July 16, 622 marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. It is dated from the hejira, when Muhammad and his followers fled from Mecca to Medina, two hundred miles north because of a plan to assassinate him.
Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 A.D. He was an orphan raised by his uncle. At 25, Kjadija, a widow fifteen years older, employed him. The couple later married in a Christian ceremony. Muhammad often prayed in a cave. In 610 A.D., when he was forty, he received a vision commanding him to recite a message, which he proclaimed to be from Allah. The message was later codified into the Qur’an.
Soon Muhammad began to preach against idol worship and proclaimed Allah as the only true God. Many of his followers were ostracised and some fled to Abyssinia while Muhammad stayed in Mecca. In 619, Khadija and Muhammad’s uncle died and anti-Muslim persecution increased. On July 16, 622 Muhammad and his followers fled to Medina.
Muhammad mediated conflicts between Arabs, Jews, and Muslims. He became governor and established two principles of Islam: Islam is the source of temporal and spiritual authority and religion is the source of loyalty among men rather than tribe.
In 630, Muhammad and an army of 10,000 men conquered Mecca. Muhammad demanded loyalty from every citizen and removed idols from the city. Polytheism was forbidden, though he allowed “people of the book” – Jews and Christians – to continue worshiping. Muhammad died two years later. He had at least thirteen wives. A dispute arose about his successor. Some chose Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin, who are called Shi’ites, and others who followed Abu Bakr – Muhammad’s father-in-law, father of his wife Aisha – the was selected by the majority, who became Sunni.
In 639, Caliph Umar I created a lunar calendar which began on July 16, 622. The years were numbered A.H. for the Latin Anno Hegirae, “in the year of the Hegira.” A little a millenium later, the Ottomans shifted from a lunar to a solar cycle, creating a second Hegira calendar with different dates.
The following equation is used to roughly convert between Islamic calendar year (AH) and its Gregorian (AD) equivalent:
AD = 622 + (32/33 x AH)
AH = 33/32 x (AD – 622)
Historians generally agree that paper money first appeared in ninth–century China. In Europe, the first paper money was issued by Johan Palmstruch, founder of Stockholms Banco, Sweden’s first bank, on July 16, 1661.
In 1660, the government began to mint new coins, which were lighter. Many citizens wanted their older coins back, because they had higher metal value, leading to a run on the bank. To prevent this, Palmstruch began issuing deposit certificates, called credit notes (Kreditivsedlar), giving the owner the right to withdraw the deposited amount in coins. This meant that the bank no longer relied on having money to lend, but could use the certificates as loans, paying the value of the note in coins on demands.
The banknotes became popular for their convenience and the bank printed more notes. But this led to inflation – the notes decreased in value – and the public lost confidence. They demanded that their notes be redeemed but the bank did not have enough coins, so the bank closed and many customers had financial difficulties.
In 1664, the government, called Council of the Realm, decided that the loans would be repaid and the credit notes would be withdrawn. Palmstruch was summoned before the Svea Court of Appeal and was sentenced to death for mismanaging bank in 1668. He was reprieved but remained in prison until 1670 and died 1671.
On July 16, 1935, the world’s first parking meter, known as Park-O-Meter No. 1, was installed on the southeast corner of what was then First Street and Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Carlton Cole “Carl” Magee, thought of the idea in 1932 to solve parking congestion. He had been a reporter for an Albuquerque newspaper and exposed the Teapot Dome Scandal and testified against Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall. Magee who was later arrested but acquitted for manslaughter in an altercation with a New Mexico judge. After quitting the Albuquerque newspaper, Magee came to Oklahoma City to start a newspaper, the Oklahoma News.
Like most major American cities in the 1920s and 1930s, Oklahoma City suffered from traffic congestion and lack of parking. By 1913, there were around three thousand cars in Oklahoma, which had climbed to five hundred thousand by 1930. Parking was especially difficult for retail customers as downtown workers took up the spaces all day. The city attempted to solve the problem by imposing time limits, with police chalking tires and issuing tickets on their hourly rounds. But the problem grew so bad, the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce began to look into it, appointing Magee as the chair of the Traffic Committee.
Magree invented a small, cheap, mechanical device that could be wound to time each parking space. He filed a patent on December 21, 1932. To refine his invention, he collaborated with the Oklahoma State University Engineering Department. They sponsored a design competition, which ran from February 17 to May 6, 1933, offering $160 for the winner and $240 for a working model. Several students built models, but none were accepted. Professor H. G. Thuesen soon joined the projected, and with help from Gerald A. Hale, a former engineering student and 1927 OSU graduate, created a new model called “Black Maria.” By the end of the year, McGee, Thuesen, and Hale were looking for a manufacturer.
On July 16, 1935, 175 meters were installed and tested on fourteen blocks throughout the city. This proved successful and there were soon meters all over downtown. The parking meter not only solved the city’s parking problem, but generated revenue, and increased the value of downtown commercial property. The first parking meter that Magee’s company made, was donated to the Oklahoma Historical Society in 1937. The patent was granted on May 24, 1938.
Thirty years later, parking meters were a central plot in Paul Newman’s 1967 film Cool Hand Luke in which Newman’s character Luke Jackson, was sent to a chain gang for drunkenly cutting the tops off several parking meters.