August 10th is a day of great navigation from Magellan setting sail to circumvent the globe, to the space probe named in his honor orbiting Venus to the ground breaking for the St. Lawrence Seaway. It is also the birthday of two the world’s great museum systems – the Louvre in Paris and Washington’s Smithsonian Institute.
It is a day marked by ethnic cleansing in colonial Canada and an apology for the Japanese Internment by the American government, the Pueblo Uprising and the swearing in of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman Supreme Court justice.
Magellan Begins First Voyage Around the World
The Ferdinand Magellan left Seville on this day to begin the first voyage around the world. The Portuguese Magellan was leading a Spanish expedition in search of a maritime path from Spain to East Asia through the Americas and across the Pacific Ocean and concluded by Spanish navigator Juan Sebastian Elcano in 1522. Magellan was killed in battle in the Philippines.
Exactly 471 years later, a satellite named in honor of the explorer began orbiting Venus to map the planet.
Vasa Sinks Minutes Into Maiden Voyage
The Vasa, one of the most powerfully armed vessels in the world, was commissioned by King of Sweden Gustavus Adolphus as a symbol of Sweden’s ambitions. From Wikipedia:
However, Vasa was dangerously unstable and top-heavy with too much weight in the upper structure of the hull. Despite this lack of stability she was ordered to sea and foundered only a few minutes after encountering a wind stronger than a breeze.
The ship was salvaged in 1961 and is today one of Sweden’s most popular tourist attractions.
Pueblo Revolt Drives Spanish Out of New Mexico (kind of)
The Pueblo Revolt (or Popé’s Rebellion) was an uprising of most of the indigenous Pueblo people against the Spanish colonizers in the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo México, present day New Mexico. The Pueblo Revolt killed 400 Spanish and drove the remaining 2,000 settlers out of the province — for a period. Twelve years later the Spanish returned and were able to reoccupy New Mexico with little opposition.
British Forces Begin Deportation of Acadians
Acadians, French settlers in Canada’s Maritime Provinces, were forcibly deported to the American colonies and/or Europe. Of the approximately 11,500 Acadians in the region, approximately one-third perished from disease or drowning. Some settled in Lousiana and began what is now known as Cajun culture. The event is considered one of the first examples of state sponsored ethnic cleansing.
The Louvre Opens
The world’s largest museum and the third most visited opened on Paris’ Right Bank. Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square meters (782,910 square feet).
The Smithsonian Institution is Chartered
The British scientist James Smithson (1765–1829) left most of his wealth to his nephew Henry James Hungerford. When Hungerford died childless in 1835, the estate passed “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge among men”, in accordance with Smithson’s will. The Smithsonian Institute was charted by Congress in 1846.
Termed “the nation’s attic” for its eclectic holdings of 154 million items, the Institution’s nineteen museums, nine research centers, and zoo include historical and architectural landmarks, mostly located in the District of Columbia. The Institution’s thirty million annual visitors are admitted without charge.
Groundbreaking for St. Lawrence Seaway
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the St. Lawrence Seaway, a system of locks, canals and channels in Canada and the United States that permit ocean-going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes of North America, as far inland as the western end of Lake Superior. The project was largely funded by Canada and was opened in 1959 by President Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II with a short cruise aboard the royal yacht HMY Britannia.
A study found that maritime commerce along this waterway supported 227,000 jobs; contributed $14.1 billion in annual personal income, $33.5 billion in business revenue, and $6.4 billion in local purchases; and added $4.6 billion to federal, state/provincial, and local tax revenues.
The US Makes Amends for Japanese Internment
On this day, President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which acknowledged the fundamental injustice of the evacuation, relocation, and internment of United States citizens and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry during World War II; apologize on behalf of the people of the United States for the evacuation, relocation, and internment of such citizens and permanent resident aliens; and made restitution to those individuals of Japanese ancestry who were interned.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Sworn in as Second Woman Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had served as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals since 1980, was nominated by President Clinton in 1993 to succeed retiring Justice Byron White. She was confirmed 963-3.