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.
February 6 is the 37th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 328 days remaining until the end of the year (329 in leap years).
On this day in 1952, Elizabeth II becomes the first Queen regnant of the United Kingdom and several other realms since Queen Victoria, upon the death of her father, George VI. At the exact moment of succession, she was in a treehouse at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya.
Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, born 21 April 1926) is the Queen regnant of 16 independent sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. In addition, as Head of the Commonwealth, she is the figurehead of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations and, as the British monarch, she is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
Elizabeth was educated privately at home. Her father, George VI, became King-Emperor of the British Empire in 1936. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. After the war and Indian independence George VI’s title of Emperor of India was abandoned, and the evolution of the Empire into the Commonwealth accelerated. In 1947, Elizabeth made the first of many tours around the Commonwealth, and married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. They have four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.
In 1949, George VI became the first Head of the Commonwealth, a symbol of the free association of the independent countries comprising the Commonwealth of Nations. On his death in 1952, Elizabeth became Head of the Commonwealth, and constitutional monarch of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon. Her coronation in 1953 was the first to be televised. During her reign, which at 58 years is one of the longest for a British monarch, she became queen of 25 other countries within the Commonwealth as they gained independence. Between 1956 and 1992, half of her realms, including South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (renamed Sri Lanka), became republics.
In 1992, which Elizabeth termed her annus horribilis (“horrible year”), two of her sons separated from their wives, her daughter divorced, and a severe fire destroyed part of Windsor Castle. Revelations on the state of her eldest son Charles’s marriage continued, and he divorced in 1996. The following year, her former daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in Paris. The media criticised the royal family for remaining in seclusion in the days before Diana’s funeral, but Elizabeth’s personal popularity rebounded once she had appeared in public and has since remained high. Her Silver and Golden Jubilees were celebrated in 1977 and 2002 respectively, and planning for her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 is underway.
1649 – The claimant King Charles II of England and Scotland is declared King of Great Britain, by the Parliament of Scotland. This move was not followed by the Parliament of England nor the Parliament of Ireland.
1685 – James II of England and VII of Scotland becomes King upon the death of his brother Charles II.
1778 – American Revolutionary War: In Paris the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce are signed by the United States and France signaling official recognition of the new republic.
1788 – Massachusetts becomes the sixth state to ratify the United States Constitution.
1806 – Battle of San Domingo British naval victory against the French in the Caribbean.
1815 – New Jersey grants the first American railroad charter to John Stevens.
1817 – The Argentinian San Martin crosses the Andes with an army in order to liberate Chile from Spanish rule.
1819 – Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles founds Singapore.
1820 – The first 86 African American immigrants sponsored by the American Colonization Society started a settlement in present-day Liberia.
1840 – Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, establishing New Zealand as a British colony.
1843 – The first minstrel show in the United States, The Virginia Minstrels, opens (Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City).
1862 – American Civil War: Ulysses S. Grant gives the Union its first victory of the war, by capturing Fort Henry, Tennessee, known as the Battle of Fort Henry.
1899 – Spanish-American War: The Treaty of Paris, a peace treaty between the United States and Spain, is ratified by the United States Senate.
1900 – The international arbitration court at The Hague is created when the Netherlands’ Senate ratifies an 1899 peace conference decree.
1922 – The Washington Naval Treaty is signed in Washington, D.C., limiting the naval armaments of United States, Britain, Japan, France, and Italy.
1933 – The 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing the beginning and ending of the terms of the elected federal offices, goes into effect.
1934 – Far right leagues rally in front of the Palais Bourbon in an attempted coup against the French Third Republic, creating a political crisis in France.
1942 – World War II: The United Kingdom declares war on Thailand.
1951 – The Broker, a Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train derails near Woodbridge Township, New Jersey. The accident kills 85 people and injures over 500 more. The wreck is one of the worst rail disasters in American history.
1952 – Elizabeth II becomes the first Queen regnant of the United Kingdom and several other realms since Queen Victoria, upon the death of her father, George VI. At the exact moment of succession, she was in a treehouse at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya.
1958 – Eight Manchester United F.C. players are killed in the Munich air disaster.
1959 – Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments files the first patent for an integrated circuit.
1959 – At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the first successful test firing of a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile is accomplished.
1978 – The Blizzard of 1978, one of the worst Nor’easters in New England history, hit the region, with sustained winds of 65 mph and snowfall of 4″ an hour.
1987 – Justice Mary Gaudron is appointed to the High Court of Australia, the first woman to be appointed.
1989 – The Round Table Talks start in Poland, thus marking the beginning of overthrow of communism in Eastern Europe.
1998 – Washington National Airport is renamed Ronald Reagan National Airport.
2000 – Second Chechen War: Russia captures Grozny, Chechnya, forcing the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria government into exile.
* Christian Feast Day:
* International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (United Nations)
* Ronald Reagan Day (California)
* Sami National Day (Russia, Finland, Norway and Sweden)