On This Day in History, August 15

In 1248, the foundation of the Cologne Cathedral was set down. Construction continued until 1473, when the process became intermittent until the mid-16th Century. It was only with the romantic movement of the 19th Century that construction resumed. From 1842 to 1880, construction continued until the cathedral was completed, a day shy of when the foundation was laid 632 years prior.

In 1549, Francis Xavier, a Jesuit priest from Portugal, arrived at Kagoshima in the Satsuma Province of Kyūshū. While he was greeted in a friendly manner by the current daimyō, Shimazu Takahisa, and allowed to remain with their family, he would be barred from converting Japanese to Christianity the following year. Even so, the area would be a major spot for Christianity in Japan until the Meiji Era.

In 1947, 1948, and 1960, three modern nations were founded. Two of them, India (’47) and the Republic of the Congo (’60) were former European colonies, granted independence upon this date. The third, the Republic of Korea—better known as South Korea—was established as being south of the 38th parallel north.

A Notable Birth

1717 – John Metcalf (d. 1810) was an English road builder best known as Blind Jack, due to his infliction. Before he became involved with road construction, he was involved with several other pursuits, including carrier work, fiddling, and a brief military role.

A Notable Death

2006 – Te Atairangikaahu (b. 1931) was crowned the Māori Queen in 1966, reigning for 40 years. Her position, despite not having any true power, was greatly influential upon groups within parliament and she was involved with the promotion of Maori culture and other indigenous issues.

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