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9 Important Events That Happened in 1902

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22 August

Today is 1902 Theodore Roosevelt became the first American president to ride an automobile.

Cute and cuddly Teddybears


1. The teddy bear

  • The year 1902 was an all-important year from the perspective of a child – the first teddy bear was born. The teddy bear has important connections, it got its name from none other than Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, the 26th President of the USA.
  • It was however not only children who delighted in having their very own teddy bears, even adults loved to receive one as a gift and as a symbol of appreciation or love. The person who was to bring sparkle to children the world over and who received the credit for the creation of this favourite soft toy was Morris Michtom, the American soft toymaker.

How to make a teddy bear

2. Real Madrid

  • On 6 March 1902, Real Madrid, the professional football club, came into being. The Royal Madrid Football Club has its home in Madrid, Spain and football fans might know that the Spanish word “real” means “royal” in English - this explains the presence of the crown in their emblem. They did however not choose the word royal of their own accord but was awarded this by King Alfonse XIII.
  • The club is rich; one of the richest in the world and it follows that they can attract the best players who in turn also receive some of the best earnings in world football. They have a large following in Spain as well as in Europe where they tend to dominate the football scene. Many famous players were members of this club, one being David Beckham.

3. The Carnegie Institution

Andrew Carnegie was a well-known American industrialist and philanthropist who made his money in the steel industry by first building the Carnegie Steel Company and then by selling it to J.P. Morgan. The result was the U. S. Steel Corporation. When he retired in 1901 at the age of 66, he turned his mind to helping others. During the January of 1902, he founded the Carnegie Institution for scientific research by giving them a sizable donation.

  • Carnegie had a motto that was threefold:
  • 1.To spend the first third of one's life getting all the education one can.
  • 2. To spend the next third making all the money one can.
  • 3. To spend the last third giving it all away for worthwhile causes.

Have a look at the work that they do at the Carnegie Institution


4. The mobile phone, well sort of

  • It is strange to think that a person can actually die from starvation, but that is exactly what happened to Nathan Stubblefield. During his lifetime though he was involved with and credited for research into wireless telephony. It was during 1902 that he demonstrated his device for the first time.

5. The wild, wild West

  • Maybe in the 1900’s the Wild West was not so wild any more. Even so, certain members still managed to be newsworthy and one such a person was Kid Curry Logan. He was a member of the Cassidy’s Wild Bunch, in fact he was second in command, so not be sneered at. On 30 November of that year, Logan received a 20-year sentence, doing hard labour.
  • His full name was Harvey Alexander Logan and he was born in 1967. Although he was not as well-known as many other outlaws of his time, he did earn the reference as the “wildest of the Wild Bunch”. This he managed to do by killing at least 11 people, nine of them being law enforcement men.
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6. The Aswan Dam completed

  • On 10 December 1902, the Aswan Dam in the Nile River was completed; or rather the Old Aswan Dam was completed. This is not to be confused with the Aswan Dam as we know it today; the one completed in 1902 was a masonry dam and was constructed at the first cataract of the river.
  • This was the first dam of its size ever and as such was the biggest masonry dam world-wide. The height of the dam was determined by conservation issues but had to be raised twice since 1902. It just did not hold enough water, and then in 1960, construction of the current Aswan Dam was started.

7. The Boer War ends

  • On 31 May 1902 the Boer war ended. This war between Britain on the one hand, and the Orange Free State and the South African Republic on the other hand, started on 11 October 1899 and ended on that day in 1902 when the Treaty of Vereniging was signed. The British has offered peace terms to the Boers before but it has not been accepted by the Boers.
  • In 1910 all the colonies of South Africa were united and the Union of South Africa was formed, governed by the British Empire. The people of South Africa had to wait until 31 May 1961 to become an independent republic again.

8. The eruption of Mount Pelée

  • Martinique is an island in the French Caribbean. The volcano on the island, Mount Pelée, gave advance warning that it could erupt but this was not taken seriously. In the days leading up to event, numerous tremors and explosions occurred in and around the vicinity of the volcano. Still, no one acted; an election was being planned and that received the full attention of the government. The latter even prevented the towns people from leaving when conditions worsened.
  • Then on the morning of 8 May 1902 the volcano erupted and the village of St. Pierre was completely demolished in the wink of an eye. 29,000 perished on that day and only two people survived.

9. King Edward VII, the new King of all England

  • King Edward VII was crowned King on 9 August 1902. His parents were Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and he was their oldest boy child albeit their second child; Princess Victoria being the first. He married Princess Alexandra of Denmark.
  • Queen Victoria blamed Edward for the death of her husband, Prince Albert, and she has worn black for the rest of her life.

Births and deaths

  • 27 February saw the birth of John Steinbeck, the famous American author. He was not very successful at college; after having tried it for six years, and eventually dropped out before completion. He had to try his hand at several jobs before eventually gaining success as a writer.
  • Steinbeck already knew at the age of 14 that he wanted to be a writer and his efforts were rewarded when he received the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for “The Grapes of Wrath” in 1940. He also won a National Book Award for this novel. Another well-known novel of Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” was published in 1937.
  • Cecil John Rhodes and Levi Strauss, of the Levi jeans fame, both died in 1902.


Esmé (author) from South Africa on August 17, 2015:

Thanks for the comment!

Keep well there.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on August 17, 2015:

Excellent post that brings the past alive

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