COLUMN: Perry Bergson — Jan. 14, 2014

Perry Bergson
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The great old George Santayana quote suggests that who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

That thought led this old history major down the Wikipedia rabbit hole on a recent afternoon.

My goal was simple. What are some of the notable things accomplished through history during the years ending in 14?

In order from newest to oldest, here’s a bit of what I found. It may not be all of the newsworthy stuff but they are the items I found interesting.

I mostly ignored the rich Chinese history because much of it is unknown in the Western world.

• 1914 -- The Ford Motor Company went to an eight-hour workday. (Jan. 5)

• 1914 -- The Empress of Ireland goes down in the Gulf of St. Lawrence after colliding with a tanker, killing 1,012 people, the largest death toll on the water in Canadian peacetime history. (May 29)

• The Archduke of Austria is assassinated, setting in motion the moves led to the First World War. (June 28)

• Babe Ruth debuted in the Major Leagues. (July 11)

• Canadian singer Hank Snow (May 9), American boxer Joe Louis (May 13), Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (Oct. 27) and American scientist Jonas Salk (Oct. 28) were born.

 • 1814 -- Norway declares independence. (Feb. 11).

• 1814 -- Napoleon abdicates as emperor of France, a job he took back a year later in 1815. (April 11)

• 1814 -- British troops set the Capitol on fire as part of the War of 1812. (Aug. 24)

• 1814 -- American gunmaker Samuel Colt (July 19) is born.

• 1714 -- The Treaty of Rastatt between France and Austria ends the War of Spanish Succession, which began in 1701 over who could succeed the Spanish king and led to battles in Europe and North America. (March 7)

• 1714 -- The Ottoman-Venetian War begins between the Ottoman empire and the Republic of Venice, a four-year struggle that led to an Austrian intervention to save the reeling Venetians.

• 1614 -- Young readers might be interested to learn that the real-life Pocohontas married John Rolfe. (April 5)

• 1614 -- Japan bans Christianity. (exact date unknown)

• 1614 -- Hungarian serial killer Elizabeth Bathory, who may have murdered hundreds in her lifetime, dies. (Aug. 21)

• 1514 -- Henry VIII signs a peace treaty with France. His notorious divorces and tinkering with the church remain in his future. (Aug. 7)

• 1514 -- The Rialto, a commercial district of the Italian city of Venice, is almost entirely destroyed by a fire. It was rebuilt and remains in existence.

• 1414 -- The Council of Constance meets, which was an important event that healed a papal schism that had competing claims for the top position in the Catholic Church. (Nov. 16)

• 1314 -- The last Grand master of the famous Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, is burned at the stake by the church and French government. (March 18)

• 1314 -- Scottish forces rout an English army at the Battle of Bannockburn, regaining Scottish independence.

• 1214 -- The French army defeats an army of English, Imperial German and Flemish soldiers in a battle that ends the Anglo-French War that raged from 1202-14. (July 27)

• 1214 -- William The Lion, the King of the Scots, dies. (Dec. 4)

• 1214 -- The Chinese emperor Xuanzong surrenders to Genghis Khan, paying a massive ransom to end a year-long besieging of Beijing.

• 1114 -- The Count of Barcelona, Ramon Berenguer III, conquers the islands of Ibiza and Majorca.

• 1114 -- Nestor The Chronicler, a monk who wrote several important historical texts on eastern Slavic history, dies.

• 1014 -- After the Battle of Kleidion,  Byzantine emperor Basil II routs the Bulgarians and blinds 15,000 prisoners, causing ruler Tasr Samuil of Bulgaria to die of shock, bringing to an end a conflict that began in 968.

• 1014 -- Legendary king of Denmark, England, Norway and parts of Sweden, Cnut The Great, is proclaimed King of England by the Viking after the death of his father Sweyn Forkbeard.

• 914 -- Vikings conquer much of Ireland.

• 914 -- The Irish city of Waterford and English town of River Avon are founded.

• 914 -- The Chinese city of Nanking is rebuilt by the Yang dynasty after being almost entirely destroyed by the Sui Dynasty.

• 814 -- Legendary western European emperor Charlemagne (also known as Charles The Great) dies after decades in power. (Jan. 28)

• 714 -- A Tibetan invasion of China is defeated.

• 614 -- During the Byzantine-Sassanid War, a Persian-Jewish army captures and sacks Jerusalem, killing tens of thousands of citizens and enslaving many more.

• 514 -- Great Byzantine general Vitalian marches on Constantinople, forcing the emperor Anastasius I into negotiations.

• 414 -- Big sister Aelia Pulcheria takes over for her 13-year-old brother Theodosius II, who just happens to be the reigning Roman emperor, and keeps the top job until 453.

• 314 -- Roman emperor Constantine ends the religious persecution of Christians at conference held in the modern-day city of Milan.

• 314 -- Construction is completed on the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, a building in Rome that is still partially intact.

• 214 -- Roman emperors Aurelian and Claudius II are both born, a great day for the empire because both were successes in the top job.

• 114 -- In another great story in architecture, work begins on the Arch of Trajan -- the great Roman emperor -- in the city of Benevento, Italy, where it still stands.

• 14 -- Augustus, the first Roman emperor, dies and is declared a god.

• 14 BC -- Distinguished Roman Agrippina The Elder is born. Related to rulers, she got on the wrong side of emperor Tiberius and starved herself to death in the year 33.

After that, it gets increasingly more difficult to pinpoint when things happened.

Still, it’s a fun way to spend a couple of hours. A lot has happened in human history and even the most studious among us can only hope to know the tiniest sliver of the great moments.



Perry Bergson is the Daily Herald’s managing editor. You can reach him at 765-1302 or by email at

Organizations: Ford Motor Company, Council of Constance, Catholic Church English army Persian-Jewish army Daily Herald

Geographic location: France, Ireland, Austria Norway Venice Rastatt Europe North America Japan England Bannockburn Beijing Barcelona Islands of Ibiza Majorca Bulgaria Denmark Sweden Waterford River Avon Nanking China Jerusalem Constantinople Milan Rome Benevento Italy

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