Fact of the day: 23rd October

On this day in 1715 Peter II of Russia (d. 1730) was born.

Peter was born in Saint Petersburg on 23 October [O.S. 12 October] 1715. His mother died when he was only ten days old. His father, Prince Alexis, was accused of treason by Peter the Great, and in 1718 Alexis died in prison.

Peter the Great gave the child over to his sister, Grand Duchess Natalia – he did not care about the upbringing and education of young Peter II, because he reminded him of Alexis. From his childhood the orphan grand duke was kept in the strictest seclusion.

His earliest governesses were the wives of a tailor and a vintner from the Dutch settlement; a sailor called Norman taught him the rudiments of navigation; and, when he grew older, he was placed under the care of a Hungarian refugee, Janos Zeikin, who seems to have been a conscientious teacher.

Fact of the day: 22nd October

On this day in 1071 William IX, Duke of Aquitaine (d. 1126) was born.

William’s greatest legacy to history was not as a warrior but as a troubadour — a lyric poet employing the Romance vernacular language called Provençal or Occitan.

He was the earliest troubadour whose work survives. Eleven of his songs survive. The song traditionally numbered as the eighth (Farai chansoneta nueva) is of dubious attribution, since its style and language are significantly different. download (2)

Song 5 (Farai un vers, pos mi sonelh) has two significantly different versions in different manuscripts. The songs are attributed to him under his title as Count of Poitou (lo coms de Peitieus). The topics vary, treating sex, love, women, his own sexual and literary prowess, and feudal politics.

An anonymous 13th-century vida of William remembers him thus:

The Count of Poitiers was one of the most courtly men in the world and one of the greatest deceivers of women. He was a fine knight at arms, liberal in his womanizing, and a fine composer and singer of songs. He traveled much through the world, seducing women.

It is possible, however, that at least in part it is not based on facts, but on literal interpretation of his songs, written in first person; in Song 5, for example, he describes how he deceived two women.

Fact of the day: 21st October

On this day in 1422 Charles VI of France (b. 1368) died.

Charles VI called the Beloved and the Mad was King of France from 1380 to his death. He was a member of the House of Valois.

Charles VI was only 11 when he inherited the throne in the midst of the Hundred Years’ War. The government was entrusted to his four uncles: Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy; John, Duke of Berry; Louis I, Duke of Anjou; and Louis II, Duke of Bourbon. Although the royal age of majority was fixed at 14 (the “age of accountability” under Roman Catholic canon law), the dukes maintained their grip on Charles until he took power at the age of 21.

During the rule of his uncles, the financial resources of the kingdom, painstakingly built up by his father Charles V, were squandered for the personal profit of the dukes, whose interests were frequently divergent or even opposing. As royal funds drained, new taxes had to be raised, which caused several revolts.

Charles’ bouts of insanity became more frequent and of longer duration. During these attacks, he had delusions, believing he was made of glass or denying he had a wife and children. download (1)

He could also attack servants or run until exhaustion, wailing that he was threatened by his enemies. Between crises, there were intervals of months during which Charles was relatively sane.

However, unable to concentrate or make decisions, political power was taken away from him by the princes of the blood, which would cause much chaos and conflict in France.

When Charles VI died, he was succeeded by his son Charles VII, who found the Valois cause in a desperate situation.

Fact of the day: 20th October

On this day in 1740 Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, died.

Charles VI (1 October 1685 – 20 October 1740) succeeded his elder brother, Joseph I, as Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia (as Charles II), King of Hungary and Croatia (as Charles III), and King of Serbia (as Charles I), Archduke of Austria, etc., in 1711.

He unsuccessfully claimed the throne of Spain as Charles III following the death of its ruler, and Charles’s relative, Charles II of Spain, in 1700. He married Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, by whom he had his two children: Maria Theresa, born 1717, the last Habsburg sovereign, and Maria Anna, born 1718, Governess of the Austrian Netherlands.

Four years before the birth of Maria Theresa, faced with his lack of male heirs, Charles provided for a male-line succession failure with the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713. The Emperor favoured his own daughters over those of his elder brother and predecessor, Joseph I, in the succession, ignoring the decree he had signed during the reign of his father, Leopold I.

Charles sought the other European powers’ approval. They exacted harsh terms: Britain demanded that Austria abolish its overseas trading company. In total, Great Britain, France, Saxony-Poland, the Dutch Republic, Spain, Venice, States of the Church, Prussia, Russia, Denmark, Savoy-Sardinia, Bavaria, and the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire recognised the sanction.

