Today is Monday; 28th of the Iranian month of Mehr 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 2nd of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal 1442 lunar hijri; and October 19, 2020, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
2222 solar years ago, on this day in 202 BC, during the Second Punic War at the Battle of Zama, Roman legions under Publius Scipio Africanus defeated the famous general Hannibal Barca, the leader of the army defending Carthage near modern Tunis in North Africa. Despite Hannibal possessing numerical superiority, Scipio conceived a strategy to confuse and defeat his war elephants. Scipio’s troops then routed the Carthaginian infantry. Soon after this defeat on their home ground, the Carthaginian senate sued for peace, which was given to them by the Roman Republic on rather humiliating terms, ending the 17-year war.
812 lunar years ago, on this day in 630 AH, the historian, compiler of hadith, and literary figure, Abu’l-Hassan Ali ibn Mohammad, better known as Izz od-Din Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari, passed away in Mosul, Iraq at the age of 75. Born in a Kurdish family in Jazirat Ibn Umar in Iraq, which was then part of the Great Seljuq Empire with its capital in Isfahan, he spent his scholarly life in Mosul, often visiting Baghdad, where he learned from the Iranian scholar Khateeb-e Tusi. With the disintegration of the Seljuqid Empire, he was with the army of the Kurdish adventurer Salah od-Din Ayyoubi in Syria, and has written eyewitness accounts of the battles with the Crusader invaders from Europe, who had usurped Palestine and illegally set up the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. He was about 28 years old when Bayt al-Moqaddas and Palestine were conquered after 88 years of Crusader occupation by the joint Islamic army of Kurds, Turks, Arabs and Iranians. His chief work is a general history of the world, titled "al-Kamel fi’t-Tarikh” (The Complete History), in which he has included reports of the destructive events taking place in the last years of his life in the Islamic east, particularly in Central Asia and Khorasan, where the barbaric Mongol onslaught was destroying centuries of flourishing civilized life. He has also written a specialized history of the Atabek Dynasty of Mosul titled "at-Tarikh al-Baher fi’l-Dowlat-al-Atabekiyah bi’l-Mawsil”. His other famous work is "Usod al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat as-Sahabah”, which is bibliography of the companions of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Izz od-Din should not be confused with his elder brother, Majd od-Din Ibn Athir, the author of "Jame’ al-Usoul” – a compendium of the "Sihah as-Sitta” or the Six Authoritative Hadith Books of Sunni Muslims, compiled almost wholly by Iranian converts to Islam.
634 solar years ago, on this day in 1386 AD, Ottoman Sultan Bayazid I conquered Sofia the capital of Bulgaria, but because of the attacks on the eastern frontier in Asia Minor by Amir Timur, he could not continue his campaign in Europe.
275 solar years ago, on this day in 1745 AD, Irish author, Jonathan Swift, died in his hometown Dublin at the age of 78. He made strenuous efforts for independence of his country from British rule. He wrote books depicting the social conditions, including the fictitious work titled "Gulliver’s Travels” which became one of the world’s literary masterpieces.
239 solar years ago, on this day in 1781 AD, the commander of English forces in the US, Charles Cornwallis, surrendered to the commander of US forces, George Washington, thereby ending the US war of independence that was started in 1775 by rebels in the 13 colonies known as New England.
236 solar years ago, on this day in 1784 AD, Leigh Hunt, English essayist, poet and political radical, was born. He wrote the famous poem "Abou Ben Adhem” on the Iranian prince of Balkh, Ibrahim bin Adham, who renounced palace pleasures and worldly life to become a mystic.
207 solar years ago, on this day in 1813 AD, the major battle between 155,000 French soldiers, under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the 300,000-strong joint forces of Sweden, Britain, Prussia, Russia, and Austria, ended with Napoleon’s failure. This four-day battle broke out in the vicinity of the German city of Leipzig. The French forces, who were demoralized in the wake of their futile attack on Russia in 1812, were crushed by the well-prepared and equipped joint forces. The failure was a prelude to Napoleon’s future failures and his deportation to Elba Island in 1814.
182 lunar years ago, on this day in 1260 AH, the combatant scholar, Seyyed Mohammad Baqer Shafti passed away at the age of 85. Born in Gilan, northern Iran, he travelled to Iraq for higher studies at the famous Islamic seminary of holy Najaf. On his return to Iran, he stayed for a while in holy Qom and Kashan before settling in Isfahan, where he groomed students, wrote books, and was active in social affairs, especially helping the needy. This brought him into conflict with the tyrannical Qajarid regime. Among his works is "Tuhfat al-Abrar al-Mustanbitt”, and Commentary on Allamah Hilli’s "Tahzib al Osoul”.
76 solar years ago, on this day in 1944 AD, war broke out between the Japanese and US forces in the Philippines Archipelago during World War 2. The US forces, commanded by Douglas MacArthur, attacked Philippines and drove out the Japanese forces.
44 solar years ago, on this day in 1976 AD, one of the high-ranking officials of The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Ali Hassan Salameh, was martyred in Lebanon by Zionist agents in a car bombing.
37 solar years ago, on this day in 1983 AD, Prime Minister Maurice Bishop of Grenada Island in the Caribbean Sea, was executed along with 4 cabinet ministers by Bernard Coard, a member of his own government, days after his overthrow and house arrest. The coup prompted a US invasion, which is largely seen as part of an intricate American plot in view of Bishop’s bitter opposition to Washington’s hegemonic policies. The US, arrested 17 persons n for Bishop’s killing and the local courts sentenced them to death, the verdicts were never carried out. The death sentences were later commuted to life in prison, and in 2005 they were allowed to appeal to the London-based Privy Council. In 2009 Bernard Coard and the six others — Dave Bartholomew, Callistus Bernard, Leon Cornwall, Liam James, Ewart Layne and Selwyn Strachan — were released. Ten others convicted in the killings, including Coard’s wife, were previously released. The bodies of Bishop and 10 men killed with him have never been found.
28 solar years ago, on this day in 1991 AD, the Cambodian ruling party officially ended the 13-year communist rule of the country. The decision was made at the Congress of the Cambodian People’s Party, which established a multiparty ruling system.
17 solar years ago, on this day in 2003 AD, the Bosnian Muslim politician and author, Alija Izetbegovic, died at the age of 78. He struggled against the Yugoslav communist regime since his youth and was imprisoned on several occasions. In 1989, he founded The Party of Democratic Action, which played a pivotal role in the independence of Bosnia in 1991. This Muslim politician was elected as the Bosnian president after the independence of this country. He played a vital role in defending the Bosnian people, throughout the attacks of Serbian army and Bosnian Serbs against Muslims. After the termination of war, he was elected twice to Bosnian presidential council. But, he voluntarily stepped down from power in 2000. In addition to political activities, he was also an Islamic thinker and author, writing a number of books, including "Islam between East and West”, and "Islamic Declaration”.