Category Archives: Today in History

Today in History: August 25

Every
Year
August 25 is the 237th day of the year (238th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 128 days remaining until the end of the year.
1967 Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page hears Jake Holmes play “Dazed and Confused”.

Jake Holmes’ ‎Dazed And Confused (Tower 393, US) 7” Vinyl 45 RPM Promo

Jake Holmes’ ‎Dazed And Confused (Tower 393, US) 7” Vinyl 45 RPM Promo

On August 25, 1967, Jake Holmes played “Dazed and Confused” when he opened for The Yardbirds at the Village Theater in Greenwich Village, New York. Jimmy Page, then of The Yardbirds, liked “Dazed and Confused” so much that he later recorded it and the song appeared on Led Zeppelin’s debut album released on January 12, 1969.

In the early 1980s, Holmes wrote a letter to Led Zeppelin and said, “I understand it’s a collaborative effort, but I think you should give me credit at least and some remuneration.” Led Zeppelin never responded.

Jake Holmes’ ‎Penny’s (Tower 393, US) 7” Vinyl 45 RPM Promo

Jake Holmes’ ‎Penny’s (Tower 393, US) 7” Vinyl 45 RPM Promo

In June 2010, Holmes filed a lawsuit against Jimmy Page for copyright infringement, claiming to have written and recorded “Dazed and Confused” two years before it appeared on Led Zeppelin’s debut album. In court documents Holmes cited a 1967 copyright registration for “Dazed and Confused” which was renewed in 1995. This case was settled out-of-court in January 2012.As Led Zeppelin’s version of the song evolved over the years, it also incorporated parts of Gustav Holst’s “Mars, the Bringer of War”.

Today in History: July 16

Every
Year
July 16 is the 197th day of the year (198th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 168 days remaining until the end of the year.
622 Epoch (beginning) the Islamic calendar.

Day one of the Islamic calendar corresponds to July 16, 622 CE in the Julian calendar.

Today in History: May 23

Every
Year
May 23 is the 143rd day of the year (144th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 222 days remaining until the end of the year.
Every
Year
World Turtle Day

World Turtle Day is May 23 and is sponsored by American Tortoise Rescue. Its purpose, since 2000, is to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of, and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive. World Turtle Day is celebrated around the globe in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles or wearing green summer dresses, to saving turtles caught on highways, to research activities. Turtle Day lesson plans and craft projects encourage teaching about turtles in classrooms.

American Tortoise Rescue (founded in 1990) is the founding sponsor of World Turtle Day. American Tortoise Rescue (ATR) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation to provide for the protection of all species of tortoise and turtle. Foundlings that cannot be adopted because of ill health remain in the care of American Tortoise Rescue for the remainder of their lives.

Featured in Chase’s Book of Annual Events, the day was created as an annual observance to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. Susan Tellem and Marshall Thompson, founders of the rescue American Tortoise Rescue advocate humane treatment of all animals, including reptiles. Since 1990, ATR has placed about 3,000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes. ATR assists law enforcement when undersize or endangered turtles are confiscated and provides helpful information and referrals to persons with sick, neglected or abandoned turtles.

In 2013, over 160 free Turtle Day Lesson plans and teaching materials were sent out to classrooms for use with over 5,500 students. Lesson plans were provided by the Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group (TTPG), an organization that is open to all people interested in the welfare of chelonians. The TTPG is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation founded in 1996 to help ensure survival of the world’s turtle and tortoise species. Individuals that maintain captive collections have a great responsibility to ensure their chelonians are properly cared for and maintained.

The term “World Turtle Day” is trademarked (a service mark) by Susan Tellem of Malibu, California.

Today in History: May 15

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Every
Year
May 15 is the 135th day of the year (136th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 230 days remaining until the end of the year.
1755 Laredo, Texas was founded by Don Tomás Sánchez.

Don Tomás Sánchez founded the Spanish colonial settlement of Villa de San Agustin de Laredo on May 15, 1755 in the Nuevo Santander region of New Spain. It was named after Laredo, Cantabria, Spain and in honor of Saint Augustine of Hippo.

From January 17 to November 6, 1840, Laredo was the capital of the newly independent Republic of the Rio Grande, set up in opposition to the Mexican goverment, but was brought back into Mexico by military force.

