On this day in 1457 BC – (3,473 years ago) — in the earliest military battle that modern historians view as being reliably documented, Egyptian armies and a coalition of Canaanite forces faced off at the Canaanite city of Megiddo, in what is now northern Israel. Pharoah Thutmose III led some ten to twenty thousand chariots and infantry against a roughly equal-sized force led by the king of Kadesh. Thutmose outmaneuvered the Canaanites, and his forces entered the walled city and plundered it, laying siege to the city for seven months until the Canaanites surrendered. Thutmose’s armies later continued through Syria and Mesopotamia, pillaging towns, burning crops, and taking prisoners. The establishment of Egyptian dominance over Palestine was a key episode in Thutmose’s expansion of the Egyptian empire to its greatest geographical extent — stretching from what is now Syria all the way south to what is now Sudan.
On this day in 1847 – (169 years ago) — a junior British army officer shot a minor chief of the Wanganui people, of the indigenous Maori of New Zealand. The incident triggered a series of clashes between Maori warriors and British forces that became known as the Wanganui Campaign, and which hinged mainly on the disputed legality of sales of Maori land to British settlers. The fighting extended into July and resulted in several deaths on both sides. But the Wanganui Campaign would only be the beginning of the larger New Zealand Wars, which would drag on for another twenty-five years as Maori tribes across New Zealand tried to form a united government to defend their lands against European colonialists. The wars would claim the lives of more than two thousand Maori people and some eight hundred British and colonial troops. They would end with the colonial confiscation of more than six thousand square miles of Maori land.
On this day in 1943 – (73 years ago) — in Basel, Switzerland, Albert Hoffman, a chemist employed in research and development for the pharmaceutical company Sandoz, accidentally touched his finger to his mouth or eye while working in the laboratory with the chemical lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as LSD. Over the next few hours, he inadvertently became the first person to discover that chemical’s hallucinogenic effects. He later wrote: “In a dreamlike state . . . I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures and extraordinary shapes with an intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.” Back in the laboratory three days later, Hoffman ate 250 milligrams of the drug, this time on purpose. He then took a spectacular and otherworldly bicycle ride home through the streets of Basel — an event whose anniversary is now commemorated as “Bicycle Day.” Years later, Hoffman would call LSD a “medicine for the soul” that could offer great benefits if it were used under medical supervision — if only its embrace by the Sixties counterculture had not caused governments to pass laws against it. Hoffman lived to be 102 years old, thus supporting the position of those governments that LSD was truly rotten.
Rotten History is written by Renaldo Migaldi