I guess for lots of people today is a special day, a birthday, an anniversary, a commemoration… Spending so much time writing, with my mind completely elsewhere, I do sometimes lose track not only of time, but what day or date it is! So most days, as I sit down to write, I gaze at the calendar; I don’t think today, May 14th is of particular significance to me, none of my family have birthdays today… I don’t think, but happy birthday to them if they have! And happy birthday to anyone else whose special day it is!
I often have a quick look, a gander as you might say, at what else a date is known for, and here’s a brief summary of things which I noticed when I looked down a list:
- 1264 – The Battle of Lewes; this was when Henry III of England was captured and forced to sign the ‘Mise of Lewes’ which made Simon de Montfort the ruler of England. If things had continued in that way, we might have had a King Simon of England. he had some very modern ideas on rulership and government, and for his time was very democratic. However, he was killed the following year at the battle of Evesham, 12th August 1265.
- 1607 – Jamestown, Virginia is settled as an English colony. it was a pretty bad time to try to establish a settlement here, in the middle of the worst drought for seven hundred years and which continued until 1612
- 1643 – Louis XIV becomes King of France; his father, Louis XIII, died leaving the four-year-old on the throne. Known as le Roi Soleil, the Sun King, Louis reigned until his death in 1715, at the age of seventy-six
- 1787 – George Washington presides over delegates convening in Philadelphia to write a new Constitution for the United States
- 1796 – Edward Jenner saves millions upon millions of lives, and many more millions from suffering from the ghastly disease of smallpox by administering the first inoculation. Thankfully, this vile pestilence now seems to be universally eradicated
- 1804 – Meriwether Lewis and William Clark begin their eponymous expedition, starting from Camp Dubois and travelling up the Missouri River. They arrive in St Louis after two years, four months, and ten days on the 23rd of September 1806.
- 1863 – American Civil War: The Battle of Jackson takes place, Major General Grant defeats General Johnston
- 1870 – The first game of rugby ever played in New Zealand was in Nelson between Nelson College and the Nelson Rugby Football Club… to use a cliché, and the rest is history!!
- 1889 – The children’s charity, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is launched in London
- 1925 – Mrs Dalloway is published…. I am not a fan of Virginia Woolf, but many people including many of my friends are!
- 1948 – Israel is declared an independent state with a provisional government is established. However, following this declaration, the new country is attacked by its neighbours which starts the first Arab–Israeli War
- 1955 – The Cold War – this dominated my childhood, and its difficult for young people now to understand what an influence this had. In 1955 the Warsaw Pact, a mutual defence treaty was signed by eight Communist countries, Albania , Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia ,East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Soviet Union
- 1961 – the Civil Rights Movement, and the fight for equality was another very influential part of my childhood; when I was still at junior school I had a black penfriend in Cambridge Maryland, and I was horrified that a little girl, my little friend should be so frightened by the horrible things happening. It’s only now when we can read about the full story of the horror of what happened and how heroic The Freedom Riders were. On may 14th, their bus is fire-bombed near Anniston, Alabama, and the civil rights protesters are viciously beaten by an angry mob – an angry mob of despicable cowards.
- 1973 – Skylab, the United States’ first space station, is launched – a great thing to happen on this day forty-four years ago!
A thought-provoking list – of dreadful and horrific things, the fire-bombing of the Freedom Riders’ bus – but also some great things, Jenner, NSPCC and Skylab.
The original Tricky Dicky!
My featured image is of Lewes Castle.