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Events, deaths, births, of APR 06

[For Apr 06 Julian go to Gregorian date:
1583~1699: Apr 161700s: Apr 171800s: Apr 181900~2099: Apr 19]
• US enters WW I... • Beaten slave claims freedom... • Slave rebellion... • Dürer dies... • Start of Mormon Church... • Hitler attacks Yugoslavia and Greece... • 2 African Presidents killed... • Pathet Lao leader is born... • Guillotinés par la Révolution... • North Pole reached?... • Raphael dies on 37th birthday... • American Fur Company... • James Mill is born... • US–USSR talks on reunified Germany... • Oscar Wilde arrested... • Black Hawk War begins... • US air forces respond to North Vietnamese offensive... • Offensive role for US troops in Vietnam...
On an April 06:
2002 In Trinidad and Tobago, Prime Minister Patrick Manning dissolves Parliament on Saturday and announces third election in as many years. Manning agreed to fresh elections within six months after the island nation's two main political parties failed to select a speaker of the house, a move that has kept Parliament from meeting for months. Manning and former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday have been at odds since December 2001 elections, which resulted in a tie in Parliament. President Arthur Robinson resolved the crisis by appointing Manning as the new prime minister. Robinson, who like Manning is an Afro-Trinidadian, said he based his decision on moral and spiritual values. But the election heightened tensions in Trinidad and Tobago, where most people of East Indian descent supported Panday's party, and the majority of Afro-Trinidadians supported Manning's.
      The selection of speaker began on 05 April 2002. Manning's People's National Movement and Panday's United National Congress party canceled out each other's votes both on 05 and 06 April. A majority vote is needed to elect a speaker. Manning says that fresh elections will be held within the next six months to meet constitutional requirements. But without amending the constitution to change the number of parliamentary seats to an odd number -- which would allow for a majority -- another tie could occur in future elections. When the tie arose in December 2001, the country was plunged into a constitutional crisis over what to do next.
2002 In Portugal is formed a new government, led by José Manuel Durão Barroso.
MOT stock price graph2001 Motorola stock falls 23% in one day.       ^top^
      Motorola Inc.'s already-ailing stock falls 23% to an eight-year low today in a frenzied selloff touched off by fears it will report more bad news next week and by speculation — strongly denied by the company - that it's running out of cash. Uneasy investors sold off Motorola shares on concerns about a possible credit-rating reduction that could squeeze the company's ability to pay off a big backlog of debt. After seeing its shares advertisement plunge 30% in six hours of trading, wiping out about $10 billion in on-paper value, the telecommunications giant issued a statement with 20 minutes left in the session declaring that despite its problems: "Motorola today is financially sound." "Any suggestion or erroneous report that Motorola faces a serious liquidity problem is simply not correct and is not supported by fact," said Bob Growney, Motorola's president and chief operating officer. He said the company has more than $4.5 billion in cash and cash equivalents and has cut its commercial debt in half since 31 December, to $3.1 billion. That helped shares in the Schaumburg, Ill.-based cellphone and semiconductor maker rebound. But they still finished down $3.45 at $11.50 - the lowest since April 1993 even when adjusted for stock splits - in extremely heavy trading. A total of 63.7 million Motorola shares were bought and sold on the New York Stock Exchange, about five times the normal volume.
      The shares have now lost 78% of their value since May 2000 when they hit a 52-week high of $52.64. Hard hit by slowdowns in its core industries as well as profit problems of its own doing, Motorola has held out hope of a turnaround in the months ahead based on new cellphones and improvements in the economy. But analysts remain bearish as the company kicks off the earnings season for telecom companies with its quarterly results on Tuesday. Credit Suisse First Boston increased investor jitters Friday by saying it expects Motorola to fall short of 2001 estimates amid continuing weaknesses in all the company's big businesses: cellphones, semiconductors and infrastructure equipment. Also contributing to the selling stampede was a widely disseminated comment from a bond newsletter that Motorola is buried in debt and facing a possible liquidity crisis - the remark that prompted the company's forceful denial. Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's have had Motorola's credit under review since February for a possible downgrade. "There is increasingly negative sentiment toward telecoms equipment companies every single day," said Vivian Mamelak, an analyst for Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder. "There really is an expectation for bigger earnings disappointment." Motorola has cut 22"000 jobs since December and sharply scaled back its expectations for industry sales and company revenues and profits. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call are now expecting a loss of 7 cents a share. "Everyone knows their numbers are probably going to be pathetic - they've pre-warned that," said Todd Bernier, an analyst for Morningstar in Chicago. "I think people right now are kind of expecting the worst."
Elian's dad is sent to US by CastroElian is comforted in Miami2000 Elian's dad comes to the US.       ^top^
    After months of keeping Juan Miguel Gonzalez in Cuba for a successful propaganda campaign, dictator Fidel Castro correctly decides that now his propaganda is best served by sending the man to the US, not to go to Miami to see his son, but to attract more media attention for some more weeks before at last bringing home the 6-year-old survivor of the shipwreck that claimed the life of his mother, who was fleeing Cuba in hopes of a better life in the United States. [< photo]

     The little boy is quite happy in Miami with the relatives who have welcomed him and sad at the idea of returning to Cuba. A relative comforts him. [photo >]
crowd of Elian watchers Elian wawes at crowd

The US news media and the Cuban exile community in Miami continue, as they have for weeks, unwittingly to serve Castro's propaganda campaign, by giving extravagant atttention to the little refugee.

Day after day they are encamped across the street and eagerly await and photograph every appearance of the boy which they have made into the world's youngest celebrity. [< photo]

Charmingly, Elian seems quite unspoiled by all the attention. Here he is waving to the crowd. [photo >]
2000 A private company mapping the human genetic blueprint announced it had decoded all of the DNA pieces that make up the genetic pattern of a single human being.
1997 Microsoft agrees to buy Web TV Networks for $425 million. WebTV's technology allowed users to read e-mail and surf the Web on their television sets.
1996 A stolen truck carrying illegal immigrants overturned in Temecula, Calif., killing eight people.
1992 Stores began selling the Windows 3.1 computer operating system, which had shipped in mid-March. Windows 3.1 came nearly seven years after the first introduction of the unimpressive Windows 1.0.
1992 Voting begins on choice of Elvis postage stamps for US Postal Service.
1991 Iraq reluctantly agreed to accept United Nations conditions for ending the Persian Gulf War.
1990 US and Soviet negotiators make progress       ^top^
      US and Soviet diplomats meeting in Washington, D.C., make significant progress in negotiations concerning the role to be played by the newly reunified Germany in Europe. US Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze carried out most of the negotiations. Both sides approached the meeting with caution. Although US-Soviet relations had been progressing quite well in the past few years, the recent independence movement in the Soviet Republic of Lithuania and the aggressive Soviet response toward that movement--which included a military intervention in March 1990--had temporarily soured diplomatic interchange between the two superpowers. In early discussions, the Soviets indicated their preference for Germany to remain completely neutral. Many US officials, however, wanted the reunified Germany to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). During the talks, the Soviets dropped their insistence on German neutrality, but suggested that perhaps Germany could join both NATO and the Warsaw Pact (the Soviet equivalent of NATO). Both sides agreed that a US-Soviet summit meeting in May would explore this question in more detail.
