| Deaths which occurred
on a December 21:|
2001 Five Palestinians, in gunfight started by gunfire from the
funeral of a 17-year-old Islamic Jihad supporter at the Palestinian police
station of the Jebaliya refugee camp, Gaza Strip. Police officers return
fire. The battle goes on for more than an hour, despite appeals from
mosque preachers and the head of Islamic Jihad in the camp.The dead include
at least two Islamic Jihad gunmen. About 55 persons are wounded. The
al-Aqsa intifada body count now exceeds 840 Palestinians and 240 Israelis.
2000 Ahed Marish, 18, Palestinian hit by heavy-caliber gunfire
from an Israeli tank on Thursday as he was walking to his home near the
Karni crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
2000 Ahmed Awad, 41, Palestinian, by Israeli gunfire in a clash
near the town of Tulkarem In the West Bank. The Israeli military said
Palestinians fired at an army vehicle, and soldiers fired back. Palestinians
said that Awad was in his house when he was shot.
1995 Sesenta muertos y un centenar de heridos al estallar un coche-bomba
en un mercado de Peshawar (Pakistán).
|2000 Al Gross, 82,
inventor of the walkie-talkie and a father of wireless communication,
in Sun City Arizona
When Gross, who was born in Toronto
and grew up in Cleveland, demonstrated his prototype pager at
a medical conference in 1956, it flopped. Doctors told him they
didn't want to be bothered during their golf games. Decades
later, it delighted him to see such wide use of cellular phones
and pagers, a technological offshoot from his first devices.
He earned a degree in electrical engineering at Cleveland's
Case School of Applied Science, now Case Western Reserve University.
Seeing the potential for walkie-talkies, the military recruited
Gross into the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor of
the Central Intelligence Agency. There he developed a ground-to-air,
battery-operated radio that could transmit up to 50 km. The
device is credited with saving lives during World War II.
After the war, he formed the
Citizens Radio Corp. in Cleveland to produce two-way radios
for the public. His successful gave Gross the freedom and money
to continue inventing. In 1949 he devised the first wireless
Gross' ideas, for which he held
many patents, were so far advanced that most expired before
the world was ready for his inventions, and he didn't make much
money. I was born 35 years too soon," he once told the Arizona
Republic. If I still had the patents on my inventions, Bill
Gates would have to stand aside for me.
|1991 L'U.R.S.S se
La création de la Communauté
des Etats Indépendants consacre l’éclatement de l’Empire Soviétique.
Les anciennes républiques soviétiques, sauf les Etats Baltes
et la Géorgie s’associent ainsi dans un nouveau bloc où les
relations entre les états ne sont plus marquées par le totalitarisme
Le putsch politique de 1990,
en Russie, ne met pas fin au processus de négociation d’un traité
d’union entre les états de l’ancien empire rouge. Il reprend
au début de septembre. Un traité de communauté économique est
paraphé, puis signé en octobre. Mais seules deux des républiques
slaves sont présentes. L’Ukraine fait défaut.
Le projet de traité d’union discuté
en novembre au Conseil d’État, organe composé des présidents
des républiques sous la présidence de Mikhaïl Gorbatchev, ne
sera pas signé. Les présidents préfèrent le renvoyer aux Soviets
suprêmes des républiques fédérées pour gagner du temps, en attendant
le résultat du référendum en Ukraine, le 1er décembre. Mais
l’Ukraine, qui en mars s’était prononcée pour le maintien de
l’union, tranche cette fois en faveur de l’indépendance.
Boris Eltsine change alors de
stratégie. Il laisse de côté le président de l’U.R.S.S. et conclut,
à Minsk, le 8 décembre 1991, avec les présidents ukrainien et
biélorusse un accord sur la création d’une Communauté des États
indépendants (C.E.I.). Les compétences de cette dernière sont
réduites à celles qui avaient fait l’objet du traité russo-ukrainien
du 19 novembre 1990 : coordination de la politique extérieure,
coopération dans la formation et le développement de l’espace
économique commun, dans les domaines des transports, de la protection
de l’environnement, des migrations, de la criminalité.
Le 13 décembre, à Achkhabad,
les chefs d’État des cinq républiques d’Asie centrale expriment
le regret d’avoir été ignorés, mais manifestent le désir de
rejoindre la Communauté avec le statut de membre fondateur.
L’élargissement de la Communauté est réalisé à Alma-Ata, le
21 décembre 1991, avec non seulement les cinq républiques d’Asie
centrale, mais aussi l’Arménie, l’Azerbaïdjan et la Moldavie.
Les onze présidents constatent
que, avec la formation de la Communauté des États indépendants,
l’union des républiques socialistes soviétiques cesse d’exister.
Ils s’engagent à assurer l’exécution des obligations internationales
découlant des traités et accords de l’ancienne U.R.S.S. et donnent
leur accord pour que la Russie succède à l’U.R.S.S. à l’O.N.U.,
y compris comme membre permanent du Conseil de sécurité.
|1988 Melina Hudson, 16, Flora
Swire, 23, Miriam Luby Wolfe, 20, Thomas Ammerman, 36, Alexander
Lowenstein, 21, Theodora Cohen, 20, spouses Paula Jablonsky
Bouckley and Glenn Bouckley, John Patrick Flynn, John Cummock,
Colleen Brunner, Suzanne Miazga, Christopher Jones (born 4 March
1968), 20, Sarah Philipps, 20, Alexia Tsairis, 20, Karen Hunt,
20, Beth Ann Johnson, 21, Robert Leckburg Jr., 30, Richard Monetti,
20, Sgt. Phillip V. Bergstrom, Tony Hawkins, and 238 others
on Pan Am Flight 103, and 11 in Lockerbie, as the plane explodes.
