This week in history we remember the events and the people, specifically of the 20th century, that have had a profound impact on the world we live in and our shared world culture.
On Oct. 24, 1901, 118 years ago, Annie Edson Taylor took the first barrel ride down Niagara Falls. Mrs. Taylor, a 63-year-old schoolteacher, traveled to the falls after seeing its widespread popularity in the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, New York. Seeking fame and fortune, Taylor strapped herself inside a wooden pickle barrel five feet tall and three feet in diameter, with a liner of cushions and a leather harness to break her fall. Once secured, she was cut free from a boat in the Niagara River, plunging 175 feet down the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Despite being a bit battered, Taylor was perfectly fine and ready for the flood of photographers and journalists that greeted her. This fame was short-lived and never gave her the wealth she had hoped for. Nevertheless, Taylor’s famous ride has become a symbol of the falls and has inspired 15 others to follow her lead, but with only 10 surviving to tell the tale. For all you dare devils out there please note that riding down Niagara Falls is illegal in both the United States and Canada, and is frowned upon by the rest of the world.
Also on Oct. 24, in 1945, 74 years ago, the United Nations was officially established. While the organization was chartered four months prior, Oct. 24 marks the date when the global charter was put into effect, ushering in a new era in world politics. The idea of a world governing council was first proposed with the League of Nations, an organization that formed following World War I to prevent future conflict. You don’t have to be a historian to tell that this council was not successful since the same countries went to war 20 years later. The United Nations, commonly known as the UN, was championed by the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, the victors of the Second World War. Their goal was to ensure that every government respects the rights and freedoms of its people. This led to contention throughout the 20th century as these countries had very different opinions of what that actually meant.
On Oct. 25, 1881, 138 years ago, world-renowned artist Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain. Picasso, often regarded as one of the most talented and influential artists of his day, dropped out of art school at a young age to move to Paris and develop his own style of art. His galleries in Paris were a smashing success with abstract and cubist art becoming widely popular throughout the Western world. Picasso’s 50,000 paintings, drawings and sculptures can be best described by Rose in “Titanic” who called them, “fascinating, like being inside of a dream.”
Gino Giansanti is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.