This Week in History: February 9-15

Featured Article, History, This Week in History
on February 9, 2014

Celebrate one of the most famous explorers of all time this week, Ernest Shackleton. He was one cool fellow, having traveled to Antarctica four separate times. Historians and adventurers admire his devotion to his crewmembers in times of crisis. Discover some of his exploits below.

February 9:
U-S-Navy-USS_Greeneville-Pearl_HarborUSS Greeneville Collides with Ehime Maru
On this day in 2001, during a demonstration of the submarine’s emergency features near Oahu, Hawaii, the USS Greeneville collided with the Japanese high school training ship Ehime Maru. Within minutes, the Ehime Maru sank, killing nine crewmembers, four of whom were high school students. The Navy investigated the incident and placed blame for the incident on the Greenville’s commander and members of its crew. At the request of victims’ families, the Ehime Maru was recovered so bodies could be removed; the ship was then scuttled at sea.

February 10:
IBM-Deep-BlueSupercomputer Defeats Chess Grandmaster
For the first time, a chess supercomputer defeated a world champion chess player in a game under tournament conditions on this day in 1996. IBM’s Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in their first game. Kasparov won the tournament, however, winning the other three games that were not ties. In 1997, Deep Blue, this time aided by a team of chess experts and engineers who adjusted its settings between matches, faced Kasparov and won. Kasparov claimed IBM was cheating and demanded a rematch; IBM refused.

February 11:
Julia-Child-Relish“The French Chef”
America got cooking on this day in 1963 with the first broadcast of “The French Chef.” Chef Julia Child taught audiences how to prepare delicious French cuisine easily and quickly. Child based her show off of her wildly successful “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” cookbook. The show ran from 1963 to 1973 with reruns airing on PBS until 1989. Reruns continue on the Cooking Channel. Bon appétit!

February 12:
NAACP-leaders-posterNAACP Formed
In a crusade against lynching and racial discrimination, W.E.B. Du Bois and his allies formed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on this day in 1909. Since its inception, the NAACP has worked to advance diversity in American culture and eradicate discrimination. The NAACP was essential to the court challenge during the civil rights movement.

February 13:
Chuck Yeager Birthday
The first man to break the sound barrier was born on this day in 1923. Chuck Yeager, retired Air Force brigadier general and test pilot, grew up in West Virginia and joined the Air Force in 1941. Having served in World War II, Yeager remained in the Air Force and began working as a test pilot. On Oct. 14, 1947, Yeager flew the test plane Bell X-1 at Mach 1, breaking the sound barrier, achieving a new threshold for speed in aviation. Yeager also commanded squadrons during the Vietnam War.

February 14:
Salman Rushdie’s fatwa
Responding to elements in Salman Rushdie’s novel “The Satanic Verses,” Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or death sentence, against the British-Indian author, calling for Muslims to kill him on this day in 1989. A large reward was offered for Rushdie’s execution. Rushdie lived with police protection for the next several years. For a brief time, Britain cut diplomatic ties with Iran because of the affair. The fatwa was called off in 1998 when a new Iranian government took control.

February 15:
Ernest Henry Shackleton Birthday
One of the most famous explorers to ever live, Ernest Shackleton, was born on this day in 1874 in Ireland. Shackleton is most famous for his leadership and courage. During the British Imperial Trans-Arctic expedition in 1914, ice crushed his ship, Endurance. Shackleton kept his 17-man crew alive through the two years they were stranded in the ice and at sea. His men were eventually rescued in 1916 after a harrowing open boat voyage of some 600 miles in search of help. Shackleton never reached the South Pole and died in 1922 on his fourth expedition to find it.