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.
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August 13 is the 225th day of the year (226th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 140 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1521, the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan falls to Cortes:
After a three-month siege, Spanish forces under Hernan Cortes capture Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire. Cortes’ men leveled the city and captured Cuauhtemoc, the Aztec emperor.
Tenochtitlan was founded in 1325 A.D. by a wandering tribe of hunters and gatherers on islands in Lake Texcoco, near the present site of Mexico City. In only one century, this civilization grew into the Aztec empire, largely because of its advanced system of agriculture. The empire came to dominate central Mexico and by the ascendance of Montezuma II in 1502 had reached its greatest extent, extending as far south as perhaps modern-day Nicaragua. At the time, the empire was held together primarily by Aztec military strength, and Montezuma II set about establishing a bureaucracy, creating provinces that would pay tribute to the imperial capital of Tenochtitlan. The conquered peoples resented the Aztec demands for tribute and victims for the religious sacrifices, but the Aztec military kept rebellion at bay.
Cortes subsequently directed the systematic destruction and leveling of the city and its rebuilding, despite opposition, with a central area designated for Spanish use (the traza). The outer Indian section, now dubbed San Juan Tenochtitlan, continued to be governed by the previous indigenous elite and was divided into the same subdivisions as before.
Some of the remaining ruins of Tenochtitlan’s main temple, the Templo Mayor, were uncovered during the construction of a metro line in the 1970s. A small portion has been excavated and is now open to visitors. Mexico City’s Zócalo, the Plaza de la Constitución, is located at the location of Tenochtitlan’s original central plaza and market, and many of the original calzadas still correspond to modern streets in the city. The Aztec sun stone was located in the ruins. This stone is 4 meters in diameter and weighs over 20 tonnes. It was once located half way up the great pyramid. This sculpture was made around 1470 CE under the rule of King Axayacatl, the predecessor of Tizoc, and is said to tell the Aztec history and prophecy for the future.
3114 BC – According to the Lounsbury correlation, the start of the Maya calendar.
1516 – The Treaty of Noyon between France and Spain is signed. Francis recognises Charles’s claim to Naples, and Charles recognises Francis’s claim to Milan.
1521 – Tenochtitlan (present day Mexico City) falls to conquistador Hernan Cortes.
1536 – Buddhist monks from Kyoto’s Enryaku Temple set fire to 21 Nichiren temples throughout Kyoto in the Tenbun Hokke Disturbance. (Traditional Japanese date: July 27, 1536).
1553 – Michael Servetus is arrested by John Calvin in Geneva as a heretic.
1704 – War of the Spanish Succession: Battle of Blenheim – English and Austrians victorious over French and Bavarians.
1792 – Louis XVI of France is formally arrested by the National Tribunal, and declared an enemy of the people.
1814 – The Convention of London, a treaty between the United Kingdom and the United Provinces, is signed in London.
1831 – Nat Turner sees a solar eclipse, which he believes is a sign from God. Eight days later he and 70 other slaves kill approximately 55 whites in Southampton County, Virginia.
1889 – German Ferdinand von Zeppelin patents his “Navigable Balloon”
1913 – Otto Witte, an acrobat, is purportedly crowned King of Albania.
1913 – First production in the UK of stainless steel by Harry Brearley.
1918 – Women enlist in the United States Marine Corps for the first time. Opha Mae Johnson is the first woman to enlist.
1918 – Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) established as a public company in Germany.
1920 – Polish-Soviet War: Battle of Warsaw begins, lasts till August 25. The Red Army is defeated.
1937 – Battle of Shanghai begins.
1954 – Radio Pakistan broadcasts the National Anthem of Pakistan for the first time.
1960 – The Central African Republic declares independence from France.
1961 – The German Democratic Republic closes the border between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin, to thwart its inhabitants’ attempts to escape to the West.
1968 – Alexandros Panagoulis attempts to assassinate the Greek dictator Colonel G. Papadopoulos in Varkiza, Athens.
1969 – The Apollo 11 astronauts are released from a three-week quarantine to enjoy a ticker-tape parade in New York. That evening, at a state dinner in Los Angeles, they’re awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Richard Nixon.
1978 – 150 Palestinians in Beirut are killed in a terrorist attack during the Second Phase of the Lebanese Civil War.
1979 – The roof of the uncompleted Rosemont Horizon near Chicago, Illinois collapses, killing 5 workers and injuring 16.
2004 – Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 storm, strikes Punta Gorda, Florida and devastates the surrounding area.
2004 – 156 Congolese Tutsi refugees massacred at the Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi.
2008 – Michael Phelps sets the Olympic record for most the gold medals won by an individual in Olympic history with his win in the men’s 200m butterfly.
2008 – South Ossetian War: Russian units occupy the Georgian city of Gori.
2010 – The MV Sun Sea docks in CFB Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada, carrying 492 Sri Lankan Tamils.
* Christian Feast Day:
* Cassian of Imola
* Hippolytus of Rome
* Maximus the Confessor
* Pope Pontian
* August 13 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Festival of Aventine Diana (Roman Empire)
* Hercules Victori (Roman Empire)
* Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Central African Republic from France in 1960.
* International Lefthanders Day (International)
* Lao Issara, Day of the Free Laos. (Laos)
* The first day of Gujo Odori (Gujo)
* Women’s Day, commemorates the enaction of Tunisian Code of Personal Status in 1956. (Tunisia)