768 CE — Charlemagne is crowned King of the Franks

Charles I, King of the Franks, was one of the most influential men in European history. His becoming King of the Franks was due to the death of Pepin the Short, “Mayor of the Palace” and king in all but name. But Charles – soon to be known variously as Charlemagne or Carolus Magnus (in the Latin) – found that not all of the Franks assented meekly to his rule. Acquitaine rebelled and had to be reconquered. Meanwhile, Charles had married the heiress to the throne of Lombardy, adding King of the Lombards to his titles in 770.

Before he was done, Charlemagne would succeed in uniting under a single rule more territory than anyone had done since the glory days of Rome, and would in fact be crowned the first Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (which was, in fact, none of these three things) and known as ‘the father of Europe’. No one would rule as much territory as Charlemagne bequeathed to his heirs for a thousand years, until Napoleon became an Emperor too.

Referenced in:

Act I: King of the Franks — Christopher Lee

1957 – President Eisenhower intervenes to help the Little Rock Nine

The Little Rock Nine were a group of nine black high school students who were enrolled to begin classes to begin classes in September of 1957 at the Little Rock Central High School, in Little Rock, Arkansas. The nine students – Ernest Green, Elizabeth Eckford, Jefferson Thomas, Terrence Roberts, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Minnijean Brown, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Thelma Mothershed and Melba Beals – arrived at the schooll on September 4 to find their path blockaded by the Arkansas National Guard, who had been ordered out the by the state’s Governor – in direct violation of a Supreme Court ruling ordering the end of segregation.

A tense stand-off ensued, with segregationists and intergrationists arguing vociferously and holding rallies in favour of their causes. Finally, on September 24, President Eisenhower federalised the Arkansas National Guard (thus placing them under his command rather than the Governor’s) and sent in the 101st Airborne division of the US Army. They peacefully dispersed the blockade and took up positions to prevent its reinstatment. The following day, the Little Rock Nine entered the school and began classes, although there remained a considerable amount of racism directed towards them by some white students.

Referenced in:

We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel