What happened on your birthday?

more events on December 9

  • 2008

    Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich is arrested on federal charges, including an attempt to sell the US Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

  • 2007

    German Bundestag passes controversial bill mandating storage of citizens’ telecommunications traffic date for six months without probable cause.

  • Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, unveils the first iPhone.

  • 2006

    North Korea reportedly tests its first nuclear device.

  • 2005

    The Comprehensive Peace Agreement to end the Second Sudanese Civil War is signed by the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.

  • Mahmoud Abbas wins election to replace Yasser Arafat as President of the Palestinian National Authority.

  • 2001

    A car bomb explodes outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, killing 10 people.

  • Two al Qaeda assassins kill Ahmad Shah Massoud, leader of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.

  • 1999

    Last flight of the Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” stealth reconnaissance aircraft.

  • The Diet of Japan establishes the country’s official national flag, the Hinomaru, and national anthem, “Kimi Ga Yo.”.

  • Russian president Boris Yeltsin fires his prime minister and, for the fourth time, fires the entire cabinet.

  • 1998

    Largest civil settlement in US history: 37 brokerage houses are ordered to pay $1.3 billion to NASDAQ investors to compensate for price fixing.

  • 1996

    A raid by Chechen separatists in the city of Kizlyar turns into a hostage crisis involving thousands of civilians.

  • 1994

    The chemical element Darmstadtium, a radioactive synthetic element, discovered by scientists in Darmstadt, Germany.

  • Nelson Mandela becomes the first black president of South Africa.

  • 1993

    Stari Most, a 427-year-old bridge in the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is destroyed, believed to be caused by artillery fire from Bosnian Croat forces.

  • The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) officially recognizes Israel as a legitimate state.

  • 1992

    U.S. Marines land in Somalia to ensure food and medicine reaches the deprived areas of that country.

  • Twenty-fifth Olympic Summer Games closes in Barcelona, Spain.

  • The Assembly of the Serb People in Bosnia and Herzegovina proclaims the creation of a new state within Yugoslavia, the Rupublika Srpska.

  • 1991

    Tajikistan declares independence from USSR.

  • 1990

    Lech Walesa is elected president of Poland.

  • Sri Lankan Army massacres 184 civilians of the Tamil minority in the Batticaloa District of Sri Lanka.

  • 1989

    The Berlin Wall is opened after dividing the city for 28 years.

  • 1988

    Jo Woodcock, actress (The Picture of Dorian Gray, Torn TV miniseries).

  • 1986

    NASA publishes a report on the Challenger accident.

  • Navy divers find the crew compartment of the space shuttle Challenger along with the remains of the astronauts.

  • 1983

    Alfred Heineken, beer brewer from Amsterdam, is kidnapped and held for a ransom of more than $10 million.

  • The president of South Korea, Doo Hwan Chun, with his cabinet and other top officials are scheduled to lay a wreath on a monument in Rangoon, Burma, when a bomb explodes. Hwan had not yet arrived so escaped injury, but 17 Koreans–including the deputy prime minister and two other cabinet members–and two Burmese are killed. North Korea is blamed.

  • Ashley Johnson, film (The Help) and TV actress (Growing Pains), video game voice-overs (The Last of Us).

  • 1982

    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (Catherine Elizabeth “Kate” Middleton); wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Upon William’s assumption of the British throne, the Duchess would become queen consort.

  • 1980

    Michelle Williams, Golden Globe–winning actress (My Week with Marilyn).

  • 1979

    Chris O’Dowd, comedian, actor (The IT Crowd and Family Tree TV series, Bridesmaids).

  • England’s first major nude beach established, at the seaside resort of Brighton.

  • 1978

    Canada expels 11 Soviets in spying case.

  • 1976

    Communist Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung dies in Beijing at age 82.

  • 1975

    Michael Buble, multiple Grammy and Juno award–winning singer, songwriter, actor (Crazy Love, It’s Time).

  • First NFL game in Louisiana Superdome; Houston Oilers defeat New Orleans Saints 13-7.

  • Iraq launches an offensive against the rebellious Kurds.

  • 1974

    Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, writer, radio host; prominent figure in Modern Orthodox Judaism.

  • Gerald Ford is sworn in as president of the United States after the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

  • The House Judiciary Committee begins formal hearings on Nixon impeachment.

  • Cambodian Government troops open a drive to avert insurgent attack on Phnom Penh.

  • 1972

    Bones discovered by the Leakeys push human origins back 1 million years.

  • American advisor John Paul Vann is killed in a helicopter accident in Vietnam.

  • 1971

    Attica Prison Riot; the 4-day riot leaves 39 dead.

  • Le Roy (Satchel) Paige inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame.

  • The United States turns over complete responsibility of the Demilitarized Zone to South Vietnamese units.

  • 1970

    U.S. Marines launch Operation Dubois Square, a 10-day search for North Vietnamese troops near Da Nang.

  • Chris Cuomo, TV journalist and anchor.

  • Paul McCartney announces the official break-up of the Beatles.

  • 1969

    Canada’s Official Languages Act takes effect, making French equal to English as a language within the nation’s government.

  • Charles Manson’s followers kill actress Sharon Tate and her three guests in her Beverly Hills home.

  • 1968

    Gillian Anderson, film and TV actress (The X-Files).

  • Murdered civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., is buried.

  • General William Westmoreland asks for 206,000 more troops in Vietnam.

  • 1967

    NASA launches Apollo 4 into orbit with the first successful test of a Saturn V rocket.

  • Svetlana Alliluyeva, Josef Stalin‘s daughter defects to the United States.

  • Dave Matthews, singer, songwriter, guitarist, actor; leader of Dave Matthews Band and Dave Matthews & Friends.

  • 1966

    Adam Sandler, actor, comedian, screenwriter, film producer (Saturday Night Live, Happy Gilmore).

  • The statue of Winston Churchill is dedicated at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.

  • 1965

    Nine Northeastern states and parts of Canada go dark in the worst power failure in history, when a switch at a station near Niagara Falls fails.

  • Roger Allen LaPorte, a 22-year-old former seminarian and a member of the Catholic worker movement, immolates himself at the United Nations in New York City in protest of the Vietnam War.

  • Hurricane Betsy, the first hurricane to exceed $1 billion in damages (unadjusted), makes its second landfall, near New Orleans.

  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development established.

  • Singapore expelled from Malaysia following economic disagreements and racial tensions; becomes independent republic.

  • 1964

    Hoda Kotb, Daytime Emmy-winning TV news anchor and host.

  • The first Ford Mustang rolls off the Ford assembly line.

  • The U.S. embassy in Moscow is stoned by Chinese and Vietnamese students.

  • U.S. forces kill six Panamanian students protesting in the canal zone.

  • 1963

    Masako, Crown Princes of Japan, wife of Crown Prince Naruhito, heir apparent to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

  • Whitney Houston, model, singer (“Saving All My Love for You”), actress (The Bodyguard); listed in 2009 Guinness World Records as most awarded female act of all time.

  • Winston Churchill becomes the first honorary U.S. citizen.

  • Michael Everson, American and Irish linguist; a leading expert in the computer encoding of scripts.

  • 1962

    A laser beam is successfully bounced off the moon for the first time.

  • 1961

    Amy Stiller, stand-up comedian, film and TV actress (Little Fokkers, The King of Queens).

  • 1960

    The Laos government flees to Cambodia as the capital city of Vientiane is engulfed in war.

  • Hugh Grant, actor, film producer; awards include Golden Globe (Four Weddings and a Funeral) and London Critics Circle’s British Actor of the Year (About a Boy)

  • 1959

    The first ballistic missile-carrying submarine, the USS George Washington, is launched.

  • The Barbie doll is unveiled at a toy fair in New York City.

  • 1958

    Amanda Bearse, film and TV actress (Married with Children).

  • 1957

    Melanie Griffith, film and TV actress (Working Girl, Milk Money).

  • Egyptian leader Nasser bars U.N. plans to share the tolls for the use of the Suez Canal.

  • 1956

    Elvis Presley makes his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show; cameras focus on his upper torso and legs to avoid showing his pelvis gyrations, which many Americans—including Ed Sullivan—thought unfit for a family show.

  • British authorities arrest and deport Archbishop Makarios from Cyprus. He is accused of supporting terrorists.

  • 1955

    Sugar Ray Robinson knocks out Carl Olson to regain the world middleweight boxing title.

