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The 28th June is a rather unique day in regards to World History and in particular ‘Western’ History. It marks the anniversary as well as birthdays of certain events and people that had considerable impact on the future and the present. The following are just   some that occurred on 28 June.

1. Coronation of EDWARD IV (1442-1483), King of England – Westminster Abbey, London, 1461. The coronation of Edward IV, eldest son Richard, Duke of York, and brother to George, Duke of Clarence and Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III), marked the end of the first part of the so-called ‘Wars of the Roses’ between the Houses of York and Lancaster. Edward IV reigned from 1461-1470 until the Lancastrian forces rose in rebellion and re-instated Henry VI. The Battle of Tewksbury in 1471 saw the defeat of the House of Lancaster and Edward IV retook the crown, reigning until 1483.

2. The birth of HENRY VIII (1491-1547) – Placentia Palace, Greenwich, Kent. Henry VIII was the third child of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. His subsequent reign after his father’s death in 1509 was one of the most turbulent and influential in English history. Controversial not just because of his family – his six wives and father to Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I, but also because of the split with Rome and the Catholic Church and the creation of the Protestant Church of England.

3. The birth of CHARLES V (1519-1556) Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany and Italy – Prinsenof, Ghent, Holy Roman Empire. One of the most dynamic and powerful rulers of Europe in the 16th Century, and the person who firmly established the House of Hapsburg as a major force in ‘World History’. Throughout his life Charles V fought many battles mainly on behalf of Catholicism. His enemies were not only the European Protestant states but also the Ottoman Turks.

4. The BATTLE OF NAGASHINO (1575) – Nagashino Castle, Mikawa, Honshu, Japan. The Battle of Nagashino was one of the decisive battles in the Sengoku period (1467-1615) between Okudaira Sadamasa of the Tokugawa Shogunate and Takeda Katsuyori of the Takeda clan. Okudaira Sadamasa managed to defend the Nagashino Castle from considerable attacks until relief arrived from the Tokugawa-Oda alliance.

5. The birth of SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS (1577-1640) – Siegen Nassau-Dillenburg, Holy Roman Empire. One of the most influential (and wealthiest) painters of the Baroque period of Art. Rubens worked as a painter as well as a diplomat. Most of his art work, however, is devoted to historical, mythical, and religious event and people.

6. The birth of JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU (1712-1778) – Geneva, Republic of Geneva. Rousseau is on of the most influential philosophers of the 18th Century. His major works include Emile, or on Education (1762), The Social Contract, or Principles of Political Right (1762), and Confessions (1770). Rousseau’s work was considerably influential on the Jacobins during the French Revolution. His work and philosophy continues to be studied today. Always controversial, it was the British philosopher Bertrand Russell who stated, ‘Hitler is the outcome of Rousseau’.

7. Coronation of QUEEN VICTORIA (1812-1901) – Westminster Abbey, 1838.

8. The premier of the ballet GISELLE, or THE WILLIS by Adolph Adam, Theophile Gautier, Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges – in Paris, France 1841. Giselle is one of the most popular and enduring classical ‘romantic’ ballets. It was based on two sources – Heinrich Heine’s De I’Allemage and Victor Hugo’s ‘Fantomes’ (Les Orientales). The ballet was created for Carlotta Grisi, an Italian dancer and one of the most popular ‘stars’ of European ballet in 19th Century.

9. The death of ROBERT O’HARA BURKE (1821-1861) – Coopers Creek, Queensland, Australia, 1861. Burke’s death at Cooper’s Creek in 1861 marked the end of the disastrous and tragic ‘Burke and Wills Expedition’ whose aim was to cross the Australian continent from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria. Launched with much patriotic sentiment and celebration, departing from Melbourne 20 August 1860 with about 15,000 spectators, the expedition was a complete disaster. Despite Burke and his companions, including William John Wills, making it to the Gulf of Carpentaria they did not have enough provisions nor understanding of the harsh realities of the Australian outback. Burke and Wills and Dennis King made it back to Cooper’s Creek only to discover that their depot party had left the previous day. Burke and Wills died at Cooper’s Creek, however, King managed to survive thanks to the assistance of a local Indigenous tribe.

Unknown.jpeg10. The birth of LUIGI PIRANDELLO (1867-1936) – Girgenti (now, Agigento), Sicily, Italy. Pirandello is one of the masters and major influencers of 20th Century theatre. This includes his extraordinary plays – Right You Are, If You Think So (1917), The Rules of the Game (1918) Six Characters in Search of and Author (1921), and Henry IV (1922).

11. The capture of NED KELLY (1854-1880) – Glenrowan, Victoria, Australia, 1880. Ned Kelly remains one of the most iconic and controversial Australian ‘bushrangers’ of the 19th Century. The siege of the Glenrowan Inn, Glenrowan, involving Ned and his fellow gang members, as well as the Victorian police and locals was bloody affair. In the morning of 28 June 1880 Ned put on his iconic armour and left the Glenrowan Inn, leaving his companions behind. Ned Kelly confronted the police, which included journalist Tom Carrington who later wrote that when Ned Kelly appeared for the final confrontation it was like a ‘strange apparition’ – ‘With the steam rising from the ground it looked like for all the world like the ghost of Hamlet’s father….It was the most extraordinary sight I ever saw or read in my life, and I felt fairly spellbound with wonder, I could not stir or speak’.

11. The birth of RICHARD RODGERS (1902-1979) – Queens, New York City, USA. One of the masters of American Music Theatre, Richard Rodgers will collaborators Lorenz Hart and later Oscar Hammerstein II created some of the most popular and enduring American musicals of the 20th Century. This includes – (w. Lorenz Hart) On Your Toes (1936), Babes in Arms (1937), The Boys from Syracuse (1938), Pal Joey (1940-41); (w. Oscar Hammerstein II) Oklahoma (1943), Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949), The King and I (1951), The Sound of Music (1959).

12. The Assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand (1863-1914) and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenburg (1868-1914) – Sarajvo, Austria-Hungary, 1914. The assassination of ‘heir presumptive’ to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Arch Duke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, is generally cited as the ’cause celeb’ that triggered a series of events that led to World War I.

13. The signing of the TREATY OF VERSAILLES – Versailles, France, 1919. The signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919 officially marked the end of World War I and hostilities between Germany and the Allied Powers of Great Britain, France, and the USA.

14. The birth of MEL BROOKS (1926- ) – Brooklyn, New York City, USA. One of the greatest American clowns, comedy writer and director of the 20th Century – who is still alive today. His many films include – The Producers (1967), Blazing Saddles (1974), and Young Frankenstein (1974). My favourite? The Producers (1967).


There is a lot more – but – ‘Here endeth the lesson’ – Happy 28 June.

Tony Knight – 28 June, 2020.