What happened on your birthday?

more events on December 16

  • 2012

    In South Africa police fire on striking mine workers, killing at least 34.

  • 2007

    Military contractors in the employ of Blackwater Worldwide allegedly kill 17 Iraqis in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, further straining relations between the US and the people of Iraq.

  • 2003

    President George W. Bush signs the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, which establishes the United States’ first national standards regarding email and gives the Federal Trade Commission authority to enforce the act. 

  • Princess Kritika of Nepal.

  • 2002

    Inaugural opening of Bibliotheca Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt., a modern library and cultural center commemorating the famed Library of Alexandria that was lost in antiquity

  • 1999

    A private plane piloted by John F. Kennedy Jr. is lost over the waters off Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

  • 1998

    The United States launches a missile attack on Iraq for failing to comply with United Nations weapons inspectors.

  • General Augusto Pinochet, former dictator of Chile, arrested in London for extradition on murder charges

  • 1997

    Pro-democracy Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng released from prison after 18 years, for health reasons.

  • 1995

    Skye Bridge opens over Loch Alsh, Scotland

  • The Million Man March for ‘A Day of Atonement’ takes place in Washington, D.C.

  • 1994

    Britain’s government lifts the 1988 broadcasting ban against member of Ireland’s Sinn Fein and Irish paramilitary groups.

  • 1992

    Eric Lawes, while using a metal detector to search for a friend’s lost hammer near Hoxne, Suffolk, England, discovers the Hoxne Hoard, the largest hoard of Roman silver and gold ever found in Britain, and the largest collection of 4th and 5th century coins found anywhere within the bounds of the former Roman Empire

  • 1991

    The trial of Manuel Noriega, deposed dictator of Panama, begins in the United States.

  • The Persian Gulf War begins. The massive U.S.-led offensive against Iraq — Operation Desert Storm — ends on February 28, 1991, when President George Bush declares a cease-fire, and Iraq pledges to honor future coalition and U.N. peace terms.

  • 1990

    Iraq orders 2,500 Americans and 4,000 British nationals in Kuwait to Iraq, in the aftermath of Iraq’s invasion of that country.

  • 1989

    Salvadoran Army death squad kills six Jesuit priests and two others at Jose Simeon Canas University.

  • 1988

    IBM introduces artificial intelligence software.

  • 1987

    Astrological alignment of sun, moon and six planets marks what believers maintain is the dawning of a New Age.

  • 1986

    Sudanese rebels shoot down a Sudanese Airways plane, killing 57 people.

  • 1985

    Associated Press newsman, Terry Anderson is taken hostage in Beirut.

  • 1984

    A baboon heart is transplanted into 15-day-old Baby Fae–the first transplant of the kind–at Loma Linda University Medical Center, California. Baby Fae lives until November 15.

  • The safe of the sunken ocean liner Andrea Doria is opened on TV after three decades, revealing cash and certificates but no other valuables.

  • Mozambique and South Africa sign a pact banning support for one another’s internal foes.

  • 1982

    The space shuttle Columbia completes its first operational flight.

  • 1979

    American Airlines is fined $500,000 for improper DC-10 maintenance.

  • The Shah leaves Iran.

  • 1978

    Cleveland becomes the first U.S. city to default since the depression.

  • The college of cardinals elects 58-year-old Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, a Pole, the first non-Italian Pope since 1523.

  • An earthquake estimated to be as strong as 7.9 on the Richter scale kills 25,000 people in Iran.

  • China and Japan sign a $20 billion trade pact, which is the most important move since the 1972 resumption of diplomatic ties.

  • 1977

    John Mayer, singer, songwriter, musician, producer; won Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance (“Your Body is a Wonderland,” 2003).

  • Elvis Presley dies of a heart attack in the upstairs bedroom suite area of his Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.

  • Leonid Brezhnev is named president of the Soviet Union.

  • 1976

    President Jimmy Carter appoints Andrew Young as Ambassador to the United Nations.