      The Baker-Shevardnadze talks did not produce the any serious breakthroughs or dramatic resolutions. However, they were indicative of the continuing spirit of cooperation between the two nations that began when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in Russia in 1985. As the Soviet suggestion that Germany take membership in both NATO and the Warsaw Pact suggested, Cold War suspicions had not entirely disappeared. In July 1990, Gorbachev dropped his opposition to German membership in NATO in exchange for a US promise of much-needed economic assistance to the Soviet Union. Shortly after German reunification took place in October 1990, Germany did become a member of NATO. The suggestion that it also become a member of the Warsaw Pact became superfluous when that organization dissolved in March 1991. Gorbachev resigned in December 1991 and the Soviet Union ceased to exist.
1985 William J. Schroeder became the first artificial heart recipient to be discharged from the hospital as he moved into an apartment in Louisville, Ky.
1972 US air strikes againsn North Vietnamese invaders of South.       ^top^
      Clear weather for the first time in three days allows US planes and Navy warships to begin the sustained air strikes and naval bombardments ordered by President Nixon in response to the massive North Vietnamese offensive launched on March 30. The Nguyen Hue Offensive (later known as the "Easter Offensive") was a massive invasion by North Vietnamese forces designed to strike the blow that would win the war for the communists. The attacking force included 14 infantry divisions and 26 separate regiments, with more than 120'000 troops and approximately 1200 tanks and other armored vehicles. The main North Vietnamese objectives were Quang Tri in the north, Kontum in the Central Highlands, and An Loc farther to the south.
      President Richard Nixon had ordered the Air Force and Navy to provide all available air support to help the South Vietnamese stabilize the situation. In response, US planes flew 225 missions by 09 April, hitting North Vietnamese troop concentrations and missile emplacements above and below the Demilitarized Zone. Two US planes were shot down over North Vietnam by missiles, a new element in North Vietnamese air defenses. Ultimately, the South Vietnamese forces prevailed against the invaders, but only after six months of desperate fighting that raged across South Vietnam. US airpower proved to be the difference between victory and defeat for the South Vietnamese. With the communist invasion blunted, President Nixon declared that the South Vietnamese victory proved the viability of his "Vietnamization" program, instituted in 1969 to increase the combat capability of the South Vietnamese armed forces.
1968 94.5% of East German voters approve new socialist constitution
1966 Mihir Sen swims the Palk Strait between Sri Lanka and India
1965 Intelsat 1 ("Early Bird") first commerciall geosynchronous communication satellite. The satellite provided high-bandwidth telecommunications links between the United States and Europe. Intelsat I was the first of several communications satellites launched by the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization, established in 1964 to govern global satellite communications links.
^ 1965 Offensive role planned for US troop in Vietnam
      National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy drafts and signs National Security Action Memorandum 328 on behalf of President Lyndon B. Johnson. This document came out of National Security Council meetings that were held on 01 April and 02 April. The memorandum authorized US personnel to take the offensive in South Vietnam to secure "enclaves" and to support South Vietnamese operations. The so-called "enclave strategy" called for the US forces to control the densely-populated coastal areas while the South Vietnamese forces moved inland to fight the communists. This memorandum represented a major mission change for the US soldiers and Marines who had recently arrived in Vietnam. US forces had been limited to strictly defensive operations around the US air bases, but the memorandum authorized them to go on the offensive to secure large areas of terrain, an escalation of US involvement in the war.
1943 British and US army link up in Africa during WW II
1941 The Italian occupiers of Addis Ababa capitulate to Ethiopian and British forces led by British General Alan Cunningham. This sets the stage for the return of Ethiopia's emperor, Haile Selassie.
1941 Hitler attacks Yugoslavia and Greece       ^top^
     During World War II, on 27 March 1941, two days after the Yugoslav government signed a controversial pact with the Axis powers, Yugoslav air officers, aided by the British secret services, had toppled the regime of Diagisa Cvetkovich.
      In response, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler [20 Apr 188930 Apr 1945] launched a massive invasion of the country that began on 06 April with the bombing of Belgrade. The Yugoslav defenders, made up of various politically unstable nationalities, were routed by the hordes of German, Italian, Hungarian, and Bulgarian troops invading their country.
      On 17 April, representatives of Yugoslavia's various regions signed an armistice with Nazi Germany at Belgrade, ending eleven days of futile resistance against the invading German Wehrmacht. More than three hundred thousand Yugoslav officers and soldiers were taken prisoner. A total of only two hundred Germans died in the conquest of Yugoslavia.
      Yugoslavia was divided, with the exception of the puppet state of Croatia, between the four invading Axis powers. The occupying troops aggravated the traditional religious and national differences in the region, and the Serbs were especially brutalized. However, by the end of the year, two separate effective resistance movements had sprung up, one led by Colonel Dragoljub Mihailovic [27 Mar 1893 – 17 Jul 1946] that was loyal to the Yugoslav government-in-exile, and another led by Josip Broz [07 May 1892 – 04 May 1980] that was made up of members of the illegal Communist Party.
     Germany invades Yugoslavia and Greece The German air force launches Operation Castigo, the bombing of Belgrade, on this day in 1941, as 24 divisions and 1200 tanks drive into Greece. The attack on Yugoslavia was swift and brutal, an act of terror resulting in the death of 17'000 civilians----the largest number of civilian casualties in a single day since the start of the war. Making the slaughter all the worse was that nearby towns and villages had emptied out into the capital city to celebrate Palm Sunday. All of Yugoslavia's airfields were also bombed, destroying most of its 600 aircraft while still on the ground. As part of a comprehensive Balkan offensive, German forces also bombed the Greek port city of Piraeus as army divisions swept south and west, en route to Salonica and the eventual occupation of Greece.
1939 US and UK agree on joint control of Canton and Enderbury Is (Pacific)
^ 1931 Beginning of first “Scottsboro trial”
      Nine Black youths were charged with the rape of which they were falsely accused by two White women (Victoria Price, 21; and Ruby Bates, 18): Clarence Norris, 18; Charles Weems, 19; Haywood Patterson, 18; Olen Montgomery, 17; Ozie Powell, 16; Willie Roberson, 17; Eugene Williams, 13; Andy Wright, 19, and his brother Roy Wright, 12. The nine, after nearly being lynched on 26 March 1931, are brought to trial in Scottsboro on this day, just three weeks after their 25 March 1931 arrest.
      Not until the first day of the trial are the defendants provided with the services of two volunteer lawyers. Despite testimony by doctors who had examined the women that no rape had occurred, the all-White jury convicted the nine, and all but the youngest, Roy Wright, 12 (mistrial), were sentenced to death on 09 April 1931. The announcement of the verdict and sentences brought a storm of charges from outside the South that a gross miscarriage of justice had occurred in Scottsboro. The cause of the “Scottsboro Boys” was championed, and in some cases exploited, by Northern liberal and radical groups, notably the Communist Party of the USA.
      In November 1932 the US Supreme Court overturned 7-to-2 the convictions (Powell v. Alabama) on the grounds that the defendants had not received adequate legal counsel in a capital case. The state of Alabama then retried Haywood Patterson and, on 09 April 1933, again sentenced him to death. This conviction having been set aside, he is tried again, this time together with Clarence Norris, and, in December 1933, they are sentenced to death. In a 01 April 1935 decision (Norris v. Alabama), the US Supreme Court overturned this conviction, ruling that the state had systematically excluded Blacks from juries.
