a February 28:
2003 The previous
evening First Horizon Pharmaceutical (FHRX) reported 4th quarter 2002 earnings
$0.14, equal to estimates, but warns that the first quarter 2003 results
per share could be between a 3-cent loss and a 2-cent profit. Today on the
NASDAQ more than the 35 million FHRX are traded (some being traded several
times during this one day), dropping from their previous close of $5.80
to an intraday low of $1.93 soon after the opening and closing at $2.15.
They had traded as high as $27.09 as recently as 06 May 2002 after starting
trading at $5.33 on 29 May 2000. [< 3~year price chart]
With 142 votes, the 281-member Czech parliament elects opposition candidate
Václav Klaus [photo >], of the Civic Democrats,
as president, defeating the candidate of ruling coalition (led by the Social
Democrats) Jan Sokol, 66, a philosopher. Klaus will replace former Czech
President Václav Havel whose second term in office ended on 02 February
2003, and who is barred by the constitution from third term. This is the
third attempt to replace Havel, the dissident playwright who led the 1989
Velvet Revolution that peacefully toppled the Communist regime. In the two
previous ballots, Klaus finished first, but failed to gain the required
50% of the votes.. The governing coalition that consists of the left-leaning
Social Democratic Party and two smaller center-right parties, the Christian
Democrats and the Freedom Union. In the two previous elections, the coalition
failed to field a joint candidate. Both votes, each including three rounds
of balloting, were marred by political infighting among the Social Democrats.
Sokol's defeat could lead to the fall of the government of the Social Democratic
Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla. Klaus, 61, is an economist who is credited
with reintroducing market reforms to the country, served as Czechoslovakia's
Finance Minister after the demise of the Communist regime. He became Czech
Prime Minister when Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia
on 01 January 1993, and he served as parliamentary speaker from 1998 to
2003 According to Ha'aretz,
during February 2003 Israel killed 72 Palestinians in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip, including three children under the age of 10 and four persons
over 50 years old. Most of them were killed during Israeli army incursions
into the Gaza Strip. 25 were civilians who did not belong to militant Palestinian
groups. 39 armed Palestinians were killed during attempts at terrorist attacks
and in clashes with the Israeli army. Eight Palestinians were assassinated
by the Israeli army. The most prominent case was that of the six Hamas men
who were killed in the explosion of a glider they had purchased in Israel
on 16 February. Most Palestinian killed in the West Bank were killed in
Nablus before and after the Israeli army attack on the city's central casbah,
the market place. On 17 February, the Israeli army assassinated Riad Abu
Bachr, a senior Hamas activist, near Jabalya. On 19 February, 15 Palestinians
were killed, 11 in an Israeli attack on Gaza and four near Tul Karm and
in Nablus. On 23 February, 10 Palestinians were killed, six during an Israeli
army raid on Beit Hanun in the Gaza Strip.
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake hits Washington state at 10:55, with epicenter
56 km southwest of Seattle.
2001 China ratifies the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but, about
the pact's requirement to permit independent labor unions, said that it
would assume that obligation "in line with relevant provisions" of its labor
law (it allows only one union, Communist-controlled). China signed a companion
treaty on political rights in 1998 but says it is not ready to ratify it.
2000 Right-wing Austrian leader Joerg Haider resigned as
head of the Freedom Party in an apparent bid to end Austria's international
ostracism following his party's rise to power.
2001 Rare Russian military trial of their war
Rostov-on-Don, Colonel Yuri Budanov goes on trial for the murder of
Chechen woman Heda Kungayeva, near the village of Tangi-Chu, in March
2000. Kungayeva was at home with her family when Russian soldiers
dragged her away in an armored personnel carrier. Her body was found
two days later, badly disfigured. Russian press reports have said
that Budanov committed the crime during a drunken rampage. Budanov
has said he detained Kungayeva because he thought she was a sniper
and he strangled her in a rage while interrogating her.
Another officer, Ivan Fyodorov, also goes on trial this same day.