When Mexican–American War ended on February 2, 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Laredo was ceded to the U.S. A referendum was taken in the town, which voted to petition the American military government to return the town to Mexico. When their petition was rejected, on May 15, 1848, most of the population, who were Tejano and had been in the area for generations, moved across the river into Mexican territory, where they founded Nuevo Laredo.

Laredo is one of the oldest U.S.–Mexico border crossing points and the United States’ largest inland port of entry.

1848 Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, México was founded by families leaving Loredo, Texas, United States after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ceded Loredo to the U.S.—93 years to the day after Loredo was founded.
« May 14 Index May 16 »

Today in History: May 13

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Every
Year
May 13 is the 133rd day of the year (134th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 232 days remaining until the end of the year.
1846 The United States declared war on Mexico. (Mexican–American War)
1958 The trademark Velcro™ was registered.
1969 Born today: Buckethead (May 13, 1969– )

Buckethead

Buckethead

Buckethead

Buckethead

« May 12 Index May 14 »

Today in History: May 5

« May 4 Index May 6 »


Every
Year
May 5 is the 125th day of the year (126th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 240 days remaining until the end of the year.
1920 “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”
— Albert Einstein (1879–1955), “Äther und Relativitätstheorie” (“Aether and Relativity Theory”), a talk given on May 5, 1920 at the University of Leiden.

Original German: “Insofern sich die Sätze der Mathematik auf die Wirklichkeit beziehen, sind sie nicht sicher, und insofern sie sicher sind, beziehen sie sich nicht auf die Wirklichkeit.”

« May 4 Index May 6 »

Today in History: April 26

Every
Year
April 26 is the 116th day of the year (117th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 249 days remaining until the end of the year.
Every
Year
Confederate Memorial Day (Florida and Georgia)
Every
Year
Day of Remembrance of the Chernobyl Tragedy (Belarus)
Every
Year
World Intellectual Property Day (International)
570 Born today: Muhammad (April 26, 570–June 8, 632, age 62)

Mohammed receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel. Miniature illustration on vellum from the book Jami’ al-Tawarikh (literally “Compendium of Chronicles”), by Rashid al-Din, published in Tabriz, Persia, 1307 CE.

Mohammed receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel. Miniature illustration on vellum from the book Jami’ al-Tawarikh (literally “Compendium of Chronicles”), by Rashid al-Din, published in Tabriz, Persia, 1307 CE.

Muhammad, full name Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ’Abd Allāh ibn ’Abd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim (literally “Father of Qasim Muhammad son of Abd Allah son of Abdul-Muttalib son of Hashim”), is the central figure of Islam and widely regarded as its founder. He is known to Muslims as the “Holy Prophet”, considered by most to be the last prophet sent by God to mankind to restore Islam, which they believe to be the unaltered original monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. (Ahmadiyya Muslims consider Muhammad to be the “Seal of the Prophets” (Khātam an-Nabiyyīn) and the last law-bearing prophet, but not the last prophet; the Nation of Islam considers Elijah Muhammad to be a prophet; and United Submitters International consider Rashad Khalifa to be a prophet.) He united Arabia into a single Muslim state and ensured that his teachings, practices, and the Qur’an—which Muslims believe was revealed to him by God—formed the basis of Islamic religious belief.

Muhammad the Prophet

Muhammad the Prophet

Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570. His father died before he was born and his mother died when he was 6. He was raised by his paternal uncle Abu Talib. Before the age of 40, he worked as a merchant. At times he would retreat to a cave in the mountains named Hira for several nights of seclusion and prayer. At age 40, he received a visit from the archangel Gabriel and received his first revelation from God. At the age of 43 he started preaching the revelations in public, proclaiming that “God (Allah, literally Al-Ilāh ‘the God’) is One (Al-Aḥad)”, that complete “surrender” (literally islām) to him is the only acceptable way (dīn), and that he was a prophet and messenger of God. (“Islam” is always referred to in the Qur’an as a dīn, a word that means “way” or “path” in Arabic, but is usually translated in English as “religion” for the sake of convenience.)