      Haywood Patterson is tried for the fourth time and, on 23 January 1936, sentenced to 75 years in prison. In July 1937 Clarence Norris is sentenced to death, Andy Wright to 99 years in prison, Charlie Weems to 75 years in prison. After persistent pressure from citizens' groups, the state of Alabama, on 24 July 1937) freed the four youngest (who had already served six years in jail): Roy Wright, Eugene Williams, Olen Montgomery and Willie Roberson. In September 1944, Clarence Norris and Andy Wright were paroled, but, for leaving Montgomery in September 1944 in violation of their paroles they were returned to prison, .Norris in October 1944 and Wright in October 1946. They were paroled again, Norris in September 1946 and Wright in June 1950.
      In July 1948 Haywood Patterson escaped from prison and fled to Michigan, where, in September 1951, he was sentenced to 6-to-15 years in prison for the stabbing death of another Black in a December 1950 barroom fight. Less than a year later he died of cancer in prison. Clarence Norris, who had fled North after his parole in 1946, was granted a full pardon by the Alabama's Governor George C. Wallace [25 Aug 1919 – 13 Sep 1998], in October 1976. Norris, last surviving member of the Scottsboro Nine, died at age 76, on 23 January 1989.
1924 Four planes leave Seattle on first successful around-the-world flight
1917 US enters World War I       ^top^
     Two days after the US Senate voted eighty-two to six to declare war against Germany, the US House of Representatives endorses the declaration by a vote of 373 to fifty, and the US enters World War I. Four days earlier, President Woodrow Wilson [28 Dec 1856 – 03 Feb 1924], who initially sought a peaceful resolution to the war in Europe, appeared before a joint session of Congress and urged a declaration of war, citing Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare against US vessels traveling in the Atlantic. On 28 January 1915, six months after the outbreak of the war, Germany sunk the first neutral US vessel traveling between the US and England. The US government was outraged, but the German government apologized and called the attack an unfortunate mistake. However, on 07 April of the same year, a German submarine torpedoed the British steamship Lusitania, the queen of the Cunard Line, off the coast of Ireland. The unarmed vessel was destroyed and 1198 persons were killed, including 114 US persons and 63 infants. The German government maintained that the Lusitania was sunk in self-defense, but the US demanded reparations and an end to German attacks on unarmed passenger and merchant ships. On 31 January, the German ambassador delivered a note to the US State Department formally announcing the renewal of Germany's submarine warfare against both neutral and belligerent ships. On 03 February 1917, the US severed diplomatic relations with Germany hours before the US liner Housatonic was sunk by a German U-boat. Two months later, the US Congress declared war against Germany, and the US entered World War I. After four years of bloody stalemate along the Western Front, the entrance of the US's well-supplied forces into the conflict was a major turning point in the war. When the war finally ended on 11 November 1918, more than two million US soldiers had served on the battlefields of Western Europe, and some fifty thousand of these men had lost their lives
1909 Peary's expedition reaches North Pole (more or less)       ^top^
     US explorer Robert Edwin Peary [06 May 1856 – 20 Feb 1920], his assistant Matthew Alexander Henson [08 Aug 1866 – 09 Mar 1955], and four Inuits become the first recorded people in history to reach the vicinity of the North Pole, although they likely fall short of the exact geographic North Pole. Peary, a US Navy civil engineer born in Cresson, Pennsylvania, made his first trip to the interior of Greenland in 1886. In 1891, he was excused from his Navy duty to lead another expedition for exploration and scientific study. He was joined on this journey by Henson, a young Black sailor born in Charles County, Maryland. An extended dogsled journey to the northeast of Greenland was made during their expedition, and what became known as Peary Land was explored. Several more arctic expeditions were conducted by the explorers over the next few years, and in 1898 Peary was granted another leave of absence from the Navy to lead his first expedition in pursuit of the North Pole. Peary and Henson crossed latitude 84ºN, and during a second attempt in 1906 nearly reached latitude 88ºN, which was only 250 km from their objective. In 1909, the pair traveled to Ellesmere Island by ship and, accompanied by four Inuit, raced across hundreds miles of ice to reach what they believed was latitude 90ºN on 06 April 1909. Although their achievement was widely acclaimed, their distinction of being the first to reach the North Pole was challenged by Dr. Frederick A. Cook [10 Jun 1865 – 05 Aug 1940], a former associate of Peary, who claimed that he had reached the Pole by dogsled in the previous year. A major controversy followed, and in 1911, the US Congress formally recognized Peary's claim. In recent years, further studies of the conflicting claims suggest that neither expedition reached the precise point of the North Pole, but that Peary and Henson had come far closer, although their calculations of its location was slightly flawed. Peary's claim was upheld in 1989 by the Navigation Foundation.
      On 03 April 1952, US Lieutenant Colonel Joseph O. Fletcher of Oklahoma stepped out of a plane and walked to the exact North Pole, the first person known for certain to do so.
— Henson would write the autobiographical A Negro Explorer at the North Pole (1912).
1939 Interview of Henson by Lowell Thomas (PDF)
1909 First credit union established in US.
1903 The California poppy is designated the State Flower of California. [Click here for a spectacular view of the California Poppy State Reserve]
1896 The first modern Olympic games open in Athens, Greece.
Oscar Wilde 1895 Oscar Wilde arrested       ^top^
      Writer Oscar Wilde is arrested after losing a libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry. Wilde had been engaged in an affair with the marquess's son since 1891, but when the outraged marquess denounced him as a homosexual, Wilde sued the man for libel. However, he lost his case when evidence strongly supported the marquess's observations. Homosexuality was classified as a crime in England at the time, and Wilde was arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to two years of hard labor.
     Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Oscar Wilde was born on 16 October 1854 and grew up in Ireland. He went to England to attend Oxford, where he graduated with honors in 1878. A popular society figure known for his wit and flamboyant style, he published his own book of poems in 1881. He spent a year lecturing on poetry in the United States, where his dapper wardrobe and excessive devotion to art drew ridicule from some quarters.
      After returning to Britain, Wilde married and had two children, for whom he wrote delightful fairy tales, which were published in 1888. Meanwhile, he wrote reviews and edited Women's World. In 1890, his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was published serially, appearing in book form the following year. He wrote his first play, The Duchess of Padua, in 1891 and wrote five more in the next four years. His plays, including The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), were successful and made him a popular and well-known writer.
      Wilde was released from prison in 1897 and fled to Paris, where his many loyal friends visited him. He started writing again, producing The Ballad of Reading Gaol, based on his experiences in prison. He died of on 30 November 1900 from an ear infection that had spread to his brain turning into acute meningitis, in a Paris hotel room after saying of the room's wallpaper: "One of us had to go."
     Oscar Wilde won the Newdigate Prize in 1878 with a long poem, Ravenna. In 1881 he published Poems. In 1888 he published The Happy Prince and Other Tales, a romantic allegory in the form of a fairy tale. His only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray was published in 1890. In Intentions (1891), he grouped previously published essays. In 1891 also, he published two volumes of stories and fairy tales: Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, and Other Stories and A House of Pomegranates. Wilde is best known as the writer of the plays Lady Windermere's Fan, Salomé (in French), A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and, above all, The Importance of Being Earnest.
Other sites for WILDE ONLINE: Collected WorksLady Windermere's Fan
1886 Declaration of Berlin neutralizes Tonga
1883 Start of Sherlock Holmes Adventure of the Speckled Band
1868 Mormon church leader Brigham Young, 67, married his 27th and last wife. (In all, Brigham Young's wives bore him 47 children.)
1865 Battle of Sayler's Creek (Sailor's Creek), Virginia, 1/3rd of Lee's army cut off.
1865 Siege of Spanish Fort, Alabama, continues
1862 Battle of Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing), Tennessee begins (Union will defeat Confederacy in SW Tennessee).
