This Day In History
This Day In History
Tuesday, March 26, 2019


November 26, 1965

In the Hammaguir launch...
In the Hammaguir launch facility in the Sahara Desert, France launches a Diamant-A rocket with its first satellite, «Asterix-1» on board, becoming the third country to enter outer space. With Astérix, France became the sixth country to have an artificial satellite in orbit, behind the USSR (Sputnik 1, 1957), the USA (Explorer 1, 1958), the United Kingdom (Ariel 1, 1962), Canada (Alouette 1, 1962) and Italy (San Marco 1, 1964) but the third to launch the satellite there on its own (the UK, Canada and Italy's satellites were launched on American rockets).
Asterix-1, France, satellite, space

December 9, 1905

In France, the law...
In France, the law separating church and state is passed. The 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and State (French: Loi du 9 décembre 1905 concernant la séparation des Églises et de l'État) was passed by the Chamber of Deputies on 9 December 1905. Enacted during the Third Republic, it established state secularism in France. France was then governed by the Bloc des gauches (Left Coalition) led by Emile Combes. The law was based on three principles: the neutrality of the state, the freedom of religious exercise, and public powers related to the church. This law is seen as the backbone of the French principle of laïcité. The law famously states "The Republic neither recognizes, nor salaries, nor subsidizes any religion".
church, state, France

December 14, 2004

The Millau viaduct, the...
The Millau viaduct, the tallest bridge in the world, near Millau, France is officially opened. The Millau Viaduct is a cable-stayed road-bridge that spans the valley of the river Tarn near Millau in southern France. Designed by the British architect Norman Foster and French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux, it is the tallest bridge in the world, with one mast's summit at 343.0 metres (1,125 ft). It is the 12th highest bridge in the world, at 270 metres (890 ft)high below the road deck. The viaduct is part of the A75-A71 autoroute axis from Paris to Montpellier. Construction cost was approximately €400 million. It was formally dedicated on 14 December 2004, inaugurated the day after and opened to traffic two days later. The bridge received the 2006 IABSE Outstanding Structure Award.
Millau Viaduct, viaduct, bridge, France

February 13, 1960

With the success of a nuclear test codenamed "Gerboise Bleue", France becomes the fourth country to possess nuclear weapons. Gerboise Bleue ("blue jerboa") was the name of the first French nuclear test. It was an atomic bomb detonated in the middle of the Algerian Sahara desert on 13 February 1960, during the Algerian War (1954–62). General Pierre Marie Gallois was instrumental in the endeavour, and earned the nickname of père de la bombe A ("father of the A-bomb"). Gerboise is the French word for jerboa, a desert rodent found in the Sahara, while blue is the first color of the French tricolor flag. So the second and third bombs were named respectively "white" (Gerboise Blanche) and "red" (Gerboise Rouge), the remaining colors of the flag.
Gerboise Bleue, nuclear weapons, nuclear test, France, Sahara

May 16, 1877

May 16, 1877 political crisis in France. The 16 May 1877 crisis was a constitutional crisis in the French Third Republic concerning the distribution of power between the President and the legislature. When the Royalist President Patrice MacMahon dismissed the Opportunist Republican Prime Minister Jules Simon, parliament on 16 May 1877 refused to support the new government and was dissolved by the President. New elections brought in an overwhelming victory for the Republicans. Thus, the interpretation of the 1875 Constitution as a parliamentary system prevailed over a presidential system. The crisis ultimately sealed the defeat of the Royalist movement, and was instrumental in creating the conditions of the longevity of the Third Republic.
political crisis, France
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