This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
January 11 is the 11th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 354 days remaining until the end of the year (355 in leap years).
On January 11, 1908, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt declares the massive Grand Canyon in northwestern Arizona a national monument.
Though Native Americans lived in the area as early as the 13th century, the first European sighting of the canyon wasn’t until 1540, by members of an expedition headed by the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado. Because of its remote and inaccessible location, several centuries passed before North American settlers really explored the canyon. In 1869, geologist John Wesley Powell led a group of 10 men in the first difficult journey down the rapids of the Colorado River and along the length of the 277-mile gorge in four rowboats.
By the end of the 19th century, the Grand Canyon was attracting thousands of tourists each year. One famous visitor was President Theodore Roosevelt, a New Yorker with a particular affection for the American West. After becoming president in 1901 after the assassination of President William McKinley, Roosevelt made environmental conservation a major part of his presidency. After establishing the National Wildlife Refuge to protect the country’s animals, fish and birds, Roosevelt turned his attention to federal regulation of public lands. Though a region could be given national park status–indicating that all private development on that land was illegal–only by an act of Congress, Roosevelt cut down on red tape by beginning a new presidential practice of granting a similar “national monument” designation to some of the West’s greatest treasures.
Grand Canyon National Park became a national park in 1919. So famous is this landmark to modern Americans that it seems surprising that it took more than thirty years for it to become a national park. President Theodore Roosevelt visited the rim in 1903 and exclaimed: “The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison–beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world …. Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”
Despite Roosevelt’s enthusiasm and his strong interest in preserving land for public use, the Grand Canyon was not immediately designated as a national park. The first bill to create Grand Canyon National Park had been introduced in 1882 and again in 1883 and 1886 by Senator Benjamin Harrison. As President, Harrison established the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in 1893. Theodore Roosevelt created the Grand Canyon Game Preserve by proclamation in 1906 and Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908. Senate bills to establish a national park were introduced and defeated in 1910 and 1911; the Grand Canyon National Park Act was finally signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. The National Park Service, which had been established in 1916, assumed administration of the park.
The creation of the park was an early success of the environmental conservation movement; its National Park status may have helped thwart proposals to dam the Colorado River within its boundaries. (Lack of this fame may have enabled Glen Canyon Dam to be built upriver, flooding Glen Canyon and creating Lake Powell.) In 1975, the former Marble Canyon National Monument, which followed the Colorado River northeast from the Grand Canyon to Lee’s Ferry, was made part of Grand Canyon National Park. In 1979, UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Site.
The Grand Canyon itself, including its extensive system of tributary canyons, is valued for the combination of large size, depth, and the exposed layering of colorful rocks dating back to Precambrian times. It was created through the incision of the Colorado River and its tributaries after the Colorado Plateau was uplifted and the Colorado River system developed along its present path.
630 – Prophet of Islam Muhammad leads an army of 10,000 Muslims to conquer Mecca.
1055 – Theodora is crowned Empress of the Byzantine Empire.
1158 – Vladislav II becomes King of Bohemia.
1569 – First recorded lottery in England.
1571 – Austrian nobility is granted freedom of religion.
1693 – Mt. Etna erupts in Sicily, Italy. A powerful earthquake destroys parts of Sicily and Malta.
1759 – In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the first American life insurance company is incorporated.
1779 – Ching-Thang Khomba is crowned King of Manipur.
1787 – William Herschel discovers Titania and Oberon, two moons of Uranus.
1794 – Robert Forsythe, a U.S. Marshal is killed in Augusta, Georgia when trying to serve court papers, the first US marshal to die while carrying out his duties.
1805 – The Michigan Territory is created.
1861 – Alabama secedes from the United States.
1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Arkansas Post – General John McClernand and Admiral David Dixon Porter capture the Arkansas River for the Union.
1863 – American Civil War: CSS Alabama encountered and sank the USS Hatteras (1861) off Galveston Lighthouse in Texas.
1878 – Milk is first delivered in bottles.
1879 – The Anglo-Zulu War begins.
1908 – Grand Canyon National Monument is created.
1912 – The Lawrence textile strike begins in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
1917 – The Kingsland munitions factory explosion occurs as a result of sabotage.
1919 – Romania annexes Transylvania.
1922 – First use of insulin to treat diabetes in a human patient.
1923 – Occupation of the Ruhr: Troops from France and Belgium occupy the Ruhr area to force Germany to make its World War I reparation payments.
1927 – Louis B. Mayer, head of film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), announced the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at a banquet in Los Angeles, California.
1935 – Amelia Earhart is the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.
1942 – World War II: Japan declares war on the Netherlands and invades the Netherlands East Indies.
1942 – World War II: The Japanese capture Kuala Lumpur.
1943 – World War II: The United States and United Kingdom give up territorial rights in China.
1943 – Italian-American Anarchist Carlo Tresca is assassinated in New York
1946 – Enver Hoxha declares the People’s Republic of Albania with himself as president.
1949 – First recorded case of snowfall in Los Angeles, California.
1957 – The African Convention is founded in Dakar.
1957 – Mass-murderer Jack Gilbert Graham is executed in Colorado by gas chamber.
1960 – Henry Lee Lucas, once listed as America’s most prolific serial killer, commits his first known murder.
1962 – An avalanche on Huascaran in Peru causes 4,000 deaths.
1964 – United States Surgeon General Dr. Luther Leonidas Terry, M.D., publishes a landmark report saying that smoking may be hazardous to health, sparking nation- and worldwide anti-smoking efforts.
1972 – East Pakistan renames itself Bangladesh.
1986 – The Gateway Bridge, Brisbane in Queensland, Australia is officially opened.
1990 – 300,000 march in favor of Lithuanian independence.
1994 – The Irish Government announces the end of a 15-year broadcasting ban on the IRA and its political arm Sinn Fein.
1996 – Space Shuttle program: STS-72 launches from the Kennedy Space Center marking the start of the 74th Space Shuttle mission and the 10th flight of Endeavour.
1998 – Sidi-Hamed massacre takes place in Algeria, over 100 people are killed.
2005 – 9 people die in the Black Tuesday bushfire on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.
2007 – China conducts the first successful anti-satellite missile test of any nation since 1985.
Christian Feast Day:
Leucius of Brindisi (Roman Catholic)
Earliest day on which Triodion can fall, while February 14 is the latest; celebrated 70 days before Easter. (Eastern Orthodox)
Eugenio Maria de Hostos Day (Puerto Rico)
Independence Resistance Day (Morocco)
Kagami Biraki (Japan)
Republic Day (Albania)