Today in history
- The Barber of Seville's Disastrous Debut (1816)
In 1816, Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini produced The Barber of Seville, based on the comedy by French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais. Though Rossini created much of the opera's music in just weeks, it resounds with his brilliant arias, ensemble numbers, and famous crescendos. Still, several on-stage accidents and constant jeers from the audience, likely spurred by supporters of one of Rossini's rivals, made its debut in Rome a disaster. What happened during the second performance? Discuss
- Battle of Iwo Jima Begins (1945)
The island of Iwo Jima is only 8 sq mi (21 sq km) in area, but when US forces attacked the Japanese air base there during WWII, it became the site of one of the most severe campaigns of the war. More than 21,000 Japanese troops and nearly 7,000 Americans died in the clashes. A photograph of US marines raising the American flag over Iwo Jima's Mt. Suribachi has since become one of the most famous images of the war. Iwo Jima was occupied by the US until it was returned to Japan in what year?
- Republic of The Gambia Gains Independence from the UK (1965)
Entirely surrounded by Senegal except for an outlet to the Atlantic, the Republic of The Gambia is a West African nation that consists of a relatively narrow strip of land that spans both banks of the Gambia River and follows the river's path inland for about 300 mi (480 km). In 1588, the territory was sold to English merchants by the Portuguese. In 1843, it became a British colony. In 1965, it gained independence, and in 1982, it joined with Senegal to form a confederation by what name?