Jun 14 2011

On This Day In History June 14

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.

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June 14 is the 165th day of the year (166th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 200 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1777, during the American Revolution, the Continental Congress adopts a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

The Flag Resolution of 1777

On June 14, 1777, the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution which stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” Flag Day is now observed on June 14 of each year. A false tradition holds that the new flag was first hoisted in June 1777 by the Continental Army at the Middlebrook encampment.

The 1777 resolution was most probably meant to define a naval ensign, rather than a national flag. It appears between other resolutions from the Marine Committee. On May 10, 1779, Secretary of the Board of War Richard Peters expressed concern “it is not yet settled what is the Standard of the United States.”

The Flag Resolution did not specify any particular arrangement, number of points, nor orientation for the stars. The pictured flag shows 13 outwardly-oriented five-pointed stars arranged in a circle, the so-called Betsy Ross flag. Although the Betsy Ross legend is controversial, the design is among the oldest of any U.S. flags. Popular designs at the time were varied and most were individually crafted rather than mass-produced. Other examples of 13-star arrangements can be found on the Francis Hopkinson flag, the Cowpens flag, and the Brandywine flag. Given the scant archaeological and written evidence, it is unknown which design was the most popular at that time.

Despite the 1777 resolution, a number of flags only loosely based on the prescribed design were used in the early years of American independence. One example may have been the Guilford Court House Flag, traditionally believed to have been carried by the American troops at the Battle of Guilford Court House in 1781.

The origin of the stars and stripes design is inadequately documented. The apocryphal story credits Betsy Ross for sewing the first flag from a pencil sketch handed to her by George Washington. No evidence for this exists; indeed, nearly a century had passed before Ross’ grandson, William Canby, first publicly suggested it. Another woman, Rebecca Young, has also been credited as having made the first flag by later generations of her family. Rebecca Young’s daughter was Mary Pickersgill, who made the Star Spangled Banner Flag.

It is likely that Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, designed the 1777 flag while he was the Chairman of the Continental Navy Board’s Middle Department, sometime between his appointment to that position in November 1776 and the time that the flag resolution was adopted in June 1777. This contradicts the Betsy Ross legend, which suggests that she sewed the first Stars and Stripes flag by request of the government in the Spring of 1776. Hopkinson was the only person to have made such a claim during his own lifetime, when he sent a bill to Congress for his work. He asked for a “Quarter Cask of the Public Wine” as payment initially. The payment was not made, however, because it was determined he had already received a salary as a member of Congress, and he was not the only person to have contributed to the design. No one else contested his claim at the time.

 1276 – While taking exile in Fuzhou in southern China, away from the advancing Mongol invaders, the remnants of the Song Dynasty court hold the coronation ceremony for the young prince Zhao Shi, making him Emperor Duanzong of Song.

1285 – Forces led by Prince Tran Quang Khai of Vietnam’s Tran Dynasty destroys most of the invading Mongol naval fleet in a battle at Chuong Duong.

1287 – Kublai Khan defeated the force of Nayan and other traditionalist Borjigin princes in East Mongolia and Manchuria.

1381 – Richard II of England meets leaders of Peasants’ Revolt on Blackheath. The Tower of London is stormed by rebels who enter without resistance.

1645 – English Civil War: Battle of Naseby – 12,000 Royalist forces are beaten by 15,000 Parliamentarian soldiers.

1648 – Margaret Jones is hanged in Boston for witchcraft in the first such execution for the Massachusetts colony.

1775 – American Revolutionary War: the Continental Army is established by the Continental Congress, marking the birth of the United States Army.

1777 – The Stars and Stripes is adopted by Congress as the Flag of the United States.

1789 – Mutiny on the Bounty: Bounty mutiny survivors including Captain William Bligh and 18 others reach Timor after a nearly 7,400 km (4,000-mile) journey in an open boat.

1789 – Whiskey distilled from maize is first produced by American clergyman the Rev Elijah Craig. It is named Bourbon because Rev Craig lived in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

1800 – The French Army of First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte defeats the Austrians at the Battle of Marengo in Northern Italy and re-conquers Italy.

