Thursday, May 17, 2012


On this day in 1642, French explorer Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve founds the city of Montréal. Today, Montreal is the second most populous city in Canada after Toronto, and the fifteenth largest in North America. It contains the largest metropolitan French-speaking population outside of France and remains a vibrant cultural hub.

On this day in 1792, the New York Stock Exchange is formed when the "Buttonwood Agreement" is signed by 24 stockbrokers outside of 68 Wall Street in New York, under a buttonwood tree.

On this day in 1804, the historic duo of Lewis & Clark begin exploring the land acquired from Napoleon by Thomas Jefferson, in a sweetheart deal known as the Louisiana Purchase

On this day in 1902, Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovers the Antikythera mechanism, a fascinating ancient mechanical analog computer designed to calculate the positions of the planets and certain stars. The construction has been dated to the early 1st century BCE, and - according to establishment-approved historical record - technological artifacts of similar complexity did not reappear until the 14th century, when similar astronomical clocks were built in Europe.

On this day in 1933Vidkun Quisling and Johan Bernhard Hjort form Nasjonal Samling, the Nazi party of Norway. Hence the origins of "quisling" as an insult-word denoting an enthusiastic collaboration with evil.

On this day in 1974, police in Los Angeles, California, raid the headquarters of the self-styled left-wing urban militant "revolutionary vanguard" terrorist group, the Symbionese Liberation Army, killing six members, including leader (and most likely CIA mind-control test subjectDonald "Cinque" DeFreeze and Camilla Hall, who was shot in the head while trying to give herself up to police. The raid remains one of the most vicious firefights in LAPD history... and that's saying something. 

On this day in 1978Charlie Chaplin's coffin is discovered ten miles from the Swiss cemetary where the infamous director had recently been buried. An officer at the scene drops dead of a heart-attack when, upon opening the coffin to verify that Chaplin's remains were still present, a giant boxing glove shoots out and pops him a good one right in the chops. I'm kidding of course. Moving right along... 

On this day in 2004, Massachusetts becomes the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage.

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