  • 1975

    Administrators for Rhodes Scholarships announce the decision to begin offering fellowships to women.

  • The Irish Republican Army calls an end to a 25-day cease fire in Belfast.

  • 1974

    Limited amnesty is offered to Vietnam-era draft resisters who would now swear allegiance to the United States and perform two years of public service.

  • 1973

    Israeli General Ariel Sharon crosses the Suez Canal and begins to encircle two Egyptian armies.

  • 1972

    South Vietnamese troops recapture Quang Tri province in South Vietnam from the North Vietnamese Army.

  • Emily Robison, singer, musician, songwriter, member of the bestselling Country group Dixie Chicks.

  • Two giants pandas arrive in the U.S. from China.

  • 1971

    An El Greco sketch, “The Immaculate Conception,” stolen in Spain 35 years earlier, is recovered in New York City by the FBI.

  • 1969

    Adam Riess, astrophysicist; shared 2006 Shaw Prize in Astronomy and 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for providing evidence the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

  • Roy Hargrove, jazz trumpeter; won Grammy Awards for albums in 1998 (Habana) and 2002 (Directions in Music).

  • The New York Mets win the World Series four games to one over the heavily-favored Baltimore Orioles.

  • Apollo 11 blasts off from Cape Kennedy, Florida, heading for a landing on the moon.

  • 1968

    The Pentagon announces the “Vietnamization” of the war.

  • U.S. troops in Vietnam destroy a village consisting mostly of women and children, the action is remembered as the My-Lai massacre.

  • 1967

    U.S. planes hit Haiphong shipyard in North Vietnam for the first time.

  • Ulrika Jonsson, Swedish-born actress, model and UK television personality.

  • 1966

    The World Council of Churches being held in Geneva, urges immediate peace in Vietnam.

  • 1965

    In the last day of the fighting at Landing Zone X-Ray, regiments of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division repulse NVA forces in the Ia Drang Valley.

  • The Watts riots end in south-central Los Angeles after six days.

  • Four persons are held in a plot to blow up the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell and the Washington Monument.

  • Eighteen are arrested in Mississippi for the murder of three civil rights workers.

  • 1964

    President Lyndon B. Johnson submits a $1 billion war on poverty program to Congress.

  • 1963

    Benjamin Bratt, actor best known for his role of Rey Curtis on the Law & Order TV series.

  • After 22 Earth orbits, Gordon Cooper returns to Earth, ending the last mission of Project Mercury.

  • 1962

    William Perry, pro football defensive lineman nicknamed The Refrigerator because of his size.

  • Steve Carell, actor and comedian (The Daily Show with John Stewart, The Office, Evan Almighty).

  • 1961

    Ballet star Rudolf Nureyev defects from the Soviet Union while in Paris.

  • 1960

    After the integration of two all-white schools, 2,000 whites riot in the streets of New Orleans.

  • Timothy Hutton, youngest actor ever to receive an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (Ordinary People).

  • A Big Four summit in Paris collapses because of the American U-2 spy plane affair.

  • 1959

    Fidel Castro takes the oath as Cuban premier in Havana.

  • 1958

    Tim Robbins, actor, screenwriter, director, producer; won Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Mystic River 2003.

  • Madonna [Louise Veronica Ciccone], entertainer and singer.

  • 1957

    A U.S. flag flies over an outpost in Wilkes Land, Antarctica.

  • 1956

    David Copperfield, magician.

  • The Egyptian government makes Islam the state religion.

  • 1955

    Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este.

  • The Big Four talks, taking place in Geneva on German reunification, end in failure.

  • The U.S. House of Representatives votes to extend Selective Service until 1959.

  • Olga Korbut, Olympic gymnast.

  • 1954

    Earl Klugh, jazz guitarist.

  • CBS introduces The Morning Show hosted by Walter Cronkite to compete with NBC’s Today Show.

