Every year since I’ve had this website (2002, for those of you keeping count) I have wished Madonna a happy birthday. This year is no exception, although I’m doing so with the minimal amount of enthusiasm. I love the woman, but she needs to a) eat something for God’s sake; b) stop trying to be an actress\director; and c) stop trying to be culturally relevant.
Again, I love you girl, but we’re now getting to a generation of kids who have no idea who you are. You influenced Britney, Christina and Gwen Stafani, and already those women are giving way to Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Continue to make music, sure, but don’t try to grab all the headlines. Act like the 52 year-old you are.
Well, today’s my birthday! Also on this date in history, Gen. Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines (1942), Mikhail Gorbachev was named president of the Soviet Union (1985), Janet Reno was unanimously confirmed as the first “female” attorney general (1993), Paul McCartney was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II (1997), bombs exploded all over Madrid’s train network (2004), a man on trial in Atlanta stole a gun from a deputy and went on a killing spree (2005), and Slobodan Milosevic was found dead of a heart attack in his cell (2006). Happy stuff!!
People who are still alive and share my birthday include: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, reporter Sam Donaldson, singer Bobby McFerrin, Airplane! director Jerry Zucker, New Wave singer Nina Hagen, sexy British actress Alex Kingston, singer Lisa Loeb, actor Terrence Howard, Johnny Knoxville, and actress Thora Birch.
People who are dead and share my birthday include: British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, bandleader Lawrence Welk, Danish king Frederick IX, actress Dorothy Gish, French mathematician Joseph Bertrand, Supreme Court Justice and Dred Scott dissenter John McLean, Italian renaissance poet Torquato Tasso, and civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy, for whom everything in Atlanta is named.
Today is the 277th birthday of my home state! This date marks the day that English general, philanthropist, and Member of Parliament James Oglethorpe landed at Yamacraw Bluff, in what would soon become the city of Savannah. He arrived on this date with 116 colonists on the ship Anne.
Georgia was initially created as a debtor’s colony, where British people in severe debt could start new lives by creating farms that would grow silk, indigo or rice to be sent for sale in Mother England to satisfy their debts. However, there was a considerable delay between the initial idea of Georgia and the granting of her Royal Charter, so that the philanthropic idea was forgotten. In the end only around two dozen debtor families moved to the new colony. In their stead, early Georgia was populated by disaffected people from all over Europe, including Huguenots from France, Protestants from Salzburg … and soldiers. That’s because one of the other reasons the Crown approved of Georgia was for it to act as a “buffer colony” between the newly prosperous South Carolina and Spanish Florida.
Interestingly, liquor and slave labor were banned in early Georgia. Although the “debtor’s colony” idea was quickly dropped, Oglethorpe and other trustees of the colony nevertheless felt that both liquor and slavery would distract people from their goal of building a new colony. As you might guess, the population of early Georgia didn’t grow very much until these bans were repealed in the late 1740s. Even more interestingly, the importation of slaves saved the colony in more ways than one: not only did it attract wealthy Englishmen who wanted to create South Carolina style plantations, it also required the importation of slaves from what is now Sierra Leone, the Gambia and Angola. These Africans had considerable experience with building dams and earthworks and cultivating rice and indigo. It wasn’t until the Africans arrived that those crops took off in the colony.
You can read a digital scan of Georgia’s original Royal Charter here.