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. (Click on image to enlarge.)
April 21 is the 111th day of the year (112th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 254 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1777, British troops under the command of General William Tryon attack the town of Danbury, Connecticut, and begin destroying everything in sight. Facing little, if any, opposition from Patriot forces, the British went on a rampage, setting fire to homes, farmhouse, storehouses and more than 1,500 tents.
The British destruction continued for nearly a week before word of it reached Continental Army leaders, including General Benedict Arnold, who was stationed in nearby New Haven. Along with General David Wooster and General Gold Silliman, Arnold led a contingent of more than 500 American troops in a surprise attack on the British forces as they began withdrawing from Danbury.
Sybil Ludington (April 16, 1761- February 26, 1839), daughter of Col. Henry Ludington, was a heroine of the American Revolutionary War who became famous for her night ride on April 26, 1777 to alert American colonial forces to the approach of enemy troops.
Ludington’s ride started at 9:00 P.M. and ended around dawn. She rode 40 miles, more than twice the distance of Paul Revere, into the damp hours of darkness. This is especially remarkable because modern day endurance horse riders using lightweight saddles can barely ride such distances in daylight over well marked courses (see endurance riding). She rode through Carmel on to Mahopac, thence to Kent Cliffs, from there to Farmers Mills and back home. She used a stick to prod her horse and knock on doors. She managed to defend herself against a highwayman with her father’s musket. When, soaked from the rain and exhausted, she returned home, most of the 400 soldiers were ready to march.
The memoir for Colonel Henry Ludington states,
Sybil, who, a few days before, had passed her sixteenth birthday, and bade her to take a horse, ride for the men, and tell them to be at his house by daybreak. One who even now rides from Carmel to Cold Spring will find rugged and dangerous roads, with lonely stretches. Imagination only can picture what it was a century and a quarter ago, on a dark night, with reckless bands of “Cowboys” and “Skinners” abroad in the land. But the child performed her task, clinging to a man’s saddle, and guiding her steed with only a hempen halter, as she rode through the night, bearing the news of the sack of Danbury. There is no extravagance in comparing her ride with that of Paul Revere and its midnight message. Nor was her errand less efficient than his. By daybreak, thanks to her daring, nearly the whole regiment was mustered before her father’s house at Fredericksburgh, and an hour or two later was on the march for vengeance on the raiders.
The men arrived too late to save Danbury, Connecticut. At the start of the Battle of Ridgefield, however, they were able to drive General William Tryon, then governor of the colony of New York, and his men to Long Island Sound.
753 BC – Romulus and Remus founded Rome (traditional date).
43 BC – Battle of Mutina: Mark Antony is again defeated in battle by Aulus Hirtius, who is killed. Antony fails to capture Mutina and Decimus Brutus is murdered shortly after.
900 AD – The Laguna Copperplate Inscription: the Honourable Namwaran and his children, Lady Angkatan and Bukah, are granted pardon from all their debts by the Commander and Chief of Tundun, as represented by the Honourable Jayadewa, Lord Minister of Pailah. Luzon, Philippines.
1509 – Henry VIII ascends the throne of England on the death of his father, Henry VII.
1519 – HernAn CortEs lands in Veracruz, Veracruz
1792 – Tiradentes, a revolutionary leading a movement for Brazil’s independence, is hanged, drawn and quartered.
1809 – Two Austrian army corps are driven from Landshut by a First French Empire army led by Napoleon I of France as two French corps to the north hold off the main Austrian army on the first day of the Battle of Eckmuhl.
1836 – Texas Revolution: The Battle of San Jacinto – Republic of Texas forces under Sam Houston defeat troops under Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
1863 – Baha’u’llah, considered the founder of the Baha’i Faith, declares his mission as “He whom God shall make manifest”.
1894 – Norway formally adopts the Krag-Jorgensen rifle as the main arm of its armed forces, a weapon that would remain in service for almost 50 years.
1898 – Spanish-American War: The U.S. Congress, on April 25, recognizes that a state of war exists between the United States and Spain as of this date.
1918 – World War I: German fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, known as “The Red Baron”, is shot down and killed over Vaux-sur-Somme in France.
1922 – The first Aggie Muster is held as a remembrance for fellow Texas A&M graduates who had died in the previous year.
1941 – Emmanouil Tsouderos becomes the 132nd Prime Minister of Greece.
1942 – World War II: The most famous (and first international) Aggie Muster is held on the Philippine island of Corregidor, by Brigadier General George F. Moore (with 25 fellow Texas A&M graduates who are under his command), while 1.8 million pounds of shells pounded the island over a 5 hour attack.
1945 – World War II: Soviet Union forces south of Berlin at Zossen attack the German High Command headquarters.
1952 – Secretary’s Day (now Administrative Professionals’ Day) is first celebrated.
1960 – Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, is officially inaugurated. At 9:30 am the Three Powers of the Republic are simultaneously transferred from the old capital, Rio de Janeiro.
1962 – The Seattle World’s Fair (Century 21 Exposition) opens. It is the first World’s Fair in the United States since World War II.
1964 – A Transit-5bn satellite fails to reach orbit after launch; as it re-enters the atmosphere, 2.1 pounds of radioactive plutonium in its SNAP RTG power source is widely dispersed.
1965 – The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair opens for its second and final season.
1966 – Rastafari movement: Haile Selassie of Ethiopia visits Jamaica, an event now celebrated as Grounation Day.
1967 – Greek military junta of 1967-1974: A few days before the general election in Greece, Colonel George Papadopoulos leads a coup d’etat, establishing a military regime that lasts for seven years.
1970 – The Hutt River Province Principality secedes from Australia.
1975 – Vietnam War: President of South Vietnam Nguyen Van Thieu flees Saigon, as Xuan Loc, the last South Vietnamese outpost blocking a direct North Vietnamese assault on Saigon, falls.
1982 – Baseball: Rollie Fingers of the Milwaukee Brewers becomes the first pitcher to record 300 saves.
1987 – The Tamil Tigers are blamed for a car bomb that explodes in the Sri Lankan city of Colombo, killing 106 people.
1989 – Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989: In Beijing, around 100,000 students gather in Tiananmen Square to commemorate Chinese reform leader Hu Yaobang.
1993 – The Supreme Court in La Paz, Bolivia, sentences former dictator Luis Garcia Meza to 30 years in jail without parole for murder, theft, fraud and violating the constitution.
1994 – The first discoveries of extrasolar planets are announced by astronomer Alexander Wolszczan.
2004 – Five suicide car bombers target police stations in and around Basra, killing 74 people and wounding 160.
2010 – The controversial Kharkiv Pact (Russian Ukrainian Naval Base for Gas Treaty) is signed in Kharkiv, Ukraine, by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev; it will be unilaterally terminated by Russia on March 31, 2014.
2012 – Two trains are involved in a head-on collision near Sloterdijk, Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, injuring 116 people.
* Aggie Muster (Texas A&M University)
* Birthday of Rome (Rome)
* Christian Feast Day:
Anselm of Canterbury
Conrad of Parzham
Holy Infant of Good Health
Shemon Bar Sabbae
April 21 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Grounation Day (Rastafari movement)
* Heroic Defense of Veracruz (Mexico)
* Inauguration of Brasília (Distrito Federal, Brazil)
* Kartini Day (Indonesia)
* National Tree Planting Day (Kenya)
*Parilia, in honor of the Pales. (Roman Empire)
* San Jacinto Day (Texas)
* The first day of the festival of Ridvan. (Baha’i Faith)
* Tiradentes (Brazil)