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.
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June 15 is the 166th day of the year (167th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 199 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day 1215, Magna Carta sealed.
Following a revolt by the English nobility against his rule, King John puts his royal seal on the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter.” The document, essentially a peace treaty between John and his barons, guaranteed that the king would respect feudal rights and privileges, uphold the freedom of the church, and maintain the nation’s laws. Although more a reactionary than a progressive document in its day, the Magna Carta was seen as a cornerstone in the development of democratic England by later generations.
John was enthroned as king of England following the death of his brother, King Richard the Lion-Hearted, in 1199. King John’s reign was characterized by failure. He lost the duchy of Normandy to the French king and taxed the English nobility heavily to pay for his foreign misadventures. He quarreled with Pope Innocent III and sold church offices to build up the depleted royal coffers. Following the defeat of a campaign to regain Normandy in 1214, Stephen Langton, the archbishop of Canterbury, called on the disgruntled barons to demand a charter of liberties from the king.
Magna Carta is an English charter, originally issued in the year 1215 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions, which included the most direct challenges to the monarch’s authority to date. The charter first passed into law in 1225. The 1297 version, with the long title (originally in Latin) The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, and of the Liberties of the Forest, still remains on the statute books of England and Wales.
The 1215 Charter required King John of England to proclaim certain liberties, and accept that his will was not arbitrary, for example by explicitly accepting that no “freeman” (in the sense of non-serf) could be punished except through the law of the land, a right which is still in existence today.
Magna Carta was the first document forced onto an English King by a group of his subjects, the feudal barons, in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges. It was preceded and directly influenced by the Charter of Liberties in 1100, in which King Henry I had specified particular areas wherein his powers would be limited.
Despite its recognised importance, by the second half of the 19th century nearly all of its clauses had been repealed in their original form. Three clauses remain part of the law of England and Wales, however, and it is generally considered part of the uncodified constitution. Lord Denning described it as “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despo In a 2005 speech, Lord Woolf described it as “first of a series of instruments that now are recognised as having a special constitutional status”, the others being the Habeas Corpus Act, the Petition of Right, the Bill of Rights, and the Act of Settlement.
The charter was an important part of the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law in the English speaking world, although it was “far from unique, either in content or form”. In practice, Magna Carta in the medieval period did not in general limit the power of kings, but by the time of the English Civil War it had become an important symbol for those who wished to show that the King was bound by the law. It influenced the early settlers in New England and inspired later constitutional documents, including the United States Constitution.
763 BC – Assyrians record a solar eclipse that is later used to fix the chronology of Mesopotamian history.
923 – Battle of Soissons: King Robert I of France is killed and King Charles the Simple is arrested by the supporters of Duke Rudolph of Burgundy.
1215 – King John of England puts his seal to the Magna Carta.
1246 – With the death of Duke Frederick II, the Babenberg dynasty ends in Austria.
1389 – Battle of Kosovo: The Ottoman Empire defeats Serbs and Bosnians.
1520 – Pope Leo X threatens to excommunicate Martin Luther in papal bull Exsurge Domine.
1580 – Philip II of Spain declares William the Silent to be an outlaw.
1667 – The first human blood transfusion is administered by Dr. Jean-Baptiste Denys.
1752 – Benjamin Franklin proves that lightning is electricity.
1775 – American Revolutionary War: George Washington is appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
1776 – Delaware Separation Day – Delaware votes to suspend government under the British Crown and separate officially from Pennsylvania.
1804 – New Hampshire approves the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratifying the document.
1808 – Joseph Bonaparte becomes King of Spain.
1836 – Arkansas is admitted as the 25th U.S. state.
1844 – Charles Goodyear receives a patent for vulcanization, a process to strengthen rubber.
1846 – The Oregon Treaty establishes the 49th parallel as the border between the United States and Canada, from the Rocky Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
1859 – Pig War: Ambiguity in the Oregon Treaty leads to the “Northwestern Boundary Dispute” between U.S. and British/Canadian settlers.
1864 – American Civil War: The Siege of Petersburg begins.
1864 – Arlington National Cemetery is established when 200 acres (0.81 km2) around Arlington Mansion (formerly owned by Confederate General Robert E. Lee) are officially set aside as a military cemetery by U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.
1867 – Atlantic Cable Quartz Lode gold mine located in Montana.
1877 – Henry Ossian Flipper becomes the first African American cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy.
1888 – Crown Prince Wilhelm becomes Kaiser Wilhelm II; he will be the last Emperor of the German Empire.
1896 – The most destructive tsunami in Japan’s history kills more than 22,000 people.
1904 – A fire aboard the steamboat SS General Slocum in New York City’s East River kills 1,000.
1916 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signs a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America, making them the only American youth organization with a federal charter.
1919 – John Alcock and Arthur Brown complete the first nonstop transatlantic flight when they reach Clifden, County Galway, Ireland.
1920 – Duluth lynchings in Minnesota.
1920 – A new border treaty between Germany and Denmark gives northern Schleswig to Denmark.
1934 – The U.S. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is founded.
1944 – World War II: Battle of Saipan: The United States invade Saipan.
1944 – In the Saskatchewan general election, the CCF, led by Tommy Douglas, is elected and forms the first socialist government in North America.
1945 – The General Dutch Youth League (ANJV) is founded in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
1954 – UEFA (Union des Associations Européennes de Football) is formed in Basel, Switzerland.
1955 – The Eisenhower administration stages the first annual “Operation Alert” (OPAL) exercise, an attempt to assess the USA’s preparations for a nuclear attack.
1978 – King Hussein of Jordan marries American Lisa Halaby, who takes the name Queen Noor.
1985 – Rembrandt’s painting Danaë is attacked by a man (later judged insane) who throws sulfuric acid on the canvas and cuts it twice with a knife.
1992 – The United States Supreme Court rules in United States v. Alvarez-Machain that it is permissible for the USA to forcibly extradite suspects in foreign countries and bring them to the USA for trial, without approval from those other countries.
1994 – Israel and Vatican City establish full diplomatic relations.
1996 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army explodes a large bomb in the middle of Manchester, England.
2002 – Near-Earth asteroid 2002 MN misses the Earth by 75,000 miles (121,000 km), about one-third of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
* Arbor Day (Costa Rica)
* Cagayan de Oro Charter Day (Cagayan de Oro City)
* Christian Feast Day:
* Augustine of Hippo (Eastern Orthodox Church)
* Edburga of Winchester
* Evelyn Underhill (Church of England and the Episcopal Church of the United States)
* Germaine Cousin
* Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia
* June 15 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Day of Valdemar and Reunion day (Flag Day) (Denmark)
* Earliest day on which Father’s Day can fall, while June 21 is the latest; celebrated on the third Sunday in June. (United States)
* Mangaia Gospel Day (Mangaia)
* National Salvation Day (Azerbaijan)
* Separation Day (Delaware)
* Statehood Day (Arkansas)
* The first day of the month of Harh. (Sikhism)