1807 – Emperor Napoleon I’s French Grande Armee defeats the Russian Army at the Battle of Friedland in Poland (modern Russian Kaliningrad Oblast) ending the War of the Fourth Coalition.

1821 – Badi VII, king of Sennar, surrenders his throne and realm to Isma’il Pasha, general of the Ottoman Empire, ending the existence of that Sudanese kingdom.

1822 – Charles Babbage proposes a difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society entitled “Note on the application of machinery to the computation of astronomical and mathematical tables”.

1830 – Beginning of the French colonization of Algeria: 34,000 French soldiers begin their invasion of Algiers, landing 27 kilometers west at Sidi Ferruch.

1839 – Henley Royal Regatta: the village of Henley-on-Thames, on the River Thames in Oxfordshire, stages its first Regatta.

1846 – Bear Flag Revolt begins – Anglo settlers in Sonoma, California, start a rebellion against Mexico and proclaim the California Republic.

1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Second Winchester – a Union garrison is defeated by the Army of Northern Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley town of Winchester, Virginia.

1863 – Second Assault on the Confederate works at the Siege of Port Hudson during the American Civil War.

1872 – Trade unions are legalised in Canada.

1900 – Hawaii becomes a United States territory.

1900 – The Reichstag approves a second law that allows the expansion of the German navy.

1907 – Norway adopts female suffrage.

1919 – John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown depart St. John’s, Newfoundland on the first nonstop transatlantic flight.

1926 – Brazil leaves the League of Nations.

1937 – Pennsylvania becomes the first (and only) state of the United States to celebrate Flag Day officially as a state holiday.

1937 – U. S. House of Representatives passes the Marihuana Tax Act.

1938 – Action Comics issue one is released, introducing Superman.

1940 – World War II: Paris falls under German occupation, and Allied forces retreat.

1940 – The Soviet Union presents an ultimatum to Lithuania resulting in Lithuanian loss of independence.

1940 – A group of 728 Polish political prisoners from Tarnow become the first residents of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

1941 – June deportation, the first major wave of Soviet mass deportations and murder of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, begins.

1942 – Anne Frank begins to keep a diary.

1944 – World War II: After several failed attempts, the British Army abandons Operation Perch, its plan to capture the German-occupied town of Caen.

1951 – UNIVAC I is dedicated by the U.S. Census Bureau.

1952 – The keel is laid for the nuclear submarine USS Nautilus.

1954 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill into law that places the words “under God” into the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance.

1955 – Chile becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.

1959 – A group of Dominican exiles with leftist tendencies that departed from Cuba land in the Dominican Republic with the intent of deposing Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina. Save for four of them, all are killed and/or executed by Trujillo’s army.

1962 – The European Space Research Organisation is established in Paris – later becoming the European Space Agency.

1965 – Nguyen Cao Ky became Prime Minister of South Vietnam at the head of a military junta; General Nguyen Van Thieu became the figurehead chief of state.

1966 – The Vatican announces the abolition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (index of prohibited books), which was originally instituted in 1557.

1967 – Mariner program: Mariner 5 is launched toward Venus.

1982 – The Falklands War ends: Argentine forces in the capital Stanley unconditionally surrender to British forces.

1985 – TWA Flight 847 is hijacked by Hezbollah shortly after take-off from Athens, Greece.

1994 – The 1994 Stanley Cup Riots occur after the New York Rangers win the Stanley Cup from Vancouver, causing an estimated $1.1 million CAD, thus forcing 200 arrests and injuries. One person is also left with permanent brain damage.

Holidays and observances

   * Christian Feast Day:

       * Elisha

       * Methodios I of Constantinople

       * June 14 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)

   *Flag Day (United States)

   * Freedom Day (Malawi)

   * Liberation Day (Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands)

   * Mourning and Commemoration Day or Leinapaev (Estonia)

   * Women’s Day (Iraq)

   * World Blood Donor Day (International observance)

1 comment

  1. TMC

    Dalai Lama

    Taking care of our neighbors’ interests is essentially taking care of our own future.

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