This Week in History: 1/27/19-2/1/19

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On Jan. 29, 1845, Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem “The Raven” was published for the first time in the New York Evening Mirror. . (Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)

This week in history we will see the anniversaries of several important events that helped shape the world we live in. Here is a quick rundown:

On Jan. 27, 1980, six American diplomats were able to escape Tehran, Iran with the help of members of the Canadian Embassy and the Central Intelligence Agency. The six Americans had been working at the United States Embassy in Tehran when it was captured on Nov. 4, 1979. They had been hiding in the city to avoid capture from Muslim students who were rioting after the Iranian Revolution and were only able to board a flight to Switzerland after months of planning. An American agent flew into Iran and was able to provide Canadian passports for each diplomat who posed as members of a film crew scouting locations for an upcoming Hollywood movie at the time. The entire group was able to flee the country successfully and the operation became known as the “Canadian Caper.” These events were recently popularized in the Academy Award winning Best Picture film “Argo” in 2012.

On Jan. 29, 1845, Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem “The Raven” was published for the first time in the New York Evening Mirror. The poem follows a distraught lover who is shadowed by a raven and has a dark supernatural tone. The story made Poe famous at the time, and helped cement him as one of America’s most important writers.

On Jan. 30, 1972, British soldiers shot 28 people during a peaceful protest of Irish Catholics in Derry, Northern Ireland. The protesters were marching against internment, in which Irish citizens could be held in prison without a trial, when soldiers opened fire on the crowd, killing 14 people. This marked the deadliest incident of “The Troubles” and only increased the hatred and violence that was consuming Northern Ireland at the time. An official investigation was conducted shortly after the incident in which each soldier involved was found innocent of any wrongdoing. A second investigation made public in 2010 determined the killings were completely unjustified and transitioned to opening murder investigations against the British soldiers. “Bloody Sunday” became one of the most significant events of the conflict as the killings took place against a peaceful group of people in public, and in full view of the press. Irish rock band U2 wrote their popular song “Sunday Bloody Sunday” about the event in 1983, and “The Troubles” would not end in Ireland until the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Lastly, on Feb. 1, 2003, the space shuttle Columbia wastragically destroyed upon re entering Earth’s atmosphere. The ship had been returning from a 16-day scientific mission in space and all seven crew members were killed in the accident. Columbiahad served NASA missions faithfully since the 1980s, however, a small portion of the wing’s protection came undone and lead to the breakup of the ship. This horrible event echoed the similar loss of the space shuttle Challengerin 1986, in which the ship exploded shortly after takeoff, killing its entire crew. Following the loss of Columbia, President George W. Bush decided to retire the space shuttle fleet in favor of the Constellation program.


Seamus McKeever is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at seamus.mckeever@uconn.edu.

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