This week in history: June 28-30

Foreign Exchanges is on a summer break. I’m taking care of some things around HQ and maybe even going on a little road trip. There will be no updates, AMAs, or other essays until I return on July 15. In the meantime, just so you don’t forget about me, I’ll be sending out “this week in history” summaries today and for the next two Sundays. Today’s will only cover the past three days, since we’ve already covered through Thursday. Thanks, enjoy, and I’ll see you soon!

June 28, 1098: The First Crusade defeats a relief army under Kerbogha, the Atabeg of Mosul, outside Antioch. The battle clinched the Crusader capture of Antioch, allowing them to eventually move on toward Jerusalem.

June 28, 1846: Adolphe Sax patents the saxophone. I like saxophones.

June 28, 1914: Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated in Sarajavo, causing World War I.

June 28, 1919: The Treaty of Versailles is signed, ending Germany’s involvement in World War I. It’s the most important of the multiple World War I treaties, which include the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye with Austria in September 1919, the Treaty of Trianon with Hungary in June 1920, and the Treaty of Sèvres in August 1920. The terms of Sèvres were largely superseded by the July 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that ended the Turkish War of Independence.

June 28, 1940: Soviet forces occupy the Romanian regions of Bessarabia, northern Bukovina, and Hertza, after the Romanians agree to withdraw from those areas in order to avoid an invasion. Northern Bukovina and Hertza became part of Ukraine while the Soviets combined Bessarabia with Transnistria to form a new Moldavian SSR, the forerunner of the modern state of Moldova.

June 28, 1981: The Hafte Tir bombing kills 73 members of the Islamic Republic Party at their Tehran headquarters, including Mohammad Beheshti, the chief of the Iranian judiciary and generally regarded as the second most powerful figure in Iran after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Iranian authorities blamed Mojahedin-e Khalq for the bombing, and while the group has never claimed responsibility it’s hinted at having been involved.

June 29, 1444: Albanian rebel leader Skanderbeg (George Castriot) defeats a considerably larger Ottoman army at the Battle of Torvioli by outmaneuvering the Ottomans and striking their forces from behind. This was one of the first major engagements in Skanderbeg’s 1443-1468 rebellion and his surprising victory earned him significant support from Hungary and the papacy.

17th century engraved portrait of Skanderbeg (Wikimedia Commons)

June 29, 1881: Sudanese religious leader Muhammad Ahmad declares himself to be the Mahdi and begins to establish an independent political entity, kicking off the 18 year long Mahdist War against the British Empire.

June 29, 2014: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria changes its name to “The Islamic State,” declares itself a brand new caliphate, and designates its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as “Caliph Ibrahim.” Those were fun times.

June 30, 1520: During La Noche Triste (“the Night of Sorrows”), Hernán Cortés and his forces are driven out of Tenochtitlan by the Aztecs. He regrouped and returned the following year to besiege and ultimately capture the city.

June 30, 1934: In the “Night of the Long Knives,” Nazi leaders purge the Sturmabteilung, including its leader Ernst Röhm, and target other party opponents like German Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen. Estimates of the death toll range from a low of 85 to a high of somewhere around 1000.