This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
September 29 is the 272nd day of the year (273rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 93 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1547, Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, is born this day near Madrid.
Cervantes led an adventurous life and achieved much popular success, but he nevertheless struggled financially throughout his life. Little is know about his childhood, except that he was a favorite student of Madrid humanist Juan Lopez, and that his father was an apothecary.
In 1569, Cervantes was living in Rome and working for a future cardinal. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the Spanish fleet to fight against the Turks. At the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, he took three bullets and suffered permanent damage to his left hand. Later, he was stationed at Palermo and Naples. On the way home to Madrid in 1575, he and his brother Roderigo were captured by Barbary pirates and held captive in Algiers. Cervantes was ransomed after five years of captivity and returned to Madrid, where he began writing. Although his records indicate he wrote 20 to 30 plays, only two survive. In 1585, he published a romance. During this time, he married a woman 18 years younger than he was and had an illegitimate daughter, whom he raised in his household. He worked as a tax collector and as a requisitioner of supplies for the navy, but was jailed for irregularities in his accounting. Some historians believe he formulated the idea for Don Quixote while in jail.
In 1604, he received the license to publish Don Quixote. Although the book began as a satire of chivalric epics, it was far more complex than a simple satire. The book blended traditional genres to create a sad portrait of a penniless man striving to live by the ideals of the past. The book was a huge success and brought Cervantes literary respect and position, but did not generate much money. He wrote dramas and short stories until a phony sequel, penned by another writer, prompted him to write Don Quixote, Part II in 1615.
Cervantes died in Madrid on April 23, 1616. In honor of the date on which both Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare died, UNESCO established April 23 as the International Day of the Book. (Shakespeare and Cervantes, however, did not actually die on the same day, as the April 23 date for Shakespeare is Julian calendar (Old Style) and the April 23 date for Cervantes is Gregorian calendar (New Style) as those were the calendars in effect in England and in Spain, respectively, at that time. The Gregorian calendar was then ten days ahead of the Julian.)
522 BC – Darius I of Persia kills the Magian usurper Gaumata, securing his hold as king of the Persian Empire.
480 BC – Battle of Salamis: The Greek fleet under Themistocles defeats the Persian fleet under Xerxes I.
61 BC – Pompey the Great celebrates his third triumph for victories over the pirates and the end of the Mithridatic Wars on his 45th birthday.
1227 – Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, is excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX for his failure to participate in the Crusades.
1364 – Battle of Auray: English forces defeat the French in Brittany; end of the Breton War of Succession.
1789 – The U.S. War Department first establishes a regular army with a strength of several hundred men.
1789 – The first U.S. Congress adjourns.
1829 – The Metropolitan Police of London, later also known as the Met, is founded.
1848 – Battle of Pakozd: Hungarian forces defeat Croats at Pakozd; the first battle of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.
1850 – The Roman Catholic hierarchy is re-established in England and Wales by Pope Pius IX.
1864 – American Civil War: The Battle of Chaffin’s Farm is fought.
1885 – The first practical public electric tramway in the world is opened in Blackpool, England.
1907 – The cornerstone is laid at Washington National Cathedral in the U.S. capital.
1911 – Italy declares war on the Ottoman Empire.
1916 – John D. Rockefeller becomes the first billionaire.
1918 – World War I: The Hindenburg Line is broken by Allied forces. Bulgaria signs an armistice.
1941 – World War II: Holocaust in Kiev, Ukraine: German Einsatzgruppe C begins the Babi Yar massacre, according to the Einsatzgruppen operational situation report.
1943 – World War II: U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio sign an armistice aboard the Royal Navy battleship HMS Nelson off Malta.
1949 – The Communist Party of China writes the Common Programme for the future People’s Republic of China.
1951 – The first live sporting event seen coast-to-coast in the United States, a college football game between Duke and the University of Pittsburgh, is televised on NBC.
1954 – The convention establishing CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) is signed.
1957 – 20 MCi (740 petabecquerels) of radioactive material is released in an explosion at the Soviet Mayak nuclear plant at Chelyabinsk.
1960 – Nikita Khrushchev, leader of Soviet Union, disrupts a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly with a number of angry outbursts.
1962 – Alouette 1, the first Canadian satellite, is launched.
1963 – The second period of the Second Vatican Council opens.
1963 – The University of East Anglia is established in Norwich, England.
1964 – The Argentine comic strip Mafalda is published for the first time.
1966 – The Chevrolet Camaro, originally named Panther, is introduced.
1971 – Oman joins the Arab League.
1972 – Sino-Japanese relations: Japan establishes diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China after breaking official ties with the Republic of China.
1975 – WGPR in Detroit, Michigan, becomes the world’s first black-owned-and-operated television station.
1979 – Pope John Paul II becomes the first pope to set foot on Irish soil with his pastoral visit to the Republic of Ireland.
1982 – The 1982 Chicago Tylenol murders begin when the first of seven individuals dies in metropolitan Chicago.
1988 – Space Shuttle: NASA launches STS-26, the return to flight mission, after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.
1990 – Construction of the Washington National Cathedral is completed.
1990 – The YF-22, which would later become the F-22 Raptor, flies for the first time.
1991 – Military coup in Haiti (1991 Haitian coup d’etat).
1992 – Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello resigns.
1995 – The United States Navy disbands Fighter Squadron 84 (VF-84), nicknamed the “Jolly Rogers”.
2001 – The Syracuse Herald-Journal, a U.S. newspaper dating back to 1839, ceases publication.
2004 – The asteroid 4179 Toutatis passes within four lunar distances of Earth.
2004 – The Burt Rutan Ansari X Prize entry SpaceShipOne performs a successful spaceflight, the first of two required to win the prize.
2005 – US Senate confirms John Roberts to be the next Chief Justice of the United States.
2006 – US Representative Mark Foley resigns after allegations of inappropriate emails to house pages are revealed.
2006 – Gol Transportes Aereos Flight 1907 collides in mid-air with an Embraer Legacy business jet near Peixoto de Azevedo, Mato Grosso, Brazil, killing 154 total people, and triggering a Brazilian aviation crisis.
2007 – Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, is demolished in a controlled explosion.
2008 – Following the bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 777.68 points, the largest single-day point loss in its history.
2009 – An 8.0 magnitude earthquake near the Samoan Islands causes a tsunami .