A Brief History
This article presents a video timeline for students of Modern World History (History 11051) at Kent State University at Stark.
For each date below, please click on the date to be taken to a video covering that date’s event. After watching that video, please post a one or two sentence comment in the comments section for the video that demonstrates that you watched the video.
These comments or “thesis statements” are 1-2 sentence summaries of the video. They should include the most important aspects of each video. In other words, the thesis statement should include the individuals involved, the time period, and significance of the event.
For example, if you watched a video on the Declaration of Independence, your comment could be something like the following: “The Declaration of Independence of 1776, originally drafted by Thomas Jefferson, formally declared the American colonies independent from Great Britain. The Declaration also argued that all men are created equal with natural-born rights and that the government exists to secure said rights.”
Although I would prefer that you post your comments directly on the videos (every time anyone comments on one of my videos, I receive an email notification), if you are uncomfortable posting public comments on YouTube, you may instead email to me a list of your comments sent as a Word attachment. If you email me your comments, for each comment, please be sure to include a footnote indicating what video your comment corresponds with. To cite a YouTube video in a footnote, you should follow the following format:
AuthorFirstName AuthorLastName, “Title of Video,” YouTube video, running time, publication date, URL.
Here is an example:
Matthew Zarzeczny, “July 3, 1863: 5 Valiant but Failed Attacks (Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg),” YouTube Video, 8:22, July 6, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-x3gb11YlE.
Your comments on each unit’s videos should be completed by the date on the syllabus for when we finish that unit.
- On July 7, 1550, chocolate is thought to have been introduced to Europe from the Americas.
- In the mid-2010s, Dr. Zar and his students gave a public presentation on the history of various sites in Ohio.
- On December 24, 2018, a cute dachshund got, played with, and defended her 2018 Christmas present!
1. The General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century
- On June 23, 1611, the ship appropriately named Discovery, captained by explorer Henry Hudson, was in what is now called Hudson Bay and was the scene of a mutiny.
2. Constitutionalism versus Absolutism
- On June 23, 1534, Oda Nobunaga drew his first breath in a culture overflowing with violence.
- On May 23, 1701, Scottish Captain William Kidd was hanged in London for piracy and murder.
- On January 30, 1703, 47 Japanese samurai avenged the forced suicide of their feudal lord.
- The 22nd of November is indelibly etched in the public’s mind with the death of a revered hero! (And John F. Kennedy also died on November 22nd.) Yes, pirate aficionados everywhere mourn the 1718 loss of one of the most colorful pirates of all time, Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard.
3. The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment
- On February 7, 1497, the followers of Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola of Florence, Italy, gathered and burned a large quantity of objects they referred to as “vanities,” objects such as cosmetics, books, artwork, mirrors, fancy clothes, playing cards, and musical instruments, any objects these religious zealots thought could lead people to sin.
- On January 31, 1747, the London Lock Hospital opened, the first clinic specifically for the treatment of venereal diseases!
4. The American and French Revolutions
- March 14, 1757, was a sad, black day in the annals of the Royal Navy for on that day, Admiral Sir John Byng was executed by firing squad on the deck of HMS Monarch.
- On April 14, 1772, the building tension toward open rebellion of Americans against the British erupted in New Hampshire in an incident known as The Pine Tree Riot.
- On October 5, 1789, the women of Paris marched to Versailles to confront King Louis XVI about his refusal to abolish feudalism, to demand bread, and to force the King and his court to move to Paris.
- On January 7, 1797, the first use of the Green, White, and Red tricolor Italian flag was seen in use by the Cisalpine Republic (formerly Milan) after Napoleon Bonaparte’s conquering of that region in 1796.
- On March 23, 1801, some of the Russian nobility and military officers that had been fired expressed their discontent in the time honored tradition of killing the monarch!
- On May 20, 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul (later Emperor) of France, made a mistake he later regretted the rest of his life when he reinstated slavery in the French colonies.
- On June 1, 1813, the commander of the USS Chesapeake, James Lawrence, lay dying, and uttered the immortal words, “Don’t give up the ship!”
- On July 15, 1815, Emperor Napoleon I of France surrendered to the British aboard the HMS Bellerophon.
- On November 10, 2017, the audio-book version of Simply Napoleon was published.
6. Industrialism, Nationalism, and Imperialism
- On May 5, 1809, Mary Kies became the first woman granted a US patent.