New York bound Pan Am jumbo jet
explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland, all 258 aboard die. Libya
is suspected.Pan Am 103 disintegrated in mid-flight,
when a timer on a portable cassette radio packed with explosives
blew up in the plane’s forward cargo bay.
Pan Am Flight 103 from London
to New York explodes in midair over Lockerbie, Scotland, an
hour after departure. A bomb that had been hidden inside an
audio cassette player detonated inside the cargo area when the
plane was at an altitude of 31,000 feet. All 259 passengers,
including 38 Syracuse University students returning home for
the holidays, were killed in the explosion. In addition, 11
residents of Lockerbie were killed in the shower of airplane
parts that unexpectedly fell from the sky.
Authorities accused Islamic terrorists
of having placed the bomb on the plane while it was at the low-security
airport in Frankfurt, Germany. They apparently believed that
the attack was in retaliation for either the 1986 bombing attack
on Libya in which Gadhafi was the target, or a 1988 incident,
in which the United States killed 290 passengers when it mistakenly
shot down an Iran Air commercial flight over the Persian Gulf.
Sixteen days before the explosion
over Lockerbie, a call was made to the US embassy in Helsinki,
Finland, warning that a bomb would be placed on a Pan Am flight
out of Frankfurt. Though some claimed that travelers should
have been alerted to this threat, US officials later said
that the connection between the call and the bomb was purely
In the early 1990s, investigators
identified Libyan intelligence agents Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi
and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah as suspects, but Libya refused to turn
them over to be tried in the United States. But in 1999--in
an effort to ease United Nations sanctions against Libya--Colonel
Moammar Gadhafi agreed to turn the suspects over to Scotland
for trial in the Netherlands using Scottish law and prosecutors.
Pan Am "Flight 103"explodes
over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 -- In the evening of December
21st. 1988 flight Pan Am 103 exploded and pieces of the plane
fell onto the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 259 people
on the plane and 11 people on the ground. -- Pan Am 103 climbed
into the dark English sky at 6:25 in the evening on December
21, 1988. It headed northwest from London's Heathrow Airport
toward Scotland and the North Sea and, ultimately, scheduled
destinations in New York and Detroit. The Jumbo Jet carried
259 passengers and crew. The majority were Americans, many of
them returning for holiday gatherings with family and friends.
But just 38 minutes into the flight, as the 747 cruised at 31,000
feet over the border from England into Scotland, something in
the cargo hold exploded. It blew a hole the size of a large
dinner plate in the airliner's skin. The loss of air pressure
caused a powerful rush that broke the plane to pieces. Six miles
below, in the Scottish border town of Lockerbie a wing of the
747 fell directly on three houses, creating a fireball that
burned so hot it vaporized the homes and the eleven people inside
189 of the victims were Americans
The average passenger age was
27 — dozens of students returning home from studying abroad.
Marion Alderman Jablonski of Rome, N.Y., can remember the enormity
of all those racks of goods, the way Thomson handed her a blue
dress worn by her daughter, Paula.
Anna Marie Miazga, from Marcy. Anna Marie began weeping. She
wore a photo of her daughter Suzanne, an SU student,
, Patricia Brunner. Pat is from suburban Buffalo. Her daughter
Colleen, of Oswego State, was a passenger on Pan Am
Rosemary Wolfe, of Alexandria,
Va., whose 20-year-old stepdaughter, Miriam, died
Kathleen Flynn of Montville, N.J.,
whose son, John Patrick Flynn, was returning on Flight 103 from
a European study program.
Syracuse, N.Y., which lost 35
college students in the crash. 35 Syracuse University students
said Susan Cohen of Cape May Court
House, N.J., the mother of 20-year-old Theodora Cohen, who died
in the crash of Flight 103.
Paul Hudson, a New York lawyer
whose 16-year-old daughter, Melina, died on Pan Am 103. Melina
was a high-school exchange student on her way home from Exeter
Across the Atlantic, in the English
Midlands, parents of another young victim were equally devastated.
Flora Swire was a gifted and vivacious 23-year-old medical student
flying to New York to visit her American boyfriend when she
died on Pan Am 103.
Peter Lowenstein, a New Jersey
businessman, lost his son Alex
At approximately 7:03 p.m., Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over
the Scottish city of Lockerbie, killing all 259 people aboard
the plane. Fragments of the plane are scattered around the Lockerbie
area, and several large pieces crash into residential homes
and buildings in the city, killing eleven people on the ground.
The 747 jumbo jet was on its way from Frankfurt to New York
via London, and was flying at 9500 m when the explosion occurred.
The subsequent investigation by American and Scottish authorities
indicates that the blast was caused by a bomb smuggled into
the aircraft within a portable radio. Heathrow Airport in London
soon comes under fire for its ineffective security measures
and the US State Department offers a $400'000 reward for the
capture of the terrorists responsible. In November of 1991,
US and British investigators simultaneously name Abdel Baset
Ali Megrahi and Lamen Kalifa Fhima, two Libyans, as the key
suspects in the case. The men were working as airline officials
in the office of Libyan Arab Airlines at Luqa International
Airport in Malta at the time of the incident, and the prosecutors
believe that they could have smuggled the bomb through the luggage
transferring system. The US State Department subsequently
offers a four-million-dollar reward for the capture of the suspects
dead or alive, although there is considerable criticism from
the Western media and other groups about the quality of the
investigation and its findings.
