which occurred on a December 21:
Two Afghan children on the ground and all seven Germans aboard a helicopter
which crashes in Kabul after catching fire. The Germans were soldiers of
the Iinternational Security Assistance Force for Kabul (4800 soldiers including
1250 Germans). Their military helicopter was a Sikorsky CH-53 “Sea
2002 Sgt. Steven Checo, 22, in
a fight started near village Shkin in Paktika province, Afghanistan, at
04:00 when his patrol of the US 82nd Airborne Division approached a suspicious
group of some eight men, who ran away and then turned and fired. This is
the 16th US serviceman killed in Afghanistan since the US attacked al-Qaeda
and the Taliban in 2001, and the first on since Sergeant Gene Arden Vance,
ambushed and killed by al Qaeda suspects in the same area on 19 May 2002.
In this campaign, the US military has been very successful in limiting its
own deaths, while seeming indifferent to the deaths of thousands of allied
Afghan fighters and innocent civilians, not to mention the enemy.
2002 Hanin Abu-Samah, 12, Palestinian girl, shot in the
leg, in the afternoon, by Israeli troops who were in a gunfight with some
Palestinians, in Rafah, Gaza Strip.
Seator, falling from the roof of his three-story house. Born
on 05 June 1956, he was a so-called “sculptor” who became known
for such works as his 1997 B.D.O., an office salvaged from the
remodeling of a building, tilted at a 45 degree angle; or his 1999 remodeling
of an art gallery into a check-cashing store..
2001 Five Palestinians,
in gunfight started by mourners at the funeral of a 17-year-old
Islamic Jihad supporter firing at the Palestinian police station of the
Jebaliya refugee camp, Gaza Strip. Police officers return fire. The battle
goes on for more than an hour, despite appeals from mosque preachers and
the head of Islamic Jihad in the camp.The dead include at least two Islamic
Jihad gunmen. About 55 persons are wounded. The al-Aqsa intifada body count
now exceeds 840 Palestinians and 240 Israelis.
Marish, 18, Palestinian hit by heavy-caliber gunfire from an Israeli
tank on Thursday as he was walking to his home near the Karni crossing between
Israel and the Gaza Strip.
2000 Ahmed Awad, 41,
Palestinian, by Israeli gunfire in a clash near the town of Tulkarem In
the West Bank. The Israeli military said Palestinians fired at an army vehicle,
and soldiers fired back. Palestinians said that Awad was in his house when
he was shot.
1995 Sesenta muertos y un centenar de heridos al estallar
un coche-bomba en un mercado de Peshawar (Pakistán).
|2000 Al Gross,
82, inventor of the walkie-talkie and a father of wireless communication,
in Sun City Arizona
who was born in Toronto and grew up in Cleveland, demonstrated his
prototype pager at a medical conference in 1956, it flopped. Doctors
told him they didn't want to be bothered during their golf games.
Decades later, it delighted him to see such wide use of cellular phones
and pagers, a technological offshoot from his first devices. He earned
a degree in electrical engineering at Cleveland's Case School of Applied
Science, now Case Western Reserve University. Seeing the potential
for walkie-talkies, the military recruited Gross into the Office of
Strategic Services, the precursor of the Central Intelligence Agency.
There he developed a ground-to-air, battery-operated radio that could
transmit up to 50 km. The device is credited with saving lives during
World War II.
After the war,
he formed the Citizens Radio Corp. in Cleveland to produce two-way
radios for the public. His successful gave Gross the freedom and money
to continue inventing. In 1949 he devised the first wireless pager.
Gross' ideas, for which he held
many patents, were so far advanced that most expired before the world
was ready for his inventions, and he didn't make much money. I
was born 35 years too soon," he once told the Arizona Republic. If
I still had the patents on my inventions, Bill Gates would have to
stand aside for me.
La création de la
Communauté des Etats Indépendants consacre l’éclatement de l’Empire
Soviétique. Les anciennes républiques soviétiques, sauf les Etats
Baltes et la Géorgie s’associent ainsi dans un nouveau bloc où les
relations entre les états ne sont plus marquées par le totalitarisme
Le putsch politique
de 1990, en Russie, ne met pas fin au processus de négociation d’un
traité d’union entre les états de l’ancien empire rouge. Il reprend
au début de septembre. Un traité de communauté économique est paraphé,
puis signé en octobre. Mais seules deux des républiques slaves sont
présentes. L’Ukraine fait défaut.
Le projet de traité d’union discuté en novembre au Conseil d’État,
organe composé des présidents des républiques sous la présidence de
Mikhaïl Gorbatchev, ne sera pas signé. Les présidents préfèrent le
renvoyer aux Soviets suprêmes des républiques fédérées pour gagner
du temps, en attendant le résultat du référendum en Ukraine, le 1er
décembre. Mais l’Ukraine, qui en mars s’était prononcée pour le maintien
de l’union, tranche cette fois en faveur de l’indépendance.
Boris Eltsine change alors de stratégie.
Il laisse de côté le président de l’U.R.S.S. et conclut, à Minsk,
le 8 décembre 1991, avec les présidents ukrainien et biélorusse un
accord sur la création d’une Communauté des États indépendants (C.E.I.).
Les compétences de cette dernière sont réduites à celles qui avaient
fait l’objet du traité russo-ukrainien du 19 novembre 1990 : coordination
de la politique extérieure, coopération dans la formation et le développement
de l’espace économique commun, dans les domaines des transports, de
la protection de l’environnement, des migrations, de la criminalité.
