After a week off for vacation, scenario planning fodder returns.
1306: Robert the Bruce becomes KIng of Scotland, seven months and two days after William Wallace is hanged, drawn and quartered in London. It will take him eight years to establish de facto control via the Battle of Bannockburn; then he will invade Ireland and northern England in attempts to establish a “Pan-Gaelic Greater Scotia.” It doesn’t really catch on, most historians believe due to the haggis.
1807: The first passenger railroad in the world opens today: the Swansea and Mumbles Railway. (It truly is a momentous event, but yes, I liked the name.)
1821 (Julian calendar): Traditional date of start of the Greek War of Independence. Metropolitan Germanos of the Agia Lavra monastery in Kalavryta, Peloponnesus, supposedly raises the banner of the cross against the Ottomans. Kalavryta had been under siege for four days by then, and Kalamata had fallen to the revolutionaries to the south two days before, bringing them a vital cache of olives to sustain them in their fight. But March 25 was a feast day of the Virgin Mary and the Orthodox Church decided that was a good day to celebrate Greek independence, so the parades in Greek Town are today, people (or maybe yesterday for some cities). (Go visit Kalavryta. It’s a beautiful mountain town and monastery.)
1992: Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev returns to earth after spending 10 months on the Space Station Mir, during which time the country that sent him up there ceased to exist. For this reason, Sergei is known as “The Last Citizen of the USSR.” He missed his chance to come home after about two months when he agreed to stay aboard to cover for crew shortages because of a canceled relief flight; then he got to watch from space for eight months as his country was dissolved and Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine basically argued about who was going to leave the revolution party and pay for the gas to come to pick him up.