This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
January 25 is the 25th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 340 days remaining until the end of the year (341 in leap years).
On this day in 1905, the world’s largest diamond is found. At the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa, a 3,106-carat diamond is discovered during a routine inspection by the mine’s superintendent. Weighing 1.33 pounds, and christened the “Cullinan,” it was [the largest diamond ever found.
The Cullinan diamond is the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found, at 3,106.75 carats (621.35 g).
The largest polished gem from the stone is named Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa, and at 530.4 carats (106.1 g) was the largest polished diamond in the world until the 1985 discovery of the Golden Jubilee Diamond, 545.67 carats (109.13 g), also from the Premier Mine. Cullinan I is now mounted in the head of the Sceptre with the Cross. The second largest gem from the Cullinan stone, Cullinan II or the Lesser Star of Africa, at 317.4 carats (63.5 g), is the fourth largest polished diamond in the world. Both gems are in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
The Cullinan diamond was found by Frederick Wells, surface manager of the Premier Diamond Mining Company in Cullinan, on January 26, 1905. The stone was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the owner of the diamond mine.
Sir William Crookes performed an analysis of the Cullinan diamond before it was cut and mentioned its remarkable clarity, but also a black spot in the middle. The colours around the black spot were very vivid and changed as the analyzer was turned. According to Crookes, this pointed to internal strain. Such strain is not uncommon in diamonds.
The stone was bought by the Transvaal government and presented to King Edward VII on his birthday. It was cut into three large parts by Asscher Brothers of Amsterdam, and eventually into 9 large gem-quality stones and a number of smaller fragments. At the time, technology had not yet evolved to guarantee quality of the modern standard, and cutting the diamond was considered difficult and risky. In order to enable Asscher to cut the diamond in one blow, an incision was made, half an inch deep. Then, a specifically designed knife was placed in the incision and the diamond was split in one heavy blow. The diamond split through a defective spot, which was shared in both halves of the diamond.
41 – After a night of negotiation, Claudius is accepted as Roman Emperor by the Senate.
1348 – A strong earthquake strikes the South Alpine region of Friuli in modern Italy, causing considerable damage to buildings as far away as Rome.
1494 – Alfonso II becomes King of Naples.
1533 – Henry VIII of England secretly marries his second wife Anne Boleyn.
1554 – Founding of Sao Paulo city, Brazil.
1573 – Battle of Mikatagahara, in Japan; Takeda Shingen defeats Tokugawa Ieyasu.
1575 – Luanda, the capital of Angola was founded by the Portuguese navigator Paulo Dias de Novais.
1755 – Moscow University is established on Tatiana Day.
1787 – American Daniel Shays leads a rebellion to seize Federal arsenal to protest debtor’s prisons.
1791 – The British Parliament passes the Constitutional Act of 1791 and splits the old Province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada.
1858 – The Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn becomes a popular wedding recessional after it is played on this day at the marriage of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Victoria, and Friedrich of Prussia.
1879 – The Bulgarian National Bank is founded.
1881 – Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell form the Oriental Telephone Company.
1890 – Nellie Bly completes her round-the-world journey in 72 days.
1909 – Richard Strauss’ opera Elektra receives its debut performance at the Dresden State Opera.
1915 – Alexander Graham Bell inaugurates U.S. transcontinental telephone service, speaking from New York to Thomas Watson in San Francisco.
1918 – The Ukraine declares independence from Bolshevik Russia.
1919 – The League of Nations is founded.
1924 – The 1924 Winter Olympics opens in Chamonix, France (in the French Alps), inaugurating the Winter Olympic Games.
1932 – Second Sino-Japanese War: The Chinese National Revolutionary Army begins its defense of Harbin.
1937 – The Guiding Light debuts on NBC radio from Chicago. In 1952 it moves to CBS television, where it remains until Sept. 18, 2009.
1941 – Pope Pius XII elevates the Apostolic Vicariate of the Hawaiian Islands to the dignity of a diocese. It becomes the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu.
1942 – World War II: Thailand declares war on the United States and United Kingdom.
1945 – World War II: The Battle of the Bulge ends.
1946 – The United Mine Workers rejoins the American Federation of Labor.
1949 – At the Hollywood Athletic Club the first Emmy Awards are presented.
1955 – The Soviet Union ends state of war with Germany.
1960 – The National Association of Broadcasters reacts to the Payola scandal by threatening fines for any disc jockeys who accept money for playing particular records.
1961 – In Washington, D.C. John F. Kennedy delivers the first live presidential television news conference.
1971 – Charles Manson and three female “Family” members are found guilty of the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders.
1971 – Idi Amin leads a coup deposing Milton Obote and becomes Uganda’s president.
1971 – Himachal Pradesh becomes the 18th Indian state.
1981 – Jiang Qing, the widow of Mao Zedong, is sentenced to death.
1986 – The National Resistance Movement topples the government of Tito Okello in Uganda.
1995 – The Norwegian Rocket Incident: Russia almost launches a nuclear attack after it mistakes Black Brant XII, a Norwegian research rocket, for a US Trident missile.
1996 – Billy Bailey became the last person to be hanged in the United States of America.
1998 – During a historic visit to Cuba, Pope John Paul II demands the release of political prisoners and political reforms while condemning US attempts to isolate the country.
1998 – A suicide attack by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on Sri Lanka’s Temple of the Tooth kills 8 people and injures 25 others.
1999 – A 6.0 Richter scale earthquake hits western Colombia killing at least 1,000.
2003 – 2003 Invasion of Iraq: A group of people left London, England, for Baghdad, Iraq, to serve as human shields to prevent the U.S.-led coalition troops from bombing certain locations.
2004 – Opportunity rover (MER-B) lands on surface of Mars.
2005 – A stampede at the Mandher Devi temple in Mandhradevi in India kills at least 258.
2006 – Three independent observing campaigns announce the discovery of OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb through gravitational microlensing, the first cool rocky/icy extrasolar planet around a main-sequence star.
* Burns Night (Scotland and Scottish community)
* Christian Feast Day:
o Gregory the Theologian (Eastern (Byzantine) Catholic Church)
* Criminon Day (Scientology)
* Dydd Santes Dwynwen, Welsh Valentine’s Day (Wales)
* Earliest day on which the first day of Carnival of Cadiz can fall, while February 28 is the latest; celebrated two Sundays before Ash Wednesday until Ash Wednesday (Cadiz)
* Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul (Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches, which concludes the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity)
* Tatiana Day (Russia)
* The last day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Christian ecumenism)
* National Voters’ Day in India