In 1135, future Jewish philosopher, jurist, and physician Moses Ben Maimon (Maimonides) was born in Córdoba in present-day Spain. As part of Islamic Spain, Córdoba had accorded its citizens full religious freedom. But about 1148, the Islamic Mediterranean world was shaken by a revolutionary and fanatical Islamic sect, the Almohads (Arabic: al-Muwaḥḥidūn, “the Unitarians”), who captured Córdoba, leaving the Jewish community faced with the grim alternative of submitting to Islam or leaving the city. The Maimons temporized by practicing their Judaism in the privacy of their homes, while disguising their ways in public as far as possible to appear like Muslims. They remained in Córdoba for some 11 years, and Maimonides continued his education in Judaic studies as well as in the scientific disciplines in vogue at the time.
In 1282, the people of Palermo massacred 2,000 French residents in the Sicilian Vespers, a revolt against the Angevin king Charles I. It precipitated a French-Aragonese struggle for possession of that kingdom. Its name derives from a riot that took place in a church outside Palermo at the hour of vespers on Easter Monday, March 30, 1282. Peter III of Aragon, Charles’s rival for the Neapolitan throne, conspired to raise a rebellion against him in Sicily. The rising broke out prematurely when Sicilians, incensed by Charles’s oppressive regime, killed some insulting French soldiers at vespers in the church of Santo Spirito. The people of Palermo followed suit and massacred 2,000 French inhabitants of the city the night of March 30–31. All of Sicily soon revolted and sought help from the Aragonese, who landed at Trapani on August 30. The War of the Sicilian Vespers ensued.
In 1822, Florida became a US territory.
Crimean War: In 1856, the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the war. The treaty was signed between Russia on one side and France, Great Britain, Sardinia-Piedmont, and Turkey on the other. Because the western European powers had fought the war to protect Ottoman Turkey from Russia, the treaty gave special attention to this problem. The signatories guaranteed the independence and territorial integrity of Turkey. Russia was obliged to surrender Bessarabia (situated at the mouth of the Danube River) to Moldavia, which along with Walachia were reorganized as autonomous states under Ottoman suzerainty. (These two principalities later joined to form Romania.) The Black Sea was neutralized (i.e., its waters were closed to all warships), and the Danube was opened to the shipping of all nations.
In 1867, Secretary of State William Seward reached agreement with Russian government representatives to purchase Alaska for $7,200,000. It was referred to at that time as “Seward’s Folly.”
Vietnam War: In 1972, North Vietnamese Army forces launched their three-pronged Easter Offensive against South Vietnam. The offensive failed by June.
In 1981, barely two months after his inauguration as the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan was shot and seriously wounded by would-be assassin John W. Hinckley, Jr.
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”