June is the sixth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It has 30 days. Like many months of the year, the name June has ancient Roman origins, coming from the Latin word ‘Junis’. It’s believed that junis comes from the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno.
On the 20th of June each year is the solar event we know as the solstice. In the Northern hemisphere, it is the summer solstice where the Earth’s axis has reached its maximum tilt towards the sun and the longest day is experienced, while in the southern hemisphere it is the opposite – the Earth’s axis has reached its maximum tilt away from the sun and signifies the winter solstice and the longest night of the year. Astronomically, there are three meteor showers to be enjoyed, namely the Arietids, the Beta Taurids, June Bootids. You’ll also be able to see the constellations of Taurus and Gemini.
In religion, there are a number of observances across the world’s major religions. In Christianity and Catholicism, specifically, June is known as the Month of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is believed that Jesus ascended to heaven after his crucifixion in June, marked by Ascension Day, Pentecost is observed, well as Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi. For Muslims, Laylat al Kadr takes place (2019) and is believed to be the time when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the prophet Muhammad. For Jews, Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks can sometimes take place in June as it falls on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan.
In history, some significant events that took place. British history dates back to the 11th century, in which, in 1042, Edward the Confessor acceded the throne of England. It was significant because his death just two decades later would set in motion a succession crisis that would see the Norman William the Conqueror invade and end the Anglo-Saxon rule. Changes to power and monarchy occurred again in the 13th century when King John was forced by his barons to sign the Magna Carta in June 1215 in order to avoid further war. The Magna Carta was significant because it placed restrictions on the power and rule of monarchs moving forward. The Magna Carta would become important again in the 17th century when, in June 1645, King Charles I suffered a defeat against Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell and his supporters were Parliamentarians who had grown frustrated with the personal (and arbitrary) rule of Charles I and wanted systemic change so that Parliament had more say in the ruling of the nation.
Also in the 17th century, London’s Globe Theatre, made famous by Shakespeare, caught fire in 1613 and was totally destroyed after a theatrical cannon fired to announce the king’s entrance in Henry V set the roof on fire. Years later, London would be devastated by the Great Fire of London in 1666. An architectural wonder to emerge from the ashes was Christopher Wren’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. The first stone of its construction was laid in June 1675.
Moving into the 20th century, during WWI, the British royal family changed its surname from the German Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor in 1917 in order to sever all ties with the nation it was at war with. In a few decades, Queen Elizabeth, a Windsor, would be crowned Queen of Great Britain in June 1953.
A significant event to take place in the 20th century and involving many nations, was the WWII event of D-Day. The D-Day invasion took place on 6 June 1944 in which 1,5 million Allied troops stormed Normandy to liberate Western Europe from German occupation. The operation was a success for the Allied Forces, but the cost was heavy – amounting to well over 20 000 casualties.
Looking at American history of struggle, activist and suffragette Susan B. Anthony was fined in June 1872 for voting in a presidential election. While African-American men had been granted the right to vote through the ratification fo the 15th Amendment, women were yet to achieve this right, which would only happen in 1920. A significant figure of the Civil Rights Movement also died in June, 1963: Medgar Evers, who was influential in seeking integration of schools and voter registration in the South, was assassinated. His death caused widespread public outrage and pushed forward the need for a comprehensive Civil Rights law.
Notable figures born in June include: Brigham Young (1801), Marilyn Monroe (1926), Jefferson Davis (1808), King George III (1738), Nathan Hale (1755), Frank Lloyd Wright (1867), George Bush Sr. (1924), Anne Frank (1929), Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811), George Orwell (1903).