september-23

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September 23, 1215: Kublai Khan is born.

Born Kublai, this grandson of Genghis Khan served as the fifth Khagan of the Mongol Empire, succeeding his brother Möngke, and defeating another brother, Ariq Böke, for the title in a war of succession. The Mongol Empire at the time of Kublai’s accession was large - but also largely disunified, due in part to the nature of the Mongol leaders’ style of ruling, which emphasized conquest over maintenance. One adviser reportedly told him, with this very problem in mind:

I have heard that one can conquer the empire on horseback, but one cannot govern it on horseback.

As Khagan, Kublai’s most famous exploit was the completion of the Mongol conquest of China, which had begun with the conquest of the Jin and Xia dynasties under Ögedei Khan, and ended with the conquest of the Song and proclamation of the Yuan Dynasty in 1271. Even before that time, Kublai adopted many Chinese customs and naming systems and developed an appreciation for Chinese culture and philosophy, though most of his high officials were typically not actually Chinese. Afterward, he attempted to consolidate power and establish a centralized government in China, a mode of rule unlike that of his nomadic predecessors and an exceptionally difficult task given the fact that he was a foreigner and that China had been fragmented for several centuries. In 1274 and 1281, the Khagan also attempted to conquer Japan, but his naval invasions were repelled by fierce ocean storms. 

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September 23, 1806: Lewis and Clark Return Home

On this day in 1806, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned to St. Louis from their two-and-a-half-year expedition, which covered the expanse from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast and back.

The two men brought back a wealth of information about the largely unexplored region within the Louisiana Purchase territory. During their expedition, Lewis and Clark studied the plants, animal life, geography and elements of economic opportunity throughout the vast area.

Check out Ken Burns’s Lewis and Clark interactive story, where you lead the expedition.

Curious to see what Lewis and Clarke ate? PBS Food’s ‘The History Kitchen’ shows the history behind the diet that fed the expedition.

Top Image: “Lewis and Clark on the Columbian River” (c. 1906, Library of Congress). Bottom Image: Meriwether Lewis at left, William Clark at right (Wikimedia Commons).

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Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Carmen Basilio I
The Ring Fight of the Year (1957)

September 23, 1957

Sugar Ray Robinson’s middleweight crown, which he’d taken from Jake Lamotta in their fifth and final meeting, had proven much more difficult to retain than the welterweight strap he’d held ten years ago. He’d lost and regained it in a pair of fights against Brit Randy Turpin, given it up for an unsuccessful run at the light heavyweight champion Joey Maxim and had to wait a whole year for another shot at the title.

1957 would not be any easier on Robinson. On the second day of the year, in only his second defense of his newly-reacquired title, he lost the belt to a young brawler by the name of Gene Fullmer in the first installment of their blossoming tetralogy. Four months later, Robinson took the title back in their second fight, the only one of the series that Robinson would win, with what would become known as the greatest left hook ever thrown. He’d already lost and regained the title once, and he’d lose it again before the year was out. Robinson was in for the fight of his life, a fight not only against a new wave of quality competition, but against time…

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One Direction - Moments - Adelaide, September 23, 2013. [Louis couldn’t sing his solo at 1:35]

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Liam Payne complaining about the flies in Adelaide - September 23, 2013.

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Harry and Niall in Adelaide - September 23, 2013.

Skid Row (Downtown) [2004 National Tour Cast]
  • Skid Row (Downtown) [2004 National Tour Cast]
  • LSOH National Tour Cast 2004
  • Little Shop of Horrors [2004 National Tour]
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Skid Row (Downtown) - National Tour Cast 2004 (Anthony Rapp, Tari Kelly, Amina Robinson, Yasmeen Sulieman, LaTonya Holmes, Lenny Wolpe, Michael James Leslie, James Moye, Michael Latini & Paul McGuiness)

Unofficial/Unreleased Audio & Video of Little Shop of Horrors #9

Extracted from 2004 Tour bootleg recording

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Skid Row is my favorite song of all and this is one of my favorite recordings. I love everyone in this. I added Amina Robinson (Crystal)’s line as an intro. Love her solo!

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Rocky Marciano vs. Jersey Joe Walcott I
The Ring Fight of the Year (1952)

September 23, 1952

Rocky Marciano’s rise through boxing’s ranks was as desperately-needed as it was spectacular. After the retirement of Jack Dempsey, an American sports legend boxing had slumped in popularity, only to be revived by the charismatic and dynamic Joe Louis. With Louis’ decline, two men stood at the top of the heavyweight division: Ezzard Charles and Jersey Joe Walcott. Neither of them had Louis’ charm or fistic fireworks (not to disparage either men, who were both great fighters). The heavyweight division needed someone to carry the torch.

On plodding feet, Marciano rose to the challenge, cleaning out the heavyweight division with his hammer-like fists. Rocky stopped the likes of Roland La Starza and a faded Joe Louis on his way to the top, amassing a formidable record of 42-0 with 37 KOs. But still there were those who questioned his abilities. Marciano was wild and often clumsy. Joe Walcott would call his style “amateurish” - and not in the technical sense that we associate with amateur boxing today. Walcott would soon be in a unique position to re-evaluate that, because following Marciano’s second-round knockout of Harry Matthews, Rocky was first in line for a title shot…

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Zayn at the hotel in Adelaide - September 23, 2013.