1862 Siege of Yorktown, Virginia continues.
1859 US recognizes Liberal government in Mexico's War of the Reform.
1848 Jews of Prussia granted equality.

Dred Scott case1846 Dred Scott claims freedom.       ^top^
     Slave Scott files a declaration according to which, two days earlier, his owner had "beat, bruised, and ill-treated him" and imprisoned him for twelve hours. Scott adds that he claims to be a free man by virtue of his past residence in free territories.
     Scott's beginnings were quite humble. Born somewhere in Virginia around 1800, he was taken by his owner, Peter Blow, to Alabama and then, in 1830, to St. Louis, Missouri. Two years later Peter Blow died; Scott was subsequently bought by army surgeon Dr. John Emerson, who later took Scott to Fort Armstrong in the free state of Illinois. In the spring of 1836, after a stay of two and a half years, Emerson moved to Fort Snelling in the Wisconsin Territory (closed to slavery by the Missouri Compromise of 1820), taking Scott along. While there, Scott met and married Harriet Robinson, a slave owned by a local justice of the peace. Ownership of Harriet was transferred to Emerson.
      Scott's extended stay in Illinois, a free state, gave him the legal standing to make a claim for freedom, as did his extended stay in Wisconsin, where slavery was also prohibited. But Scott never made the claim while living in the free lands -- perhaps because he was unaware of his rights at the time, or perhaps because he was content with his master.
      After two years, the army transferred Emerson to the south: first to St Louis, then to Fort Jessup in Louisiana. A little over a year later, a recently-married Emerson summoned his slave couple. Instead of staying in the free territory of Wisconsin, or going to the free state of Illinois, the two travelled over 1600 km, apparently unaccompanied, down the Mississippi River to meet their master.
      Only after Emerson's death in 1843, after Emerson's widow hired Scott out to an army captain, did Scott seek freedom for himself and his wife. First he offered to buy his freedom from Mrs. Emerson -- then living in St. Louis -- for $300. The offer was refused. Scott then sought freedom through the courts, starting the legal process with the declaration he made on 06 April 1846. He had strong legal backing for his claim to freedom; the Supreme Court of Missouri had freed many slaves who had traveled with their masters in free states. In the Missouri Supreme Court's 1836 Rachel v. Walker ruling, it decided that Rachel, a slave taken to Fort Snelling and to Prairie du Chien in Illinois, was free.
      Despite these precedents, Scott lost the first Scott v. Emerson trial, in June 1847, on a technicality -- he couldn't prove that he and Harriet were owned by Emerson's widow. The following year the Missouri Supreme Court decided that the case should be retried. In an 1850 retrial, the St Louis circuit court ruled that Scott and his family were free.
      By the early 1850's, however, sectional conflict had arisen again and uglier than ever, and most Missourians did not encourage the freeing of slaves. Even judicially Scott was at a disadvantage; the United States Supreme Court's Strader v. Graham decision (1851) set some precedents that were unfavorable to Scott, and two of the three justices who made the final decision in Scott's appearance before the Missouri Supreme Court were proslavery. As would be expected, they ruled against Scott in 1852, with the third judge dissenting.
     Scott and his lawyers then took his case out of the state judicial system and into the federal judicial system by bringing it to the US Circuit Court for the District of Missouri. In 1854, the Circuit Court upheld the decision of the Missouri Supreme Court.
      There was now only one other place to go. Scott appealed his case to the United States Supreme Court. The nine justices of the Supreme Court of 1856 certainly had biases regarding slavery. Seven had been appointed by pro-slavery presidents from the South, and of these, five were from slave-holding families. Still, if the case had gone directly from the state supreme court to the federal supreme court, the federal court probably would have upheld the state's ruling, citing a previously established decision that gave states the authority to determine the status of its inhabitants.
      But, in his attempt to bring his case to the federal courts, Scott had claimed that he and the case's defendant (Mrs. Emerson's brother, John Sanford, who lived in New York) were citizens from different states. The main issues for the Supreme Court, therefore, were whether it had jurisdiction to try the case and whether Scott was indeed a citizen.
      The decision of the court was read in March of 1857. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney -- a staunch supporter of slavery -- wrote the "majority opinion" for the court. It stated that because Scott was black, he was not a citizen and therefore had no right to sue. The decision also declared the Missouri Compromise of 1820, legislation which restricted slavery in certain territories, unconstitutional.
      While the decision was well-received by slaveholders in the South, many northerners were outraged. The decision greatly influenced the nomination of Abraham Lincoln to the Republican Party and his subsequent election, which in turn led to the South's secession from the Union.
      Peter Blow's sons, childhood friends of Scott, had helped pay Scott's legal fees through the years. After the Supreme Court's decision, the former master's sons purchased Scott and his wife and set them free. Dred Scott died nine months later.

1832 Black Hawk War begins       ^top^
      Determined to resist the growing presence of Anglo settlers on traditional tribal lands, the Sauk warrior Black Hawk is drawn into war with the United States. Called Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak by his people, Black Hawk was born in 1767 in the village of Saukenuk in the present-day state of Illinois. He quickly earned a reputation as a fierce and courageous fighter in the frequent skirmishes between the Sauk and their principle enemy, the Osage.
      By the early 1800s, however, Black Hawk began to realize that the real threat to his people was the rapidly growing numbers of White people streaming into the region. In 1804, representatives of the Sauk and Fox (Mesquakie) Indians signed a treaty that ceded all of their territory east of the Mississippi River to the United States. Black Hawk, however, maintained the treaty was invalid and had been signed by drunken Indian representatives. In 1816, he reluctantly confirmed the treaty with his own signature, but he later said he did not understand that this meant he would someday have to cede his home village of Saukenuk on the Rock River. As the US Army built more forts and droves of settlers moved into the territory during the next 15 years, Black Hawk grew increasingly angry. Finally, in 1831, settlers began to occupy the village of Saukenuk, an area that would later become Rock Island, Illinois. Regardless of the provisions of the 1804 treaty, Black Hawk refused to leave his own home. He began to prepare for war.
      Early in 1832, General Edmund P. Gaines arrived in the area with a sizeable force of US soldiers and Illinois militiamen. Initially, Black Hawk withdrew his large band of warriors, women, and children to the west side of the Mississippi. On 05 April, however, he led them back into the disputed territory, believing that other Indian forces and the British to the north would support him in a confrontation. The following day, a large army of soldiers caught up to Black Hawk and his followers near the Rock River of northern Illinois.
      When neither the British nor his Indian allies came to his support, Black Hawk attempted to surrender. Unfortunately, one of his truce bearers was killed in the confusion, and the Black Hawk War began. In May, Black Hawk's warriors won a significant victory that left the US troops badly demoralized. As subsequent generations of Indian fighters would learn, however, the mighty force of the US government was relentless. On 02 August, US soldiers nearly annihilated Black Hawk's band as it attempted to escape west across the Mississippi, and Black Hawk finally surrendered.
      Casualties in the 15-week war were grossly one-sided. An estimated 70 settlers or soldiers lost their lives; estimates for the number of Indians killed are between 442 and 592. Black Hawk was captured and incarcerated for a time in Fortress Monroe, Virginia. In order to demonstrate the futility of further resistance to the powerful Americans, Black Hawk was taken on a tour of the major eastern cities before being relocated to an Iowa Indian agency. He lived the remaining six years of his life under the supervision of a Sauk chief who had once been his enemy. Unlike Black Hawk, the Sauk chief had cooperated with the United States government.