For years, Libyan dictator
Ghaddafi refuses to surrender the two suspects, but, hoping
to get lifted the resulting sanctions against his country, finally
agrees that they be tried by a Scottish court sitting in the
Netherlands. On 31 January 2001, that court would convict Abdel
Baset Ali Megrahi and acquit Lamen Kalifa Fhima.
1980 Marc Connelly, 90, playwright (One Minute Please)
|1975 Three people killed in
attack on OPEC Headquarters led by Carlos the Jackal
In Vienna, Austria, Ilich Ramirez
Sanchez, known as "Carlos the Jackal," leads Arab terrorists
on a raid of a meeting of oil ministers from the Organization
of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The terrorists storm
in with machine guns, kill three people, and take seventy people
hostage, including eleven OPEC ministers. The group, calling
themselves the "Arm of the Arab Revolution," demand that an
anti-Zionist political statement that they had prepared be read
on radio stations across the Middle East. The Austrian government
subsequently agrees to negotiate with the terrorists, and eventually
allows the terrorists to travel with their hostages to Algeria,
where the eleven OPEC ministers and their staff are released
unharmed. In 1949, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez was born the son of
a millionaire Marxist lawyer in Caracas, Venezuela, and attended
Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow where he first became involved
with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. During
the 1970s and early 1980s, he acted as a freelance terrorist
for various Arab groups, and is alleged to have killed as many
as eighty people in a chain of bombings, hijackings, and assassinations.
Among the famous terrorists attacks he is linked to are the
1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, the
1975 seizure of OPEC oil ministers, the 1976 Palestinian hijacking
of a French jetliner to Entebbe, Uganda, and half-a-dozen attacks
on French targets. Nearly apprehended on several occasions,
Carlos the Jackal manages to evade international authorities
until 1994, when French agents capture him hiding in the Sudan.
Secretly extradited to France, he is sent to a French prison
where he spends three years before being put on trial in 1997
for the 1974 Paris murders of two French secret agents and a
pro-Palestinian Lebanese turned informer. On December 23, 1997,
a French jury finds Sanchez guilty, and he is sentenced to life
1954 Marilyn Sheppard, murdered, wife of Dr. Sam Sheppard, who
is accused of the crime.
1946 An earthquake and tidal wave kill hundreds in Japan.
1941 Tomás Vargas Osorio, poeta y periodista colombiano.
|1945 George S. Patton, Jr.,
60, the audacious and eccentric American general, dies in a
hospital in Heidelberg, Germany, from injuries sustained in
an automobile accident near Mannheim.
Born in San Gabriel, California, in 1885, Patton, whose family
had a long history of military service, Patton graduated from
the West Point Military Academy in 1909. He represented the
United States in the 1912 Olympics--as the first American participant
in the pentathlon. He did not win a medal. During World War
I, he served as a tank officer in France, and these experiences,
along with his extensive military study, made Patton a dedicated
proponent of tank warfare.
During World War II, as commander
of the US 7th Army, he captured Palermo, Sicily, in 1943 by
just such means. Patton's audacity became evident in 1944, when,
during the Battle of the Bulge, he employed an unorthodox strategy
that involved a 90-degree pivoting move of his 3rd Army forces,
enabling him to speedily relieve the besieged Allied defenders
of Bastogne, Belgium.
Along the way, Patton's mouth
proved as dangerous to his career as the Germans. When he berated
and slapped a hospitalized soldier diagnosed with "shell shock,"
but whom Patton accused of "malingering," the press turned on
him, and pressure was applied to cut him down to size. He might
have found himself enjoying early retirement had not General
Dwight Eisenhower and General George Marshall intervened on
his behalf. After several months of inactivity, he was put back
And work he did-at the Battle
of the Bulge, during which Patton once again succeeded in employing
a complex and quick-witted strategy, turning the German thrust
into Bastogne into an Allied counterthrust, driving the Germans
east across the Rhine. In March 1945, Patton's army swept through
southern Germany into Czechoslovakia-which he was stopped from
capturing by the Allies, out of respect for the Soviets' postwar
political plans for Eastern Europe.
Patton had many gifts, but diplomacy
was not one of them. After the war, while stationed in Germany,
he criticized the process of denazification, the removal of
former Nazi Party members from positions of political, administrative,
and governmental power. His impolitic press statements questioning
the policy caused Eisenhower to remove him as US commander
in Bavaria. He was transferred to the 15th Army Group, but in
December of 1945 he suffered a broken neck in a car accident
and died less than two weeks later.
After the American entrance into World War II, Patton, who been
placed in command of an important US tank division, played
a key role in the Allied invasion of French North Africa in
1942. In 1943, Patton led the US Seventh Army in its assault
on Sicily, and in 1944 commanded the US Third Army in the
invasion of France. In December of 1944, Patton's supreme expertise
in military movement and tank warfare helped crush the German
counteroffensive in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge.
