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Last week in history…

6th of November

On this day, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16th President of the United States of America. He became the first President to run as a Republican, and defeated his rival Stephen A. Douglas, John C. Breckinridge and John Bell. Lincoln winning the election widened the division between North & South, as several states looked to secede before he took power; South Carolina left the Union in December, and by February Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas had followed.

A year later, on November 6th 1861, Jefferson Davis was elected as the first President of the Confederacy.


7th of November

On this day, in 1990, Mary Robinson was elected as Uachtarán na hÉireann. Robinson, an independent candidate nominated by the Labour Party & the Workers Party, defeated SDLP member & Fine Gael candidate Austin Currie, and Fianna Fáil candidate, then-Tánaiste, Brian Lenihan. Robinson was a Barrister and former senator, and had acted as legal advisor for the ‘Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform’. Lenihan had been seen to be certain to win, but controversies emerged that helped Robinson to become the seventh President of Ireland, and the first female President.

Robinson would be succeeded by another lawyer, Mary McAleese, seven years later.


8th of November

On this day in 1519, Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés was granted safe entry into the city of Tenochtitlan, the island city capital of the Aztec Empire. Cortés, having been denied meetings with the Aztec leaders, had been on the march for months, helping local rivals to successfully fight & kill the Aztecs. Moctezuma II, the tlatoani (ruler), let Cortés in with hope of discovering a weakness in the Spanish. He gave Cortés lavish golden gifts, causing Cortés to reinforce his desire for plunder, and his belief that the Aztecs thought he was the god Quetzalcoatl. Cortés later captured Moctezuma, ruling the Aztecs through him.


9th of November

The Society of United Irishmen was founded on this day in 1791. The organisation was founded from the (mostly) failed efforts of Grattan’s Parliament, and was inspired by the French revolution. The movement sought to denounce British involvement in Irish affairs, a reformation of the Irish parliament and to “abolish the differences that had long divided Irishmen,” ultimately meaning Catholic emancipation. The organisation was outlawed following the French declaration of war on Britain in 1793. It would be the driving force behind the unsuccessful 1798 Rebellion, also referred to as the ‘Wolfe Tone Rebellion’ due to the involvement of Theobald Wolfe Tone in the society.


10th of November

Lightning round of history – ON THIS DAY IN…

1775: United States Marine Corps is founded in a tavern in Philadelphia, PA.

1942: Germany invades Vichy France when the Vichy govt. agrees to armistice with the Allies.

1960: Influential author Neil Gaiman was born in Hampshire, England.

1983: Windows 1.0 is debuted, beginning the Microsoft Windows line of operating software..

1989: People begin to tear down the Berlin Wall.