This Day in History – February 18th

By Jim Turner

In the World

Battle_of_Montereau_coloured narrow

In 1814, Napoleon defeated the Austrians and Württembergers at The Battle of Montereau, one of his greatest victories. The battle site, near the village of Montereau-Fault-Yonne in northern France, will be the future site of Napoleonland, a theme park celebrating the French emperor’s life. Set for completion in 2017, TIME Magazine dubbed it one of the world’s “Top Ten Weirdest Theme Parks.”

In the United States

hucfrontIn 1885, Mark Twain published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It is one of the first books to use the regional vernacular all the way through the book, not just in quotes. At the time, critics panned it because of its coarse language. In recent times the book has been banned because of racial stereotypes and slurs, even though Huck and the whole theme of the book are anti-racist. It continues to be in the news as various school systems either ban it or return it to their libraries.


 In the Southwest

Pluto2In 1930, astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh, working at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, discovered Pluto, once believed to be the ninth planet in our solar system. In August, 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) downgraded Pluto to a “dwarf planet” However, at an IAU debate in September, 2014, two out of three astronomers, plus a majority of the audience, voted to re-instate Pluto as a planet. We believe that the final conclusion is still up in the air.

Jim Turner is an historian, editor, teacher, researcher, and author. He received his masters degree in U.S. history from the University of Arizona and is now an editor for Rio Nuevo Publishers. He writes history articles for various newspapers around the state, and his pictorial history book, “Arizona: Celebrating the Grand Canyon State,” was named  a “Top Pick” for Southwest Books of the Year by the Friends of the Pima County Library. You may reach him at

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