On This Day
1616 – The city of Belém, Brazil is founded on the Amazon River delta, by Portuguese captain Francisco Caldeira Castelo Branco.
Belém ([beˈlẽj]; Portuguese for Bethlehem; initially called Nossa Senhora de Belém do Grão Pará, in English Our Lady of Belém of Pará) often called Belém of Pará, is a Brazilian city, capital and largest city of the state of Pará in the country’s north. It is the gateway to the Amazon River with a busy port, airport, and bus/coach station. Belém lies approximately 100 km upriver from the Atlantic Ocean, on the Pará River, which is part of the greater Amazon River system, separated from the larger part of the Amazon delta by Ilha de Marajó (Marajo Island). With an estimated population of 1,499,641 people — or 2,491,052, considering its metropolitan area — it is the 11th most populous city in Brazil, as well as the 16th by economic relevance. It is the second largest in the North Region, second only to Manaus, in the state of Amazonas.
Founded in 1616 by the Kingdom of Portugal, Belém was the first European colony on the Amazon but did not become part of Brazil until 1775. The newer part of the city has modern buildings and skyscrapers. The colonial portion retains the charm of tree-filled squares, churches and traditional blue tiles. The city has a rich history and architecture from colonial times. Recently it witnessed a skyscraper boom.
Belém is also known as the Metropolis of the Brazilian Amazon region or the Cidade das Mangueiras (City of Mango Trees) due to the vast number of those trees found in the city. Brazilians often refer to the city as Belém do Pará (“Belém of Pará”) rather than just Belém, a reference to an earlier name for the city, Santa Maria de Belém do Grão Pará, and also to differentiate it from a number of other towns called Belém in Brazil, as well as the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank of Palestine. It is named after Santa Maria de Belém in Lisbon, also better known by its shortened name, Belém.
Belém is served by two airports: Val de Cans International Airport, which connects the city with the rest of Brazil and other cities in South America, North America (USA) and Europe (Lisbon) and Brig. Protásio de Oliveira Airport (formerly called Júlio César Airport) dedicated to general aviation. The city is also home to the Federal University of Pará and the Pará State University.
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1939 – The Black Friday bushfires burn 20,000 square kilometers of land in Australia, claiming the lives of 71 people.
The Black Friday bushfires of 13 January 1939, in Victoria, Australia, were part of the devastating 1938–1939 bushfire season in Australia, which saw bushfires burning for the whole summer, and ash falling as far away as New Zealand. It was calculated that three-quarters of the State of Victoria was directly or indirectly affected by the disaster, while other Australian states and the Australian Capital Territory were also badly hit by fires and extreme heat. As of 3 November 2011, the event was one of the worst[clarification needed] recorded bushfires in Australia, and the third most deadly.
Fires burned almost 2,000,000 hectares (4,900,000 acres) of land in Victoria, where 71 people were killed, and several towns were entirely obliterated. Over 1,300 homes and 69 sawmills were burned, and 3,700 buildings were destroyed or damaged. In response, the Victorian state government convened a Royal Commission that resulted in major changes in forest management. The Royal Commission noted that “it appeared the whole State was alight on Friday, 13 January 1939”.
New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory also faced severe fires during the 1939 season. Destructive fires burned from the NSW South Coast, across the ranges and inland to Bathurst, while Sydney was ringed by fires which entered the outer suburbs, and fires raged towards the new capital at Canberra. South Australia was also struck by the Adelaide Hills bushfires.
Born On This Day
1673 – Rosalba Carriera, Italian painter (d. 1757)
Rosalba Carriera (12 January 1673 – 15 April 1757) was a Venetian Rococo painter. In her younger years, she specialized in portrait miniatures. It is for this that she was able to build a career in portraiture. Carriera would later become known for her pastel work, a medium appealing to Rococo styles for its soft edges and flattering surfaces. She is remembered as one of the most successful women artists of any era.
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1810 – Ernestine Rose, American suffragist, abolitionist, and freethinker (d. 1892)
Ernestine Louise Rose (January 13, 1810 – August 4, 1892) was a suffragist, abolitionist, and freethinker who has been called the “first Jewish feminist.” Her career spanned from the 1830s to the 1870s, making her a contemporary to the more famous suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Largely forgotten in contemporary discussions of the American women’s rights movement, she was one of its major intellectual forces in nineteenth-century America. Her relationship with Judaism is a debated motivation for her advocacy. Although less well remembered than her fellow suffragists and abolitionists, in 1996, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and in 1998 the Ernestine Rose Society was founded to “revive the legacy of this important early nineteenth century reformer by recognizing her pioneering role in the first wave of feminism.”
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