Today is the anniversary of the day in 1524 that Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed into New York Bay. He was, of course, later killed and eaten by the Carib natives of Guadeloupe. For his discoveries, he was eventually rewarded with having his name misspelled on what was, for a time, the longest suspension bridge in the world, though he also had several other bridges in Maryland and Virginia named after him (whether those were spelled correctly I can’t say).
The Three Hundred Thirty Five Year War between The Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly, off Cornwall, ended today in 1986. There is some speculation that there never really was such a war, but others argue that a war started on 30 March 1651 and, being a bloodless one, people forgot about it, and only realize they were still at war. in 1986, the Dutch ambassador was invited to sign a peace treaty, quipping that “it must have been harrowing to the Scillonians ‘to know we could have attacked at any moment.'”
Today is the anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, one of our more disastrous and stupid of America’s covert ops. I think Castroist Cuba’s a rather nasty place, but think our policy of either trying to assassinate, overthrow, or isolate Castro over the past fifty something years was a rather pointless one, especially since we have cordial relations with places like Saudi Arabia, where they behead people. Hopefully relations with Cuba will improve with the new policy in Washington, and perhaps the weird Cuban-based right-wing politics in Miami will finally go away,but I doubt it. I also doubt Cuba will become a Swiss-like democracy overnight, but I think ignoring a country 90 miles from your shore isn’t a very constructive policy.