Today in History - July 19
The Battle of Halidon
St Vincent de Paul
Matthew Flinders, Navigator
-- Compiled by James Finlayson-Bald
Statue of Flinders outside St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne, Australia
On this date:
711The invading Moors defeated King Roderic of Spain.
1333Battle of Halidon Hill. Aided by Edward III, John Balliol invaded Scotland and laid siege to Berwick. The Regent of Scotland, Archibald Douglas, attempted to draw the English away from Berwick by raiding the border country and threatening Bamburgh. Later Douglas deployed his army 3 miles north-west of Berwick, facing the English army posted on Halidon Hill. The Scots had to attack over ground of the enemy's choosing, and in addition to the strength afforded by the hill itself the English position was fronted by a marsh. As the Scots struggled forward they were subjected to the fire of the English archers, and losses were already severe by the time they reached the enemy line. The surviving Scots were routed and pursued until dark, losing an estimated 10,000 men, while the English casualties barely reached 100. Archibald Douglas was killed and Berwick fell. Balliol ceded most of Scotland south of the Forth to Edward III, thereby ensuring another century of warfare as the Scots fought to recover their lands.
1588After being dispersed by a storm the Spanish Armada regrouped and entered the English Channel where it was spotted by the coast-watchers.
1660St.Vincent de Paul died. There are various versions of the story of his being captured by pirates and sold into slavery at Tunis. He escaped to Rome and the French ambassador there sent him on a confidential mission to France; he became chaplain to Marguerite de Valois, wife of Henry IV. Later as tutor to the family of the general in charge, he had an opportunity to show his compassion for the convicts condemned to work in the galleys. By 1633 he had acquired enough influential friends to set up two charitable orders. Hospices for the old, the poor, and foundlings were also started and missionaries sent abroad. He was canonised in 1737.
1814Matthew Flinders died. He joined the navy in 1790 and served under Captain Bligh. He went to Australia in 1795 and on one of several voyages discovered the Strait - named after George Bass, the surgeon who accompanied him - between Tasmania and the mainland. On a later expedition he mapped the south-west coast of Australia and the Barrier Reef.
Edgar Degas, painter (1834-1917)
A.J.Cronin, novelist (1896-1981)
"The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum." -- Havelock Ellis.
The above article was written by James Finlayson-Bald.
Edited and illustrations added by David Paul Wagner.