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October 26: Byzantine civil war of 1341–47

The Byzantine civil war of 1341–47 broke out after the death of
Emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos (pictured). As his chief aide and
closest friend, John VI Kantakouzenos became regent for the Emperor's
young son and heir, John V Palaiologos. While Kantakouzenos was absent
from Constantinople, a new regency was established with support from
Empress-Dowager Anna of Savoy, which launched a persecution of
Kantakouzenos' family and supporters. In response, Kantakouzenos was
proclaimed co-emperor at Demotika on 26 October 1341. During the first
years of the war, the forces of the new regency prevailed. Most of the
cities in Thrace and Macedonia came under regency control, but
Kantakouzenos reversed these gains with assistance from the neighbouring
rulers of Serbia and the Turkish beyliks. Kantakouzenos was crowned in
1346, and entered Constantinople on 3 February 1347. By agreement, he
was to rule for ten years as the senior emperor and regent for John V,
until the boy came of age. Despite this apparent victory, a subsequent
resumption of the civil war forced Kantakouzenos to retire to become a
monk in 1354. The conflict proved disastrous for the Empire, as seven
years of warfare, marauding armies, social turmoil, the loss of
territory to neighbouring rulers, and the Black Death devastated
Byzantium, reducing it to a rump state.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_civil_war_of_1341%E2%80%9347>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1708:

The final stone of St Paul's Cathedral (pictured), rebuilt
after the original burned down in the 1666 Great Fire of London, was
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[Daily article] October 25: Katy Perry

Katy Perry (born 1984) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress.
She pursued a career in gospel music as a teenager, releasing her debut
album in 2001, then moved to Los Angeles to venture into secular music.
After signing to Capitol Records in 2007, she rose to fame in 2008 with
the release of the single "I Kissed a Girl" from her second album, One
of the Boys. Perry's third album, Teenage Dream (2010), became the first
by a female artist to produce five number-one Billboard Hot 100 songs.
Her fourth album, Prism, was released in 2013 and included the number-
one singles "Roar" and "Dark Horse". Perry has received many awards and
nominations, and been included in the Forbes list of "Top-Earning Women
In Music" for 2011, 2012, and 2013. She has sold 11 million albums and
81 million singles worldwide, making her one of the best-selling artists
of all time. She made her film debut voicing Smurfette in The Smurfs in
2011, and released a documentary film in 2012, which concentrated on her
life as a touring artist and the dissolution of her brief marriage to
English actor and comedian Russell Brand in the early 2010s.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katy_Perry>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1616:

The Dutch sailing ship Eendracht reached Shark Bay on the
western coastline of Australia, as documented on the Hartog Plate etched
by explorer Dirk Hartog.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartog_Plate>

1854:
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[Daily article] October 24: Woolly mammoth

The woolly mammoth was one of the last in a line of mammoth species. Its
appearance and behaviour are among the best studied of any prehistoric
animal due to the discovery of frozen carcasses (example pictured) in
Siberia and Alaska, as well as skeletons, teeth, stomach contents, dung,
and depiction from life in prehistoric cave paintings. The animal was
only identified as an extinct species of elephant by Georges Cuvier in
1796. Its closest extant relative is the Asian elephant. The woolly
mammoth was well adapted to the cold environment during the last ice
age, and had long, curved tusks. Its habitat was the mammoth steppe,
which stretched across northern Eurasia and North America. The woolly
mammoth coexisted with early humans, who used its bones and tusks for
making art, tools, and dwellings, and the species was also hunted for
food. It disappeared from its mainland range at the end of the
Pleistocene 10,000 years ago, most likely through a combination of
climate change, consequent disappearance of its habitat, and hunting by
humans. Recreation through cloning has been proposed, but this is as yet
infeasible; the ethics of this have also been questioned.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolly_mammoth>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1648:

The second treaty of the Peace of Westphalia, the Treaty of
Münster, was signed, ending both the Thirty Years' War and the Dutch
Revolt, and officially recognizing the Republic of the Seven United
Netherlands and Swiss Confederation as independent states.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_of_Westphalia>
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] October 23: Conte di Cavour-class battleship

The Conte di Cavour-class battleships were a group of three dreadnoughts
built for the Royal Italian Navy. The ships were completed during World
War I, but did not see action. Leonardo da Vinci was sunk by a magazine
explosion in 1916 and later sold for scrap. Conte di Cavour (pictured)
and Giulio Cesare supported operations during the Corfu Incident in 1923
and were extensively reconstructed between 1933 and 1937 to add more
powerful guns, armor and speed. Both ships participated in the Battle of
Calabria in July 1940, when Giulio Cesare was lightly damaged. They were
both present when British torpedo bombers attacked the fleet at Taranto
in November 1940, and Conte di Cavour was torpedoed; repairs were not
completed before the Italian surrender in September 1943, and she was
scrapped in 1946. Giulio Cesare escorted convoys and participated in the
Battle of Cape Spartivento in late 1940 and the First Battle of Sirte in
late 1941. She was designated as a training ship in early 1942, and
escaped to Malta after Italy surrendered. The ship was transferred to
the Soviet Union in 1949 and used for training until she was sunk by a
mine in 1955 and scrapped.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conte_di_Cavour-class_battleship>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1641:

Irish Catholic gentry in Ulster tried to seize control of
Dublin Castle, the seat of English rule in Ireland to force concessions
to Catholics.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Rebellion_of_1641>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] October 22: Chorioactis

Chorioactis is a genus of fungus that contains the single species
Chorioactis geaster, an extremely rare mushroom found only in select
locales in Texas and Japan. In the former, it is commonly known as the
"devil's cigar" or the "Texas star"; in Japan it is called kirinomitake.
It is notable for its unusual appearance. The fruit body, which grows on
the stumps or dead roots of cedar elms (in Texas) or dead oaks (in
Japan), somewhat resembles a dark brown or black cigar before it splits
open radially into a starlike arrangement of four to seven leathery
rays. The interior surface of the fruit body bears the spore-bearing
tissue, and is colored white to brown, depending on its age. Fruit body
opening can be accompanied by a distinct hissing sound and the release
of a smoky cloud of spores. Fruit bodies were first collected in Austin,
Texas, and the species was named Urnula geaster in 1893; it was later
found in Kyushu in 1937, but the mushroom was not reported again in
Japan until 1973. Although the new genus Chorioactis was proposed to
accommodate the unique species a few years after its original discovery,
it was not until 1968 that it was accepted as a valid genus.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chorioactis>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1633:

Ming Chinese naval forces defeated a Dutch East India Company
fleet in the Taiwan Strait, the largest naval encounter between Chinese
and European forces before the First Opium War two hundred years later.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Liaoluo_Bay>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] October 21: Analytical Review

The Analytical Review was a periodical established in London in 1788 by
the publisher Joseph Johnson (pictured) and the writer Thomas Christie.
Part of the Republic of Letters, it provided summaries and analyses of
new publications and acted as a forum for radical political and
religious ideas. Although it aimed at impartiality, its articles were
often critical of the British government and supportive of the French
revolutionaries. While the journal had low circulation numbers for its
day, it still influenced popular opinion and was feared by the
administration of William Pitt the Younger. Government supporters
founded the Anti-Jacobin Review in 1797, which criticized the radical
politics of the Analytical and monitored it for unpatriotic and
irreligious sentiments. The Analytical Review focused on politics,
philosophy, natural history, and literature. Its prominent writers (who
signed their work with pseudonymous initials) included the poet William
Cowper, the moralist William Enfield, the physician John Aikin, and the
polemicist Mary Wollstonecraft. It suspended publication in December
1798 after Johnson was convicted of seditious libel and other
contributors had died or retired.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytical_Review>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1805:

Napoleonic Wars: Lord Nelson signalled "England expects that
every man will do his duty" to the rest of his Royal Navy forces before
they defeated Pierre-Charles Villeneuve and his combined
French–Spanish navy at the Battle of Trafalgar off the coast of
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] October 20: James Chadwick

James Chadwick (1891–1974) was an English physicist who was awarded
the 1935 Nobel Prize in physics for his discovery of the neutron, and
who led the British team that worked on the Manhattan Project during the
Second World War to produce atomic bombs. He studied under Ernest
Rutherford in Manchester and Hans Geiger in Berlin, where he
demonstrated that beta radiation produced a continuous spectrum, not
discrete lines as had been thought. He later became Rutherford's
Assistant Director of Research at the Cavendish Laboratory of the
University of Cambridge. Chadwick's research led to his discovery of the
neutron in 1932; he later measured its mass. In 1935 he became a
professor at the University of Liverpool, which he made an important
centre for the study of nuclear physics. During the Second World War,
Chadwick carried out research as part of the Tube Alloys project to
build an atomic bomb, and wrote the final draft of the MAUD Report,
which inspired the U.S. government to begin serious atomic bomb research
efforts. He later served as the British scientific advisor to the U.N.
Atomic Energy Commission and as Master of Gonville and Caius College,
Cambridge.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Chadwick>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1572:

Eighty Years' War: Soldiers of the Spanish Tercios waded across
the river Scheldt at its mouth, walking overnight in water to chest
height, to relieve the siege of Goes in the Spanish Netherlands.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relief_of_Goes>
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] October 19: Briarcliff Manor, New York

