This Day in History (16-06-1397)
Today is Friday; 16th of the Iranian month of Shahrivar 1397 solar hijri; corresponding to 26th of the Islamic month of Zil-Hijjah 1439 lunar hijri; and September 7, 2018, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1948 solar years ago, on this day in 70 AD, the city of Bayt al-Moqaddas (called Jerusalem by the West) was occupied, plundered, and destroyed by the pagan hordes of Roman Emperor, Titus, who called himself an instrument of God's wrath against the Israelites – who had long deviated from the path of Prophet Moses and were indulging in cardinal sins by insulting Prophet Jesus and his virgin-mother, Mary. About a million people were massacred, while a hundred thousand Jews were taken to Europe as slaves. The Jewish structure built by the Israelite tyrant, Herod and known as Second Temple, was destroyed. The Arch of Titus, celebrating the Roman sack of Jerusalem and the Temple, still stands in Rome.
879 lunar years ago, on this day in 559 AH, the religious scholar and literary figure, Abu'l-Fazael Amedi, was born in the Iraqi city of Waset. In Baghdad he mastered theology, jurisprudence, literature, and mathematics. He was an excellent poet and passed away in his hometown at the age of 49.
827 solar years ago, on this day in 1191 AD, during the Third Crusade launched on Palestine by European Christian invaders, the Battle of Arsuf was fought between Richard I of England and the Kurdish sultan of Egypt-Syria, Salah od-Din Ayyubi near Jaffa after the Muslim loss of the city of Acre. Four years after the decisive victory of the combined Muslim army of Turks, Kurds, Arabs and Iranians, in liberating the occupied Islamic city of Bayt al-Moqaddas and ending the 88-year illegal existence of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Crusaders tried various tricks to recapture of Bayt al-Moqaddas but failed.
706 solar years ago, on this day in 1312 AD, Ferdinand IV of Castile, notorious for his enmity towards Muslims, died suddenly in his tent at Jaen while preparing to raid the Spanish Muslim kingdom of Gharnata (Granada) in southern Spain. Three years earlier in 1309, along with Alonso Perez de Guzman of Aragon, and mercenaries from other parts of Europe, he had attacked and occupied the Muslim island of Gibraltar (corruption of the Arabic term Jabal at-Tareq), which for six hundred years was part of the Islamic world.
504 solar years ago, on this day in 1514 AD, the Ottoman sultan, Selim I, entered Tabriz, a fortnight after managing to turn a virtual defeat into a narrow victory over the Safavid army of Shah Ismail I in the Battle of Chaldiran. He, however, soon retreated from northwestern Iran following reports of preparation for counter attack by Shah Ismail’s Qizilbash forces that demoralized the Ottoman army which mutinied and forced the Turkish sultan to withdraw.
485 solar years ago, on this day in 1533 AD, Queen Elizabeth I of England, was born in Greenwich to Henry VIII. As the 5th and last monarch of the Tudor Dynasty founded by her grandfather, Henry VII, she succeeded her elder stepsister Mary on the throne and immediately changed the creed of the country from Catholicism to Anglican. Although short-tempered and indecisive, with a strain of cruelty, her 44-yar reign known as the Elizabethan era, saw exploration of North America by the seafarers such as Francis Drake, defeat of the Spanish Armada in the English Channel, and flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. She went bald at age 29 due to smallpox, and remained a spinster, with frequent indulgence in illicit relations with courtiers.
323 solar years ago, on this day in 1695 AD, the English pirate, Henry Every, in one of the most profitable raids in history, attacked the Moghul fleet of India in the Arabian Sea and captured the treasure-laden ship “Ganj-e Sawai”, anglicized by the attackers as ‘Gunsway’. In response, Emperor Aurangzeb threatened to end all English trading in India, and made London officially apologize and launch a wide scale hunt for the pirates, who seemed to have escaped to the safety of the Caribbean. “Ganj-e Sawai”, along with its escort the “Fateh Mohammad”, was en route from present day Mocha in Yemen to Surat, India. The six pirate ships which had been hovering in the Bab al-Mandeb Straits surprised the two Indian ships, after a 25-ship Mughal convoy bound for India had gone well ahead. They first attacked “Fateh Mohammad”, whose crew to the utter surprise of the English pirates, put up little resistance, and as a result the pirates sacked the ship for 50,000 pound sterling worth of treasure. Henry Every now sailed in pursuit of the “Ganj-e Sawai”, overtaking it about eight days from Surat. The “Ganj-e Sawai” had 62 cannons and a musket-armed guard of four to five hundred, as well as six hundred other passengers. No sooner did the pirates launch their attack, one of the cannons of the Indian ship exploded, killing some of its gunners and causing great confusion that demoralized the crew. The pirates boarded the ship and suffered great casualties, when suddenly the cowardly captain, Ibrahim Khan, rushed below the deck. After two hours of fierce but leaderless resistance, the Indians made the mistake of surrendering to the pirates, who now subjected them to several days of horror, raping of women, and murdering prisoners at will. Some of the women committed suicide by jumping into the sea. The loot from the “Ganj-e Sawai” totalled around 600,000 pound sterling including 500,000 gold and silver pieces, besides the gemstones, whose value was never estimated.
311 solar years ago, on this day in 1707 AD, the French biologist and author, George-Louis Buffon, was born. He conducted extensive research and compiled the 24-volume book of Natural History, which is a collection of scientific data about the history of Earth, plants, animals, and stones. He died in the year 1778.
