Roger Mickelson’s History For Today



In 1889, May Day—traditionally a celebration of the return of spring,marked by dancing around a Maypole—was first observed as a labor holiday,designated as such by the International Socialist Congress. The observanceprobably originated in ancient agricultural rituals, and the Greeks and Romans held such festivals. Although later practices varied widely, the celebrations came to include the gathering of wildflowers and green branches, the weaving of floral garlands, the crowning of a May king and queen, and the setting up of a decorated May tree, or Maypole, around which people danced. Such rites originally may have been intended to ensure fertility for crops and, by extension, for livestock and humans, but in most cases this significance was gradually lost, so that the practices survived largely as popular festivities.  Among the many superstitions associated with May Day was the belief that washing the face with dew on the morning of May 1 would beautify the skin. Because the Puritans of New England considered the celebrations of May Day to be licentious and pagan, they forbade its observance, and the holiday never became an important part of American culture.
School children rehearsing Maypole festivity, ...

School children rehearsing Maypole festivity, in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, 1939. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1851, the Great Exhibition of 1851 opened in London in the CrystalPalace, which was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton. Britain was the workshop of theworld and the main influence on the industrialization of other nations. TheGreat Exhibition of 1851 in London symbolized this economic supremacy. The exhibition was housed in a huge glass and iron building called by a journalist—with a touch of romance—“the Crystal Palace.” There people from all parts of the world could examine machines of every kind, “England’s arms of conquest . . . the trophies of her bloodless war.” Part of the success of the exhibition was political as much as economic. The objects on display came from all parts of the world, including India and the countries with recent white settlements, such as Australia and New Zealand, that constituted the new empire. Many of the visitors who flocked to London came from European cities.
English: Battle of Manila Bay, 1 May 1898 Cont...

English: Battle of Manila Bay, 1 May 1898 Contemporary colored print, showing USS Olympia in the left foreground, leading the U.S. Asiatic Squadron in destroying the Spanish fleet off Cavite. A vignette portrait of Rear Admiral George Dewey is featured in the lower left. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Spanish-American War:    In 1898, the Battle of ManilaBay ended in the defeat of the Spanish Pacific fleet by the US Navy, resultingin the fall of the Philippines and contributing to the final US victory. Afterthe United States had declared war (April 25), its Asiatic squadron was ordered from Hong Kong to “capture or destroy the Spanish fleet” then in Philippine waters. The US Navy was well trained and well supplied, largely through the energetic efforts of the young assistant secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, who had selected Commodore George Dewey for the command of the Asiatic squadron. In one morning’s engagement (May 1), the guns of Dewey’s squadron completely destroyed the Spanish ships anchored in Manila Bay. (Spanish casualties numbered 381; American, fewer than 10.) After token bombardment, Manila surrendered and was occupied by the US Army on August 13. The Battle of Manila Bay made Commodore Dewey a national hero and helped establish the reputation of the United States as a major naval power.
In 2004, the European Union was enlarged to include the new member states of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta,Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Regards,Roger Mickelson
Source material includes Associated Press Internationaland EncyclopædiaBritannica.
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