On This Day
1688 – The city council of Amsterdam votes to support William of Orange’s invasion of England, which became the Glorious Revolution.
The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 (Irish: An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; Scottish Gaelic: Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; Welsh: Chwyldro Gogoneddus; Dutch: Glorieuze Overtocht, lit. ’Glorious Crossing’) was the deposition of James II and VII, king of England, Scotland and Ireland and replacement by his daughter Mary II and her husband, William III of Orange, stadtholder and de facto ruler of the Dutch Republic. A term first used by John Hampden in late 1689, historian Jeremy Black suggests it can be seen as both the last successful invasion of England and also an internal coup.
Despite his Catholicism, James became king in February 1685 with widespread support as many feared his exclusion would lead to a repetition of the 1638–1651 Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Over the next three years, he alienated his supporters by suspending the Scottish and English Parliaments in 1685 and ruling by personal decree. Despite this, it was considered a short-term issue, as James was 52, and since his second marriage was childless after 11 years, the heir presumptive was his Protestant daughter Mary.
Two events in June 1688 turned dissent into a political crisis. The first was the birth of James Francis Edward on 10 June, displacing Mary as heir which created the prospect of a Catholic dynasty. The second was the prosecution of the Seven Bishops on 15 June; one in a series of perceived assaults on the Church of England, their acquittal on the 30th sparked anti-Catholic riots and destroyed James’s political authority. The combination convinced a broad coalition of English politicians to issue an Invitation to William, inviting him to secure the English throne for his wife Mary.
With Louis XIV of France preparing to attack the Dutch, William viewed this as an opportunity to secure English resources for the Nine Years’ War, which began in September 1688. On 5 November, he landed in Brixham in Torbay with 14,000 men. As he advanced on London, most of the 30,000-strong Royal Army joined him. James went into exile on 23 December and in April 1689, Parliament made William and Mary joint monarchs of England and Ireland. A separate but similar Scottish settlement was made in June.
While the Revolution itself was quick and relatively bloodless, pro-Stuart revolts in Scotland and Ireland caused significant casualties. Although Jacobitism persisted into the late 18th century, the Revolution ended a century of political dispute by confirming the primacy of Parliament over the Crown, a principle established in the Bill of Rights 1689. The Toleration Act 1688 granted freedom of worship to nonconformist Protestants, but restrictions on Catholics contained in the 1678 and 1681 English and Scottish Test Acts remained in force until 1828; while religious prohibitions on the monarch’s choice of spouse were removed in 2015, those applying to the monarch remain.
1822 – Jean-François Champollion announces that he has deciphered the Rosetta Stone.
Jean-François Champollion (French: [ʃɑ̃pɔljɔ̃]), also known as Champollion le jeune (‘the Younger’; 23 December 1790 – 4 March 1832), was a French scholar, philologist and orientalist, known primarily as the decipherer of Egyptian hieroglyphs and a founding figure in the field of Egyptology. Partially raised by his brother, the noted scholar Jacques Joseph Champollion-Figeac, Champollion was a child prodigy in philology, giving his first public paper on the decipherment of Demotic in his mid teens. As a young man he was renowned in scientific circles, and spoke Coptic, Ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Arabic.
During the early 19th century, French culture experienced a period of ‘Egyptomania’, brought on by Napoleon’s discoveries in Egypt during his campaign there (1798–1801) which also brought to light the trilingual Rosetta Stone. Scholars debated the age of Egyptian civilization and the function and nature of hieroglyphic script, which language if any it recorded, and the degree to which the signs were phonetic (representing speech sounds) or ideographic (recording semantic concepts directly). Many thought that the script was only used for sacred and ritual functions, and that as such it was unlikely to be decipherable since it was tied to esoteric and philosophical ideas, and did not record historical information. The significance of Champollion’s decipherment was that he showed these assumptions to be wrong, and made it possible to begin to retrieve many kinds of information recorded by the ancient Egyptians.
Champollion lived in a period of political turmoil in France which continuously threatened to disrupt his research in various ways. During the Napoleonic Wars, he was able to avoid conscription, but his Napoleonic allegiances meant that he was considered suspect by the subsequent Royalist regime. His own actions, sometimes brash and reckless, did not help his case. His relations with important political and scientific figures of the time, such as Joseph Fourier and Silvestre de Sacy helped him, although in some periods he lived exiled from the scientific community.
