Monday, July 24, 2017

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR JULY 24


On this day in 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier plants a cross on the Gaspé Peninsula and takes possession of the territory in the name of Francis I of France.

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On this day in 1847, after 17 months tramping through the American wilderness, Brigham Young and his merry band of Mormon pioneers finally settle down in the Salt Lake Valley region of what would one day become the state of Utah. California sure dodged a bullet!

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On this day in 1911, explorer Hiram Bingham III finds Machu Picchu, the legendary Lost City of the Incas. Bingham was the well-to-do son of a Protestant Hawaiian missionary who became a gentleman scholar, a prolific author, a profoundly vile racist, a governor of Connecticut, a Senator at the federal level, and, finally, the real-life inspiration for the character of Indiana Jones. They don't make 'em like Bingham anymore.

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On this day in 1915, the passenger ship S.S. Eastland capsizes while tied to a dock in the Chicago River. A total of 844 passengers and crew are killed in the largest loss of life disaster from a single shipwreck on the Great Lakes.

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On this day in 1922, the draft of the British Mandate of Palestine was formally confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations; it came into effect on 26 September 1923.

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On this day in 1959, then vice-president Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev engage in their infamous "kitchen debate" while standing in the middle of a model kitchen at theAmerican National Exhibition in Moscow. Eventually, the two men reach a compromise, deciding to go with Krushchev's choice of enamel tile instead of the formica Nixon wanted, but in the sky-blue color pattern favored by Tricky Dick, rather than the deep red tones favored by Nikita.

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On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy said: "I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth." On this day in 1969... mission accomplished.

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On this day in 1967, during an official state visit to Canada, French President Charles de Gaulle declares to a crowd of over 100,000 in Montreal: "Vive le Québec libre!" The statement, interpreted as support for Quebec independence, delighted many Quebecers but angered the Canadian government and many English Canadians.

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On this day in 1998, Russell Eugene Weston, Jr. bursts into the United States Capitol and opens fire killing two police officers. He is later ruled to be incompetent to stand trial.

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On this day in 2001, real estate mogul Larry Silverstein signs a $3.2 billion, 99 year lease on the World Trade Center. It includes an insurance policy which specifically covers acts of terrorism, which was extremely fortuitous, because in 7 weeks the terrorist attacks of 9/11 would take place.

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On this day in 2001, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the last Tsar of Bulgaria when he was a child, is sworn in as Prime Minister of Bulgaria, becoming the first monarch in history to regain political power through democratic election to a different office.

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On this day in 2009, the MV Arctic Sea, supposedly carrying a cargo of timber but rumored to be carrying far more disturbing cargo, is allegedly hijacked in the North Sea by pirates - which hardly EVER happens - so much speculation remains as to the actual cargo and events.

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