1401 Amerigo Vespucci was born.
1790 Benjamin Franklin wrote his creed.
1796 Napoleon Bonaparte married Josephine de Beauhamais. (See June 24th entry.)
1822 Artificial teeth were patented.
1860 Japanese ambassador Niimi Buzennokami arrived in San Francisco, California.
1862 The first battle of the ironclads took place.
1943 Bobby Fischer was born. (See September 1st entry.)
1975 Alaskan pipeline construction began.
This is Amerigo Vespucci’s birthday. In 1401, the man after whom America is named was born in Florence, Italy. No one understands why America was given the Christian name of the navigator and mapmaker who placed the continent on a navigational chart, whereas Colombia was named after the surname of the discoverer of the New World. It is hard to imagine the United States of Vespucci.
On this day in 1790, Benjamin Franklin took pen in hand and wrote a letter to the Reverend Ezra Stiles, who had asked about Dr. Franklin’s religious beliefs. “I believe in one God,” wrote Franklin, “Creator of the Universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable Service we render to him is doing good to his other children.”
The old saying goes “his bark is worse than his bite.” On this day, our bite got a little better. In 1822, Charles Graham of New York City was granted a patent for artificial teeth.
Making connections isn’t always a simple task, but sometimes persistence pays, as today’s anniversaries will attest. In 1860, Japanese ambassador Niimi Buzennokami arrived in San Francisco, California. After centuries of isolation and years of delicate negotiation, Japan finally established diplomatic relations with its eastern neighbor, the United States. And in 1975, the Alaskan pipeline was begun, connecting the contiguous United States to its northern sister-state’s most valuable resource—oil.
Today marks a few meetings of great minds. On this date in 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte married Josephine de Beauhamais. Their romance inspired an empire, though their reign didn’t last. In 1943, another master strategist was born in Chicago. Chess player Bobby Fischer rose to prominence when he played board champion Boris Spassky for the world chess title. Hopefully, we can all be inspired by strategic meetings rather than following the example of the ironclads. When they met in 1862, the two pioneer warships—the Monitor and the Merrimac—fought a furious battle in the harbor near Hampton Roads, Virginia.