On This Day
1098 – First Crusade: Siege of Ma’arrat al-Numan: Crusaders breach the town’s walls and massacre about 20,000 inhabitants. After finding themselves with insufficient food, they reportedly resort to cannibalism.
The Siege of Maarat, or Ma’arra, occurred in late 1098 in the city of Ma’arrat al-Numan, in what is modern-day Syria, during the First Crusade. It is infamous for the claims of widespread cannibalism displayed by the Crusaders.
Born On This Day
1806 – Stand Watie, American general (d. 1871)
Stand Watie (Cherokee: ᏕᎦᏔᎦ, translit. Degataga, lit. ‘Stand firm’) (December 12, 1806 – September 9, 1871) — also known as Standhope Uwatie, Tawkertawker, and Isaac S. Watie — was a leader of the Cherokee Nation, and the only Native American to attain a general’s rank in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He commanded the Confederate Indian cavalry of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi, made up mostly of Cherokee, Muskogee and Seminole, and was the final Confederate general in the field to cease hostilities at war’s end.
Prior to removal of the Cherokee to Indian Territory in the late 1830s, Watie and his older brother Elias Boudinot were among leaders who signed the Treaty of New Echota in 1835. The majority of the tribe opposed their action. In 1839 the brothers were attacked in an assassination attempt, as were other relatives active in the Treaty Party. All but Stand Watie were killed. Watie in 1842 killed one of his uncle’s attackers, and in 1845 his brother Thomas Watie was killed in retaliation, in the continuing cycle of violence. Watie was acquitted at trial in the 1850s on the grounds of self-defense.
During the Civil War and soon after, Watie served as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation (1862–1866). By the end of the war, the majority of the tribe supported the Confederacy. A minority supported the Union and refused to ratify his election. The former chief John Ross, a Union supporter, was captured in 1862 by Union forces. Watie led the Southern Cherokee delegation to Washington after the war to sue for peace, hoping to have tribal divisions recognized. The US government negotiated only with the leaders who had sided with the Union, and named John Ross as principal chief in 1866 under a new treaty. Watie stayed out of politics for his last years, and tried to rebuild his plantation.
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