This Day in History (April 22)
Today is Thursday; 2nd of the Iranian month of Ordibehesht 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 9th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan 1442 lunar hijri; and April 22, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
965 solar years ago, on this day in 1056 AD, the supernova in the Crab nebula was last seen by the naked eye. According to historical documents, as recorded by the Chinese court astronomer and astrologer of those days, Yang Wei-Te, in its first two months in the year 1054, the star was of yellow colour. It remained visible for 653 days, as is also attested by the Islamic astronomers of those days.
589 lunar years ago, on this day in 853 AH, the prominent astronomer-king of the Timurid dynasty, Mirza Mohammad Taraghay Ulugh Beg, was killed by his rebellious son, Abdul-Latif "Pidarkush” (killer of his own father), while on his way to Mecca for pilgrimage after being deposed. Born in Soltaniyeh near Zanjan in northwestern Iran, his father was Amir Shahroukh, the son and successor of the fearsome Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur, while his mother was the cultured and religious Iranian lady, Gowharshad, the builder of the famous mosque in Mashhad adjacent to the shrine of Prophet Mohammad’s 8th Infallible Successor, Imam Reza (AS). His seat of government was Samarqand (currently in Uzbekistan), where he built the great Observatory with the assistance of the famous Iranian astronomer, Ghiyas od-Din Jamshid Kashani. He also built the Ulugh Beg Madrasahs in Samarqand and Bukhara, transforming the cities into cultural centres of learning. He ruled for almost half-a-century the present-day countries of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and the southern parts of Kazakhstan – and for a while parts of Khorasan. Ulugh Beg determined the length of the sidereal year as 365.2570370, making it more accurate than Copernicus’ estimate. He also determined the Earth’s axial tilt as 23.52 degrees, which remained the most accurate measurement for hundreds of years. In mathematics, he wrote accurate trigonometric tables of sine and tangent values correct to at least eight decimal places. The crater "Ulugh Beg”, on the Moon, is named after him.
405 solar years ago, on this day in 1616 AD, Spanish poet and novelist, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, died in Madrid at the age of 59. Born near Madrid, his magnum opus "Don Quixote” is considered to be the first modern European novel. It follows the adventures of Alonso Quixano, who reads so many chivalric novels that he loses his sanity and decides to set out to revive chivalry, undo wrongs, and bring justice to the world, under the name Don Quixote. He recruits a simple farmer, Sancho Panza, as his squire, who often employs a unique, earthly wit in dealing with Don Quixote’s rhetorical orations on antiquated knighthood. Cervantes’ influence on the Spanish language has been so great that the language is often called "la Lengua de Cervantes” (the Language of Cervantes). "Don Quixote” has been regarded chiefly as a novel of purpose. He wrote it to satirize the chivalric romance and to challenge the popularity of a form of literature that had been a favorite of the general public for more than a century. Cervantes enlisted as a soldier in a Spanish Navy infantry regiment and continued and was captured by Algerian-Ottoman naval forces. After 5 years of captivity he was released by his captors.
399 solar years ago, on this day in 1622 AD, the strategically located Hormuz Island in the Strait of the same name at the entry of the Persian Gulf was liberated from over a century of Portuguese occupation by a joint Iranian-English fleet. The victory entirely changed the balance of power and trade to the benefit of the Safavid Empire and the English East India Company. The Iranians first besieged Qeshm Island – the largest in the Persian Gulf and also under Portuguese occupation. Shah Abbas the Great dispatched his famous general Imam Qoli Khan, the son of Allahverdi Khan, to negotiate with the English, and after the liberation of Qeshm, the joint Iranian-English fleet sailed to Hormuz and the Safavids captured the town by sinking the Portuguese fleet. Twenty years earlier, Shah Abbas I had liberated Bahrain from Portuguese occupation.
297 solar years ago, on this day in 1724 AD, Immanuel Kant, Russian-German philosopher was born in the Prussian city of Konigsberg, which since 1946 is in Russia and called Kaliningrad. He spent a lifetime, teaching, learning, and compiling numerous books in different scientific courses such as mathematics, natural sciences, astronomy, logic, and especially philosophy. Kant tried to introduce the role played by experience and wisdom in learning and also the boundaries of wisdom and senses in understanding the world. His philosophy is based on criticism of mankind’s wisdom and understanding and is therefore known as critical philosophy. His books include "Critique of Practical Reason”.
217 lunar years ago, on this day in 1225 AH, Wahhabi heretics of Najd in Arabia raided Iraq and attacked the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, massacring hundreds of fasting Muslims in Ramadhan and looting the holy shrines of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) and the Martyr of Karbala, Imam Husain (AS). An eyewitness account of this blasphemous crime has been given by the scholar Seyyed Mohammad Jawad al-Amili, the author of the jurisprudential work "Miftah al-Karamah”, who survived the attack. He has written that the Godless Wahhabis besieged the cities, blocked the roads, looted houses and shrines, and massacred pilgrims.