  • 1954

    At the Army-McCarthy hearings, attorney Joseph Welch asks Senator Joseph McCarthy “Have you no sense of decency?”

  • 1953

    John Malkovich, actor (Places in the Heart), producer (Juno), director, fashion designer.

  • The French destroy six Viet Minh war factories hidden in the jungles of Vietnam.

  • 1952

    Jackie Robinson becomes the highest paid player in Brooklyn Dodger history.

  • 1951

    After several unsuccessful attacks on French colonial troops, North Vietnam’s General Vo Nguyen Giap orders Viet Minh to withdraw from the Red River Delta.

  • Actress Greta Garbo gets U.S. citizenship.

  • 1950

    Harry Gold gets 30 years imprisonment for passing atomic bomb secrets to the Soviet Union during World War II.

  • President Harry Truman bans U.S. exports to Communist China.

  • U.N. forces, led by the First Cavalry Division, cross the 38th parallel in South Korea and begin attacking northward towards the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

  • Comedian Bob Hope makes his first television appearance.

  • 1949

    The United Nations takes trusteeship over Jerusalem.

  • Harvard Law School begins admitting women.

  • Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesian general, 6th president of Indonesia.

  • Joe Theismann, American football player, sports announcer; member of College Football Hall of Fame; winning quarterback, Super Bowl XVII.

  • 1948

    The United States abandons a plan to de-concentrate industry in Japan.

  • Jackson Browne, singer, songwriter, musician, producer; member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (“Running on Empty,” “Take It Easy”).

  • Kim Il-sung declares the establishment of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

  • 1947

    Keri Hulme, New Zealand novelist (The Bone People).

  • French General Leclerc breaks off all talks with Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh.

  • 1946

    Eugene O’Neill’s play The Iceman Cometh opens at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York.

  • King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy abdicates his throne and is replaced by Umberto I.

  • Stalin announces the new five-year plan for the Soviet Union, calling for production boosts of 50 percent.

  • 1945

    Rosemary Elizabeth “Posy” Simmonds, award-winning British newspaper cartoonist (The Silent Three, Gemma Bovery, Tamara Drewe) and author / illustrator of children’s books (Fred, The Chocolate Wedding).

  • Ken Norton, heavyweight boxing champ.

  • The B-29 bomber Bock’s Car drops a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.

  • Japanese Premier Kantaro Suzuki declares that Japan will fight to the last rather than accept unconditional surrender.

  • The Red Army is repulsed at the Seelow Heights on the outskirts of Berlin.

  • U.S. troops land on Luzon, in the Philippines, 107 miles from Manila.

  • 1944

    Fictional character Smokey Bear (“Only you can prevent forest fires”) created by US Forest Service and the Ad Council.

  • Alice Walker, Pulitzer prize winning author (The Color Purple).

  • Jimmy Page, musician, songwriter, producer; member of The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin and other bands.

  • 1943

    Allied troops land at Salerno, Italy and encounter strong resistance from German troops.

  • American and British forces make an amphibious landing on Sicily.

  • Bobby Fischer, first American world chess champion.

  • The Red Army takes back Kursk 15 months after it fell to the Germans.

  • Soviet planes drop leaflets on the surrounded Germans in Stalingrad requesting their surrender with humane terms. The Germans refuse.

  • 1942

    Dick Butkus, pro football player; inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1979.

  • A Japanese float plane, launched from a submarine, makes its first bombing run on a U.S. forest near Brookings, Oregon.

  • Anne Frank and her family go into hiding in the attic above her father’s office in an Amsterdam warehouse.

  • The Japanese high command announces that “The Midway Occupation operations have been temporarily postponed.”

  • In the Battle of Bataan, American and Filipino forces are overwhelmed by the Japanese Army.

  • Chiang Kai-shek meets with Sir Stafford Cripps, the British viceroy in India.

  • 1941

    Franklin D. Roosevelt tells Americans to plan for a long war.

  • Tom Fogerty, musician; guitarist with Creedence Clearwater Revival.

  • Trent Lott, politician, Republican Senate Majority Whip (1995-96), Senate Majority Leader (1996–2001) and Minority Leader (2001-02); resigned during controversy over making remarks that praised Strom Thurmond’s 1948 presidential campaign that had called for preservation of racial segregation.

