists parties in Nuremberg. (Shirer I)

1926 General Ludendorff marries Mathilde von Kemnitz, and she soon begins spearheading the Ludendorff movement.

1930 Flying their plane Point d'Interrogation, French aviators Dieudonne Coste and Maurice Bellonte (above, take your pick) complete the first nonstop flight from Europe to the United States.

1933 The Soviet Union and Italy sign a pact outlining nonaggression, friendship and neutrality.

1933 Centralverein Zeitung resumes publication.

1939 WW2: Coulondre telegrams Daladier: "Stay firm, Hitler will knuckle under." France revokes its acceptance of Mussolini's peace proposals.

1939 WW2: German control is established in Danzig and a concentration camp is opened outside the city at Stutthof that will be equipped with gas chambers in which 65,000 Polish Christians will perish. Hundreds of Jews are among the first prisoners. German aircraft bomb a railway station at Kolo, killing 111 refugees.

1939 Holocaust: The Gestapo orders all Jews in Germany between 16 and 55 years of age to report for compulsory labor. (Edelheit)

1940 WW2: An agreement between the US and Britain is ratified. The US exchanges 50 old destroyers, veterans of WW1, for British bases in the West Indies and Bermuda. The first ship is taken over by a British crew on September 9.

1941 Diary of Leon Gladun: Finally we left camp for the rail station. Several hours of rain completely soaked us. At 3 in the morning we departed. We traveled for a whole week by railway transport.

1942 Holocaust: At Lachwa in Poland, 820 Jews lead by Dov Lopatin revolt against their "liquidation." 700 are killed, 120 escape. Many join a Soviet partisan unit. (Atlas)

1942 SS Dr. Johann Paul Kremer's Auschwitz Diary: "For the first time, at 3:00 A.M. outside, attended a special action. Dante's Inferno seems to me almost a comedy compared to this. They don't call Auschwitz the camp of annihilation for nothing!"

1943 Holocaust: At Treblinka, a group of 13 Jewish slave laborers kill their SS guard with a crowbar while working outside the camp. Their leader, 18-year-old Seweryn Klajnman, puts on the guard's uniform, and then "marches off" his fellow prisoners. All escape their pursuers and evade capture. (Atlas)

1944 Holocaust: Professor C. Schneider writes in a letter about the reverses which his research project has suffered: "The people in Eichberg...maintain that they knew nothing of our experiments being continued, even though one of our collaborators had been going there from time to time...so, I have to reckon with the fact that only half the idiots whom we have investigated here will be available to us for a full examination." (Science)

1944 The Warsaw Uprising: Germans murder more than 500 villagers in Majorat near Warsaw.

1944 WW2: Troops of the US First Army enter Belgium. More than 6,000 trucks of the Red Ball Express keep gasoline and other vital supplies rolling in as American troops and tanks push the Germans back toward their homeland.

1944 Anne Frank is sent to Auschwitz.

1944 WW2: US Pilot George HW Bush ejects safely from a burning plane.

1945 V-J Day: Japan formally surrenders aboard the US battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay. The war ends six years and one day after it began. (September 1 in the US)

1945 V-J Day: US President Harry 'We Gave Em Hell' Truman proclaims this day as Victory-over-Japan Day (V-J Day or Victory Day). Note: The informal agreement of surrender had been made on 14 August, but that was not V-J Day, as this humble chronicler incorrectly conveyed.

1945 Ho Chi Minh declares the independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

1946 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials: The justices meet to discuss verdicts in the Major War Criminals Trial. (Maser II)

1947 American states sign a treaty of mutual assistance, the Treaty of Rio de Janeiro.

1947 President Carlos Mancheno of Ecuador is overthrown in a coup.

1948 Birth: Christa McAuliffe, teacher, astronaut, will be the first civilian passenger on a space mission, as well as the first civilian to perish on a space mission.

1949 The Veep: Alben W. Barkley, the Vice-president of the United States under President Harry Truman, writes a letter that makes reference to his office as 'the Veep.' The name sticks, unfortunately. Alben W. Barkley is forevermore referred to as the Veep. And ever since then it has been used, as a common expression for vice-presidents, by the syllable conservationists among us. Note: Barkley, born in Kentucky, was Vice-president from 1949 until 1953.

1956 Tennessee National Guardsmen halt rioters protesting at the admission of 12 African-Americans to schools in Clinton.

1961 Cold War: The USSR continues the nuclear weapons testing series begun the day before. Note: Test ban treaty negotiations had failed with the US and Britain when the three nations could not agree upon the nature and frequency of on-site inspections.

1962 Cold War: The Soviet Union agrees to send arms to Cuba to help it meet 'threats from aggressive imperialist elements'.

1963 Alabama Governor George Wallace stops public school integration of blacks and whites by encircling Tuskegee High School with a cordon of state troopers.

1963 CBS and NBC expand the network news from 15 to 30 minutes.

1971 Luna 18 is launched by the USSR for the Moon. It eventually impacts with the Moon at Latitude 3.57 N, Longitude 50.50 E, in the Mare Fecunditatis.

1973 Death: J. R. R. Tolkien, at 81, English Christian language scholar and novelist.

1983 Yitzhak Shamir (Herut) is endorsed by Menachem Begin for Israelli Prime Minister.

1983 Moscow admits to the 1 September shooting down of a Korean Air Lines Boeing 747, killing all 269 people aboard, but claims that the jumbo jet intentionally invaded Soviet air space.

1987 West German pilot Mathias Rust, who flew a private plane from Helsinki, Finland, to Moscow's Red Square, goes on trial in Russia.

1990 Canadian soldiers seize control of an outpost of Mohawk Indians near Montreal, ending a 53-day armed standoff.

1991 The US formally recognizes the independence of Lithuania, Lativa and Estonia.

1991 The European Community-approved plan to end the civil war in Yugoslavia is accepted by the Yugoslav federal presidency. But federal forces renew their offensive against Croatia.

1992 US and Russia agree to a joint venture to build a space station.

1992 Former world chess champion Bobby Fischer defies US warnings and UN sanctions against Yugoslavia to begin his first official game in 20 years.

1993 The Vatican accepts a Chinese invitation for a high level visit to Beijing, the first such meeting since the 1949 communist takeover.

1995 The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame opens in Cleveland, Ohio.

1996 Muslim rebels and the Philippines government sign a peace pact ending 24 years of war that killed 125,000 people.

1999 The Clintons announce they are buying a home of their own in the New York suburb of Chappaqua, New York, for $1.7 million. The purchase is aimed at establishing residency for first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will later become a US senator representing New York.

2002 Sadam Hussein holds a cabinet meeting in Baghdad Iraq.

2002 British PM Tony Blair is under growing pressure to spell out whether he will commit British forces to a US-led military attack on Saddam Hussein.





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