Today in World History: August 8th

Mont Blanc, on the border of France and Italy, was first climbed on this day in 1786. The tallest mountain in the Alps and in Europe outside of the Caucasus range of Eastern Europe, its ownership would fall in debate, as the mountain, which during the time of the climb belonged to the Duchy of Savoy, who eventually tried to join the Italian Unification. During the French Revolution, a French army conquered Mont Blanc, along with the area surrounding, including the coastal city of Nice. When Napoleon was defeated, the Treaty of Vienna saw the reinstitution of Savoy, restoring their control over Mont Blanc. When Savoy joined Italy again, the French and Italians reached an agreement, where control over Mont Blanc was divided between the two. Now, Mont Blanc is seperated between the two, though most of control lies in the French town of Saint Gervais-les-Bains. Both Michael-Gabriel Paccard and Jaques Balmat, who reached the summit first, survived, and to this day, Mont Blanc is a climbing destination and major route of transportation in the Alps. However, Mont Blanc is one of the deadliest mountains in Europe, mostly due to the commercialization of the mountain, choosing money over safety.


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