  • Brian Lamb, journalist, founder of C-SPAN cable network.

  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt requests congressional approval for arming U.S. merchant ships.

  • Otis Redding, singer, songwriter, record producer, known as the “King of Soul”; “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” “Respect.”

  • President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill meet at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. The meeting produces the Atlantic Charter, an agreement between the two countries on war aims, even though the United States is still a neutral country.

  • The German submarine U-110 is captured at sea along with its Enigma machine by the Royal Navy.

  • Joan Baez, American folk singer and activist.

  • 1940

    The British army seizes 1,000 Italians in a sudden thrust in Egypt.

  • John Lennon, musician, singer, songwriter; one of the Beatles (“Imagine,” “Give Peace a Chance”).

  • Germany invades Norway and Denmark.

  • Britain frees captured Italian coal ships on the eve of German Foreign Minister, Ribbentrop’s visit to Rome.

  • 1939

    Czech President Emil Hacha ousts pro-German Joseph Tiso as the Premier of Slovakia in order to preserve Czech unity.

  • 1938

    Nazis kill 35 Jews, arrest thousands and destroy Jewish synagogues, homes and stores throughout Germany. The event becomes known as Kristallnacht, the night of the shattered glass.

  • 1937

    David Hockney, painter.

  • 1936

    Mary Travers, singer, songwriter; member of Vocal Group folk group Peter, Paul and Mary (“Puff the Magic Dragon,” “If I Had a Hammer”).

  • Jesse Owens wins four gold medals in track and field events at the Berlin Olympics.

  • June Jordan, poet and author.

  • Albert Finney, British actor (Murder on the Orient Express, Tom Jones).

  • Fascist Italy captures the city of Addis Abba, Ethiopia and annexes the country.

  • The German press warns that all Jews who vote in the upcoming elections will be arrested.

  • 1935

    Japanese troops invade Shanghai, China.

  • 1934

    Judi Dench (Dame Judith Dench), actress; known to James Bond fans for her role as M in Bond films beginning with Golden Eye (1997), her many awards include an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Chocolat, 2000).

  • Carl Sagan, American astronomer and writer.

  • In Marseilles, a Macedonian revolutionary associated with Croat terrorists in Hungary assassinates King Alexander of Yugoslavia and French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou. The two had been on a tour of European capitals in quest of an alliance against Nazi Germany. The assassinations bring the threat of war between Yugoslavia and Hungary, but confrontation is prevented by the League of Nations.

  • Sonia Sanchez, poet.

  • Alan Bennett, British playwright and screenwriter (The Madness of King George III).

  • Yuri Gagarin, Russian cosmonaut, the first man to orbit the Earth.

  • 1933

    Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, Japanese actress and bestselling children’s author (Totto-chan, the Little Girl at the Window); established Japan’s first TV talk show, Tetsuko no Heya (Tetsuko’s Room), breaking with traditional subservient depiction of Japanese women.

  • Oliver Sachs, neurologist and author (Awakenings).

  • 1932

    Billy Edd Wheeler, singer, songwriter ("Jackson," "Coward of the County").

  • Eamon De Valera is elected president of the Irish Free State and pledges to abolish all loyalty to the British Crown.

  • 1931

    Robert H. Goddard patents a rocket-fueled aircraft design.

  • 1930

    First appearance of the animated character Betty Boop (“Dizzy Dishes”).

  • Ornette Coleman, jazz saxophonist.

  • 1929

    John Cassavetes, actor (The Dirty Dozen), film director, screenwriter (Faces).

  • 1928

    Dick Van Patten, actor; best known for his role on the TV series Eight is Enough.

  • Anne Sexton, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet.

  • Bob Cousey, Hall of Fame basketball player and coach of the Boston Celtics.

  • 1927

    Robert Shaw, actor and writer.

  • 1926

    Henry Kendall, particle physicist; shared Nobel Prize in 1990.

  • The Radio Corporation of America creates the National Broadcasting Co.

  • Mathilde Krim, geneticist, founder of the AIDS foundation.

  • Hugh Hefner, founder and publisher of Playboy magazine.

  • 1924

    Robert Frank, photographer.

  • Ford Motor Co. stock is valued at nearly $1 billion.

