It’s Tuesday! Did You Know…
* 1988 – Calgary hosts 15th Winter Olympics.
The 1988 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XV Olympic Winter Games, was a Winter Olympics multi-sport event celebrated in and around Calgary, Canada between February 13 and 28, 1988. The host city was selected in 1981 over Falun, Sweden and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Most events took place in Calgary while several skiing events were held in the mountain resorts of Nakiska and Canmore, west of the city.
A then-record 57 nations competed and 1,423 athletes participated. As it had in Montreal in 1976, Canada again failed to win a gold medal in an official medal event as the host nation. Finnish ski jumper Matti Nykänen and Dutch speed skater Yvonne van Gennip were individual medal leaders with each winning three gold medals. The games are also remembered for the “heroic failure” of British ski jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, and the Winter Olympic début of the Jamaica national bobsled team, both of which would be subjects of major feature films about their participation in the games.
The Calgary games were at the time one of the most expensive Olympics ever held, but the organizing committee turned record television and sponsorship revenue into a net surplus that was used to maintain the facilities built for the Olympics and develop the Calgary region into the heart of Canada’s elite winter sports program. The five purpose-built venues continue to be used in their original functions, and have helped the country develop into one of the top nations in Winter Olympic competition; Canada more than quintupled the five medals it won in Calgary at the 2010 games, the next Winter Olympics hosted on Canadian soil in Vancouver. Calgary is the largest city to host the Winter Olympics; however, the census metropolitan area of Greater Vancouver could also be considered the largest metropolitan area to host the Winter Olympics. Nonetheless, this title will soon to be turned over to Beijing in 2022.
* 1689 British Parliament adopts the Bill of Rights which establishes the rights of parliament and places limits on the crown
The Bill of Rights, also known as the English Bill of Rights, is an Act of the Parliament of England that deals with constitutional matters and sets out certain basic civil rights. It received the Royal Assent on 16 December 1689 and is a restatement in statutory form of the Declaration of Right presented by the Convention Parliament to William III and Mary II in February 1689, inviting them to become joint sovereigns of England. The Bill of Rights lays down limits on the powers of the monarch and sets out the rights of Parliament, including the requirement for regular parliaments, free elections, and freedom of speech in Parliament. It sets out certain rights of individuals including the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and reestablished Protestants to have arms for their defense within the rule of law. Furthermore, the Bill of Rights described and condemned several misdeeds of James II of England.
These ideas reflected those of the political thinker John Locke and they quickly became popular in England. It also sets out—or, in the view of its drafters, restates—certain constitutional requirements of the Crown to seek the consent of the people, as represented in Parliament.
In the United Kingdom, the Bill of Rights is further accompanied by Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the Habeas Corpus Act 1679 and the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 as some of the basic documents of the uncodified British constitution. This means that England never had a single constitutional document and still does not. America’s constitution is contained in a single document with amendments added later. Canada’s constitution is a blend of both traditions. The Bill of Rights 1689 was one of the inspirations for the United States Bill of Rights.
Along with the Act of Settlement 1701, the Bill of Rights is still in effect in all Commonwealth realms. Following the Perth Agreement in 2011, legislation amending both of them came into effect across the Commonwealth realms on 26 March 2015.
* 1633 Galileo in Rome for Inquisition
On this day in 1633, Italian philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome to face charges of heresy for advocating Copernican theory, which holds that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Galileo officially faced the Roman Inquisition in April of that same year and agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. Put under house arrest indefinitely by Pope Urban VIII, Galileo spent the rest of his days at his villa in Arcetri, near Florence, before dying on January 8, 1642.
Galileo, the son of a musician, was born February 15, 1564, in Pisa, Italy. He entered the University of Pisa planning to study medicine but shifted his focus to philosophy and mathematics. In 1589, he became a professor at Pisa for several years, during which time he demonstrated that the speed of a falling object is not proportional to its weight, as Aristotle had believed. According to some reports, Galileo conducted his research by dropping objects of different weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. From 1592 to 1630, Galileo was a math professor at the University of Padua, where he developed a telescope that enabled him to observe lunar mountains and craters, the four largest satellites of Jupiter and the phases of Jupiter. He also discovered that the Milky Way was made up of stars. Following the publication of his research in 1610, Galileo gained acclaim and was appointed court mathematician at Florence.
