1 September 1914

The last known passenger pigeon, Martha, dies in the Cincinnati Zoo.

Martha  1885 – September 1, 1914 was the last known living passenger pigeon; she was named “Martha” in honor of the first First Lady Martha Washington.

The history of the Cincinnati Zoo‘s passenger pigeons has been described by Arlie William Schorger in his monograph on the species as “hopelessly confused,” and he also said that it is “difficult to find a more garbled history” than that of Martha. The generally accepted version is that, by the turn of the 20th century, the last known group of passenger pigeons was kept by Professor Charles Otis Whitmanat the University of Chicago. Whitman originally acquired his passenger pigeons from David Whittaker of Wisconsin, who sent him six birds, two of which later bred and hatched Martha in about 1885. Martha was named in honor of Martha Washington. Whitman kept these pigeons to study their behavior, along with rock doves and Eurasian collared-doves. Whitman and the Cincinnati Zoo, recognizing the decline of the wild populations, attempted to consistently breed the surviving birds, including attempts at making a rock dove foster passenger pigeon eggs. These attempts were unsuccessful, and Whitman sent Martha to the Cincinnati Zoo in 1902.

However, other sources argue that Martha was instead the descendant of three pairs of passenger pigeons purchased by the Cincinnati Zoo in 1877. Another source claimed that when the Cincinnati Zoo opened in 1875, it already had 22 birds in its collection. These sources claim that Martha was hatched at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1885, and that the passenger pigeons were originally kept not because of the rarity of the species, but to enable guests to have a closer look at a native species.

By November 1907, Martha and her two male companions at the Cincinnati Zoo were the only known surviving passenger pigeons after four captive males in Milwaukee died during the winter. One of the Cincinnati males died in April 1909, followed by the remaining male on July 10, 1910. Martha soon became a celebrity due to her status as an endling, and offers of a $1000 reward for finding a mate for Martha brought even more visitors to see her. Several years before her death Martha suffered an apoplectic stroke, leaving her weakened; the zoo built a lower roost for her as she could no longer reach her old one. Martha died at 1 p.m. on September 1, 1914 of old age. Her body was found lifeless on her cage’s floor. Depending on the source, Martha was between 17–29 years old at the time of her death, although 29 is the generally accepted figure.

After her death, Martha was quickly brought to the Cincinnati Ice Company, where she was held by her feet and frozen into a 300-pound block of ice. She was then sent by express train to the Smithsonian, where she arrived on September 4, 1914, and was photographed. She had been molting when she died, and as such she was missing a few feathers, including some of her longer tail feathers. William Palmer skinned Martha while Nelson R. Wood mounted her skin. Her internal parts were dissected by Robert Wilson Shufeldt and are also preserved and kept by the National Museum of Natural History

From the 1920s through the early 1950s she was displayed in the National Museum of Natural History’s Bird Hall, placed on a small branch fastened to a block of Styrofoam and paired with a male passenger pigeon that had been shot in Minnesota in 1873. She was then displayed as part of the Birds of the World exhibit that ran from 1956 to 1999. During this time she left the Smithsonian twice—in 1966 to be displayed at the Zoological Society of San Diego‘s Golden Jubilee Conservation Conference, and in June 1974 to the Cincinnati Zoo for the dedication of the Passenger Pigeon Memorial. When the Smithsonian shut down its Birds of the World exhibit, Martha was removed from display and kept in a special exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo.Martha was back on display in the Smithsonian from June 2014 to September 2015 for the exhibit Once There Were Billions.

 

1 September 1969

A military coup brings Muammar Gaddafi to power in Libya.

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Muammar al-Qaddafi, a 27-year-old Libyan army captain, leads a successful military coup against King Idris I of Libya. Idris was deposed and Qaddafi was named chairman of Libya’s new governing body, the Revolutionary Command Council.

Qaddafi was born in a tent in the Libyan desert in 1942, the son of a Bedouin farmer. A gifted student, he graduated from the University of Libya in 1963 and the Libyan military academy at Banghazi in 1965. An ardent Arab nationalist, he plotted with a group of fellow officers to overthrow King Idris, who was viewed as overly conservative and indifferent to the movement for greater political unity among Arab countries. By the time Qaddafi attained the rank of captain, in 1969, the revolutionaries were ready to strike. They waited until King Idris was out of the country, being treated for a leg ailment at a Turkish spa, and then toppled his government in a bloodless coup. The monarchy was abolished, and Idris traveled from Turkey to Greece before finding asylum in Egypt. He died there in Cairo in 1983.

Blending Islamic orthodoxy, revolutionary socialism, and Arab nationalism, Qaddafi established a fervently anti-Western dictatorship in Libya. In 1970, he removed U.S. and British military bases and expelled Italian and Jewish Libyans. In 1973, he took control of foreign-owned oil fields. He reinstated traditional Islamic laws, such as prohibition of alcoholic beverages and gambling, but liberated women and launched social programs that improved the standard of living in Libya. As part of his stated ambition to unite the Arab world, he sought closer relations with his Arab neighbors, especially Egypt. However, when Egypt and then other Arab nations began a peace process with Israel, Libya became increasingly isolated.

Qaddafi’s government financed a wide variety of terrorist groups worldwide, from Palestinian guerrillas and Philippine Muslim rebels to the Irish Republican Army. During the 1980s, the West blamed him for numerous terrorist attacks in Europe, and in April 1986 U.S. war planes bombed Tripoli in retaliation for a bombing of a West German dance hall. Qaddafi was reportedly injured and his infant daughter killed in the U.S. attack.

In the late 1990s, Qaddafi sought to lead Libya out of its long international isolation by turning over to the West two suspects wanted for the 1988 explosion of an airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. In response, the United Nations lifted sanctions against Libya. The United States removed its own embargo in September 2004. After years of rejection in the Arab world, Qaddafi also sought to forge stronger relations with non-Islamic African nations such as South Africa, remodeling himself as an elder African statesman.

In February 2011, as unrest spread through much of the Arab world, massive political protests against the Qaddafi regime sparked a civil war between revolutionaries and loyalists. In March, an international coalition began conducting airstrikes against Qaddafi strongholds under the auspices of a U.N. Security Council resolution. On October 20, Libya’s interim government announced that Qaddafi had died after being captured near his hometown of Sirte.

1 September 1905

Alberta and Saskatchewan became part of Canada.

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The two provinces; Alberta and Saskatchewan were originally part of Rupert’s land. On September 1st, 1905, the Saskatchewan Act and the Alberta Act were adopted by the Canadian government and two new provinces joined Canada. Canada has expanded so that it spanned the entire distance between the oceans, “From Sea to Sea”. Canada still feared the American expansion and fought for more independence from the UK, because they no longer wanted to rely on Britain. The fur trade was the main reason for the exploration and development of the territory. The French and English competed with each other to discover various waterways and to establish trading posts.