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11 Other Big Events That Also Occurred on September 11th

Even before the tragic attacks of 2001, some pretty noteworthy events had occurred on September 11th. While our brains will forever link the calendar date to the 2001 attacks - and rightly so - let's take a look at some other notable September 11th happenings from previous years.

1297

William Wallace defeats forces of the English crown in the Battle of Stirling Bridge. As anyone who's seen Braveheart knows, the party doesn't last long for Wallace, but the Scots do regain their independence in 1328.

1609

English explorer Henry Hudson sails up a river on the coast of northeastern America aboard the Dutch vessel Halve Maen (Half Moon). In the process he discovers the island of Manhattan. He successfully navigates the river which now bears his name all the way to present-day Albany.

1789

Alexander Hamilton receives his appointment as first secretary of the U.S. Treasury. One of his first acts is to suggest that the federal government assume the debt incurred by the states during the Revolutionary War. He proposes a whiskey tax that inspires a rebellion a few years later—an insurrection he personally accompanies federal troops to stamp out.

1792

During the early days of the French Revolution, the Hope Diamond (originally known as the Blue Diamond of the French Crown) is stolen while Louis XVI is under house arrest at the Tuileries Palace. Although rumors abound about what happens to the diamond in the intervening years, it cannot be definitively placed again until 1812. In September of that year it surfaces in London, almost twenty years to the day from its disappearance and two days after a statute of limitations on revolutionary crimes expires. The diamond is hardly as good as new, though; over the course of two decades, someone had lopped the stone in half!

1814

In the War of 1812, the Battle of Plattsburgh ends in a decisive American victory. This marks the end of a British invasion into the northern states of the U.S. The redcoats retreat into Canada. The two sides sign a peace treaty in Ghent several months later.

1857

The Mountain Meadows massacre occurs: Utah residents viciously attack a band of westward-bound settlers from the American South. After several days under siege, the settlers allow several members of the Utah militia inside their defenses. Despite assuring the settlers of their safety, the militia kills over 100 unarmed people. Seventeen children are spared and taken to live with local Mormon families. Controversy continues to this day about whether Brigham Young had a hand in the events.

1941

The U.S. government breaks ground on construction of the Pentagon.

1962

The Beatles record the third and final version of what will be their first single, "Love Me Do," at EMI Studios on Abbey Road. The first two recordings are deemed unsatisfactory due to Ringo Starr's drumming. His replacements on the other recordings are Pete Best and Andy White. On the third and final cut, Ringo is relegated to playing tambourine.

1973

Salvador Allende, a democratically elected president, is overthrown in Chile with the help of the CIA (who disdain his Marxism). Taking his place is General Augusto Pinochet, who becomes known as one of the most malevolent dictators in the history of the Western hemisphere. The event becomes a major blight on the reputation of Henry Kissinger.

1985

During a game against the San Diego Padres, Pete Rose breaks the record for all-time number of hits with a single to left-center. It is his 4192nd hit, breaking the mark previously set by Ty Cobb. Less than four years later, Major League Baseball bans Rose for betting on games.

1998

Independent Council Kenneth Starr releases the infamous Starr Report, which details his investigation into the Whitewater controversy, during the course of which he began investigating President Clinton's sexual impropriety. Remember when our biggest problems were philandering politicians?

Finally, more than a few notable people were born on September 11th. They include: Carl Zeiss (1816), O. Henry (1862), Bear Bryant (1913), Brian De Palma (1940), Bashar al-Assad (1965), Moby (also '65), and Ludacris (1977).

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Ralph Heimans/Buckingham Palace/PA Wire via Getty Images
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Pop Culture
The Cult of Prince Philip
Ralph Heimans/Buckingham Palace/PA Wire via Getty Images
Ralph Heimans/Buckingham Palace/PA Wire via Getty Images

For seven decades, Prince Philip has been one of the more colorful figures in Britain's Royal Family, prone to jarring remarks and quips about women, the deaf, and overweight children.

"You're too fat to be an astronaut," he once told a boy sharing his dream of space travel.

British media who delighted in quoting him are still lamenting the 96-year-old's recent retirement from public duties. But the people of the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu are likely to be optimistic he'll now have the time to join them: They worship him as a god and have based a religion on him.

Followers of the Prince Philip Movement, which started in the 1960s, believe that the prince was born to fulfill an ancient prophecy: that the son of an ancient mountain spirit would one day take the form of a pale-skinned man, travel abroad, marry a powerful lady, and eventually return to the island. When villagers saw the prince’s portrait, they felt the spirit in it, and when he visited Vanuatu in 1974, they were convinced.

Chief Jack Naiva, a respected warrior in the culture, greeted the royal yacht and caught sight of Philip on board. "I saw him standing on the deck in his white uniform," Naiva once said. "I knew then that he was the true messiah."

True believers assign large world movements to the machinations of Philip. They once claimed his powers had enabled a black man to become president of the United States and that his "magic" had assisted in helping locate Osama bin Laden. The community has corresponded with Buckingham Palace and even sent Philip a nal-nal, a traditional club for killing pigs, as a token of its appreciation. In return, he sent a portrait in which he’s holding the gift.

Sikor Natuan, the son of the local chief, holds two official portraits of Britain's Prince Philip in front of the chief's hut in the remote village of Yaohnanen on Tanna in Vanuatu.
TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images

The picture is now part of a shrine set up in Yaohnanen in Vanuatu that includes other photos and a Union flag. In May 2017, shortly after the Prince announced his retirement, a cyclone threatened the island—and its shrine. But according to Matthew Baylis, an author who has lived with the tribe, the natives didn't see this so much as a cause for concern as they did a harbinger of the prince's arrival so he can bask in their worship.

To date, Prince Philip has not announced any plans to relocate.

A version of this story ran in a 2012 issue of Mental Floss magazine.

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History
The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

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