On This Day in History, September 1

In 1449, a force of approximately 20,000 Mongols defeated a Chinese force of a half million and captured the current emperor, Yingzong of the Ming dynasty in what is known as the Tumu Crisis. Having surrounded the Chinese force early that day, the Mongols were able to disorganize the Chinese force. They killed around 350,000 of the Chinese force, including most of the leadership. The emperor was never successfully ransomed, and instead released four years later.

In 1774, British General Thomas Gage had soldiers remove military supplies from a magazine near Boston, instigating a significant popular reaction in the Powder Alarm. Thousands of militiamen in New England made for Boston and Cambridge amidst the rumors of bloodshed, forcing Loyalists to rely upon the British Army for support. This incident would, in some ways, be a dress rehearsal for the Battle of Lexington and Concord the following year.

In 1873, Cetshwayo kaMpande became the King of the Zulu Kingdom following the death of his father. Having already defeated his potential rivals before hand, the matter was kept quiet until his formal establishment as king. His rule is best known for the Zulu-Anglo War, during which he led his people to victory over the British at the Battle of Isandlwana. The British would eventually defeat the Zulu at the Battle of Ulundi, and for which he was deposed and exiled.

A Notable Birth

1907 – Walter Reuther (d. 1970) was an American labor organizer and civil rights activist best known for the influence he wielded as President of the United Automobile Workers (UAW). As a young man, a once-in-a-lifetime journey across the world shaped his political views and eventually led him to have connections with multiple American presidents.

A Notable Death

1581 – Guru Ram Das Sodhi (b. 1534 as Bhai Jetha Mal Sodhi) was the fourth of the ten Gurus of Sikhism, a linage of spiritual leaders for Sikhs. As a boy, he met the Third Guru, who was his mentor. Unlike his predecessors, he would pass the title of Guru onto one of his children.

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