This Week in Awesome History: January 9th – January 15th

Mermaids, The Holy Grail and the Hudson River Plane Crash all combine to give us a week that history won't ever forget.  

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

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January 9th, 1492: Christopher Columbus sees "Mermaids"

On this day in 1492 intrepid explorer Christopher Columbus spotted three "Mermaids" whilst sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. Describing the mythical creatures Columbus said that they were "not half as beautiful as they are painted", which is understandable considering the creatures he saw weren't actually Mermaids, but far less attractive Manatees.

The sighting occured during the same sailing adventure that would lead to him accidentally discovering the Americas. Imagine that; discovering a whole new continent and a species that would later go on to write Family Guy.


January 9th, 1989: Sega Genesis Makes Its Debut

On this day in '89 Sega made its first leap as a prime contender to Nintendo's home console crown with the Genesis, a system which lured away a large portion of Ninty's fan base with its edgy marketing and "mature" games.

Looking back on it now the tagline "Genesis Does What Nintendon't" was a bit immature, kind of like if Sony decided to run an "Xbox Sux Cox" campaign, but this was an era where 18-year-olds thought that playing a game that featured a cuddly blue hedgehog made them cooler than other 18-year-olds who were playing a game featuring an Italian plumber, so we'll let 'em off.

The Genesis was a massive success and, although Sega eventually succumbled to the might of the N64 and PlayStation in the console war, for many it's still the definitive gaming system.


January 13th, 1128: The Knights Templar is Recognised

On this day in 1128 Pope Honorious II granted a papel section to the Knights Templar, declaring them an "army of God".

Although the Templar initially only had nine members, their popularity begin to rise and saw many men join them, despite their rules stating that all members must assign themselves to poverty along with leading a life of chastity and obedience. Eventually the Templar had grown drastically in size.

As the Templar grew in size and wealth (although members were not allowed to personally own property there was no limit on the amount of gifts they could accept from other Christians), eventually leading to King Philip IV of France to unite with Pope Clement V and arrest the Templars' leader Jacques de Molay unjustly on charges of heresy, sacrilege and Satanism. He along with several other Templars were tortured until they confessed to these crimes, leading to them then being burnt alive at the stake.

The Knights Templar are now perhaps most famous for the role they play in Dan Brown's hugely successful novel "The Da Vinci Code", where they are linked with the mythical Holy Grail.


January 13th, 1986: The Sex Pistols Sue Malcolm McLaren

On this day in 1986 the surviving ex-members of The Sex Pistols sued their former manager Malcolm McLaren for royalties, after the businessman had continued to sell outtake material and compilations without giving the bandmates their cut of the money. They eventually settled out of court for £1million and despite their differences they seemed to have made up before McLaren's passing in 2010, with John "Rotten" Lydon paying his respects by saying he would "miss him" and that "above all else, he was an entertainer".

Malcolm managed many bands and shared a long relationship with infamous fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, with whom he opened a punk fashion boutique called "SEX". He also had a reasonable solo career, with his cover of The Zombies' She's Not There appearing on the Kill Bill Vol. 2 soundtrack (listen above) and Eminem sampling his track Buffalo Gals on the hit song Without Me.


January 15th, 2009: Pilot Performs Miraculous Landing in Hudson River

On this day in 2009 Pilot Sully Sullenberger became a national hero after Flight 1549 departing from New York had to take an emergency landing following a collision with a flock of geese.

The geese flew into the plane's engines over New York and, after attempting to land the aircraft at other nearby airports, Captain Chelsea Burnett Sullenberger III took the brave decision to instead carefully pilot the plane into the Hudson river, successfully saving the lives of all the passengers and crew on board.

Captain Sullenberger's actions led to him receiving a wealth of accolades and praise, with him also being invited to the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama. He has since released a book about his life entitled "Highest Duty: My Search For What Really Matters".


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