This week in history
For the week of Jul. 17, 2016
Constitution Day: South Korea. After the division of Korea into North Korea and South Korea at the end of World War II, South Korea formed a republic with its capitol I Seoul and Syngman Rhee as its first president.
Luis Munoz Rivera (1859-1916): Puerto Rico. Poet, journalist, and political leader. When Spain granted political autonomy to Puerto Rico in 1898, Luis Munoz Rivera became its leader. Only five months later, however, the United States invaded and took possession of the island, and Munoz Rivera spent the rest of his life working to regain the independence of his nation. As Resident Commissioner in Washington in 1916, he denounced the proposed Jones Act, which was to give citizenship to Puerto Ricans but retain the island as a U.S. possession. The act was passed shortly after his death.
Tisha B'Av: Jewish. This holiday commemorates the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. and again in 70 C.E.
Alice Dunbar-Nelson (1875-1935): African American. Author, teacher, and social worker. Briefly married to the Poet Laurence Dunbar, Alice Dunbar-Nelson was an accomplished writer of poems and short stories, newspaper columns, diaries, and speeches. Her career as an educator included 18 years of teaching and administration at Howard High School in Wilmington, Delaware, and 4 years at a school she helped to found for delinquent African American girls. Deeply committed to racial equality, womenis rights, and world peace, she devoted much of her energy to writing, lecturing, and political organizing in support of these causes.
First Special Olympics Games (1968) : United States On this date the first Special Olympics, an athletic competition for children and adults with cognitive disabilities, opened at Soldiers field in Chicago. The first Special Olympics had 1.000 participants from the United States and Canada; by 1995, this competition expanded to include Winter Special Olympics(added in 1977 and to involve 7,000 participants from all 50 states and 143 countries. The program of event has also grown dramatically, from three at the first Special Olympics to more than twenty. The international competition is held in the year before the regular Olympics.
National Liberation Day: Nicaragua. The family of Anastasio Somoza ruled Nicaragua as a dictatorship from 1937 to 1979. After an uprising led by the National Liberation Army, the Somoza family fled Nicaragua on this day in 1979.
Independence Day: Colombia. Beginning in the fourteenth century, the region that is now Colombia was the center of the Spanish colony known as New Granada, which included Panama and most of Venezuela. Beginning in 1810, Simon Bolivar led a war of independence from Spain, which ended with victory over Spanish forces on this day in 1819. This day is celebrated in Colombia as a national holiday.
National Holiday: Belgium. This day marks the day in 1831 that Belgium became independent from the Netherlands and Leopold I ascended the throne as Belgiumis first king.
Revolution Day: Egypt. This day marks the beginning of the military coup in 1952 that led to the proclamation of the proclamation of the Egyptian republic.
Bella Abzug (1920-1998): Jewish American. Womenis rights advocate and politician. A graduate of Hunter College and Columbia Law School, where she was an editor of the Law Review, Abzug began her career as a civil rights lawyer and became a leading advocate for equal rights, peace, and political reform. In the 1960s she became a fervent antiwar activist and a founder of Women Strike for Peace, a group opposing nuclear testing and the war in Vietnam. In 1970, Abzug won a seat in the United States Congress and served until 1976, when she ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for the Senate. While in the House, she cosponsored the Equal Rights Amendment and the Freedom of Information Act, as well as the legislation that established August 26 as Womanis Equality Day. After leaving Congress, Abzug dedicated the rest of her life to achieving womenis rights as a founder of the lobbying groups National Womenis Political Caucus and Women USA, as well as the Womenis Environment and Development Organization.
Pioneer Day: Mormon. This marks the day in 1847 that Brigham young led other believers in the teachings of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, into the valley of the Great Salt Lake, where they would establish the center of the Church of Latter Day Saints and build Salt Lake City.
Simon Bolivar (1783-1830): Ecuador and Venezuela. Military and political leader. This public holiday honors Bolivar. Known as iThe Liberator,i Simon Bolivar led the rebellion against Spanish rule that established the independence of Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.