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Friday, 21 September 2012 06:20

This Day in History (31-6-1391)

Today is Friday; 31st of the Iranian month of Shahrivar 1391 solar hijri; corresponding to 4th of the Islamic month of Ziqadeh 1433 lunar hijri; and September 21, 2012, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.


2031 solar years ago, on this day in 19 BC; the famous poet of ancient Rome, Publius Vergilius Maro, popularly known as "Virgil", died at the age of 51. His masterpiece is the epic Latin poem "Aeniad" that tells the legend of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of 9,896 lines in dactylic hexameter. The first six of the poem's twelve books tell the story of Aeneas's wanderings from Troy to Italy, and the poem's second half tells of the Trojans' ultimately victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed.

777 lunar years ago, on this day in 656 AH, the famous Arabic poet, Baha od-Din Zuhayr Abu'l-Fazal Ibn Mohammad al-Muhallabi, died in Cairo at the age of 74. Born in Mecca, he travelled to Egypt where he became a poet at the court of the Ayyubid Kurdish dynasty, and finally became vizier of the ruler, Sultan as-Saleh. His Diwan was translated into English in two volumes by E.H. Palmer in 1876-77.

575 solar years ago, on this day in 1437 AD, Sultan Nasser Khan Faouqi of the Khandesh Muslim kingdom of Central India, died heartbroken three days after his humiliating defeat at the Battle of Lalling and the sack of his capital, Burhanpur, by the forces of Sultan Ala od-Din Ahmad Shah Bahmani of the Deccan. During his 38-year rule, Nasser Khan had built a strong realm which he had succeeded from his father, but after him, under his weak and divided successors, the kingdom deteriorated and was finally absorbed by the expanding Mughal Empire.

220 solar years ago, on this day in 1792 AD, three years after the victory of French revolution, the monarchic system was formally replaced with a republic and a constitutional assembly called the National Convention took charge of the administration. In January 1793, the deposed King Louis XVI was executed along with many of his family members. The republic barely lasted 12 years, as Napoleon Bonaparte revived the monarchy and styled himself emperor.

146 solar years ago, on this day in 1866, the English author and historian, Herbert George Wells, was born. He catapulted to fame with his science-fiction novels. Among his works, mention can be made of "The Time Machine", "The Island of Doctor Moreau", "The War of the Worlds", and "A Modern Utopia". He died in 1946.

103 solar years ago, on this day in 1909 AD, the Ghanaian politician and independence leader, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, was born. In the first general election held in Ghana in 1951, he led the Convention People's Party and was chosen premier. Finally, upon the efforts and struggles of people under the leadership of Nkrumah, Ghana gained independence in 1957 from British rule. Thereafter, numerous plots, assassination attempts and coups were hatched against Nkrumah. In 1966, while Nkrumah was on a visit to China, General Joseph Ankrah staged a coup and seized power. He died in Romania in 1972. Nkrumah played a pivotal role in establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Organization of African Unity.

93 solar years ago, on this day in 1919 AD, the well-known Islamic scholar of Pakistan, Fazl ur-Rahman Malik, was born in the Hazara area of British India (now in Pakistan). He studied Arabic at Punjab University, and went on to Oxford University in Britain, where he wrote a dissertation on the famous Iranian Islamic philosopher-physician, Abu Ali Ibn Sina. Afterwards, he began a teaching career, first at Durham University where he taught Persian language and Islamic philosophy, and then at McGill University where he taught Islamic studies until 1961, when he returned to Pakistan to head up the Central Institute of Islamic Research. Because of hindrances, he resigned from the post and returned to teaching, moving to the United States and teaching at UCLA as a visiting professor for a few years. He moved to the University of Chicago in 1969 and established himself there becoming the Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Islamic Thought. At Chicago he was instrumental for building a strong Near Eastern Studies program that continues to be among the best in the world. He died in 1988. In his memory, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago named its common area after him, due to his many years of service. His books included: "Prophecy in Islam: Philosophy and Orthodoxy", "Islam and Modernity: Transformation of an Intellectual Tradition", "Major Themes of the Qur'an", "Islamic Methodology in History", and "Health and Medicine in the Islamic Tradition".

48 solar years ago, on this day in 1964 AD, the island state of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea gained its independence from British rule. Once part of the Roman Empire, it became an Islamic island for over three-and-a-half centuries, until its occupation by the Crusaders in the medieval era. Several times it was raided by the Ottoman Turks, and in 1798 was occupied by France, before falling to the British. Malta covers an area of 316 sq km. The official language is Maltese which is heavily influenced by Arabic, and is actually derived a variant of the now extinct, Sicilian Arabic dialect, written today in the Latin alphabet.

31 solar years ago, on this day in 1981, the country of Belize in Central America, gained its independence from British colonial rule. Formerly known as British Honduras, Belize covers an area of almost 22965 sq km, and shares borders with Mexico and Guatemala.

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