History is that branch of knowledge which deals with the past events and the conditions connected with the people of the past as distinguished from the present-day conditions and circumstances. All events which relate to the existing time that is the time when they are recorded, are called the events of the day, are judged, reported, and by the daily newspaper. But as soon as its time passes, every event becomes a part of history. So in this sense history means that branch of knowledge which deals with the past events and occurrences and give an account of the past people.
Let’s discuss a few major Historical events in Today’s History.
1741: A strange substance, known as “Angel Hair” falls over Selborne, England.
Angel Hair is a fine substance so named because of its likeness to very fine hair. While there is no conclusive evidence on its formation or origin, it is commonly believed to be fine web strands left by migrating spiders.
On 21 September 1741, a thick fall of Angel Hair occurred over Selborne, England. The phenomenon was documented in “The Natural History of Selbourne (England)” by Gilbert White, where he described it as follows: “A shower of cobwebs falling from very elevated regions and continued without interruption until the end of the day. Most were no single filmy threads floating in the air in all directions, but perfect flakes or rags, between an inch and 5 or 6 long, which fell with a degree of velocity that they were considerably heavier than the atmosphere. On every side the observer looked might he behold a continual succession of fresh flakes falling into his sight, twinkling like stars as they turned their sides towards the sun. How far this wonderful shower extended would be difficult to say, but we know it reached Bradley, Selbourne, and Alresford, the three who lie in a sort of triangle, the shortest of whose sides are about eight miles in extent.”
1817: In an official dispatch, Governor Lachlan Macquarie advocates the adoption of the name Australia for the continent, as suggested by Matthew Flinders.
Australia was previously named New Holland by the Dutch sea explorers who landed on the western coast in the early 1600s. James Cook claimed the eastern coast of the continent for England in 1770, naming it New South Wales. After the First Fleet arrived in 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip was given orders to extend the claim further west. The western half of the continent continued to be known as New Holland, and the eastern half was New South Wales.
Matthew Flinders became the first explorer to circumnavigate the entire continent, doing so between 1801 and 1803. After being wrongly imprisoned by the French for seven years, accused of being a spy, Flinders returned to England. In 1810 he wrote an account of his expeditions, ‘A Voyage to Terra Australis’. It was in this account that Flinders proposed the name ‘Terra Australis’ or ‘Australia’ to be adopted for the southern continent. There were many supporters of his proposal in England, but wealthy sponsor Sir Joseph Banks did not support his suggestion. Flinders died before the new name of the continent could be decided upon.
It was Governor Lachlan Macquarie who, impressed by Flinders’ arguments, advocated that the name ‘Australia’ be adopted, and began to use this term regularly. In an official dispatch dated 21 September 1817, Macquarie stated:
‘I hope [Australia] will be the Name given to this country in future, instead of the very erroneous and misapplied name hitherto given to it of “New Holland” which properly speaking only applies to a part of this immense Continent.’