Although Patton was one of the ablest American commanders from
World War II, he was also one of the most controversial. He
presented himself as a modern-day cavalryman, designed his own
uniform, and was known to make eccentric claims of his direct
descent from great military leaders of the past through reincarnation.
During the Sicilian campaign, Patton
generated considerable controversy when he accused a US soldier suffering
from a psychological disorder of being a coward, and then proceeded
to strike the young man across his face. The famously profane general
was forced to issue a public apology and was reprimanded by General
Dwight D. Eisenhower. However, when time for the invasion of Western
Europe came, Eisenhower could find no general as formidable as Patton,
and the general was again granted an important military post. During
one of his many successful campaigns, General Patton was once said
to have declared, "compared to war, all other forms of human endeavor
shrink to insignificance.
| F. Scott Fitzgerald, 44, author, of a
heart attack in Hollywood. His most brilliant novel was The
1940 Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald,
44 ans, auteur américain de romans et de nouvelles qui mettent en
scène l'ambiance et les mœurs des années 1920, qu'il appelait "l'âge
du Jazz", à Saint-Paul dans le Minnesota.
À l'université de Princeton,
il délaissa les études classiques pour suivre l'enseignement
d'écrivains et de critiques comme Edmund Wilson, auquel il resta
lié toute sa vie. En 1917, il quitta Princeton pour devenir
officier dans l'armée. C'est dans les camps d'entraînement de
l'armée qu'il procéda à la révision de son premier roman, intitulé
d'abord "l'Égoïste romantique", et publié finalement sous le
titre de This
Side of Paradise (1920). Alors qu'il se trouvait dans
un camp en Alabama, Fitzgerald tomba amoureux de Zelda Sayre,
parfait archétype de la jeune fille fantasque et délurée de
l'époque, figure qui deviendra un élément essentiel de la fiction
Side of Paradise (FITZGERALD ONLINE:), publié au printemps
de 1920, fit de Fitzgerald un homme riche, assez riche tout
au moins pour épouser la très mondaine Zelda. Dans ce roman
autobiographique, la lost generation, celle de l'après-guerre,
totalement désabusée, trouva un reflet de ses rêves brisés,
de ses incertitudes et de la vacuité de son existence.
L'ouvrage suivant, The Beautiful
and Damned (1922), un roman d'atmosphère qui dépeint les angoisses
et la débauche d'un couple aisé hanté par le pressentiment de la chute
prochaine, reçut un accueil plus mitigé. En revanche, les nouvelles
de Fitzgerald connaissaient un grand succès, et leurs revenus permettaient
d'assurer l'extravagant train de vie de Zelda, entre hôtels de luxe
et événements mondains. Sur plus de cent cinquante histoires, l'auteur
en retint quarante-six pour les publier dans quatre recueils, parmi
lesquels The Children of Jazz (1920) et A Diamond as Big
as the Ritz (1935).
En 1924, les Fitzgerald quittèrent
Long Island pour se rendre sur la Côte d'Azur, et ne revinrent
s'installer aux États-Unis qu'en 1931. En cinq mois, Fitzgerald
acheva The Great Gatsby (1925), fable sensible et satirique
sur la quête effrénée de la réussite et l'effondrement du rêve
américain. Bien que généralement considéré comme son chef-d'œuvre,
The Great Gatsby se vendit mal, ce qui contribua à accélérer
la ruine de sa vie personnelle. Zelda sombrait dans la folie
(elle fut hospitalisée plusieurs fois de 1930 à sa mort en 1948)
et lui dans l'alcoolisme. Il n'en continua pas moins d'écrire,
essentiellement pour des magazines. Ce n'est qu'en 1934 que
parut son quatrième roman Tender Is the Night, l'histoire
à peine voilée, presque la confession, de sa vie avec Zelda.
L'accueil très froid qui lui fut réservé accéléra la déchéance
de Fitzgerald, déchéance qu'il décrivit lui-même dans " la Fêlure
" (1945). Fitzgerald, partiellement remis, devint scénariste
à Hollywood en 1937, une expérience qui lui inspira son dernier
roman, l'un des plus aboutis, The Last Tycoon (1941).
Devant l'éclat et l'intelligence de ce livre, pourtant inachevé
à la mort de Fitzgerald la nuit du 20 au 21 décembre 1940, les
critiques révisèrent leur jugement à l'encontre de son auteur,
reconnu aujourd'hui comme l'un des plus brillants écrivains
américains du XXème siècle.
Other works of Fitzgerald:
Short stories. Flappers and Philosophers (1920); Tales
of the Jazz Age (1922); All the Sad Young Men (1926),
includes "The Rich Boy" and "Absolution"; Taps at Reveille
(1935). Notebooks and Letters. The Crack-up (1945); Letters
1933 Knud Rasmussen, explorador danés.
|1939 Day 22 of Winter War: USSR
aggression against Finland. [Talvisodan 22. päivä]
More deaths due to Stalin's desire to grab Finnish territory.
Soviet leader Joseph Stalin celebrates his 60th birthday
today. He will not get any part of Finland as a birthday
Terijoki: in honor of Stalin's birthday, Otto Wille Kuusinen's
'Finnish People's Government' holds a meeting and a parade
of the 'Finnish People's Army'. The meeting sends a telegram
congratulating Stalin on his birthday. At the same time,
enemy aircraft bomb two passenger trains in southern Finland.