126 solar years ago, on this day in 1895 AD, the people of Cuba staged an uprising for liberation from the yoke of Spanish colonial rule. This was the third uprising of the Cubans during the second half of the 19th century for independence. To crush the Cuban revolutionaries, Spain dispatched 300,000 troops. Amid these events that dragged on for several years, the US blew up its own ship, USS Maine, in Havana harbour and by putting the blame on Spanish forces, declared war on Spain in 1898. At the end of the 4-year war that lasted till 1902, the US had occupied Cuba, Guam Island in the Pacific Ocean and the Philippines.
117 solar years ago, on this day in 1904 AD, US physicist and the builder of atomic bomb, Robert Oppenheimer, was born. Prior to the break out of World War II, he conducted extensive studies on atoms, the nuclear fusion process and the explosive release of massive energy. During World War II, he was appointed as the caretaker of US Defense Department’s research unit, and the three initial atomic bombs were developed under his supervision. However, when the US killed tens of thousands of people in the atomic bombardment of Japan in 1945, Oppenheimer regretted his actions and called for usage of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
106 solar years ago, on this day in 1915 AD, modern chemical weapons were first used in a war. German troops released chlorine gas from several metal cylinders on the front lines at Ypres, Belgium, during WW I. The cloud of yellow-green gas with a strong odour was blown by wind over the French trenches, painfully killing 5,000 soldiers. Chlorine causes suffocation, constriction of the chest, tightness in the throat, and edema of the lungs. As little as 2.5 mg per liter (approximately 0.085 percent by volume) in the atmosphere causes death in minutes.
73 solar years ago, on this day in 1948 AD, the illegal European Zionist migrants in Palestine attacked and occupied the Mediterranean port city of Haifa, martyring 500 Palestinians and wounding several hundred others. When the terrified Arab women, children and old men fled to the harbour for possible evacuation to safe places, the Zionists brutally attacked them, martyring over 100 other innocent Palestinians and injuring more than 200. These and other massacres were a prelude to the illegitimate birth of Israel on Palestinian soil on May 14, 1948.
60 solar years ago, on this day in 1961 AD, the actions of the French secret army for continued occupation of Algeria resulted in the killing of at least 1,200 people in the capital, Algiers. The backlash forced French president, General Charles de Gaulle, to grant autonomy to Algeria, but the Algerian combatants, who demanded complete independence, continued to confront the French troops. The concessions that de Gaulle granted to the Algerian Liberation Front were opposed by some French commanders and troops in Algeria. The secret army committed numerous crimes in Algeria, but it disintegrated with the detention of its leaders.
51 solar years ago, on this day in 1970 AD, Earth Day and Earth Week were marked for the first time as a result of a lifelong campaign by peace activist, John McConnell, for ensuring clean and healthy environment in view of the hazards posed by industrialization.
42 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), ordered establishment of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). The main duty of IRGC is defence of the Islamic Revolution, and since its formation IRGC has decisively confronted anti-revolutionary groups and their plots to destabilize the country. The IRGC personnel showed their skill and valour during the 8-year war imposed on Iran by the US through Saddam of the repressive Ba’th minority regime of Iraq, thereby thwarting enemy designs. After end of the imposed war, the IRGC has maintained its military preparedness in the face of enemy threats against the Islamic Revolution and Iran by actively participating in various development projects at home and abroad, including defending the oppressed people of the region against state and non-state terrorists.
41 solar years ago, on this day in 1980 AD, the University of Tabriz was liberated by the Muslim masses of this northwestern city from occupation of the US-backed MKO hypocrites. Five days earlier, following the takeover of Tabriz University by Muslim students, the hypocrites who had entrenched themselves in the Teachers’ Training College were given a 3-day ultimatum by the Revolutionary Council, and when they refused to evacuate, the public burst into the campus to drive them out. Imam Khomeini (RA) supported the move and agreed with the closure of universities all over the country for conducting a fundamental review of the system of education in line with Islamic teachings. The universities were finally reopened on 18 December 1982.
37 solar years ago, on this day in 1984 AD, the war of tankers was started by Ba’thist Iraq following blocking of Iraqi exports of oil via the Shatt-al-Arab waterway, and Syria’s closure of Iraq’s pipeline to the Mediterranean Sea. Iraq attacked Iranian tankers and the vital oil terminal at Khark Island. It then attacked Kuwaiti and Saudi tankers in a bid to lay the blame on Iran, so that its godfather the US would intrude into the Persian Gulf on the pretext of preventing Iran from blocking the Hormuz Strait. The Iranians limited their retaliatory attacks to Iraqi shipping, leaving the Hormuz Strait open to general passage to thwart the plot. Nonetheless, as Iraq’s lawlessness continued, Kuwait officially requested mischief-monger US to provide its tankers with naval escort.
27 solar years ago, on this day in 1994 AD, 7,000 ethnic Tutsis were slaughtered in stadium of Kibuye in Rwanda by the Hutu. Initially gasoline was used to set ablaze a building where 500 Tutsis were hiding. In 2001 Benedictine Sister Maria Kisito stood trial in Belgium for providing the gasoline.