Le 13 décembre, à Achkhabad,
les chefs d’État des cinq républiques d’Asie centrale expriment le
regret d’avoir été ignorés, mais manifestent le désir de rejoindre
la Communauté avec le statut de membre fondateur. L’élargissement
de la Communauté est réalisé à Alma-Ata, le 21 décembre 1991, avec
non seulement les cinq républiques d’Asie centrale, mais aussi l’Arménie,
l’Azerbaïdjan et la Moldavie.
Les onze présidents constatent que, avec la formation de la Communauté
des États indépendants, l’union des républiques socialistes soviétiques
cesse d’exister. Ils s’engagent à assurer l’exécution des obligations
internationales découlant des traités et accords de l’ancienne U.R.S.S.
et donnent leur accord pour que la Russie succède à l’U.R.S.S. à l’O.N.U.,
y compris comme membre permanent du Conseil de sécurité.
|1988 Melina Hudson, 16, Flora
Swire, 23, Miriam Luby Wolfe, 20, Thomas Ammerman, 36, Alexander Lowenstein,
21, Theodora Cohen, 20, spouses Paula Jablonsky Bouckley and Glenn
Bouckley, John Patrick Flynn, John Cummock, Colleen Brunner, Suzanne
Miazga, Christopher Jones (born 4 March 1968), 20, Sarah Philipps,
20, Alexia Tsairis, 20, Karen Hunt, 20, Beth Ann Johnson, 21, Robert
Leckburg Jr., 30, Richard Monetti, 20, Sgt. Phillip V. Bergstrom,
Tony Hawkins, and 238 others on Pan Am Flight 103, and 11 in Lockerbie,
as the plane explodes.
York bound Pan Am jumbo jet explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland, all
258 aboard die. Libya is suspected.Pan Am 103 disintegrated in mid-flight,
when a timer on a portable cassette radio packed with explosives blew
up in the plane’s forward cargo bay.
Am Flight 103 from London to New York explodes in midair over Lockerbie,
Scotland, an hour after departure. A bomb that had been hidden inside
an audio cassette player detonated inside the cargo area when the
plane was at an altitude of 31,000 feet. All 259 passengers, including
38 Syracuse University students returning home for the holidays, were
killed in the explosion. In addition, 11 residents of Lockerbie were
killed in the shower of airplane parts that unexpectedly fell from
Islamic terrorists of having placed the bomb on the plane while it
was at the low-security airport in Frankfurt, Germany. They apparently
believed that the attack was in retaliation for either the 1986 bombing
attack on Libya in which Gadhafi was the target, or a 1988 incident,
in which the United States killed 290 passengers when it mistakenly
shot down an Iran Air commercial flight over the Persian Gulf.
Sixteen days before the explosion over
Lockerbie, a call was made to the US embassy in Helsinki, Finland,
warning that a bomb would be placed on a Pan Am flight out of Frankfurt.
Though some claimed that travelers should have been alerted to this
threat, US officials later said that the connection between the call
and the bomb was purely coincidental.
In the early 1990s, investigators identified Libyan intelligence agents
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah as suspects,
but Libya refused to turn them over to be tried in the United States.
But in 1999--in an effort to ease United Nations sanctions against
Libya--Colonel Moammar Gadhafi agreed to turn the suspects over to
Scotland for trial in the Netherlands using Scottish law and prosecutors.
Pan Am "Flight 103"explodes
over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 -- In the evening of December
21st. 1988 flight Pan Am 103 exploded and pieces of the plane fell
onto the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 259 people on the plane
and 11 people on the ground. -- Pan Am 103 climbed into the dark English
sky at 6:25 in the evening on December 21, 1988. It headed northwest
from London's Heathrow Airport toward Scotland and the North Sea and,
ultimately, scheduled destinations in New York and Detroit. The Jumbo
Jet carried 259 passengers and crew. The majority were Americans,
many of them returning for holiday gatherings with family and friends.
But just 38 minutes into the flight, as the 747 cruised at 31,000
feet over the border from England into Scotland, something in the
cargo hold exploded. It blew a hole the size of a large dinner plate
in the airliner's skin. The loss of air pressure caused a powerful
rush that broke the plane to pieces. Six miles below, in the Scottish
border town of Lockerbie a wing of the 747 fell directly on three
houses, creating a fireball that burned so hot it vaporized the homes
and the eleven people inside them.
of the victims were Americans
average passenger age was 27 — dozens of students returning home from
Marion Alderman Jablonski of Rome, N.Y., can remember the enormity
of all those racks of goods, the way Thomson handed her a blue dress
worn by her daughter, Paula.
Anna Marie Miazga, from Marcy. Anna Marie began weeping. She wore
a photo of her daughter Suzanne, an SU student,
, Patricia Brunner. Pat is from suburban Buffalo. Her daughter Colleen,
of Oswego State, was a passenger on Pan Am
Wolfe, of Alexandria, Va., whose 20-year-old stepdaughter, Miriam,
Kathleen Flynn of Montville,
N.J., whose son, John Patrick Flynn, was returning on Flight 103 from
a European study program.
N.Y., which lost 35 college students in the crash. 35 Syracuse University
said Susan Cohen of
Cape May Court House, N.J., the mother of 20-year-old Theodora Cohen,
who died in the crash of Flight 103.
