Day By Day

Saturday, October 10, 2009

This Day In History

Today is National Angel Food Cake Day..., mmmm, mmmm, mmmm. So find yourself an angel and feed her some cake.

On this day in 732 AD Charles "the Hammer" Martel led a force of Franks and Burgundians against a Muslim army led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi. Tradition long had it that Martel's victory over the invading Muslims marked one of the great turning points in history -- the high watermark of Islamic conquest -- and Martel was heralded as the saviour of Christian Europe. Many modern historians agree with this assessment. Others argue that it was a minor defeat for a powerful Umayyad Caliphate, simply indicating that it was over-extended as it sought conquests north of the Pyrenees and would have had to stabilize its frontiers anyway. The long subsequent Islamic retreat from Western Europe, they argue, had more to do with internal stresses than with Christian military actions. Muslim historians used to consider the battle to be a great disaster, but now mostly consider it to be insignificant, preferring instead to focus on contemporary successful Islamic invasions of Christian realms in the Balkans. Regardless of its importance in the continuing conflict between Christians and Muslims, the Battle of Tours was of great significance because it laid the basis for the Carolingian Empire that dominated Western Europe for centuries thereafter.

This one's for Larry. On this day in 1845 the U. S. Naval Academy was founded at Annapolis, Maryland.

And on this day in 1911 revolution broke out in China, leading to the abdication of Pu-Yi, the last of the Qing emperors (he was six years old at the time) and the proclamation of the Chinese Republic.

And on the very same day the Panama Canal opened, providing a convenient sea-route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

And on this day in 1971, Vice President Spiro Agnew, beset by charges of corruption, was forced to resign his office. This was the first major breakthrough in bringing down the Nixon presidency.

That very same day, the Phillies played and won their first game at the Vet. Ever since then it has been a long, strange journey.

And on this day in 2009 the ridicule of the Nobel Prize Committee continues unabated.