Today in History: Coca-Cola invented in 1886

Today in History: Coca-Cola invented in 1886

133 years ago today, pharmacist John Pemberton developed a brown lemonade using the coca extract, caffeine. coca leaves and soda water. Initially intended to be sold as syrup medicine, the drink soon became the most popular soda drink on the planet. Coca-Cola was born.

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Peter Tchaikovsky born in 1840

Today in History: Peter Tchaikovsky born in 1840
Today is the birthday of Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky who is famous for many masterpieces such as “The Nutcracker” and “Swan Lake.” The classical music great would turn 179 years old if he were still alive today.

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Originating in the 1860′s with Mexican-American communities in the American West, Southwest and Northwest, the American Cinco de Mayo began as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. Today, in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is observed annually on May 5 as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. According to José Alamillo, professor of ethnic studies at Washington State University in Pullman, a 2006 study found there are more than 150 official Cinco de Mayo events across the country. Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the United States have taken on a significance beyond that in Mexico. They include displaying of banners and events highlighting Mexican culture, music, and regional dancing, as well as school districts holding special events to educate students about its historical significance.  In the U.S., commercial interests have capitalized on the celebration by advertising Mexican products and services with an emphasis on beverages, food, and music. (Source: http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com)

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Today in History: James Brown born in 1933

86 years ago today, James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006), was born in Barnwell, South Carolina. The singer and songwriter was a major musical figure of 20th-century music and dance. Brown is often referred to as the “Godfather of Soul,” “Soul Brother #1, “Mr. Dynamite,” or “Sex Machine.” His career lasted over 50 years.

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Today in History: Walter Schnackenberg born in 1880

Today in History: Walter Schnackenberg born in 1880
The German painter and illustrator would have turned 139 today.

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Today in History: First World’s Fair opens in London in 1851

Today in History: First World’s Fair opens in London

On May 1, 1851, Great Britain’s Prince Albert opened the first World’s Fair – then referred to as the Great Exhibition – in Hyde Park, London. The idea for an international fair was advanced by Sir Henry Cole who was so impressed by his visit to the French National Exhibition of 1849 that he wanted to raise the idea to a large scale fair with global participation. Industrial fairs in France had been a strong French national tradition since 1798 and gave an important impulse to the industrial progress. At the center of the 1851 Expo was a giant glass-and-iron hall designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, the Crystal Palace. Inside, more than 10,000 exhibitors set up 12 kilometers / eight miles of tables presenting goods from around the world, incl. the latest kitchen appliances, silks, and machinery. Originally constructed to be a temporary structure, the Chrystal Palace was dismantled in 1854 and then resurrected in an area of South London. The Palace survived until 1936 when it was destroyed in a fire. The London Fair welcomed 6 million visitors between May and October and was a huge success.

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Today is International Jazz Day!

Today is International Jazz Day!

When Louis Armstrong was asked what the definition of jazz was, he famously replied, “If you’ve got to ask, you’ll never know.” Today is a worldwide day of celebration of jazz and its unique history. The official birthplace of jazz is New Orleans, although some say it began in Chicago or Kansas City. Jazz music combines traditional African American and European music styles. As jazz music caught on worldwide, it took hints from many different national and regional cultures to become what it is today. There are dozens of jazz genres including bebop, Dixieland, Latin, ragtime, soul, and swing. International Jazz Day was created in 1991 by musician D. Michael Denny, at which time a statement was recorded by the U.S. Congressional Record to officially recognize this day. To enjoy International Jazz Day, sit back, relax, and listen to your favorite jazz tunes!

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