Deven Kane

Today in History – May 4, 1471 – Battle of Tewkesbury

This was the battle that should have ended the War of the Roses.  In 1461 Edward IV of the House of York had successfully seized the throne.  Henry VI was captured and the Lancastrian Prince of Wales Edward of Westminster and his mother Queen Margaret of Anjou fled to France.  England settled into a calm after the first …

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Today in History – May 3, 1791 – Adoption of the Polish Constitution of May 3

This was a constitution that survived for only a year, but was 100 years in the making.  It was the first codified constitution in Europe and the second in the world after the American constitution. In 1652, the disastrous reign of Jan II Casimir Vasa saw the first use of a constitutional innovation whose growth …

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Today in History – May 2, 1892 – Birth of Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen aka The Red Baron

Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen aka The Red Baron is better known as the rival of Snoopy from Peanuts.  von Richtofen was possibly the top Ace pilot of World War I with over 80 air combat victories. The Red Baron was killed in combat on April 21, 1918 possibly by a bullet fired from the …

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Today in History – May 2, 1808 – The Dos de Mayo Uprising and outbreak of the Peninsular War

Spain in 1808 was a volcano waiting to erupt.  In 1807 Spain and France had signed the Treaty of Fontainebleu (an alternative date for the start of the War) to partition Portugal and French armies entered Spain to invade Portugal.  Resentment against the Prime Minister (and alleged lover of the Queen) Manuel de Godoy was …

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Today in History – May 1, 305 – the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian

It was an ancient example of term limits.  After 20 years on the throne, the emperor Diocletian and his very reluctant colleague Maximian abdicated in favor of their designated heirs. The third century was a tumultuous time for the Roman Empire.  Between the death of Septimius Severus in 211 AD and the rise of Diocletian, …

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Today in History – April 30, 1975 – Fall of Saigon and end of the Vietnam War

The Vietnam war ended 38 years ago with the fall of Saigon.  As late as March 1975 the CIA estimated that the South Vietnamese forces could hold on till at least 1976.  Yet when a military collapse begins it snowballs into something much larger.  The last days of South Vietnam saw a desperate evacuation American …

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Today in History – April 30, 2013 – The Kingdom of the Netherlands gets its first King since 1890

As a sea of Orange descended on Amsterdam, the Kingdom of the Netherlands got its first King since 1890 – King Willem-Alexander upon the abdication of Queen Beatrix.  After the death of Willem III in 1890, the Dutch have had 3 queens in a row – Wilhelmina, Juliana and Beatrix – all of whom abdicated in old …

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Today in History – April 28, 1772 – the Execution of Johann Friedrich Struensee

Yes…another execution.  Outside of history geeks and Danes few people have heard of Johann Friedrich Struensee.  Yet this German doctor effectively ruled Denmark for a few years and caused a spectacular royal scandal to boot.  The scandal also received movie attention last year. The son of a Pietist theologian, the young Struensee received a University education where he was …

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Today in History – April 28, 1945 – The execution of Benito Mussolini

With World War II drawing to its inexorable end and the defeat of Germany imminent Benito Mussolini decided to make a beeline for neutral Switzerland accompanied by his mistress Clara Petacci. He did not make it.  Captured by the partisans Mussolini and his party were summarily executed. The conventional version of the story says Petacci …

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