  • 1923

    James Schuyler, poet, novelist and playwright.

  • Bulgaria’s government is overthrown by the military.

  • Brendan Behan, Irish playwright and poet (The Hostage, The Quare Fellow).

  • 1922

    Redd Foxx (John Sanford), comedian, actor; best known for his starring role in the TV series Sanford and Son.

  • Hoyt Curtin, composer and music producer; primary musical director for Hanna-Barbera animation studio (The Flintstones, Top Cat, The Smurfs).

  • Bernard Bailyn, historian, author; received Pulitzer Prize for History (1968, 1987), and National Humanities Medal (2010).

  • The U.S. Congress establishes the World War Foreign Debt Commission.

  • 1921

    Mona van Duyn, American poet laureate.

  • Russo-Polish conflict ends with signing of the Riga Treaty.

  • 1919

    William Lipscomb, chemist; awarded Nobel Prize in 1976.

  • 1918

    Kirk Douglas, American actor (Spartacus).

  • Spiro Agnew, vice president to Richard Nixon.

  • Germany is proclaimed a republic as the kaiser abdicates and flees to the Netherlands.

  • Frank Morrison Spillane [Mickey Spillane], crime writer (Kiss Me, Deadly, The Erection Set).

  • 1917

    The new Finnish Republic demands the withdrawal of Russian troops.

  • The Battle of Arras begins as Canadian troops begin a massive assault on Vimy Ridge.

  • 1916

    Robert S. McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defense under presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

  • The German army launches its third offensive during the Battle of Verdun.

  • Mexican bandit Pancho Villa leads 1,500 horsemen on a raid of Columbus, N.M. killing 17 U.S. soldiers and citizens.

  • Conscription begins in Great Britain as the Military Service Act becomes effective.

  • 1915

    A German zeppelin bombs London for the first time, causing little damage.

  • Les Paul, American guitarist and electric guitar innovator.

  • William Jennings Bryan quits as Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson.

  • German and French forces fight the Battle of Artois.

  • The Germans take Grodno on the Eastern Front.

  • Pancho Villa signs a treaty with the United States, halting border conflicts.

  • 1914

    The Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney wrecks the German cruiser Emden, forcing her to beach on a reef on North Keeling Island in the Indian Ocean.

  • Germans take Antwerp, Belgium, after 12-day siege.

  • 1913

    Richard Nixon, 37th President of the U.S. and first President to resign from office.

  • 1912

    Thomas P. "Tip" O’Neill, speaker of the House of Representatives.

  • Colonel Theodore Roosevelt announces that he will run for president if asked.

  • 1911

    An airmail route opens between London and Windsor.

  • The funding for five new battleships is added to the British military defense budget.

  • 1910

    The first complete, self-contained electric washing machine is patented.

  • Samuel Barber, American composer (“Adagio for Strings,” Vanessa).

  • 1909

    Jacques Tati, French actor and director.

  • Dean Rusk, Secretary of State under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

  • France agrees to recognize German economic interests in Morocco in exchange for political supremacy.

  • A Polar exploration team lead by Ernest Shackleton reaches 88 degrees, 23 minutes south longitude, 162 degrees east latitude. They are 97 nautical miles short of the South Pole, but the weather is too severe to continue.

  • 1908

    A child labor bill passes in the German Reichstag, forbidding work for children under age 13.

  • Shigekazu Shimazaki, Japanese commander and pilot who led the second wave of the air attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941; posthumously promoted to admiral in 1945.

  • Minor White, abstract photographer.

  • King Edward VII of England becomes first British monarch to visit Russia, meeting with Czar Nicholas II in an effort to improve relations between the two countries.

  • Count Zeppelin announces plans for his airship to carry 100 passengers.

  • 1906

    Grace Hopper, mathematician and computer pioneer.

  • President Theodore Roosevelt leaves Washington, D.C., for a 17-day trip to Panama and Puerto Rico, becoming the first president to make an official visit outside of the United States.

  • Eleanor Estes, children’s author.

  • 1905

    Joseph E. Levine, film producer, founder of Embassy Pictures Corporation, an independent studio and distributor of films such as Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, The Graduate, A Bridge Too Far, and The Lion in Winter.

  • J. William Fulbright, U.S. senator from Arkansas.

  • Peter Quennell, biographer.

