Friday, May 31, 2013

This Day in History: May 31, 1902: The Boer War ends


In Pretoria, representatives of Great Britain and the Boer states sign the Treaty of Vereeniging, officially ending the three-and-a-half-year South African Boer War.
The Boers, also known as Afrikaners, were the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of southern Africa. Britain took possession of the Dutch Cape colony in 1806 during the Napoleonic wars, sparking resistance from the independence-minded Boers, who resented the Anglicization of South Africa and Britain's anti-slavery policies. In 1833, the Boers began an exodus into African tribal territory, where they founded the republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The two new republics lived peaceably with their British neighbors until 1867, when the discovery of diamonds and gold in the region made conflict between the Boer states and Britain inevitable.
Minor fighting with Britain began in the 1890s and in 1899 full-scale war ensued. By mid-June of 1900, British forces had captured most major Boer cities and formally annexed their territories, but the Boers launched a guerrilla war that frustrated the British occupiers. Beginning in 1901, the British began a strategy of systematically searching out and destroying these guerrilla units, while herding the families of the Boer soldiers into concentration camps. By 1902, the British had crushed the Boer resistance, and on May 31 of that year, the Peace of Vereeniging was signed, ending hostilities.


The treaty recognized the British military administration over Transvaal and the Orange Free State, and authorized a general amnesty for Boer forces. In 1910, the autonomous Union of South Africa was established by the British. It included Transvaal, the Orange Free State, the Cape of Good Hope, and Natal as provinces.

The Rt. Hon. The Viscount Milner

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 General CR de Wet

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taken from: [31.05.2013]


This Day in History: May 31, 1852: Julius Richard Petri, bacteriologist and inventor of the Petri dish, is born

Petri first studied medicine at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Academy for Military Physicians (1871–1875) and received his medical degree in 1876. He continued his studies at the Charité Hospital in Berlin and was on active duty as a military physician until 1882, continuing as a reservist.

 161 aniversario del nacimiento de Julius Richard Petri

From 1877 to 1879 he was assigned to the Imperial Health Office (German: Kaiserliches Gesundheitsamt) in Berlin, where he became an assistant to Robert Koch.

On the advice of Angelina Hesse, the New York-born wife of another assistant, Walther Hesse, the Koch laboratory began to culture bacteria on agar plates. Petri then invented the standard culture dish, or Petri plate, and further developed the technique of agar culture to purify or clone bacterial colonies derived from single cells. This advance made it possible to rigorously identify the bacteria responsible for diseases.

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On May 31, 2013, Google created an animated doodle in his honor to commemorate his 161st birthday.[1] The doodle consisted of six animated petri dishes. As the cursor passes over each petri dish, it showed the source of the dish's contents: smelly socks, a door knob, a computer keyboard, a drooling dog, a plant in the rain, and a dish being washed.[2][3]


  1. ^ The Independent, Newspaper. "Google Doodle commemorates Julius Richard Petri - inventor of the [[Petri dish]] - on what would have been his 160th birthday". Article. Retrieved 31 May 2013. Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)
  2. ^ "Today Google is celebrating the life and legacy of Julius Richard Petri the inventor of the Petri Dish". Scribd.
  3. ^ "Julius Richard Petri: Google celebrates birth of inventor of the petri dish". 30 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-5-30.
Taken from: [31.05.2013]

Thursday, May 30, 2013

This Day in History: May 30, 1913: The First Balkan War ends

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On this day in 1913, a peace treaty is signed ending the First Balkan War, in which the newly aligned Slavic nations of Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece had driven Turkish forces out of Macedonia, a territory of the Ottoman Empire located in the tumultuous Balkans region of southeastern Europe.

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After rebellion in Macedonia—led by a secret society of nationalists known as the Young Turks—shook the stability of the sultan's hold on Ottoman territory in Europe in 1908, the Austro-Hungarian empire acted quickly to annex the dual Balkan provinces of Bosnia-Herzegovina and to encourage Bulgaria, also under Turkish rule, to proclaim its independence. Austria-Hungary's actions clearly upset the delicate balance of power in the Balkans. The small, boisterous monarchy of Serbia was outraged by the annexation, having long regarded Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of its own rightful territory due to their shared South Slavic heritage. Meanwhile, czarist Russia—an important supporter of Serbia and the other great European power with influence in the Balkans region—felt its own interests threatened by its rival's actions.

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In the spring of 1912, Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Greece, encouraged by Russia, aligned with the objective of taking control of some or all of the lands still occupied by the Ottoman Empire in Europe. Though the disparate Balkan peoples nursed intense hatreds of one another, they were compelled to join forces and act quickly in order to strike at Turkey—now ensnared in a war with Italy over territory in Libya—in its weakness. On October 8, 1912, Montenegro declared war on Turkey; Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece followed suit on October 17.

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Surprisingly, the Ottoman army was quickly and decisively defeated, as the Balkan forces drove the Turks from almost all of their territory in southeastern Europe over the course of a month. The great powers of Europe—Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia—scrambled to exert control over the region in the wake of Turkey's withdrawal, and a congress was convened with representatives of the belligerent nations in London in December 1912 to draw up post-war boundaries in the Balkans. Over the course of the next several months and 63 meetings, as well as renewed hostilities on the battlefield, an agreement was reached, and Macedonia was partitioned between the victors of the First Balkan War. Nevertheless, the peace concluded May 30, 1913, was only tenuous, as Bulgaria felt cheated out of its rightful share by Serbia and Greece.

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Exactly a month after the peace treaty was signed, on the night of June 29-30, Bulgaria turned against its former allies, Serbia and Greece, in a surprise attack ordered by King Ferdinand I without consultation with his own government. The attack led to the so-called Second Balkan War, in which Bulgaria was quickly defeated by forces from Serbia, Greece, Turkey and Romania. The Treaty of Bucharest, signed August 10, was negotiated by local states, rather than by the great powers. By its terms, Bulgaria lost a considerable amount of territory and Serbia and Greece received control of most of Macedonia.

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Austria-Hungary, which had badly wanted to see Serbia crushed, was shocked and disappointed by the results of the two Balkan wars. Confident that first Turkey and then Bulgaria would prove victorious, Austria-Hungary had neglected to intervene in either conflict; now, the Dual Monarchy became increasingly fearful—with reason—of the growing Slavic influence in the Balkans, the emergence of a powerful and ambitious Serbia, and what it would all mean for the future of its own declining empire.

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By 1913, many in both Austria-Hungary and Germany—especially within the countries' military leadership—had decided that a preventive war against Serbia would be necessary to restore the empire's prestige and power; as Russia was almost certain to back Serbia in any such conflict, a third war in the Balkans would most likely proceed directly to a general European one, with Germany and Austria-Hungary facing off against Serbia, Russia, Russia's primary ally, France, and possibly Britain. For the time being, however, both Kaiser Wilhelm, emperor of Germany, and Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, continued to see the possibility of a peaceful resolution of the Balkans question, though they disputed the means of achieving it. Franz Ferdinand's assassination, by a Serbian nationalist, in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, however, put an end to any such negotiations and toppled Europe, already teeming with unresolved conflict and irreconcilable differences between the great powers, headlong into the First World War.

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Taken from: [30.05.2013]