Tuesday, March 3, 2009

On March 3

On this day in ...
... 1938, amid "an arid landscape marked only by the occasional palm-fringed oasis," an event occurred that Time rightly has called a world-changer: at well No. 7 (left), drillers "plumbed to a depth of 4,727 ft. and finally hit what would turn out to be the largest supply of crude oil in the world." (photo credit) Time wrote that the local ruler, Saudi Arabia's King Ibn Saud, who'd hoped the drillers from Standard Oil of California "would find water" with which "he could refresh his warriors' horses and camels,"

did not appear to appreciate the news fully at first. It was an entire year after the discovery when he and his retinue arrived in a caravan of 400 automobiles at the pumping station of Ras Tanura to witness the first tanker hauling away its cargo of Saudi crude. Henceforth the King would no longer rely for income on the pilgrims arriving in Mecca, Islam's holiest city. And his kingdom's petroleum wealth would emerge as a crucial factor in Middle East politics and the bargaining over global energy supplies.

... 1918, the newly installed Soviet regime in Russia ended its participation in World War I by signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany and Austria (right). The separate agreement was adopted without the consent of the Allied Powers, on whose side Russia had been fighting. By this treaty Russia gave up much: it

recognized the independence of Ukraine and Georgia; confirmed the independence of Finland; gave up Poland, the Baltic states, and part of what is now Belarus to Germany and Austria-Hungary; and ceded Kars, Ardahan, and Batum to the Ottomans.
(Prior March 3 posts are here and here.)

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