1789 first US Congress begins regular sessions, Federal Hall, NYC
1712 First major slave rebellion in the Colonies       ^top^
      In New York City, Colonial America's first major slave rebellion occurred as some twenty African-American slaves, armed with guns and clubs, set fire to houses along the northern edge of the city. Nine whites were killed before a militia arrived to suppress the uprising. The rebellious slaves who were not killed outright were publicly executed, along with several innocent slaves, over the next few days.
      Three decades later, in 1741, a rash of suspicious fires caused fears of another slave rebellion to sweep the city. Although no conclusive evidence of a slave conspiracy were uncovered, several slaves were coerced into confessing and implicating others. By the time the hysteria died down, thirty-one slaves and four whites had been hanged.
      In the years after the American Revolution, the state of New York enacted legislation to gradually emancipate its slaves. By the first decade of the nineteenth century, the institution of slavery had ceased to exist in New York and most other northern states.
1663 King Charles II signs Carolina Charter
1327 Italian poet Petrarch first sets eyes on his beloved Laura
0610 Lailat-ul Qadar, the night the koran descended to Earth
0006 BC This day is believed by some Biblical scholars to be the actual date of the historical birth of Jesus Christ.
--648 -BC- Earliest total solar eclipse chronicled (by Greeks)
Deaths which occurred on an April 06:       ^top^
2003 Yousef Abu Hadi, 13; and Marwan Abu Jiab, 23, Palestinians, shot as helicopter-backed Israeli troops attack the El-Ma'azi refugee camp, Gaza Strip.
2003:: 17 Kurd peshmerga soldiers and Kamaran Abdurazaq Muhamed, a BBC translator, by bombs dropped by mistake by 2 US planes on a stopped convoy of some nine 4-wheel-drive vehicles, including 2 of the US Special Forces, during fighting against Iraqi forces near Dibagah, Iraqi-claimed Kurdistan. BBC reporter John Simpson and his cameraman, some US soldiers, and 40 peshmergas are wounded, including Kurdistan Democratic Party military commanders Saeed Abdullah, Abdul Rahman, Mamasta Hehman, and Wajy Barzani [03 Apr 2003 photo below], younger brother of KDP leader Massoud Barzani, who controls the western half of Iraqi-claimed Kurdistan. Mansor Barzani, son of Massoud, was also slightly injured. [peshmerga = “those who face death”, Kurdish autonomist fighters which the US is now, at least temporarily, using as allies].
Wajy Barzani, center, 03 Apr 2003
2002 Juan Ramón Núñez and Joaquín Quebrada, shortly after being mortally wounded by gunmen at 19:00 in the church of La Argentina (Huila) Colombia, where Quebrada was among the congregation at the Saturday evening mass being celebrated by the Catholic pastor of the parish, Father Núñez.
2000 Habib Bourguiba, 96, former president for life and founder of modern-day Tunisia.
2002 Álvaro Menéndez Leal, Salvadoran writer.

1994 Juvenal Habyarimana, president of Rwanda, Cyprien Ntyamira, president of Burundi, and others on their plane which is downed by rocket fire on its journey back from a peace conference in Tanzania.       ^top^
      The death of President Habyarimana, the leader of Rwanda since 1973, exasperates an already tense internal situation in Rwanda, and, as soon as word of his death arrives in Kigali the next day, violence breaks out between the Patriotic Front rebel group, dominated by Rwanda's Tutsi people, and government soldiers and militias, dominated by the Hutus. Gangs of youth, police, and other groups join in the chaotic fighting, which within twenty-four hours results in the deaths of Agathe Uwilingiyimana, the prime minister of Rwanda; Joseph Kavaruganda, the president of the Supreme Court; and hundreds of others.
      The fighting and racial massacres quickly spread to the rest of the country, and in the ensuing civil war, the Hutu-dominated government and militia forces were gradually driven into neighboring central African countries by the Tutsi-led Patriotic Front. During their retreat, the Hutu soldiers and militiamen massacred over 500'000 Tutsi civilians and tens of thousands of Hutu civilian moderates. The genocide was conducted in a particularly brutal manner, with most victims hacked to death with machetes or bludgeoned to death with clubs.
      In 1996, the massacres resumed as the former Hutu government forces, militiamen, and other refugees were expelled from Zaire and Tanzania and re-entered Rwanda, now controlled by a Tutsi-led government.

1993 John Charles Burkill, English mathematician born on 01 February 1900, equally well known for his research in analysis and the excellent teaching books which he wrote, such as The Lebesgue integral (1951), A first course in mathematical analysis (1962), A second course in mathematical analysis (1970). Burkill introduced the Burkill integral and applied it to extend the work of W.H.Young [20 Oct 186307 Jul 1942] on the definition of the area of a curved surface.
1992 Isaac Asimov, of heart and kidney failure, biochemistry professor, science fiction writer, born on 02 January 1920 in Soviet Russia, came tu the US in 1923. Some of his nearly 500 books: Pebble in the Sky (1950) — I, Robot (1950; in which he invented the 3 Laws of Robotics: 1. Robots may not injure a human or, by inaction, allow a human to be harmed. — 2. Robots must obey humans' orders unless doing so conflicts with the first law. — 3. Robots must protect their own existence unless doing so conflicts with the first two laws) — Foundation (1951) — Foundation and Empire (1952) — Second Foundation (1953) — The Caves of Steel (1954) — The End of Eternity (1955) — The Naked Sun (1957) — The Human Body (1963) — Asimov's Guide to the Bible (1968) — The Shaping of England (1969) — ABC's of Ecology (1972) — Asimov's Annotated Paradise Lost (1974) — Asimov on Chemistry (1974) — Lecherous Limericks (1975) — Animals of the Bible (1978) — In Joy Still Felt (1980) — Counting the Eons (1983) — The Roving Mind (1983) — The Robots of Dawn (1983) — Robots and Empire (1985) — Foundation and Earth (1986) — Prelude to Foundation (1988) — Nemesis (1989) — Asimov Laughs Again (1992)
1975 Chiang Kai-Shek, 87, Nationalist Chinese leader
1971 Igor Stravinsky, in New York City, Russian-born composer.
1931 William Lionel Wyllie, British artist born on  06 July 1851. — MORE ON WYLLIE AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
1922 Jennie Becker, beaten over the head with a wrench by her husband Abraham Becker, who then buries her in a grave prepared with the help of Reuben Norkin. Abraham Becker puts his four children in an orphanage, has his mistress move in with him, and brags. It results in his going to the electric chair in 1924.
1893 George Vicat Cole, British artist born on 17 April 1833. — MORE ON COLE AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
1890 Joseph Carey Merrick “elephant man”, at 13:30 of asphyxiation. He was deformed from birth (05 August 1862), probably suffering from Proteus Syndrome.
