In the field of history, big one-off events are sometimes seen as high watermarks for important movements, or big bursts that have changed perceptions of affairs in their time and affected subsequent events. It’s up to academics to further the discourse on the relevance of events like these, but we’ve picked a list of some important ones you probably should read up on.
The Boston Tea Party
In December 1773, protesters stormed cargo ships in the boston harbor to throw a shipment of tea overboard. This not exactly festive event was triggered by the granting of unfair access to the tea market to the East India Co. A deeper cause was the American Settlers’ lack of representation in the British parliament, which ruled over them.
The Burntollet Bridge Incident
A march arranged by the People’s Democracy movement of Northern Ireland was attacked by Protestant activists at the Burntollet Bridge in 1969. The attack wasn’t stopped by onlooking Police forces.
This is largely seen as setting set the stage for The Troubles, a period in Northern Ireland’s history labeled by a civil rights movement escalating into violence over the Catholic minorities frustration over lacking human rights. Back then, Catholics in Northern Ireland faced astounding levels of discrimination in housing, employment and the electoral system.
The Kronstadt rebellion
In 1921, a few years after the Russian Revolution, gangs of Russian army sailors made demands for democratic reforms based on disillusionment with the Communist regime’s failings. When their demands were refused, the sailors set up camp, a “commune” on the Kotlin island in the easternmost part of the Gulf of Finland. The incident culminated in the Red Army being sent in to brutally overrun the commune, leading to the death of more then 10,000 people.
The incident was seen by some as an eye opener about the nature of the Soviet Union.
The Storming of the Bastille
Seen as a the defining moment of the French Revolution, which lasted more than ten years until the rise of Napoleon, July 14, 1789 was the date when Parisians stormed the infamous Bastille prison and beheaded its manager.
The French revolution is seen as the product of Enlightened ideals and it spread megatrends like secularism, anti-feudal tendencies and the metric system around the world.
The August 1963 Civil Rights March in D.C.
Not all defining moments need to be violent. Under a glaring August sun, Martin Luthier King and other Civil Rights leader attracted a huge Washington D.C. crowd, which marched to the Lincoln memorial and held speeches about ending racial discrimination for hours on end. The event, known for Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech”, was preceded by Movement leaders meeting with president Kennedy and memebers of Congress is what is seen by many as a big selling point for the Civil Rights Act, which was passed the following year.