This Day In History
Monday, May 21, 2018
On This Day

Events

in 1879

Eduardo Abaroa and the defenders of Topáter
Eduardo Abaroa and the defenders of Topáter
The Battle of Topáter, the first battle of the war is fought between Chile and the joint forces of Bolivia and Peru. The Battle of Topáter was fought on March 23, 1879 between Chile and Bolivia, and was the first of the War of the Pacific. The Chileans were taking possession of the Antofagasta (Litoral) province, at that time a part of Bolivia. The Bolivian troops, quite few in number, decided to make a stand in the town of Calama. On their way to occupy Calama, 554 Chilean troops, including cavalry and with two Krupp rifled guns, were opposed by 135 Bolivian soldiers and civilian residents led by Dr. Ladislao Cabrera, a civilian and a political authority in the region. The Bolivians presented battle next to the Topáter River, which runs outside the city. Cabrera dug in at two destroyed bridges; calls to surrender were rejected before and during the battle. Outnumbered and low in ammunition, most of the Bolivian force eventually withdrew, except for a small group of civilians led by Colonel Eduardo Abaroa that fought to the end. The Bolivian national hero, Coronel (Colonel) Abaroa, died in this battle. Further ground battles would not take place until the war at sea was resolved.
War of the Pacific, battle, Topater

in 1965

NASA launches Gemini 3,...
NASA launches Gemini 3, the United States' first two-man space flight. Gemini 3 was the first manned mission in NASA's Gemini program, the second American manned space program. On March 23, 1965, the spacecraft, nicknamed Molly Brown, performed the seventh manned US spaceflight, and the 17th manned spaceflight overall (including X-15 flights over 100 kilometers). It was also the final manned flight controlled from Cape Canaveral, Florida before mission control functions were shifted to the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas.
Gemini 3, NASA, space

in 2001

The Russian <i>Mir</i> space...
The Russian Mir space station is disposed of, breaking up in the atmosphere before falling into the southern Pacific Ocean near Fiji. Mir's deorbit was carried out in three stages. The first stage involved waiting for atmospheric drag to reduce the station's orbit to an average of 220 kilometres (140 mi). This began with the docking of Progress M1-5, a modified version of the Progress-M carrying 2.5 times more fuel in place of supplies. The second stage was the transfer of the station into a 165 × 220 km (103 × 137 mi) orbit. This was achieved with two burns of Progress M1-5's control engines at 00:32 UTC and 02:01 UTC on 23 March 2001. After a two-orbit pause, the third and final stage of Mir's deorbit began with the burn of Progress M1-5's control engines and main engine at 05:08 UTC, lasting a little over 22 minutes. Reentry into Earth's atmosphere (100 km/60 mi AMSL) of the 15-year-old space station occurred at 05:44 UTC near Nadi, Fiji. Major destruction of the station began around 05:52 UTC and the unburned fragments fell into the South Pacific Ocean around 06:00 UTC.
Mir, space station, space





Births

in 1749
Pierre-Simon Laplace

Pierre-Simon, marquis de Laplace was a French mathematician and astronomer whose work was pivotal to the development of mathematical astronomy and statistics. He summarized and extended the work of his predecessors in his five volume Mécanique Céleste (Celestial Mechanics) (1799–1825). This work translated the geometric study of classical mechanics to one based on calculus, opening up a broader range of problems. In statistics, the so-called Bayesian interpretation of probability was mainly developed by Laplace.
in 1910
Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa was a Japanese film director, screenwriter, producer, and editor. Regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, Kurosawa directed 30 films in a career spanning 57 years.
in 1912
Wernher von Braun

Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun was a German-born rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and, subsequently, the United States.

Deaths

in 1819
August von Kotzebue

August Friedrich Ferdinand von Kotzebue was a German dramatist and author who also worked as a Generalkonsul in Russia. One of Kotzebue's books was burned during the Wartburg festival in 1817. He was murdered in 1819 by Karl Ludwig Sand, a militant member of the Burschenschaften. The murder of Kotzebue gave Metternich the pretext to issue the Carlsbad Decrees of 1819, which dissolved the Burschenschaften, cracked down on the liberal press, and seriously restricted academic freedom in the states of the German Confederation.
in 2011
Elizabeth Taylor

Dame Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor was a British-American actress. From her early years as a child star with MGM, she became one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age. As one of the world's most famous film stars, Taylor was recognized for her acting ability and for her glamorous lifestyle, beauty and distinctive violet eyes.
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