Is an apology always better late than never? On this day that age in history, July 29, the 2008 U.S. Congress made an official apology for slavery and the Jim Crow laws. This day in history is also known for architectural achievements, a famous wedding, and a blight on potatoes.
Famous Historical Events
1836: The Arc de Triomphe, one of France’s most famous monuments, is inaugurated in Paris. The memorial honors the people who fought in the French Revolution and subsequent Napoleonic Wars. Jean Chalgrin designed the monument, now a popular tourist destination and iconic image of the city.
1848: Amidst the backdrop of the infamous Irish Potato Famine, the Tipperary Revolt is sparked. It was an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule in Ireland. But the police extinguished the uprising before the revolt could gain significant steam and any political changes could occur.
At this time in history, Ireland was wracked by the blight on the potato crop. Between 1845 and 1849, the famine caused massive changes in the demographic landscape of Ireland, and whole regions and towns were emptied thanks to the twin specters of starvation and flight. It is a misconception that Ireland only grew potatoes, and that was all the population ever relied on to eat. Because of British rule, Ireland had been emptied of their cash crops and dairy products.
Food produced in the country was forced to be shipped out of Ireland and taken to England. But the Irish still had potatoes in abundance they could eat. Unfortunately, the crops failed thanks to a blight in the mid-1840s. The native Irish did not have enough to eat. It is estimated that one million died in the famine while another million were forced to leave the country.
1921: On this day in history, Adolf Hitler is declared the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party. Unfortunately, Hitler’s leadership caused the party to proliferate before they reached a critical mass. As they say, the rest is history.
1981: Millions of people worldwide watch the televised wedding of Charles, the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a happy marriage. Diana was only 20 years old when she married the 32-year-old Charles who had already fallen in love with Camilla Parker Bowles, a divorcee. The marriage was marred by a web of tabloid lies and outrageous claims, eventually ending in divorce fifteen years later in 1996.
1796: Walter Hunt
Do you know who invented the safety pin? This guy right here, Walter Hunt. Hunt was also a mechanic.
1883: Benito Mussolini
Mussolini was one of the Axis powers during WWII and the dictator of Italy. When he got wind that the Axis powers were losing the war, he attempted to flee but was captured and executed.
1924: Elizabeth Short
Elizabeth Short’s claim to fame has more to do with her death than lifetime accomplishment. She was only 22 when she was brutally murdered in Los Angeles. The press, in what has now become one of the country’s most sensational murder cases, dubbed her “The Black Dahlia” when her mutilated body was discovered in the Leimert Park neighborhood in LA in 1947.
1890: Vincent van Gogh
Two days prior to this day in history, Van Gogh had shot himself in a field in Southern France. He eventually succumbed to his wounds and died on July 29, 1890.
Other than the inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe, July 29 is a day full of doom and gloom. The world is a little less bright without artists like Vincent van Gogh in it, but at least we have all these safety pins thanks to inventors like Hunt.