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 8 is the eighth day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 357 days remaining until the end of the year (358 in leap years).
On this day in 1877, Crazy Horse and his warriors–outnumbered, low on ammunition and forced to use outdated weapons to defend themselves–fight their final losing battle against the U.S. Cavalry in Montana.
Six months earlier, in the Battle of Little Bighorn, Crazy Horse and his ally, Chief Sitting Bull, led their combined forces of Sioux and Cheyenne to a stunning victory over Lieutenant Colonel George Custer (1839-76) and his men. The Indians were resisting the U.S. government’s efforts to force them back to their reservations. After Custer and over 200 of his soldiers were killed in the conflict, later dubbed “Custer’s Last Stand,” the American public wanted revenge. As a result, the U.S. Army launched a winter campaign in 1876-77, led by General Nelson Miles (1839-1925), against the remaining hostile Indians on the Northern Plains.
On January 8, 1877, General Miles found Crazy Horse’s camp along Montana’s Tongue River. U.S. soldiers opened fire with their big wagon-mounted guns, driving the Indians from their warm tents out into a raging blizzard. Crazy Horse and his warriors managed to regroup on a ridge and return fire, but most of their ammunition was gone, and they were reduced to fighting with bows and arrows. They managed to hold off the soldiers long enough for the women and children to escape under cover of the blinding blizzard before they turned to follow them.
Though he had escaped decisive defeat, Crazy Horse realized that Miles and his well-equipped cavalry troops would eventually hunt down and destroy his cold, hungry followers. On May 6, 1877, Crazy Horse led approximately 1,100 Indians to the Red Cloud reservation near Nebraska’s Fort Robinson and surrendered. Five months later, a guard fatally stabbed him after he allegedly resisted imprisonment by Indian policemen
871 – Alfred the Great leads a West Saxon army to repel an invasion by Danelaw Vikings.
1297 – Monaco gains its independence.
1499 – Louis XII of France marries Anne of Brittany.
1734 – Premiere performance of George Frideric Handel’s Ariodante at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
1746 – Second Jacobite Rising: Bonnie Prince Charle occupies Stirling.
1790 – George Washington delivers the first State of the Union Address in New York City.
1806 – Cape Colony becomes a British colony.
1811 – An unsuccessful slave revolt is led by Charles Deslandes in St. Charles and St. James, Louisiana.
1815 – War of 1812: Battle of New Orleans – Andrew Jackson leads American forces in victory over the British.
1835 – The United States national debt is 0 for the only time.
1838 – Alfred Vail demonstrates a telegraph system using dots and dashes (this is the forerunner of Morse code).
1863 – American Civil War: Second Battle of Springfield
1867 – African American men are granted the right to vote in Washington, D.C.
1877 – Crazy Horse and his warriors fight their last battle against the United States Cavalry at Wolf Mountain, Montana Territory.
1889 – Herman Hollerith is issued US patent #395,791 for the ‘Art of Applying Statistics’ – his punched card calculator.
1904 – The Blackstone Library is dedicated, marking the beginning of the Chicago Public Library system.
1906 – A landslide in Haverstraw, New York, caused by the excavation of clay along the Hudson River, kills 20 people.
1912 – The African National Congress is founded.
1918 – President Woodrow Wilson announces his “Fourteen Points” for the aftermath of World War I.
1940 – World War II: Britain introduces food rationing.
1956 – Operation Auca: Five U.S. missionaries are killed by the Huaorani of Ecuador shortly after making contact with them.
1961 – In France a referendum supports Charles de Gaulle’s policies in Algeria.
1962 – The Harmelen train disaster killed 93 people in the Netherlands.
1963 – Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is exhibited in the United States for the first time, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson declares a “War on Poverty” in the United States.
1973 – Soviet space mission Luna 21 is launched.
1973 – Watergate scandal: The trial of seven men accused of illegal entry into Democratic Party headquarters at Watergate begins.
1975 – Ella Grasso becomes Governor of Connecticut, the first woman to serve as a Governor in the United States other than by succeeding her husband.
1977 – Three bombs went off in Moscow within 37 minutes, killing seven. The bombings are attributed to an Armenian separatist group.
1978 – Bowing to international pressure, President of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto releases Bengali leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from prison, who had been arrested after declaring the independence of Bangladesh.
1981 – A local farmer reports a UFO sighting in Trans-en-Provence, France, “perhaps the most completely and carefully documented sighting of all time”.
1982 – The break up of AT&T: AT&T agrees to divest itself of twenty-two subdivisions.
1989 – Beginning of Japanese Heisei era.
1994 – Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov on Soyuz TM-18 leaves for Mir. He would stay on the space station until March 22, 1995, for a record 437 days in space.
2002 – President George W. Bush signs into law the No Child Left Behind Act.
2004 – The RMS Queen Mary 2, the largest passenger ship ever built, is christened by her namesake’s granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.
2005 – The nuclear sub USS San Francisco collides at full speed with an undersea mountain south of Guam. One man is killed, but the sub surfaces and is repaired.
Christian Feast Day
Our Lady of Prompt Succor (Roman Catholic Church)
Commonwealth Day (Northern Mariana Islands)
Earliest day on which Children’s Day can fall, while January 15 is the latest; celebrated on the second Saturday in January. (Thailand)