This Day In History October 17 – The History of Liberty – 539 BC Cyrus the Great captures Babylon releasing the Jews from 70 years of exile, 1777 the Battle of Saratoga British John Burgoyne surrenders his army to the Americans a turning point in the American Revolution, and 1781 British Gen. Cornwallis surrenders to the Americans at the Siege of Yorktown, effectively ending the American Revolution.
539 BC – Cyrus the Great marches into the city of Babylon, releasing the Jews from almost 70 years of exile. Cyrus allows the Jews to return to Yehud Medinata and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
Cyrus II of Persia (Old Persian: KUURUUSHA Kūruš; New Persian: کوروش بزرگ ; c. 600 or 576 – 530), commonly known as Cyrus the Great and also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia and the Caucasus. From the Mediterranean Sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen.
Cyrus the Great respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered. It is said that in universal history, the role of the Achaemenid Empire founded by Cyrus lies in its very successful model for centralized administration and establishing a government working to the advantage and profit of its subjects. In fact, the administration of the empire through satraps and the vital principle of forming a government at Pasargadae were the works of Cyrus. What is sometimes referred to as the Edict of Restoration (actually two edicts) described in the Bible as being made by Cyrus the Great left a lasting legacy on the Jewish religion where because of his policies in Babylonia, he is referred to by the Jewish Bible as Messiah (Isaiah 44:24, 26–45:3, 13) and is the only non-Jew to be called so.
Cyrus the Great is also well recognized for his achievements in human rights, politics, and military strategy, as well as his influence on both Eastern and Western civilizations. Having originated from Persis, roughly corresponding to the modern Iranian province of Fars, Cyrus has played a crucial role in defining the national identity of modern Iran.
1777 – American Revolutionary War: British General John Burgoyne surrenders his army at Saratoga, New York.
The Saratoga Campaign in 1777 was an attempt by the British high command for North America to gain military control of the strategically important Hudson River valley during the American Revolutionary War. It ended in the surrender of the British army, which historian Edmund Morgan argues, “was a great turning point of the war, because it won for Americans the foreign assistance which was the last element needed for victory.
The primary thrust of the campaign was planned and initiated by General John Burgoyne. Commanding a main force of some 8,000 men, he moved south in June from Quebec, boated up Lake Champlain to middle New York, then marched over the divide and down the Hudson Valley to Saratoga. He initially skirmished there with the Patriot defenders with mixed results. Then, after losses in the Battles of Saratoga in September and October, his deteriorating position and ever increasing size of the American army obliged him to surrender his forces to the American General Horatio Gates on October 17.
Efforts to support Burgoyne were unsuccessful. Colonel Barry St. Leger attempted to move on Albany, New York east through the Mohawk River valley, but was forced to retreat during the siege of Fort Stanwix after losing Indian support and a successful ruse by Benedict Arnold. The planned expedition from the south in the summer never materialized (apparently due to miscommunication on that year’s campaign goals) when General William Howe sent his army to take Philadelphia rather than sending a portion of it up the Hudson River from New York City. A late effort to support Burgoyne from New York was made by Sir Henry Clinton in early October, but it did not significantly affect the outcome.
The American victory was an enormous morale boost to the fledgling nation, and it convinced France to enter the conflict in support of the United States, openly providing money, soldiers, and naval support, as well as a worldwide theater of war. Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saratoga_campaign
1781 – American Revolutionary War: British General Lord Charles Cornwallis surrenders in the field at the Siege of Yorktown.
The Siege of Yorktown, Battle of Yorktown, Surrender at Yorktown or German Battle, the latter officially taking place on October 19, 1781 at Yorktown, Virginia, was a decisive victory by a combined force of American Continental Army troops led by General George Washington and French Army troops led by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British Army commanded by British lord and Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis. The culmination of the Yorktown campaign, the siege proved to be the last major land battle of the American Revolutionary War, as the surrender by Cornwallis, and the capture of both him and his army, prompted the British government to negotiate an end to the conflict. The battle boosted faltering American morale and revived French enthusiasm for the war, as well as undermining popular support for the conflict in Britain. Read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Yorktown