He is charged with ordering his subordinates to open fire on Tangi-Chu.
Since the beginning of the current
aggression against Chechnya, criminal cases have been opened against
800 Russian servicemen, but only 58 concerned crimes against local
But then, it rare that
any country punishes adequately the crimes committed by its own military
or police. In the US alone, here are a few names that should refresh
memories: The Trail of Tears, Wounded Knee, Dresden, Hiroshima, My
Lai, Waco, Amadou Diallo, Chinese embassy in Belgrade,
^ 1997 Netscape makes online commerce deals
Netscape announced it had created alliances
with VeriFone and CyberCash, a developer of Internet-payment software,
to foster secure online purchases. 1994 Hewlett-Packard announces
a new line of ink-jet printers Hewlett-Packard said it would introduce
a new line of ink-jet printers this week in 1994. The company planned
to double the resolution of existing ink-jet models, from 300 to 600
dpi. The company also planned to introduce a color ink-jet printer
that would improve the accuracy of color printouts.
1996 US President Clinton and the Congress agree on a sanctions
bill aimed at driving foreign investors from Cuba. This irritates even nations
friendly to the US and is ineffective.
^ 1996 AT&T cancels Network Notes
IBM and AT&T had worked together on
a high-profile project to link users of IBM's Lotus Notes over AT&T's
phone network. Notes, a popular business application that allowed
groups of people to work together on a single document from different
locations, was threatened by the rise of the Internet and by corporate
intranets, which allowed similar types of work. AT&T's defection from
the Network Notes project marked a serious blow to IBM's efforts to
keep Notes viable.
1994 In the US, Brady Law, imposing a wait-period to buy
a hand-gun, went into effect
First NATO military action
In the first military
action in the forty-five-year history of the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO), US fighter planes shoot down four Serbian warplanes
engaged in a bombing mission in violation of Bosnia's no-fly zone.
NATO was founded in 1949 by the United
States, ten Northern and Western European countries, and Canada, as
a safeguard against Soviet aggression. With the end of the Cold War,
NATO members approved the use of its military forces for peacekeeping
mission in countries outside the alliance, and in 1994, agreed to
enforce UN resolutions enacted to bring about an end to the bloody
conflict in the former Yugoslavia.
In 1994 and 1995, NATO planes enforced
the no-fly zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina, and struck at Bosnian Serb
military positions and airfields on a number of occasions. On December
20, 1995, NATO began the mass deployment of 60,000 troops to enforce
the Dayton peace accords, signed in Paris, France, by the leaders
of the former Yugoslavia on December 14. The US-backed peace plan
was proposed during talks in Dayton, Ohio, earlier in the year, and
was reluctantly accepted by the last of the belligerent parties on
November 11, ending four years of war in the former Yugoslavia.
The NATO troops took over from a UN
peacekeeping force that had failed to end the fighting since its deployment
in early 1992, although the UN troops had proved crucial in the distribution
of humanitarian aid to the impoverished population of Bosnia. The
NATO force, with its US support and focused aim of enforcing the Dayton
agreement, proves more successful in maintaining the peace in the
1991 Allied and Iraqi
forces cease fire as Iraq promises to accept all United Nations resolutions
1991 IBM cuts workforce
IBM announced it would cut up to 10'000
workers from its payroll on this day in 1991. IBM struggled to keep
up with small, fast-moving technology firms, but its tremendous size
and inertia weighed it down. In another effort to turn the company
around, IBM hired former chairman of R. J. R. Nabisco, Lou Gerstner,
as CEO in 1993. Gerstner was IBM's first leader brought in from outside
1986 European Economic Community sign "Special Act" for
Europe free trade
1987 Gorbachev calls for nuclear weapons treaty
In a surprising announcement, Soviet
leader Mikhail Gorbachev indicates that his nation is ready to sign
"without delay" a treaty designed to eliminate US and Soviet medium-range
nuclear missiles from Europe. Gorbachev's offer led to a breakthrough
in negotiations and, eventually, to the signing of the Intermediate-Range
Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in December 1987. Gorbachev and President
Ronald Reagan had been wrestling with the issue of nuclear arms reduction
in Europe since 1985, when they first met face-to-face to discuss