  • 1953

    The United States joins in the condemnation of Israel for its raid on Jordan.

  • 1952

    Peter Keefe, TV producer (Voltron); credited with introducing American audiences to Japanese animation.

  • Mickey Rourke, actor, screenwriter, professional boxer; won Golden Globe (The Wrestler, 2009).

  • Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl is published in the United States.

  • The FBI arrests 10 members of the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina.

  • 1951

    Chinese Communist Forces launch second phase of the Chinese Spring Offensive in the Korean War and gain up to 20 miles of territory.

  • Stalin contends the U.N. is becoming the weapon of aggressive war.

  • 1950

    President Harry Truman declares a state of National Emergency as Chinese communists invade deeper into South Korea.

  • Henry Louis Gates Jr., critic and scholar.

  • The U.S. 8th Army breaks out of the Pusan Perimeter in South Korea and begins heading north to meet MacArthur’s troops heading south from Inchon.

  • 1949

    Billy Gibbons, singer, songwriter, musician with ZZ Top and Moving Sidewalks bands.

  • Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse-tung is received at the Kremlin in Moscow.

  • Suzanne Somers, actress (Three’s Company TV series).

  • 1948

    President Harry S Truman rejects four-power talks on Berlin until the blockade is removed.

  • Rosemary Casals, pro tennis player whose efforts to gain greater equality for women in the sport led to many changes.

  • Pinchas Zukerman, violinist and conductor.

  • Ruben Blades, songwriter and actor.

  • 1947

    Lew Alcinder (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), professional basketball player.

  • A lens which provides zoom effects is demonstrated in New York City.

  • 1946

    Ten Nazi war criminals are hanged in Nuremberg, Germany.

  • 1945

    Eighty-eight German scientists, holding Nazi secrets, arrive in the United States.

  • Japan surrenders Hong Kong to Britain.

  • Suzanne Farrel, ballerina.

  • Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright, who was taken prisoner by the Japanese on Corregidor on May 6, 1942, is released from a POW camp in Manchuria by U.S. troops.

  • The United States detonates the first atomic bomb in a test at Alamogordo, N. M.

  • American troops enter Nuremberg, Germany.

  • The destroyer USS Laffey survives horrific damage from attacks by 22 Japanese aircraft off Okinawa, earning the nickname “The Ship That Would Not Die.”

  • Iwo Jima is declared secure by U.S. forces although small pockets of Japanese resistance still exist.

  • American paratroopers land on Corregidor, in a campaign to liberate the Philippines.

  • The U.S. First and Third armies link up at Houffalize, effectively ending the Battle of the Bulge.

  • 1944

    Germany mounts a major offensive in the Ardennes Forest in Belgium. As the center of the Allied line falls back, it creates a bulge, leading to the name, the Battle of the Bulge.

  • Soviet troops occupy Vilnius, Lithuania, in their drive towards Germany.

  • Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist (The Sportswriter, Independence Day).

  • Eisenhower assumes supreme command of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe.

  • 1943

    Steven Bochco, TV producer and writer (Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law).

  • James Alan McPherson, author; first African American to win Pulitzer Prize for fiction (Elbow Room, 1978).

  • A specially trained and equipped Royal Air Force squadron destroys two river dams in Germany.

  • 1942

    The Japanese base at Kiska in the Aleutian Islands is raided by American bombers.

  • The Island of Malta is awarded the George Cross in recognition for heroism under constant German air attack. It was the first such award given to any part of the British Commonwealth.

  • Tojo outlines Japan’s war aims to the Diet, referring to “new order of coexistence” in East Asia.

  • Japan’s advance into Burma begins.

  • 1941

    Dag Solstad, Norwegian novelist and playwright.

  • 1940

    Benjamin O. Davis becomes the U.S. Army’s first African American Brigadier General.

  • Congress passes the Selective Service Act, which calls for the first peacetime draft in U.S. history.

