A lot of interesting stuff has happened on this date – in 1947, the CIA was created, in 1948, President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 which essentially integrated the armed forces, in 1953, Fidel Castro started the Cuban revolution (with a losing battle) and in 1956, Egypt seized the Suez Canal, which caused a major hullabaloo.
That’s a lot to be getting on with, but in case it gets overlooked, let’s talk about July 26, 1887. To be truly respectful, our conversation should be in the lingva internacia, but I have to admit I’m not fluent. Today is the anniversary of the first published book in Esperanto.
It was a textbook and I am surprised to find that thousands of people are still studying and speaking L.L. Zamenhof’s artificial language. Zamenhof, a Pole who spoke Yiddish, Russian and Polish while he was growing up in Bialystock, decided that language was the great barrier to world peace. And so, even as he studied to become an ophthamologist, he worked on his language. Interestingly, he decided English grammar was the most efficient, so he used it as a basis for his own grammar.
‘Esperanto,’ btw, means ‘the hopeful one’ in Esperanto – Zamenhof authored his text as Doktor Esperanto. ( ‘Saluton, amiko’ means hello, friends.)
There are even about a thousand native speakers, meaning that parents are teaching their children Esperanto along with a first language. Esperanto even has its own flag (above). There is a whole lot more to say about Zamenhof and his language, but two things must be mentioned – UNESCO has officially recognized Esperanto and Zamenhof is considered a deity in the Japanese religion of Oomoto. For some Esperanto fun, try this.
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In 1848, the first Women’s Convention was held in Seneca Falls NY, and in 1920, on the same day, the 19th Amendment – giving women the vote – was ratified. At Seneca Falls, Elizabeth Cady Stanton read her women’s version of the Declaration of Independence and all of the resolutions proposed by the convention passed except one – women’s suffrage. It was just too novel an idea.
Many happy returns to the following stellar celebrants : Avery Zia, Helen Mirren, Kevin Spacey and Sandra Bullock. They all help brighten our days.