June 20: On This Day in World History … briefly

Pixabay

1597:   Dutch navigator Willem Barents, who led three expeditions to find the north-west passage and discovered Spitzbergen on is final trip, died at sea on the return voyage.

Portrait engraving of Dutch explorer Willem Barents – Wikipedia

1756:   Black Hole Horror

Of the 146 British men thrown into Calcutta’s notorious Black Hole prison, only 23 survived into the night. The Nawab of Bengal, Suraj ud-Daulah, attacked the English settlement in Calcutta because he feared invasion. Reports had reached him that the English in Bengal had fortified their without his permission and were abusing the trading privileges granted by the Imperial firman of 1717. The Black Hole measured only 18ft by 14ft (5.4m by 4.2m) in size.

The Black Hole of Calcutta, 20 June 1756 – Wikipedia

1789:   In France, the Third Estate of the States General forms a National Assembly to oppose the aristocracy’s domination of the proceedings.

The First Estate was the clergy – Wikipedia

A 13th century French representation of the tripartite social order of the middle ages – Oratores: ‘those who pray’, Bellatores: ‘those who fight’ and Laboratores: ‘those who work’ – Wikipedia

1819:   Steamship cracks the Atlantic

The first steamship to cross the Atlantic – or any ocean at all, for that matter – arrived to a tumultuous welcome in Liverpool, England. The ‘Savannah’ sailed from Savannah, Georgia, and took 25 days to make the momentous crossing. The ‘Savannah’ was 98ft (27m) longand her 90 horsepower engine was fuelled by wood and coal. She was also equipped with sails. During the crossing the crew regularly unfurled the sails when the engine was shut down to clean the salt from her boilers. This magnificent and innovative vessel was built by an American, Moses Rogers, for the express purpose of discovering if steamships could be considered practicable for ocean-going voyages. The ‘Savannah’s’ success proved that they most certainly could.

A painting of SS Savannah, 1819, by Hunter Wood – Wikipedia

1837:   Eighteen-year old Victoria accedes to the English throne on the death of her uncle, William IV.

Imperial State Crown made for Queen Victoria – Wikipedia

1863:   West Virginia, the Panhandle State, becomes the 36th state of the Union.

On October 24, 1861, when voters from 41 counties voted to form a new state, voter turnout was 34%. The name was subsequently changed from Kanawha to West Virginia – Wikipedia

1887:   Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee is celebrated all over Britain and the Empire.

Coronation of Queen Victoria by Sir George Hayter – Wikipedia

1930:   Broadway hot for Satchmo and Fats

The vogue for black music continued and people couldn’t seem to get enough of it. Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong took New York by storm when their hit revue ‘Hot Chocolates’ opened on Broadway. ‘Hot Chocolates’ – which took its title from the 12 gorgeous dancers who featured in the show – first opened at Connie’s Inn in May 1929 and critics couldn’t praise it enough. Armstrong was at his gravelly best singing ‘Ain’t Misbehaving’ and special praise had to go to Jazz Lips Richardson and his colleague Baby Cox. Pianist and vocalist Thomas ‘Fats’ Waller had to take credit for several of the excellent songs.

Fats Waller – Wikipedia

Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong – Wikipedia

1949:   American tennis player ‘Gorgeous Gussie’ Moran created a sensation at Wimbledon by exposing lace-trimmed panties under her short skirt.

Pixabay

1960:   American Floyd Patterson knocks out Swede Ingmar Johansson to become the first boxer to regain the world heavyweight title.

Floyd Patterson 1962 – Wikipedia

1979:   Film murder angers US

American TV reported Bill Stewart was gunned down by Nicaraguan National Guardsman as he walked towards a roadblock with a white flag in one hand and his official press card in the other. He had been ordered to get more action shots, so left his film crew accompanied by his Nicaraguan driver and interpreter. Suddenly one of the guardsmen ordered him first to kneel, then lie on the ground. As Stewart complied, he shot him in the head. The sequence was filmed and relayed on American TV, shocking the nation.

Bill Stewart as a senior at The Ohio State University in 1963 – Wikipedia

1990:   Classic red bus terminates

The Routemaster, the world-famous London double-decker bus, was phased out because of old age. In its 30 years of faithful service, the red ‘open platform’ bus became a tourist attraction in its own right and passengers in a hurry came to rely on being able to hop on and off the bus. But despite cannibalising even older buses for spare parts, London Regional Transport was finding it an increasing struggle to keep the fleet on the road. “The problem is that earlier models are developing fundamental faults that cannot easily be repaired.” a spokesman said. The news saddened a lot of people; the Routemaster was universally acknowledged to be the ‘best designed bus of all times’.

The solitary rear-engined Routemaster, now in preservation – Wikipedia

1990:   Nelson Mandela gets a ticker-tape welcome in New York.

Nelson Mandela – Wikipedia

US President Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela (1993). Despite publicly criticising him on several occasions, Mandela liked Clinton, and personally supported him during his impeachment proceedings – Wikipedia

 

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