Archive for the ‘History’ Category

A First-Time for Everything!

June 24, 2017

In addition to this being one of my older brothers’ birthday (Happy Birthday Jim!), and some friends’ anniversary (Happy Anniversary Tanya and Bob), and, the ninth anniversary of the creation of my blog, today also represents the day that the first European (after the Vikings) to set foot on the North American continent (John Cabot, 1497).   Cabot embarked from Bristol, England, on May 24th and arrived on the coast of either Newfoundland or Maine on June 24th.

In addition, June 24th was the day for several other “firsts,” such as the first . . .

  • Christian religious service in English on the Pacific Coast  (San Francisco Bay, CA, 1579)
  • woman in America to appeal for the right to vote (Margaret Brent, 1647)
  • tethered balloon flight (Baltimore, MD, 1784)
  • Episcopal bishop who was African-American (Reverand Samuel David Ferguson, 1885)
  • Army officer killed in battle in the Spanish-American war (Captain Allan Kissam Capron, 1898)
  • land battle in the Spanish-American war (Las Guasimas, Cuba, 1898
  • federal law requiring radios on ships (Wireless Ship Act, 1910)
  • radar detection of airplanes (Dr. Alberte Hoyt Taylor and Leo C. Young [Naval Aircraft Radio Laboratory], 1930)
  • federal administrator who was an African-American woman (Mary Jane McLeod Bethune, 1936)
  • political convention to be televised (22nd Republican Convention, 1940)
  • Presidential candidate who was renominated after a defeat (Thomas Edmund Dewey, 1948)
  • picturephone commercial service (New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, 1964)
  • cabinet member to serve in four different capacities (Elliott Lee Richardson, 1976)
  • internet camera showing the site of a presidential assassination (Dallas, TX, 1999

Source: Famous First Facts by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janel Podell.

Grand Expedition!

May 24, 2017

Did you know that on this day, May 24th (in 1869), was the beginning of the first exploration of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado by a man other than a Native American?  Major John Wesley Powell left Green River City (above the head of the Colorado River) with nine men and proceeded through the canyon and emerged from the lower end on August 29, 1869.  Only five of the nine men who started the trip completed the trip.

Some other “firsts” for today throughout history include:

  • Commercial telegraph service (1844)
  • State adoption law to consider the interests of the child (1851)
  • Civil War combat action that earned the Medal of Honor (1861)
  • Union Officer killed in the Civil War (1861)
  • Artillery fire to be directed from the air (1862)
  • Army field telegraph used in warfare (1862)
  • Steel arch bridge (1874)
  • National banking association (1875)
  • Anti-saloon organization (1893)
  • Public garage (1899)
  • Oil journal (1902)
  • Strike settlement mediated by the federal Department of Labor (1913)
  • Air combat arm of the Army (1918)
  • Croix de Guerre awarded to an American (1918)
  • Air-conditioned train (1931)
  • Baseball game at night by major league teams (1935)
  • Food-O-Mat (1945)
  • House with a built-in nuclear bomb shelter (1959)
  • Spy satellite (1960)
  • Transatlantic supersonic jet service (1976)
  • Senator to change political control of the Senate by switching parties (2001)

Source: Famous First Facts (6th ed.) by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell.

Fun Fact Friday, Number Twenty-Two!

May 5, 2017

Did you know that the largest pyramid in the world in not located in Egypt?  Do you know which country in the has the most pyramids?  Again, it would not be Egypt (the country “known” for its pyramids).

The world’s largest pyramid is actually in Mexico (Real Fact #174)!  (Happy Cinco de Mayo!)  The Great Pyramid of Cholula, also known as Tlachihualtepetl, represents a huge complex located in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico.  This pyramid is 63 miles south-east of Mexico City and stands nearly 180 feet tall with a 1,300′ x 1,300′ base.

Source: http://www.snapple.com/real-facts/

And, the country of Sudan has 220 pyramids still in existence, nearly three-times tEgypt Monument Pyramids Giza Archeologyhe number of pyramids in Egypt.  Egypt only has about eighty (80) pyramids, but includes one of the largest and best preserved: the Great Pyramid of Giza which is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Photo courtesy of http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com

 

Breaking News!

