Fact of the day: 29th July

On this day in 1567 James VI was crowned King of Scotland at Stirling.

He succeeded to the Scottish throne at the age of thirteen months, after his mother Mary, Queen of Scots, was compelled to abdicate in his favour.

download (2)

Four different regents governed during his minority, which ended officially in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1583. In 1603, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died without issue.

He continued to reign in all three kingdoms for 22 years, a period known as the Jacobean era after him, until his death in 1625 at the age of 58.

After the Union of the Crowns, he based himself in England from 1603, only returning to Scotland once in 1617, and styled himself “King of Great Britain and Ireland”.

He was a major advocate of a single parliament for both England and Scotland. In his reign, the Plantation of Ulster and British colonisation of the Americas began.

At 57 years and 246 days, his reign in Scotland was longer than any of his predecessors.

He achieved most of his aims in Scotland but faced great difficulties in England, including the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and repeated conflicts with the English Parliament.

james-vi-and-i

Under James, the “Golden Age” of Elizabethan literature and drama continued, with writers such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, and Sir Francis Bacon contributing to a flourishing literary culture.

Since the latter half of the 20th century, historians have tended to revise James’s reputation and treat him as a serious and thoughtful monarch.

Distance

I may not really be around for a while. I’ve had a really tough week and a lot of things have happened, so I’m just feeling the need to live the hermit life a little bit, ya know?

I plan on finally finishing season five of Breaking Bad and doing a lot of reading and spending time withe people who are important to me.

We all go through times like this. And right now, for me, everything really sucks and I just need to be alone.

So if I don’t post anything for a while, it’s not because I’ve quit or I’ve died, I’m just having some quiet time.

If I feel up to it, I might try and schedule a few posts for the next coming days, but we’ll see.

Hope you’re all alright!

x

Fact of the day: 28th July

On this day in 1540 Thomas Cromwell was executed at the order of Henry VIII of England on charges of treason.

Cromwell was one of the strongest advocates of the English Reformation. He helped to engineer an annulment of the king’s marriage to the Spanish princess Catherine of Aragon, in order to allow Henry to marry his mistress Anne Boleyn.

download (1)

After failure to obtain approval from the Pope, in 1534 parliament endorsed the king’s claim to be head of a breakaway Church of England.

Cromwell subsequently plotted an evangelical, reformist course for the embryonic Church of England from the unique posts of vicegerent in spirituals and vicar-general.

During his rise, Cromwell made many enemies, including his former ally Anne Boleyn; he played a prominent role in her downfall.

He later fell from power after arranging the king’s marriage to a German princess, Anne of Cleves. Cromwell hoped that the marriage would breathe fresh life into the Reformation in England, but it turned into a disaster for Cromwell and ended in annulment just six months later.

images (2)

Cromwell was arraigned under a bill of attainder and executed for treason and heresy on Tower Hill on 28 July 1540. The king later expressed regret at the loss of his chief minister.

Fact of the day: 27th July

On this day in 1890, Vincent van Gogh shot himself and died two days later.

I genuinely thought Von Gogh was hundreds of years ago so this was a bit of a surprise for me!

On 22 February 1890, Van Gogh suffered a new crisis that was “the starting point for one of the saddest episodes in a life already rife with sad events.”

From February until the end of April he was unable to bring himself to write, though he did continue to draw and paint, which follows a pattern begun the previous May, in 1889.

Vincent-van-gogh-echo-pontoisien-august7-1890

For a year he “had fits of despair and hallucination during which he could not work, and in between them, long clear months in which he could and did, punctuated by extreme visionary ecstasy.”

On 27 July 1890, aged 37, Van Gogh is believed to have shot himself in the chest with a revolver. There were no witnesses and the location where he shot himself is unclear.

Ingo Walther writes that “Some think Van Gogh shot himself in the wheat field that had engaged his attention as an artist of late; others think he did it at a barn near the inn.”

Biographer David Sweetman writes that the bullet was deflected by a rib bone and passed through his chest without doing apparent damage to internal organs—probably stopped by his spine.

He was able to walk back to the Auberge Ravoux, and there was attended by two physicians; however, without a surgeon present the bullet could not be removed.

After tending to him as best they could, the two physicians left Van Gogh alone in his room, smoking his pipe. The following morning (Monday), Theo rushed to be with Van Gogh as soon as he was notified, and found him in surprisingly good shape, but within hours Van Gogh began to fail due to an untreated infection caused by the wound.

images (1)

Van Gogh died in the evening, 29 hours after he supposedly shot himself. According to Theo, his brother’s last words were: “The sadness will last forever.”

