ON THIS DAY: January 4, 2020

January 4th is

Hypnotism Day *

Pop Music Chart Day *

Spaghetti Day

National Trivia Day

World Braille Day *


MORE! Clara Smitt, James Bond, and Sarojini Sahoo, click



Angola – Day of the Fallen

Canada – Calgary:
Southwood Winter Festival

Columbia – Cartagena:
International Music Festival

Costa Rica – San Jose:
Costa Rica La Caribeña (dance)

Estonia – Tallinn: Tallinn Bach Music Festival

France – Marseille:
Marseille Opera New Years Concert

Hungary – Budapest:
Budafest West Coast Swing

India – Mumbai: Techfest 2020

Japan – Okinawa Islands: Hinukan mukee
(Return of the fire deity Hinukan)

Mexico – Merida: Noche de Leyendas
(Night of Legends)

Myanmar – Independence Day

Republic of the Congo – Martyrs’ Day

New Zealand – Waiheke: Summers Day Festival

Nigeria – Gombe: African Culture Festival

South Korea – Haeundae-gu:
Haeundae Polar Bear Festival

Uruguay – Punta del Este: Este Arte


On This Day in HISTORY

46 BC – Caesar’s Civil War, Roman province of Africa, Battle of Ruspina: Forces of the Optimates (“good men” – Roman Senate majority in favor of the Republic) led by Titus, and strengthened by the mobile cavalry of Juba I of Numidia, won a victory over Julius Caesar near Ruspina (exact location lost, area now in Tunisia) but Caesar kept the majority of his army intact, and was able to send messages calling for food and other supplies

Numidian cavalry

659 – Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin born, the fourth Shia Imam; he spent most of his life secluded in Medina, devoted to asceticism and religious teachings, mostly in the form of invocations and supplications

871 – Viking Invasion of England, Battle of Reading: one of a series of battles during an invasion by the Danes into the Kingdom of Wessex, described in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The Danelaw Vikings, under command of Bagsecg and Halfdan Ragnarsson, won a victory over the West Saxon forces led by Æthelred of Wessex and his brother Alfred, forcing the Saxons to retreat. But they quickly reformed their army and won the next battle, at Ashdown on January 8

1384 – King Razadarit ascends the throne of Hanthawaddy Pegu in what is now lower Burma. An able but ruthless military leader and administrator, during his reign (1384-1421) the kingdom was unified, and major assaults by the Ava Kingdom in the Forty Years’ War between the two kingdoms successfully repelled

1490 – Anne, Duchess Regnant of Brittany, married by proxy to Maximilian I of Austria, and fighting to maintain the independence of Brittany, declares that all those who would ally with King Charles VIII of France against her, are guilty of lèse-majesté; but in 1491, she is forced to renounce her unconsummated marriage to Maximilian, and marry Charles; when he dies in 1498, none of their children have survived infancy, and she is married to his cousin, Louis XII, who succeeds Charles. Louis falls deeply in love with Anne, who works to restore Brittany’s independence, and their eldest daughter Claude is proclaimed the heiress of Brittany, but none of their male children survive; Claude’s marriage to her cousin, King Francis I, ends Brittany’s independence

Anne de Bretagne (of Brittany, wearing red and seated)

1493 – Columbus returns from his first voyage to the New World

1642 – English King Charles I arrives with soldiers to arrest five members of Parliament, accused by the king of treasonous collusion with the invading Scots army to put pressure on the Crown to accede to Parliament’s demands for reforms – but the five are forewarned, and slipped away by boat – this unprecedented invasion of the House of Commons by an English sovereign to arrest its members turns Parliament completely against him, and they quickly seize control of London, forcing Charles to flee the capital

King Charles I, painted by Van Dyck


1649 – The ‘Rump’ Parliament, purged of members opposed to trying English King Charles I for high treason, passes an ordinance to set up a High Court of Justice to try Charles in the name of England’s people

1717 – The Dutch Republic, France and Great Britain sign the Triple Alliance treaty which makes them allies against Spain’s growing power

1729 – Johann Friedrich Agricola born, German composer

1746 – Benjamin Rush born, American physician, politician and signer of the Declaration of Independence

1785 – Jacob Grimm born; with his brother Wilhelm, the co-author of Grimm’s Fairy Tales 

1797 – William Beer born, German astronomer who made the first map of the Moon

1809 – World Braille Day * – Louis Braille born, French educator-inventor, created the Braille system which enables the blind to read and write

1813 – Sir Isaac Pitman born, English educator, advocate for spelling reform and inventor of the Pitman shorthand system

1847 – Samuel Colt sells his first revolver to the U.S. government

1853 – After being kidnapped and sold into slavery in the American South, Solomon Northup regains his freedom; his memoir Twelve Years a Slave will become a bestseller

1863 – James Plimpton of New York patents a 4-wheeled roller skate

1864 – Clara Emilia Smitt born, Swedish doctor, and one of Sweden’s first women’s rights activists; she first trained as a nurse, and received a Red Cross medal for her work during the Greco-Turkish War in 1897; after further study, she became a hydrotherapist, and then studied medicine abroad; author of Kvinnans ställning i samhället: några inlägg i nutidens sociala spörsmål (Women’s position in society: a few notes about contemporary social questions)

1865 – The New York Stock Exchange opens its first fixed headquarters near Wall Street

1874 – Josef Suk born, Czech composer, noted for instrumental compositions

1878 – Augustus John born, Welsh painter and illustrator

Two Figures on a Shore, Swanage – by Augustus John

1883 – Johanna “Hans” Westerdijk born, Dutch plant pathologist, also conducts research on moss regeneration, and was co-discoverer of the fungus which causes Dutch Elm Disease; first woman professor in the Netherlands, at the University of Amsterdam

1884 – The Fabian Society, dedicated to advancing the principles of democratic socialism via gradual reform efforts in democracies, rather than by revolutionary overthrow, is founded in London UK; named for the Roman general Fabius Maximus (nicknamed “Cunctator”, meaning the “Delayer”) whose Fabian strategy against Hannibal’s Carthaginian army of wearing the enemy down by harassment and attrition rather than head-on battles ultimately brought victory

1885 – Dr. William Grant performs the first successful appendectomy on Mary Gartside

1889 – The U.S. government announced that the Oklahoma Land Run, opening two million acres of Oklahoma (Indian) Territory to ‘first come first serve’ settlers will take place on April 22, 1889

1895 – Leroy R. Grumman born, American aeronautical engineer, Grumman Aircraft

1896 – Everett M. Dirksen  born, Republican  Senator from Illinois; leader of the Senate (1959-1969); noted orator and wheeler-dealer

1900 – James Bond born, American ornithologist and expert on birds of the Caribbean; author of Birds of the West Indies; Ian Fleming was a keen bird watcher and was familiar with Birds of the West Indies, so he contacted Bond about using his name for his fictional hero, and Bond replied he was “fine with it.” In 1964, Ian Fleming gave the ornithologist a first edition copy of You Only Live Twice signed, “To the real James Bond, from the thief of his identity”

The real James Bond

1901 – C.L.R. James born, Trinidadian historian, journalist, socialist and political activist; an influential pioneer in post-colonial letters. Author of World Revolution,  Minty Alley, which was the first novel by a black West Indian published in Britain, and The Black Jacobins, a history of the Haitian Revolution. His book on the game of cricket, Beyond a Boundary, is often named as the best single book on any sport ever written

1912 – The Boy Scouts Association is incorporated throughout the British Empire by royal charter; now called the Scouts Association

1915 – Marie-Louise von Franz born, German-Swiss psychologist and author,  a Jungian analyst (1948-1998) in collaboration with Carl Jung for over 30 years. She was also fairy-tale expert whose research showed common themes in tales from many cultures, which she linked with experiences in daily life. She began analysis with Jung at eighteen, and worked with him until his death in 1961. As Jung’s primary partner in his research into alchemical texts, her first major publication, Aurora Consurgens, is a companion volume to Jung’s last major work, Mysterium Cuniuntionis. Other works include On Dreams and Myths and C.G. Jung: His Myth in Our Time

1928 – NBC Radio debuts The Dodge Victory Hour which stars Will Rogers, Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra, and singer Al Jolson

1933 – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor born, American juvenile author; her Shiloh quartet of novels won the 1992 Newbery Award and the Mark Twain Readers Award; her Alice books series, while lauded for realism in portraying a motherless girl, have also been frequently challenged and banned, primarily for broaching the topic of sexuality in teenagers; she founded the PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship

1935 – Bob Hope debuts on network radio on The Intimate Revue

1936 – First Pop Music national sales chart * is published by Billboard magazine

1937 – Dyan Cannon born, American actress-producer-screenwriter and director

1943 – Doris Kearns Goodwin born, American historian, biographer and political commentator; noted author of  No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II (1995 Pulitzer Prize for History winner), and Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (2005 Lincoln Prize winner for best book of the year about the American Civil War)

1944 – Angela Harris, Baroness Harris of Richmond, born, British Liberal Democrat life peer; Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords since 2010; Chair and Trustee of the Industry and Parliament Trust

1947 – Marie-Thérèse Letablier born, French sociologist; Research Director at the French Center for Scientific Research; Executing Committee member of the European Sociological Association (ESA); has worked primarily on relationship of work-family-gender issues

1948 – Burma gains its independence from the United Kingdom

1948 – Cissé Mariam Kaïdama Sidibé born, first woman Prime Minister of Mali (2011-2012); in a March 2012 coup d’état, she and other minsters were detained by junta forces hostile to Malian President Amadou Toumai Touré; Amnesty International reported that the ministers were being held at a military camp in the Koulikoro region of Mali. They were released in April. In 2015, Cissé Mariam Kaïdama Sidibé was appointed as ambassador for the Niger Basin Authority (NBA), for their Climate Investment Plan to help improve the lives of the people who depend on the Niger River, to mitigate the effects of climate change, and insure that the best development choices are made

1950 – RCA Victor announces it will manufacture long-playing (LP) records

1953 – Ichthyologist J.L.B. Smith of Rhodes University, South Africa, examines a rare 120- pound Coelacanth, the oldest known living lineage of Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish and tetrapods), caught in the Comoros Islands by the crew of Captain Eric Hunt’s schooner; a species thought extinct until a specimen was discovered in 1938 by Museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer

1955 – Cecilia Conrad born, American economist and academic; dean of Pomona College in California (2009-2012); Managing Director of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation since 2013; President of the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE – 2008-2009); current editor of The Review of Black Political Economy, which was founded in 1970; her research centers on the effects of race and gender on economic status; co-editor of African Americans in the U.S. Economy

1956 – Zehava Gal-On born, Israeli Meretz politician; member of the Israeli legislature, the Knesset (1999-2017); chair of the Meretz political party (2012-2018). Meretz is a secular, left-wing, social-democratic, and green party. Gal-On has been particularly concerned with human rights, women’s rights and social justice issues. She served as chair of the Knesset committee against trafficking in women (1999-2000)

1956 – Sarojini Sahoo born, Indian feminist author, columnist for The New Indian Express, and associate editor of the English-language magazine Indian AGE; her novel Upanibesh (Colony) was a pioneering work in Odia (an Indo-Aryan language) on sexuality as a part of women’s social revolt; Gambhiri Ghara (The Dark Abode), a story of the relationship between an Indian Hindu woman and a Muslim man from Pakistan, against a background of terrorism

1958 – Sputnik 1 falls to Earth from orbit

1959 – Luna 1 becomes the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon

1965 – In his State of the Union address, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson outlines the goals of his “Great Society”

1969 – Spain and Morocco sign an agreement which returns Sidi Ifni to Morocco and awards fishing rights off Morocco’s Atlantic coast to Spain. Sidi Ifni was a Spanish protectorate in Spanish West Africa, and is now a Moroccan province on Morocco’s Atlantic coast

1972 – Rose Heilbron becomes the first British woman judge at London’s Old Bailey. She was one of the first generation of female barristers, called to the Bar in 1939. Her practice was crime and personal injury. In 1949, just months after the birth of her daughter, she became one of the first two women King’s Counsel at the Bar (now Queen’s Counsel). Rose Heilbron was the first woman to lead in a murder case, and the first woman leader of a circuit (the Northern Circuit in 1973). She was also the second woman to be appointed as a High Court judge

Helena Normanton on left, and Rose Heilbron on the right

1974 – United States President Richard Nixon refuses to hand over materials subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee

1981 – Alicia Garza born, American civil rights activist and editorial writer from Oakland CA; directs special projects at the National Domestic Workers Alliance; co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and received the 2017 Sydney Peace Prize along with her Black Lives Matter co-founders Patriss Cullors and Opal Tometi

1991 – The U.N. Security Council votes unanimously to condemn Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in the occupied territories

2005 – The first Hypnotism Day * is sponsored by the National Guild of Hypnotists

2007 – The 110th United States Congress convenes, electing Nancy Pelosi as the first woman Speaker of the House in U.S. history

2007 – American artist, filmmaker and lifelong peace activist Helen Hill, age 36, shot and killed in her New Orleans home by an unidentified intruder.  Her husband was shot three times, but survived, and their toddler son was not injured. The case remains unsolved

2010 – The Burj Khalifa, world’s newest ‘tallest tower’ opens in Dubai UAE, standing over 2,700 feet tall

2018 – Donald Trump announced that he had disbanded the controversial White House commission he created to study voter fraud. Trump, who made a baseless claim that he only lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton because millions voted illegally for her, said that “despite substantial evidence of voter fraud” he was disbanding the commission to avoid spending taxpayer money on legal battles with states that have refused to give the panel “basic information.” Critics celebrated the commission’s demise, saying it proved there was never any evidence of significant voter fraud. “The commission’s entire purpose was to legitimize voter suppression,” said Vanita Gupta, the president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and former head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division

Vanita Gupta


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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