  • 1904

    Japanese troops land near Seoul, Korea, after disabling two Russian cruisers.

  • 1901

    George Price, cartoonist.

  • 1900

    The Russian czar rejects Boer Paul Kruger’s pleas for aid in South Africa against the British.

  • Russia completes its occupation of Manchuria.

  • James Hilton, British novelist who authored Lost Horizon and Goodbye Mr. Chips and created the imaginary world of “Shangri-La.”

  • The Commonwealth of Australia is established by an act of British Parliament, uniting the separate colonies under a federal government.

  • British forces route Boers at Kroonstadt, South Africa.

  • 1899

    Jean de Brunhoff, illustrator and author, creator of the Babar series of books.

  • Bruce Catton, U.S. historian and journalist, famous for his works on the Civil War.

  • P.L. Travers, author of the Mary Poppins books.

  • 1898

    Paul Robeson, actor and activist.

  • 1896

    Jean Piaget, psychologist who did pioneering work on the development of children’s intellectual faculties.

  • 1894

    Dorothy Thompson, journalist, writer and radio commentator.

  • 1892

    Vita Sackville-West, writer.

  • 1891

    Cole Porter, American composer and lyricist.

  • 1890

    Colonel Harland Sanders, originator of Kentucky Fried Chicken fast-food restaurants.

  • Vyacheslav Molotov, former Soviet Prime Minister.

  • Karel Capek, Czech writer and playwright, best remembered for his play R.U.R., which contained the first use of the word “robot.”

  • 1888

    The Washington Monument, designed by Robert Mills, opens to the public.

  • 1887

    Alfred M. Landon, Republican governor of Kansas who carried only two states in his overwhelming defeat for the presidency by Franklin Roosevelt in 1936.

  • Samuel Eliot Morison, biographer and historian.

  • 1886

    Ed Wynn, actor and comedian.

  • The Berne International Copyright Convention takes place.

  • 1882

    Henry J. Kaiser, shipbuilder.

  • 1880

    James Stephens, Irish writer (The Charwoman’s Daughter, The Crock of Gold).

  • 1879

    Max von Laue, German physicist.

  • W.C. Fields (William Claude Dukenfield), comedian and actor.

  • 1877

    Meta Vaux Warrick, sculptor.

  • 1874

    Amy Lowell, poet.

  • 1873

    Charles Rudolph Walgreen, “the father of the modern drugstore.”

  • Howard Carter, British archaeologist.

  • 1872

    P.B.S. Pinchback becomes the first African-American governor of Louisiana.

  • 1871

    Howard T. Ricketts, pathologist.

  • 1867

    The capital of Colorado Territory is moved from Golden to Denver.

  • 1865

    Carl Nielsen, Danish composer.

  • Erich Ludendorff, German general during World War I.

  • General Robert E. Lee surrenders his rebel forces to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Va.

  • 1864

    Union General John Sedgwick is shot and killed by a Confederate sharpshooter during fighting at Spotsylvania. His last words are: “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist–“

  • General Ulysses Grant is appointed commander-in-chief of the Union forces.

  • Union General George Armstrong Custer marries Elizabeth Bacon in their hometown of Monroe, Mich.

  • 1863

    Major General John G. Foster replaces Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside as Commander of the Department of Ohio.

  • Confederate cavalry raiders return to Chattanooga after attacking Union General William Rosecrans’ supply and communication lines all around east Tennessee.

  • The Union Army of the Cumberland passes through Chattanooga as they chase after the retreating Confederates. The Union troops will soon be repulsed at the Battle of Chickamauga.

  • At the Battle of Brandy Station in Virginia, Union and Confederate cavalries clash in the largest cavalry battle of the Civil War.

  • 1862

    At Cedar Mountain, Virginia, Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson repels an attack by Union forces.

  • The first and last battle between the ironclads U.S.S. Monitor and C.S.S. Virginia ends in a draw.

  • 1861

    The U.S. Senate approves establishment of a committee that would become the Joint Committee on the Conduct of War.

  • Confederate cavalry led by John Morgan captures Tompkinsville, Kentucky.

  • Mary Ann “Mother” Bickerdyke begins working in Union hospitals.

  • Jefferson F. Davis is elected president of the Confederate States of America.

