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18 July 2012

On this day in history: Intel founded, 1968

In the late '60s, the chemist and physicist, Dr. Gordon E. Moore, and the co-inventor of the integrated circuit, Robert N. Noyce departed Fairchild Semiconductor to set up their own company: initially NM Electronics but soon renamed Integrated Electronics Corporation, or Intel for short. Since Intelco was already used as a trademark by an hotel chain, Moore and Noyce had to buy the rights to the name in order to trade as Intel.

With money raised by the venture capitalist Arthur Rock, who became Intel's first chairman, Moore and Noyce founded their new company on 18th July 1968, based in Santa Clara, California, which was at the centre of the are soon to be known as Silicon Valley. At the outset, Intel focused on the production of semiconductors, particularly Static Random Access Memory chips for use in computers.

Dr. Gordon E. Moore and Robert N. Noyce in 1974

When the personal computing boom started, Intel were well placed to make the most of it, inventing the x86 line of computer processors, which IBM used in their PCs. Today Intel are the major manufacturer of semiconductors in the world producing a range of computing devices.

The corporate history of the company is available on their Intel Museum Worldwide site.

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Nintendo founded: 22nd September 1889
Apple Macintosh went on sale: 24th January 1984

17 July 2012

On this day in history: King George V changed his family name, 1917

Three years into the Great War, anti-German feeling was running high in Britain. To appeal to nationalist sentiment King George V decided to change the name of the British royal house to the House of Windsor from the Germanic sounding House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which had been the house of the royal family since Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, son of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The new, quintessentially English, name is that of a town to the west of London with a long history of royal connections not least because of the castle there, which is one of the royal residences.

So, on 17th July 1917, George V issued an Order-in-Council that decreed that everyone descended from Queen Victoria would change surname to Windsor, excluding any married women and their children (and those who were on the German side - not least his cousin, the German monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II - who were to be ostracized). Furthermore, he also relinquished all of his German titles and those of the members of the newly renamed House of Windsor. Many of George's male relatives who lost German aristocratic titles received British peerages in compensation, thus his cousin, Prince Louis of Battenberg, became 1st Marquess of Milford Haven and took the surname Mountbatten, which is an Anglicisation of Battenberg.

The text of the King's proclamation is available on the Heraldica website.

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Scottish monarch crowned King of England: 25th July 1603
Coronation of William IV: 8th September 1831
Queen Victoria`s first train journey: 13th June 1842

16 July 2012

On this day in history: First European banknotes, 1661

In November 1656, King Karl X Gustav of Sweden signed two charters creating two private banks under the directorship of Johan Palmstruch, a trade commissioner born in Riga. Palmstruch modeled the banks on those of Amsterdam where he had become a burgher. One bank offered clients a facility to deposit money and issue cheques; the other offered loans financed by short term giro deposits.

In 1660 the copper content of Swedish coins was reduced prompting many of the banks' customers to demand their older coins, which were now worth more as scrap metal than as currency. Since the money had already been lent out, the bank did not have enough coinage to fulfill these requests. Faced with this liquidity problem, Palmstruch's solution was to issue Europe's first banknotes that could be used as currency and exchanged for their value in coinage.

On 16th July 1661, Stockholms Banco issued the first set of Kreditivsedlar ('credit paper') in round denominations - 5, 25, 100 and 1000 kopparmynt. This financial innovation brought new pitfalls. The bank issued too many notes reducing their purchase value and leading to a flood of people wanting to exchange their notes for coins; however, the bank did not have sufficient coins to meet demand. The bank had no novel solution to this new liquidity problem, as a result it was liquidated in 1667.

Charged with irresponsible book-keeping Palmstruch was stripped of his title and sentenced to either death or exile. After the Swedish government reprieved the death sentence Palmstruch (now called Wittmacher) served a two-year prison sentence and died a year after his release.

