Juan Carlos abdicates


When we lived in Spain some of the people we met could remember life under Franco and the transition to democracy under King Juan Carlos.

It’s fairly recent history.

On a lighter note the news has prompted these tweets:


January 5 in history


On January 5:

1759 George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis.

 “Washington’s Family” by Edward Savage, painted between 1789 and 1796, shows (from left to right): George Washington Parke Custis, George Washington, Eleanor Parke Custis, Martha, and an enslaved servant: probably William Lee or Christopher Sheels.

1767 Jean-Baptiste Say, French economist, originator of Say’s Law, was born.

Jean-Baptiste Say.

1834 William John Wills, English explorer of Australia, member of the Burke and Wills expedition, was born.

1889 – Preston North End was declared winner of the original football league.

PNE FC.png

1896 – An Austrian newspaper reported that Wilhelm Roentgen had discovered a type of radiation later known as X-rays.

1903  Harold Gatty, Australian aviator, navigator with Wiley Post, was born.

1910  Jack Lovelock, New Zealand athlete, was born.

1914 – The Ford Motor Company announced an eight-hour workday and a minimum wage of $5 for a day’s labour.

1917  Jane Wyman, American actress, was born.

1918 – The Free Committee for a German Workers Peace, which would become the Nazi party, was founded.

1925 – Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming became the first female governor in the United States.

1932 Umberto Eco, Italian writer, was born.

1933 – Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began in San Francisco Bay.


1938 King Juan Carlos I of Spain, was born.

1940 – FM radio  was demonstrated to the FCC for the first time.

1940 Athol Guy, Australian singer, member of The Seekers, was born.

The Seekers dvd.jpg

1943 Justice Mary Gaudron, first female judge of the High Court of Australia, was born.
1944 – The Daily Mail became the first transoceanic newspaper.
1946 Diane Keaton, American actress, was born.
1950 Chris Stein, American guitarist (Blondie), was born.
1960 Phil Thornalley, English bass guitarist (The Cure), was born.

1968 – Alexander Dubček came to power: “Prague Spring” began in Czechoslovakia.

1969  Marilyn Manson, American singer, was born.

1973 Phil Joel, New Zealand bassist (Newsboys), was born.

1974 – Warmest reliably measured temperature in Antarctica of +59°F (+15°C) recorded at Vanda Station

1976 – Cambodia was renamed Democratic Kampuchea by the Khmer Rouge.

1977 The occupation of Bastion Point started.

Occupation of Bastion Point begins

1993 – The oil tanker MV Braer ran aground on the coast of the Shetland Islands, spilling 84,700 tons of crude oil.

1993 – Washington state executed Westley Allan Dodd by hanging (the last legal hanging in America).

2005 – Eris, the largest known dwarf planet in the solar system, was discovered by the team of Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David L. Rabinowitz using images originally taken on October 21, 2003, at the Palomar Observatory.

Eris (centre) and Dysnomia (left of centre), taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Eris (centre) and Dysnomia (left of centre).

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

November 22 in history


On November 22:

1574 Discovery of the Juan Fernández Islands off Chile.

1718 Pirate Edward Teach (best known as “Blackbeard“) was killed in battle with a boarding party led by Lieutenant Robert Maynard.


1808  Thomas Cook, British travel entrepreneur, was born.

1819  George Eliot, (Mary Ann Evans) British novelist, was born.

1859  Charles Darwin‘s book On the Origin of Species was first offered for sale, in London.

Origin of Species title page.jpg

1899 Hoagy Carmichael, American composer, was born.

1890 Charles de Gaulle, President of France (, was born.

1913 Benjamin Britten, British composer, was born.

1914 Peter Townsend, British Equerry and air pilot, was born.
1919 – Máire Drumm, Irish civil rights activist, was born.
1928 The premier performance of Ravel‘s Boléro took place in Paris.