Hudson, a New York lawyer whose 16-year-old daughter, Melina, died
on Pan Am 103. Melina was a high-school exchange student on her way
home from Exeter
Across the Atlantic,
in the English Midlands, parents of another young victim were equally
devastated. Flora Swire was a gifted and vivacious 23-year-old medical
student flying to New York to visit her American boyfriend when she
died on Pan Am 103.
a New Jersey businessman, lost his son Alex
At approximately 7:03 p.m., Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over the Scottish
city of Lockerbie, killing all 259 people aboard the plane. Fragments
of the plane are scattered around the Lockerbie area, and several
large pieces crash into residential homes and buildings in the city,
killing eleven people on the ground. The 747 jumbo jet was on its
way from Frankfurt to New York via London, and was flying at 9500
m when the explosion occurred. The subsequent investigation by American
and Scottish authorities indicates that the blast was caused by a
bomb smuggled into the aircraft within a portable radio. Heathrow
Airport in London soon comes under fire for its ineffective security
measures and the US State Department offers a $400'000 reward for
the capture of the terrorists responsible. In November of 1991, US
and British investigators simultaneously name Abdel Baset Ali Megrahi
and Lamen Kalifa Fhima, two Libyans, as the key suspects in the case.
The men were working as airline officials in the office of Libyan
Arab Airlines at Luqa International Airport in Malta at the time of
the incident, and the prosecutors believe that they could have smuggled
the bomb through the luggage transferring system. The US State Department
subsequently offers a four-million-dollar reward for the capture of
the suspects dead or alive, although there is considerable criticism
from the Western media and other groups about the quality of the investigation
and its findings.
Libyan dictator Ghaddafi refuses to surrender the two suspects, but,
hoping to get lifted the resulting sanctions against his country,
finally agrees that they be tried by a Scottish court sitting in the
Netherlands. On 31 January 2001, that court would convict Abdel Baset
Ali Megrahi and acquit Lamen Kalifa Fhima.
1980 Marc Connelly, 90, playwright
(One Minute Please)
|1975 Three people killed in
attack on OPEC Headquarters led by Carlos the Jackal
In Vienna, Austria, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez,
known as "Carlos the Jackal," leads Arab terrorists on a raid of a
meeting of oil ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC). The terrorists storm in with machine guns, kill
three people, and take seventy people hostage, including eleven OPEC
ministers. The group, calling themselves the "Arm of the Arab Revolution,"
demand that an anti-Zionist political statement that they had prepared
be read on radio stations across the Middle East. The Austrian government
subsequently agrees to negotiate with the terrorists, and eventually
allows the terrorists to travel with their hostages to Algeria, where
the eleven OPEC ministers and their staff are released unharmed. In
1949, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez was born the son of a millionaire Marxist
lawyer in Caracas, Venezuela, and attended Patrice Lumumba University
in Moscow where he first became involved with the Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine. During the 1970s and early 1980s, he
acted as a freelance terrorist for various Arab groups, and is alleged
to have killed as many as eighty people in a chain of bombings, hijackings,
and assassinations. Among the famous terrorists attacks he is linked
to are the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics,
the 1975 seizure of OPEC oil ministers, the 1976 Palestinian hijacking
of a French jetliner to Entebbe, Uganda, and half-a-dozen attacks
on French targets. Nearly apprehended on several occasions, Carlos
the Jackal manages to evade international authorities until 1994,
when French agents capture him hiding in the Sudan. Secretly extradited
to France, he is sent to a French prison where he spends three years
before being put on trial in 1997 for the 1974 Paris murders of two
French secret agents and a pro-Palestinian Lebanese turned informer.
On December 23, 1997, a French jury finds Sanchez guilty, and he is
sentenced to life imprisonment.
1954 Marilyn Sheppard, murdered, wife
of Dr. Sam Sheppard, who is accused of the crime.
An earthquake and tidal wave kill hundreds in Japan.
1941 Tomás Vargas Osorio, poeta y periodista colombiano.
|1945 George S. Patton, Jr.,
60, the audacious and eccentric American general, dies in a hospital
in Heidelberg, Germany, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident
Born in San Gabriel, California, in 1885, Patton, whose family had
a long history of military service, Patton graduated from the West
Point Military Academy in 1909. He represented the United States in
the 1912 Olympics--as the first American participant in the pentathlon.
He did not win a medal. During World War I, he served as a tank officer
in France, and these experiences, along with his extensive military
study, made Patton a dedicated proponent of tank warfare.
During World War II, as commander of the US 7th Army, he captured
Palermo, Sicily, in 1943 by just such means. Patton's audacity became
evident in 1944, when, during the Battle of the Bulge, he employed
an unorthodox strategy that involved a 90-degree pivoting move of
his 3rd Army forces, enabling him to speedily relieve the besieged
Allied defenders of Bastogne, Belgium.
Along the way, Patton's mouth proved as dangerous to his career as
the Germans. When he berated and slapped a hospitalized soldier diagnosed
with "shell shock," but whom Patton accused of "malingering," the
press turned on him, and pressure was applied to cut him down to size.
He might have found himself enjoying early retirement had not General
Dwight Eisenhower and General George Marshall intervened on his behalf.
After several months of inactivity, he was put back to work.
And work he did-at the Battle of the
Bulge, during which Patton once again succeeded in employing a complex
and quick-witted strategy, turning the German thrust into Bastogne
into an Allied counterthrust, driving the Germans east across the
Rhine. In March 1945, Patton's army swept through southern Germany
into Czechoslovakia-which he was stopped from capturing by the Allies,
out of respect for the Soviets' postwar political plans for Eastern
Patton had many gifts,
but diplomacy was not one of them. After the war, while stationed
in Germany, he criticized the process of denazification, the removal
of former Nazi Party members from positions of political, administrative,
and governmental power. His impolitic press statements questioning
the policy caused Eisenhower to remove him as US commander in Bavaria.