Southern Finland: enemy fighters strafe a stationary train
on the edge of the forest between Helsinki and Turku for
15 minutes, killing three civilians.
Ladoga Karelia: Finnish troops in the Tolvajärvi sector
launch an assault in the evening to retake the village of
Ägläjärvi. The determined assaults by the Finnish strike
force of five battalions overcome the main force of the Russian
Civil defense officials point out that lighting restrictions
also apply to Christmas lights. This means, for example,
that candles must not be placed beside graves this year,
and outdoor Christmas trees must not be illuminated. People
should also remember to stay off the streets during air-raid
1929 Henry Herbert La Thangue,
British painter born on born on 19 January 1859. La Thangue studied
painting in London and Paris. As an artist he was against the old ideas
of salon painting supported by the Academy and encouraged the acceptance
of French ‘plein-air’, (painting in the open air instead of in a studio).
He is best remembered for paintings of life in the countryside.
Boy (155x118cm) At
the Well A
Ligurian Gulf Nightfall
(The Gleaners) The
1924 Jean André Rixens, French artist born on 30 November
Death of Cleopatra (1874)
1917 Wilhelm Heinrich Trübner, German artist born on 03 February
Gordan, 75, mathematician.
1894 Ramón Martí y Alsina, Spanish artist born in
1879 William Jamps Shayer Sr., British artist born in 1788.
Village Festival (1843, 90 x109cm)
1871 Paul Camille Guigou, French artist born on 15 February 1834.
1838 Jan Christianus Schotel, Dutch artist born on 11 November
|1866 Fetterman and 80 US soldiers,
in rare Amerindian victory.
Determined to challenge the growing
American military presence in their territory, Indians in northern
Wyoming lure Lieutenant Colonel William J. Fetterman and his
soldiers into a deadly ambush on this day in 1866. Tensions
in the region started rising in 1863, when John Bozeman blazed
the Bozeman Trail, a new route for emigrants traveling to the
Montana gold fields. Bozeman's trail was of questionable legality
since it passed directly through hunting grounds that the government
had promised to the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe in the Fort
Laramie Treaty of 1851. Thus when Colorado militiamen murdered
more than two hundred peaceful Cheyenne during the Sand Creek
Massacre of 1864, the Indians began to take revenge by attacking
whites all across the Plains, including the emigrants traveling
the Bozeman Trail. The US government responded by building
a series of protective forts along the trail; the largest and
most important of these was Fort Phil Kearney, erected in 1866
in north-central Wyoming.
Indians under the leadership
of Red Cloud and Crazy Horse began to focus their attacks on
Fort Phil Kearney, constantly harassing the soldiers and raiding
their wood and supply parties. On December 6, 1866, Crazy Horse
discovered to his surprise that he could lead a small detachment
of soldiers into a fatal ambush by dismounting from his horse
and fleeing as if he were defenseless. Struck by the foolish
impulsiveness of the soldiers, Crazy Horse and Red Cloud reasoned
that perhaps a much larger force could be lured into a similar
On the bitterly cold morning
of December 21, about 2000 Indians concealed themselves along
the road just north of Fort Phil Kearney. A small band made
a diversionary attack on a party of woodcutters from the fort,
and commandant Colonel Henry Carrington quickly ordered Colonel
Fetterman to go to their aid with a company of 80 troopers.
Crazy Horse and 10 decoy warriors then rode into view of the
fort. When Carrington fired an artillery round at them, the
decoys ran away as if frightened. The party of woodcutters made
it safely back to the fort, but Colonel Fetterman and his men
chased after the fleeing Crazy Horse and his decoys, just as
planned. The soldiers rode straight into the ambush and were
wiped out in a massive attack during which some 40,000 arrows
rained down on the hapless troopers. None of them survived.
With 81 fatalities, the so-called
Massacre was the army's worst defeat in the West until the
Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. Further Indian attacks eventually
forced the army to reconsider its commitment to protecting the
Bozeman Trail, and in 1868 the military abandoned the forts
and pulled out. It was one of only a handful of clear Indian
victories in the Plains Indian Wars.
On 14 May 1861 William Fetterman
joins the US Army William Fetterman, who will later lead 80
of his soldiers to their deaths at the hands of the Sioux, joins
the Union Army. By all accounts, Fetterman was a born fighting
man. During the Civil War he served with distinction and received
at least two battlefield promotions in recognition of his gallantry.
Like his better-known comrade George Custer, Fetterman emerged
from the Civil War with an unwavering confidence in himself
and his military abilities. Moreover, like Custer, his overconfidence
eventually proved to be his undoing. After the Civil War, Fetterman
was assigned to Fort Phil Kearny in northern Wyoming. Phil Kearny
was the most important of a series of forts that the US Army
constructed to defend the Bozeman Trail, a wagon road that branched
northwest from the Oregon Trail to the gold fields of Virginia
City, Montana. The route violated Sioux hunting grounds, and
Sioux warriors under Chief Red Cloud attacked travelers and
soldiers alike in protest. Fort Phil Kearny was an impressive
compound nearly the size of three football fields. The tall
wooden stockade around the fort made it nearly impregnable to
Indian attack, but the stockade also proved to be the fort's
Achilles' heel. In order to maintain the 2800-foot wooden stockade
and provide firewood for the bitter Wyoming winters, soldiers
traveled several miles from the fort to reach the nearest forests.