206 solar years ago, on this day in 1812 AD, during the French invasion of Russia, the Battle of Borodino, the bloodiest battle of the Napoleonic Wars, was fought near Moscow and resulted in a French victory.
196 solar years ago, on this day in 1822 AD, Brazil declared itself independent from Portugal, which had seized this part of Latin America in 1500 with the landing of a fleet led by Pedro Alvares Cabral. The Portuguese almost drove into extinction the Amerindians and forcibly Christianized other natives. They abducted hundreds of thousands of black people from Africa to work as slaves on plantations and farmlands. In 1808, the Portuguese royal family, fleeing the troops of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, established themselves in Rio de Janeiro, which became the seat of the Portuguese Empire. In 1815 Dom Joao VI, elevated Brazil from colony to sovereign Kingdom united with Portugal. After the Portuguese had repelled Napoleon's invasion, Joao VI returned to Europe in April 1821, leaving his elder son, Pedro de Alcantara, as regent in Brazil. When Portugal attempted to turn Brazil into a colony again, the Brazilians refused to yield and Prince Pedro stood by them declaring the country independent from Portugal. On 12 October 1822, he was crowned Dom Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil. On 29 August 1825, Portugal formally recognized the independence of Brazil, which 1889 became a republic. Brazil covers an area of 8.5 million sq km, has an extensive coastline on the Atlantic Ocean, and shares borders with Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
119 solar years ago, on this day in 1899 AD, the Boxer Uprising or Yihetuan Movement started in China. Boxers were a group of Chinese troops protesting the increased meddling by the Western and Japanese regimes in the internal affairs of China. The uprising was savagely suppressed by the joint forces of major European states, along with troops from the US, and Japan.
34 solar years ago, on this day in 1984 AD, Ayatollah Mirza Mohammad Baqer Ashtiyani, passed away at the age of 79. Son of Grand Ayatollah Mirza Ahmad Ashtiyani of Tehran, he was a product of the famous seminary of Najaf in Iraq, and after attaining Ijtehad returned to Tehran to strive beside his father for promotion of Islamic values in society. In the late 1960s during the exile in Najaf of the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), when the Pahlavi regime had banned his distribution of monthly “shahriyyah” (stipends) among seminary students, he was secretly entrusted with this task in the name of his father and later in his own name, and in this way students were not deprived of the Imam's stipend. Besides grooming students, Ayatollah Baqer Ashtiyani, wrote several books, such as "Guidance in View of Islam" in Persian and "Ownership in Islam" in Arabic.
21 solar years ago, on this day in 1997 AD, Mobuto Sese Seko, former dictator of Zaire (Congo), died of prostate cancer in exile in Rabat, Morocco, after fleeing the capital Kinshasa as forces led by General Lauren Kabila closed in on the city. Mobutu began his career in the Belgian Congolese army, rising to sergeant-major, the highest rank available to Africans. In 1965, five years after independence, as commander-in-chief of the army, he staged a coup to seize the presidency. He ruled with an iron fist for 32 years and began to Africanize names, most notably changing the name of the country from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Republic of Zaire and his own name from Joseph-Desire Mobutu to Mobutu Sese Seko Koko Ngbendu Wa Za Banga (which means “The all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, will go from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake”). Although he was a violent and ruthless dictator, he was supported by the Western regimes, especially the US and France. Congo has always been in the spotlight of the Western regimes, given its strategic position in Central Africa and existence of ample copper and diamond resources.
15 solar years ago, on this day in 2003 AD, prominent jurisprudent, Ayatollah Seyyed Hussain Bodala, passed away at the age of 96 and was laid to rest in the holy mausoleum of Hazrat Fatema al-Ma’sumah (SA) in Qom. A student of Ayatollah Shaikh Abu’l-Qasim Qomi Kabir and Grand Ayatollah Shaikh Abdul-Karim Ha’eri during the suffocating era of the British-installed illiterate tyrant, Reza Khan Pahlavi, he later studied under Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Reza Golpayegani, and attained the status of Ijtehad. In addition to promoting Islamic values, he was active on the social and cultural scenes, with his pleasing manners winning many friends, including Ayatollah Seyyed Mahmoud Taleqani. Endowed with a sharp memory, he was considered an authority on historical developments in Iran and the cultural legacy of Islam, to the extent that both scholars and students benefited from his knowledge.
11 solar years ago, on this day in 2007 AD, leaders of various religions such as Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, Buddhist sects, Hindus, Jews, Shintos, and Christians of various denominations, gathered in Greenland for a 6-day symposium called "The Arctic: Mirror of Life," designed to focus global attention on climate change.
5 solar years ago, on this day in 2013 AD, Ayatollah Seyyed Hassan Taheri Khorramabadi, passed away at the age of 75 in holy Qom. Born in Khorramabad in Lorestan Province, he was a student of the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), and was imprisoned or banished to remote areas of Iran several times by the despotic Pahlavi regime for his activities in awakening the people. Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, he served the country in several capacities, including election to the Leadership Experts Assembly.
4 lunar years ago, on this day in 1435 AD, Head of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani passed away at the age of 85. As a disciple of the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), he strove against the despotic regime of the Shah, and after establishment of the Islamic Republic, he served as Acting Prime Minister from 2 September until 29 October 1981. Before that, he was Minister of Interior and Minister of Justice in the cabinets of Mohammad-Ali Rajai and Mohammad-Javad Bahonar. He was the leader of Combatant Ulema Association and founder and president of Imam Sadeq (AS) University.