Wednesday’s History: September 23
A planet is discovered, explorers return, a hurricane hits Haiti and an author marries a teenager, from history.com.
In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson sent Meriwether Lewis and Army Captain William Clark with 28 men and Sacagawea, a Native American, to explore the Northwest before purchasing it from France.
They traveled the Missouri River into the Dakotas and, after the winter, into Montana. Sacagawea's tribe, the Shoshone Indians, met the explorers after the Continental Divide with horses to sell. They passed through rapids of the Columbia River into the Pacific Ocean and became the first Europeans to do so. After the winter, they made their way back to St. Louis. The expedition took two and a half years.
French astronomer Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier found a new planet (later to become known as Neptune) while studying the motions of Uranus.
Le Verrier informed German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle in 1846. At the Berlin Observatory, Galle and his assistant, Heinrich Louis d'Arrest, observed and confirmed the planet.
With eight moons and three rings, this blue gas giant was named after the Roman god of the sea and its diameter is four times larger than Earth. It takes 165 years for Neptune to complete its orbit around the sun. Spacecraft Voyager 2 visited Neptune in 1989.
Inheriting a large estate, young and orphaned Count Leo Tolstoy was raised by relatives. He went off to college, quit, and joined the army to fight in the Crimean War. In 1855 he wrote of his experiences.
Two years later, Tolstoy became interested in education and opened his estate to educate peasant children. At 34, he married 17-year-old Sophie Andreyevan Behrs in 1862 on this date. They had 13 children in 17 years. He published The Cossacks in 1863.
In a spiritual struggle, Tolstoy wrote War and Peace (1865-69) and in 1875-77 Anna Karenina. His wife gained control of the all the copyrights. Becoming increasing radical, in 1910 he fled home with his youngest daughter and died a few days later of pneumonia.
In 2004, forming on the coast of Africa, Category 2 Hurricane Jeanne hit Haiti just days after Hurricane Ivan. With heavy rain and gusty winds, flash floods carried away hundreds of people. Hurricane Jeanne killed 3,000 and thousands were left homeless.
The storm moved to the Bahamas and then to the Florida coast, where three people died. Florida had been hit previously by Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan.