Thursday, May 24, 2007

Today in history
  • 1819: Queen Victoria was born. (Cue the appropriate Kinks song.) Anti-Catholic, she preferred the Lutheranism of her German family and Scottish Presbyterianism to Anglicanism and the imperialism of favourite prime minister Disraeli (a proto-neocon?) to the well-meant Christian (even Catholic) leanings of Gladstone (proto-religious left). Canada still celebrates her birthday and the Queen’s official birthday on the Monday on or before this date.
  • 1844: Samuel F.B. Morse (also a vicious anti-Catholic) opened America’s first telegraph line with the message ‘What God hath wrought’. Only recently ships at sea stopped using his code and Western Union stopped sending telegrams last year... thanks to the Internet.
  • 1883: The Brooklyn Bridge was opened. (Have I got a deal for you...)
  • 1941: Pride goeth before and all that as the German battleship Bismarck sank the HMS Hood, the showpiece of the Royal Navy before World War II. This kind of fighting, really unchanged since the Armada and Trafalgar, would soon be replaced by ship-based planes and now missiles. (Big naval guns are now for shore bombardment before amphibious troop/marine beach landings.) The British twigged though: earlier, in November, their carrier planes sank most of the Italian navy at Taranto. I’m sure the Japanese and Americans took notes.

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