Fact of the day: 26th July

On this day in 1945 The Potsdam Declaration was signed in Potsdam, Germany.

The Potsdam Declaration or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender is a statement that called for the surrender of all Japanese armed forces during World War II.

On July 26, 1945, United States President Harry S. Truman, United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Chairman of the Nationalist Government of China Chiang Kai-shek issued the document, which outlined the terms of surrender for the Empire of Japan as agreed upon at the Potsdam Conference.

download

This ultimatum stated that, if Japan did not surrender, it would face “prompt and utter destruction.”

The Declaration was released to the press in Potsdam on the evening of July 26 and simultaneously transmitted to the Office of War Information in Washington. By 5 p.m. Washington time, OWI’s West Coast transmitters, aimed at the Japanese home islands, were broadcasting the text in English, and two hours later began broadcasting it in Japanese.

The Declaration was never transmitted to the Japanese government through diplomatic channels. The Japanese government did not disclose the declaration to the Japanese people. However, the ultimatum was heard by some who listened to the OWI broadcasts, and leaflets describing it were dropped from American bombers.

Although picking up leaflets and listening to foreign radio broadcasts had been banned by the government, the American propaganda efforts were successful in making the key points of the declaration known to most Japanese.

After the successful atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, President Truman in a widely broadcast speech, picked up by Japanese news agencies, warned that if Japan failed to accept the terms of the declaration, it could “expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”

Instrument_of_surrender_Japan2

As a result, Prime Minister Suzuki felt compelled to meet the Japanese press, to whom he reiterated his government’s commitment to ignore the Allies’ demands and fight on.

The extent of the Allies’ demands brought home to the Japanese leaders and people the extent of the success Japan’s enemies had achieved in the war.

Fact of the day: 25th July

On this day in 1603 James VI of Scotland was crowned king of England (James I of England), bringing the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland into personal union. Political union would occur in 1707.

As Elizabeth I was the last of Henry VIII’s descendants, James was seen as the most likely heir to the English throne through his great-grandmother Margaret Tudor, who was Henry VIII’s oldest sister.

download (18)

From 1601, in the last years of Elizabeth I’s life, certain English politicians, notably her chief minister Sir Robert Cecil, maintained a secret correspondence with James to prepare in advance for a smooth succession.

In March 1603, with the Queen clearly dying, Cecil sent James a draft proclamation of his accession to the English throne. Elizabeth died in the early hours of 24 March, and James was proclaimed king in London later the same day.

On 5 April, James left Edinburgh for London, promising to return every three years (a promise he did not keep), and progressed slowly southwards

. Local lords received him with lavish hospitality along the route and James was amazed by the wealth of his new land and subjects.

download (17)

James said he was ‘swapping a stony couch for a deep feather bed’. At Cecil’s house, Theobalds, Hertfordshire, James was so in awe, he bought it there and then, arriving in the capital after Elizabeth’s funeral.

His new subjects flocked to see him, relieved that the succession had triggered neither unrest nor invasion.

When he entered London on 7 May, he was mobbed by a crowd of spectators.

His English coronation took place on 25 July, with elaborate allegories provided by dramatic poets such as Thomas Dekker and Ben Jonson.

Even though an outbreak of plague restricted festivities, “the streets seemed paved with men,” wrote Dekker. “Stalls instead of rich wares were set out with children, open casements filled up with women”.

_68823702_jamesviandicoronation

The kingdom to which James succeeded was, however, not without its problems.

Monopolies and taxation had engendered a widespread sense of grievance, and the costs of war in Ireland had become a heavy burden on the government.

By the time of his succession, England had incurred a debt of £400,000.

Fact of the day: 24th July

On this day in 1411 Battle of Harlaw, one of the bloodiest battles in Scotland took place.

The Battle of Harlaw was a Scottish clan battle fought on 24 July 1411 just north of Inverurie in Aberdeenshire.

It was one of a series of battles fought during the Middle Ages between the barons of northeast Scotland against those from the west coast.

The battle was fought to resolve competing claims to the Earldom of Ross, a large region of northern Scotland.

Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland, had taken control of the earldom as guardian of his niece Euphemia Leslie.

This claim was contested by Donald, Lord of the Isles, who had married Euphemia’s aunt Mariota. Donald invaded Ross with the intention of seizing the earldom by force.

The ferocity of the battle gave it the nickname “Red Harlaw.”

It is commemorated by a 40-foot (12 m) high memorial on the battlefield near the town of Inverurie, supposedly by the church at Chapel of Garioch, and by ballads and music.

download (16)