This Day In History~

MAY 22

A thousand pioneers head West as part of the Great Emigration

The first major wagon train to the northwest departs from Elm Grove, Missouri, on the Oregon Trail.

Although U.S. sovereignty over the Oregon Territory was not clearly established until 1846, American fur trappers and missionary groups had been living in the region for decades. Dozens of books and lectures proclaimed Oregon’s agricultural potential, tweaking the interest of American farmers. The first overland immigrants to Oregon, intending primarily to farm, came in 1841 when a small band of 70 pioneers left Independence, Missouri. They followed a route blazed by fur traders, which took them west along the Platte River through the Rocky Mountains via the easy South Pass in Wyoming and then northwest to the Columbia River. In the years to come, pioneers came to call the route the Oregon Trail.

In 1842, a slightly larger group of 100 pioneers made the 2,000-mile journey to Oregon. The next year, however, the number of emigrants skyrocketed to 1,000. The sudden increase was a product of severe depression in the Midwest combined with a flood of propaganda from fur traders, missionaries, and government officials extolling the virtues of the land. Farmers dissatisfied with their prospects in Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee, hoped to find better lives in the supposed paradise of Oregon.

READ MORE: 9 Things You May Not Know About the Oregon Trail

On this day in 1843, some 1,000 men, women, and children climbed aboard their wagons and steered their horses west out of the small town of Elm Grove, Missouri. The train comprised more than 100 wagons with a herd of 5,000 oxen and cattle trailing behind. Dr. Elijah White, a Presbyterian missionary who had made the trip the year before, served as guide.

The first section of the Oregon Trail ran through the relatively flat country of the Great Plains. Obstacles were few, though the river crossings could be dangerous for wagons. The danger of Indian attacks was a small but genuine risk. To be on the safe side, the pioneers drew their wagons into a circle at night to create a makeshift stockade. If they feared Indians might raid their livestock—the Plains tribes valued the horses, though generally ignored the oxen—they would drive the animals into the enclosure.

Although many neophyte pioneers believed Indians were their greatest threat, they quickly learned that they were more likely to be injured or killed by a host of more mundane causes. Obstacles included accidental discharge of firearms, falling off mules or horses, drowning in river crossings, and disease. After entering the mountains, the trail also became much more difficult, with steep ascents and descents over rocky terrain. The pioneers risked injury from overturned and runaway wagons.

Yet, as with the 1,000-person party that made the journey in 1843, the vast majority of pioneers on the trail survived to reach their destination in the fertile, well-watered land of western Oregon. The migration of 1844 was smaller than that of the previous season, but in 1845 it jumped to nearly 3,000. Thereafter, migration on the Oregon Trail was an annual event, although the practice of traveling in giant convoys of wagons gave way to many smaller bands of one or two-dozen wagons. The trail was heavily traveled until 1884, when the Union Pacific constructed a railway along the route.

READ MORE: Manifest Destiny 

Citation Information

Article Title

A thousand pioneers head West as part of the Great Emigration

Author

History.com Editors

Website Name

HISTORY

URL

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/a-thousand-pioneers-head-west-on-the-oregon-trail

Access Date

May 22, 2020

Publisher

A&E Television Networks

Last Updated

May 20, 2020

Original Published Date

November 16, 2009BY HISTORY.COM EDITORS

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April Fool’s Day~

April Fools’ tradition popularized

On April 1, 1700, English pranksters begin popularizing the annual tradition of April Fools’ Day by playing practical jokes on each other.

Although the day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by diverse cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery.

Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.

These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as poisson d’avril (April fish), said to symbolize a young, “easily hooked” fish and a gullible person.

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by Tailie Day, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them.

URL

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/april-fools-tradition-popularized

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This Day In History!

The Nuclear Disaster at Three Mile Island

At 4 a.m. on March 28, 1979, the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry begins when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island fails to close. Cooling water, contaminated with radiation, drained from the open valve into adjoining buildings, and the core began to dangerously overheat.

The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant was built in 1974 on a sandbar on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River, just 10 miles downstream from the state capitol in Harrisburg. In 1978, a second state-of-the-art reactor began operating on Three Mile Island, which was lauded for generating affordable and reliable energy in a time of energy crises.

After the cooling water began to drain out of the broken pressure valve on the morning of March 28, 1979, emergency cooling pumps automatically went into operation. Left alone, these safety devices would have prevented the development of a larger crisis. However, human operators in the control room misread confusing and contradictory readings and shut off the emergency water system. The reactor was also shut down, but residual heat from the fission process was still being released. By early morning, the core had heated to over 4,000 degrees, just 1,000 degrees short of meltdown. In the meltdown scenario, the core melts, and deadly radiation drifts across the countryside, fatally sickening a potentially great number of people.

As the plant operators struggled to understand what had happened, the contaminated water was releasing radioactive gases throughout the plant. The radiation levels, though not immediately life-threatening, were dangerous, and the core cooked further as the contaminated water was contained and precautions were taken to protect the operators. Shortly after 8 a.m., word of the accident leaked to the outside world. The plant’s parent company, Metropolitan Edison, downplayed the crisis and claimed that no radiation had been detected off plant grounds, but the same day inspectors detected slightly increased levels of radiation nearby as a result of the contaminated water leak. Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh considered calling an evacuation.