In 1820, Champollion embarked in earnest on the project of decipherment of hieroglyphic script, soon overshadowing the achievements of British polymath Thomas Young who had made the first advances in decipherment before 1819. In 1822, Champollion published his first breakthrough in the decipherment of the Rosetta hieroglyphs, showing that the Egyptian writing system was a combination of phonetic and ideographic signs – the first such script discovered. In 1824, he published a Précis in which he detailed a decipherment of the hieroglyphic script demonstrating the values of its phonetic and ideographic signs. In 1829, he traveled to Egypt where he was able to read many hieroglyphic texts that had never before been studied, and brought home a large body of new drawings of hieroglyphic inscriptions. Home again he was given a professorship in Egyptology, but only lectured a few times before his health, ruined by the hardships of the Egyptian journey, forced him to give up teaching. He died in Paris in 1832, 41 years old. His grammar of Ancient Egyptian was published posthumously.
During his life as well as long after his death, intense discussions over the merits of his decipherment were carried out among Egyptologists. Some faulted him for not having given sufficient credit to the early discoveries of Young, accusing him of plagiarism, and others long disputed the accuracy of his decipherments. But subsequent findings and confirmations of his readings by scholars building on his results gradually led to the general acceptance of his work. Although some still argue that he should have acknowledged the contributions of Young, his decipherment is now universally accepted and has been the basis for all further developments in the field. Consequently, he is regarded as the “Founder and Father of Egyptology”.
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Born On This Day
1942 – Gloria E. Anzaldúa, American scholar of Chicana cultural theory (d. 2004)
Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa (September 26, 1942 – May 15, 2004) was an American scholar of Chicana cultural theory, feminist theory, and queer theory. She loosely based her best-known book, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, on her life growing up on the Mexico–Texas border and incorporated her lifelong experiences of social and cultural marginalization into her work. She also developed theories about the marginal, in-between, and mixed cultures that develop along borders, including on the concepts of Nepantla, Coyoxaulqui imperative, new tribalism, and spiritual activism.
1928 – Margaret Rule, English archaeologist and historian (d. 2015)
Margaret Helen Rule, CBE (27 September 1928 – 9 April 2015) was a British archaeologist. She led the project that excavated and raised the Tudor warship Mary Rose in 1982.
Rule, née Martin, was born in Buckinghamshire on 27 September 1928. She studied chemistry at the University of London.
She was the curator of the Fishbourne Roman Palace, when she began her work in maritime archaeology when she was consulted on the initial search for the wreck of Mary Rose.
In March 1982 Margaret Rule visited Adelaide, South Australia, as the keynote speaker to the Second Southern Hemisphere Conference on Maritime Archaeology. During the Conference she visited the historic Murray River port of Morgan and dived with members of the Society for Underwater Historical Research (SUHR) on a project to record and recover items from the riverbed alongside the town’s massive wharf.
Rule had been living with Parkinson’s disease and arthritis in her later years. She died on 9 April 2015, aged 86.
British Sub Aqua Club – ‘Tributes paid to Dr Margaret Rule, lead archaeologist of the Mary Rose’ Monday 13 April 2015
Isabel Berwick, Financial Times – ‘Margaret Rule, archaeologist, 1928–2015’ Friday 17 April 2015
Peter Marsden, The Guardian – ‘Archaeologist responsible for raising the wreck of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship, from the seabed’ Thursday 16 April 2015
Matthew Bannister, Last Word, BBC Radio 4 – ‘Margaret Rule was the archaeologist who supervised the raising of Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose from the seabed under the waters of the Solent’ Friday 24 April 2015
Rosemary E Lunn, X-Ray Magazine – ‘Margaret Rule 1928 – 2015’ Friday 29 April 2015
She was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1995, the National Maritime Museum awarded her its Caird Medal. In 2001 the University of Portsmouth named a new 342 bed student accommodation block Margaret Rule Hall after her. In 2008, she was awarded the Colin Mcleod Award for “Furthering international co-operation in diving” by the British Sub Aqua Club.
By MessyNessy 13 Things I Found on the Internet Today (Vol. DLXX): A House Fit for Winnie the Pooh in the Original Hundred Acre Wood; Vending Machine Craze (1964); A 39-foot-long violin sailing down the Venice Canals; The Bathroom in Dietel Palace, Sosnowiec, Poland; The Duchess of Devonshire’s Costume Ball 1897; Circassian Beauty in the American Sideshow and more ->
By Tom Hays, 11 Alive: R&B superstar R. Kelly convicted in sex trafficking trial
By Gabriella Gage, Truly*Adventurous: One Trailblazing Mother’s Quest to Take America’s First Cross-Country Road Trip Riding into mysterious pre-highway terrain, a young mother rewrites history and faces betrayal closer than she ever imagined.
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