the matter. A subsequent meeting in 1986 started with high hopes for
an agreement, but the discussions broke down when Gorbachev linked
the issue of the elimination of US and Soviet INF in Europe to US
termination of its development of the Strategic Defense Initiative
(the so-called "Star Wars" anti-missile defense system). However,
both Reagan and Gorbachev faced pressures to reach a settlement. Reagan
was under assault by "no-nuke" forces both in the United States and
in western Europe. By late 1986 and early 1987, he was also faced
with the fallout from the Iran-Contra scandal, when his administration
had become involved in illegal arms dealings with both Iran and the
Contra forces in Central America. Gorbachev wanted to achieve a cut
in nuclear armaments, both to bolster his prestige on the world stage
and to provide some much-needed relief for a Soviet economy sagging
under the burden of massive military expenditures. In February 1987,
Gorbachev announced that the Soviet Union was willing to proceed with
negotiations on the INF Treaty. This time, he suggested that "the
problem of medium-range missiles in Europe be singled out from the
package of issues and that a separate agreement on it be concluded,
and without delay." In other words, he was dropping his insistence
on including SDI in the negotiations. The timing of Gorbachev's offer
was interesting to many observers in the United States. Some suggested
that it was not coincidental that his statement was released just
days after a high-level presidential review board had issued a stinging
report critical of the Reagan administration's involvement in the
Iran-Contra scandal. Perhaps, they concluded, Gorbachev felt that
Reagan would be anxious for a settlement. The two men met in December
1987 and signed the INF Treaty, by which the Soviets eliminated about
1500 medium-range missiles from Europe and the United States removed
nearly half that number.
1974 Taiwan police shoot into
1974 Labour Party wins British parliamentary
1974 The United States and Egypt re-establish
diplomatic relations after a seven-year break.
Ethiopian government of Makonnen forms
Richard Nixon ends historic week-long visit to China
1961 JFK names Henry Kissinger special advisor
1968 US Chief of Staff says more troops needed
General Earle Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, returns
from his recent round of talks with General William Westmoreland in
Saigon and immediately delivers a written report to President Lyndon
B. Johnson. Wheeler stated that despite the heavy casualties incurred
during the Tet Offensive, North Vietnam and Viet Cong forces had the
initiative and were "operating with relative freedom in the countryside."
The communists had pushed South Vietnamese forces back into a "defensive
posture around towns and cities," seriously undermined the pacification
program in many areas, and forced General Westmoreland to place half
of his battalions in the still imperiled northernmost provinces, thus
"stripping the rest of the country of adequate reserves" and depriving
the US command of "an offensive capability." To meet the new enemy
threat and regain the initiative, according to Wheeler, Westmoreland
would need more men: "The add-on requested totals 206'756 spaces for
a new proposed ceiling of 731'756." It was a major turning point in
the war. To deny the request was to concede that the United States
could impose no military solution in the conflict, but to meet it
would require a call-up of reserves and vastly increased expenditures.
Rather than making an immediate decision, President Johnson asked
Defense Secretary Clark Clifford to conduct a thorough, high-level
review of US policy in Vietnam. A disgruntled staff member in the
Johnson White House leaked the Wheeler-Westmoreland proposal for additional
troops. The story broke in the New York Times on 10 March 10 1968.
With the images of the besieged US Embassy in Saigon during the Tet
Offensive still fresh in their minds, the press and the public immediately
concluded that the extra troops must be needed because the US and
South Vietnamese had suffered a massive defeat. Secretary of State
Dean Rusk was subjected to 11 hours of hearings before a hostile Congress
on March 11 and 12. A week later, 139 members of the House voted for
a resolution that called for a complete review of Johnson's Vietnam
policy. Discontent in Congress mirrored the general sentiment in the
country. In March, a poll revealed that 78 percent of Americans expressed
disapproval with Johnson's handling of the war. On March 22, President
Johnson scaled down Westmoreland's request and authorized 13'500 reinforcements.