Muhammad the Prophet

Muhammad the Prophet

Muhammad was met with hostility by some Meccan tribes. To escape persecution, he and his followers migrated from Mecca to Yathrib (/ˈjaθrib/), which he later renamed al-Madīnah al-Munawwarah (“the radiant city”, modern-day Medina) in the year 622. The migration, the Hijra, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar, also known as the Hijri Calendar. Day one in the Islamic calendar corresponds to July 16, 622 CE in the Julian calendar. In Medina, Muhammad united the tribes under the Ṣaḥīfat al-Madīnah (“Charter of Medina”), the first constitution of democracy in the history of constitutional rule. In December 629, after eight years of intermittent conflict with Meccan tribes, Muhammad gathered an army of 10,000 Muslim converts and attacked the city of Mecca. The attack was largely uncontested and Muhammad seized the city with little bloodshed. He destroyed 360 pagan idols at al-Ka’bah (/alˈkaʕba/, “The Cube”). Today, the Kaaba is a building at the center of Islam’s most sacred mosque, Al-Masjid al-Haram, in Mecca, al-Hejaz, Saudi Arabia; wherever they are in the world, Muslims are expected to face the Kaaba when performing salat (prayer).In 632, a few months after returning from the Farewell Pilgrimage, Muhammad fell ill and died. The Farewell Pilgrimage is the last and only Hajj pilgrimage Muhammad participated in—every move, every act, and every gesture of Muhammad on this occasion, and everything that he did, became a precedent for all time, to be followed by all Muslims.

The revelations (each known as Ayah, literally “Sign [of God]”) Muhammad reported receiving until his death, form the verses of the Qur’an, regarded by Muslims as the “Word of God” and around which the religion is based. Besides the Qur’an, Muhammad’s teachings and practices (sunnah), found in the Hadith and sira literature, are also upheld by Muslims and used as sources of Islamic law.

A frieze on the north wall of the U.S. Supreme Court depicts great lawgivers of the Middle Ages. Muhammad is standing second from the right between Justinian and Charlemagne, holding the Qur’an and a sword.

A frieze on the north wall of the U.S. Supreme Court depicts great lawgivers of the Middle Ages. Muhammad is standing second from the right between Justinian and Charlemagne, holding the Qur’an and a sword.

1721 The first smallpox vaccination was administered.
1900 Born today: Charles Francis Richter (April 26, 1900–September 30, 1985, age 85)

Charles Francis Richter (c. 1970)

Charles Francis Richter (c. 1970)

Richter was an American seismologist and physicist, most famous as the creator of the Richter magnitude scale (denoted as ML for local magnitude), which, until the development of the moment magnitude scale (denoted as MW) in 1979, quantified the size of earthquakes. Inspired by Kiyoo Wadati’s 1928 paper on shallow and deep earthquakes, Richter first used the scale in 1935 after developing it in collaboration with Beno Gutenberg; both worked at the California Institute of Technology.

In an interview in the Earthquake Information Bulletin (Vol. 12, No. 1, January–February, 1980), talking about the origins of the Richter magnitude scale, Richter said:

I found a [1928] paper by Professor K. Wadati of Japan in which he compared large earthquakes by plotting the maximum ground motion against [the] distance to the epicenter. I tried a similar procedure for our stations, but the range between the largest and smallest magnitudes seemed unmanageably large. Dr. Beno Gutenberg then made the natural suggestion to plot the amplitudes logarithmically. I was lucky, because logarithmic plots are a device of the devil.

1941 Born today: Claudine Auger (April 26, 1941– )

Claudine Auger 1958 Miss France Monde

Claudine Auger
1958 Miss France Monde

Claudine Auger, born Claudine Oger, was a French actress with 80 credits to her name in the years 1958–1997, She was also the 1958 Miss France Monde and the first runner-up in the 1958 Miss World contest.

She is best known for her role as Bond girl Dominique “Domino” Derval in the James Bond film Thunderball (1965). Although she took lessons to perfect her English, her voice was eventually dubbed by Nikki van der Zyl. Her role as a Bond girl led to a semi-nude Playboy spread in November 1965.

