Delve into the history of 20th June, as we explore the harrowing tragedy of the Black Hole of Calcutta in 1756 and celebrate the revolutionary impact of Samuel Morse’s telegraph patent in 1840.
As I delve into the history of 20th June, I see that it was this day when Sheila Scott became the first woman to fly solo around the world in the year 1966. It was also the day when the foundation stone for the Burgos Cathedral was laid in the year 1221 in Spain. This Cathedral is a world heritage sight since 1984. Numerous other significant events have occurred on this day. I have chosen the following incidents for today’s story from the history of 20th June.
The Black Hole Calcutta
If are a regular reader of this series, I am sure you remember ‘The Siege of Calcutta’ which I shared on the 17th of June. In that article, I mentioned ‘The Black Hole of Calcutta’. Today I share the details of that incident from the history of 20th June.
In the heart of Calcutta, a fortress known as Fort William stood as a symbol of British influence in the region. The British East India Company had established a significant presence in Bengal, and tensions between the British and the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, were on the rise.
The stage was set for a horrifying incident when Nawab’s forces captured Fort William on June 20th, 1756. Among those captured were 146 British soldiers, Anglo-Indian soldiers, and Indian civilians who were subsequently confined within a small and cramped dungeon.
The conditions within the confined space were abysmal. The dungeon, commonly referred to as the “Black Hole,” had a significantly limited capacity and lacked proper ventilation. As the scorching heat of the Indian summer descended upon the captives, the situation rapidly deteriorated.
That night, the lack of air circulation and extreme heat led to the suffocation and heat exhaustion of many imprisoned within the Black Hole. The captives struggled to breathe and over a period of time, many lives were lost.
The exact number of casualties remains a matter of historical debate, but it is clear that the incident resulted in a significant loss of life. The Black Hole of Calcutta serves as a stark reminder of the profound consequences that can arise from human conflict and the disregard for the dignity and well-being of others.
With this, I come to my second story from the history of 20th June.
Telegraph: Revolutionizing Communication
Throughout history, humanity has witnessed a multitude of diverse communication mediums, ranging from handwritten letters to emails. Over time, numerous inventions have emerged, greatly facilitating our ability to connect with one another. Notably, the telegraph stands as a significant milestone in this progression, having been patented by the American inventor Samuel Morse on this day in the year 1840.
This groundbreaking device would go on to reshape the world, bridging vast distances and transforming the way information was transmitted and received. Morse’s invention marked a new era in human connectivity and set the stage for the rapid advancement of telecommunications technology in the years to come.
Samuel Morse’s telegraph was the culmination of years of experimentation and innovation. Together with his associate, Alfred Vail, Morse developed a system that allowed for the transmission of messages over long distances using a series of electrical signals. The telegraph made use of a code known as Morse code, which assigned a unique combination of dots and dashes to each letter of the alphabet. By encoding messages into this code and transmitting them through electrical wires, it became possible to communicate quickly and efficiently across great distances.
Samuel Morse was granted a patent for his telegraph system on the 20th of June 1840. This patent, titled “Improvement in the Mode of Communicating Information by Signals by the Application of Electro-Magnetism,” protected Morse’s invention and solidified his position as the pioneer of long-distance communication. The patent granted Morse exclusive rights to the invention, enabling him to further develop and commercialize his telegraph technology.
The telegraph quickly revolutionized communication by enabling near-instantaneous transmission of messages over vast distances. Prior to the telegraph, sending a message across continents or even within a country could take weeks or months. With the advent of Morse’s telegraph, communication times were reduced from weeks to mere seconds. This newfound speed facilitated the exchange of critical information, transforming many areas of human life.
With this, I come to the end of this episode. See you tomorrow.
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A devoted foodie with keen interest in wild life, music, cinema and travel Somashis has evolved over time . Being an enthusiastic reader he has recently started making occasional contribution to write-ups.