  • Mississippi secedes from the Union.

  • Southern shellfire stops the Union supply ship Star of the West from entering Charleston Harbor on her way to Fort Sumter.

  • 1860

    James Mathew Barrie, writer (Peter Pan, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up).

  • 1859

    Alfred Dreyfus, French artillery officer who was falsely accused of giving French military secrets to foreign powers.

  • The escalator is patented. However, the first working escalator appeared in 1900. Manufactured by the Otis Elevator Company for the Paris Exposition, it was installed in a Philadelphia office building the following year.

  • Threatened by the advancing French army, the Austrian army retreats across the River Sesia in Italy.

  • Realizing that France has encouraged the Piedmontese forces to mobilize for invading Italy, Austria begins mobilizing its army.

  • 1858

    Franz Boas, anthropologist.

  • 1853

    Stanford White, architect whose designs include Madison Square Garden and Washington Arch.

  • 1850

    California, in the midst of a gold rush, enters the Union as the 31st state.

  • U.S. President Zachary Taylor dies in office at the age of 65. He is succeeded by Millard Fillmore.

  • 1848

    Joel Chandler Harris, writer, creator of the Uncle Remus tales.

  • The first U.S. Post Office in California opens in San Francisco at Clay and Pike streets. At the time there are only about 15,000 European settlers living in the state.

  • 1846

    William Maybach, German engineer, designed the first Mercedes automobile.

  • 1844

    Belle Boyd, Confederate spy.

  • 1842

    The Webster-Ashburton treaty fixes the border between Maine and Canada’s New Brunswick.

  • 1841

    Edward VII, King of England, who succeeded his mother Victoria in 1901.

  • The rebel slaves who seized a Spanish slave ship, the Amistad, in 1839 are freed by the Supreme Court despite Spanish demands for extradition.

  • 1839

    The French Academy of Science announces the Daguerreotype photo process.

  • 1837

    Francis Parker, educator and founder of progressive elementary schools.

  • 1834

    Parliament passes the Municipal Corporations Act, reforming city and town governments in England.

  • 1828

    Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist (War and Peace, Anna Karenina).

  • 1826

    Chatham Roberdeau Wheat, Confederate commander during the American Civil War.

  • 1825

    The first Norwegian immigrants to America arrive on the sloop Restaurationen.

  • The House of Representatives elects John Quincy Adams, sixth U.S. President.

  • 1824

    Leland Stanford, railroad builder, founder of Stanford University.

  • 1821

    Charles Baudelaire, French poet.

  • 1820

    Congress passes the Land Act, paving the way for westward expansion.

  • 1819

    Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine.

  • Lydia E. Pinkham, patent-medicine maker and entrepeneur.

  • 1818

    Ivan Turgenev, Russian author (Fathers and Sons, A Month in the Country).

  • 1814

    Andrew Jackson and the Creek Indians sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson, giving the whites 23 million acres of Creek territory.

  • Samuel Tilden, philanthropist.

  • 1813

    U.S. troops under William Henry Harrison take Fort Meigs from British and Canadian troops.

  • 1812

    Swedish Pomerania is seized by Napoleon.

  • 1809

    William Barret Travis, commander of the Texas troops at the battle of the Alamo.

  • 1805

    Austria joins Britain, Russia, Sweden and the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia in the third coalition against France.

  • 1800

    John Brown, abolitionist.

  • 1799

    Napoleon Bonaparte participates in a coup and declares himself dictator of France.

  • The USS Constellation captures the French frigate Insurgente off the West Indies.

  • 1796

    Napoleon Bonaparte marries Josephine de Beauharnais in Paris, France.

  • 1793

    Jean Pierre Blanchard makes the first balloon flight in North America.

  • 1792

    The Ottomans sign a treaty with the Russians ending a five year war.

  • 1791

    French Royalists take control of Arles and barricade themselves inside the town.

  • John Howard Payne, American playwright and actor.

  • 1790

    The Swedish navy captures one third of the Russian fleet at the Battle of Svensksund in the Baltic Sea.

  • Civil war breaks out in Martinique.

  • 1789

    In Versailles, the French National Assembly declares itself the Constituent Assembly and begins to prepare a French constitution.

  • 1788

    Connecticut becomes the 5th state.