  • Bruce Beresford, Australian film director whose films include Breaker Morant and Driving Miss Daisy.

  • Adolf Hitler orders preparations for the invasion of England.

  • French Chief of State, Henri Petain asks for an armistice with Germany.

  • The British destroyer HMS Cossack rescues British seamen from a German prison ship, the Altmark, in a Norwegian fjord.

  • Hitler cancels an attack in the West due to bad weather and the capture of German attack plans in Belgium.

  • 1939

    Germany occupies the rest of Czechoslovakia.

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt asks for an extension of the Social Security Act to include more women and children.

  • 1938

    Liv Ullmann, Norwegian actress and director; won Golden Globe for Best Actress–Motion Picture Drama for The Emigrants (1971).

  • Billy the Kid, a ballet by Aaron Copland, opens in Chicago.

  • Joyce Carol Oates, American writer and university professor (Them, Garden of Earthly Delights).

  • Torgny Lindgren, Swedish writer.

  • 1937

    Dupont patents a new thread, nylon, which will replace silk in a number of products and reduce costs.

  • 1936

    Morris Dees, activist; co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

  • 1935

    Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanese Twelver Shi’a scholar; sometimes called the “spiritual mentor” of Hezbollah.

  • Jim Dine, American artist.

  • President Franklin Roosevelt‘s New Deal legislation is passed by the House of Representatives.

  • Adolf Hitler orders a German rearmament and violates the Versailles Treaty.

  • 1934

    Mao Tse-tung decides to abandon his base in Kiangsi due to attacks from Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists. With his pregnant wife and about 30,000 Red Army troops, he sets out on the “Long March.”

  • Anti-Nazi Lutherans stage protest in Munich.

  • Thousands of Socialists battle Communists at a rally in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

  • 1933

    Susan Sontag, American essayist and novelist (The Style of Radical Will, Illness as a Metaphor).

  • 1932

    Sir Quentin Saxby Blake, illustrator and children’s writer; received the Hans Christian Andersen Award (2002) and was Britain’s first Children’s Laureate (1999–2001).

  • The ban on Nazi storm troopers is lifted by the von Papen government in Germany.

  • 1931

    Charles “Chuck” Colson, special counsel to Pres. Richard Nixon (1969-73); one of the “Watergate Seven,” he was sentenced to prison for obstruction of justice.

  • 1930

    Chinua Achebe, Nigerian novelist.

  • Dan Pagis, Romanian-born Israeli poet.

  • Ted Hughes, English poet.

  • 1929

    Bill Evans, jazz pianist.

  • Adrienne Rich, poet (Diving into the Wreck).

  • Betty Carter, jazz singer.

  • 1928

    Anita Brookner, writer (Hotel du Lac).

  • The first Academy Awards are held in Hollywood.

  • The United States plans to send 1,000 more Marines to Nicaragua.

  • 1927

    Gunther Grass, novelist, playwright, painter and sculptor best known for his first novel, The Tin Drum.

  • Peter Falk, actor, best known for his role as detective Columbo in the TV series of the same name.

  • 1926

    John Knowles, writer; won first-ever William Faulkner Foundation Award (A Separate Peace, 1961).

  • Jerry Lewis, American comedian and film actor.

  • Physicist Robert H. Goddard launches the first liquid-fuel rocket.

  • 1925

    Angela Lansbury, stage, screen, and TV actress

  • B.B. King, blues guitarist.

  • Charlie Byrd, jazz guitarist.

  • France accepts a German proposal for a security pact.

  • 1924

    Henry Mancini, composer and conductor (“Moon River”).

  • 1923

    Bessie Smith makes her first recording “Down Hearted Blues.”

  • 1922

    Kingsley Amis, British author (Lucky Jim).

  • Annie Oakley shoots 100 clay targets in a row, setting a woman’s record.

  • 1920

    Metered mail is born in Stamford, Connecticut with the first Pitney Bowes postage meter.

