This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
January 24 is the 24th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 341 days remaining until the end of the year (342 in leap years).
On this day in 1848, A millwright named James Marshall discovers gold along the banks of Sutter’s Creek in California, forever changing the course of history in the American West.
The California Gold Rush began at Sutter’s Mill, near Coloma. On January 24, 1848 James W. Marshall, a foreman working for Sacramento pioneer John Sutter, found shiny metal in the tailrace of a lumber mill Marshall was building for Sutter on the American River. Marshall brought what he found to John Sutter, and the two privately tested the metal. After the tests showed that it was gold, Sutter expressed dismay: he wanted to keep the news quiet because he feared what would happen to his plans for an agricultural empire if there were a mass search for gold. However, rumors soon started to spread and were confirmed in March 1848 by San Francisco newspaper publisher and merchant Samuel Brannan. The most famous quote of the California Gold Rush was by Brannan; after he had hurriedly set up a store to sell gold prospecting supplies, Brannan strode through the streets of San Francisco, holding aloft a vial of gold, shouting “Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!” With the news of gold, local residents in California were among the first to head for the goldfields.
At the time gold was discovered, California was part of the Mexican territory of Alta California, which was ceded to the U.S. after the end of the Mexican-American War with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848.
On August 19, 1848, the New York Herald was the first major newspaper on the East Coast to report the discovery of gold. On December 5, 1848, President James Polk confirmed the discovery of gold in an address to Congress. Soon, waves of immigrants from around the world, later called the “forty-niners”, invaded the Gold Country of California or “Mother Lode”. As Sutter had feared, he was ruined; his workers left in search of gold, and squatters took over his land and stole his crops and cattle.
San Francisco had been a tiny settlement before the rush began. When residents learned about the discovery, it at first became a ghost town of abandoned ships and businesses whose owners joined the Gold Rush, but then boomed as merchants and new people arrived. The population of San Francisco exploded from perhaps 1,00 in 1848 to 25,000 full-time residents by 1850. The sudden massive influx into a remote area overwhelmed the infrastructure. Miners lived in tents, wood shanties, or deck cabins removed from abandoned ships. Wherever gold was discovered, hundreds of miners would collaborate to put up a camp and stake their claims. With names like Rough and Ready and Hangtown, each camp often had its own saloon and gambling house.
41 – Gaius Caesar (Caligula), known for his eccentricity and cruel despotism, is assassinated by his disgruntled Praetorian Guards. Claudius succeeds his nephew.
1438 – The Council of Basel suspends Pope Eugene IV as Prelate of Ethiopia, arrives at Massawa from Goa.
1679 – King Charles II of England disbands the Cavalier Parliament.
1742 – Charles VII Albert becomes Holy Roman Emperor.
1776 – Henry Knox arrives at Cambridge, Massachusetts with the artillery that he has transported from Fort Ticonderoga.
1826 – Mississippi College is founded in Clinton, becoming the first college in the state of Mississippi.
1848 – California Gold Rush: James W. Marshall finds gold at Sutter’s Mill near Sacramento.
1857 – The University of Calcutta is formally founded as the first full-fledged university in south Asia.
1859 – Political union of Moldavia and Wallachia; Alexandru Ioan Cuza is elected as ruler.
1862 – Bucharest proclaimed capital of Romania.
1878 – The revolutionary Vera Zasulich shoots at Fyodor Trepov, the Governor of Saint Petersburg.
1885 – Edge Hill College opens in Liverpool
1916 – In Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad, the Supreme Court of the United States declares the federal income tax constitutional.
1918 – The Gregorian calendar introduced in Russia by decree of the Council of People’s Commissars effective from February 14(NS)
1924 – Petrograd, formerly Saint Petersburg, Russia, is renamed Leningrad.
1939 – The deadliest earthquake in Chilean history struck Chillan.
1942 – World War II: The Allies bombard Bangkok, leading Thailand to the decision of war declaration against the United States and United Kingdom .
1943 – World War II: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill conclude a conference in Casablanca.
1961 – 1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash: A bomber carrying two H-bombs breaks up in mid-air over North Carolina. The uranium core of one weapon remains lost.
1966 – An Air India Boeing 707 jet crashes on Mont Blanc, on the border between France and Italy, killing 117.
1972 – Japanese Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi is found hiding in a Guam jungle, where he had been since the end of World War II.
1977 – Massacre of Atocha in Madrid, during the Spanish transition to democracy.
1978 – Soviet satellite Cosmos 954, with a nuclear reactor onboard, burns up in Earth’s atmosphere, scattering radioactive debris over Canada’s Northwest Territories. Only 1% is recovered.
1984 – The first Apple Macintosh goes on sale.
1986 – Voyager 2 passes within 81,500 km (50,680 miles) of Uranus.
1990 – Japan launches Hiten, the country’s first lunar probe, the first robotic lunar probe since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 in 1976, and the first lunar probe launched by a country other than Soviet Union or the United States.
1993 – Turkish journalist and writer Ugur Mumcu is assassinated by a car bomb in Ankara.
1996 – Polish Premier Jozef Oleksy resigns amid charges that he spied for Moscow.
2003 – The United States Department of Homeland Security officially begins operation.
2009 – The storm Klaus makes landfall near Bordeaux, France. It subsequently would cause 26 deaths as well as extensive disruptions to public transport and power supplies.
* Christian Feast Day:
o Cadoc (Wales)
* Feast of Our Lady of Peace (Roman Catholic Church), and its related observances:
* First day of the Sementivae, in honor of Ceres and Terra (Roman Empire)
* Unification Day (Romania)