Shortly after, Johnson announced that Westmoreland would be brought
home to be Army Chief of Staff. He was to be replaced by Gen. Creighton
1953 Stalin meets with Beria, Bulganin, Khrushchev and
1951 French government of Pleven dissolves
1951 The US Senate committee headed by Estes Kefauver,
D-Tenn., issued a preliminary report saying at least two major crime syndicates
were operating in the US.
1947 Anti Kuomintang
demonstration on Taiwan
1943 63 U Boats (359'300 tons) sunk this month
1944 Hitler advised to organize suicide plane
Reitsch, the first female test pilot in the world, suggests the creation
of the Nazi equivalent of a kamikaze squad of suicide bombers while
visiting Adolf Hitler in Berchtesgaden. Hitler was less than enthusiastic
about the idea. Reitsch was born in 1912 in Hirschberg, Germany. She
left medical school (she had wanted to be a missionary doctor) to
take up flying full time, and became an expert glider pilot
gliders were motorless planes that the Germans developed to evade
strict rules about building "war planes" after WWI. In addition to
gaining experience with gliders, Reitsch also did stunt flying for
the movies. In 1934, she broke the world's altitude record for women
(2800 m). An ardent Nazi and admirer of Hitler, she was made an honorary
flight captain by the Fuhrer, the first woman to receive such an honor.
In 1937, the Luftwaffe, the German air force, put her to work as a
test pilot. Reitsch embraced this opportunity to fly as part of what
she called Germany's "guardians of the portals of peace." Among her
signal achievements was the testing of a proto-helicopter in 1939.
Reitsch came closer than any other woman to seeing actual combat during
World War II, depositing German troops along the Maginot Line in France
during the Germans' 1940 invasion by glider plane. She won an Iron
Cross, Second Class, for risking her life trying to cut British barrage-balloon
cables (the balloons were unmanned blimps, tethered in one place,
from which steel cables dangled so as to foul the wings and propellers
of enemy aircraft). Among the warplanes she tested was the Messerschmitt
163, a rocket-power interceptor that she flew at 800 km/h.
While testing the ME 163 a fifth time, she spun out of control and
crash-landed (even though she was injured during the crash, she nevertheless
managed to write down exactly what happened before she passed out
from her injuries). For this, Hitler awarded her an Iron Cross, First
Class. It was while receiving this second Iron Cross from Hitler in
Berchtesgaden in 1944 that she pitched the idea of a Luftwaffe suicide
squad of pilots who would fly specially designed versions of the V-1.
Hitler was initially put off by the idea, only because he did not
think it an effective or efficient use of resources. But Reitsch's
commitment persuaded him to investigate the prospect of designing
such planes, at which point she put together a Suicide Group and was
the first to take the following pledge: "I hereby...voluntarily apply
to be enrolled in the suicide group as a pilot of a human glider-bomb.
I fully understand that employment in this capacity will entail my
own death." The squad was never deployed.
Reitsch was one of the last people to see Hitler alive. On 26 April
1945, she flew to Berlin with Gen. Ritter von Greim, who was to be
given command of the Luftwaffe. Greim was wounded when Reitsch's plane
was hit by Soviet antiaircraft fire. After saying farewell to the
Fuhrer, tucked away in his bunker, she flew Greim back out of Berlin.
After the war, Reitsch was captured and interned by the US Army. She
testified to the "disintegration" of Hitler's personality that she
claimed to have witnessed during the last days of the war. When released,
Reitsch continued to set records, including becoming the first woman
to fly a glider over the Alps. In 1951, she published her autobiography,
Flying Is My Life, and from 1962 to 1966 she was director
of the national school of gliding in Ghana. She died in 1979, at 65
years old, only one year after setting a new women's glider distance
record. In her career, she set more than 40 world records for flying
powered and motorless planes.
