359 years ago today, the first public transportation service in the world began in Paris. Described as “carriages which would always make the same journeys…and would always leave at scheduled times,” the Carosses a Cinq Sous (five-cent coaches) were pulled by four horses, staffed by a driver and valet, at a cost of five sol.
The service was developed, promoted, and organized by the mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal. With five routes linking multiple Historical quarters of Paris, the new service was met with a positive reception by the general public. (1662)
MORE Good News on this Date:
- Frank Sinatra made his first recording, a song called ‘Our Love’, with the Frank Mane band (1939)
- Singer-songwriter Wilson Pickett, whose best known hits are ‘In the Midnight Hour’ (which he co-wrote), and ‘Mustang Sally’, was born (1941–2006)
- South Africa voted for political reforms to end apartheid (1992)
- The first-ever Muslim Friday prayer led by a woman (in a mixed-gender New York mosque) marked a break with 1426-year Islamic tradition (2005)
And, 128 years ago today, Lord Stanley pledged to donate a silver cup to the best Canadian hockey team, establishing the Stanley Cup.
The oldest existing trophy awarded to a professional sports franchise, it is given to the National Hockey League playoff winner each year. The original was a bowl made of silver, a copy of which now adorns the top of the current Stanley Cup, a huge 35-pound piece of silver and nickel alloy 35 inches high. Unlike the trophies awarded by the other major professional sports leagues, a new Stanley Cup is not made each year—it is passed between the former and new champions. (1893)
32 years ago today, a 4400-year-old mummy, one of the oldest ever found in Egypt, was unearthed in a shallow pit at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Cheops.
The young woman, her smile frozen in time, surprised Egyptologists because the Giza pyramids area has repeatedly been looted since antiquity and excavated by some of the greatest archeologists of the last two centuries. The grave (likely for a princess) was still sealed when an antiquities inspector accidentally found the burial shaft. Adorning the mummy was a bronze crown covered with gold leaf and jewelry around the neck. (1989)
And, 56 years ago today, Alexei Leonov became the first human to float in space, exiting his Soviet capsule, the Voskhod 2, for a 12-minute spacewalk.
He almost did not make it back through the door after his suit unexpectedly inflated and stiffened, but boldly let out some of the air in his suit and forcibly squeezed back through the small entrance to safety. Welcomed back as a hero, Leonov completed man’s first spacewalk just ten weeks before the Americans.
A decade later in 1975 Leonov commanded the Soyuz 19 in the first joint space mission between the Soviet Union and the United States, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, which marked the end of the Space Race between the two nations, a symbol of détente, a policy which both governments were pursuing at the time. (1965)
And 115 years ago today, Romanian inventor and aviation pioneer Traian Vuia succeeded in the first flight of a self-propelled heavier-than-air aircraft.
He was the first to demonstrate that a flying apparatus could rise into the air by running on wheels upon an ordinary road. His monoplane is credited with a powered hop of 11 meters/36 feet. Though unsuccessful in sustained flight, the invention influenced Louis Blériot in building monoplanes. Later, Vuia also designed helicopters.
“I have never sought for glory, as I know that glory often makes a man lose himself,” said Vuia. “I do not work for my own personal glory, but for the glory of the human genius. What difference does it make, who did these things?…Really important is that they exist.” (1906)
Also, Happy 51st Birthday to Queen Latifah, the actress, rapper, singer-songwriter, and producer who was born ‘Dana Owens’ in Newark, New Jersey.
Her 1989 debut album All Hail the Queen featured the hit single Ladies First—but her third album, Black Reign, spawned the Grammy-winning single, U.N.I.T.Y., which became an influential anthem for women.
The actress gained success in her Oscar-nominated performance in the film Chicago. And in 2013, she made herself a daytime talk host with The Queen Latifah Show. Her films include, Bringing Down the House, Taxi, Beauty Shop, Last Holiday, Hairspray, Joyful Noise, Mad Money, Stranger than Fiction, The Secret Life of Bees, and 22 Jump Street. She also received critical acclaim for her portrayal of blues singer Bessie Smith in the 2015 HBO film Bessie, which she co-produced. It won her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie. WATCH her perform U.N.I.T.Y. at the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for Malala… (1970)
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