Galileo’s research led him to become an advocate of the work of the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1573). However, the Copernican theory of a sun-centered solar system conflicted with the teachings of the powerful Roman Catholic Church, which essentially ruled Italy at the time. Church teachings contended that Earth, not the sun, was at the center of the universe. In 1633, Galileo was brought before the Roman Inquisition, a judicial system established by the papacy in 1542 to regulate church doctrine. This included the banning of books that conflicted with church teachings. The Roman Inquisition had its roots in the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, the purpose of which was to seek out and prosecute heretics, considered enemies of the state.
Today, Galileo is recognized for making important contributions to the study of motion and astronomy. His work influenced later scientists such as the English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton, who developed the law of universal gravitation. In 1992, the Vatican formally acknowledged its mistake in condemning Galileo.
* 1905 Teddy Roosevelt discusses America’s race problem
On this day in 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt delivers a stirring speech to the New York City Republican Club.
Roosevelt had just won his second reelection, and in this speech, he discussed the country’s current state of race relations and his plan for improving them. In 1905, many white Americans’ attitude of superiority to other races still lingered. Much bitterness still existed between North and South and, in addition, Roosevelt’s tenure in office had seen an influx of Asian immigrants in the West, which contributed to new racial tensions. In his argument for racial equality, Roosevelt used the rising tide raises all ships metaphor, stating that if morality and thrift among the colored men can be raised then those same virtues among whites, already assumed to be more advanced, would rise to an even higher degree. At the same time, he warned that the debasement of the blacks will in the end carry with it [the] debasement of the whites.
Roosevelt’s solution to the race problem in 1905 was to proceed slowly toward social and economic equality. He cautioned against imposing radical changes in government policy and instead suggested a gradual adjustment in the attitudes of whites toward ethnic minorities. He referred to white Americans as the forward race, whose responsibility it was to raise the status of minorities through training the backward race[s] in industrial efficiency, political capacity and domestic morality. Thus, he claimed whites bore the burden of preserving the high civilization wrought out by its forefathers.
While Roosevelt firmly believed in the words of the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, his administration took only a passive, long-term approach to improving civil rights. His successors in the 20th century would take the same route–it was not until Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 that government efforts to correct racial bias would be encoded into law.
* 1991 Long-lost Twain manuscript authenticated
On this day, Sotheby’s announced the discovery of a long-lost manuscript of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
The manuscript was the first half of Twain’s original version, heavily corrected in his own handwriting, which had been missing for more than a century. The manuscript surfaced when a 62-year-old Los Angeles librarian finally got around to sorting through some old papers in six trunks sent to her when an aunt from upstate New York died.
Twain, it turned out, had sent the second half of the manuscript to the librarian’s grandfather, James Gluck, who had solicited it for the Buffalo and Erie Library in Buffalo, New York, where Twain had once lived. At the time, Twain was unable to find the entire manuscript, and it was presumed lost for more than 100 years. However, it turned out that Twain did eventually find the manuscript and send it to Gluck.
A custody war over the manuscript ensued, with the sisters, the library, and the Mark Twain Papers Projects in Berkeley, California, squabbling over rights to the papers. Ultimately, the three parties struck a deal: The library would hold the rights to the physical papers, but all three parties would share in the publication rights. Because the novel contained previously unpublished material and showed Twain’s edits, interest in publishing the manuscript was high, and in 1995 Random House won the rights to publish the book for an undisclosed price.
* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology http://canadachannel.ca/todayincanadianhistory/index.php
* On This Day – History, Film, Music and Sport http://www.onthisday.com/
* This Day In History – What Happened Today http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/