He was transferred to the 15th Army Group, but in December of 1945
he suffered a broken neck in a car accident and died less than two
After the American entrance into World War II, Patton, who been placed
in command of an important US tank division, played a key role in
the Allied invasion of French North Africa in 1942. In 1943, Patton
led the US Seventh Army in its assault on Sicily, and in 1944 commanded
the US Third Army in the invasion of France. In December of 1944,
Patton's supreme expertise in military movement and tank warfare helped
crush the German counteroffensive in the Ardennes during the Battle
of the Bulge. Although Patton was one of the ablest American commanders
from World War II, he was also one of the most controversial. He presented
himself as a modern-day cavalryman, designed his own uniform, and
was known to make eccentric claims of his direct descent from great
military leaders of the past through reincarnation.
During the Sicilian campaign, Patton generated considerable controversy
when he accused a US soldier suffering from a psychological disorder
of being a coward, and then proceeded to strike the young man across
his face. The famously profane general was forced to issue a public
apology and was reprimanded by General Dwight D. Eisenhower. However,
when time for the invasion of Western Europe came, Eisenhower could
find no general as formidable as Patton, and the general was again
granted an important military post. During one of his many successful
campaigns, General Patton was once said to have declared, "compared
to war, all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance.
Scott Fitzgerald, author, of a heart attack in Hollywood.
He was born on 24 September 1896. His most brilliant novel was The
1940 Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald,
44 ans, auteur étatsunien de romans et de nouvelles qui mettent en
scène l'ambiance et les mœurs des années 1920, qu'il appelait "l'âge
du Jazz", à Saint-Paul dans le Minnesota.
À l'université de Princeton, il délaissa les études classiques pour
suivre l'enseignement d'écrivains et de critiques comme Edmund Wilson,
auquel il resta lié toute sa vie. En 1917, il quitta Princeton pour
devenir officier dans l'armée. C'est dans les camps d'entraînement
de l'armée qu'il procéda à la révision de son premier roman, intitulé
d'abord "l'Égoïste romantique", et publié finalement sous le titre
Side of Paradise (1920). Alors qu'il se trouvait dans un
camp en Alabama, Fitzgerald tomba amoureux de Zelda Sayre, parfait
archétype de la jeune fille fantasque et délurée de l'époque, figure
qui deviendra un élément essentiel de la fiction fitzgéraldienne.
Side of Paradise (FITZGERALD ONLINE:), publié au printemps
de 1920, fit de Fitzgerald un homme riche, assez riche tout au moins
pour épouser la très mondaine Zelda. Dans ce roman autobiographique,
la lost generation, celle de l'après-guerre, totalement désabusée,
trouva un reflet de ses rêves brisés, de ses incertitudes et de la
vacuité de son existence.
suivant, The Beautiful and Damned (1922), un roman d'atmosphère
qui dépeint les angoisses et la débauche d'un couple aisé hanté par
le pressentiment de la chute prochaine, reçut un accueil plus mitigé.
En revanche, les nouvelles de Fitzgerald connaissaient un grand succès,
et leurs revenus permettaient d'assurer l'extravagant train de vie
de Zelda, entre hôtels de luxe et événements mondains. Sur plus de
cent cinquante histoires, l'auteur en retint quarante-six pour les
publier dans quatre recueils, parmi lesquels The Children of Jazz
(1920) et A Diamond as Big as the Ritz (1935).
En 1924, les Fitzgerald quittèrent Long Island pour se rendre sur
la Côte d'Azur, et ne revinrent s'installer aux États-Unis qu'en 1931.
En cinq mois, Fitzgerald acheva The Great Gatsby (1925),
fable sensible et satirique sur la quête effrénée de la réussite et
l'effondrement du rêve américain. Bien que généralement considéré
comme son chef-d'œuvre, The Great Gatsby se vendit mal, ce
qui contribua à accélérer la ruine de sa vie personnelle. Zelda sombrait
dans la folie (elle fut hospitalisée plusieurs fois de 1930 à sa mort
en 1948) et lui dans l'alcoolisme. Il n'en continua pas moins d'écrire,
essentiellement pour des magazines. Ce n'est qu'en 1934 que parut
son quatrième roman Tender Is the Night, l'histoire à peine
voilée, presque la confession, de sa vie avec Zelda. L'accueil très
froid qui lui fut réservé accéléra la déchéance de Fitzgerald, déchéance
qu'il décrivit lui-même dans The Crack-Up (1945). Fitzgerald,
partiellement remis, devint scénariste à Hollywood en 1937, une expérience
qui lui inspira son dernier roman, l'un des plus aboutis, The
Last Tycoon (1941). Devant l'éclat et l'intelligence de ce livre,
pourtant inachevé à la mort de Fitzgerald la nuit du 20 au 21 décembre
1940, les critiques révisèrent leur jugement à l'encontre de son auteur,
reconnu aujourd'hui comme l'un des plus brillants écrivains américains
du XXème siècle.
Short stories. Flappers and Philosophers (1920); Tales
of the Jazz Age (1922); All the Sad Young Men (1926),
includes "The Rich Boy" and "Absolution"; Taps at Reveille
(1935). Letters. Letters (1963).
