16 October-Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was a playwright, novelist, and poet who was a native of Dublin, Ireland. As a writer he is best known for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and his play The Importance of Being Earnest. Apart from his writing, his wit and lifestyle made Wilde one of the best known personalities of his time.

Oscar Wilde was born Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born at 21 Westland Row, Dublin in 1854. He was educated at Portora Royal School at Enniskillen and at Trinity College Dublin. Following graduation from Trinity, Wilde was awarded a scholarship for further study at Magdalen College in Oxford.

Having completed his studies at Oxford in 1878, Wilde moved to London where he began writing poetry. In 1882 he travelled to North America where he spent almost a year on a lecture tour. He spent the following year on the lecture circuit in Ireland and England before taking up a post as editor of a woman’s magazine.

During his time as editor Wilde began writing what would be his most famous works. By 1890 he was one of the most successful playwrights of his time. In February 1895 the Marquis of Queensbury accused Wilde of being a sodomite. Wilde sued him for slander but lost.

In the trial which followed Wilde was found guilty of gross indecency and sentenced in May 1895 to two years of imprisonment. On being released he moved to France where he died on November 30th 1900. He is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Oscar Wilde, playwright, novelist, and poet, was born in Dublin in the year 1854 On This Day.

 

 

 

15 October-Mata Hari

Mata Hari was a native of the Netherlands. She was a professional dancer who also worked as a spy for the French government during World War I. However she was suspected by the French, of being a double agent. She was arrested and tried for being a German spy and executed by firing squad.

Mata Hari was born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle in Leeuwarden, Netherlands on August 7th 1876. She studied at a teachers college in Leiden. She later married Dutch army Captain Rudolph MacLeod and the couple lived in Java and Sumatra until 1902. They returned to Europe and following their separation Margaretha began to dance professionally in Paris under the name Mata Hari.

Mata Hari began to work as a spy for France in 1917. She agreed to use her meetings with Germans to glean information for the French authorities. She was however suspected of passing information to the Germans. She was arrested for being a double agent and found guilty by a military court in July 1917.

Mata Hari, a professional dancer who worked as a spy during World War I, was executed by firing squad by the French Government in the year 1917 On This Day.

Mata Hari

Mata Hari

14 October-Battle of Hastings

The Battle of Hastings established the Normans as rulers of England. The army of Harold II, King of England was defeated in the battle by the Norman army led by William, duke of Normandy. The Normans were natives of the northern region of France. The Norman leader became known as William the Conqueror.

King Harold II was crowned King of England on January 6th 1066. There were three other claimants to the throne, his own brother Tostig, King Harald Hardrada of Norway and William, duke of Normandy. Having defeated Tostig and the Norwegian king, Harold marched his army south to face the invading Normans.

In the battle, which was fought about 11km (7 miles) north of Hastings, the English army was defeated and Harold II was killed. William the Conqueror marched to London where he was crowned the first Norman king of England on Christmas Day 1066. He ruled England until his death in 1087.

The Battle of Hastings, which established the Normans as rulers of England, was fought in the year 1066 On This Day.

Hastings Battleground

 

13 October-Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher was the first female British Prime Minister. She served as leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990 and as Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. Thatcher was the longest serving Prime Minister of Britain since 1827.

Margaret Thatcher was born Margaret Hilda Roberts in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England in 1925. She studied chemistry at the University of Oxford, graduating in 1947. She worked as a research chemist whilst studying law. She began practicing as a barrister in 1954.

In 1959 Margaret Thatcher was elected as Conservative MP for the constituency of Finchley. She rose through the ranks of the Conservative Party and was elected leader on February 11th 1975. The Conservative Party won the 1979 General Election and Thatcher was elected Prime Minister. She served as Prime Minister until 1990.

Margaret Thatcher, the first female British Prime Minister, was born in the year 1925 On This Day.

 

 

12 October-Columbus Day

Columbus Day is a national holiday in several countries in North and South America. It is also celebrated in Spain and Italy. The day celebrates the anniversary of the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World. Christopher Columbus was an explorer and navigator who was a native of Genoa, Italy. He is known as ‘the man who discovered America’. He was hoping to find a new route to India when he landed in the New World on October 12th 1492. His discovery changed the course of world history.

Columbus had failed to get support from Portugal, France and England for his ‘enterprise of the Indies’. However, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain agreed to sponsor the Expedition. On August 3rd 1492 Columbus sailed from Palos de la Frontera in Southwestern Spain. Ten weeks later he landed in the Bahamas. He believed he had discovered a new route to India. He claimed all the newly discovered territories for Spain.

The first celebration of Columbus Day was held in New York City in 1792. In the same year the first monument honouring Christopher Columbus was dedicated in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1892, in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Columbus landing the original version of the Pledge of Allegiance was first recited in public schools in the United States. The celebration of Columbus Day has been opposed by various groups and organisations in recent years.

Columbus Day, on the anniversary of the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World, is celebrated every year On This Day.

Columbus photo