July 23, 2020
Day 205 of 366
July 23rd is the 205th day of the year. It is the birthday of Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia between 1930 and 1974, and a central figure in the Rastafari religion.
Rastafari, also known as Rastafarianism, is an Abrahamic religion that developed in Jamaica during the 1930s. It is classified as both a new religious movement and a social movement by scholars of religion. Rasta beliefs are based on a specific interpretation of the Bible, with a monotheistic belief in a single God, referred to as Jah, who partially resides within each individual. Rastafari also maintains that Jah incarnated in human form as Jesus Christ. Haile Selassie is regarded by some as the Second Coming of Christ (and thus Jah incarnate), while others see him as a human prophet who fully recognized the inner divinity in every individual.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as Gorgeous Grandma Day, National Vanilla Ice Cream Day, National Refreshment Day, and National Intern Day. The last two are typically observed on the fourth Thursday in July.
Historical items of note:
- In 1840, the Province of Canada was created by the Act of Union.
- In 1885, President Ulysses S. Grant died of throat cancer.
- In 1888, crime novelist and screenwriter Raymond Chandler was born.
- In 1892, Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie was born.
- In 1926, Fox Film bought the patents of the Movietone sound system for recording sound onto film.
- In 1927, the first station of the Indian Broadcasting Company went on the air in Bombay.
- In 1950, actress Belinda Montgomery was born.
- In 1961, actor and activist Woody Harrelson was born.
- In 1962, Telstar relayed the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite.
- Also in 1962, Jackie Robinson became the first African American to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Also in 1962, actor, director, and producer Eriq La Salle was born.
- In 1967, actor, director, and producer Philip Seymour Hoffman was born.
- In 1968, in Cleveland, Ohio, a violent shootout between a Black Militant organization and the Cleveland Police Department occurred. During the shootout, a riot began and lasted for five days.
- Also in 1968, model and actress Stephanie Seymour was born.
- In 1970, actress Charisma Carpenter was born.
- In 1971, singer-songwriter and fiddler Alison Kraus was born.
- In 1972, the United States launched Landsat 1, the first Earth-resources satellite.
- In 1982, outside Santa Clarita, California, actor Vic Morrow and two children were killed when a helicopter crashes onto them while shooting a scene from Twilight Zone: The Movie.
- In 1989, actor Daniel Radcliffe was born.
- In 1992, a Vatican commission, led by Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger), established that limiting certain rights of homosexual people and non-married couples were not equivalent to discrimination on grounds of race or gender.
- In 1995, Comet Hale–Bopp was discovered. It became visible to the naked eye on Earth nearly a year later.
- In 1999, Space Shuttle Columbia launched on mission STS-93, with Eileen Collins becoming the first female space shuttle commander. The shuttle also carried and deployed the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
- In 2015, NASA announced the discovery of Kepler-452b by the Kepler space telescope.
July 23rd is Renaissance Day in Oman.
Qaboos bin Said Al Said (قابوس بن سعيد) was the Sultan of Oman from July 23, 1970 until his death on January 10th of this year. A fifteenth-generation descendant of the founder of the House of Al Said, he was the longest-serving leader in the Middle East and Arab world at the time of his death.
He was the only son of Sultan Said bin Taimur of Muscat and Oman, and he was educated in England at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After a brief period in the British Army, he returned to Oman in 1966 and ascended to the throne after overthrowing his father in a coup d’état with British support. The country was subsequently renamed the Sultanate of Oman.
As Sultan, Qaboos implemented a policy of modernization and ended Oman’s international isolation. His reign saw a rise in living standards and development in the country, the abolition of slavery, the end of the Dhofar Rebellion, and the promulgation of Oman’s constitution.
His political system was an absolute monarchy. The Sultan’s birthday, November 18th, is celebrated as Oman’s national holiday, but the first day of his reign, July 23rd, is celebrated as Renaissance Day.
Suffering from poor health in later life, Qaboos died in 2020. He had no children, so he entailed the royal court to reach a consensus on a successor upon his death. As a precaution, he hid a letter which named the successor in case an agreement was not achieved. After his death, the royal court decided to view Qaboos’s letter and named his intended successor, his cousin Haitham bin Tariq, as Sultan.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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