1933 Knud Rasmussen, explorador danés.
|1939 Day 22 of Winter War: USSR
aggression against Finland. [Talvisodan 22. päivä]
More deaths due to Stalin's desire to grab Finnish territory.
Soviet leader Joseph Stalin celebrates his 60th birthday today.
He will not get any part of Finland as a birthday present.
Terijoki: in honor of Stalin's birthday, Otto Wille Kuusinen's
'Finnish People's Government' holds a meeting and a parade of the
'Finnish People's Army'. The meeting sends a telegram congratulating
Stalin on his birthday. At the same time, enemy aircraft bomb two
passenger trains in southern Finland.
Southern Finland: enemy fighters strafe a stationary train on
the edge of the forest between Helsinki and Turku for 15 minutes,
killing three civilians.
Ladoga Karelia: Finnish troops in the Tolvajärvi sector launch
an assault in the evening to retake the village of Ägläjärvi. The
determined assaults by the Finnish strike force of five battalions
overcome the main force of the Russian division.
Civil defense officials point out that lighting restrictions also
apply to Christmas lights. This means, for example, that candles
must not be placed beside graves this year, and outdoor Christmas
trees must not be illuminated. People should also remember to stay
off the streets during air-raid warnings.
Henry Herbert La Thangue, English painter born on born on 19 January
LA THANGUE AT ART 4 DECEMBER with
links to images.
1924 Jean André Rixens, French
artist born on 30 November 1846. — more
with links to images.
1917 Wilhelm Heinrich Trübner,
German artist born on 03 February 1851.
Gordan, 75, mathematician.
1894 Ramón Martí y Alsina,
Spanish artist born in 1826.
1879 William Jamps Shayer Sr.,
British artist born in 1788. — a bit more
with link to an image.
1871 Paul Camille Guigou,
French painter born on 15 February 1834. — more
with link to an image.
1838 Jan Christianus Schotel, Dutch painter born on 11
November 1787. — more
|1866 Fetterman and 80 US soldiers,
in rare Amerindian victory.
Determined to challenge the growing American military presence in
their territory, Indians in northern Wyoming lure Lieutenant Colonel
William J. Fetterman and his soldiers into a deadly ambush on this
day in 1866. Tensions in the region started rising in 1863, when John
Bozeman blazed the Bozeman Trail, a new route for emigrants traveling
to the Montana gold fields. Bozeman's trail was of questionable legality
since it passed directly through hunting grounds that the government
had promised to the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe in the Fort Laramie
Treaty of 1851. Thus when Colorado militiamen murdered more than two
hundred peaceful Cheyenne during the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864,
the Indians began to take revenge by attacking whites all across the
Plains, including the emigrants traveling the Bozeman Trail. The US
government responded by building a series of protective forts along
the trail; the largest and most important of these was Fort Phil Kearney,
erected in 1866 in north-central Wyoming.
Indians under the leadership of Red Cloud and Crazy Horse began to
focus their attacks on Fort Phil Kearney, constantly harassing the
soldiers and raiding their wood and supply parties. On December 6,
1866, Crazy Horse discovered to his surprise that he could lead a
small detachment of soldiers into a fatal ambush by dismounting from
his horse and fleeing as if he were defenseless. Struck by the foolish
impulsiveness of the soldiers, Crazy Horse and Red Cloud reasoned
that perhaps a much larger force could be lured into a similar deadly
On the bitterly
cold morning of December 21, about 2000 Indians concealed themselves
along the road just north of Fort Phil Kearney. A small band made
a diversionary attack on a party of woodcutters from the fort, and
commandant Colonel Henry Carrington quickly ordered Colonel Fetterman
to go to their aid with a company of 80 troopers. Crazy Horse and
10 decoy warriors then rode into view of the fort. When Carrington
fired an artillery round at them, the decoys ran away as if frightened.
The party of woodcutters made it safely back to the fort, but Colonel
Fetterman and his men chased after the fleeing Crazy Horse and his
decoys, just as planned. The soldiers rode straight into the ambush
and were wiped out in a massive attack during which some 40,000 arrows
rained down on the hapless troopers. None of them survived.
With 81 fatalities, the so-called Fetterman
Massacre was the army's worst defeat in the West until the Battle
of Little Bighorn in 1876. Further Indian attacks eventually forced
the army to reconsider its commitment to protecting the Bozeman Trail,
and in 1868 the military abandoned the forts and pulled out. It was
one of only a handful of clear Indian victories in the Plains Indian
On 14 May 1861 William
Fetterman joins the US Army William Fetterman, who will later lead
80 of his soldiers to their deaths at the hands of the Sioux, joins
the Union Army. By all accounts, Fetterman was a born fighting man.
During the Civil War he served with distinction and received at least
two battlefield promotions in recognition of his gallantry. Like his
better-known comrade George Custer, Fetterman emerged from the Civil
War with an unwavering confidence in himself and his military abilities.