- On July 19, 1814, Samuel Colt was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and though he lived only to the age of 47 became rich and famous as the man that made the repeating firearm a practical reality.
- On February 9, 1825, the United States of America had the only incident (so far) of no presidential candidate winning a majority of the Electoral votes in a presidential election, forcing the House of Representatives to elect our next president.
- On June 5, 1829, the British ship, HMS Pickle, a 5 gun schooner, captured an armed slave ship, the Voladora, off the coast of Cuba.
- On January 13, 1842, the lone survivor of a British army in Afghanistan staggered into Jalalabad!
- On July 1, 1863, the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania began, perhaps the most important battle of the US Civil War.
- On July 3, 1863, the Army of the Potomac fought a defensive battle against the Army of Northern Virginia at the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg.
- On May 31, 1866, Irish nationalists known as Fenian Brotherhood invaded Canada in an attempt to force Britain into granting Ireland independence.
- On December 25, 1868, much maligned and embattled President of the United States Andrew Johnson issued a blanket pardon for all Confederate veterans of the US Civil War.
- On February 5, 1869, prospectors Richard Oates and John Deason of Australia found the incredibly large alluvial gold nugget known as “Welcome Stranger,” a rock weighing almost 300 pounds!
- On January 9, 1873, Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, died after ruling France for a longer reign than any other leader since the French Revolution.
- On July 14, 1881, the outlaw known as Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garret in New Mexico.
- On August 12, 1883, the last known living specimen of the Quagga died, and the species became extinct.
- On January 20, 1885, LaMarcus A. Thompson patented his version of the modern roller coaster, and Coney Island, New York became ground zero for it!
- On September 4, 1886, after almost 30 years of raiding Mexican and white settlers and battling the U.S. Army, Apache war leader Geronimo finally surrendered in Arizona to U.S. Army General Nelson Miles.
- On February 2, 1887 (or 1886), the first Groundhog Day celebration took place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and such celebrations have been taking place over and over again ever since (on each February 2nd)!
- On January 23, 1897, Elva Zona Heaster, about 24 years old, was found dead, later proven to have been murdered by her husband through her own ghost’s testimony!
7. World War I
- On June 22, 1893, the British battleship HMS Camperdown accidentally collided with the British battleship HMS Victoria off the coast of Lebanon.
- On January 5, 1895, French Army officer Alfred Dreyfus was falsely convicted of treason for allegedly having passed along secret information to the Germans in what famously became known as the Dreyfus Affair and was sentenced to live at the dreaded Devil’s Island prison in French Guiana.
- On July 8, 1898, gangster and con artist Jefferson R. “Soapy” Smith was killed in a shootout with a vigilance committee on the Juneau, Alaska wharves.
- On May 23, 1901, the Attorney General of Paris, France, received an anonymous note that a woman was being kept prisoner by her own mother.
- On August 10, 1901, Charlotte Anne Moberly (1846–1937) and Eleanor Jourdain (1863–1924) traveled by train to Versailles to visit the Royal Palace and grounds located there about 12 miles from the city center of Paris.
- On February 27, 1902, a British firing squad carried out the execution of convicted war criminal, Australian Lt. Harry “Breaker” Morant.
- On May 27, 1907, in the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the city by the bay came down with an epidemic of Bubonic Plague, the same plague responsible for the infamous “Black Death” in earlier centuries.
- On January 19, 1913, the Holly Hotel in Holly, Michigan burned for the first time!
- On July 11, 1914, the major league career of George Herman Ruth began, with Ruth pitching for the victory of the Red Sox over the Cleveland Naps.
- On August 2, 1916, Austrian saboteurs managed to sink the Italian battleship, Leonardo da Vinci as the great ship lay in Taranto harbor.
- On August 18, 1920, the United States ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
8. The Russian Revolution
- On December 29, 1916, possibly the most cracked clergyman of all time finally met his doom, having been poisoned, shot, and drowned, thereby rivaling Blackbeard for the claim of bearded bad-ass who most went out “like a boss”!
9. Fascism and Nazism
- On August 16, 1927, the Dole Air Race began, with 8 airplanes taking off from Oakland, California and heading to Honolulu, Hawaii.
- On August 27, 1928, countries that were bitter enemies in World War I signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact to renounce war as a means to resolve disputes and conflicts between nations.
- On June 17, 1932, 17,000 United States military veterans of World War I and 25,000 of their friends and family gathered in Washington, D.C. to demand early payment of their service certificate war bonuses.