Frequently, small bands of Sioux attacked the group of soldiers
assigned to the "wood train," though casualties had not yet
been severe. When attacked, the soldiers quickly took up a strong
defensive position behind their circled wagons. The sound of
shots alerted the fort of an attack, and the Sioux fled as soon
as rescue squads arrived. Soon after Captain Fetterman arrived
at the fort in November 1866, he began to argue for troops to
pursue and wipe out the Indians who attacked the wood trains.
Though he had no significant experience fighting Indians, he
regarded them as contemptuous cowards who would be no match
for well-trained American troops. He often boasted that with
80 men he could travel through the heart of the Sioux Nation
with impunity. Fetterman began openly ridiculing the commander
of the fort, Colonel Henry Carrington, for failing to chase
down and destroy the Sioux. Carrington, however, had come to
suspect the Sioux attacks were only feints designed to lure
the larger rescue squad into an ambush and he forbade his officers
to pursue the fleeing Indians. Impetuous and overconfident,
Fetterman dismissed Carrington's fears. On December 21, 1866,
a small band of Indians again attacked the wood train. Carrington
ordered Fetterman and 80 soldiers to its relief, but historians
dispute whether Carrington explicitly ordered Fetterman not
to pursue the Indians that day. Fetterman and his men chased
after the Indians, failing to notice that they seemed to be
fleeing with a deliberate slowness. The decoys-one of whom was
a young brave named Crazy Horse-led the soldiers straight into
an ambush of almost 2,000 Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe warriors.
Fetterman and all of his soldiers were dead within 40 minutes.
The Fetterman Massacre, as it came to be called, was the worst
disaster suffered by the US Army in the Plains Indian War
until the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876.
1822 José Francisco Ortiz Sanz, escritor y religioso español.
1781 Gregorio Mayáns y Siscar, erudito español.
1693 Hendrik Mommers, Dutch artist born in 1623.
1579 Vicente Juan Masip (or Macip), Spanish artist born before
|1597 Peter Canisius,
an energetic Dutch Jesuit who established the Catholic counter-reformation
in Germany and Austria.
Né en 1521, fils de Jakob Kanis,
bourgmestre de Nimègue, Pierre eut une jeunesse pieuse. En 1536,
il vint à Cologne pour étudier le droit, mais il s’appliqua
aussi à la théologie et à la spiritualité. Ami des chartreux
et des spirituels rhénans, il fut subjugué par Pierre Fabre,
un des premiers compagnons de saint Ignace de Loyola et entra
dans la toute jeune Compagnie de Jésus le 8 mai 1543. Diacre
en 1544, prêtre en 1546, il continua ses travaux d’édition en
publiant saint Cyrille d’Alexandrie et saint Léon le Grand.
L’archevêque de Cologne, favorable
aux protestants, tenta d’éloigner Canisius. Celui-ci plaida
si bien sa cause auprès de Charles Quint que l’archevêque fut
déposé. En 1547, l’évêque d’Augsbourg emmena Canisius comme
théologien au concile de Trente. Le concile fut bientôt interrompu,
saint Ignace appela son disciple à Rome et l’envoya en Sicile.
Dès 1549, Canisius en revint, devenant docteur en théologie
à son passage à Bologne.
Il commença par organiser l’université
d’Ingolstadt, puis il entreprit dans tous les pays germaniques
le redressement du catholicisme, par la prédication, la diffusion
des livres théologiques, le catéchisme et par l’action auprès
des papes, des évêques et des princes. Il joua aussi un rôle
actif dans l’heureuse conclusion du concile de Trente.
L’œuvre littéraire de Pierre
Canisius est importante et elle connut un succès considérable
et durable. Après avoir présenté l’essentiel de la religion
dans une " Summa doctrinae " , il la résuma dans des catéchismes
qui eurent un tel succès que, durant trois siècles, on employa
en allemand le mot " Kanisi " pour désigner un catéchisme. Il
défendit le culte de la Vierge.
En 1581, Pierre Canisius fut
envoyé à Fribourg en Suisse. Il recueillit l’histoire des saints
du pays et entretint des correspondances avec de multiples personnes.
Il y mourut le 21 décembre 1597. Béatifié en 1864, Pierre Canisius
fut proclamé saint et docteur de l’Église en 1925. Sa fête,
placée alors au 27 avril, a été ramenée au 21 décembre lors
de l’établissement du nouveau calendrier.
Giovanni Boccaccio, 62, author.
It was probably in the years 1348-53
that Boccaccio composed the Decameron in the form in which it
is read today. In the broad sweep of its range and its alternately
tragic and comic views of life, it is rightly regarded as his
masterpiece. Stylistically, it is the most perfect example of
Italian classical prose, and its influence on Renaissance literature
throughout Europe was enormous.
The Decameron begins with the
flight of 10 young people (7 women and 3 men) from plague-stricken
Florence in 1348. They retire to a rich, well-watered countryside,
where, in the course of a fortnight, each member of the party
has a turn as king or queen over the others, deciding in detail
how their day shall be spent and directing their leisurely walks,
their outdoor conversations, their dances and songs, and, above
all, their alternate storytelling. This storytelling occupies
10 days of the fortnight (the rest being set aside for personal
adornment or for religious devotions); hence the title of the
book itself, Decameron, or "Ten Days' Work. The stories thus
amount to 100 in all. Each of the days, moreover, ends with
a canzone (song) for dancing sung by one of the storytellers,
and these canzoni include some of Boccaccio's finest lyric poetry.
