150 years ago today, Carlos Manuel de Céspedes issued the Grito de Yara (Cry of Yara), proclaiming Cuban independence, which began the “War of 10 years”.
That morning, after sounding the slave bell (indicating it was time for his plantation slaves to work), they stood before him waiting for orders and Sr. Cespedes announced they were all free men—and invited to join him and his fellow conspirators in battle against colonial Spain. For this, he is called Padre de la Patria, Father of the Homeland. (1868) – Photo of Havana capitol by Dibaer, CC
More Good News on this Date:
- Simon and Garfunkel released their third LP, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, which reached triple platinum and included the songs Scarborough Fair and Homeward Bound (1966)
- Fiji became independent after nearly a century of British rule (1970)
- President Jimmy Carter authorized the minting of a Susan B. Anthony dollar (1978)
- Pac-Man went on the market in Japan (1979)
- Angela Merkel became Germany’s first female chancellor and the first from the former Communist east (2005)
- Jessica Cox, 25, became the first armless person to earn an Airman’s Certificate as a certified pilot, thanks to an Arizona non-profit group, Wright Flight, that uses aviation as a tool to motivate young people (2008)
And, on this day in 1902, the Gibson Guitar company was formed in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It was founded with the intention to make mandolins, by Orville Gibson, a luthier with no formal training. The company ended up building one of the world’s most iconic guitars, the Gibson Les Paul in 1952—a solid-body electric instrument designed by their V.P. Ted McCarty and famed guitarist Les Paul.
Mr. Gibson invented the archtop design for his instruments, which made them louder and more durable, by constructing the same type of carved tops used on violins. The musical innovator never saw the riches that were distributed to the businessmen who took over the company, but only was paid for his hourly labor. By the 1930s, after Orville’s death, the company made one of the first commercially available hollow-body electric guitars, like the ES-150 popularized by Charlie Christian.