Today in History: February 1

Every
Year
National Freedom Day (United States)

National Freedom Day is an observance on February 1 celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s signing of Senate Joint Resolution 16 (S.J. Res. 16). The resolution abolishing slavery became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on December 6, 1865, after being “ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States” as required by Article V of the Constitution.

Every
Year
Robinson Crusoe Day

On February 1, 1709, Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk was rescued from the uninhabited island of Juan Fernández, where he’d been put ashore at his own request following a fight with his captain. The story was the basis for Daniel Defoe’s The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.

1709
Juan Fernández Islands 001

Juan Fernández Islands 001

Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk was rescued from the uninhabited island of Juan Fernández.Alexander Selkirk (1676–December 13, 1721), also known as Alexander Selcraig, was a problem child and joined buccaneering expeditions to the South Sea. He joined an expedition with commander William Dampier as sailing master on the ship Cinque Ports. The ship sailed from Kinsale, Ireland on September 11, 1703.

In September 1704, when the ship stopped to resupply at the islands of the Juan Fernández Archipelago off the coast of Chile, Selkirk asked to be left there as he though the Cinque Ports wasn’t seaworthy. (It wasn’t. It sank near Malpelo Island, 310 miles (500 km) from the coast of what is now Colombia, with the surviving crew members taken prisoner by the Spanish.) Selkirk remained alone on Juan Fernández for four years and four months, finally being rescued by the Woodes Rogers on February 1, 1709.

During his stay on the island, he became adept at hunting and making use of the island’s resources. The story of his survival was widely publicized when he returned home and was the basis for Daniel Defoe’s The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.

Three main volcanic islands make up the Juan Fernández Archipelago. They are Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk, and Santa Clara.

1851
Gail Borden

Gail Borden

Gail Borden invented evaporated milk.

Evaporated milk (also known as unsweetened condensed milk) is a shelf-stable canned milk product with about 60% of the water removed from fresh milk, followed by homogenization, canning, and heat-sterilization. It differs from sweetened condensed milk, which contains added sugar to inhibit bacterial growth.

When evaporated milk is mixed with an equal amount of water, it becomes the rough equivalent of fresh milk. Evaporated milk takes up half the space of fresh milk, making it attractive for shipping purposes. Depending upon the fat and sugar content, it can have a shelf life of months or even years. In the days before refrigeration, evaporated milk was popular as a safe, reliable substitute for perishable fresh milk.

1865 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. A portion of Article IV, section 2, of the Constitution was superseded by the 13th amendment.

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The Thirteenth Amendment, then known as Senate Joint Resolution 16 (S.J. Res. 16), was passed by Congress on January 31, 1865. It became an official part of the Constitution on December 6, 1865 after being “ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States” as required by Article V of the Constitution.

1884 The first volume, “A to Ant”, of the Oxford English Dictionary was published.
1918 Russia adopted the Gregorian Calendar, discontinuing use of the Julian Calendar.
2003
STS-107 Flight Insignia

STS-107 Flight Insignia

The Space Shuttle Columbia, on mission STS-107, disintegrated during reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.

Columbia — NASA orbiter vehicle OV-102 — was the first Space Shuttle in NASA’s fleet that was rated for space. It launched on mission STS-1 on April 12, 1981, the first flight of the Space Shuttle program. During its 22-year life it completed 27 missions before disintegrating during re-entry near the end of its 28th mission. It carried at total of 160 crew members on 4,808 orbits around the Earth.

The seven crew members who died during the final mission were Commander Rick Husband, Pilot William C. McCool, Payload Commander/Mission Specialist 3 Michael P. Anderson, Mission Specialist 1 David M. Brown, Mission Specialist 2 Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist 4 Laurel Clark, and Payload Specialist 1 Ilan Ramon.

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