1129 — The Knights Templar are officially recognised by the Catholic Church

The actual beginnings of the Knights Templar (or to give their full title, “the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon”) go back another ten years, to a French crusader and knight named Hugh de Payens. De Payens recruited eight other knights (all his relatives by marriage or blood). They took upon themselves the task of guarding all pilgrims in the Holy Land. (Yes. Nine of them. And their horses. To cover all of Outremer.)

In 1129, at the Council of Troyes, the Knights were officially recognised by the Catholic Church, largely thanks to the efforts and influence of Bernard of Clairvaux (later St Bernard), who was a hugely influential figure in the Church (and also the nephew of one of the nine original members). The meteoric rise of the Knights Templar began here, with Bernard promoting their Rule as the noble ideal to aspire to. Their ranks and coffers swelled, and then, so did the rumours. Less than two centuries after their founding, the Knights Templar would be denounced as heretics and disbanded.

Referenced in:

Point of No Return — Immortal Technique

1847 – The Treaty of Cahuenga ends fighting in California

Along with Texas, California was one of the major battlegrounds in the Mexican-American War of 1846 – 1848, and the surrender of Hispanic forces in California was a turning point in the war. The American forces – better equipped and better motivated, drove the Mexicans slowly southward.

The war proper would come to an end in 1848, with Mexico’s cession of a large territory (comprising the modern US states of California, Nevada and Utah, as well as portions of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming). The victory is widely regarded as one of the most significant achievement of the Presidency of James Knox Polk (whose sole term was from 1845 to 1848).

Referenced in:
James K. Polk – They Might Be Giants

1864 — Composer Stephen Foster dies

Stephen Foster has been widely hailed as the father of American Music. In the nineteenth century, he was one of the greatest of American composers of popular music – and many of his songs are still widely known and performed today. Foster wrote such classics as “Camptown Races”, “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair”, “Beautiful Dreamer” and “Oh! Susanna”.

Foster was only 37 when died, the result of his impoverishment: after a persistent fever, he collapsed, banging his head against a basin and gouging it quite badly. He was admitted to hospital but died three days later. God only knows how much more he would have written had he lived, how many American classics we were denied by his early demise.

Referenced in:
Ghost Of Stephen Foster — Squirrel Nut Zippers