This Week in History: January 29-February 2

History is a very important topic to be aware of and to remember. Without history, there is no learning from past mistakes or learning from past successes. As George Santayana once stated, “A people who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.” It is good to know what happened, even when the event occurred ten, hundreds, or even thousands of years ago. With happened this week in the past?

The Rashidun Caliphate, based around present day Saudi Arabia, North Africa, Iraq and Iran.

Starting with January 29, a historical event which took place was how the Rashidun Caliphate ended this day 1,357 years ago in the year 661. First, what was the Rashidun Caliphate? A caliphate is described as “the rule or reign of a caliph or chief Muslim ruler.” The Rashidun Caliphate was the first of the caliphates, there being four big caliphates afterwards. The leaders of this caliphate were Abu Bakr (632-634), Umar ibn al-Khattab (634-644), Uthman ibn Affan (644-656), and Ali ibn Abi Talib (656-661).

On January 30, many important events happened. To start, on this day in history in the year 1948, Gandhi was assassinated. Gandhi was a civil rights activist in charge of the Indian independence movement, a movement which was attempting to end British rule in India and the East India Company. Gandhi led activists to be non-violent and would only protest peacefully. Gandhi is known today as an inspiration to peaceful protest and for those who are under a harsh government who intend to fight for their rights as people.

An early Coca-Cola advertisement.

January 31, 1893, the name Coca-Cola was first trademarked in the United States Patent Office. The Coca-Cola Company’s headquarters is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and its main form of business is the sales of soft drinks. John Pemberton was the first to invent Coca-Cola in 1886. Pemberton at the time was a pharmacist, but during the American Civil War he served in the Third Cavalry Battalion in the Georgia State Guard, which was part of the Confederate Army.

February 1, 1913, the Grand Central Terminal first opened in New York, being the largest train station in the world at the time. There are many unique sights inside the train station, such as ticket windows, a beautiful artistically painted ceiling, the Glory of Commerce, which is a statue of Hercules, Minerva, and Mercury sitting on top of the train station entrance. On top of this, the Grand Central Terminal is seen in many iconic and well known movies, such as Madagascar, the Avengers and the 1978 version of Superman.

February 2, 1943, the German 6th Army in charge of taking the Russian city of Stalingrad surrender, allowing for a major push back of Soviet troops and becoming a major turn point in the war. With the help of the Luftwaffe, which was the German Air Force, many civilians were either killed or injured. All together, there were an estimated 2.2 million soldiers present during the fight for this city. After the Red Army won this battle, they were then allowed to push back the German Blitzkrieg and turn the war over in their favor.

A Soviet Soldier at the the center of Stalingrad after the defeat of the German 6th Army.

“The more we study from history, the wiser we become,” says upper school history teacher Mr. Hester.  Knowing history is important because with written knowledge of the past, it helps us to shape our future, basically learning from past mistakes and past successes.