Today is Monday; 11th of the Iranian month of Esfand 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 17th of the Islamic month of Rajab 1442 lunar hijri; and March 1, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
2107 solar years ago, on this day in 86 BC, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, as part of the expansionist policies of the Roman Republic, entered Athens at the head of an army to remove the philosopher- king, Aristion, who was supported by troops of Mithridates VI of Pontus and Armenia Minor. Mithridates, which in Old Persian means "Gift of Mithra” was a prince of mixed Iranian and Greek ancestry, who ruled what is now northern Turkey. He claimed descent from Cyrus the Great, Darius the Great, and Regent Antipater, the Greek General of Alexander of Macedon. As protector of Greece and Hellenistic civilization, he regarded the Romans as barbarians, and fought three wars against them until his defeat and death during his 57-year reign.
1224 lunar years ago, on this day 218 AH, the 7th self-styled caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime, Abdullah al-Mamoun, died at the age of 48 near Tarsus in what is now southwestern Turkey, during a campaign against the Byzantine Empire, after a 24-year reign, four of which were involved in civil war with his step brother, Amin, the rival caliph in Baghdad whom he eventually ordered killed. Born to the tyrant Haroun’s Iranian concubine Marajel, his capital was initially the Khorasani city of Marv (currently in Turkmenistan). He earned lasting damnation for forcing Imam Reza (AS), the Prophet’s 8th Infallible Heir to come to Marv from Medina, as part of his plot to isolate the Ahl al-Bayt from the ummah. When the Imam’s popularity grew among the people during his two-year sojourn in Khorasan, the crafty Mamoun martyred the Prophet’s rightful heir in Tous through a fatal dose of poison.
761 solar years ago, on this day in 1260 AD, Hulagu Khan’s Mongol’s army, led by his Christian general Kitbuqa, seized Damascus, sixteen days after the sack of Aleppo and two years after the infamous destruction of Baghdad. The Buddhist Mongols and their Armenian and Crusader Allies, desecrated numerous mosques in Damascus and held a Christian Mass in the Grand Omayyad Mosque. The three Christian generals, Kitbuqa the Mongol, the Armenian Hetoum, and Bohemond the European Crusader ruler of occupied Palestine, celebrated their triumph in Damascus slaughtering Muslims and ending the rule of the Kurdish Ayyubid dynasty of Syria.
739 lunar years ago, on this day in 703 AH, renowned Muslim worldwide traveler, Shams od-Din Mohammad bin Abdullah, known as Ibn Battuta, was born in Tangiers in what is now Morocco. As a youth he started his initial journey to perform the Hajj, but after pilgrimage to Mecca, kept on travelling, visiting over a period of thirty years most of the Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands on the three continents of Africa, Asia and Europe. His journeys including trips to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe in the West, and to West Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China, cover a total of 75,000 miles (121,000 km), surpassing by threefold the travels of his near-contemporary Marco Polo of Venice. In Iraq, he visited the holy shrine in Najaf of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), and although a Sunni, he has admitted how people from far and near seek intercession with God through the Prophet’s 1st Infallible Heir and are cured of their ailments. He then travelled all over Iran, and later after visiting the Byzantine Empire, Europe and Russia, he arrived in India, where he was appointed the Qazi of Delhi by Sultan Mohammad bin Tughlaq. On his return to his homeland Morocco, he also served as Qazi. He dictated to scribes the details of his travels in his book titled "ar-Rehla”, and died at the age of 66.
459 solar years ago, on this day in 1562 AD, the Bloodbath of Vassy occurred in France when General de Guise allowed members of the Catholic sect of Christianity to massacre 1200 Huguenots (members of the Protestant sect of Christianity), many of them during a church service, marking the start of the French Wars of Religion that lasted till the Edict of Nantes in 1598 (and well beyond), resulting in the killing of over four million people from both the sects. Europe has a bloody record of inter-Christian sectarian conflicts that raged for several centuries, since unlike Islam, Christian denominations have fundamental differences over the nature of God, Prophet Jesus, and the Virgin Mary.