  • 1786

  • 1781

    Americans begin shelling the British surrounded at Yorktown.

  • George Stephenson, English engineer, built the first public inter-city railway line in the world to use steam locomotives.

  • 1779

    The Luddite riots being in Manchester, England in reaction to machinery for spinning cotton.

  • 1776

    The term “United States” is adopted by the Continental Congress to be used instead of the “United Colonies.”

  • Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense, a scathing attack on King George III’s reign over the colonies and a call for complete independence.

  • 1773

    William Henry Harrison, ninth U.S. President and the first to die in office.

  • 1770

    Captain James Cook discovers Botany Bay on the Australian continent.

  • 1764

    Ann Radcliffe, English novelist.

  • 1760

    Austrian and Russian troops enter Berlin and begin burning structures and looting.

  • 1755

    General Edward Braddock is killed by French and Indian troops.

  • 1754

    The first newspaper cartoon in America appears.

  • 1734

    The Russians take Danzig (Gdansk) in Poland.

  • 1731

    British Captain Robert Jenkins loses an ear to a band of Spanish brigands, starting a war between Britain and Spain: The War of Jenkins’ Ear.

  • 1719

    Philip V of Spain declares war on France.

  • 1682

    Robert La Salle claims lower Mississippi River and all lands that touch it for France.

  • 1672

    Peter I, Russian Czar (1682-1725).

  • 1649

    James Scott, Duke of Monmouth.

  • 1645

    Settlers in New Amsterdam gain peace with the Indians after conducting talks with the Mohawks.

  • 1640

    Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor.

  • 1633

    Isaak Walton, author of the classic The Compleat Angler.

  • 1631

    John Dryden, the first official Poet Laureate of Great Britain (1668 to 1700).

  • 1617

    The Treaty of Stolbovo ends the occupation of Northern Russia by Swedish troops.

  • 1609

    Emperor Rudolf II grants Bohemia freedom of worship.

  • 1608

    John Milton, British writer and poet (Paradise Lost).

  • 1585

    Duc Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, French cardinal and statesman who helped build France into a world power under the leadership of King Louis XIII.

  • Pope Sixtus V deprives Henry of Navarre of his rights to the French crown.

  • 1567

    Lord Darnley, the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, is murdered in his sick-bed in a house in Edinburgh when the house blows up.

  • 1554

    Gregory XV, Roman Catholic Pope.

  • 1553

    Maurice of Saxony is mortally wounded at Sievershausen, Germany, while defeating Albert of Brandenburg-Kulmbach.

  • 1549

    England declares war on France.

  • 1534

    Jacques Cartier sails into the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in Canada.

  • 1513

    King James IV of Scotland is defeated and killed by English at Flodden.

  • 1502

    Christopher Columbus leaves Spain on his final trip to the New World.

  • 1483

    Pope Sixtus IV celebrates the first mass in the Sistine Chapel, which is named in his honor.

  • 1470

    Henry VI of England restored to the throne.

  • 1454

    The city states of Venice, Milan and Florence sign a peace agreement at Lodi, Italy.

  • 1451

    Amerigo Vespucci, Italian navigator.

  • 1387

    Henry V, British king famous for his victory at Agincourt, France.

  • 1241

    In the Battle of Liegnitz, Mongol armies defeat Poles and Germans.

  • 1087

    William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy and King of England, dies in Rouen while conducting a war which began when the French king made fun of him for being fat.

  • 1064

    Coimbra, Portugal falls to Ferdinand, king of Castile.

  • 715

    Constantine ends his reign as Catholic Pope.

  • 536

    Having captured Naples earlier in the year, Belisarius takes Rome.

  • 480

    The Persian army defeats Leonidas and his Spartan army at the Battle Thermopylae, Persia.

  • 455

    Avitus, the Roman military commander in Gaul, becomes Emperor of the West.

  • 337

    Constantine’s three sons, already Caesars, each take the title of Augustus. Constantine II and Constans share the west while Constantius II takes control of the east.

  • 193

    In the Balkans, the distinguished soldier Septimius Severus is proclaimed emperor by the army in Illyricum.

  • 118

    Hadrian, Rome’s new emperor, makes his entry into the city.

  • 48

  • 28

    The Temple of Apollo is dedicated on the Palatine Hill in Rome.