Sep 12 2010

On This Day in History: September 12

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

September 12 is the 255th day of the year (256th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 110 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1940, Lascaux cave paintings discovered

Lascaux is the setting of a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. The original caves are located near the village of Montignac, in the Dordogne département. They contain some of the best-known Upper Paleolithic  art. These paintings are estimated to be 17,000 years old. They primarily consist of primitive images of large animals, most of which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time. In 1979, Lascaux was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list along with other prehistoric sites in the Vezere valley.

The cave was discovered on September 12, 1940 by four teenagers, Marcel Ravidat, Jacques Marsal, Georges Agnel, and Simon Coencas, as well as Marcel’s dog, Robot. The cave complex was opened to the public in 1948. By 1955, the carbon dioxide  produced by 1,200 visitors per day had visibly damaged the paintings. The cave was closed to the public in 1963 in order to preserve the art. After the cave was closed, the paintings were restored to their original state, and were monitored on a daily basis. Rooms in the cave include The Great Hall of the Bulls, the Lateral Passage, the Shaft of the Dead Man, the Chamber of Engravings, the Painted Gallery, and the Chamber of Felines.

Lascaux II, a replica of two of the cave halls – the Great Hall of the Bulls and the Painted Gallery – was opened in 1983, 200 meters from the original. Reproductions of other Lascaux artwork can be seen at the Centre of Prehistoric Art at Le Thot, France.

 1213 – Albigensian Crusade: Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester, defeats Peter II of Aragon at the Battle of Muret.

1229 – The Aragonese army under the command of James I of Aragon disembarks at Santa Ponca, Majorca, with the purpose of conquering the island.

1609 – Henry Hudson begins his exploration of the Hudson River while aboard the Halve Maen.

1683 – Austro-Ottoman War: Battle of Vienna – several European armies join forces to defeat the Ottoman Empire

1814 – Battle of North Point: an American detachment halts the British land advance to Baltimore in the War of 1812.

1846 – Elizabeth Barrett elopes with Robert Browning.

1847 – Mexican-American War: the Battle of Chapultepec begins.

1848 – Switzerland becomes a Federal state.

1857 – The SS Central America sinks about 160 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, drowning a total of 426 passengers and crew, including Captain William Lewis Herndon. The ship was carrying 13-15 tons of gold from the San Francisco Gold Rush.

1874 – The District of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada is founded.

1890 – Salisbury, Rhodesia, is founded.

1897 – Tirah Campaign: Battle of Saragarhi

1906 – The Newport Transporter Bridge is opened in Newport, South Wales by Viscount Tredegar.

1910 – Premiere performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in Munich (with a chorus of 852 singers and an orchestra of 171 players. Mahler’s rehearsal assistant conductor was Bruno Walter)

1919 – Adolf Hitler joins the German Workers Party.

1930 – Wilfred Rhodes ends his 1110-game first-class career by taking 5 for 95 for H.D.G. Leveson Gower’s XI against the Australians.

1933 – Leo Szilard, waiting for a red light on Southampton Row in Bloomsbury, conceives the idea of the nuclear chain reaction.

1938 – Adolf Hitler demands autonomy and self-determination for the Germans of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.

1940 – Cave paintings are discovered in Lascaux, France.

1940 – An explosion at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Kenvil, New Jersey kills 51 people and injures over 200.

1942 – World War II: RMS Laconia, carrying civilians, Allied soldiers and Italian POWs is torpedoed off the coast of West Africa and sinks with a heavy loss of life.

1942 – World War II: First day of the Battle of Edson’s Ridge during the Guadalcanal campaign. U.S. Marines protecting Henderson Field on Guadalcanal are attacked by Imperial Japanese Army forces.

1943 – World War II: Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy, is rescued from house arrest on the Gran Sasso in Abruzzi, by German commando forces led by Otto Skorzeny.

1944 – World War II: The liberation of Serbia from Nazi Germany and the Chetniks continues. Bajina Bašta in western Serbia is among those liberated cities. Near Trier,

American troops enter Germany for the first time.

1948 – Invasion of the State of Hyderabad by the Indian Army on the day after the Pakistani leader Jinnah’s death.

1952 – Strange occurrences, including a monster sighting, take place in Flatwoods, West Virginia.

1958 – Jack Kilby demonstrates the first integrated circuit.

1959 – Premiere of Bonanza, the first regularly-scheduled TV program presented in color.

1959 – The Soviet Union launches a large rocket, Lunik II, at the moon.

1964 – Canyonlands National Park is designated as a National Park.

1966 – Gemini 11, the penultimate mission of NASA’s Gemini program, and the current human altitude record holder (except for the Apollo lunar missions)

1970 – Palestinian terrorists blow up three hijacked airliners in Jordan, continuing to hold the passengers hostage in various undisclosed locations in Amman.

1974 – Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, ‘Messiah’ of the Rastafari movement, is deposed following a military coup by the Derg, ending a reign of 58 years.

1977 – South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko is killed in police custody.

1979 – Indonesia is hit with an earthquake that measures 8.1 on the Richter scale.

1980 – Military coup in Turkey.

1983 – A Wells Fargo depot in West Hartford, Connecticut, United States, is robbed of approximately US$7 million by Los Macheteros.

1983 – The USSR vetoes a UN Security Council Resolution deploring the Soviet shooting down of a Korean civilian jetliner on September 1.

1988 – Hurricane Gilbert devastates Jamaica; it turns towards Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula 2 days later, causing an estimated $5 billion in damage.

1990 – The two German states and the Four Powers sign the Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany in Moscow, paving the way for German re-unification.

1992 – NASA launches Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-47 which marked the 50th shuttle mission. On board are Mae Carol Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, Mamoru Mohri, the first Japanese citizen to fly in a US spaceship, and Mark Lee and Jan Davis, the first married couple in space.

1992 – Abimael Guzman, leader of the Shining Path, is captured by Peruvian special forces; shortly thereafter the rest of Shining Path’s leadership fell as well.

1994 – Frank Eugene Corder crashes a single-engine Cessna 150 into the White House’s south lawn, striking the West wing and killing himself.

1999 – Indonesia announces it will allow international peace-keepers into East Timor.

2001 – Ansett Australia, Australia’s first commercial interstate airline, collapses due to increased strain on the international airline industry, leaving 10,000 people unemployed.

2003 – The United Nations lifts sanctions against Libya after that country agreed to accept responsibility and recompense the families of victims in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

2003 – In Fallujah, US forces mistakenly shoot and kill eight Iraqi police officers.

2005 – Hong Kong Disneyland opens in Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island, Hong Kong.

2007 – Former Philippine President Joseph Estrada is convicted of the crime of plunder.

2008 – The 2008 Chatsworth train collision between a Metrolink commuter train and a Pacific Union Freight Train kills 25 people.


  1. TMC

    Dalai Lama

    Noticing a single shortcoming in ourselves is far more useful than seeing a thousand in someone else. When it is our own: we can correct it.

  2. BobbyK

    I wonder what people will think of our cave paintings?  

Comments have been disabled.