Ida Rubinstein, the inspiration behind Bolero. Portrait by Valentin Serov.
1932 – Robert Vaughn, American actor, was born.
1939 General Bernard Freyburg took command of the New Zealand Expeditionary force.
1943  Billie Jean King, American tennis player, was born.
Billie Jean King by David Shankbone.jpg

1943  Lebanon gained independence from France.

1958  Jamie Lee Curtis, American actress, was born.

1963  US President John F. Kennedy was killed and Texas Governor John B. Connally is seriously wounded by Lee Harvey Oswald.

1975 Juan Carlos was declared King of Spain following the death of Francisco Franco.

1977 British Airways inaugurated a regular London to New York City supersonic Concorde service.


1998  British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher withdrew from the Conservative Party leadership election, confirming the end of her premiership.

1995 Toy Story was released as the first feature-length film created completely using computer-generated imagery.

Film poster showing a toy cowboy anxiously holding onto a smiling toy astronaut (with wings) as he flies in a kid's room. Below them sitting on a bedare various smiling toys watching the pair, including a Mr. Potato Head, a piggy bank, and a toy dinosaur. In the lower right center of the image is the film's title. The background shows the cloud wallpaper featured in the bedroom.

2005 Angela Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

October 30 in history


On October 30:

1485 King Henry VII of England was crowned.

1865 The Native Land Court was established.

1885 Ezra Pound, American poet, was born.

1893 Charles Atlas, Italian-born bodybuilder, was born.

1894 Domenico Melegatti obtained a patent for a procedure to be applied in producing pandoro industrially.


1918 A petition with more than 240,000 signatures was presented to parliametn demanding an end to the sale and maufacture of alcohol in New Zealand.

1922 Benito Mussolini was made Prime Minister of Italy.

1925  John Logie Baird created Britain’s first television transmitter.


The first known photograph of a moving image produced by Baird’s “televisor”, circa 1926 (The subject is Baird’s business partner Oliver Hutchinson)
1938  Orson Welles broadcast his radio play of H. G. Wells‘s The War of the Worlds.
1944  Anne Frank and sister Margot Frank were deported from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
1945 Henry Winkler, American actor, was born.
1947 The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the foundation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), was founded.
1960 – Diego Maradona, Argentine footballer, was born.
Diego Maradona.jpg
1960  Michael Woodruff performed the first successful kidney transplant in the United Kingdom at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
1973 The Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey is completed, connecting the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosporus for the first time.
1974 The Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman took place in Kinshasa, Zaire.
1975  Prince Juan Carlos became Spain‘s acting head of state, taking over for the country’s ailing dictator, Gen. Francisco Franco.
Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.

Bienvenido al Rey y La Reina de España


King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain will visit New Zealand next week.

They will be accompanied by Spain’s Foreign Minsiter Miguel Angel Moratinos and Secretary of State for Trade Silvia Iranzo.

“I am delighted to host King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia. Their visit presents a unique opportunity to enhance understanding and visibility of New Zealand at the highest levels in Spain,” says Mr Key.

“New Zealand’s relationship with Spain is on the cusp of an exciting phase of further development, with the prospect of increased trade, investment and tourism.

“Our two countries are also seeking to expand education, science and technology, and cultural links.

“In recent years, high-level bilateral political interaction has strengthened considerably,” says Mr Key.

When New Zealanders travel overseas we are accustomed to people in other countries having only a vague, if any, idea about New Zealand.

But in Spain when people asked where we were from, almost all reacted with a smile when they heard nueva zelanda and responded by saying, “el pais más lejos de españa,” – the country furtherest from Spain.

They also knew us because of los kiwis – kiwifruit. Spain is one of the biggest markets (maybe the biggest?) for our kiwifruit and we saw them everywhere fruit was sold from the biggest supermarkets to the smallest neighbourhood stores.

Farmers we spoke to had some knowledge of, and respect for, our sheep industry too.

Spain suffered from the years of oppression under Franco but it has been rapidly catching up. When we lived there four years ago, the EU was pouring billions of euros in to infrastructure and the country with a positive flow on effect on the economy.

New Zealand’s former dependence on British markets blinded us to opportunities in other parts of Europe in the past. This visit will  provide opportunities for trade and other relationships to our mutual benefit.

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