This Week In History: Sept. 25 – Oct. 1

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Besides being the first week of fall, this week is marked by many changes, historical events and impactful developments, so let’s jump right in! 

On Sept. 25, 1690, the first multi-page newspaper was published in the United States. Prior to publication, news in the colonial US was largely hearsay or spread by one page news bulletins, referred to as broadsides. Whereas broadsides would be posted on walls or announcement boards, the multi-page format allowed for individual consumption of more varied news events. 

While intended to become a monthly release, only one issue of the paper would ever be released, entitled, “Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestick.” The issue would cover various colonial events, but largely focused on the treatment of French prisoners from the French American War. 

The reason no subsequent issues were released lies in the nature of the publication, with the government under Governor John Winthrop viewing the paper as a “pamphlet” that painted the French American War in a negative manner. Fearing possible unrest as a result of the paper’s dissenting views on the conflict, the paper was shut down only four days after publication. 

There would be no additional multi-page papers for the next 14 years, until John Campbell began the “Boston News-Letter” in 1704. 

Moving on to a time where American exploration was still in its earliest stages, on Sept. 26, 1580, Francis Drake would conclude his circumnavigation of the globe – the first person to do so in history.  

After departing in December 1577, Drake would begin not only his circumnavigation journey, but also what is commonly referred to as “Drake’s Raiding Expedition.” Drake and his ships would pillage ports owned by the Spanish, as they were rivals with his home nation of England.  

One of his most successful pillaging acts was the capture of the Galleon, “Nuestra Señora de la Concepción,” a Spanish treasure ship. Queen Elizabeth I of England would knight Drake on that ship, causing many historians to see that as a precursor to the start of the Anglo-Spanish war. 

Although the voyage was marked by all of the pillaging and raiding completed by Drake, the feat of circumnavigating the globe still stands as a momentous human achievement. 

The next event this week marks the creation of the largest search engine in the world, Google. However, the exact date of Google’s introduction to the internet is highly debated, with some arguing that the date should be on September 7, 8, 26 or 27. 

The unclear date is a result of many different events occurring at Google at different times. The company’s founding date, initial test releases, millionth search and many other ideas have all been considered as “Google’s Birthday.”  

Regardless of this uncertainty, Google has consistently marked the date of its founding to be Sept. 27, 1998. Now on the 24th anniversary of that day, as usual, Google will celebrate by releasing animations on the search page and by posting a special Google Doodle design online. 

Finally, moving to the final chapters of the Napoleonic Era, the Congress of Vienna would begin on Oct. 1, 1814, lasting until June 1815.  

The Congress was an international conference with aims to strengthen peace across the European continent, which was in total disarray following 23 years of conflict brought about by social upheaval. 

Remarkably, the Congress was conducted predominantly in an informal manner, with delegates from the nations involved often meeting at balls or banquets – going against the modern tradition of large assembly halls.  

The treaty would leave lasting impacts in several ways, the most observable of which would be the redrawing of the borders across Europe. France would lose land along its Western borders, and the lands of Poland and Austria would be restructured significantly. These changes would affect the geopolitics of Europe for decades to come. 

That concludes this week in history, see you next week! 

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