Today In History Spotlights Dec. 29, 1890, The Wounded Knee Massacre Occurs

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Today’s History Spotlight

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The Wounded Knee Massacre occurs. Under the command of Colonel James Forsyth, Union soldiers engaged Spotted Elk’s band of Lakota near Wounded Knee Creek in  South Dakota. When the soldiers began disarming the Natives, one man was reluctant to hand over his rifle. Other Natives, under Big Foot, were performing the Ghost Dance, which was misunderstood by the Federals.

At one point, a rifle was discharged, and Union troops opened fire on the Lakota. Spotted Elk was killed, along with approximately 150 other Natives, with many of them being women and children. It remains one of the largest domestic massacres in US history. In 1990, 100 years following the massacre, US Congress passed a resolution to express regret. The massacre remains a heavily-sensitive point for US/Native relations.

What Happened On This Day – December 29

  • 1996 Guatemalan civil war comes to an end. The 36-year long civil war fought between several leftist groups representing the indigenous people and poor and the government came to an end after Comandante Rolando Morán of the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity and president Álvaro Arzú signed a peace treaty under the supervision of the UN. Morán and Arzú received the Nobel Peace Prize for their role in bringing peace to the country.
  • 1937 Ireland established. A new constitution, established by a national referendum, changed the name of the Irish Free state to Ireland. The Irish Free State was a part of the British Commonwealth and was established in 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty singed in 1921.
  • 1916 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man published. The first novel of Irish writer, James Joyce, the book follows the life of Stephen Dedalus, who many believe was the author’s alter ego. It first came out as a series in the literary magazine, The Egoist and was then published by American publisher B. W. Huebsch. James Joyce is best known for his book Ulysses, which is about a single day in the life of advertising agent, Leopold Bloom. In honor of the book, fans of the author celebrate an unofficial holiday, Bloomsday on June 16.
  • 1911 Mongolian Independence. The landlocked North East Asian country declared its independence from the Qing Dynasty, after the Mongolian Revolution of 1911. The country had been under the Qing rule for about 200 years.

Births On This Day – December 29

  • 1972 Jude Law – English actor, director, producer
  • 1953 Stanley Williams – American gang leader, co-founded the Crips
  • 1923 Cheikh Anta Diop – Senegalese historian, anthropologist, physicist
  • 1809 William Ewart Gladstone – English politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • 1808 Andrew Johnson – American politician, 17th President of the United States

Deaths On This Day – December 29

  • 2009 Akmal Shaikh – Pakistani/English businessman, drug trafficker
  • 1986 Harold Macmillan – English politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • 1929 Wilhelm Maybach – German businessman, founded Maybach
  • 1916 Grigori Rasputin – Russian monk
  • 1170 Thomas Becket – English archbishop

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Garrett Smith
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