Looking back during 1992 A very good year for years gone by

January 03, 1992|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Evening Sun Staff Evening Sun intern Will Hylton contributed to the story.

THREE DAYS INTO the New Year may be too early to ponder upcoming celebrations.

And with lingering uncertainty about the economy, people may not see much reason to jump for joy. But there is cause to let the good times roll.

Be it known that 1992 is a year of anniversaries, from the finding of America by Italian navigator Christopher Columbus 500 years ago to the founding of the city of Aberdeen 100 years ago.

No one knows for sure the origins of America's obsession with marking time, commemorating past events, celebrating milestones. But if there ever were a year to commemorate, 1992 is as good as any.

Parades, discussions, movies and celebrations nationwide mark Columbus' discovery of the New World 500 years ago, in 1492 -- the same year Leonardo da Vinci drew a picture of a flying machine, and the profession of book publisher -- founder, printer and bookseller -- emerged.

This year also marks the 400th anniversary of Tintoretto's much-celebrated painting of "The Last Supper," as well as the discovery of the Roman city of Pompeii and the publication of Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors."

And, as life is one thing after another, here are snippets of milestones that accompany 1992, with help from "The Timetables of History," 3rd edition (Simon & Schuster):

* 300th anniversary: France ending its attempt to invade England as the French Navy is defeated at La Hogue. College of William and Mary -- the second oldest university after Harvard -- founded in Virginia. First Salem witch trials.

* 200th anniversary: America's two-party political system -- the Republicans, under Thomas Jefferson, and the Federalists, under John Adams and Alexander Hamilton. Kentucky became the 15th state.

* 150th anniversary: anesthetic first used in surgery, by Dr. Crawford Long, who removed a tumor from a man's neck using sulfuric ether, popularly known as laughing gas.

* 100th anniversary: Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" ballet. The city of Aberdeen. In science, Diesel's patent of his internal combustion engine, and in sports, the heavyweight boxing title to "Gentleman Jim" Corbett after he defeated John L. Sullivan.

* 90th anniversary: United States at the Panama Canal. The late American novelist John Steinbeck's birth date.

* 80th anniversary: the sinking of the luxury liner S.S. Titanic during her maiden voyage, in which more than 1,500 people drowned. Athlete Jim Thorpe's spectacular victories in the pentathlon and decathlon at the Summer Olympics in Stockholm. He was stripped of his medals a year later because it was learned he had played semi-professional baseball. Woodrow Wilson became president.

* 70th anniversary: introduction of the self-winding wristwatch. Revenues for the federal government stood at $4.9 million, expenditures at $4 million.

* 60th anniversary: Franklin Delano Roosevelt's defeat of Herbert Hoover. Kidnapping of aviator Charles Lindbergh's baby, later found murdered. The discovery of the neutron and Vitamin D. The song, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime," a popular hit in the Depression. Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

* 50th anniversary: Defeat of Japan by America at Midway and the beginning of mass exterminations of Jews in Nazi gas chambers. Release of Disney's movie, "Bambi." Splitting the atom, by scientist Enrico Fermi. Publication of the U.S. military newspaper "Stars and Stripes."

* 40th anniversary: Dwight D. Eisenhower's resignation as the Supreme Commander in Europe and election as U.S. president, beating Adlai Stevenson. Explosion of the first U.S. hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific.

* 30th anniversary: the United States' establishment of a military council in South Vietnam. President John F. Kennedy's announcement that the Soviet Union had established a missile base in Cuba, starting a chain of events now referred to as the Cuban Missile Crisis. The discovery that the drug Thalidomide caused malformations in children. The orbiting of Friendship VII around the Earth by astronauts John Glenn, Walter Schirra and Scott Carpenter. The year the total world population stood at 3.1 billion. Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in an NBA game.

* 20th anniversary: Swimmer Mark Spitz's win of a record seven gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Munich, where 11 Israeli athletes were murdered. Hurricane Agnes torments Maryland and the eastern United States, causing $1.7 billion in damages. Death of Jackie Robinson, first black baseball player in the major leagues. The assassination attempt by Arthur Bremer on presidential contender and Alabama Governor George C. Wallace in Laurel. The election of two men who would leave in scandal, Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, as president and vice president. The Watergate scandal began after Washington, D.C., police arrested five men inside the Democratic National Headquarters at the hotel.

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