18 October-Canadian Women Become Persons

Emily Murphy was appointed the first female judge in Canada in in 1916. Her rulings however, were challenged by lawyers because under Canadian law women were not ‘persons’. The challenge was based on a court decision of 1876 which stated: ‘Women are persons in matters of pains and penalties, but are not persons in matters of rights and privileges’.

The British North American Act of 1867 established the Dominion of Canada. The ruling, which stated women were not persons, was made under that act. Murphy and four other Canadian women initiated a campaign to have the ruling overturned. Their petition to the Canadian Supreme Court in 1927 failed.

The women then took their case to the Privy Council of the British government. At the time it was Canada’s highest court. The Privy Council ruled that: ‘the exclusion of women from all public offices is a relic of days more barbarous than ours. And to those who would ask why the word ‘persons’ should include females, the obvious answer is, why should it not?

Women were declared as ‘persons’ under Canadian law in the year 1929 On This Day.

Statue in Calgary, Canada of the Famous Five

07 June-Vatican City

Vatican City is officially known as Vatican City State (Status Civitatis Vaticanae). It is an independent country governed as an absolute monarchy with the Pope at its head. It has diplomatic relations with most countries in the world. It is located within the city of Rome, Italy, covering an area of about 45 hectares (110 acres). Though it has a population of around 1,000 the Vatican has a citizenship of around 600.

The Papal States which once covered most of central Italy, existed from the 8th century until 1870. Following the unification of Italy the Papal States became part of the Kingdom of Italy. The temporal power of the Pope ended when Italian troops conquered Rome in 1870. The Popes did not recognise the authority of the King of Italy and refused to leave the Vatican for almost sixty years.

The crisis ended when the Lateran Treaty, between Italy and the Holy See was signed on February 11th 1929. It was negotiated when the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was in power in Italy. The treaty established Vatican City State as an independent country.

The Lateran Treaty establishing the Vatican City State as an independent country became effective in the year 1929 On This Day.

Vatican City

Vatican Gardens



22 March-Irish Grand National

The Irish Grand National is a horse race run each year on Easter Monday at Fairyhouse Racecourse. Fairyhouse Racecourse is located in Ratoath County Meath about 26km to the Northwest of Dublin city. The Grand National is a National Hunt chase over a distance of 5.8km

Though racing began at Fairyhouse in 1848 the first Grand National did not take place until 1870. In that year the race was won by a horse called Sir Robert Peel owned by L. Dunne and ridden by John Boylan. Very quickly the race became Irelands most valuable and prestigious steeplechase. With the exception of 1919 due to World War 1 and 1941 due to World War II the race has been held every year since its inception.

The race, over twenty four fences, is 3 miles and 5 furlongs (5.8km) long. It is open to horses of five years and older. It has a prize fund of €250,000. Horses such as Rhyme ‘n’ Reason, Bobbyjo and Numbersixvalverde who were winners of the Irish Grand National also won the English Grand National at Aintree in Liverpool.

A horse called Brown Lad is the only horse to have won the Irish Grand National on three occasions. Other famous winners of the Irish Grand National are Arkle (1964), Desert Orchid (1990) and Commanche Court (2000). In 1929 sixty six horses competed in the Irish Grand National. The race was won by a six year old mare called Alike. The jockey, Frank Wise who was also the owner, was 5’4” (1.6m) tall.

The Irish Grand National was won by a horse called Alike, whose jockey Frank Wise was missing three fingers and had a wooden leg, in the year 1929 On This Day.

The Irish Grand National photo

Very Grand Stands by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1868-01-01 00:00:00

Irish Hospital’s Sweepstake on the 1963 Grand National Booklet by France1978 on 2013-03-03 01:06:06




12 March-Coca Cola

Asa Griggs Candler, whose ancestor Daniel Candler was born in Callan in Co Kilkenny, Ireland, was the founder of the Coca-Cola Company. William Candler, a son of Daniel, emigrated to America in the mid 1700’s and settled in Richmond, Georgia.

One of a family of eleven children Asa Candler was born on a farm near Villa Rica, Georgia on December 30th 1851. Having trained as a pharmacist he began his career as a drugstore clerk. He bought the rights to what was described as a tonic and headache medicine called the Coca-Cola formula, from John Pemberton in 1887.

Through aggressive marketing Candler made millions of dollars from sales of the soft drink product. Though the product contained a ‘secret formula’ it did not contain caffeine or cocaine. By the turn of the century Coca-Cola had become nationwide phenomenon in the United States and today it is a world renowned beverage. It has one of the most widespread distribution networks in the world.

In 1919 Candler sold the business for $25,000,000. He became involved in real estate development and in philanthropic activities. He served as Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia from 1916 to 1919. Candler Park in the city of Atlanta, is named in his honour. Candler’s home in Atlanta is called Callan Castle, which alludes to his ancestral home town in Ireland.

Asa Griggs Candler died at the age of 77 in Atlanta, Georgia in the year 1929 On This Day.

Coca Cola Truck

Coca Cola

15 January-Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King Jr. was a minister in the Baptist Church. From the mid-1950’s he was leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States of America. In his role as leader of the Civil Rights Movement he advocated the use of non-violent protest to advance the aims of the movement.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Martin Luther King graduated from high school at the age of 15. He was awarded a BA degree in Sociology from Morehouse College, Atlanta in 1948. In 1951 he was awarded a BD (Bachelor of Divinity) from the Crozer Theological Seminary. From there he enrolled in Graduate studies at Boston University where he received his PhD in 1955. In that year at the age of 25 King was appointed pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church of Montgomery, Alabama.

When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, King led a citywide bus boycott. The boycott lasted 382 days before the law which mandated segregated public transportation was lifted. In 1957 he helped to found, and served as first president of, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to lead the struggle for racial equality. He went on to lead the struggle for equality in places such as Albany, Georgia and Birmingham Alabama. He was one of the organisers of the March on Washington in 1963 where he established his reputation as an orator when he delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

In 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed enforcing desegregation and outlawing discrimination. In the same year Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded The Nobel Peace Prize. During the 1960’s King continued to fight discrimination and broadened his campaign to address issues such as poverty and the Vietnam War. On April 3rd 1968 he went to Memphis Tennessee where he delivered a speech in support of striking sanitation workers. The day after the rally he was shot and killed by a sniper called James Earl ray while standing on the balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Motel. His death led to widespread riots and demonstrations.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia in the year 1929 On This Day.

Martin Luther King Jr photo

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking.], 08/28/1963 by The U.S. National Archives on 1963-08-28 10:27:05