456 solar years ago, on this day in 1565 AD, the city of Rio de Janeiro was founded in the colony of Brazil by the Portuguese, on the western shores of Guanabara Bay and was named Sao Sebastiao. Since the Guanabara Bay inlet was the site of the first landing by the Portuguese in 1502 it was named Rio de Janeiro (January River) – a name that stuck to the new city whose proper name Sao Sebastiao was gradually dropped. Until early in the 18th century, the city was threatened or invaded by several, mostly French, pirates. In 1763, the colonial administration in Portuguese America was moved from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro. The city remained primarily a colonial capital until 1808, when the Portuguese royal family and most of the associated Lisbon nobles, fleeing from Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of Portugal, moved to Rio de Janeiro. The kingdom of Portugal’s capital was transferred to Rio de Janeiro, which thus, became the only European capital outside of Europe. As there was no physical space or urban structure to accommodate hundreds of noblemen who arrived suddenly, many inhabitants were simply evicted from their homes. The Portuguese kidnapped from Africa and forced into slavery in Brazil hundreds of thousands of black people, to the extent that in 1840, the number of these slaves in Rio de Janeiro alone had reached 220,000. When Prince Pedro proclaimed the independence of Brazil in 1822, he decided to keep Rio de Janeiro as the capital of his new empire. Rio continued as the capital of Brazil after 1889, when the monarchy was replaced by a republic. It remained the capital of Brazil until the founding of Brasilia as the new capital.
321 lunar years ago, on this day in 1121 AH, prominent Bahraini scholar, Shaikh Sulaiman ibn Shaikh Abdullah al-Bahrani al-Mahuzi, passed away at the age of 46. He is the author of "al-Me’raj”, which is an explanation to the famous bibliographical work "al-Fehrist” of Shaikh at-Ta’efa Tusi, the Iranian Islamic jurisprudent and founder of the Islamic Seminary of holy Najaf. He also authored "al-Balaghah fi’r-Rijal” – a critical biographical work of transmitters, narrators, and scholars of Hadith.
308 solar years ago, on this day in 1713 AD, the siege and destruction of Fort Neoheroka was begun by the British, Dutch, and Germans in North Carolina against the local Amerindians, resulting in the slaughter of almost a thousand Amerindians of the Tuscarora nation and the imprisonment of hundreds of women and children who were sold into slavery in the Caribbean so they could not return to their homeland. The year before, the white men had killed over three hundred Tuscarora people and sold into slavery over a hundred women and children. The 4-year Tuscarora War (1711-to-1715) which resulted in the slaughter of thousands of Amerindians was the bloodiest conflict at the end of which the interior of North Carolina was effectively opened up for European colonization. When the first Europeans arrived in North Carolina in the 1650s, the Tuscarora had lived in peace with them, at a time when nearly every other colony in America was actively involved in some form of conflict with Native Americans. However, the white settlers increasingly encroached on Tuscarora land, raided villages to take slaves, and introduced epidemic diseases. After their defeat, most of the Tuscarora migrated north towards what later became New York where they were joined their Iroquoian cousins, before their ultimate annihilation by the white. The US has a bleak and blood record of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
210 solar years ago, on this day in 1811 AD, leaders of the former Mamluk or slave dynasty were massacred during a banquet at the Cairo citadel by Egypt’s new ruler, the Albanian general, Mohammad Ali Pasha, who had been sent as viceroy to Cairo by the Ottoman Sultan, following the end of Napoleon of France’s brief occupation. Mohammad Ali modernized Egypt and the dynasty he established lasted till 1952 when King Farouq was overthrown by the military coup of Mohammad Najib and Jamal Abdun-Nasser.
206 solar years ago, on this day in 1815 AD, the 100-day restoration of the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte over France started following his escape from his place of exile, the island of Elba in the Mediterranean Sea after ten months. Finally, Napoleon was defeated by the combined armies of Britain and Prussia at the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815, and was deported to the remote Saint Helena Island in the Atlantic Ocean, where he died six years later.
171 lunar years ago, on this day in 1271 AH, prominent Islamic scholar, Seyyed Abu-Torab Khwansari, was born in the central Iranian city of Khwansar. An authority on theology, jurisprudence, philosophy, and exegesis of Holy Qur’an, he wrote many books that prove his profound knowledge. Among his works are "Qasd as-Sabeel”, and "Mesbaah al-Salehin”. He passed away in 1346 AH at the age of 75.
150 solar years ago, on this day in 1871 AD, following the defeat of France by Germany, the French national parliament dethroned Napoleon III and abolished the monarchic system, 67 years after Napoleon Bonaparte had declared himself as emperor by annulling the republican constitution of the French Revolution of 1789.
129 solar years ago, on this day in 1892 AD, the Japanese literary figure and author, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, was born in Tokyo. He is considered as one of the founders of modern literature in Japan. He has left behind a large number of books. He died in 1927.
125 solar years ago, on this day in 1896 AD, Henri Becquerel accidentally discovered radioactivity when he developed a photographic plate he left in a desk drawer with crystals of a uranium compound upon it. He found a fogged image of the uranium crystals resting on it, although the plate was wrapped in heavy black paper. He had left the objects together on 26th February, after postponing his intended experiment on phosphorescent emissions stimulated by the sun. Having being left in darkness, eventually he realized the crystals where not phosphorescing from sunlight. Instead he had found spontaneous and penetrating rays, independent of any input of energy. A glimpse of a new mystery of the atom had been revealed, investigated for years after by other scientists. He shared the 1903 Nobel Prize with Pierre and Marie Curie for their work on radioactivity.
123 solar years ago, on this day in 1898 AD, Puerto Rico Island in the Caribbean Sea was seized by American forces during the 4-year war against Spain. The US annexed this Island to its territory and turned it into a huge arsenal with thirteen military bases.
98 solar years ago, on this day in 1923 AD, Iranian musician, Morteza Hannaneh, was born. For a while, he was conductor of Tehran’s Symphonic Orchestra, and then joined Iran Radio. An expert in classical Iranian music, he died at the age of 67 in 1990. He authored several books, including the translation and commentary of the book "Maqased al-Ilhaan”.
67 solar years ago, on this day in 1954 AD, the Castle Bravo, a 15-megaton hydrogen bomb, was detonated on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean by the US, resulting in the worst radioactive contamination ever caused, and total vaporization of one of the atolls that disappeared in the over 100-mile wide mushroom cloud. The huge explosion was equivalent to 1,000 atomic bombs of the kind the US dropped on Hiroshima. Radioactivity made the bomb site islands an unsafe wasteland for many decades to follow. The US is the world’s most dangerously armed nuclear power with a criminal record of dropping two atomic bombs on Japan in the closing days of World War 2, as a live field test, and is the chief culprit in release of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
42 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, Iraqi Kurdish politician, Mullah Mustafa Barzani, while undergoing lung cancer treatment at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. died at the age of 76. His body was flown to Iran from the US and buried in Oshnavieh in Kurdistan Province, where his family was living in exile because of persecution by Iraq’s repressive Ba’th minority regime. In October 1993, Barzani’s remains were taken across the border from Iran to Iraqi Kurdistan, to be reburied in his hometown of Barzan. In 1946, he had been chosen as leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). His son, Massoud Barzani, is the current leader of the KDP and was re-elected as the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan region.
29 solar years ago, on this day in 1992 AD, Muslims and Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina began casting ballots in an independence referendum; Serbs boycotted the vote, and started military activities and finally genocide of the Muslims in a bid to stall independence.