On this day in 1863 – (153 years ago) — in Richmond, Virginia — capital of the Confederacy during the US Civil War — bread riots broke out in the center of town as thousands of people broke into shops and looted food, clothing, and other merchandise. The rioters, mostly women, were angered by the same shortages of bread and other staples that were making similar riots a common occurrence across the American South that spring. Hungry troops on both sides of the Civil War had been stripping local farms of their crops and livestock during their movements from one battle to the next. To make matters worse, runaway inflation was making Confederate currency increasingly worthless. In Richmond, the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, came out and pleaded with the rioters to disperse. He even threw them the money he had in his pockets. But the rioters ignored Davis until he finally called in the militia and threatened to have them open fire on the crowd.
On this day in 1982 – (34 years ago) — Argentina launched an amphibious invasion of a nearby South Atlantic archipelago known to the Argentines as the Islas Malvinas, and to the British as the Falklands. These cold, windswept islands — where less than three thousand people lived mostly by fishing and sheep farming — had been ruled by Britain for some 150 years, but Argentina had never given up its own claim to them. And now, Argentina’s ruling military junta had ordered an invasion in the hope of distracting that country’s increasingly discontented populace from their economic woes and lost civil liberties. The Argentine generals were gambling that the Brits would not use military force to keep the islands — and at first, it seemed that their bet would pay off, as the Argentine invaders met little resistance from the islands’ tiny self-defense force, bolstered by a few dozen British troops. But when British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sent a major naval task force to retake the islands, it led to a war that lasted more than two months, killed some nine hundred people, and ultimately caused the downfall of the Argentine junta. The Falklands remained firmly in British hands — and Port William, the territory’s busiest ship harbor, remains heavily mined to this day.
Rotten History is writtern by Renaldo Migaldi.