In addition to the 100 stories, Boccaccio has a master theme,
namely, the way of life of the refined bourgeoisie, who combined
respect for conventions with an open-minded attitude to personal
The sombre tones of the opening
passages of the book, in which the plague and the moral and
social chaos that accompanies it are described in the grand
manner, are in sharp contrast to the scintillating liveliness
of Day I, which is spent almost entirely in witty disputation,
and to the playful atmosphere of intrigue that characterizes
the tales of adventure or deception related on Days II and III.
With Day IV and its stories of unhappy love, the gloomy note
returns; but Day V brings some relief, though it does not entirely
dissipate the echo of solemnity, by giving happy endings to
stories of love that does not at first run smoothly. Day VI
reintroduces the gaiety of Day I and constitutes the overture
to the great comic score, Days VII, VIII, and IX, which are
given over to laughter, trickery, and license. Finally, in Day
X, all the themes of the preceding days are brought to a high
pitch, the impure made pure and the common made heroic.
The prefaces to the days and
to the individual stories and certain passages of especial magnificence
based on classical models, with their select vocabulary and
elaborate periods, have long held the attention of critics.
But there is also another Boccaccio: the master of the spoken
word and of the swift, vivid, tense narrative free from the
proliferation of ornament. These two aspects of the Decameron
made it the fountainhead of Italian literary prose for the following
The influential 19th-century
critic Francesco De Sanctis regarded the Decameron as a "Human
Comedy" in succession to Dante's Divine Comedy and Boccaccio
as the pioneer of a new moral order superseding that of the
European Middle Ages. This view is no longer tenable, however,
since the Middle Ages can no longer be presented as having been
wholly ascetic or wholly concerned with God and heavenly salvation
in contrast with a Renaissance concerned only with the human.
Also, in particular, the whole corpus
of Boccaccio's work is basically medieval in subject matter, form,
and taste, at least in its point of departure. It is the spirit in
which Boccaccio treats his subjects and his forms that is new. For
the first time in the Middle Ages, Boccaccio in the Decameron deliberately
shows man striving with fortune and learning to overcome it. To be
truly noble, according to the Decameron, man must accept life as it
is, without bitterness, must accept, above all, the consequences of
his own action, however contrary to his expectation or even tragic
they may be. To realize his own earthly happiness, he must confine
his desire to what is humanly possible and renounce the absolute without
regret. Thus Boccaccio insists both on man's powers and on their inescapable
limitations, without reference to the possible intervention of divine
grace. A sense of spiritual realities and an affirmation of moral
values underlying the frivolity even in the most licentious passages
of the Decameron are features of Boccaccio's work that modern criticism
has brought to light and that make it no longer possible to regard
him only as an obscene mocker or sensual cynic.
Il semblerait que Boccace, de
son vrai nom Giovanni Boccacio soit né à Paris, fruit d'une
union illégitime entre son père, un marchand florentin, et une
femme de la noblesse française. Élevé à Florence, il fut envoyé
à Naples vers 1323 pour y suivre des études de comptabilité
qu'il abandonna au profit du droit canon, des études classiques
et scientifiques. Il trouva sa place dans la cour de Robert
d'Anjou, roi de Naples, et il semble même qu'il eut pour maîtresse
la fille illégitime de ce roi, Maria de Conti d'Aquino, peut-être
la fameuse Fiammetta qui revient si fréquemment dans l'œuvre
En 1340, il retourna à Florence
où il fut chargé de plusieurs missions diplomatiques par les
autorités de la ville. En 1350, il rencontra le poète et humaniste
Pétrarque avec lequel il entretint une longue amitié jusqu'à
la mort de ce dernier, en 1374.
En 1362, Boccace se rendit à
Naples, sur l'invitation d'un ami qui lui promettait la protection
de Jeanne Ire, alors à la tête du royaume napolitain. Cependant,
l'accueil fut si froid qu'il alla à Venise demander l'hospitalité
à Pétrarque (1363) qui non seulement l'accueillit mais lui offrit
une maison. Boccace refusa avant de rentrer chez lui, à Certaldo,
près de Florence. Au cours des dernières années de sa vie, il
se consacra à la méditation religieuse et eut la joie de se
voir chargé officiellement de conférences sur Dante (1373).
Malheureusement, la maladie le contraignit à arrêter son activité
en 1374. Il mourut l'année suivante, le 21 Décembre 1375.
L'œuvre majeure de Boccace demeure
le " Décaméron " (Il Decamerone) qu'il commença en 1348 et acheva
en 1353. Boccace y évoque tout d'abord l'histoire de dix amis,
sept femmes et trois hommes "de valeur, bien éduqués et discrets",
qui se sont réfugiés dans une villa de campagne, aux environs
de Florence, afin d'échapper à une épidémie de peste qui sévit
en ville. Pour se distraire tout au long des dix jours de leur
retraite, ils se racontent des histoires à tour de rôle : ces
histoires constituent les fameuses cent nouvelles pleines d'esprit,
contées dans l'ouvrage. À chaque fin de journée, l'un des dix
protagonistes chante une canzone et, lorsque s'achève la centième
histoire, les amis rentrent chez eux.
Le Décaméron est l'une des plus
belles manifestations de la Renaissance italienne, en littérature.
