33 CE — Jesus returns from dead

And on the the third day, He rose again.

Jesus, called the Christ, died upon the Cross, and on the third day (if you count the day he died – it’s actually closer to about half that, sunset Friday to sunrise Sunday) rose again. And not being in a patient mood, rolled aside the stone closing his tomb from the inside (no easy task, but a minor miracle compared to the whole resurrection thing) and set about doing the Lord’s work.

40 days later, he ascended bodily into Heaven, and this time, he stayed there, barring the occasional cameo on a bit of toast.

Referenced in:

Vow — Garbage
John the Revelator — Son House
Tomorrow, Wendy — Andy Prieboy
The Post-War Dream — Pink Floyd
Tomorrow, Wendy — Concrete Blonde
Jesus Walking On The Water — Violent Femmes

33 CE — Jesus dies upon the Cross

It is the central event of Christianity: Jesus Christ surrendered to the Romans, was briefly tried by Pontius Pilate, and sent to be crucified. Once up on the cross, he died in an unusually short time (crucifixion is a slow and painful death). In his last words, he called on his heavenly father, saying “Eli Eli lama sabachthani?” (in English “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). (At least, he did according to the Gospels of Mark and Matthew – John and Luke each tell different stories.)

When the Romans came by to break the legs of the crucified (a measure that hastens death), they discovered that Jesus was already dead. He was taken down and buried, rising from the dead on the third day (somewhat undermining the “last words” thing, but he’s the Son of God. Different rules apply.)

Today, these events are commemorated by the eating of chocolate (not introduced to Europe, Asia and Africa until 14 centuries later) delivered by a rabbit (because… I have no idea why).

Referenced in:

Ah Yeah — Krs-One
Imperial Rome — Aska
For Love — Andy Prieboy
Done Too Soon — Neil Diamond
Tomorrow, Wendy — Andy Prieboy
The Post-War Dream — Pink Floyd
Tomorrow, Wendy — Concrete Blonde
The Mercy Seat — Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Jesus Walking On The Water — Violent Femmes

1961 — Kennedy pledges to put a man on the Moon by the decade’s end

It was a bold announcement at the time – at any time, really. When JFK addressed a joint session of Congress, and announced that the USA would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, he can’t have been sure it could be done. Sure, it was still only 1961 – technological utopianism was the order of the day – but the United States was lagging behind the Soviet Union at that point.

As we now all know, it turns out that it could be done – although with only six months to spare – and Armstrong and Aldrin’s walk on the moon in July 1969 is the most inspiring legacy that John F. Kennedy left behind him.

Referenced in:

Tomorrow, Wendy — Andy Prieboy
Tomorrow, Wendy — Concrete Blonde

1519 – Hernan Cortes lands in Mexico

Hernan Cortes was 34 years old when he led the Spanish Conquistador invasion of Mexico. The initial landing took place on the Yucatan Peninsula, in what was then Maya territory. Cortes’ force was only 500 strong, but they were armed with muskets and cannons, as compared to the arrows and spears used by their opponents.

Although initially peaceful, Cortes’ mission was one of conquest, and would eventually result in the destruction of the Aztec nation and its tributaries, and the Spanish conquest of Mexico.

Referenced in:

Cortez the Killer — Neil Young
Short Memory — Midnight Oil
Monetzuma Was a Man of Faith — Andy Prieboy

1963 — U.S. President John F Kennedy is assassinated

One of the defining events of its era, the assassination of President Kennedy remains a remarkably controversial one, even today. Conspiracy theories abound as to who shot Kennedy and why.

While the official story, that Lee Harvey Oswald did it, with the rifle, in the book depository, is plausible, it is also notably incomplete – there are any number of holes and anomalies in it. The murder of Oswald only two days later, before he could stand trial, has done nothing to quell these uncertainties.

On a symbolic level, the death of Kennedy was the end of an era in many ways. Quite aside from the idealism that he brought to the nation, his death marked a change in the way America saw itself – no longer the lily-white paladin, but more the grim avenger willing do the dirty work no one else would – although in fairness, this change of self-image would take the rest of the decade to be complete.

Referenced in:

Civil War — Guns n’ Roses
Tabloid Junkie — Michael Jackson
Tomorrow, Wendy — Andy Prieboy
We Didn’t Start The Fire — Billy Joel
He Was A Friend of Mine — The Byrds
Tomorrow, Wendy — Concrete Blonde
Song for a Friend — The Kingston Trio
Purple Toupee — They Might Be Giants
She Is Always Seventeen — Harry Chapin

1521 – The Aztecs surrender to Cortes

After a war that lasted for nearly two years, the Spanish Conquest of the Aztec Empire was finally completed with the destruction by fire of Tenochlitan, the Empire’s capital (which stood on the site of modern Mexico City). The last of the Aztec Emperors, Cuauhtémoc, surrendered to Cortes and his men.

The Spanish ruthlessly eradicated whatever traces of Aztec culture they found, considering it barbaric and cruel. The religion of the Aztecs was replaced by Christianity, their language of Nahautl by Spanish, and so on. In particular, almost all documents the Aztecs had kept were destroyed, often by Spanish missionaries.

Over the subsequent decades, the Spanish would defeat and destroy the other nations of Mexico: the Tlaxcala (who had been their allies against the Aztecs), the Zapotecs, the Maya and the Mixtecs all fell before the might of Spanish gunfire, although the complete conquest of Mexico would take until 1697 to be completed

Referenced in:

Short Memory – Midnight Oil
Montezuma was a Man of Faith – Andy Prieboy