Monday, September 13, 2010

History Lesson

The Writer's Almanac, a website hosted by the wonderful American humourist, Garrison Keillor, supplies a history lesson for today (and don't we all feel a little bit better for learning something - yes, we do too).

It was on this day in 1743 that the Treaty of Worms was signed in Worms, a city on the Rhine River in Germany. Worms is one of the oldest cities in Germany, established by the Celts at least 2,000 years ago. Its name is associated with several well-known historical events. The Concordant of Worms in 1122 was an agreement between the pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, who had been competing for power for years. The Diet of Worms in 1521 was an assembly of officials from the Holy Roman Empire, famous for condemning Martin Luther with a proclamation called the Edict of Worms.

The Treaty of Worms was signed to bring an end to the "War of the Austrian Succession." But the peace did not last long; it soon led to the Seven Years' War, of which a major battle and turning point was fought just outside Quebec on this day in 1759, the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, between the French and the English. The British decisively defeated the French, though both the young British general, James Wolfe, and the French general, Louis-Joseph Montcalm, were killed.
The Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West. Oil on canvas, 1770.
The Battle of the Plains of Abraham was the tipping point for the British army, and within four years almost all of France's territories in the New World had been taken over by the British. But even though Quebec was the setting for the battle that relinquished France's power in the area, it is the place in North America that has the most French influence today.

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