She is also known for her roles as Isabelle de Saint-Mars in Le Masque de Fer (The Iron Mask) (1962), as Amrita in Kali Yug, la Dea Della Vendetta (Kali Yug: Goddess of Vengeance) (1963), as Isolina in Yoyo (1965), as Paulette in Triple Cross (1966), as Jacqueline Meyrand in Jeu de Massacre (The Killing Game) (1967), as Esmerelda in Le Dolci Signore (Anyone Can Play) (1968) co-starring with Bond girl Ursula Andress, as Laura in La Tarantola dal Ventre Nero (Black Belly of the Tarantula) (1971) co-starring with Bond girls Barbara Bach and Barbara Bouchet, as Renata in Reazione a Catena (A Bay of Blood) (1971), as Sybil in The Bermuda Triangle (1978), as Mme. Lenski in Credo (1983), and as Countess Veronica Rospigliosi in La Bocca (1990).

Claudine Auger

Claudine Auger

Claudine Auger

Claudine Auger

Claudine Auger

Claudine Auger

Claudine Auger in Thunderball (1965)

Claudine Auger
Thunderball (1965)

Claudine Auger in Thunderball (1965)

Claudine Auger
Thunderball (1965)

1949 Born today: John Leonard Orr (April 26, 1949– )

John Orr is a former fire captain and arson investigator for the Glendale, California Fire Department who was indicted and later convicted as a serial arsonist. He was one of the worst American serial arsonists of the twentieth century, setting almost 2,000 fires between 1984 and 1991.

During the 1980s and 1990s a series of fires broke out in the Los Angeles area that killed four people and did millions of dollars in damages. During their search for the arsonist, arson investigators gave him the nickname The Pillow Pyro. Orr set the fires by using a time-delayed device made of a lit cigarette and three matches wrapped in yellow writing paper and held together by a rubber band. He left the devices in stores while they were open and filled with customers, often in highly-flammable polyurethane pillows. To distract firefighters from the real crime scene, he set small fires in the dry grass in the surrounding hills before lighting the big fires. After Orr was arrested, the number of brush fires in the nearby foothill areas decreased by more than ninety percent.

Orr was a budding novelist, writing a manuscript titled Point of Origin about a serial arsonist who was also a fireman. Due to the similarities with fires that Orr actually set, arson investigators believe that Orr’s novel chronicles real acts of arson. Orr claims that his novel is a work of fiction and has no relation to any actual events. While defending his manuscript in an interview, Orr said, “The character of Aaron Stiles was a composite of arsonists I arrested.” However, a retired Los Angeles arson investigator pointed out that Aaron Stiles is an anagram for “I set LA arson”.

Orr is currently serving a life sentence in California State Prison, Centinela.

1956 The SS Ideal X, the world’s first commercially successful container ship, left Port Newark, New Jersey for Houston, Texas with 58 containers.

Container steamship Ideal X, built in 1944 as the tanker Potrero Hills.

Container steamship Ideal X, built in 1944 as the tanker Potrero Hills.

The Ideal X was a converted World War II T-2 oil tanker originally built as the Potrero Hills in January 1945 by the Marinship Corporation in Sausalito, California as yard number 158. It was later purchased by Malcom McLean’s Pan-Atlantic Steamship Company. In 1955, the ship was modified to carry shipping containers and rechristened Ideal X at Bethlehem Steel in Baltimore, Maryland.On April 26, 1956, during the first voyage in its new configuration, the Ideal X carried 58 containers from Port Newark, New Jersey to Port of Houston, Texas where 58 trucks waited to be loaded with the containers.

The SS Ideal X was the world’s first commercially successful container ship, but not the first container ship. The the White Pass and Yukon Route’s Clifford J. Rodgers made its first trip in 1955.

In 1959, the vessel was sold to Bulgarian owners, who rechristened it the Elemir. The Elemir suffered extensive damage during heavy weather on February 8, 1964, and was sold in turn to Japanese owners for scrap, being finally scrapped on October 20, 1964, in Hirao, Japan.

The SS Ideal X was 524 feet (160 m) long, 30 feet (9.1 m) wide in the beam, and 68 feet (21 m) high. Its gross register tonnage was 16,460 tons. It could carry 58 33-foot containers at 10,572 deadweight tonnage. It used an Elliot Company steam turbine and electric propulsion.