1860 James Kirke Paulding, born on 22 August 1778, N.Y. state dramatist, novelist, and public official chiefly remembered for his early advocacy and use of native American material in literature. At 18 he went to New York City, where he formed a lasting friendship with the Irving brothers. This association aroused his enthusiasm for literature, and he, with William and Washington Irving [03 Apr 1783 – 28 Nov 1859], founded the Salmagundi (1807–1808), a periodical consisting mainly of light satires on local subjects. The outbreak of hostilities between England and the US encouraged the assertion of Paulding's nationalism. He satirized England's conduct toward the US during the war in The Diverting History of John Bull and Brother Jonathan (1812) and The Lay of the Scottish Fiddle: A Tale of Havre de Grace (1813), the latter a burlesque of Sir Walter Scott [15 Aug 1771 – 21 Sep 1832]. The same spirit of nationalism found expression in two later satires also directed at the British: A Sketch of Old England: by a New England Man (1822) and John Bull in America (1825). The advantages and hardships of western migration are the theme of The Backwoodsman (1818), a poem written to call the US author home in his search of literary themes. Novels such as Koningsmarke, the Long Finne, a Story of the New World (1823), Westward Ho! (1832), and The Old Continental, or, the Price of Liberty (1846) represent Paulding's attempts to employ the US scene in fiction. His popular play, The Lion of the West (first performed 1831; first published 1954), introduced frontier humor to the stage by depicting a character resembling Davy Crockett and helped during the 1830s to contribute to the growing legend of Crockett. His Life of Washington (1835) illustrates Paulding's Americanism. Plain, even at times vulgar in style, he yet possessed a playful irony that he shared with the New York writers of his day. He held several public posts in New York and from 1838 to 1841 served as Secretary of the Navy. His literary work, however, overshadows his routine labors as a government official.
1829 Niels Henrik Abel, Norwegian mathematician born on 05 August 1802. In 1824 he proved the impossibility of solving algebraically the general equation of the fifth degree.
1825 Willem van Leen, Dutch artist born on 19 February 1753.
1794 (17 germinal an II) Condamnés à mort par la Révolution:       ^top^
Par le tribunal révolutionnaire de Paris:
BARRON Philippe, (dit Chanoirà), ex-noble, domicilié à Genillé, canton de Loches, département de l'Indre et Loire, comme conspirateur.
HANNAPIER Louis, (dit Desormes), âgé de 45 ans, cultivateur, ci-devant maître particulier des eaux et forêts de Beaugency, né à Orléans, département du Loiret, domicilié à St Hilaire-St Mesmin, même département, comme convaincu d’avoir tenu des propos contre-révolutionnaire, et dit que nous aurions un roi avant le premier mai.
Par le tribunal criminel du département des Bouches du Rhône:
BONNECORSE François Ignace, ex noble et ancien capitaine de marine, domicilié à Marseille, département des Bouches du Rhône, comme contre-révolutionnaire.
BOUIS Jean Joseph Charles, ci-devant officier de marine, domicilié à Martigues, canton de Salon, département des Bouches du Rhône, comme fédéraliste.
CAUDIERE Michel François, homme de loi, domicilié à Martigne, département des Bouches du Rhône, comme fédéraliste.
CAUQUE François, tailleur de pierre, forçat à Rochefort, département de la Charente Inférieure, pour avoir voulu briser ses fers.
A Arras, les ex-chanoines:
BUISSY François Lamoral
, 64 ans, né à Douai — HARDUIN Philippe Guillaume Alphonse, 39 ans, né à Arras — LEROUX Alexis Stanislas Augustin, 71 ans, né à Arras — VINCLY Charles Louis Guislain Joseph (DE FRANCE), marquis de Noyelle Vion, âgé de 71 ans, né à Vaulx.
BRANCHAND Jean, laboureur, domicilié à Pié-de-Cerf, canton de la Châtaigneraye, département de la Vendée, par le tribunal criminel du département des Deux-Sèvres.
JANVRE Célestre, (dit Labouchetière), officier au ci-devant régiment du roi, infanterie, domicilié à Bonpère, département des Deux-Sèvres, , par la commission militaire établie à Bruxelles comme émigré.
CHAMALET Jean Antoine, canonnier au 3ème bataillon de l’Hérault, domicilié à Chauvin-Fragon, département des Basses Pyrénées, comme déserteur, par le tribunal du 1er arrondissement de l’armée des Pyrénées Occidentales.
MEQUIGNON Philippine Josèphe, veuve Roux, ménagère, domiciliée à Lemplume département du Nord, condamnée à mort par le tribunal criminel du département du Nord, comme distributrice de faux assignats.
VALLET Pierre J. Jacques, déserteur du bataillon de Cambresis, domicilié à Ligny, département du Nord, comme distributeur de faux assignats, par le tribunal criminel dudit département.
POUTIER Barthélémi (dit Castres), caporal au 36ème régiment d'infanterie, domicilié à Castres, département du Tarn, comme contre-révolutionnaire, par le tribunal militaire du quartier général de l'armée du Nord.
SOUDE René, hussard au dixième régiment en dépôt à Chaâlon, domicilié à Châlon, département de la Marne, comme contre-révolutionnaire, par le tribunal criminel dudit département.
TRUCHIES François, (dit Dumoule) ancien capitaine d'infanterie, domicilié à Calais, département de Saône et Loire, par le tribunal criminel dudit département comme émigré.
Et un guillotineur guillotiné:
RIPERT Jean, l’aîné, âgé de 58 ans, natif de Grenoble, département de l’Isère, exécuteur des jugements criminel, domicilié à la Guillotière, faubourg de Lyon, département du Rhône, par la commission révolutionnaire de Lyon, comme s’étant pas abstenu, en sa qualité d’exécuteur, fonctionnaire public, de prêter les mains à l’exécution du jugement de mort rendu contre Châlier, comme ayant pu se dispenser de se rendre pour cette exécution du faubourg de la Guillotière où il demeurait, à Lyon, et comme n’ayant pas usé de toutes les précautions nécessaires en pareil cas, pour épargner à Châlier tous les tourments qu’il lui a fait souffrir en lui portant quatre à cinq coups de hache sur le cou. On assure qu’il a été exécuté par son frère, exécuteur des jugements criminel du département de l’Isère, qui l’aidait précédemment dans ses exécutions à Lyon. (Note: BERNARD Jean, âgé de 26 ans, natif de Grenoble, adjoint de l'exécuteur des jugements criminel de la Guillotière, canton de Lyon, département du Rhône, le 7 germinal an 2, par la commission révolutionnaire de Lyon, comme assassin de Châlier, c'est-à-dire pour l'avoir guillotiné d'après le jugement.)
1793 BROUSSE Raimond, FOSSAT (dit la Tempête), et LAVAL, meunier, domiciliés à Moissac, canton de Lauzette, département du Lot, condamnés à mort comme chefs de révolte, par le tribunal criminel dudit département.
1777 Jan Evert Morel, Dutch artist born on 08 February 1777.
1667 Jean Tassel, French artist born on 20 March 1608.
1660 Michelangelo “delle Battaglie” Cerquozzi, Italian painter born on 02 February 1602. — MORE ON CERQUOZZI AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
1641 Domenico Zampieri “il Domenichino”, Italian painter born on 06 April 1581. — MORE ON DOMENICHINO AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
1624 Jean-Baptiste Saive de Namur, Flemish  artist born in 1540
1528 Albrecht Dürer, artist and mathematician, born on 21 May 1471.MORE ON DÜRER AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
1520 Raffaello Sanzio “Raphael”, the great painter dies on his 37th birthday. — MORE ON RAPHAEL AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
1348 Petrarch's Laura, of plague
1199 Richard I the Lion-hearted, 41, King of England (1189-1199), by an arrow at the siege of the castle of Chaluz in France.
Births which occurred on an April 06:       ^top^
1909 Phoumi Vongvichit, Laotian Communist leader.       ^top^
     In the revolutionary movement in Laos ( the Pathet Lao), Phoumi's stature was comparable with its other leading personalities — Kaysone Phomvihan, Nouhak Phoumsavanh, and Souphanouvong, behind whom he consistently ranked in the Politburo of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP).
      Tall, patrician, intellectual, Phoumi had none of the air of a veteran revolutionary. To those who met him after 1975, he seemed courteous, rather aloof, yet he had been a tough negotiator for the Pathet Lao, and even his political enemies recognized his qualities. He was, above all, a Lao nationalist. His deep interest in and knowledge of Lao history made him acutely aware of the tenuous nature of Lao independence, and of the need to strengthen Lao national culture and identity. Despite the political alliance of the Pathet Lao with the Vietnamese communist movement, Phoumi believed that neither Thai nor Vietnamese should be permitted to exercise too much influence in Lao affairs.
      Phoumi Vongvichit was born on 06 April 1909 at Xieng Khouang, the son of a civil servant in the French administration. He was educated in Vientiane, after which he too joined the colonial civil service. After postings in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Xieng Khouang, he was promoted to the grade of chao muang and served in Xieng Khouang (1939) and Vientiane (1940-1945). In January 1945 he was appointed Chao Khoueng of Houaphan province where he remained until the Japanese surrender in August 1945. The following month, Phoumi cooperated with Free French forces when they briefly seized Sam Neua town, but subsequently he joined the Lao Issara (Free Laos) movement and worked closely with the Viet Minh to oppose the return of the French.
      In 1946, after French forces had reoccupied Laos, Phoumi made his way to northern Thailand where for the next three years he was active in the Lao Issara. At the end of 1949, having refused to accept the offer of amnesty upon dissolution of the Lao Issara government-in-exile in Thailand, Phoumi was one of the handful of Lao who joined Souphanouvong in northern Vietnam. There he attended the founding congress of the Neo Lao Issara (the Free Laos Front). Phoumi was nominated both Secretary-General of the Front, and Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister in the Pathet Lao Resistance government that the Front established in opposition to the Royal Lao government in Vientiane. The Resistance government gained no international recognition, but Phoumi nominally retained both positions until the Geneva Agreements of 1954 brought the First Indochina War to an end.
      In 1954 and 1955, Phoumi led Pathet Lao delegations in negotiations with the Royal Lao government over reintegration of the provinces of Phong Saly and Houaphan. In March 1955, Phoumi was one of the founding members of the Lao People's Party and was elected to its Political Bureau. The following January he was elected to the Central Committee of the Lao Patriotic Front (Neo Lao Hak Xat). In 1956, Phoumi continued to be involved in negotiations over integration which eventuated in the signing of a series of agreements, known as the Vientiane Agreements, the following year. These opened the way for formation of the First Coalition government in which Phoumi served as Minister of Religion and Fine Arts. (The other Pathet Lao minister was Souphanouvong at the Ministry of Economy and Plan.) From this time, Phoumi took a lively interest in the Buddhist Sangha (the monastic order), recognizing its potential as a propaganda organ for opposition to the Americanization of Lao society, but also as a vehicle for the propagation of Lao cultural values.
      In the supplementary elections of May 1958, Phoumi was elected Deputy from Luang Prabang in the National Assembly. In the political crisis that followed the electoral success of the left, Phoumi lost his ministry. In July 1959 he was arrested along with other Pathet Lao deputies, and imprisoned without ever being brought to trial. In May 1960 he escaped with other leading Pathet Lao prisoners and their guards, and made the long march to the Pathet Lao zone in Xieng Khouang.
      After the Battle of Vientiane in December 1960 and the subsequent retreat of Neutralist forces to the Plain of Jars, Phoumi was instrumental in arranging for Pathet Lao-Neutralist collaboration. He led the Pathet Lao delegation to the Geneva Conference on the neutrality of Laos in 1962, and served as Minister of Information, Propaganda and Tourism in the Second Coalition government. In 1964, after a series of political assassinations, Phoumi left Vientiane with other Pathet Lao ministers.
      By this time Laos had been dragged into the Second Indochina War between the United States and North Vietnam. For the next ten years, Phoumi alternated between living in the limestone caverns of Vieng Xai and leading various Pathet Lao delegations to international communist gatherings. He retained his positions in both the Politburo and the Lao Patriotic Front, and took a leading role in negotiations leading to formation of the Third Coalition government in 1974, in which he served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
      After formation of the Lao People's Democratic Republic in December 1975, Phoumi was named Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Sport and Religious Affairs. In the reorganization that followed the Third Congress of the LPRP in 1982, Phoumi became a member of the Inner Cabinet with overall responsibility for education, information and culture. In 1986, when Souphanouvong was forced to step down from the Presidency for reasons of health, Phoumi was named Acting President of the LPDR and Chairman of the Lao Front for National Construction. He retired from the Acting Presidency and the Politburo at the Fifth Party Congress in March 1991.
      In December last year, just a month before Phoumi's death, I was in Vientiane for the First International Colloquium on Lao Studies, and asked Dr. Mayoury Ngaosyvathn to arrange an interview with Phoumi Vongvichit. I had first met him as a young journalist at Khang Khay on the Plain of Jars in 1964. I again met him in 1985 and 1990. The interview took place in his residence on the road to Chinaimo. Phoumi welcomed us to his specious, formally arranged living room where we sat before the obligatory soft drinks. He was a little more stooped than I remembered him, a little grayer, and spoke a little more slowly, but he was still mentally alert and interested in what we had to say.
      We began by talking about history, which has always been one of Phoumi's great interests. He told us that he had just completed a history of the Lao communist movement, and was about to begin a new project close to his heart - a history of the Phuan kingdom of Xieng Khouang. The history of the communist movement will be an important contribution to Lao historiography, by someone who was close to the center of the movement from its inception. But we will have to wait to see if Phoumi reveals any detailed inside information.
      As the member of the Politburo charged with overseeing education, information and culture, Phoumi was responsible for bringing together a group of Lao historians to write an official three volume history of Laos. Although all three volumes have been written, at least in draft, only the third has as yet been published. This covers the modern history of Laos from the arrival of the French in 1893 to the present. The first and second volumes cover respectively the period before and after the founding of the Kingdom of Lan Xang by Fa Ngum in the mid-fourteenth century.
      So why have the first two volumes not been published? The answer says much about Phoumi Vongvichit and the exercise of power in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. The first two volumes have not been published because Phoumi was not satisfied with them, and refused to give them his stamp of approval. He apparently had his own ideas about the vexed question of the origin of the Lao people, where they had come from and when, and wanted more research done. Also there were problems about how to deal with the history of the Kingdom of LAN Xang from a Marxist perspective, and about the historic relations between Laos and neighboring states.
      History in Laos today is a highly political endeavor, which requires the approval of the Party. No history could be published during the 1980s without the agreement of Phoumi himself. Still no debate is possible between Lao historians. Much of what happened in the past, especially relations between the Pathet Lao and the Vietnamese during the "thirty-years struggle" from 1945 to 1975, is still considered too sensitive to reveal, even though the Vietnamese themselves have revealed the extent to which the Pathet Lao were dependent on Vietnamese advice and support. Recently published memoirs by both Phoumi himself and by Singkapo Sikhotchounamaly have been criticized for this reason. They reveal too much that the regime still believes should be kept secret.
      The other subject that Phoumi was eager to discuss with Dr. Mayoury and myself was the future of Lao culture and the moral state of Lao youth today, which caused him much concern. I asked him how he felt about the new Mitthaphap bridge across the Mekong. It was not the bridge per se he was worried about, however, but the influence of Thailand in a much broader sense. The Thai economic stake in Laos is large and growing, and so is Thai cultural influence in general.
      Phoumi expressed concern over the transmission over Thai television of values that were harmful to Lao youth. He was particularly worried about the effect the culture of consumption and sexual permissiveness was having on young Lao, whom he saw as lacking in discipline and commitment to the country. Time and again in our discussion Phoumi referred to the alternative values taught by Buddhism, stressing the need for young Lao to take to heart the Buddha's message of self-control and mental discipline.
      These were themes Phoumi had sounded before. On a couple of occasions in the year before he died, Phoumi spoke out on the need to instill a revolutionary morality in Lao youth, especially in the sons of the Party elite. I was told when I was in Vientiane that the Party had provided funds for certain Buddhist monasteries to teach courses in Buddhist ethics for members of the Lao People's Revolutionary Youth.
      For some it may seem ironical that a veteran revolutionary Marxist like Phoumi should have come to realize the importance of Buddhism. But Marxism has never been strongly rooted in Laos, even among senior cadres of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party. There have been no Lao Marxist intellectuals. Nationalism was always a stronger motivating force than Marxism.
      It was as a Lao nationalist that Phoumi Vongvichit turned to Buddhism as a source of Lao cultural values — just as Kaysone turned to Buddhism for personal consolation in the last year of his life. He was the first member of the Politburo regularly to attend Buddhist ceremonies in the early years of the regime, and he would have pleased to hear himself praised in the eulogy in his honor for having "made an important contribution to the preservation of the faith in Buddhism".
      So how will history judge Phoumi Vongvichit, he who was so fascinated by history? His own writings, including his autobiography, provide better sources for an evaluation than are available for any other leading figure in the present regime. However he is judged, as patriot or villain, his place in Lao history is assured.
      Phoumi Vongvichit would die on 07 January 1994, from coronary heart disease.
1893 Mormon temple in Salt Lake City dedicated
1874 Harry Houdini famous illusionist / escape artist.
1851 Raffaele Ragione, Italian artist who died in November 1925.
1849 John William “Nino” Waterhouse, English painter who died on 10 February 1917. MORE ON WATERHOUSE AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images.
1830 Mormon Church established       ^top^
      In Fayette, New York, Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion, organized the Church of Christ during a meeting with a small group of believers.
      In 1823, Smith, born in Vermont in 1805, claimed that he been visited by a Christian angel named Moroni who told him about an ancient Hebrew text that had lost been lost for 1500 years. The holy text, supposedly engraved on gold plates by a Native-American historian in the fourth century, related the story of Jewish peoples who had lived in America in ancient times. Over the next six years, Smith dictated an English translation of this text to his wife and other scribes, and, in 1830, The Book of Mormon was published. In the same year, Smith founded the Church of Christ, later known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Fayette, New York.
      The religion rapidly gained converts and Smith set up Mormon communities in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. However, the Christian sect was also heavily criticized for its unorthodox practices and, on 27 June 1844, Smith and his brother were murdered in a jail cell by an anti-Mormon mob in Carthage, Illinois.
      Two years later, Smith's successor, Brigham Young, led an exodus of persecuted Mormons from Nauvoo, Illinois, along the western wagon trails in search of religious and political freedom. In July 1847, the 148 initial Mormon pioneers reached Utah's Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Upon viewing the valley, Young declared, "This is the place," and the pioneers began preparations for the tens of thousands of Mormon migrants who would follow
1830 James Augustine Healy, first Black (slightly) Roman Catholic bishop in US. His parents were an Irish planter and a slave on a plantation near Macon, Georgia.
1826 Gustave Moreau, French Symbolist painter who died on 18 April 1898. MORE ON MOREAU AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images
1824 Lucas Schaeffels, Belgian artist who died on 17 Sep 1885.
1822 Jan David Col, Belgian artist who died in 1900.
1819 Georg Bergmann, German artist who died on 14 October 1870.
1808 The American Fur Company is incorporated.       ^top^
      John Jacob Astor [17 Jul 1763 – 29 Mar 1848] incorporates the American Fur Company to exploit the area west of the Mississippi opened up by Lewis and Clark's famous expedition. Astor makes himself as the sole stockholder of his New York City-based company and proceeds to make inroads into the fur business. Indeed, in a few short years, he was able to mount a serious challenge to industry leaders like the North West Company. Astor soon started expanding his fur concern: in 1810, he created the Pacific Fur Company; the following year, he established the South West Fur Company. Astor's new companies boosted his ability to capitalize on the US's burgeoning regional markets and cemented his rise to the top of the fur trade. By 1828, Astor and his mighty fur empire stood as unrivaled kings of the fur industry.
1793 Le Comité de Salut Public is created in Revolutionary France.
1773 James Mill       ^top^
     British philosopher-economist, the father of John Stuart Mill [20 May 1806 – 08 May 1873]; he expounded and developed the utilitarian doctrine of the British philosopher Jeremy Bentham. Mill was born in Northwater Bridge, Angus County, Scotland, and educated at the University of Edinburgh.
      In 1803, he became the editor of the London Literary Journal, and in 1805 he became editor of St. James' Chronicle. From 1806 to 1818 he was engaged in writing his History of India. Although he sharply criticized the East India Company and the British administration in India, in 1819 he was appointed to a position in the examiner's office of the India House in London. During this period Mill became a close associate of Bentham.
      As one of the leading exponents of chrestomathic, or useful, learning on a nonsectarian basis, Mill played a prominent role in the establishment of the University of London in 1825. Mill was also the founder of philosophic radicalism, a system of thought based on the teachings of the British economist David Ricardo and presented by Mill in Elements of Political Economy (1821) . In his Analysis of the Phenomena of the Mind (1829), Mill applied utilitarian doctrines to psychology, basing his theory of the human mind on the principles of associationism. He died on 23 June 1836.
JAMES MILL ONLINE: Elements of Political Economy
1766 Wilhelm Alexander Wolfgang von Kobell, German painter who died on 15 July 1853. — MORE ON VON KOBELL AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images
1671 Jean-Baptiste Rousseau, French dramatist and poet who died, exiled (because of a satirical verse) and impoverished, on 17 March 1741. — Not to be confused with Jean-Jacques Rousseau [28 Jun 1712 – 02 Jul 1778] —. J-B ROUSSEAU ONLINE: Odes, cantates, épîtres et poésies diverses
1595 Pieter de Molyn, Dutch painter who died on 22 March 1661. MORE ON DE MOLYN AT ART “4” APRIL with links to images
1589 Jan Tilens, Flemish artist who died on 25 July 1630. 
1483 Raffaello Sanzio “Raphael”, in Urbino, Duchy of Urbino [Italy], painter. He would die on his 37th birthday (see above).
Holidays / Ethiopia : Victory Day / South Africa : Van Riebeeck Day-founding of Capetown / Thailand : Chakri Day / Switzerland : Glarius Festival (1388)- ( Thursday )

Religious Observances:: Unification Church : Parents Day / Luth : Albrecht Dürer, Michelangelo, artists
Palm Sunday in 1879, 1884, 1941, 1952, 2031, 2036, 2104.
Holy Thursday in 1882, 1939, 1944, 1950, 2023, 2034, 2045, 2102
Good Friday in 1483, 1917, 1928, 2007, 2012, 2091.
Easter Sunday in 0397, 1890, 1947, 1958, 1969, 1980, 2042, 2053, 2064, 2110, 2121.

Thoughts for the day: “Even the smallest candle burns brighter in the dark.”
“To be really cosmopolitan, a man must be at home even in his own country.” — Thomas Wentworth Higginson, US clergyman-author [22 Dec 1823 – 09 May 1911].
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