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First banknotes issued in America: 3rd February 1690
The United States Mint established: 2nd April 1792
U.S. Congress authorised Two-Cent coin: 22nd April 1864

15 July 2012

On this day in history: First Cuban world boxing champion, 1931

On July 15th 1931, Eligio Sardiñas Montalvo - better known as Kid Chocolate or the Cuban Bon Bon - knocked out Benny Bass in the seventh round of their Junior Lightweight title bout at the Baker Bowl, Philadelphia to become the first Cuban world champion boxer. The victory gave him celebrity status and he became a regular guest at society parties.

Born in Havana on 6th January 1910, the young Eligio watched films of boxing matches from which he learned the art. Having fought as an amateur and sparred with many great boxers of the day, in 1927 he went professional. The next year he relocated to New York City to fight the quality of opponent necessary for his shot at the championship.

In November 1931, Eligio went up a weight division to face Lightweight champion Tony Canzoneri, at Madison Square Garden, New York. He failed in this second title bid, and in 1933 he lost his Junior Lightweight belt to Frankie Klick. Following his unsuccessful attempts to regain the title he retired, revealing that he was suffering from syphilis.

The very next year, Kid Chocolate returned to the ring winning 47 out of 50 fights, but not against the sort of opposition that would provide another championship bid. In 1938 he retired again, never to return to the ring. Instead he returned to a quiet life in Cuba and increasing obscurity, particularly after the 1959 revolution. Nevertheless, his boxing career was recognised by the Cuban authorities in the 1970s; he was provided with a state-funded house, in which he died in 1988.

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Last bare-knuckle championship bout: 8th July 1889

14 July 2012

On this day in history: Paris celebrated la Fête de la Fédération, 1790

In June 1790, the French National Assembly approved the Paris Commune's proposition that a celebration be held to mark the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. The centrepiece of these festivities involved a display of national unity on the Champs de Mars, the mustering fields that were then some way outside Paris. Volunteers from the city and beyond, drawn from all walks of life, rushed to prepare the site for the gathering in what became known as the journée des brouettes ('day of the wheelbarrows').

Despite the haste of preparations the central altar, triumphal arches, royal tent, and two earthwork terraces built for the 400,000 spectators were in place for la Fête de la Fédération on 14th July 1790. The day began with a procession to the Champs de Mars, led by artistic emblems extolling freedom and marking the defeat of tyranny, followed by representatives of the sixty districts of Paris, each also carrying a suitable emblem. When the vainqueurs de la Bastille (those involved in the storming of the prison) marched into the arena they were greeted by a roar from the throng as was Marquis de Lafayette, commander in chief of the National Guard, each unit of which had sent two men out of every hundred.

At around half an hour past midday, King Louis XVI arrived with his wife and were escorted to their tent. Once the king was settled, the members of the National Assembly, all dressed in black, approached the altar took a civic oath, each member being permitted to chose their own wording. For the President of the National Assembly it took the form:

I swear forever to be faithful to the Nation, to the Law and to the King, to maintain with all my powers the Constitution as decreed by the National Assembly and accepted by the King.
Louis then approached the alter and proclaimed:
I, King of the French, swear to the nation to use the power given to me by the constitutional law of the State, to maintain the Constitution as decided by the National Assembly and accepted by myself, and to enforce the execution of the laws.

A message of unity of king and nation witnessed by not only the French people, but also guest dignitaries from abroad.

The storming of the Bastille was also marked with official ceremonies in other towns and cities across the nation, which also saw many unofficial celebrations and feasts that lasted for four days. Nevertheless, in spite of the coming together of monarch and people in public display the French Revolution was far from completed and the harmony was soon to evaporate.