Moreover, like Custer, his overconfidence eventually proved to be
his undoing. After the Civil War, Fetterman was assigned to Fort Phil
Kearny in northern Wyoming. Phil Kearny was the most important of
a series of forts that the US Army constructed to defend the Bozeman
Trail, a wagon road that branched northwest from the Oregon Trail
to the gold fields of Virginia City, Montana. The route violated Sioux
hunting grounds, and Sioux warriors under Chief Red Cloud attacked
travelers and soldiers alike in protest. Fort Phil Kearny was an impressive
compound nearly the size of three football fields. The tall wooden
stockade around the fort made it nearly impregnable to Indian attack,
but the stockade also proved to be the fort's Achilles' heel. In order
to maintain the 2800-foot wooden stockade and provide firewood for
the bitter Wyoming winters, soldiers traveled several miles from the
fort to reach the nearest forests. Frequently, small bands of Sioux
attacked the group of soldiers assigned to the "wood train," though
casualties had not yet been severe. When attacked, the soldiers quickly
took up a strong defensive position behind their circled wagons. The
sound of shots alerted the fort of an attack, and the Sioux fled as
soon as rescue squads arrived. Soon after Captain Fetterman arrived
at the fort in November 1866, he began to argue for troops to pursue
and wipe out the Indians who attacked the wood trains. Though he had
no significant experience fighting Indians, he regarded them as contemptuous
cowards who would be no match for well-trained American troops. He
often boasted that with 80 men he could travel through the heart of
the Sioux Nation with impunity. Fetterman began openly ridiculing
the commander of the fort, Colonel Henry Carrington, for failing to
chase down and destroy the Sioux. Carrington, however, had come to
suspect the Sioux attacks were only feints designed to lure the larger
rescue squad into an ambush and he forbade his officers to pursue
the fleeing Indians. Impetuous and overconfident, Fetterman dismissed
Carrington's fears. On December 21, 1866, a small band of Indians
again attacked the wood train. Carrington ordered Fetterman and 80
soldiers to its relief, but historians dispute whether Carrington
explicitly ordered Fetterman not to pursue the Indians that day. Fetterman
and his men chased after the Indians, failing to notice that they
seemed to be fleeing with a deliberate slowness. The decoys-one of
whom was a young brave named Crazy Horse-led the soldiers straight
into an ambush of almost 2,000 Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe warriors.
Fetterman and all of his soldiers were dead within 40 minutes. The
Fetterman Massacre, as it came to be called, was the worst disaster
suffered by the US Army in the Plains Indian War until the Battle
of Little Big Horn in 1876.
1822 José Francisco Ortiz Sanz, escritor y religioso español.
1781 Gregorio Mayáns y Siscar, erudito español.
Hendrik Mommers, Dutch artist born in 1623.
1579 Juan “de Juanes” Maçip (or Masip),
Spanish artist born in 1510. — more
with links to images.
|1597 Peter Canisius,
an energetic Dutch Jesuit who established the Catholic counter-reformation
in Germany and Austria.
1521, fils de Jakob Kanis, bourgmestre de Nimègue, Pierre eut une
jeunesse pieuse. En 1536, il vint à Cologne pour étudier le droit,
mais il s’appliqua aussi à la théologie et à la spiritualité. Ami
des chartreux et des spirituels rhénans, il fut subjugué par Pierre
Fabre, un des premiers compagnons de saint Ignace de Loyola et entra
dans la toute jeune Compagnie de Jésus le 8 mai 1543. Diacre en 1544,
prêtre en 1546, il continua ses travaux d’édition en publiant saint
Cyrille d’Alexandrie et saint Léon le Grand.
L’archevêque de Cologne, favorable aux protestants, tenta d’éloigner
Canisius. Celui-ci plaida si bien sa cause auprès de Charles Quint
que l’archevêque fut déposé. En 1547, l’évêque d’Augsbourg emmena
Canisius comme théologien au concile de Trente. Le concile fut bientôt
interrompu, saint Ignace appela son disciple à Rome et l’envoya en
Sicile. Dès 1549, Canisius en revint, devenant docteur en théologie
à son passage à Bologne.
commença par organiser l’université d’Ingolstadt, puis il entreprit
dans tous les pays germaniques le redressement du catholicisme, par
la prédication, la diffusion des livres théologiques, le catéchisme
et par l’action auprès des papes, des évêques et des princes. Il joua
aussi un rôle actif dans l’heureuse conclusion du concile de Trente.
L’œuvre littéraire de Pierre
Canisius est importante et elle connut un succès considérable et durable.
Après avoir présenté l’essentiel de la religion dans une " Summa doctrinae
" , il la résuma dans des catéchismes qui eurent un tel succès que,
durant trois siècles, on employa en allemand le mot " Kanisi " pour
désigner un catéchisme. Il défendit le culte de la Vierge.
En 1581, Pierre Canisius fut envoyé
à Fribourg en Suisse. Il recueillit l’histoire des saints du pays
et entretint des correspondances avec de multiples personnes. Il y
mourut le 21 décembre 1597. Béatifié en 1864, Pierre Canisius fut
proclamé saint et docteur de l’Église en 1925. Sa fête, placée alors
au 27 avril, a été ramenée au 21 décembre lors de l’établissement
du nouveau calendrier.
Giovanni Boccaccio, 62, author.
was probably in the years 1348-53 that Boccaccio composed the Decameron
in the form in which it is read today. In the broad sweep of its range
and its alternately tragic and comic views of life, it is rightly
regarded as his masterpiece. Stylistically, it is the most perfect
example of Italian classical prose, and its influence on Renaissance
literature throughout Europe was enormous.
