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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 27 is the 27th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 338 days remaining until the end of the year (339 in leap years)
On this day in 1888, the National Geographic Society is founded in Washington, D.C., for “the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.”
The 33 men who originally met and formed the National Geographic Society were a diverse group of geographers, explorers, teachers, lawyers, cartographers, military officers and financiers. All shared an interest in scientific and geographical knowledge, as well as an opinion that in a time of discovery, invention, change and mass communication, Americans were becoming more curious about the world around them. With this in mind, the men drafted a constitution and elected as the Society’s president a lawyer and philanthropist named Gardiner Greene Hubbard. Neither a scientist nor a geographer, Hubbard represented the Society’s desire to reach out to the layman.
The National Geographic Society began as a club for an elite group of academics and wealthy patrons interested in travel. On January 13, 1888, 33 explorers and scientists gathered at the Cosmos Club, a private club then located on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., to organize “a society for the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.” After preparing a constitution and a plan of organization, the National Geographic Society was incorporated two weeks later on January 27. Gardiner Greene Hubbard became its first president and his son-in-law, Alexander Graham Bell, eventually succeeded him in 1897 following his death. In 1899 Bell’s son-in-law Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor was named the first full-time editor of National Geographic Magazine and served the organization for fifty-five years (1954), and members of the Grosvenor family have played important roles in the organization since.
Bell and his son-in-law, Grosvenor, devised the successful marketing notion of Society membership and the first major use of photographs to tell stories in magazines. The current Chairman of the Board of Trustees of National Geographic is Gilbert Melville Grosvenor, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 for the Society’s leadership for Geography education. In 2004, the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, D.C. was one of the first buildings to receive a “Green” certification from Global Green USA The National Geographic received the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Communications and Humanity in October 2006 in Oviedo, Spain.
98 – Trajan becomes Roman Emperor after the death of Nerva.
661 – The Rashidun Caliphate ends with death of Ali.
1142 – Execution, believed wrongful, of noted Song Dynasty General Yue Fei.
1186 – Henry VI, the son and heir of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, marries Constance of Sicily.
1343 – Pope Clement VI issues the Bull Unigenitus.
1593 – The Vatican opens seven year trial of scholar Giordano Bruno.
1606 – Gunpowder Plot: The trial of Guy Fawkes and other conspirators begins, ending with their execution on January 31.
1695 – Mustafa II becomes the Ottoman sultan in Istanbul on the death of Ahmed II.
Mustafa rules until his abdication in 1703.
1785 – The University of Georgia is founded, the first public university in the United States.
1825 – The U.S. Congress approves Indian Territory (in what is present-day Oklahoma), clearing the way for forced relocation of the Eastern Indians on the “Trail of Tears”.
1870 – The Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity is founded at DePauw University.
1868 – Boshin War: The Battle of Toba-Fushimi between forces of the Tokugawa shogunate and pro-Imperial factions begins, which will end in defeat for the shogunate, and is a pivotal point in the Meiji Restoration.
1888 – The National Geographic Society is founded in Washington, D.C..
1909 – The Young Left is founded in Norway.
1927 – Ibn Saud takes the title of King of Nejd.
1939 – First flight of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.
1943 – World War II: The VIII Bomber Command dispatched ninety-one B-17s and B-24s to attack the U-Boat construction yards at Wilhemshafen, Germany. The first American bombing attack on Germany.
1944 – World War II: The 900-day Siege of Leningrad is lifted.
1945 – World War II: The Red Army liberates the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland.
1951 – Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site begins with a one-kiloton bomb dropped on Frenchman Flat.
1961 – Soviet submarine S-80 sinks with all hands lost.
1967 – Apollo program: Apollo 1 – Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee are killed in a fire during a test of their spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center.
1967 – More than sixty nations sign the Outer Space Treaty banning nuclear weapons in space.
1973 – The Paris Peace Accords officially end the Vietnam War. Colonel William Nolde is killed in action becoming the conflict’s last recorded American combat casualty.
1974 – The Brisbane River breaches its banks causing the largest flood to affect the city of Brisbane in the 20th Century
1980 – Through cooperation between the U.S. and Canadian governments, six American diplomats secretly escape hostilities in Iran in the culmination of the Canadian caper.
1983 – The pilot shaft of the Seikan Tunnel, the world’s longest sub-aqueous tunnel (53.85 km) between the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido, breaks through.
1984 – Pop singer Michael Jackson suffers second degree burns to his scalp during the filming of a Pepsi commercial in the Shrine Auditorium.
1996 – In a military coup Colonel Ibrahim Bare Mainassara deposes the first democratically elected president of Niger, Mahamane Ousmane.
1996 – Germany first observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
2003 – The first selections for the National Recording Registry are announced by the Library of Congress.
2006 – Western Union discontinues its Telegram and Commercial Messaging services.
2010 – The 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis ends when Porfirio Lobo Sosa becomes the new President of Honduras.
* Christian Feast Day:
o Devota (Monaco)
o Sava (Serbia)
* Holocaust remembrance-related observances:
o Holocaust Memorial Day (United Kingdom)
o International Holocaust Remembrance Day (International)
o Memorial Day or Il Giorno della Memoria (Italy)