Today in History - July 7
The Crusaders in Constantinople
Edward I: Great Mediaeval King
Bubonic Plague Arrives in England
-- Compiled by James Finlayson-Bald
Portrait in Westminster Abbey, thought to be of Edward I
On this date:
1203--The Crusaders, who were having a simply frightful time in the Holy Land being defeated all over the place, decided now that what God really wanted them to do was take Constantinople and use its enormous wealth to bolster their flagging armies, and to convert its inhabitants from their false Eastern Catholicism to the glorious certainty of Western Catholicism. And of course while the people remained (Eastern) heretics there was the added military option of rape, looting and pillage. Accordingly the French and Venetian Crusaders under the Count Thibaut de Champagne invested the city on this day. Not really expecting its allies to fall upon it, the city was badly garrisoned and could only hold out until July 18.
1307--Edward I of England died. For his prowess as a soldier, for his great programme of legislation and above all for what he did towards the permanent establishment of a representative parliament, Edward must be accounted one of the greatest of mediaeval kings.
1348--Ship-borne bubonic plague arrived in England, at Weymouth. It completely devastated society as an estimated one-third to one-half of the population succumbed in 1348-49. The disease remained endemic in London for the next three centuries.
1647--Rioting broke out in Naples, Italy, over the fruit tax.
1910--A strike against sweatshops in New York City began the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union.
1930Sir Arthur Conon Doyle died. He was born in Edinburgh, where he later graduated in medicine and encountered a Dr Joseph Bell whose methods of deductive reasoning reappeared in Sherlock Holmes.
1946--Mother Franceska Xavier Cabrini became the first saint of the U.S.A. when Pope Pius XII canonised her. Italian-born, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, schools, hospitals and orphanages. She died in 1917.
1960--Belgium sent troops to the Congo, to which they had granted independence but had given its people no preparation for self-government and old tribal antagonisms had revived.
1970--Sir Allen Lane, publisher, and founder of Penguin Books, died.
Gustav Mahler, composer (1860-1911)
Marc Chagall, artist (1887-1985)
"Curtsey while you're thinking what to say. It saves time." - Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass.
The above article was written by James Finlayson-Bald.
Edited and illustrations added by David Paul Wagner.