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 26 is the 26th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 339 days remaining until the end of the year (340 in leap years).
On this day in 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip guides a fleet of 11 British ships carrying convicts to the colony of New South Wales, effectively founding Australia. After overcoming a period of hardship, the fledgling colony began to celebrate the anniversary of this date with great fanfare.
Australia Day (previously known as Anniversary Day, Foundation Day, and ANA Day) is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, the date commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the proclamation at that time of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of New Holland.
Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on 26 January date back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818. It is presently an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia and is marked by inductions into the Order of Australia and presentations of the Australian of the Year awards, along with an address from the governor-general and prime minister.
The date is controversial to some Australians, particularly those of Indigenous heritage, leading to the use of alternate names, such as Invasion Day and Survival Day. Proposals have been made to change the date of Australia Day, but these have failed to gain widespread public support.
On 13 May 1787, a fleet of 11 ships, which came to be known as the First Fleet, was sent by the British Admiralty from England to Australia. Under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, the fleet sought to establish a penal colony at Botany Bay on the coast of New South Wales, which had been explored and claimed by Captain James Cook in 1770. The settlement was seen as necessary because of the loss of the colonies in North America. The Fleet arrived between 18 and 20 January 1788, but it was immediately apparent that Botany Bay was unsuitable.
On 21 January, Philip and a few officers travelled to Port Jackson, 12 kilometres to the north, to see if it would be a better location for a settlement. They stayed there until 23 January; Philip named the site of their landing Sydney Cove, after the Home Secretary, Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney. They also had some contact with the local aborigines.
They returned to Botany Bay on the evening of 23 January, when Philip gave orders to move the fleet to Sydney Cove the next morning, 24 January. That day, there was a huge gale blowing, making it impossible to leave Botany Bay, so they decided to wait till the next day, 25 January. However, during 24 January, they spotted the ships Astrolabe and Boussole, flying the French flag, at the entrance to Botany Bay; they were having as much trouble getting into the bay as the First Fleet was having getting out.
On 25 January, the gale was still blowing; the fleet tried to leave Botany Bay, but only the HMS Supply made it out, carrying Arthur Philip, Philip Gidley King, some marines and about 40 convicts; they anchored in Sydney Cove in the afternoon.
On 26 January, early in the morning, Philip along with a few dozen marines, officers and oarsmen, rowed ashore and took possession of the land in the name of King George III. The remainder of the ship’s company and the convicts watched from onboard the Supply.
Meanwhile, back at Botany Bay, Captain John Hunter of the HMS Sirius made contact with the French ships, and he and the commander, Captain de Clonard, exchanged greetings. Clonard advised Hunter that the fleet commander was Jean-Francois de Galaup, comte de La Perouse. The Sirius successfully cleared Botany Bay, but the other ships were in great difficulty. The Charlotte was blown dangerously close to rocks; the Friendship and the Prince of Wales became entangled, both ship losing booms or sails; the Charlotte and the Friendship actually collided; and the Lady Penrhyn nearly ran aground. Despite these difficulties, all the remaining ships finally managed to clear Botany Bay and sail to Sydney Cove on 26 January. The last ship anchored there at about 3 pm.
Note that the formal establishment of the Colony of New South Wales did not occur on 26 January, as is commonly assumed. That did not occur until 7 February 1788, when the formal proclamation of the colony and of Arthur Phillip’s governorship were read out. The vesting of all land in the reigning monarch George III also dates from 7 February 1788.
1500 – Vicente Yanez Pinzon becomes the first European to set foot on Brazil.
1531 – Lisbon, Portugal is hit by an earthquake–thousands die.
1564 – The Council of Trent issues its conclusions in the Tridentinum, establishing a distinction between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.
1565 – Battle of Talikota, fought between the Vijayanagara Empire and the Islamic sultanates of the Deccan, leads to the subjugation, and eventual destruction of the last Hindu kingdom in India, and the consolidation of Islamic rule over much of the Indian subcontinent.