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Meeting of the French Estates-General: 5th May 1789
The Tennis Court Oath: 20th July 1789
Feudalism abolished in France: 4th August 1789
Parisian women bring Louis XVI back to Paris: 6th October 1789
France reorganised into 83 départements: 4th March 1790
Guillotine used for first time: 25th April 1792
September Massacres begin: 2nd September 1792
Louis XVI executed: 21st January 1793

13 July 2012

On this day in history: Hollywood sign dedicated, 1923

In 1923 the owner of the Los Angeles Times, Harry Chandler, the banker and railroad owner, General M. H. Sherman, and developer Sidney H. Woodruff formed a real estate syndicate to develop a 500-acre site in the Hollywood Hills called Hollywoodland. They hoped to attract wealthy visitors from the East Coast who wanted a winter holiday home. As part of the marketing campaign, Chandler decided to build a giant illuminated sign on the advice of another developer called H.J. Whitley, who had already used a similar sign for his Whitley Heights development.

The Crescent Sign Company received the $21,000 contract to erect thirteen letters on the southern side of Mount Lee. The company's manager, Thomas Fisk Goff, designed the sign, which originally read 'HOLLYWOODLAND'. Each letter was 50 feet (15 metres) high, and 30 feet (9 metres) wide, constructed from telegraph poles, scaffolding poles and metal sheets. These were covered with 4,000 20-watt bulbs, which lit up at night in three parts, first 'HOLLY', then 'WOOD', and finally 'LAND'.

On 13th July 1923, the official dedication ceremony for the sign took place. Originally intended to be a temporary structure, the sign soon became a landmark. Nevertheless, it fell into disrepair following the bankruptcy of the development corporation in the early 1940s. At the end of the decade a number of letters had collapsed, but a public outcry prevented the removal of the sign. The city's Chamber of Commerce repaired the sign; however, they decided to remove the last four letters, so that the sign read 'HOLLYWOOD'.

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Eiffel Tower inaugurated: 31st March 1889
Lincoln Memorial dedicated: 30th May 1922
Work finished on Mount Rushmore sculpture: 31st October 1941

12 July 2012

On this day in history: First Rolling Stones gig, 1962

In 1960 two former class mates from Dartford in Kent met each other for the first time in years on a railway train. The two were Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who re-established their friendship and moved into a flat in the Chelsea area of London. Their shared love of rhythm and blues music led them to form a band called Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys with their mutual friend Dick Taylor.

At this time London had a nascent R&B scene centred on a band named Blues Incorporated founded in 1961 by Alexis Korner and Cyril Davis. The following year the pair established a regular "Rhythm and Blues Night" at the Ealing Jazz Club, where aspiring musicians had the opportunity to perform with the band. Both Jagger and Richards sat in on performances as did guitarist Brian Jones.

In May 1962, Jones placed an advertisement in Jazz News announcing that he was holding auditions for a new R&B group. Jagger and then Richards joined the group, which also included the pianist Ian Stewart. According to Richards, Jones was having a telephone conversation with the manager of a venue who asked what his group was called. Stuck for an answer he looked down at the sleeve of The Best of Muddy Waters that happened to be on the floor at the time. The first track on the album was Rollin' Stone Blues, and so The Rollin' Stones (as they were called then) were born.

Their big chance arrived in July when the BBC invited a stripped-down Blues Incorporated to play a live radio session for the Jazz Club show, meaning that they were unavailable to perform their regular slot at the Marquee Club. Blues Incorporated vocalist Long John Baldry took the headline spot with the Stones' as the support act. On 12th July 1962, Jagger, Jones, Richards and Stewart took to the stage along with Dick Taylor on bass and Tony Chapman on drums. They played a variety of R&B standards, including their opening number, the Leiber and Stoller song "Kansas City", and rock and roll songs, such as Chuck Berry's "Back in the USA".

A year later the band played their first gig outside Greater London at the Outlook Club in Middlesbrough. By that time the Stones' regular line-up [as pictured] had been put in place with Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts added as bassist and drummer respectively, and Stewart been demoted to road manager at the insistence of their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham; however, Stewart continued to play keyboards on the groups recordings. The band had also released their first single a cover version of Chuck Berry's "Come On", which reached number 21 in the UK charts.