1970 Died today: Gypsy Rose Lee (January 8, 1911–April 26, 1970, age 59)
1973 Died today: Irene Ryan (October 17, 1902–April 26, 1973, age 70)
1980 Born today: Jordana Brewster (April 26, 1980– )
1989 Died today: Lucille Ball (August 6, 1911, 1911–April 26, 1989, age 77)

Today in History: April 25

Every
Year
April 25 is the 115th day of the year (116th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 250 days remaining until the end of the year.
1961 Mercury-Atlas 3 (MA-3) launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida carrying a robotic “mechanical astronaut”.

Project Mercury Logo

Project Mercury Logo

Mercury-Atlas 3 (MA-3) was an unmanned test flight of the Mercury program. The Mercury program’s goal was to put a man into Earth orbit and return him safely, ideally before the Soviet Union. On April 25, 1961 at 16:15 UTC, MA-3 launched from Launch Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral, Florida carrying a robotic “mechanical astronaut”. The MA-3 was made up of Mercury spacecraft No. 8 and Atlas No. 8 LV-3B 100-D rocket. The rocket used had a number of upgrades, including a thicker skin to support the Mercury spacecraft’s extra weight and a new transistorized telemetry unit which replaced the previous vacuum tube units that were bulky, had high power consumption, and whose signal strength tended to degrade during launch.

Mercury-Atlas 3 Launch

Mercury-Atlas 3 Launch

However, even with these improvements, the rocket was still not reliable enough to carry a human to space. At 20 seconds into the flight, the pitch and roll sequence failed to initiate and the vehicle just continued flying straight upward. At 43 seconds into the flight, the flight the Range Safety Officer pushed the self-destruct button and the flight was terminated. MA-3 ended in a rain of fiery debris falling back to Earth. At the moment the self-destruct command was sent, the Mercury capsule was detached from the rocket and continued on downrange 1.1 miles (1.8 kilometers), reaching an apogee of 4.5 miles (7.2 kilometers). The flight of the Mercury capsule lasted 7 minutes and 19 seconds, most of that time descending on its parachute. The capsule was recovered about 20 minutes after launch in the Atlantic Ocean and reused on the next flight (MA-4) as spacecraft No. 8A. The flight wasn’t a complete failure though, it proved that the launch escape system worked. This was the first Mercury-Atlas launch with a live escape tower.

Investigation of the telemetry data quickly narrowed the cause of the failure to a fault somewhere in the guidance system, but the exact nature of it could not be determined. It appeared that the guidance system programmer either shut off completely shortly after liftoff or suffered a power outage, restarted, and then failed to execute the pitch and roll sequence. Two months after the MA-3 flight, the Atlas’s programmer was discovered buried in mud on a beach not far from the launch pad and analyzed. Engineers concluded that the failure was most likely due to contaminated pins in the programmer causing an open circuit. In addition, the Atlas’s guidance system as a whole was found to have a number of serious design deficiencies that needed to be corrected.

1964 Born today: Hank Azaria (April 25, 1964– )

Today in History: April 23

Every
Year
April 23 is the 113th day of the year (114th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 252 days remaining until the end of the year.
Every
Year
International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day

International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day is a commemoration declared by author Jo Walton, held on April 23 and first celebrated in 2007, in response to remarks made by Howard V. Hendrix stating that he was opposed “to the increasing presence in our organization the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America of webscabs, who post their creations on the net for free.” The purpose of the day, according to Walton was to encourage writers to post “professional quality” works for free on the internet.

The name of the day originates from the assertion by Hendrix that the “webscabs” are “converting the noble calling of Writer into the life of Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch.” The word “webscabs” is derived from “scabs”, a derogatory term for strikebreakers.

Every
Year
Saint George’s Day
Every
Year
UN English Language Day (United Nations)

UN English Language Day is observed annually on April 23. The event was established by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 2010 to seeking “to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the organization.” April 23 was chosen as the date for the English language because it is the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth.

Every
Year
Canada Book Day (Canada)

Canada Book Day is a yearly event celebrated in Canada on April 23 to promote reading and books during Canada Book Week. Canada Book Day is celebrated on the same day as World Book and Copyright Day, a yearly event organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright. Canada Book Day was organized by the Writers’ Trust of Canada, a national organization whose mandate is to represent writers and support Canadian English-language literature. The Trust no longer organizes this event.