1788 – The British First Fleet, led by Arthur Phillip, sails into Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) to establish Sydney, the first permanent European settlement on the continent. Commemorated as Australia Day
1808 – Rum Rebellion, the only successful (albeit short-lived) armed takeover of the government in Australia.
1837 – Michigan is admitted as the 26th U.S. state.
1838 – Tennessee enacts the first prohibition law in the United States
1841 – The United Kingdom formally occupies Hong Kong, which China later formally cedes.
1855 – Point No Point Treaty is signed in Washington Territory.
1856 – First Battle of Seattle. Marines from the USS Decatur drive off American Indian attackers after all day battle with settlers.
1861 – American Civil War: The state of Louisiana secedes from the Union.
1863 – American Civil War: General Ambrose Burnside is relieved of command of the Army of the Potomac after the disastrous Fredericksburg campaign. He is replaced by Joseph Hooker.
1863 – American Civil War: Governor of Massachusetts John Albion Andrew receives permission from Secretary of War to raise a militia organization for men of African descent.
1870 – American Civil War: Virginia rejoins the Union.
1885 – Troops loyal to The Mahdi conquer Khartoum.
1907 – The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III is officially introduced into British Military Service, and remains the second oldest military rifle still in official use.
1911 – Glenn H. Curtiss flies the first successful American seaplane.
1911 – Richard Strauss’ opera Der Rosenkavalier receives its debut performance at the Dresden State Opera.
1918 – Finnish Civil War: A group of Red Guards hangs a red lantern atop the tower of Helsinki Workers’ Hall to symbolically mark the start of the war.
1920 – Former Ford Motor Company executive Henry Leland launches the Lincoln Motor Company which he later sold to his former employer.
1924 – Saint Petersburg, Russia, is renamed Leningrad.
1930 – The Indian National Congress declares 26 January as Independence Day or as the day for Poorna Swaraj (Complete Independence) which occurred 20 years later.
1934 – The Apollo Theater reopens in Harlem, New York City.
1934 – German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact is signed.
1939 – Spanish Civil War: Troops loyal to nationalist General Francisco Franco and aided by Italy take Barcelona.
1942 – World War II: The first United States forces arrive in Europe landing in Northern Ireland.
1950 – The Constitution of India comes into force, forming a republic. Rajendra Prasad is sworn in as its first President of India.
Observed as Republic Day in India.
1952 – Black Saturday in Egypt: rioters burn Cairo’s central business district, targeting British and upper-class Egyptian businesses.
1958 – Japanese ferry Nankai Maru capsizes off southern Awaji Island, Japan, 167 killed.
1961 – John F. Kennedy appoints Janet G. Travell to be his physician. This is the first time a woman holds this appointment.
1962 – Ranger program: Ranger 3 is launched to study the moon. The space probe later misses the moon by 22,000 miles (35,400 km).
1965 – Hindi becomes the official language of India.
1978 – The Great Blizzard of 1978, a rare severe blizzard with the lowest non-tropical atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the US, strikes the Ohio – Great Lakes region with heavy snow and winds up to 100 mph (161 km/h).
1980 – Israel and Egypt establish diplomatic relations.
1992 – Boris Yeltsin announces that Russia will stop targeting United States cities with nuclear weapons.
1998 – Lewinsky scandal: On American television, U.S. President Bill Clinton denies having had “sexual relations” with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
2001 – An earthquake hits Gujarat, India, causing more than 20,000 deaths.
2004 – President Hamid Karzai signs the new constitution of Afghanistan.
2004 – A whale explodes in the town of Tainan, Taiwan. A build-up of gas in the decomposing sperm whale is suspected of causing the explosion.
* Australia Day (Australia)
* Christian Feast Day:
* Duarte Day (Dominican Republic)
* Liberation Day (Uganda)
* Republic Day (India)