April 24, 2017

On this day (in 1936) engineers from the RCA-Victor company provided the pictures/footage of firemen answering an alarm call in Camden, New Jersey.  This represents the first unscheduled event to be televised as it occurred.  It was shown in green tint, 5×7 inches, 24 pictures per second, on a 343-line screen.

Other “firsts” for April 24th include the following:

  • American naval victory in British waters during the Revolutionary War (1778)
  • College named after an American president (1783)
  • Health board established by a city (1795)
  • Docks owned by a state ((1863)
  • Organization to offer free lunches for the poor and sick (1873)
  • Medical society for African-Americans (1884)
  • African-American Catholic priest assigned to work in the United States (1886)
  • Round-the-world solo sailing journey (1895)
  • Skyscraper higher than 750 feet (1913)
  • Joint stock land bank (1917)
  • Army general to fly over enemy lines (1917)
  • Catholic nuns in a cloistered community (1922)
  • Fathometer (1928)
  • Pipeless organ (1934)
  • Glider commercial freight service (1946)
  • African-American professional basketball player (1950)
  • Civilian pilot wounded in Vietnam (1954)
  • Coast-to-coast telecast by satellite (1962)

Source: Famous First Facts (6th ed.) by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell.

Merely a Coincidence?!

April 20, 2017

Do you know the connections (or similarities) between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy (and their assassinations)?  Are these merely coincidences or is this a part of something bigger?

  • Lincoln was elected in 1860
  • Kennedy was elected in 1960
  • Each name has seven letters
  • Both Presidents were slain on a Friday
  • Both were slain in the presence of their wives
  • Both were directly concerned with Civil Rights
  • Both Presidents had had the legality of their elections contested
  • Kennedy’s secretary, Lincoln, warned him not to go to Dallas
  • Lincoln’s secretary, Kennedy, warned him not to go to the theater
  • Both of their successors were named Johnson
    • Andrew Johnson
    • Lyndon Johnson
    • Each name contains thirteen (13) letters
    • Both served in the U.S. Senate
    • Both were southern Democrats
    • Andrew Johnson was born in 1808
    • Lyndon Johnson was born in 1908
  • Booth and Oswald were both southerners favoring unpopular ideas
  • Booth shot Lincoln in a theater and hid in a warehouse
  • Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse and hid in a theater
  • Booth and Oswald were murdered before their trials could be arranged
  • Lincoln and Kennedy were carried in death on the same caisson
  • Booth and Oswald were born 100 years apart
  • John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald, each name has fifteen (15) letters

The Tax Man Cometh!

April 13, 2017

With the deadline for filing your 2016 individual returns right around the corner, here’s an infographic on “A Brief History of Taxes” that you just might find interesting.  It hasn’t been updated since 2011, but informative nonetheless.

https://images.turbotax.intuit.com/iqcms/marketing/lib/fun/historyoftaxes/history-of-US-taxes-infographic-657.jpg
Taxes Done Right with TurboTax

Origins of State Names!

March 13, 2017

Happy Monday!  Do you know how your state got its name?  Here is an informative infographic that details this very thing.  Enjoy!

How All 50 U.S. States Got Their Names[Source: Today I Found Out]

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving officially became a holiday 153 years ago (President Abraham Lincoln proclamation, October 3, 1863, declaring the last Thursday of November as the holiday).  I know you are curious and just dying to know some of the facts that follow, so sit back and relax, here is a list of some truly trivial Thanksgiving facts . . . Thanksgiving by the numbers:

  • 4 places as well as 11 townships in the U.S. with “Turkey” in their name
    • Turkey Creek village (Louisiana)
    • Turkey city (Texas)
    • Turkey Creek (Arizona)
    • Turkey town (North Carolina)
  • 7 places or townships with “Cranberry” in their name
  • 33 counties, places, and townships with “Plymouth” in their name.
  • 65,975 = the number of grocery stores in the U.S. (2014)
  • 3,109 = the number of bakeries in the U.S. (2014)
  • 2,798 = the number of fruits and vegetables markets in the U.S. (2014)
  • 243 million = the number of turkeys raised in the U.S. (2016)
    • 44 million (Minnesota)
    • 33 million (North Carolina)
    • 26 million (Arkansas)
    • 20 million (Indiana)
    • 19.7 million (Missouri)
    • 17 million (Virginia)
  • $19.3 million = value of live turkeys imported to the U.S. — mostly from Canada (2015)
  • 850 million pounds = cranberries produced in the U.S.  — 521 million in Wisconsin (2016)
  • 3.1 billion pounds = sweet potatoes produced in the U.S. (2015)

Source: U.S. Census, https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2016/cb16-ff19.html

It’s Been Half a Century!

August 12, 2016

Here is a list of “firsts” from fifty years ago (1966).  A fun stroll through history.

  • 1st civilian astronaut to orbit the earth (Neil Armstrong, March 16th)
  • 1st Black Panther Party organizational meeting (Oakland, CA, October 15th)
  • 1st Black Power advocate (Stokely Carmichael, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Atlanta, GA, in June)
  • 1st African-American cabinet member (Robert Clifton Weaver, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, January 18th)
  • 1st car with front-wheel drive (Oldsmobile Toronado)
  • 1st medical substitute for catgut (Dexon, a polyglycolic acid suture produced in April)
  • 1st African American professional basketball coach (Bill Russell, Boston Celtics)
  • 1st African American Coast Guard Academy graduate (Merle James Smith, Jr., Baltimore, MD, June 8th)
  • 1st computer modem that was practical (John van Geen, Stanford, CA)
  • 1st Department of Transportation (October 15th)
  • 1st endangered species list issued by the federal government
  • 1st federal district court judge who was an African-American woman (Constance Baker Motley, August 30th)
  • 1st hospital to offer a sex-change operation (John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD)
  • 1st Kwanzaa celebration (December 26th, California)
  • 1st manned docking of two spacecraft (March 16th, Gemeni 8 and an Agena target vehicle)
  • 1st female marathon runner from the United States (Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb, Boston Marathon)
  • 1st Medal of Honor awarded to a Seabee (Marvin Glen Shields of Port Townsend, WA, for heroism in the 14-hour battle at Dongzoal, Vietnam, awarded September 13th, posthumously)
  • 1st motorboat ocean race (Sam Griffith Memorial Race, Miami, FL to Bimini, Bahamas, February 22nd)
  • 1st National Endowment for the Humanities grants (American Society of Papyrologists, Cincinnati, OH)
  • 1st African-American Navy captain (Thomas David Parham, Jr., Newport News, VA, February 1st)
  • 1st open-reel video tape recorder for home use (Sony’s TCV-2010)
  • 1st parachute jumper snagged by an airplane in midair (Charles M. Alexander, Sussex County Airport, Georgetown, DE, August 29th)
  • 1st photograph of the earth taken from the moon (Lunar Orbiter 1, August 23rd)
  • 1st rocket-tracking ship (Vanguard [WWII tanker], January 31st)
  • 1st African-American Senator to be elected by popular vote (Edward William Brooke, Massachusetts, November 8th)
  • 1st Sergeant Major of the Army (William O. Wooldridge, Shawnee, OK, July 11th)
  • 1st space probe to achieve a lunar orbit (Lunar Orbiter 1, August 14th)
  • 1st space treaty signed by the United States (Treaty on Principles of Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies [endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly], December 19th)
  • 1st x-ray three-dimensional stereo fluoroscopic system (University of Oregon Medical Center, Portland, OR, April 15th)

Source: Famous First Facts by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell.

Dog Days!

July 23, 2016

Welcome to the midpoint of the dog days of summer!  The “dog days” of summer generally refers to the hottest and most sultry days occurring in July and August (more specifically, the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of the star Sirius with the Sun).  Sirius, the star that is the brightest and most visible from the earth is also known as the “dog star” due to its position within the Canis Major constellation.  This span of days falls between July 3rd and August 11th.

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, “in the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. On July 23rd, specifically, it is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather. They referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or ‘dog days.'”

I hope you can stay cool by finding some shade or air conditioning!