This Day in History

Last Recorded Eruption of Mount Fuji Begins (1707)
Majestic Mount Fuji, located about 60 mi (100 km) from Tokyo, is the tallest mountain in Japan. The beauty of the snowcapped symmetrical cone, ringed by lakes and virgin forests, has inspired Japanese poets and painters throughout the centuries. Though the volcano is classified as active, its last major eruption began on December 16, 1707, and ended in early 1708. As a sacred mountain, Mount Fuji is a traditional pilgrimage site, but the Aokigahara forest at its base is a popular site for what? Discuss

Billionaire's Grandson Found Alive—But Maimed—after Kidnapping (1973)
In 1973, 16-year-old John Paul Getty III—grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty—was kidnapped in Rome. His family initially dismissed a $17-million ransom demand as a joke by the rebellious teen, but a second note convinced his father to ask J. Paul to pay it. He refused. The frustrated kidnappers then cut off John's ear and sent it along with a note saying he would "arrive in little pieces" if their demands were not met. At this, the elder Getty relented, paying over $2 million on what condition?

USSR Expelled from the League of Nations (1939)
The League of Nations was an international confederation of countries created after World War I and disbanded following World War II when many of its functions were transferred to the United Nations. The League collapsed when faced with threats to international peace from all sides in the 1930s, including the Spanish civil war, Japan's resumption of war against China, and the appeasement of Adolf Hitler at Munich. Its last important act was to expel the Soviet Union in 1939 for doing what?

Today

Margaret Mead (1901)
A prolific writer and avid speaker, anthropologist Margaret Mead was instrumental in popularizing the anthropological concept of culture in the US. Though many later anthropologists have questioned both the accuracy of her observations and the soundness of her conclusions, she remains highly regarded for her many contributions to the field. Over the course of her career, Mead made numerous field trips to observe the peoples of Oceania. What honor was awarded to her posthumously? Discuss

Ludwig Lazarus "L. L." Zamenhof (1859)
Born and raised in Bialystok, a city on the Polish-Russian border populated by Poles, Germans, and Belarusians, Zamenhof was profoundly affected by the ethnic conflict he witnessed all around him. In his estimation, the primary cause of such conflict was mutual misunderstanding. Thus, he reasoned, removing communication barriers would foster peace. To this end, the young doctor and linguist devoted himself to developing an international language called "Esperanto," which means what?

George VI, King of Great Britain and Ireland (1895)
The subject of the Academy Award-winning 2010 film The King's Speech, George VI became king of the United Kingdom following the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII. George was an important symbolic leader of the British people during World War II, supporting the wartime leadership of Winston Churchill and visiting armies on the battlefield. He earned the respect of his people by scrupulously observing the responsibilities of a constitutional monarch and by overcoming what disability?