Every
Year
World Book Day (UNESCO)

World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days) is a yearly event on April 23, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to promote reading, publishing and copyright. In the United Kingdom, the day is recognized on the first Thursday in March. World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on April 23, 1995.

The connection between April 23 and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Catalonia, Spain. The original idea was of the Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andrés as a way to honor the author Miguel de Cervantes who died on this date in 1616. In 1995 UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on April 23, as the date is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega—both also died in 1616—as well as that of the birth or death of several other prominent authors.

In Spain, to celebrate this day, Cervantes’s Don Quixote is read during a two-day “readathon” and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize is presented by the Spanish king in Alcalá de Henares.

In Catalonia, Spain, St. George’s Day has been “The Day of the Rose” since 1436, and involves the exchange of gifts between loved ones and respected people—it is analogous to Valentine’s Day. Although World Book and Copyright Day has been celebrated since 1995 internationally, books were exchanged on “The Day of the Rose” in Catalonia since 1929, in memory of Cervantes.

In Sweden, the day is known as Världsbokdagen (“World Book Day”) and the copyright aspect is seldom mentioned. Normally celebrated on April 12, it was moved to April 13 in the year 2000 and 2011 to avoid a clash with Easter.

In the United Kingdom, World Book Day is held annually on the first Thursday in March, as April 23 clashes with Easter school holidays; April 23 is also the National Saint’s Day of England, St. George’s Day. Conversely, a separate event World Book Night organized by independent charity The Reading Agency is held on April 23.

In Kensington, Maryland, United States the International Day of the Book is celebrated with a street festival on the Sunday closest to April 26.

1016 Edmund Ironside succeeded his father Æthelred the Unready as king of England.
1516 The Bayerische Reinheitsgebot was signed in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany.

The Reinheitsgebot (German pronunciation: /ˈʁaɪnhaɪtsɡəboːt/), sometimes called the “German Beer Purity Law” in English, is the collective name for a series of regulations limiting the ingredients in beer in Germany and its predecessor states. The most well-known version of the law was adopted in Bavaria in 1516, but similar regulations predate the Bavarian order, and modern regulations also significantly differ from the 1516 Bavarian version.

The most influential predecessor of the modern Reinheitsgebot was a law first adopted in the duchy of Munich in 1487. After Bavaria was reunited, the Munich law was adopted across the entirety of Bavaria on April 23, 1516. As Germany unified, Bavaria pushed for adoption of this law on a national basis. According to the 1516 Bavarian law, the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer were water, barley and hops. The 1516 Bavarian law set the price of beer (depending on the time of year and type of beer), limited the profits made by innkeepers, and made confiscation the penalty for making impure beer.

An English translation of the text of the 1516 Bavarian law is as follows:

We hereby proclaim and decree, by Authority of our Province, that henceforth in the Duchy of Bavaria, in the country as well as in the cities and marketplaces, the following rules apply to the sale of beer:

From Michaelmas to Georgi, the price for one Mass [Bavarian Liter 1,069] or one Kopf [bowl-shaped container for fluids, not quite one Mass], is not to exceed one Pfennig Munich value, and

From Georgi to Michaelmas, the Mass shall not be sold for more than two Pfennig of the same value, the Kopf not more than three Heller [Heller usually one-half Pfennig].

If this not be adhered to, the punishment stated below shall be administered.

Should any person brew, or otherwise have, other beer than March beer, it is not to be sold any higher than one Pfennig per Mass.

Furthermore, we wish to emphasize that in future in all cities, markets and in the country, the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be Barley, Hops and Water. Whosoever knowingly disregards or transgresses upon this ordinance, shall be punished by the Court authorities’ confiscating such barrels of beer, without fail.
Should, however, an innkeeper in the country, city or markets buy two or three pails of beer (containing 60 Mass) and sell it again to the common peasantry, he alone shall be permitted to charge one Heller more for the Mass of the Kopf, than mentioned above. Furthermore, should there arise a scarcity and subsequent price increase of the barley (also considering that the times of harvest differ, due to location), WE, the Bavarian Duchy, shall have the right to order curtailments for the good of all concerned.