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The Beatles hold the top five slots on U.S. singles chart: 4th April 1964
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8 July 2012

On this day in history: Last bare-knuckle championship bout, 1889

In 1881, the Massachusetts boxer John L. Sullivan insulted Richard Kyle Fox, proprietor of the weekly sports and theatre journal entitled the National Police Gazette, when he refused to visit Fox's table in a Boston Saloon. Over the following years Fox dedicated himself to finding a fighter who could defeat Sullivan, who defeated the reigning American champion, Paddy Ryan, in 1882 before embarking on a coast-to-coast tour of the United States winning fights in over one-hundred towns. Meanwhile, Fox thought he had found his man in the form of Jake Kilrain from Long Island and set about goading Sullivan into a fight by saying that he was afraid to face Kilrain.

Eventually, in January 1889, both sides agreed on a bare-knuckle contest to take place within 200-miles of New Orleans under the London Prize Ring rules. Both parties also agreed to a $10,000 wager on the outcome. The governors of both Louisiana and Mississippi both opposed the fight taking place in their respective states, but the promoter Bud Reneau managed to secure a venue on the land of Colonel Charles W. Rich in Richburg, Mississippi.

On 8th July 1889 around three-thousand spectators gathered to watch the fight. They jeered the local sheriff who read a proclamation banning the contest, under the orders of Governor Lowry. In spite of the proclamation, both contestants ceremonially threw their hats into the ring and entered the ring a little after 10am.

Over the next two hours and sixteen minutes the two fought only pausing at the end of a round, which only occurred when one of them hit the ground, as per the London Prize Ring rules. Kilrain's tactic was to try and dodge Sullivan's lunges while wearing him out by jabbing and wrestling his opponent. Despite vomiting during the forty-fourth round Sullivan's stamina held out. At the beginning of the seventy-sixth round Kilrain's cornerman followed the advice of a doctor who said that their fighter's life was in jeopardy and threw a sponge into the ring to signify that they had conceded. While Kilrain lay on the floor in floods of tears, some of the crowd carried the jubilant Sullivan aloft while others grabbed splinters of the rings posts, lengths of rope and even clumps of turf as souvenirs of the last bare-knuckle championship bout.

The authorities issued arrest warrants for both fighters and consequently they were both taken into custody - Sullivan in Nashville and Kilrain in Baltimore - before being returned to face trial in Mississippi. Having been found guilty of prizefighting Sullivan paid a fine of $500, while Kilrain was found guilty of assault and battery and not only received a fine for the same amount, but was also sentenced to six month is jail. Colonel Rich paid Kilrain's fine and bought his sentence meaning that Kilrain served his time as a guest in Rich's home.

To learn more about the Sullivan - Kilrain fight see The University of Southern Mississippi's McCain Library and Archives page on the subject.

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First Cuban world boxing champion: 15th July 1931

7 July 2012

On this day in history: Constitution of Vermont abolished slavery, 1777

The adoption of the Constitution that created the Republic of Vermont on 7th July 1777 was the result of two disputes: the first between the American colonists and the British crown; the second between the people of the New Hampshire Grants - lands granted by the Governor of New Hampshire, which later became Vermont - and the New York authorities who claimed administration of the lands.

Following a declaration of independence from both Britain and New York, as the state of New Connecticut, the people of the Grant lands received advice that they would need a constitution in order to receive admission into the United States (which they achieved in 1791 when Vermont became the fourteenth state of the U.S.A). The Constitution was drafted and ratified at a tavern owned by one Elijah West in the town of Windsor.

The Constitution of the - now renamed - Republic of Vermont comprised nineteen articles that guaranteed the basic political and civil rights of its citizens. It was based on the radical democratic Constitution of Pennsylvania, including articles giving voting rights to all freemen, requiring the provision for free education and abolishing slavery - making Vermont the first North American state to make slavery illegal.

The full text of the 1777 Constitution is available at the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration site.

