Friday, January 28, 2005
814: Charles the Great of France, who welded Western Christendom into a Holy Roman Empire and laid the foundations for modern Europe, dies at age 66.
1521: The Diet of Worms convenes the session that will result in the proscription of Martin Luther, a proscription that the Emperor will never enforce.
1547: Edward VI, son of Henry VIII, becomes King of England. He is the first English king since the Conquest whose life and reign never suffer from exile, deposition, or serious civil war. Of course, he will die pretty young.
1621: Lawyer Camillo Borghese, who had been elected as Pope Paul V in 1605, dies at Rome.
1788: The first British penal colony in Australia is founded. It is popularly known as “Botany Bay” although it is actually not at Botany Bay, but at nearby Sydney Cove.
1822: Alexander Mackenzie is born at Logierait near Dunkeld, Scotland. After a career as a stonemason, building contractor, newspaper editor, and militia officer, he will become Canada’s second prime minister and (in 1875) the creator of its Supreme Court.
1855: The privately owned Panama Railway, the world’s first (and shortest) “transcontinental railway” sends the first train from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
1878: The Yale News becomes the nation’s first college newspaper.
1902: Wealthy steel entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie creates the Carnegie Institution of Washington with an initial $10 million bequest.
1912: The Belgian libertarian economist Gustave de Molinari dies at Adinkerque. He fought for free trade, free speech, free association (including voluntary trade unions), and against slavery, colonialism, mercantilism, protectionism, imperialism, socialism, and government control of education.
1916: President Wilson appoints Louis Dembitz Brandeis is to the United States Supreme Court. “Experience should teach us,” Brandeis would write, “to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent.”
1938: Downhill skiing in America soars as the first tow rope is introduced in the United States. Previously, the sport’s popularity had been hindered by the necessity of walking back up the mountain.
1986: The U.S. space shuttle Challenger explodes on live television, killing the seven-person crew.
1998: Ford Motor Co. announces that it is buying Swedish carmaker Volvo for about $6.5 billion.