1942 Race riot, Sojourner Truth Homes, Detroit
1942 Japanese land in Java, last Allied bastion in Dutch
1941 British-Italian dogfight above
1941 39 U Boats (197'000 tons) sunk this
1940 US population at 131'669'275 (12'865'518
1939 Great-Britain recognizes Franco-regime
1933 Hitler bans German communist party
1933 German President Von Hindenburg abolishes
free expression of opinion
1931 Oswald Mosley founds his New Party
Last Ford Model A is produced
The last Ford Model A was produced, ending an era for the Ford Motor
Company. The successor to the Model T, the Model A was an attempt
to escape the image of bare bones transportation that had driven both
the Model T’s success and its ultimate failure in the market. The
vastly improved Model A boasted elegant Lincoln-like styling, a peppy
40 horsepower four-cylinder engine, and, of course, a self-starting
mechanism. The Model A was as affordable as its predecessor, however,
and with a base price at $460, five million Model A’s would roll onto
American highways between 1927 and 1932.
US begins intervention in Honduras
1917 Russian Duma sets up Provisional Committee; workers
set up Soviets
^ 1922 Britain grants independence to Egypt;
retains Suez Canal
After forty years of occupation, Great Britain formally approves Egyptian
independence, although the Suez Canal and the defense of Egypt remain
in British hands. The Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean
and the Red seas across Egypt's Isthmus of Suez, was completed in
1869 after ten years of construction by a French corporation and Egyptian
workers. The canal rapidly became one of the world's most heavily
traveled shipping lanes, and in 1875, Britain took over its administration.
In 1882, British troops invaded Egypt, becoming the nation's effective
rulers. However, Egypt remained nominally part of the Ottoman Empire
until 1914, when it officially became a British protectorate. In 1922,
Britain recognized the sovereignty of Egypt while retaining control
of the Suez Canal and maintaining its military bases in Egypt. During
the early 1950s, Egyptian nationalists rioted in the Suez Canal Zone
and organized attacks on British troops, and in 1956, Egyptian prime
minister Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the canal, subsequently barring
British, French, and Israeli shipping. In response, Israeli forces
under General Moshe Dayan seized the Gaza Strip and drove through
the Sinai to the east bank of the Suez Canal. Two days later, Britain
and France entered the conflict in a coalition with Israel, and demanded
the immediate evacuation of Egypt from the Suez Canal. American and
UN pressure forced the coalition to halt the hostilities and a UN
emergency force was sent to occupy the Canal Zone, eventually leaving
the canal in Egypt's hands in the next year.
1908 Failed assassination attempt
on Shah Mohammed Ali in Teheran
1896 France dismisses Queen Ranavalona of Madagascar
Ford hires the Dodge brothers.
Henry Ford hired John F. and Horace E. Dodge to supply the chassis
and running gear for his 650 Ford automobiles. John and Horace, who
began their business careers as bicycle manufacturers in 1897, first
entered the automobile industry as auto parts manufacturers in 1901.
Manufacturing car bodies for Henry Ford and Ransom Olds, the Dodge
Brothers had become the largest parts-manufacturing firm in the US
by 1910. In 1914, the brothers founded the Dodge Brothers Motor Car
Company and began work on their first automobiles. Dodge vehicles
were known for their quality and sturdiness, and by 1919 the Dodge
Brothers were among the richest men in America. Their good fortune
didn’t hold, however. Both brothers died of influenza in 1920. Their
company was sold to a New York bank, before eventually being purchased
by Chrysler in 1928. Under Chrysler’s direction, Dodge became a successful
producer of cars and trucks marketed for their ruggedness.
1879 "Exodus of 1879" southern blacks flee political/economic
1873 The Society of Mary, founded in 1816, is officially
recognized by Pope Pius IX. This religious order seeks to combine the work
of education with foreign missions.
1878 US House
of Representatives votes silver coinage.