1605 Died today: Boris Godunov (c. 1551–April 23, 1605, age 54)

Boris Godunov

Boris Godunov

Boris Fyodorovich Godunov /bɐˈrʲis ɡədʊˈnof/ (Бори́с Фёдорович Годуно́в in Russian) ruled the de facto regent of the Tsardom of Russia from about 1585 to 1598 and then as Tsar of All Russia from February 21, 1598 to 1605.

Boris was born around 1551 to Feodor Ivanovich Godunov “Krivoy“ (“the one-eyed”) and his wife Stepanida Ivanovna. The Godunovs were members of an ancient, now extinct, Russian family of Tatar origin, descended from the Tatar Prince Chet, which came from the Golden Horde to Kostroma in the 1300s.

Godunov’s career began at the court of Ivan IV, also known as “Ivan the Terrible”. In 1571 he became an oprichnik, a member of Ivan’s personal guard and secret police. To strengthen his position at the court, he married Maria Grigorievna Skuratova-Belskaya, the daughter of oprichniks’ head. In 1580, the Tsar chose Irina Godunova, Godunov’s sister, to be the wife of his second son and eventual heir, the fourteen-year-old Feodor Ivanovich. On this occasion, Godunov was promoted to the rank of Boyar, the highest rank, second only to the tsar. On his deathbed in 1484, Ivan IV appointed a council consisting of Godunov and others to guide his feeble-minded son and successor, Feodor Ivanovich. At Feodor’s coronation as Tsar Feodor I on May 31, 1584, Boris became a member of the regency council, second in command behind Feodor’s uncle Nikita Romanovich. When Nikita died in 1586, Boris had no serious rivals to become regent, the de facto ruler of Russia.

Godunov’s policies were generally peaceful and always prudent. In 1595, he recovered some towns lost to Sweden under Ivan’s reign.  He supported an anti-Turkish faction in the Crimea and subsidized the emperor in his war against the sultan. Godunov encouraged English merchants to trade with Russia by exempting them from duties. He built towns and fortresses along the north-eastern and south-eastern borders of Russia to keep the Tatar and Finnic tribes in order. He colonized Siberia with scores of new settlements. In 1597, Godunov’s most important domestic reform forbade peasants from transferring from one landowner to another, which they were free to do around Yuri’s Day (the Russian name for either of the two feasts of Saint George celebrated by the Russian Orthodox Church), thus binding them to the land. This ordinance aimed to secure revenue, but it led to the institution of serfdom in its most oppressive form.

When Feodor died childless on January 7, 1598, Boris seized the throne. Patriarch Job of Moscow proposed his election, believing Boris to be the only man capable of coping with the difficulties of the time. Boris insisted that he would only accept the throne only from the Zemsky Sobor (national assembly) which met on February 17 and unanimously elected him on February 21. On September 1, he was coronated tsar.

During the first years of his reign, he was both popular and prosperous, and ruled well. He recognized the need for Russia to catch up with the West intellectually and brought about educational and social reforms. He was the first tsar to import foreign teachers on a large scale, the first to send young Russians abroad to be educated, and the first to allow Lutheran churches to be built in Russia. After the Russo–Swedish War (1590–1595), he felt access to the Baltic Sea was necessary and attempted to obtain Livonia (modern-day Estonia) through diplomatic means. He cultivated friendly relations with the Scandinavians and hoped to take a bride from a foreign royal house, thereby increasing the dignity of his own dynasty. However he declined Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s proposed personal union (combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct) with him in 1600.

Boris Badenov from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show

Boris Badenov from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show

Boris died after a lengthy illness and a stroke on April 23, 1605. He left one son, Feodor II, who succeeded him and ruled for only a few months, until he and Boris’ widow were murdered by the enemies of the Godunovs in Moscow on June 20, 1605.

The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show’s Boris Badenov’s name is a play on Godunov’s name—“bad enough” instead of “good enough”.

1616 Died today: Miguel de Cervantes (September 29, 1547–April 23, 1616, age 68)
1616 Died today: William Shakespeare (baptized April 26, 1564–April 23, 1616, age 52)
1616 Died today: El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (April 12, 1539–April 23, 1616, age 77)