The Thing About Today – July 28

July 28, 2020
Day 210 of 366


July 28th is the 210th day of the year. It is the eve of Ólavsøka, the biggest summer festival in the Faroe Islands. This national holiday is the day when the Faroese Parliament, Løgting, opens its session. Literally translated to “Saint Olaf’s Wake” (vigilia sancti Olavi in Latin), derived from Saint Olaf’s death at the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030, the festival is celebrated for several days.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Milk Chocolate Day, Buffalo Soldiers Day, and National Waterpark Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1571, La Laguna encomienda, known today as the Laguna province in the Philippines, was founded by the Spaniards as one of the oldest encomiendas (provinces) in the country.
  • In 1854, USS Constellation was commissioned. It was the last all-sail warship built by the United States Navy and is now a museum ship in Baltimore Harbor.
  • In 1866, at the age of 18, Lavinia “Vinnie” Ream became the first and youngest female artist to receive a commission from the United States government. Her commission was for a white marble statue of Abraham Lincoln that resides in the Capitol Rotunda.
  • Also in 1866, English children’s book writer and illustrator Beatrix Potter was born.
  • In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified, establishing African American citizenship and guaranteeing due process of law.
  • In 1879, activist Lucy Burns was born. She co-founded the National Woman’s Party, an American women’s political organization formed to fight for women’s suffrage.
  • In 1922, Belgian-Swiss oceanographer and engineer Jacques Piccard was born.
  • In 1929, journalist, socialite, and 37th First Lady of the United States Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was born.
  • In 1945, cartoonist Jim Davis was born. He created Garfield.
  • In 1996, the remains of a prehistoric man were discovered near Kennewick, Washington, thus known as the Kennewick Man.
  • In 2018, Australian Wendy Tuck became the first woman skipper to win the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.


July 28th is the Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval.

The Expulsion of the Acadians, also known as the Great Upheaval, the Great Expulsion, the Great Deportation, and Le Grand Dérangement, was the forced removal of the Acadian people by the British from the present-day Canadian Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and northern Maine. These locations were parts of an area historically known as Acadia.

The Expulsion occurred over a decade during the French and Indian War as part of the British military campaign against New France (the area colonized by France in America, beginning with the exploration of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Great Britain and Spain in 1763 under the Treaty of Paris).

The British first deported Acadians to the Thirteen Colonies, and after 1758, transported additional Acadians to Britain and France. In the first wave, Acadians were deported to other British North American colonies. During the second wave, they were deported to Britain and France, and from there a significant number migrated to Spanish Louisiana, where “Acadians” eventually became “Cajuns”. Acadians fled initially to French-allied colonies such as Canada, the uncolonized northern part of Acadia, Île Saint-Jean (now Prince Edward Island), and Île Royale (now Cape Breton Island). During the second wave of the expulsion, these Acadians were either imprisoned or deported.

In all, of the 14,100 Acadians in the region, approximately 11,500 Acadians were deported. The expulsion helped the British achieve their military goals of defeating Louisbourg and weakening the Miꞌkmaq and Acadian militias, but the larger effect was the devastation of both a primarily civilian population and the economy of the region. Thousands of Acadians died in the expulsions, mainly from diseases and drowning when ships were lost.

In 1847, American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published a long, narrative poem about the expulsion of the Acadians called Evangeline, which depicted the plight of the fictional character Evangelin. The poem became popular and made the expulsion well known. The Evangeline Oak is a tourist attraction in Louisiana.

Several other cultural commemorations were made, including songs, novels, and living monuments such as Grand-Pré Park (a National Historic Site of Canada situated in Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia).

In December 2003, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, representing Queen Elizabeth II as Canada’s head of state, acknowledged the expulsion but did not apologize for it. She designated July 28th as “A Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval.” The Royal Proclamation of 2003 closed one of the longest cases in the history of the British courts, initiated in 1760 when the Acadian representatives first presented their grievances of forced dispossession of land, property, and livestock.

Today the Acadians live primarily in eastern New Brunswick and in some regions of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Northern Maine.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.



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