75 years ago today, the siege of Leningrad in Russia was ended after 872 days; the stranglehold by the German blockade during World War II was broken allowing food and fuel to reach the city now called St. Petersburg.
After the last road to the city was severed in 1941, the largest loss of life ever known in a modern city followed, with water, energy and food shortages resulting in the deaths of up to 1.5 million soldiers and civilians—and the evacuation of 1.4 million women and children. (1944)
MORE Good News on This Day:
- The University of Georgia was founded as the first public university in U.S. (1785)
- Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, was born in England (1832)
- Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps were liberated by Red Army in Poland; Holocaust Memorial Day for UN, UK, Germany, Poland, Denmark (1945)
- 60 nations signed the Outer Space Treaty to ban nuclear weapons there (1967)
- Paris Peace Accords officially ended the Vietnam War (1973)
- World’s longest subaqueous tunnel (53.90km) in Japan successfully linked 2 islands (1983)
- The National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress enshrines their first selections (2003)
- Kathleen Wynne was named by the Liberal Party of Ontario to become Canada’s first openly gay Premier (2013)
On this date in 2010, Steve Jobs announced Apple would soon unveil the iPad tablet, fulfilling his publicly stated goal from a quarter century earlier “to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes … with a radio link in it so you don’t have to hook up to anything and you’re in communication with all of these larger databases and computers.”
Also, on this day in 1756, the musical genius child prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria. By the age of five he was already prolific on the piano and violin and performing his original compositions for European royalty.
An inspiration for Beethoven, who was 15 years younger, Mozart composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, chamber, operatic, and choral music, before his death at age 35. The thin, small man, “except for his large intense eyes, gave no outward signs of genius.” Some of his most renowned works were operas, such as The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte. You are probably familiar with Mozart melodies, even without realizing it.
On this day in 1888, the National Geographic Society was founded as a a club for academics and wealthy patrons interested in travel—and they met at the private Cosmos Club in Washington, DC.
The group’s second president, Alexander Graham Bell (who patented the first telephone), along with the Grosvenor family, devised a successful marketing strategy of ‘Society membership’ and they decided to use of photography to tell stories in magazines. Still headquartered in DC today, the nonprofit funds scientific exploration, runs a major museum, and sponsors popular traveling exhibits, such as the King Tut collection, The Cultural Treasures of Afghanistan, and China’s Terracotta Warriors—all in the last decade. However, the Society is best known for its media arm, which includes the magazine (published in nearly 40 languages), maps, and Nat Geo on the web and TV serving people beyond its 6.8 million paying members.
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