William Howard Taft, the only US President to have previously served as Chief Justice, was inaugurated in 1909. He and his government were well-known for their extensive use of so-called “money diplomacy.” The world was a much smaller place at the turn of the twentieth century, with a population of only 1.7 billion people. Many things we now take for granted were born during these 365 days: communist paranoia, middle schools, instant coffee, anti-drug taskforces, credit unions, and pedestrian-clogged subway lines.
Clyde Barrow, Joseph McCarthy, the founder of McCarthyism, and Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, were all born in 1909. The world also saw the deaths of Edwin Land, the inventor of instant photography, Apache Chief Geronimo, Japanese Prime Minister Ito Horiboemi, and King Leopold II of Belgium.
The names Mary and John were popular choices for new parents in 1909. Consider a period when the majority of films were monochrome masterpieces like Carmen, Andreas Hofer, and The Life of Moses.
The bookworms of the world were immersed in The Road to Oz, Martin Eden, and Three Lives, away from the silver screen.
In 1909, the world altered dramatically. Let’s start with a look at some of the year’s major firsts. The first radio-assisted rescue at sea, the first federal legislation prohibiting the use of narcotics, the first junior high school, the first woman to drive cross-country, and the test of the world’s first army jet are among them. These twelve months also saw the introduction of instant coffee, which is perfect for anyone who can’t function without a nice hot cup of joe.
After these twelve months, the world became a much bigger place as well. Shackleton, a Polish explorer, set a global record for travelling further south than any other human being. In addition, Robert Peary became the first person to reach the North Pole, and the first cement put at the Panama Canal signalled the beginning of simpler travel between the Eastern and Western hemispheres. While relations between Nicaragua and the United States deteriorated following an invasion, Japan attempted to improve relations by presenting the United States with the first of its notorious cherry trees.
Continue reading to learn what made 1909 such a pivotal year in human history.
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