Briarcliff Manor is a suburban village in Westchester County, New York,
less than 30 miles (48 km) north of New York City. Its motto is "A
Village between Two Rivers", reflecting its location between the Hudson
and Pocantico Rivers. It extends into the towns of Mount Pleasant and
Ossining, and includes the communities of Scarborough and Chilmark. In
the precolonial era, the area was inhabited by a band of the Wappinger
tribes of Native Americans. In the early 19th century, the area was
known as Whitson's Corners. Walter William Law moved to the area and
purchased lands during the 1890s; he also developed the village,
establishing schools, churches, parks and the Briarcliff Lodge. The
village was incorporated in 1902, growing from 331 people when
established to 7,867 in the 2010 census. It is primarily residential and
has a relatively wealthy population. Its recreational facilities and
parks, about 180 acres (73 ha), are all accessible to the public. The
village has an elected local government, with departments including
police, fire, recreation, and public works (Village Hall pictured). A
2012 study found it had the second-lowest crime rate in the state.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Briarcliff_Manor,_New_York>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1789:

John Jay was sworn in as the first Chief Justice of the United
States.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Jay>

1864:
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[Daily article] October 18: Battle of Caishi

The Battle of Caishi was a major naval engagement of the Jin–Song wars
that took place on November 26–27, 1161. Although a peace treaty in
1142 had settled the border between the two states, putting the Jin in
control of northern China and the Song in control of the south, Prince
Hailing of Jin was intent on uniting them under a single emperor.
Without much resistance, his army pushed through to the Yangtze River,
which he planned to cross at Caishi, south of modern-day Nanjing. The
Song were fortified along the Yangtze front. Hailing embarked from the
shore of the Yangtze on November 26, but the Song fleet, equipped with
trebuchets (example pictured) that launched incendiary bombs made of
gunpowder and lime, decisively defeated the light ships of the Jin navy.
Hailing was assassinated by his own men shortly after the battle. A
military coup had taken place in his absence, enthroning Emperor
Shizong, and a peace treaty signed in 1165 ended the conflict. Modern
studies suggest that the battle was smaller and that both sides were
more evenly matched than traditional accounts suggest. Nonetheless, the
victory boosted the Song infantry's morale and halted the Jin's southern
advance.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Caishi>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1009:

Under orders from Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a Christian church now within the walled
Old City of Jerusalem, was destroyed.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Sepulchre>
(Continue reading)

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October 17: Frédéric Chopin

Frédéric Chopin (1810–1849) was a Polish composer and virtuoso
pianist of the Romantic period. He grew up in Warsaw but left Poland,
never to return, aged 20. He settled in Paris, obtaining French
citizenship in 1835. From 1837 he maintained an often troubled
relationship with the French writer George Sand. A brief and unhappy
visit to Majorca with her was one of his most productive periods of
composition. All of Chopin's compositions include the piano. Most are
for solo piano, although he also wrote two piano concertos, a few
chamber pieces, and some songs to Polish lyrics. Many contain elements
of Polish folk music and of the classical tradition of J.S. Bach, Mozart
and Schubert. His innovations in style, musical form, and harmony, and
his association of music with nationalism, were influential throughout
and after the late Romantic period. His music, his status as one of
music's earliest "superstars", his association with political
insurrection, his love life and his early death have made him a leading
symbol of his era. His works remain popular, and he has been the subject
of numerous films and biographies of varying degrees of historical
accuracy.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fr%C3%A9d%C3%A9ric_Chopin>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1558:

Poczta Polska, the Polish postal service, was founded by order
of King Sigismund II Augustus.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postage_stamps_and_postal_history_of_Poland>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] October 16: Tintin in Tibet

Tintin in Tibet is the twentieth volume of The Adventures of Tintin, the
comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. The cartoonist considered it
his favourite Tintin adventure and an emotional effort, as he created it
while suffering from traumatic nightmares and a personal conflict while
deciding to leave his wife of three decades for a younger woman. The
comic, serialised from 1958–59 in Tintin magazine, tells of the young
reporter Tintin in search of his friend Chang Chong-Chen, whom the
authorities claim has died in a plane crash in the Himalayas. Convinced
that Chang has survived, Tintin leads his companions across the
Himalayas to the plateau of Tibet, along the way encountering the
mysterious Yeti. Themes in Hergé's story include extrasensory
perception, the mysticism of Tibetan Buddhism (Tibetan monastery
pictured), and friendship. Tintin in Tibet has been translated into 32
languages, is highly regarded by critics, and has been praised by the
Dalai Lama, who awarded it the Light of Truth Award. The story was a
commercial success and was published in book form in 1960; the series
itself became a defining part of the Franco-Belgian comics tradition.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintin_in_Tibet>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

456:

Magister militum Ricimer defeated Emperor Avitus at Piacenza and
became master of the Western Roman Empire.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricimer>

1834:
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