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Josiah Henson born: 15th June 1789
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6 July 2012

On this day in history: AK-47 entered production, 1947

On 6th July 1947, the most iconic weapon of the second half of the twentieth century entered production at the Izhevsk Mechanical Works. The Kalashnikov AK-47 7.62 mm automatic assault rifle takes its name from its creator Mikhail Kalashnikov and the year of its design. Originally designed for the Red Army, who introduced it in 1949, the AK-47 has appeared as many variants in Russia and from other countries, which have made it under license up to the present-day.

Worldwide, more AK-47s have been produced then any other comparable rifle. Its durability and ease of use mean it became the ubiquitous weapon of civil wars, revolutionary struggles and insurgencies around the world. Revolutionaries have adopted it as a quintessential symbol of liberation through armed struggle, as seen in the flags of Mozambique and Hezbollah.

To learn more about this iconic weapon and its designer see the AK site.

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First machine-gun patented: 15th May 1718

5 July 2012

On this day in history: Venezuelan Declaration of Independence, 1811

The Napoleonic Wars in Europe resulted in a power vacuum in Spain, which provided an opportunity for the independence movements in Spain's South America colonies. In April 1810, the cabildo (municipal council) of Caracas seized control of the provincial government in the name of King Ferdinand VII, who Napoleon Bonaparte had deposed and imprisoned in France. The municipal governments in the capital cities of the other Venezuelan provinces followed Caracas' lead.

In March 1811, representatives from the provinces convened at the First Venezuelan Congress and soon began to debate whether they should become an independent state. Under the leadership of Francisco de Miranda and Simón Bolívar the independence movement was victorious, and on 5th July 1811, the Congress delivered a Declaration of Independence to create the American Confederation of Venezuela (more commonly known as the First Republic of Venezuela). Almost immediately Venezuela plunged into a twelve year civil war between republicans and royalists who wanted to remain under Spanish control.

In 1812, the republic collapsed due to internal disputes, a Spanish blockade and a major earthquake. Nevertheless, it was re-established by Bolívar in the following year, but it lasted less than twelve months. Eventually, in 1823 the republicans defeated the forces of a resurgent Spain and achieved Venezuelan independence within a larger federal state, Gran Colombia, which declared had independence in 1819 and comprised other Spanish colonies including present-day Colombia, Ecuador and Panama and parts of of Brazil, Costa Rica, Guyana and Peru.

The texts of the Venezuelan Declaration of Independence and Constitution of 1811 are both available in Spanish and English at the Rice University Digital Scholarship Archive.

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4 July 2012

On this day in history: Creation of the Republic of Hawaii, 1894

In 1810, King Kamehameha the Great conquered all the Hawaiian islands and formed them into a unified monarchy. His dynasty lasted until 1872, when King Kamehameha V died with no direct heir and no named successor. As required by the constitution, the legislature elected his successor. They chose his cousin who was crowned King William Charles Lunalilo.

This most liberal of kings had a short reign and was succeeded by the more conservative King David Kalākaua I, who the island élite forced to accept a new constitution in 1887 (the so-called Bayonet Constitution), which not only removed most of his executive powers but also disenfranchised the native islanders and the poor. When his successor, Queen Lydia Liliuokalani, tried to institute a new constitution the Hawaiian League, made up of native businessmen and white citizens and residents, formed Citizen's Committee of Public Safety, which succeeded in a bloodless coup d'etat on 17th January 1893 and installed a provisional government.

From the outset, the Hawaiian League's intended for Hawaii to become part of the United States of America. However, following the presidential election defeat of Benjamin Harrison, who supported annexation, by Grover Cleveland, who did not, they decided to establish a republican government to thwart any attempt by President Cleveland to restore the monarchy. The Provisional Government convened a Constitutional Convention in the spring of 1894, which drafted a constitution.