  • Thirty people are killed in a terrorist bombing in New York’s Wall Street financial district.

  • Charles Bukowski, poet and novelist.

  • John Howard Griffin, writer (Black Like Me).

  • Joan of Arc is canonized in Rome.

  • Allies lift the blockade on trade with Russia.

  • The League of Nations holds its first meeting in Paris.

  • 1919

    Kathleen Winsor, writer Forever Amber.

  • Merce Cunningham, American dancer and choreographer.

  • 1918

    Czar Nicholas and his family are murdered by Bolsheviks at Ekaterinburg, Russia.

  • 1917

    Arthur C. Clarke, English science fiction writer (2001: A Space Odyssey)

  • Irving Penn, fashion photographer, brother of film director Arthur Penn.

  • Katharine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post.

  • Vladimir Lenin returns to Russia to start the Bolshevik Revolution.

  • Russian Czar Nicholas II abdicates his throne.

  • 1915

    Members of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (CU) testify at a congressional hearing to add an amendment for women’s right to vote.

  • 1914

    Edward Chapman, spy; after becoming a spy for Nazi Germany, he became a double agent serving his native England.

  • Liege, Belgium, falls to the German army.

  • Maxim Gorky is authorized to return to Russia after an eight year exile for political dissidence.

  • 1913

    Swann’s Way, the first volume of Marcel Proust’s 7-part novel Remembrance of Things Past, is published.

  • Menachem Begin, Israeli statesman and Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

  • Woody Herman, jazz bandleader.

  • The 15,000-ton battleship Pennsylvania is launched at Newport News, Va.

  • 1912

    Studs Terkel, author and historian.

  • Thelma Catherine Patricia Ryan Nixon, first lady to President Richard Nixon.

  • 1911

    Ginger Rogers, actress and dancer.

  • 1910

    The first Father’s Day is celebrated in Spokane, Washington.

  • 1909

    Ethel Merman, U.S. singer and actress, the “Queen of Broadway.”

  • One of Ernest Shackleton‘s polar exploration teams reaches the Magnetic South Pole.

  • 1908

    The first airplane flight in England is made at Farnsborough, by Samuel Cody, a U.S. citizen.

  • General Motors files papers of incorporation.

  • 1907

    Burgess Meredith, actor; the first man to win the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor twice, and a winner of several Emmys, he is considered one of the most accomplished actors of the 20th century.

  • The Indian and Oklahoma territories are unified to make Oklahoma, which becomes the 46th state.

  • Barbara Stanwyck, actress.

  • The Russian czar dissolves the Duma in St. Petersburg.

  • The British cruiser Invincible, the world’s largest, is completed at Glasgow shipyards.

  • 1906

    Cleanth Brooks, Kentucky-born writer and educator.

  • 1905

    Henry Fonda, American actor (Grapes of Wrath, On Golden Pond).

  • 1904

    George Kennan, U.S. diplomat and historian.

  • 1903

    Edgar Bergen, ventriloquist and radio comedian.

  • 1902

    A cartoon appears in the Washington Star, prompting the Teddy Bear Craze, after President Teddy Roosevelt refused to kill a captive bear tied up for him to shoot during a hunting trip to Mississippi.

  • George Gaylord Simpson, paleontologist.

  • Barbara McClintock, geneticist.

  • 1901

    President Theodore Roosevelt incites controversy by inviting black leader Booker T. Washington to the White House.

  • 1900

    The U.S. Senate recognizes the Anglo-German Treaty of 1899 by which the UK renounced its rights to the Samoan Islands.

  • 1898

    William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

  • 1896

    Gold is discovered in the Klondike of Canada’s Yukon Territory, setting off the Klondike Gold Rush.

  • Trygve Lie, first secretary-general of the United Nations.

  • 1893

    Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, biochemist who isolated vitamin C.

  • Some 50,000 “Sooners” claim land in the Cherokee Strip during the first day of the Oklahoma land rush.