The Decameron begins with the flight of 10 young people (7 women and
3 men) from plague-stricken Florence in 1348. They retire to a rich,
well-watered countryside, where, in the course of a fortnight, each
member of the party has a turn as king or queen over the others, deciding
in detail how their day shall be spent and directing their leisurely
walks, their outdoor conversations, their dances and songs, and, above
all, their alternate storytelling. This storytelling occupies 10 days
of the fortnight (the rest being set aside for personal adornment
or for religious devotions); hence the title of the book itself, Decameron,
or "Ten Days' Work. The stories thus amount to 100 in all. Each
of the days, moreover, ends with a canzone (song) for dancing sung
by one of the storytellers, and these canzoni include some of Boccaccio's
finest lyric poetry. In addition to the 100 stories, Boccaccio has
a master theme, namely, the way of life of the refined bourgeoisie,
who combined respect for conventions with an open-minded attitude
to personal behaviour.
tones of the opening passages of the book, in which the plague and
the moral and social chaos that accompanies it are described in the
grand manner, are in sharp contrast to the scintillating liveliness
of Day I, which is spent almost entirely in witty disputation, and
to the playful atmosphere of intrigue that characterizes the tales
of adventure or deception related on Days II and III. With Day IV
and its stories of unhappy love, the gloomy note returns; but Day
V brings some relief, though it does not entirely dissipate the echo
of solemnity, by giving happy endings to stories of love that does
not at first run smoothly. Day VI reintroduces the gaiety of Day I
and constitutes the overture to the great comic score, Days VII, VIII,
and IX, which are given over to laughter, trickery, and license. Finally,
in Day X, all the themes of the preceding days are brought to a high
pitch, the impure made pure and the common made heroic.
The prefaces to the days and to the individual stories and certain
passages of especial magnificence based on classical models, with
their select vocabulary and elaborate periods, have long held the
attention of critics. But there is also another Boccaccio: the master
of the spoken word and of the swift, vivid, tense narrative free from
the proliferation of ornament. These two aspects of the Decameron
made it the fountainhead of Italian literary prose for the following
The influential 19th-century
critic Francesco De Sanctis regarded the Decameron as a "Human Comedy"
in succession to Dante's Divine Comedy and Boccaccio as the pioneer
of a new moral order superseding that of the European Middle Ages.
This view is no longer tenable, however, since the Middle Ages can
no longer be presented as having been wholly ascetic or wholly concerned
with God and heavenly salvation in contrast with a Renaissance concerned
only with the human.
particular, the whole corpus of Boccaccio's work is basically medieval
in subject matter, form, and taste, at least in its point of departure.
It is the spirit in which Boccaccio treats his subjects and his forms
that is new. For the first time in the Middle Ages, Boccaccio in the
Decameron deliberately shows man striving with fortune and learning
to overcome it. To be truly noble, according to the Decameron, man
must accept life as it is, without bitterness, must accept, above
all, the consequences of his own action, however contrary to his expectation
or even tragic they may be. To realize his own earthly happiness,
he must confine his desire to what is humanly possible and renounce
the absolute without regret. Thus Boccaccio insists both on man's
powers and on their inescapable limitations, without reference to
the possible intervention of divine grace. A sense of spiritual realities
and an affirmation of moral values underlying the frivolity even in
the most licentious passages of the Decameron are features of Boccaccio's
work that modern criticism has brought to light and that make it no
longer possible to regard him only as an obscene mocker or sensual
Il semblerait que Boccace, de
son vrai nom Giovanni Boccacio soit né à Paris, fruit d'une union
illégitime entre son père, un marchand florentin, et une femme de
la noblesse française. Élevé à Florence, il fut envoyé à Naples vers
1323 pour y suivre des études de comptabilité qu'il abandonna au profit
du droit canon, des études classiques et scientifiques. Il trouva
sa place dans la cour de Robert d'Anjou, roi de Naples, et il semble
même qu'il eut pour maîtresse la fille illégitime de ce roi, Maria
de Conti d'Aquino, peut-être la fameuse Fiammetta qui revient si fréquemment
dans l'œuvre de Boccace.
1340, il retourna à Florence où il fut chargé de plusieurs missions
diplomatiques par les autorités de la ville. En 1350, il rencontra
le poète et humaniste Pétrarque avec lequel il entretint une longue
amitié jusqu'à la mort de ce dernier, en 1374.
En 1362, Boccace se rendit à Naples, sur l'invitation d'un ami qui
lui promettait la protection de Jeanne Ire, alors à la tête du royaume
napolitain. Cependant, l'accueil fut si froid qu'il alla à Venise
demander l'hospitalité à Pétrarque (1363) qui non seulement l'accueillit
mais lui offrit une maison. Boccace refusa avant de rentrer chez lui,
à Certaldo, près de Florence. Au cours des dernières années de sa
vie, il se consacra à la méditation religieuse et eut la joie de se
voir chargé officiellement de conférences sur Dante (1373). Malheureusement,
la maladie le contraignit à arrêter son activité en 1374. Il mourut
l'année suivante, le 21 Décembre 1375.
L'œuvre majeure de Boccace demeure le " Décaméron " (Il Decamerone)
qu'il commença en 1348 et acheva en 1353. Boccace y évoque tout d'abord
l'histoire de dix amis, sept femmes et trois hommes "de valeur, bien
éduqués et discrets", qui se sont réfugiés dans une villa de campagne,
aux environs de Florence, afin d'échapper à une épidémie de peste
qui sévit en ville. Pour se distraire tout au long des dix jours de
leur retraite, ils se racontent des histoires à tour de rôle : ces
histoires constituent les fameuses cent nouvelles pleines d'esprit,
contées dans l'ouvrage. À chaque fin de journée, l'un des dix protagonistes
chante une canzone et, lorsque s'achève la centième histoire, les
amis rentrent chez eux.
est l'une des plus belles manifestations de la Renaissance italienne,
en littérature. Sans même parler des canzoni, avec lesquelles Boccace
atteint le sommet de son art, les histoires qui le composent sont
aussi variées que riches et le ton employé passe avec finesse de la
solennité à l'humour truculent. La maîtrise de l'écriture est parfaite
et l'étude des personnages dénote une grande sensibilité.