Proponents of silver-based currency had a rough go of it during the
early 1870s, as legislators rebuffed their push for the free coinage
of silver. However, the election of the 45th Congress, which was split
down the middle on the expanded currency issue, opened the door for
the passage of pro-silver legislation. And, on this day, the House
votes the Bland-Allison Act, which calls for the coinage of silver,
albeit it in limited doses. Bland-Allison was another sign of the
growing political power of the expanded currency movement, which blended
silver forces with the burgeoning greenback movement. Earlier that
February, the Greenback and Labor parties joined forces to form the
Greenback Labor Party which, for brief period at the end of the 1870s,
made a serious run at the national political stage. At the same time,
the economy became ripe for the rise of silver: the nation's currency
was deflated to Civil War-era levels, while miners across the West
were churning up vast quantities of silver. The silver movement flourished
for the next decade or so, as many in the greenback crusade, realizing
that silver was a better horse to ride to an expanded currency, joined
the drive for the unlimited coinage of silver.
1871 2nd Enforcement
Act gives federal control of congressional elections
Skirmish at Albemarle County Virginia (Burton's Ford)
Kilpatrick's Raid on Richmond begins
1861 US Congress creates Colorado Territory
The US Congress combines pieces of Nebraska,
Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico to make a large rectangle of land it
calls Colorado Territory.
the region's population booming because of the Pike's Peak gold rush,
Congress creates the new Territory of Colorado. When the United States
acquired it after the Mexican War ended in 1848, the land that would
one day become Colorado was nearly unpopulated by Anglo settlers.
Ute, Arapaho, Cheyenne, and other Indians had occupied the land for
centuries, but the Europeans who had made sporadic appearances there
since the 17th century never stayed for long. It was not until 1851,
when New Mexican farmers moved up into the region, that permanent
Euro-American settlement began. As with many other western regions,
though, the lure of gold launched the first major Anglo invasion.
In July 1858, a band of prospectors working streambeds near modern-day
Denver found tiny flecks of gold in their pans. Since the gold-bearing
streams were located in the foothills not far from the massive mountain
named for the explorer Zebulon Pike, the subsequent influx of hopeful
miners was termed the Pike's Peak gold rush. By the spring of 1859,
an estimated 50'000 gold seekers had reached this latest of a long
series of American El Dorados.
As the first gold-bearing streams to be discovered played out, prospectors
moved westward into the rugged slopes of the Rocky Mountains in search
of new finds. Wherever sizeable deposits were discovered, ramshackle
mining camps like Central City, Nevadaville, and Black Hawk appeared,
sometimes almost overnight. Meanwhile, out on the flat plains at the
edge of the mountains, Denver became the central supply town for the
miners. Although few miners came to Colorado planning to stay long,
they were eager to establish some semblance of "law and order" in
the region in order to protect their property rights and gold dust.
Far from the seats of eastern government, the miners and townspeople
cobbled together their own simple governments, usually revolving around
a miners' court that regulated claims. Technically lacking in any
genuine legal foundation, the miners' courts did maintain the minimal
order needed for the mineral exploitation of the territory to continue.
The unreliable mining operations
soon gave way to larger, highly capitalized, and relatively permanent
lode mining operations. The pioneers recognized that the vast mineral
resources of the Rockies could form the foundation of a thriving new
state, but the people settling there needed a more formal system of
laws and government. The Congressional designation of new western
states and territories had been bogged down for several years as southern
and northern politicians fought over whether slavery would be permitted
in the new western regions. By 1861, the South had seceded, clearing
the way for the northern politicians to begin creating free-labor
1847 US defeats México in battle of Sacramento
1849 Prospectors arrive
in California by sea
During the California Gold Rush, the first shipload of prospectors
arrive in San Francisco Bay from the East Coast via South America's
Cape Horn. The prospectors join the thousands of gold-seekers who
had already traveled to California by land to reap the rewards of
California's newly found riches.