Finally, at about 8 p.m., plant operators realized they needed to get water moving through the core again and restarted the pumps. The temperature began to drop, and pressure in the reactor was reduced. The reactor had come within less than an hour of a complete meltdown. More than half the core was destroyed or molten, but it had not broken its protective shell, and no radiation was escaping. The crisis was apparently over.

Two days later, however, on March 30, a bubble of highly flammable hydrogen gas was discovered within the reactor building. The bubble of gas was created two days before when exposed core materials reacted with super-heated steam. On March 28, some of this gas had exploded, releasing a small amount of radiation into the atmosphere. At that time, plant operators had not registered the explosion, which sounded like a ventilation door closing. After the radiation leak was discovered on March 30, residents were advised to stay indoors. Experts were uncertain if the hydrogen bubble would create further meltdown or possibly a giant explosion, and as a precaution, Governor Thornburgh advised: “pregnant women and pre-school age children to leave the area within a five-mile radius of the Three Mile Island facility until further notice.” This led to the panic the governor had hoped to avoid; within days, more than 100,000 people had fled surrounding towns.

On April 1, President Jimmy Carter arrived at Three Mile Island to inspect the plant. Carter, a trained nuclear engineer, had helped dismantle a damaged Canadian nuclear reactor while serving in the U.S. Navy. His visit achieved its aim of calming local residents and the nation. That afternoon, experts agreed that the hydrogen bubble was not in danger of exploding. Slowly, the hydrogen was bled from the system as the reactor cooled.

At the height of the crisis, plant workers were exposed to unhealthy levels of radiation, but no one outside Three Mile Island had their health adversely affected by the accident. Nonetheless, the incident greatly eroded the public’s faith in nuclear power. The unharmed Unit-1 reactor at Three Mile Island, which was shut down during the crisis, did not resume operation until 1985. Cleanup continued on Unit-2 until 1990, but it was too damaged to be rendered usable again. In the four decades since the accident at Three Mile Island, not a single new nuclear power plant has been ordered in the United States.

Citation Information

Article Title

Author

History.com Editors

URL

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nuclear-accident-at-three-mile-island

Access Date

March 28, 2020

Publisher

A&E Television Networks

Last Updated

March 25, 2020

Original Published Date

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What is Kwanzaa?

History of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a holiday tradition that is based on the “first harvest” celebrations in Africa. In recorded history, these first harvest celebrations can be traced all the way back to Nubia and Egypt and can be found in cultures all over Africa. While many of these first-fruit celebrations may differ from one society to another, they all had a few principles in common. These principles include people gathering together to celebrate, acknowledging the creator and thanking him for his blessings. a commemoration of the past, a re-commitment to African cultural thought and a time to celebrate community.

Rooted in these principles, especially those of the Ashanti and the Zulu, Kwanzaa arose from the Black Freedom Movement in 1966 in the United States. It was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga – a professor of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, USA. He created it after the Watts riots as a way to bring African-Americans together as a community.  He gave it the name Kwanzaa -a word that is taken from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” and is Swahili for “first-fruits.”

Kwanzaa was originally envisioned by Dr. Maulana Karenga as an oppositional alternative to Christmas. However, in later years he changed his position as to not alienate African-American Christians and later stated that Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religious holidays.

From 1966 through the end of the 20th century, the idea and practice of Kwanzaa began to slowly increase in popularity across the United States. Then its popularity began to increase dramatically after the start of the 21st century as the idea and practices of this holiday began to not only spread through conventional media but also through the Internet.  In 2004, a study showed that a little less than 5 million African-Americans planned to celebrate the holiday that year. However, two years later, another study showed that almost 28 million African-Americans had planned on celebrating the holiday in 2006. In 2009, the popularity of Kwanzaa was further bolstered by the release of the documentary film about Kwanzaa called the “Black Candle,” a film narrated by Maya Angelou and directed by M. K. Asante. Since then, Kwanzaa has not only spread all across North American but also parts of Europe and Africa as well.

Kwanzaa Customs & Celebrations

Kwanzaa celebrations vary from family to family. Some families stick with strictly Kwanzaa related practices, while other families mix elements of Kwanzaa into their Christmas celebrations. However, most Kwanzaa celebrations are based on Nguzo Saba – or the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

The Seven Principles:

  • Umoja (Unity): Striving for and maintaining unity in the family and the community.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): Defining oneself and speaking for oneself
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): Building and maintaining a community and making our brother’s and sister’s problems our own and solve them together
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): Building and maintaining our businesses for ourselves and each other
  • Nia (Purpose): To build and develop our collective communities together
  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do whatever we can to leave our communities more beautiful than when we inherited them
  • Imani (Faith): To believe with our hearts in our people, our families and the righteousness of our struggle

The Seven Symbols:

Kwanzaa celebrations usually include a special mat called a Mkeka in which all of the other symbols are placed. On this mate are placed a candle holder called a Kinara, seven candles which are collectively called Mishumaa Saba, mazao (fruits, nuts and vegetables), a unity cup called Kikombe cha Umoja, an ear of corn called Vibunzi and Zawadi or gifts.

Mkeka
The place mat, or Mkeka, is traditionally made from either straw or cloth. It symbolizes African history, tradition and culture.  All of the other six elements are placed on the Mkeka.

Mazao
Fruits, nuts and vegetables are laid out to represent the historical foundation for this holiday – the gathering of people after a harvest. It represents bounty, joy, sharing and allows people to give thanks for their gifts.

Kinara
The Kinara, or candle holder, can be made of any material but is usually handcrafted from wood or other natural materials. This candle holder represents the ancestors and the mishumaa saba are placed in them to represent the principles of Kwanzaa – which rise from the ancestors.

The Mishumaa Saba
Mishumaa saba features seven candles. Three of them are red, three of them are green and one of them is black. The three red candles represent the principles of Ujamaa, Kuumba and Kujichagulia, and they are placed to the left of the green candles. The three green candles represent the principles of Ujima, Imani and Nia. The black candle symbolizes Umoja and is lit on December 26th.

Kikombe Cha Umoja
Kikombe cha umoja is a unity cup that is traditionally used to perform the ceremonious libation ritual, otherwise known as tambiko. This ritual is performed on the 6th day of Kwanzaa. In some African societies, the libation is poured for the living dead whose souls stay connected with the earth until it is tilled. During the Feast of Karamu, this unity cup is passed to family members and guests–all of whom drink from it to promote unity with one another. The next thing that happens is the eldest person pours a libation for the four winds (north, south, east and west). This last portion of the libation is reserved for the ancestors.

Vibunzi & Mihindi
Vibunzi is an ear of corn that is used to represent fertility. Vibunzi refers to one ear of corn. If more than one is present, then they are referred to as Mihindi. An ear is present for each child in the family. This is to show the importance of children to society and how they are the seed bearers of the culture into this future.

Zawadi
On the seventh day, gifts are exchanged with immediate family to reward accomplishments and commitments and is also exchanged with guests. It is recommended that these gifts are handmade to promote self-determination and to avoid the commercialism of the Christmas season. Accepting a gift makes the receiver an important part of the family and promotes the principle of Umoja – otherwise known as unity.

Where is Kwanzaa celebrated?

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Events and History in the month of March

Historical Facts & Events In March

https://thisday.thefamouspeople.com/march.php

march : Historical Events

It was initially a unanimous decision to make March the first month of the year. It has been named after Mars, the God of War and the son of Juno and Jupiter. He has been described as a chivalrous and hot-headed deity. He is known for his battle against the giants as well his significant role in the Trojan War.

The month was named after Mars since the weather is as Charles Dickens observed, “It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade”.

Events By Days

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15th March

  • Best-selling author Michael Crichton believes, “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know…
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16th March

  • Someone wise once said, “Life is all about sequence of events; although every event is a successor…
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17th March

  • The various dates of a calendar play an important part in our lives. The day our parents got…
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18th March

  • Apart from a few days of national importance, such as the Independence Day or probably the death…
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19th March

  • “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.” – Napoleon…
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20th March

  • Our life comprises of events that are interlinked to incidents which have occurred in the past or…
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21st March

  • In a typical Gregorian calendar of 365 days, there are hardly a few of them which may seem…
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22nd March

  • Certain events in history such as World War I and the Great Depression have made a huge impact on…
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23rd March

  • “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” -Martin Luther King, Jr. March 23rd,…
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24th March

  • If you think your life is eventful, then the events that took place on the 24th March are going to…
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25th March

  • Queen Victoria once said, “Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my…
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26th March

  • All these years March 26 came and went by and most of us didn’t realize its significance, but…
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27th March

  • Today, we take a look at the 86th day of the year on the Gregorian Calendar- March 27. According to…
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28th March

  • As they say, ‘history repeats itself’. Therefore, to be in a better disposition we need to keep…
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29th March

  • History for any country or rather individual is basically something that has been printed and hence…
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30th March

  • Every date of the calendar has its own share of iconic episodes and the 30th of March too is a bag…
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31st March

  • March 31 may be of great importance to many people around the world. For some, it would mark the…

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American/ Made History/Information Share

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Slide 41 of 101: In 1900, the world got a little sweeter when Milton Hershey unveiled his new milk chocolate Hershey's Bar. That same year, the hamburger was invented and would quickly rise to the top of the American food chain. Also in 1900, America entered the era of the automobile with the first major car show at New York City's Madison Square Garden—it would soon be a country on the move.

1900


Slide 42 of 101: By 1901, America had been infatuated with baseball for quite some time, but that year the American League declared itself a Major League and America's pastime entered the modern National League/American League era. Also, a major oil discovery in Texas put the Lone Star State on the map as a global energy giant, but the year closed on a dark note. Theodore Roosevelt became president in the wake of yet another presidential assassination—this time, a bullet ended William McKinley's life.

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