Sans même parler des canzoni, avec lesquelles Boccace atteint
le sommet de son art, les histoires qui le composent sont aussi
variées que riches et le ton employé passe avec finesse de la
solennité à l'humour truculent. La maîtrise de l'écriture est
parfaite et l'étude des personnages dénote une grande sensibilité.
Pour composer cette œuvre, Boccace
s'est inspiré à la fois des fabliaux français, des textes de
l'Antiquité grecque et romaine, du folklore et de sa propre
observation de la vie italienne. Le Décaméron rompt avec la
tradition littéraire en ce sens où, pour la première fois au
Moyen Âge, l'homme est présenté non plus comme totalement dépendant
de la volonté divine mais comme le maître de sa destinée.
Giovanni Boccaccio nacque nel
1313 (giugno o luglio) in Toscana (forse a Certaldo o a Firenze:
oggi non si ritiene più attendibile la notizia di una sua nascita
Era figlio "naturale" (nato cioè
al di fuori del matrimonio) di un mercante, Boccaccio di Chellino,
e di una donna di cui non si sa il nome: ma venne riconosciuto
e legittimato dal padre, e visse in famiglia con pari diritti
rispetto ai fratelli.
Dopo i primi studi a Firenze,
nel 1327 venne mandato dal padre a Napoli prima a far pratica
mercantile, poi, vista la sua svogliata applicazione a questa
attività, a studiare diritto canonico.
In quegli anni Giovanni studiò
i classici latini, e la letteratura cortese francese e italiana,
e scrisse le sue prime opere: Filocolo (1336-38), Filostrato
(1335), Teseida (1339-41), Caccia di Diana (1334/38 ) e le Rime
(la cui composizione rimanda ad anni diversi). Ebbe anche presumibilmente
relazioni amorose, che più tardi esprime, secondo un costume
stilnovistico, nella figura di Fiammetta, identificata un tempo
con una Maria figlia naturale (anche lei!) di re Roberto d'Angiò
e maritata nella casa dei conti d'Aquino: la consistenza storica
di questa donna è però oggi largamente messa in dubbio dagli
Nel 1341 dovette tornare a Firenze
dal padre il quale aveva difficoltà economiche a causa del fallimento
della banca di Bardi. Comporrà nuove opere poetiche e narrative:
Ninfale d'Ameto o Commedia delle Ninfe fiorentine (1341-42),
Elegia di madonna Fiammetta (1343-44), Ninfale fiesolano (1344-46).
Boccaccio frequenta le corti della Romagna (Ravenna, Forlì)
in cerca di un impiego.
Nel 1348 è di nuovo a Firenze,
dove assiste alla peste e dopo la morte del padre (1350?) vi
rimase per amministrare lo scarso patrimonio. Cominciò a partecipare
in vario modo alla vita pubblica e culturale della sua città,
e gli furono affidati uffici e ambascerie. Nel frattempo andava
componendo quella che noi consideriamo la sua opera maggiore,
il Decameron, terminato nel 1351.
Negli ultimi anni si stringe il rapporto di amicizia con Francesco
Petrarca, il "glorioso maestro" che lo aveva persuaso a dirigere
la mente verso le cose eterne lasciando da parte il diletto
di quelle temporali. clic sull'immagine per un ingrandimento
Il Petrarca lo aiutò a superare
una crisi religiosa, indirizzando l'attività del Boccaccio verso
la cultura letteraria di tipo "umanistico": le opere tarde del
Boccaccio saranno in latino, e fra queste va citata la "Genealogia
deorum gentilium", un grande trattato di mitologia greco-romana,
che per due o tre secoli rimase il libro più consultato su questo
Negli stessi anni si dedica allo
studio dell'opera di Dante, per cui ebbe un vero e proprio culto:
di questa attività resta il "Trattatello in laude di Dante",
e le lezioni con cui commentava pubblicamente la "Divina" Commedia
(è stato il Boccaccio ad usare e ad imporre nell'uso questo
aggettivo). Morì il 21 dicembre 1375.
[< CLICK per un ritratto di Giovanni Boccaccio realizzato
del Castagno (1450)]
La raccolta di novelle è stata
quasi certamente scritta fra il 1349 e il 1353, all'indomani
cioè della terribile pestilenza che dal 1348 devastò l'Europa.
Come dice il titolo grecizzante l'azione si svolge e si chiude
nel giro di dieci giorni. Dopo un "proemio" indirizzato alle
"vaghe donne" che per prova conoscano l'amore, la lunga introduzione
alla prima giornata dà un quadro terrificante dell'atmosfera
di orrore e di morte che circonda Firenze in preda alla peste.
Boccaccio immagina che sette fanciulle e tre giovani uomini
si rifugino in una villa dei vicini colli per sfuggire al contagio
e per trascorrere un po' di tempo allegramente fra amabili conversari,
banchetti e danze. Ogni giorno, tranne il venerdì e il sabato
dedicati a pratiche religiose, i giovani si radunano su un prato,
per raccontare novelle, una per ciascuno; queste si svolgono
intorno a un tema prestabilito, proposto ogni volta dal re o
dalla regina eletti quotidianamente dalla compagnia. Dopo ciascun
gruppo di racconti trova posto una "conclusione" suggellata
da una ballata.
Decameron (in Italian and English) _ The
Decameron (in Italian and English, with commentary)
Most Pleasant and Delectable Questions of Love (in English