Sunday, 20 March 2016

On This Day In History facts 20th March


On this day in history in 1616, after 13 years, Sir Walter Raleigh was freed from his prison in the Tower of London.
Sir Walter Raleigh was the one-time favourite of Queen Elizabeth-I-Am-Ginger-It's-Not-A-Wig. Although they did have their rocky patches in an on-off and off-on and almost Off-With-His-Head relationship.
In March 1603, Sir Walter Raleigh and the Queen of Virgins were best of buds. Raleigh was in the good books of the monarch and stood to profit from her generosity.
Then, on the 23rd of March, she kicked the bucket.
As Sir Walter Raleigh said, "Oh, carp-on-a-stick."
Elizabeth the first's successor, King James-Just-Got-An-Upgrade, took a disliking to Sir Walter Raleigh. Probably due in no small part to a clash of personalities. King James, although 1st of England, had been King James VI of Scotland.
A suave, dashing, charismatic English knight of the Realm, versus the Scottish-Turned-English-But-Still-Scottish King. There were some differences between them, to say the least.
On the 19th of July, 1603, Walter Raleigh was arrested and charged with treason.
He'd been implicated in the Main Plot, the first but not the last plot that decade, to overthrow King James' rule.
Not yet. There has to be a trial. Sheesh, you guys are bloodthirsty.
Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned in the Tower of London - where good men go to die.
On the 17th November, 1603, the trial began in the Great Hall of Winchester Castle.
Although, some might say, the outcome had all ready been decided. But not me. All those present approached the trial free from any preconceived ideas of Raleigh's guilt. They'd look at the evidence and decided fairly.
The main evidence against Sir Walter Raleigh at his trial consisted of a sworn confession from Henry Brooke, the 11th Baron Cobham. Incidentally, Raleigh and Cobham were best of friends. Obviously not after Raleigh found out Cobham had just stabbed him in the back. But, back in the day, they used to do a spot of ten-pin hedgehog bowling at the local pub.
Sir Walter Raleigh demanded Cobham be summoned to testify at the trial.
On the first day, Raleigh spoke quite passionately and insisted the evidence was mere hearsay: "Let my accuser come face to face and be deposed. Were the case but for a small copyhold, you would have witnesses or good proof to lead the jury to a verdict. And I am here for my LIFE."
Nothing worked. The court refused to summon Cobham and allow him to be cross-examined by Raleigh, who was acting as his own attorney. Not a great idea. But given the foregone conclusion of the outcome of the trial, it probably didn't matter.
Sir Walter Raleigh was found guilty of treason.
Sheesh, what is wrong with you guys?
Not "off with his head". King James decided to spare Raleigh's life. Instead, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London, never to be set free.
However, on the 20th of March, 1616, Raleigh walked free from the Tower.
Fun Fact: Walter Raleigh's son, Carew, was conceived and born whilst Raleigh was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
The following year, in 1617, Raleigh was pardoned by the King. He was then told to sail across the oceans in a great second expedition to Venezuela in search of El Dorado and its famous stash of gold.
And if you happen to find any dinosaurs, bring one of those back, too. Preferably a T-Rex. There're awesome.
But, alas, no gold and no dinosaurs. What a jerk.
Sir Walter Raleigh was eventually executed in an Off-With-His-Head ceremony. But that's another story.
On this day in history in 1852, Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was published.
On this day in history in 1913, Sung Chiao-jen, or Song Jiaoren, founder of the Chinese Nationalist Party, is fatally wounded in an assassination attempt. He wasn't killed immediately. It took two days for him to succumb to the wounds.
Sung Chiao-jen was out and about with some mates, probably not on an all-night bender doing the famous local pub-crawl, when he was accosted by a lone gunman at Shanghai railway station.
Sung Chiao-jen was shot twice in the chest at close range by a shadowy figure called Wu. It is thought he was contracted to kill Sung Chiao-jen by a Shanghai underworld boss called Ying Guixin.
That's what happens when you don't pay your bar tab.
The evidence led to other conspirators, but there was never a trial. Probably totally unrelated, but all those implicated were either assassinated or just plain vanished.
Yep, alien abductions. That was my first thought as well.
On this day in history in 1916, Albert - yes I was good at school - Einstein, published his general theory of relativity.
On this day in history in 1922, The United States Navy's first aircraft carrier, the USS Langley, was commissioned.
The USS Langley was also the US Navy's first turbo-electric-powered ship. It saw service during the Second World War. On the 27th of February, 1942, the aircraft carrier was attacked by Japanese dive bombers.
The damage was severe, and the damage so bad, it had to be scuttled by her escorts.
On this day in history in 1933, Giuseppe Zangara was executed in Florida whilst strapped to an electric chair.
He been sentenced to death for shooting Anton Cermak during his failed attempt at assassinating the President-Elect Franklin D. Roosevelt.
On this day in history in 2015, holy moly, that was last year, a Solar Eclipse, an equinox, and a SuperMoon all occurred on the same day.
It's a friggin miracle we're all still here. Why were we not warned? It's all Obama's fault. He had two sugars in his morning coffee that morning. Does that guy never think of other people and the consequences of his actions?

1 comment:

BadWolf219 said...

Brilliant! I just so happen to live near Raleigh North Carolina, the place named for good old Sir Walter but one place he never actually visited. (Fun fact)