Pour composer cette œuvre, Boccace s'est inspiré à la fois des fabliaux
français, des textes de l'Antiquité grecque et romaine, du folklore
et de sa propre observation de la vie italienne. Le Décaméron rompt
avec la tradition littéraire en ce sens où, pour la première fois
au Moyen Âge, l'homme est présenté non plus comme totalement dépendant
de la volonté divine mais comme le maître de sa destinée.
Giovanni Boccaccio nacque nel
1313 (giugno o luglio) in Toscana (forse a Certaldo o a Firenze: oggi
non si ritiene più attendibile la notizia di una sua nascita a Parigi).
Era figlio "naturale" (nato
cioè al di fuori del matrimonio) di un mercante, Boccaccio di Chellino,
e di una donna di cui non si sa il nome: ma venne riconosciuto e legittimato
dal padre, e visse in famiglia con pari diritti rispetto ai fratelli.
Dopo i primi studi a Firenze,
nel 1327 venne mandato dal padre a Napoli prima a far pratica mercantile,
poi, vista la sua svogliata applicazione a questa attività, a studiare
anni Giovanni studiò i classici latini, e la letteratura cortese francese
e italiana, e scrisse le sue prime opere: Filocolo (1336-38), Filostrato
(1335), Teseida (1339-41), Caccia di Diana (1334/38 ) e le Rime (la
cui composizione rimanda ad anni diversi). Ebbe anche presumibilmente
relazioni amorose, che più tardi esprime, secondo un costume stilnovistico,
nella figura di Fiammetta, identificata un tempo con una Maria figlia
naturale (anche lei!) di re Roberto d'Angiò e maritata nella casa
dei conti d'Aquino: la consistenza storica di questa donna è però
oggi largamente messa in dubbio dagli studiosi.
Nel 1341 dovette tornare a Firenze dal padre il quale aveva difficoltà
economiche a causa del fallimento della banca di Bardi. Comporrà nuove
opere poetiche e narrative: Ninfale d'Ameto o Commedia delle Ninfe
fiorentine (1341-42), Elegia di madonna Fiammetta (1343-44), Ninfale
fiesolano (1344-46). Boccaccio frequenta le corti della Romagna (Ravenna,
Forlì) in cerca di un impiego.
Nel 1348 è di nuovo a Firenze, dove assiste alla peste e dopo la morte
del padre (1350?) vi rimase per amministrare lo scarso patrimonio.
Cominciò a partecipare in vario modo alla vita pubblica e culturale
della sua città, e gli furono affidati uffici e ambascerie. Nel frattempo
andava componendo quella che noi consideriamo la sua opera maggiore,
il Decameron, terminato nel 1351.
Negli ultimi anni si stringe il rapporto di amicizia con Francesco
Petrarca, il "glorioso maestro" che lo aveva persuaso a dirigere la
mente verso le cose eterne lasciando da parte il diletto di quelle
temporali. clic sull'immagine per un ingrandimento
Il Petrarca lo aiutò a superare una crisi religiosa, indirizzando
l'attività del Boccaccio verso la cultura letteraria di tipo "umanistico":
le opere tarde del Boccaccio saranno in latino, e fra queste va citata
la "Genealogia deorum gentilium", un grande trattato di mitologia
greco-romana, che per due o tre secoli rimase il libro più consultato
su questo argomento.
anni si dedica allo studio dell'opera di Dante, per cui ebbe un vero
e proprio culto: di questa attività resta il "Trattatello in laude
di Dante", e le lezioni con cui commentava pubblicamente la "Divina"
Commedia (è stato il Boccaccio ad usare e ad imporre nell'uso questo
aggettivo). Morì il 21 dicembre 1375.
per un ritratto di Giovanni Boccaccio realizzato da Andrea
del Castagno (1450)]
La raccolta di novelle è stata quasi
certamente scritta fra il 1349 e il 1353, all'indomani cioè della
terribile pestilenza che dal 1348 devastò l'Europa. Come dice il titolo
grecizzante l'azione si svolge e si chiude nel giro di dieci giorni.
Dopo un "proemio" indirizzato alle "vaghe donne" che per prova conoscano
l'amore, la lunga introduzione alla prima giornata dà un quadro terrificante
dell'atmosfera di orrore e di morte che circonda Firenze in preda
alla peste. Boccaccio immagina che sette fanciulle e tre giovani uomini
si rifugino in una villa dei vicini colli per sfuggire al contagio
e per trascorrere un po' di tempo allegramente fra amabili conversari,
banchetti e danze. Ogni giorno, tranne il venerdì e il sabato dedicati
a pratiche religiose, i giovani si radunano su un prato, per raccontare
novelle, una per ciascuno; queste si svolgono intorno a un tema prestabilito,
proposto ogni volta dal re o dalla regina eletti quotidianamente dalla
compagnia. Dopo ciascun gruppo di racconti trova posto una "conclusione"
suggellata da una ballata.
Decameron (in Italian and English) _ The
Decameron (in Italian and English, with commentary)
Most Pleasant and Delectable Questions of Love (in English