10. World War II and the Holocaust
- On December 27, 1922, the Imperial Japanese Navy commissioned the first aircraft carrier in the world that was designed and built as an aircraft carrier, the Hōshō.
- On January 27, 1939, one of the great American fighter planes of World War II, the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, made its first flight.
- On February 11, 1939, a prototype Lockheed P-38 Lighting twin engine fighter plane flew from California to New York in a then record 7 hours and 2 minutes.
- On March 12, 1940, an epic battle of a David against a Goliath ended in a draw!
- On January 9, 1941, the premier British bomber of World War II, the Avro Lancaster, made its maiden flight.
- On January 17, 1941, French colonial naval forces engaged the naval forces of Siam (Thailand after 1948) during the Franco-Thai War, a smaller war within the larger conflagration that was World War II.
- On March 19, 1941, the U.S. Army Air Corps activated the famed African-American aviation unit known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
- On July 18, 1942, the Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (Swallow in English) made its first test flight using its jet engines.
- On May 17, 1943, RAF Squadron 617, later known as The Dambusters, embarked on Operation Chastise, a plan to bomb and destroy 2 dams to flood the Ruhr Valley in Germany.
- On June 3, 1943, US Navy sailors and US Marines tangle with Latino young men in what is known as The Zoot Suit Riots.
- On February 13, 1945, bombers from the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the American Air Force (USAAF) struck the eastern German city of Dresden, a city so beautiful it was once known as the “Florence on the Elbe,” incinerating tens of thousands of people.
- On March 14, 1945, a British Lancaster heavy bomber dropped a bomb known as the “Grand Slam,” a 22,000 lb behemoth that was the largest and most powerful bomb ever used up to that time.
- On July 16, 1945, Manhattan Project scientists held their breath as the clock ticked down to the first man-made nuclear blast in history.
11. Consequences of World War II
- On January 1, 1950, a new method of designating what year it is (or was) went into effect with the BP system, meaning “Before Present.”
- On January 14, 1950, the MiG-17 Soviet jet fighter made its first flight, a plane that would go on to become the 3rd most produced jet fighter in aviation history.
- On March 1, 1953, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin suffered an alleged stroke that led to his death on March 5, 1953 at the age of 74.
- On January 7, 1960, the United States first successfully test launched the Polaris Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) from their launching facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
- On August 31, 1965, fans of super-different airplanes could add another oddity to their list when the Aero Spacelines Super Guppy made its first flight.
- On February 21, 1973, the Israeli Defense Force sent American-built F-4 Phantoms to shoot down a Boeing 727 operated by Libyan Arab Airlines.
12. The Culture of Protest
- On January 29, 1967, the “hippie” counterculture scene melded with Hare Krishna at the Mantra-Rock Dance in San Francisco, later referred to as “the ultimate high.”
- On July 31, 1970, the British Royal Navy experienced one of the darkest days in their long and glorious history, Black Tot Day.
- On June 8, 1972, Nick Ut of the Associated press took his famous photograph of a 9 year old Vietnamese girl running naked from a US napalm attack.
- On March 6, 1975, entranced Americans were glued to their television sets to watch the first mass public showing of the infamous “Zapruder Film” that depicted the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.
- On December 30, 1977, serial killer Ted Bundy escaped from jail and went on to continue his killing spree.
13. The End of the Cold War
- On January 8, 1981, a close encounter with a UFO left actual physical evidence!
- On January 28, 1986, the U.S. space shuttle Challenger took off right on schedule, only to explode 74 seconds later, killing all seven crew members on board in front of a horrified live television audience.
- On July 8, 1994, Kim Jong-Il assumed control of North Korea upon the death of his father, Kim Il-Sung.
- On August 14, 1994, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, Venezuelan terrorist and one of the most wanted men in the world, was finally arrested by authorities in the Sudan and turned over to French law enforcement.
- On February 3, 1995, Space Shuttle mission STS-63 lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral Florida for space with a woman pilot for the first time.
- On January 12, 1998, 19 European nations agreed to prohibit the cloning of humans.
- On May 13, 1998, Jakarta (or Djakarta) Indonesia experienced race riots directed against the ethnic Chinese minority.
- On November 20, 1998, a huge step in the history of space exploration took place when the Zarya segment of the International Space Station (ISS) was launched, the first part of the largest man-made object to orbit the Earth.
