On This Day
1789 – French Revolution: The Women’s March on Versailles effectively terminates royal authority.
The Women’s March on Versailles, also known as the October March, the October Days or simply the March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. The march began among women in the marketplaces of Paris who, on the morning of 5 October 1789, were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries, who were seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. The market women and their various allies grew into a mob of thousands. Encouraged by revolutionary agitators, they ransacked the city armory for weapons and marched to the Palace of Versailles. The crowd besieged the palace, and in a dramatic and violent confrontation, they successfully pressed their demands upon King Louis XVI. The next day, the crowd compelled the king, his family, and most of the French Assembly to return with them to Paris.
These events ended the king’s independence and signified the change of power and reforms about to overtake France. The march symbolized a new balance of power that displaced the ancient privileged orders of the French nobility and favored the nation’s common people, collectively termed the Third Estate. Bringing together people representing sources of the Revolution in their largest numbers yet, the march on Versailles proved to be a defining moment of that Revolution.
618 – Transition from Sui to Tang: Wang Shichong decisively defeats Li Mi at the Battle of Yanshi.
The Battle of Yanshi (Chinese: 偃師之戰) was fought on 5–6 October 618 between the armies of Wang Shichong and Li Mi, rival contenders for the succession of the Sui dynasty. Wang, who was still ostensibly a Sui loyalist and had been blockaded in Luoyang for months by Li, gambled on a decisive battle and led his troops out to attack the besieging army. Li assembled his forces on a naturally defensible position north of Yanshi town, but Wang managed to surprise Li’s forces and approach their camp before they could react. Aided by a secondary cavalry attack from the rear, Wang secured a decisive victory over Li’s forces. Although Li managed to escape with part of his army, his authority was shattered, and his followers joined Wang. While Li sought refuge in the rival Tang court, Wang consolidated his control over Henan and eventually deposed the Sui puppet ruler Yang Tong and declared himself as emperor of the new Zheng dynasty. Wang’s power lasted until his surrender to the Tang prince Li Shimin in 621.
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1477 – Uppsala University is inaugurated after receiving its corporate rights from Pope Sixtus IV in February the same year.
Uppsala University (Swedish: Uppsala universitet) is a public research university in Uppsala, Sweden. Founded in 1477, it is the oldest university in Sweden and the Nordic countries still in operation. The university motto is “Gratiae veritas naturae”.
The university rose to significance during the rise of Sweden as a great power at the end of the 16th century and was then given a relative financial stability with a large donation from King Gustavus Adolphus in the early 17th century. Uppsala also has an important historical place in Swedish national culture, identity and for the Swedish establishment: in historiography, literature, politics, and music. Many aspects of Swedish academic culture in general, such as the white student cap, originated in Uppsala. It shares some peculiarities, such as the student nation system, with Lund University and the University of Helsinki.
Uppsala belongs to the Coimbra Group of European universities and to the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities. It has ranked among the world’s 100 best universities in several international rankings.
The university has nine faculties distributed over three disciplinary domains: Humanities and Social Sciences, Medicine and Pharmacy, and Science and Technology. As of 2020, it had approximately 52,000 registered students at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and 2,200 PhD students.
Architecturally, Uppsala University has traditionally had a strong presence in Fjärdingen, the neighbourhood around the cathedral on the western side of the River Fyris. Despite some contemporary building developments further away from the centre, Uppsala’s historic centre continues to be dominated by the presence of the university.
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Born On This Day
1817 – Catherine Cooper Hopley, British author and naturalist (d. 1911)
Catherine Cooper Hopley (5 October 1817 – 1911), also known by the pen-name Sarah L. Jones, was a British author, governess, artist, and naturalist known for her books on the American Civil War and her nature books for general audiences, including the first popular book on snakes in the English language.
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1565 – Marie de Gournay, French writer (d. 1645)
Marie de Gournay (French pronunciation: [maʁi də ɡuʁnɛ] (About this soundlisten); 6 October 1565, Paris – 13 July 1645) was a French writer, who wrote a novel and a number of other literary compositions, including The Equality of Men and Women (Égalité des hommes et des femmes, 1622) and The Ladies’ Grievance (Grief des dames, 1626). She insisted that women should be educated. Gournay was also an editor and commentator of Michel de Montaigne. After Montaigne’s death, Gournay edited and published his Essays.
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1819 – Ann Eliza Smith, American author and patriot (d. 1905)
Ann Eliza Smith (pen name, Mrs. J. Gregory Smith; October 7, 1819 – January 6, 1905) was an American author. She was president of the board of managers for the Vermont woman’s exhibit at the Centennial Exposition of 1876, at Philadelphia, and was frequently chosen in similar capacities as a representative of Vermont women. During the Civil War, she coordinated a response to the Confederate raid on St. Albans on October 19, 1864. In 1870, Governor Peter T. Washburn, who had served as adjutant general of the Vermont Militia during the war, recognized her efforts and presented her with an honorary commission as a lieutenant colonel on his military staff.
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