Monday, October 19, 2009


Today in history:
  • 1469- Ferdinand II of Aragon marries Isabella I of Castile, paving the way for unification of Aragon and Castile into a single country, Spain.
  • 1851- Empress Myeongseong* is born in Yeoju, Joseon.
  • 1873- Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and Rutgers draft the first code of American football rules.
  • 1959- The first discothèque opens in Aachen, Germany.
  • 1987- Black Monday: the Dow Jones Industrial Average falls by 508 points, 22%.
  • 2009- Sunshine finally reemerges in New Haven, Connecticut.

*Queen Min (posthumously Empress Myeongseong) was the wife of King Gojong, the 26th king of the Joseon dynasty of Korea. Among her accomplishments:
  • Advocated industrialization, religious tolerance, multiculturalism, freedom of press, universal education.
  • Helped found Ewha University, an all womens' school offering education to both commoner and aristrocratic women.
  • Actively hired teachers for English, French, German, and Spanish language education.
  • Developed literacy programs throughout the country.
  • Invited Christian missionaries to enter Joseon.
  • Commissioned the first Korean hymnal (despite remaining a devout Buddhist).
  • Commissioned new newspapers.
  • Established the Maritime Customs Service.
Tragically, the Japanese government considered her a major political obstacle and, after unsuccessfully orchestrating rebellions to remove her from power, assassinated the empress and burned her body on palace grounds.