August 17 – First airmail in the US and more


August 17 – First airmail in the US and more

What will the world be like without any history? With no background, no lineage, no culture. How dull our life would be without any identity. History

What will the world be like without any history? With no background, no lineage, no culture. How dull our life would be without any identity. History connects us to the roots of our culture, race, religion, etc. History is not only important for historians but also to one’s identity and purpose in life. Let us now read the historical milestones of August 17.

1807 – Robert Fulton’s steamboat Clermont begins the first trip up to Hudson River
This was the first time a boat used steam propulsion for water transportation invented by entrepreneur Robert Fulton. Robert Livingston was a wealthy investor and politician who sponsored this steamboat and obtained the exclusive right to steam navigation on the Hudson River. In 1803, Fulton’s company built a small steamboat and tested it on the Seine, and finally, on this day in 1807, the steamboat made its first trip up to the Hudson River. The steamboat was 43 m long, 4.3m wide, and 19 m high with a depth of 2.1m. It could displace 121 tons of water and had an average speed of 5mph.

1859 – 1st airmail (air balloon) took off in the United States
The first official airmail flight took place in Lafayette, Indiana. Aeronaut John Wise considered the father of ballooning used his balloon, Jupiter, to deliver 123 letters for the Lafayette Postmaster to New York. Many people came to witness Jupiter take off as this was the first time post was delivered by airmail in the United States. But within five hours due to the poor weather conditions, Jupiter went in the wrong direction. Wise dropped the package using a parachute and followed its descent. The package was then collected and taken to the Crawfordsville Post Office.

1908 – First animated cartoon film, ‘Fantasmagorie’ released by Émile Cohl
Émile Cohl was a French caricaturist, cartoonist, and animator called “the Father of the Animated Cartoon”. He was the first to make an animated film ‘Fantasmagorie’ using a vertically mounted camera and a single assistant to operate it. This became the traditional animation creation method defined as a stream of consciousness style. The film largely consists of a stick man moving figure. Cohl made 700 drawings, each of which was double-exposed, leading to a running time of almost two minutes.

1945 – Indonesia gains independence from the Netherlands
The declaration of Proclamation of Indonesian Independence was read on this day stating the interests of conflicting internal Indonesian and Japanese. It marked the start of the Indonesian National Revolution, fighting against the forces of the Netherlands and pro-Dutch civilians until the latter officially acknowledged Indonesia’s independence in 1949 on this day. Ceremonies and festive events are held throughout the country to celebrate this national day, including flag hoistings, local games and neighborhood competitions, patriotic and cultural parades.

1960 – Gabon gains independence from France
Gabon was a center of the slave trade with Dutch, English, and French traders in the 16th century. Later in 1910, Gabon became a part of French Equatorial Africa. It was 50 years later when Gabon gained independence from France. At that time only two political parties existed in Gabon: the Gabonese Democratic Bloc (BDG) and the Gabonese Democratic and Social Union (UDSG). In the first post-independence election, held under a parliamentary system, neither party was able to win a majority.

1966 – NASA satellite Pioneer 7 launched into solar orbit
Pioneer 7 was launched to a heliocentric orbit to study the Sun’s magnetic fields and solar winds. Pioneer 7 flew within 7.5 million miles of Halley’s comet which was the closest approach for a U.S. spacecraft. Pioneer 7 was able to discover long periods when the solar wind was blocked out and its instruments were monitoring the end of an organized tail region. It also monitored the interaction between the cometary hydrogen tail and the solar wind.

1978 – Three Americans complete the first crossing of the Atlantic in a balloon.
Ben Abruzzo, Larry Newman, and Max Anderson were the first three Americans to cross the Atlantic in a balloon which took them six days to complete from Maine in the US to France. It was the second attempt for Abruzzo and Anderson and time the three men traveled the 3,000 miles in a 65-foot diameter gondola named ‘The Spirit of Albuquerque’. It was powered by a helium-filled balloon and equipped with a catamaran for emergency sea landing, computers for navigation, and the radio gear for communication.


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