1500 Pedro Alvarez Cabral discovered Brazil.
1870 Nikolai Lenin was born.
1881 Alexander Kerensky was born. (See September 15th and November 7th entries.)
1889 Homesteaders swarmed into the Oklahoma Territory.
1904 J. Robert Oppenheimer was born. (See July 16th entry.)
1954 The Army McCarthy hearings were televised. (See February 21st entry.).
History—like politics—makes strange bedfellows. Today, for example, marks the birth of two post-Czarist Russian leaders. born in 1881, Alexander Kerensky led the revolution that displaced Czar Nicholas II in 1917, and established a moderate democratic government. Born in 1870, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Ilyitch Ulyanov—better known
As Nikolai Lenin—returned from exile to overthrow Kerensky and his moderates, establishing a socialist regime. Kerensky himself was exiled by Lenin.
Land ownership seemed to be a hot topic on this day in history. In 1500, explorer Pedro Alvarez Cabral discovered the territory of Brazil and claimed this vast area of South America for Portugal—a nation who was not about to lose its claim to the New World to either Spain or England. In 1889, the great Oklahoma Land Rush took place. Homesteaders and carpetbaggers gathered at the border days earlier, and at the sounding of a gun on this day, the assembled crowd of covered wagons, horses, carts, carriages, and shoe leather swarmed into the Oklahoma Territory staking—and sometimes jumping—claims to the free land. Next to gold land has impassioned people to risk everything more than any other commodity. As populations grow and land gets scarcer, this passion will surely grow. Or, as Mark Twain commented “I’ve heard they don’t make any more of it and therefore the price is going up.”
On J. Robert Oppenheimer’s birthday, it is wise for all of us to remember that all great discoveries have the potential for both good or evil. It was on this day in 1904, that a peaceful, soft-spoken man was born in New York City. This son of a successful textile merchant excelled in physics, chemistry, and Oriental philosophy at Harvard University. He became fascinated with atomic structure while studying at Cambridge University’s Cavendish Laboratory. Robert J. Oppenheimer worked on the first atomic power experiments and later became director of the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico. On July 16, 1945, this theoretical physicist introduced the world to an awesome power that had the potential of serving humankind for both good and evil. On that day, Almogordo, New Mexico, became the site of the world’s first nuclear explosion.