  • 1892

    King Behanzin of Dahomey (now Benin), leads soldiers against the French.

  • 1891

    Karl Doenitz, German Admiral who succeeded Adolf Hitler in governing Germany.

  • 1890

    Stan Laurel, British-born entertainer, partner of Oliver Hardy.

  • 1889

    George S. Kaufman, American playwright and collaborator with Moss Hart (You Can’t Take it With You , The Man Who Came to Dinner).

  • Robert Younger, in Minnesota’s Stillwater Penitentiary for life, dies of tuberculosis. Brothers Cole and Bob remain in the prison.

  • Charlie Chaplin, film actor and director.

  • 1888

    Eugene O’Neill, Nobel Prize-winning playwright (A Long Day’s Journey Into Night, The Iceman Cometh).

  • Bobby Clark, comedian and actor.

  • 1886

    David Ben-Gurion, Israeli statesman.

  • Douglas Southall Freeman, journalist, historian, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer.

  • Van Wyck Brooks, biographer, critic and literary historian.

  • 1885

    Karen Horney, psychoanalyst who exposed the male bias in the Freudian analysis of women.

  • 1882

    Mary Todd Lincoln, the widow of Abraham Lincoln, dies of a stroke.

  • 1879

    The Treaty of Gandamak between Russia and England sets up the Afghan state.

  • 1875

    James Cash Penney, founder and owner of the J.C. Penny Company department stores.

  • The new French constitution is finalized.

  • 1873

    W.C. Handy, father of the blues, famous for “St. Louis Blues.”

  • 1871

    John Millington Synge, dramatist and poet (Playboy of the Western World).

  • 1868

    Bernard McFadden, publisher responsible for the magazine True Story.

  • President Andrew Johnson is acquitted during Senate impeachment, by one vote, cast by Edmund G. Ross.

  • 1867

    Wilbur Wright, designer, builder and flyer of the first airplane.

  • 1865

    Union troops push past Confederate blockers at the Battle of Averasborough, N.C.

  • Columbia, South Carolina, surrenders to Federal troops.

  • General William T. Sherman begins a march through the Carolinas.

  • 1864

    Union forces under General George H. Thomas win the battle at Nashville, smashing an entire Confederate army.

  • Union General William T. Sherman departs Atlanta and begins his “March to the Sea.”

  • Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest leads 4,500 men out of Verona, Miss. to harass Union outposts in northern Alabama and Tennessee.

  • The siege of Petersburg and Richmond begins after a moonlight skirmish.

  • Flora Batson, African-American soprano-baritone singer.

  • 1863

    Confederate General Joseph Johnston takes command of the Army of Tennessee.

  • Union General William S. Rosecrans moves his army south from Tullahoma, Tennessee to attack Confederate forces in Chattanooga.

  • At the Battle of Champion’s Hill, Union General Ulysess S. Grant repulses the Confederates, driving them into Vicksburg.

  • 1862

    Ida Bell Wells, journalist.

  • Slavery is abolished in the District of Columbia.

  • Confederate President Jefferson Davis approves a conscription act for white males between 18 and 35.

  • Fort Donelson, Tennessee, falls to Grant‘s Federal forces, but not before Nathan Bedford Forrest escapes.

  • 1861

    Union and Confederate forces clash near Fredericktown and Kirkville, Missouri.

  • Maxim Gorky, Russian dramatist

  • 1859

    Abolitionist John Brown, with 21 men, seizes the U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry, Va. U.S. Marines capture the raiders, killing several. John Brown is later hanged in Virginia for treason.

  • 1858

    U.S. President James Buchanan and Britain’s Queen Victoria exchange messages inaugurating the first transatlantic telegraph line.

  • Abraham Lincoln, in accepting the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, declares that, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

  • 1854

    Oscar Wilde, dramatist, poet, novelist and critic.

  • San Salvador is destroyed by an earthquake.

