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Harmonia Time Capsule: 1776

By far the most newsworthy and downright historic events of the year were related to the American Revolution, which included the drafting, writing, and public reading of the Declaration of Independence (from the British Empire), its ratification by most of the American colonies, and serious military conflict between the colonies and Britain.

Among the many events that strengthened the declaration was the renunciation of allegiance to King George III of Great Britain by Rhode Island, the first colony to do so.

In other American news we go to the wild and undeveloped west coast where Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza sited the Presidio of San Francisco. Originally a military center for the Spanish, the presidio remained an active military installation for over two-hundred years when it was handed over to the National Parks Service in 1989 and turned into a preserve for commercial and public use.

In January of 1776, the famous writer E.T.A Hoffman was born in Germany. His two great adult claims to fame were (1) as inspiration for the hero in Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffmann” and (2) as author of “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” from which the ballet The Nutcracker is based.

In France, the distinguished composer François Francoeur retired from his court position as “superintendent of chamber music.” At around 79 years of age, you can imagine that he might have been quite ready for retirement after a long and distinguished career as composer of opera and instrumental music.

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