On 4th July 1894, the Republic of Hawaiʻi came into existence with Sanford B. Dole as president. A failed royalist counter-revolution led by Robert William Wilcox six months later implicated the former queen, who faced trial for "misprision of treason," because she knew that weapons to be used in the insurgency had been secreted on the grounds of her residence. The trial resulted in a guilty verdict and she received a sentence of five years imprisonment with hard labour; although, she only served eight months under house arrest and a few months later received a pardon.

In 1897 William McKinley became US President. He was more amenable to annexation of Hawai'i, and negotiations between the two governments resumed. Following the passage of a bill through the Senate and the House of Representatives, on 12th August 1898, Hawaii became United States Territory.

To learn more about US involvement in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and to read various treaties between the two states and Hawaiian constitutions, see the excellent Morgan Report wiki.

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First Europeans sighted Tahiti: 18th June 1767
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3 July 2012

On this day in history: Steam locomotive world speed record, 1938

In the 1930s a fierce rivalry developed between the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) and the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) as both attempted to see of the threat of the motor-car and offer the shortest journey times along their mainline routes from London to Scotland. The two main protagonists in this quest for speed were the chief mechanical engineers for the two companies: Sir Nigel Gresley of the LNER, and Sir William Stanier of the LMS. In the second half of the decade, both men designed new locomotives that captured the public imagination by the application of streamlining.

Gresley was to unveil his design first, the A4 class 4-6-2 pacific locomotives, which entered service hauling the Silver Jubilee train from London King's Cross to Newcastle. During its inaugural journey, on 27th September 1935, A4 class locomotive 2509 Silver Link set a new speed record of 112 mph. The train was a commercial success and the LNER introduced more services hauled by streamlined locomotives over the next few years.

Not to be outdone, Napier decided to add streamlining to his new design, the Princess Coronation class 4-6-2 pacific locomotives. On 29th June 1937, locomotive 6220 Coronation pulled a special LMS train from London Euston to Crewe carrying newspaper reporters in order to gain as much publicity as possible for their new Coronation Scot service. The driver T. J. Clarke managed to exceed the A4's record speed (but not that of the German locomotive which now held the world record) just as the train approached its destination requiring him to brake hard in order that the train did not overshoot the platform at Crewe.

Just over a year later, the LNER were ready to reclaim the world record from the Germans and the British record from the LMS. On 3rd July 1938, the newly built A4 locomotive 4468 Mallard was hooked to a set of carriages to conduct braking tests. However, the presence of a dynamometer car (carrying speed test equipment) suggested that an attempt on the speed record had been secretly planned, especially considering that the driver chosen to conduct these tests, Joseph Duddington, was renowned within the LNER for his ability to take a locomotive to its limits.

Indeed, on the return run between Grantham and Peterborough, on a straight stretch of track with a slight incline known as Stoke Bank, 4468 Mallard reached a speed of 126 mph. The exertions on the locomotive caused part of a cylinder to melt so after the train limped back to Peterborough, it had another locomotive attached to the front for the journey back to London to receive the plaudits of the press who had been informed of the success. Gresley only claimed a maximum speed of 125 mph, because, he said, the 126mph recorded by the instruments in the dynamometer car could only have been maintain for a few feet. Either way, it was enough to take the official world speed record for a steam train, a record that has remained unbroken for the last seventy years.

The LNER Encyclopaedia web site includes a history of the A4 Pacifics, and the Locos in Profile web site has a similar page dedicated to the LMS Coronation class.

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The world`s first public railway opened: 27th September 1825
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2 July 2012

On this day in history: First Zeppelin flight, 1900

In 1852, the French engineer, Henri Giffard, flew seventeen miles in the first powered airship. For the next fifty years other powered airships flew but each with the same limitation: size. This restriction was because non-rigid airships (or blimps) maintain their shape through the pressure of the gases within the envelope. Towards the end of the century various engineers began to work on designs for rigid airships, which could be much larger and have a far greater range. Foremost among these visionaries was the German Count, Ferdinand von Zeppelin.

