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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May 26 is the 146th day of the year (147th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 219 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1637, an allied Puritan and Mohegan force under English Captain John Mason attacks a Pequot village in Connecticut, burning or massacring some 500 Indian women, men, and children.
The Pequot War was an armed conflict in 1634-1638 between the Pequot tribe against an alliance of the Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Saybrook colonies with American Indian allies (the Narragansett and Mohegan tribes). Hundreds were killed; hundreds more were captured and sold into slavery to the West Indies. Other survivors were dispersed. At the end of the war, about seven hundred Pequots had been killed or taken into captivity. The result was the elimination of the Pequot as a viable polity in what is present-day Southern New England. It would take the Pequot more than three and a half centuries to regain political and economic power in their traditional homeland region along the Pequot (present-day Thames) and Mystic rivers in what is now southeastern Connecticut.
Believing that the English had returned to Boston, the Pequot sachem Sassacus took several hundred of his warriors to make another raid on Hartford. Mason had visited and recruited the Narragansett, who joined him with several hundred warriors. Several allied Niantic warriors also joined Mason’s group. On May 26, 1637, with a force up to about 400 fighting men, Mason attacked Misistuck by surprise. He estimated that “six or seven Hundred” Pequot were there when his forces assaulted the palisade. As some 150 warriors had accompanied Sassacus to Hartford, so the inhabitants remaining were largely Pequot women and children, and older men. Mason ordered that the enclosure be set on fire. Justifying his conduct later, Mason declared that the attack against the Pequot was the act of a God who “laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to scorn making [the Pequot] as a fiery Oven . . . Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling [Mystic] with dead Bodies.” Mason insisted that any Pequot attempting to escape the flames should be killed. Of the estimated 600 to 700 Pequot resident at Mystic that day, only seven survived to be taken prisoner, while another seven escaped to the woods.
The Narragansett and Mohegan warriors with Mason and Underhill’s colonial militia were horrified by the actions and “manner of the Englishmen’s fight . . . because it is too furious, and slays too many men.” The Narragansett left the warfare and returned home.
Believing the mission accomplished, Mason set out for home. Becoming temporarily lost, his militia narrowly missed returning Pequot warriors. After seeing the destruction of Mystic, they gave chase to the English forces, but to little avail.
47 BC – Julius Caesar visits Tarsus on his way to Pontus, where he meets enthusiastic support, but where, according to Cicero, Cassius is planning to kill him at this point.
17 – Germanicus returns to Rome as a conquering hero; he celebrates a triumph for his victories over the Cherusci, Chatti and other German tribes west of the Elbe.
451 – Battle of Avarayr between Armenian rebels and the Sassanid Empire takes place. The Empire defeats the Armenians militarily but guarantees them freedom to openly practice Christianity.
1135 – Alfonso VII of Leon and Castile is crowned in the Cathedral of Leon as Imperator totius Hispaniae, “Emperor of all of Spain”.
1293 – An earthquake strikes Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan, killing about 30,000.
1328 – William of Ockham, Franciscan Minister-General Michael of Cesena and two other Franciscan leaders secretly leave Avignon, fearing a death sentence from Pope John XXII.
1538 – Geneva expels John Calvin and his followers from the city. Calvin lives in exile in Strasbourg for the next three years.
1637 – Pequot War: A combined Protestant and Mohegan force under English Captain John Mason attacks a Pequot village in Connecticut, massacring approximately 500 Native Americans.
1647 – Alse Young, hanged in Hartford, Connecticut, becomes the first person executed as a witch in the British American colonies.
1736 – Battle of Ackia: British and Chickasaw soldiers repel a French and Choctaw attack on the Chickasaw village of Ackia, near present-day Tupelo, Mississippi. The French, under Louisiana governor Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, had sought to link Louisiana with Acadia and the other northern colonies of New France.
1770 – The Orlov Revolt, an attempt to revolt against the Ottoman Empire before the Greek War of Independence, ends in disaster for the Greeks.
