This Day in History

1582: The day that never happened: Prior to this time, Europe had a calendar called the Julian Calendar. The Julian Calendar had been in common use in Europe since the time of Julius Caesar. But there was a problem: the Julian Calendar added too many leap days, creating a discrepancy between years. Pope Gregory introduced the Gregorian Calendar in 1582, and Catholic countries were the first to adopt it. Oct. 6, 1582, was not recorded as a day in Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain because they had adopted the Gregorian Calendar.

1683: Beginnings of German America: The largest group of settlers in the English Colonies of America were, obviously, the English. But in 1682, a century prior to the founding of the U.S., German immigrants began arriving in Pennsylvania and founded a settlement called German town. Many of these early German immigrants were Anabaptists, meaning “baptized again,” because they were baptized after adulthood rather than in infancy. These early Anabaptists would later become the Mennonite and Amish.

1927: Turn the movie down, I can hear it: The first movies were all silent since cameras were unable to capture sound. The gap in the senses was filled with music played right in the theaters as an accompaniment to the films. “The Jazz Singer,” however, was the first prominent movie with sound and dialogue, also known as “talkies.” The movie would no doubt be considered controversial today for using blackface, now considered a highly racist statement.

1979: JPII Visits the White House:  Pope St. John Paul II was the most widely-traveled pope in history. In his travels, he toured Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. Not only well-traveled for a pope, he is also one of the most well-traveled world leaders of all time. He visited 129 countries in total. In the first year of his papacy, he traveled to the U.S. and visited the White House. He was the first pope to do so.

2007: First human-powered circumnavigation: Jason Lewis is an English explorer and author who circumnavigated the world using entirely human-powered methods. He was the first person to do this. Lewis left Greenwich, England, with Stevie Smith in July of 1994. Thirteen years and 46,505 miles later, Lewis completed his journey on this day in 2007. Lewis biked, roller bladed and paddle boated his way across the globe through Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East before finally returning to England.

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