Over a year earlier, near Coloma, California, gold was discovered
on the property of Johann A. Sutter by James W. Marshall. After the
find was assayed in Sacramento, modest prospecting in the area showed
favorable results, and in the summer of 1848, eastern newspapers published
the first reports of the newly discovered gold fields. As there had
been false claims of gold in California before, the majority of the
American public treated Sutter's claims with skepticism.
However, in December of the same year, President James K. Polk corroborated
"the accounts of the abundance of gold" found in the recently acquired
territory, and the California Gold Rush began. By the spring of 1849,
tens of thousands of prospectors had set out for El Dorado, often
abandoning their farms, their jobs, and their families. By the end
of 1849, some 55'000 people had arrived by land and another 25'000
had made their way by sea.
1850, California's rapidly increasing population encouraged Congress
to grant statehood to the territory. Although many of California's
original "Forty-Niners" returned to their home states empty-handed,
tens of thousands made a living in California, and by 1852, the population
at the time of Marshall's discovery 14'000 non-Indians
had grown to 250'000 Californians.
1827 first commercial railroad in US, Baltimore and Ohio
Kalevala Day in Finland:
Elias Lönnrot signs the preface to the first edition of Kalevala.
This collection of thirty two cantos had been compiled from oral poetry
which for the most part Lönnrot himself had recorded among the unlettered
folk in the backwoods districts of northeastern Finland and those
parts of the Russian Province of Archangel where Karelian (a language
closely related to Finnish) was spoken. Fourteen years later, in 1849,
Lönnrot published an enlarged version of Kalevala, the edition which
has become known to the world as the Finnish national epic.
Finnish national epic compiled from old Finnish ballads, lyrical songs,
and incantations that were a part of Finnish oral tradition.
Kalevala, the dwelling place of the
poem's chief characters, is a poetic name for Finland, meaning "land
of heroes." The leader of the "sons of Kaleva" is the old and wise
Väinämöinen, a powerful seer with supernatural origins,
who is a master of the kantele, the Finnish harplike stringed instrument.
Other characters include the skilled smith Ilmarinen, one of those
who forged the "lids of heaven" when the world was created; Lemminkäinen,
the carefree adventurer-warrior and charmer of women; Louhi, the female
ruler of Pohjola, a powerful land in the north; and the tragic hero
Kullervo, who is forced by fate to be a slave from childhood.
Among the main dramas of the poem are
the creation of the world and the adventurous journeys of Väinämöinen,
Ilmarinen, and Lemminkäinen to Pohjola to woo the beautiful daughter
of Louhi, during which the miraculous sampo, a mill that
produces salt, meal, and gold and is a talisman of happiness and prosperity,
is forged and recovered for the people of Kalevala. Although the Kalevala
depicts the conditions and ideas of the pre-Christian period, the
last canto seems to predict the decline of paganism: the maid Marjatta
gives birth to a son who is baptized king of Karelia, and the pagan
Väinämöinen makes way for him, departing from Finland
without his kantele and songs.
The Kalevala is written in
unrhymed octosyllabic trochees and dactyls (the Kalevala
metre) and its style is characterized by alliteration, parallelism,
and repetition. Besides fostering the Finnish national spirit, the
poem has been translated into at least 20 languages; it has inspired
many outstanding works of art, e.g., the paintings of Akseli
Gallén-Kallela and the musical compositions of Jean Sibelius.
The epic style and metre of the poem The
Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow also reflect
the influence of the Kalevala.
1784 English churchman John
Wesley, 80, formally charters the movement within Anglicanism which afterward
came to be known as Wesleyan Methodism.
Island General Assembly authorizes enlistment of slaves.
1759 Pope Clement XIII allows Bible to be translated into various
1730 Tsarina Anna Ivanovna leads autocracy.
1704 Elias Neau, a Frenchman, opens a school for blacks
in New York NY
1692 Salem witch hunt begins.
1646 Roger Scott was tried in Massachusetts for sleeping
0870 The Fourth Constantinople Council
closed, under Pope Adrian II in the West and Emperor Basil I in the East.
The council had condemned iconoclasm, and became the last ecumenical council
held in the Eastern Mediterranean area.