- On December 22, 2001, Richard Colvin Reid, age 28, of London, England, attempted to destroy an airliner in flight on its way to Miami, Florida by the use of explosives hidden in his shoe.
- On January 24, 2003, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began its operations.
- On February 1, 2003, the United States suffered the second loss of a space shuttle, this time the Columbia.
- On May 29, 2004, President George W. Bush dedicated the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C..
- On August 1, 2007, the Interstate -35 westbound bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis came tumbling down during the evening rush hour, killing 13 and injuring 145.
- On May 11, 2014, 69 countries and territories celebrate Mother’s Day, including the United States.
- On May 22, 2015, voters in Ireland passed a referendum legalizing same sex marriage.
- Named by President Obama as his nominee for Secretary of the Army in November 2015, Eric Fanning, a 47 year old graduate of Dartmouth and a Defense Department employee, was confirmed for the job by the US Senate on May 17, 2016, making him the first openly gay Secretary of a US Military branch.
- On this day, June 21, 2017, two films featuring titular supernatural females are battling for box office supremacy at the global box office.
- On January 1, 2018, we take a fond look back at the tumultuous year of 2017, a year in which a remarkable number of prominent people got fired.
- On June 10, 2018, Dr. Zar visited Waldameer Park in Pennsylvania as part of the Dark Attraction & Funhouse Enthusiasts’ 50 Years of Devilish Fun event. The following video is from Dr. Zar’s behind-the-scenes tour and subsequent ride on the Whacky Shack, an award-winning dark ride built by Bill Tracy in 1970!
- On July 4, 2018, 242 years after Americans declared their independence from Great Britain’s King George III, Dr. Zar and Major Dan journeyed to the Community Stadium in Ashland, Ohio to celebrate.
- On August 18, 2018, Dr. Zar visited the Lexington Blueberry Festival in Ohio for food, fun, music, and fireworks!
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For more information, please see…
Zarzeczny, Matthew D. Meteors That Enlighten the Earth: Napoleon and the Cult of Great Men. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.
Markham, J. David and Matthew Zarzeczny. Simply Napoleon. Simply Charly, 2017.
The featured image in this article, “The Life & Age of Woman – Stages of Woman’s Life from the Cradle to the Grave”, a ca. 1849 U.S. print by Kelloggs & Comstock illustrating 11 chronological stages of virtuous womanhood (with the 30’s evidently considered to be the peak years), each accompanied by a descriptive verse couplet, edited from image http://memory.loc.gov/master/pnp/cph/3g00000/3g03000/3g03600/3g03651u.tif at the Library of Congress website, is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or less. At left is a flourishing green tree, at right a symbolic weeping willow. For another version of this print, see File:Life and age of woman.jpg. (For a similar German-language graphic, see File:Waldenbuch-Stufenalter der Frau52657a.jpg.) An approximate transcription of the verse couplets in the image (some of the words are quite hard to read):
1) Infant in cradle:
- “A wailing infant, first she plays,
- Unconscious of her future days.”
2) Young girl with doll:
- “Her girlish pastimes reveal for show
- The cares which woman’s life must know.”
3) Late teen girl in grownup clothes:
- “Her ripened beauty all confess
- And wonder at her loveliness.”
4) Bride in white dress and veil:
- “A husband’s arms, in hope and pride,
- “Enclasp her now, a lovely bride.”
5) Young mother holding baby:
- “A mother’s anxious love and care
- With toilful heart is hers to share.”
6) Dressed to go outdoors (i.e. now that she no longer has babies or toddlers in the house, she can now take an interest in matters outside the home — though in a strictly private and individual charitable capacity, of course):
- “Now to the poor her hands dispense
- the blessings of benevolence.”
7) Middle-aged woman (first declining step):
- “Absorbed in household duties now,
- The weight of toil contracts her brow.”
8) In black bonnet and holding handkerchief (suggesting the latter stages of mourning, perhaps her husband has died):
- “She now resigns all earthbound care
- And lifts her soul to heaven in prayer.”
9) Old, wearing spectacles:
- “At eighty years, her well-stored mind
- “Imparts its blessings to her kind”
10) Bent over, using cane:
- “The hoary head, us all should bless,
- Who abound in ways of righteousness.”
11) Sitting in chair, knitting:
- “The body sinks and wastes away,
- The spirit cannot know decay.”
Vignette under arch: Funeral scene.
There are smaller vignettes under each of the nine steps of the arch.