In 1899, von Zeppelin started to manufacture a rigid airship based on the design of David Schwarz, a Croatian wood merchant. The design was used by the German entrepreneur Carl Berg to procure a contract to build an airship for the Prussian Government. After Schwarz died in 1897, Berg teamed up with von Zeppelin, who had seen the potential in rigid airships during the 1870s and could raise the capital required to fund the venture, and the German designer Theodor Kober who completed the design. Berg, von Zeppelin and a third investor, formed the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Luftschiffart (Society for the Promotion of Airships).

At a little after 8pm on 2nd July 1900, the Zeppelin LZ1 left its floating hanger on Lake Constance in southern Germany, and took to the skies: the first successful untethered rigid airship flight. The LZ1 was made from aluminium (supplied by Berg) covered in cotton cloth. It was over 400 feet long, nearly 40 feet wide, and was powered by two 15-horsepower Daimler internal combustion engines, which each turned a pair of propellers. The flight lasted seventeen minutes in which time the five passengers travelled 3.7 miles reaching a maximum altitude of 1,300 feet before landing back on the Lake

In spite of problems with the design and mechanics the LZ1 flew twice more before being scrapped. Nevertheless, the Society attracted no further investment and the three partners liquidated it. Undaunted, von Zeppelin continued to develop airships financed from his own pocket, as well as a lottery and private donations - which, somewhat perversely, flooded in following a well publicised crash landing of one of his airships. Within ten years of the first flight of the LZ1, his company was producing commercial airships, which were so popular that they became synonymous with him.

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Montgolfier Brothers first public balloon flight: 4th June 1783
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1 July 2012

On this day in history: Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signed, 1968

In November 1959, the Irish Minister for External Affairs, Frank Aiken, first proposed an international agreement to halt the increase in nations with nuclear weapons with a view to eventual disarmament. This United Nations General Assembly adopted the proposal in resolution 1380 (XIV), which suggested

.. that the ten-nation disarmament committee [...] should consider appropriate means whereby this danger may be averted, including the feasibility of an international agreement, subject to inspection and control, whereby the Powers producing nuclear weapons would refrain from handing over control of such weapons to any nation not possessing them and whereby the Powers not possessing such weapons would refrain from manufacturing them.
The next year, again by the initiative of Aiken, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 1576 (XV) that called upon the countries with nuclear weapons to voluntarily halt the proliferation of such devices.

In 1961, the Assembly adopted a further two resolutions: the first, 1664 (XVI), initiated by Sweden about the conditions of the agreement; the second, 1665 (XVI), was another Irish initiative to put the onus on those states with nuclear weapons to conclude an agreement. In 1965, three years after the world was brought to the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the USA and then USSR both submitted draft treaties to the United Nations Disarmament Committee. That same year, eight non-aligned states initiate the adoption of resolution 2028 (XX), which listed the five principles that would form the basis of the treaty. The next year the United Nations General Assembly adopted two more resolutions to maintain the momentum towards the goal of an agreement: 2149 (XXI) and 2153 (XXI).
In August 1967, the USA and USSR separately submit draft treaties with identical texts, and in December of that year the UN General Assembly adopts another resolution, 2346 (XXII), requesting that the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament report on its progress by March 1968. Two months before the report is due the USA and USSR submit a joint draft treaty, which, after a few amendments, is adopted by the Assembly in resolution 2373 (XXII).

On 1st July 1968, at separate ceremonies in London, Moscow and New York, representatives from sixty-two nations signed the treaty. Nevertheless, the treaty was not immediately brought into force. Various governments, including those of the Soviet Union and United States, needed to ratify the treaty. This process stalled because of the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, and was not completed until 5th March 1970 when the treaty finally came into effect. Today, 189 countries are party to the treaty with four notable exceptions: India; Israel; Pakistan; and, North Korea. The first three never ratified the treaty, whereas North Korea ratified it in 1985 but later withdrew.

The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs website includes a page dedicated to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which makes the text of the treaty available to download in pdf format in various languages.

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Rosenbergs executed: 19th June 1953
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