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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July 8 is the 189th day of the year (190th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 176 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1951, Paris celebrates 2,000th birthday. In fact, a few more candles would’ve technically been required on the birthday cake, as the City of Lights was most likely founded around 250 B.C.
The earliest archaeological signs of permanent settlements in the Paris area date from around 4200 BC. The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the area near the river Seine from around 250 BC. The Romans conquered the Paris basin in 52 BC, with a permanent settlement by the end of the same century on the Left Bank Sainte Geneviève Hill and the Île de la Cité. The Gallo-Roman town was originally called Lutetia, but later Gallicised to Lutèce. It expanded greatly over the following centuries, becoming a prosperous city with a forum, palaces, baths, temples, theatres, and an amphitheatre.
The collapse of the Roman empire and the 5th-century Germanic invasions sent the city into a period of decline. By 400 AD, Lutèce, largely abandoned by its inhabitants, was little more than a garrison town entrenched into a hastily fortified central island. The city reclaimed its original appellation of “Paris” towards the end of the Roman occupation.
The Paris region was under full control of the Germanic Franks by the late 5th century. The Frankish king Clovis the Frank, the first king of the Merovingian dynasty, made the city his capital from 508. The late 8th century Carolingian dynasty displaced the Frankish capital to Aachen; this period coincided with the beginning of Viking invasions that had spread as far as Paris by the early 9th century. Repeated invasions forced Parisians to build a fortress on the Île de la Cité; one of the most remarkable Viking raids was on 28 March 845, when Paris was sacked and held ransom, probably by Ragnar Lodbrok, who left only after receiving a large bounty paid by the crown. The weakness of the late Carolingian kings of France led to the gradual rise in power of the Counts of Paris; Odo, Count of Paris was elected king of France by feudal lords, and the end of the Carolingian empire came in 987, when Hugh Capet, count of Paris, was elected king of France. Paris, under the Capetian kings, became a capital once more.
1099 – First Crusade: 15,000 starving Christian soldiers march in a religious procession around Jerusalem as its Muslim defenders look on.
1283 – War of the Sicilian Vespers: the naval Battle of Malta between the Aragonese and the Neapolitan fleets is fought.
1497 – Vasco da Gama sets sail on the first direct European voyage to India.
1579 – Our Lady of Kazan, a holy icon of the Russian Orthodox Church, is discovered underground in the city of Kazan, Tatarstan.
1663 – Charles II of England grants John Clarke a Royal Charter to Rhode Island.
1709 – Great Northern War: Battle of Poltava – Peter I of Russia defeats Charles XII of Sweden at Poltava thus effectively ending Sweden’s role as a major power in Europe.
1716 – Great Northern War: the naval Battle of Dynekilen takes place.
1758 – French forces hold Fort Carillon against the British at Ticonderoga, New York.
1760 – French and Indian War: Battle of Restigouche – British forces defeat French forces in last naval battle in New France.
1775 – The Olive Branch Petition is signed by the Continental Congress of the Thirteen Colonies.
1808 – Joseph Bonaparte approves the Bayonne Statute, a royal charter intended as the basis for his rule as king of Spain.
1822 – Chippewas turn over a huge tract of land in Ontario to the United Kingdom.
1859 – King Charles XV & IV accedes to the throne of Sweden-Norway.
1864 – Ikedaya Jiken: the Choshu Han shishi’s planned Shinsengumi sabotage on Kyoto, Japan at Ikedaya.
1874 – The Mounties begin their March West.
1876 – White supremacists kill five Black Republicans in Hamburg, SC.
1879 – Sailing ship USS Jeannette (1878) departs San Francisco carrying an ill-fated expedition to the North Pole.
1889 – The first issue of the Wall Street Journal is published.
1892 – St. John’s, Newfoundland is devastated in the Great Fire of 1892.
1896 – William Jennings Bryan delivers his Cross of Gold speech advocating bimetalism at the 1896 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
1898 – The death of crime boss Soapy Smith (who is shot) releases Skagway, Alaska from his iron grip.
1907 – Florenz Ziegfeld staged his first Follies on the roof of the New York Theater in New York City.
1912 – Henrique Mitchell de Paiva Couceiro leads an unsuccessful royalist attack against the Portuguese First Republic in Chaves.
1932 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level of the Great Depression, bottoming out at 41.22.
1937 – Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan sign the Treaty of Saadabad.
1947 – Reports are broadcast that a UFO crash landed in Roswell, New Mexico.
1948 – The United States Air Force accepts its first female recruits into a program called Women in the Air Force (WAF).
1956 – Fritz Moravec and two other Austrian mountaineers make the first ascent of Gasherbrum II (8,035 m).
1960 – Francis Gary Powers is charged with espionage resulting from his flight over the Soviet Union.
1962 – Ne Win besieges and dynamites the Rangoon University Student Union building to crash the Student Movement.
1966 – King Mwambutsa IV Bangiriceng of Burundi is deposed by his son Prince Charles Ndizi.
1970 – Richard Nixon delivers a special congressional message enunciating Native American Self-Determination as official US Indian policy, leading to the Indian Self-Determination Act.
1982 – Assassination attempt against Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in Dujail.
1988 – The Island Express train travelling from Bangalore to Kanyakumari derails on the Peruman bridge and falls into Ashtamudi Lake, killing 105 passengers and injuring over 200 more.
1994 – Kim Jong-il assumes office as Supreme Leader of North Korea after the death of his father, Kim Il-sung.
2007 – Boeing unveiled its first 787 in a roll-out ceremony at its Everett assembly factory.
*Christian Feast Day:
* Abda and Sabas
* Auspicius of Trier
* Kilian, Totnan, and Colman
* Procopius of Scythopolis
* Sunniva and companions
* Theobald of Marly
* July 8 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)