France, Spain, Saxony-Poland, Bavaria and Prussia later reneged. Charles died in 1740, sparking the War of the Austrian Succession, which plagued his successor, Maria Theresa, for eight years.

Fact of the day: 19th October

On this day in 1917 The Love Field in Dallas was opened.

Dallas Love Field is a city-owned public airport 6 miles (10 km) northwest of downtown Dallas, Texas. It was Dallas’ main airport until 1974 when Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) opened.

Southwest Airlines’ corporate headquarters is at Love Field, and Dallas is a focus city for them. Seven full service fixed base operators (FBOs) provide general aviation service: fuel, maintenance, hangar rentals, and charters. Some also provide meeting rooms, car rentals, limousine service and restaurants.

Dallas Love Field has its origins beginning in 1917 when the Army announced its intention of establishing a series of camps to train prospective pilots after the United States entry into World War I. The airfield was one of thirty-two new Air Service fields.

It was constructed just southeast of Bachman Lake, and it covered over 700 acres and could accommodate up to 1,000 personnel. Dozens of wooden buildings served as headquarters, maintenance, and officers’ quarters. Enlisted men had to bivouac in tents. download

Love Field served as a base for flight training for the United States Army Air Service. In 1917, flight training occurred in two phases: primary and advanced. Primary training took eight weeks and consisted of pilots learning basic flight skills under dual and solo instruction. After completion of their primary training at Love Field, flight cadets were then transferred to another base for advanced training.

After officially opening on October 19, 1917, the first unit stationed at Love Field was the 136th Aero Squadron, which was transferred from Kelly Field, south of San Antonio, Texas. Only a few U.S. Army Air Service aircraft arrived with the 136th Aero Squadron, and most of the Curtiss JN-4 Jennys to be used for flight training were shipped in wooden crates by railcar.

Fact of the day: 18th October

On this day in 1914 The First Battle of Ypres began.

The First Battle of Ypres, also called the First Battle of Flanders (French: 1re Bataille des Flandres German: Erste Flandernschlacht), was a First World War battle fought for the strategically important town of Ypres in western Belgium in October and November 1914.746px-First_Battle_of_Ypres_-_Map

The German and Western Allied attempts to secure the town from enemy occupation included a series of further battles in and around the West Flanders Belgian municipality.

The strategy of both the Allied and German armies is not entirely clear. The accepted and mainstream reasoning for the Ypres battle was the British desire to secure the English Channel ports and the British Army’s supply lines; Ypres was the last major obstacle to the German advance on Boulogne-sur-Mer and Calais.

The French strategy was to prevent German forces from outflanking the Allied front from the north. This was the last major German option, after their defeats at the First Battle of the Aisne and First Battle of the Marne.

The Ypres campaign became the culmination of the Race to the Sea. The opposing armies engaged in offensive operations until a big German offensive in mid-October, which forced the Allies onto the strategic defensive and limited to counter-attacks.

tumblr_nde3cmZPe31s57vgxo1_500The battle highlighted problems in command and control for both sides, with each side missing opportunities to obtain a decisive victory. The Germans in particular overestimated the numbers and strength of the Allied defences at Ypres and called off their last offensive too early.

The battle was also significant as it witnessed the destruction of the highly experienced and trained British regular army. Having suffered enormous losses for its small size, “The Old Contemptibles” disappeared, to be replaced by fresh reserves which eventually turned into a mass conscripted army to match its allies and enemies

. The result was a victory for the Allies, although losses were particularly heavy on both sides. The battle completed the entrenchments of the “race to the sea” and inaugurated the static western front. Mobile operations would not resume until 1918.

Fact of the day: 17th October

On this day in 1915 Arthur Miller was born.

Arthur Asher Miller (October 17, 1915 – February 10, 2005)was an American playwright, essayist, and prominent figure in twentieth-century American theatre. Among his plays are All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953) and A View from the Bridge (1955, revised 1956). He also wrote the screenplay for the film The Misfits (1961).220px-Arthur-miller

Miller was often in the public eye, particularly during the late 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s. During this time, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama; testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee; and was married to Marilyn Monroe. He received the Prince of Asturias Award in 2002 and Jerusalem Prize in 2003.