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.
February 18 is the 49th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 316 days remaining until the end of the year (317 in leap years).
Considered as one of the Great American Novels, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is among the first in major American literature to be written in the vernacular, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry “Huck” Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective).
The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Satirizing a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism.
The work has been popular with readers since its publication and is taken as a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It has also been the continued object of study by serious literary critics. It was criticized upon release because of its coarse language and became even more controversial in the 20th century because of its perceived use of racial stereotypes and because of its frequent use of the racial slur “nigger”, despite that the main protagonist, and the tenor of the book, is anti-racist. According to the January 20, 2011 Chase Cook/The Daily article, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn novel will be released in a new edition. Two words will be changed throughout the whole book, “injun” and “nigger” to “indian” and “slave”. The book is being changed as quoted in the article, “only to make it viable to the 21st century”.
1229 – The Sixth Crusade: Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor signs a ten-year truce with al-Kamil, regaining Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem with neither military engagements nor support from the papacy.
1268 – The Livonian Brothers of the Sword are defeated by Dovmont of Pskov in the Battle of Rakvere.
1332 – Amda Seyon I, Emperor of Ethiopia begins his campaigns in the southern Muslim provinces.
1478 – George, Duke of Clarence, convicted of treason against his older brother Edward IV of England, is executed in private at the Tower of London.
1637 – Eighty Years’ War: Off the coast of Cornwall, England, a Spanish fleet intercepts an important Anglo-Dutch merchant convoy of 44 vessels escorted by 6 warships, destroying or capturing 20 of them.
1745 – The city of Surakarta, Central Java is founded on the banks of Bengawan Solo River, and becomes the capital of the Kingdom of Surakarta.
1781 – Fourth Anglo-Dutch War: Captain Thomas Shirley opened his expedition against Dutch colonial outposts on the Gold Coast of Africa (present-day Ghana).
1797 – French Revolutionary Wars: Sir Ralph Abercromby and a fleet of 18 British warships invade Trinidad.
1814 – Napoleonic Wars: The Battle of Montereau.
1846 – Beginning of the Galician peasant revolt.
1861 – In Montgomery, Alabama, Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as the provisional President of the Confederate States of America.
1861 – With the Italian unification almost complete, Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont, Savoy and Sardinia assumes the title of King of Italy.
1865 – Union forces under Major General William T. Sherman set the South Carolina State House on fire during the burning of Columbia.
1873 – Bulgarian revolutionary leader Vasil Levski is executed by hanging in Sofia by the Ottoman authorities.
1878 – John Tunstall is murdered by outlaw Jessie Evans, sparking the Lincoln County War in Lincoln County, New Mexico.
1900 – Second Boer War: Imperial forces suffer their worst single-day loss of life on Bloody Sunday, the first day of the Battle of Paardeberg.
1906 – Edouard de Laveleye forms the Belgian Olympic Committee in Brussels.
1911 – The first official flight with air mail takes place in Allahabad, British India, when Henri Pequet, a 23-year-old pilot, delivers 6,500 letters to Naini, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away.
1930 – While studying photographs taken in January, Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto.
1930 – Elm Farm Ollie becomes the first cow to fly in a fixed-wing aircraft and also the first cow to be milked in an aircraft.
1932 – The Empire of Japan declares Manzhouguo (the obsolete Chinese name for Manchuria) independent from the Republic of China.
1943 – The Nazis arrest the members of the White Rose movement.
1943 – Joseph Goebbels delivers his Sportpalast speech.
1946 – Sailors of the Royal Indian Navy mutinied in Mumbai harbour, from where it would spread throughout British India and involve 78 ships, 20 shore establishments and 20,000 sailors
1954 – The first Church of Scientology is established in Los Angeles, California.
1955 – Operation Teapot: Teapot test shot “Wasp” is successfully detonated at the Nevada Test Site with a yield of 1.2 kilotons. Wasp is the first of fourteen shots of the Teapot series.
1957 – Kenyan rebel leader Dedan Kimathi is executed by the British colonial government.
1957 – Walter James Bolton becomes the last person legally executed in New Zealand.
1965 – The Gambia becomes independent from the United Kingdom.
1969 – Hawthorne Nevada Airlines Flight 708 crashes into Mount Whitney killing all on board.
1970 – The Chicago Seven are found not guilty of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
1972 – The California Supreme Court in the case of People v. Anderson, 6 Cal.3d 628 invalidates the state’s death penalty and commutes the sentences of all death row inmates to life imprisonment.
1977 – The Space Shuttle Enterprise test vehicle is carried on its maiden “flight” on top of a Boeing 747.
1979 – Snow falls in the Sahara Desert in southern Algeria for the only time in recorded history.
1983 – Thirteen people die and one is seriously injured in the Wah Mee Massacre in Seattle, Washington. It is said to be the largest robbery-motivated mass-murder in U.S. history.
1991 – The IRA explodes bombs in the early morning at Paddington station and Victoria station in London.
2001 – FBI agent Robert Hanssen is arrested for spying for the Soviet Union. He is ultimately convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
2001 – Seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt dies in an accident during the Daytona 500.
2001 – Inter-ethnic violence between Dayaks and Madurese breaks out in Sampit, Indonesia, that will ultimately result in more than 500 deaths and 100,000 Madurese displaced from their homes.
2003 – Nearly 200 people die in the Daegu subway fire in South Korea.
2004 – Up to 295 people, including nearly 200 rescue workers, die near Neyshabur in Iran when a runaway freight train carrying sulfur, petrol and fertilizer catches fire and explodes.
2007 – Terrorist bombs explode on the Samjhauta Express in Panipat, Haryana, India, killing 68 people.
2014 – At least 76 people are killed and hundreds are injured in clashes between riot police and demonstrators in Kiev, Ukraine.
* Christian Feast Day:
o Simeon of Jerusalem(Western Christianity)