1805 – Napoléon Bonaparte assumes the title of King of Italy and is crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy in the Duomo di Milano, the gothic cathedral in Milan.
1822 – 116 people die in the Grue Church fire, the biggest fire disaster in Norway’s history.
1828 – Feral child Kaspar Hauser is discovered wandering the streets of Nuremberg.
1830 – The Indian Removal Act is passed by the U.S. Congress; it is signed into law by President Andrew Jackson two days later.
1857 – Dred Scott is emancipated by the Blow family, his original owners.
1864 – Montana is organized as a United States territory.
1865 – American Civil War: Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi division, is the last general of the Confederate Army to surrender, at Galveston, Texas.
1868 – The impeachment trial of U.S. President Andrew Johnson ends with Johnson being found not guilty by one vote.
1869 – Boston University is chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
1879 – Russia and the United Kingdom sign the Treaty of Gandamak establishing an Afghan state.
1896 – Nicholas II becomes Tsar of Russia.
1896 – Charles Dow publishes the first edition of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
1897 – Dracula, a novel by Irish author Bram Stoker is published.
1906 – Vauxhall Bridge is opened in London.
1908 – At Masjed Soleyman in southwest Persia, the first major commercial oil strike in the Middle East is made. The rights to the resource are quickly acquired by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company.
1917 – Several powerful tornadoes rip through Illinois, including the city of Mattoon, killing 101 people and injuring 689.
1918 – The Democratic Republic of Georgia is established.
1938 – In the United States, the House Un-American Activities Committee begins its first session.
1940 – World War II: Battle of Dunkirk – In France, Allied forces begin a massive evacuation from Dunkirk, France.
1942 – World War II: The Battle of Bir Hakeim takes place.
1948 – The U.S. Congress passes Public Law 557, which permanently establishes the Civil Air Patrol as an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.
1966 – British Guiana gains independence, becoming Guyana.
1969 – Apollo program: Apollo 10 returns to Earth after a successful eight-day test of all the components needed for the forthcoming first manned moon landing.
1972 – The United States and the Soviet Union sign the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
1977 – George Willig climbs the South Tower of New York City’s World Trade Center.
1981 – Prime Minister of Italy Arnaldo Forlani and his coalition cabinet resign following a scandal over membership of the pseudo-masonic lodge P2 (Propaganda Due).
1983 – A strong 7.7 magnitude earthquake strikes Japan, triggering a tsunami that kills at least 104 people and injures thousands. Many people go missing and thousands of buildings are destroyed.
1986 – The European Community adopts the European flag.
1991 – Zviad Gamsakhurdia becomes the first democratically elected President of the Republic of Georgia in the post-Soviet era.
1991 – Lauda Air Flight 004 explodes over rural Thailand, killing 223.
1998 – The Supreme Court of the United States rules that Ellis Island, the historic gateway for millions of immigrants, is mainly in the state of New Jersey, not New York.
2004 – The United States Army veteran Terry Nichols is found guilty of 161 state murder charges for helping carry out the Oklahoma City bombing.
2006 – The May 2006 Java earthquake kills over 5,700 people and leaves 200,000 homeless.
2008 – Severe flooding begins in eastern and southern China that will ultimately cause 148 deaths and force the evacuation of 1.3 million.
* Christian Feast Day:
* Augustine of Canterbury (Anglican Communion and Eastern Orthodox)
* Lambert of Vence
* Philip Neri
* Quadratus of Athens
* Zachary, Bishop of Vienne
* May 26 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Crown Prince’s Birthday (Denmark)
* Independence Day, commemorate the day of the First Republic in 1918. (Georgia)
* Independence Day, celebrate the independence of Guyana from the United Kingdom in 1966.
* Mother’s Day (Poland)
* National Paper Airplane Day (United States, unofficial)
* National Sorry Day (Australia)