  • 1852

    Charles Taze Russell, founder of the International Bible Students Association which later became the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  • 1850

    Johannes von Mikulicz-Radecki, Polish surgical pioneer.

  • Thomas Sidney Gilchrist, British metallurgist and inventor.

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is published.

  • 1849

    George Washington Wiliams, historian, clergyman and politician.

  • 1847

    John C. Fremont, the famed “Pathfinder” of Western exploration, is appointed governor of California.

  • 1846

    General Zachary Taylor takes Saltillo, Mexico.

  • Ether was first administered in public at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston by Dr. William Thomas Green Morton during an operation performed by Dr. John Collins Warren.

  • 1845

    Quinton Hogg, English philanthropist.

  • 1844

    Anatole France, French writer.

  • 1839

    Louis-Honore Frechette, Canadian poet.

  • 1838

    James J. Hill, railroad builder.

  • Henry Adams, U.S. historian, son and grandson of the presidents.

  • 1835

    A fire in New York City destroys property estimated to be worth $20,000,000. It lasts two days, ravages 17 blocks, and destroys 674 buildings including the Stock Exchange, Merchants’ Exchange, Post Office, and the South Dutch Church.

  • 1833

    Susan Hayhurst becomes the first woman to graduate from a pharmacy college.

  • 1824

    Edmund Kirby-Smith, Confederate general during the American Civil War.

  • 1822

    John Pope, Union general in the American Civil War.

  • Rosa Bonheur, French painter and sculptor.

  • 1821

    Trader William Becknell reaches Santa Fe, N.M., on the route that will become known as the Santa Fe Trail.

  • Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science movement.

  • John C. Breckinridge, 14th U.S. Vice President, Confederate Secretary of War.

  • 1818

    The U.S. Senate ratifies the Rush-Bagot amendment to form an unarmed U.S.-Canada border.

  • 1815

    Napoleon defeats the Prussians at the Battle of Ligny.

  • 1813

    The British announce a blockade of Long Island Sound, leaving only the New England coast open to shipping.

  • 1812

    American General William Hull surrenders Detroit without resistance to a smaller British force under General Issac Brock.

  • 1811

    John Bright, British Victorian radical who founded the Anti-Corn Law League.

  • 1810

    A revolution for independence breaks out in Mexico.

  • 1804

    Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, founder of the first U.S. kindergarten.

  • US Navy lieutenant Steven Decatur leads a small group of sailors into Tripoli harbor and burns the USS Philadelphia, captured earlier by Barbary pirates.

  • 1801

    William Henry Seward, U.S. Secretary of State (1861-1869).

  • 1800

    George Charles Bingham, British soldier, commanded the Light Brigade during the famous charge.

  • 1798

    British seamen board the U.S. frigate Baltimore and impress a number of crewmen as alleged deserters, a practice that contributed to the War of 1812.

  • 1797

    Lord Cardigan, leader of the famed Light Brigade.

  • 1793

    Queen Marie Antoinette is beheaded by guillotine during the French Revolution.

  • 1789

    Jean-Paul Marat sets up a new newspaper in France, L’Ami du Peuple.

  • George S. Ohm, German physicist.

  • 1786

    Sir John Franklin, arctic explorer.

  • The Council of Virginia guarantees religious freedom.

  • 1780

    American troops are badly defeated by the British at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina.

  • 1779

    American troops under General Anthony Wayne capture Stony Point, N.Y.

  • 1777

    France declares a state of bankruptcy.

  • 1775

    Jane Austen, novelist (Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice).

  • 1774

    Russia and the Ottoman Empire sign the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainardji, ending their six-year war.

  • 1773

    To protest the tax on tea from England, a group of young Americans, disguised as Indians, throw chests of tea from British ships in Boston Harbor.

  • 1770

    Ludwig Van Beethoven, German composer best known for his 9th Symphony.

  • Marie Antoinette marries future King Louis XVI of France.

  • 1765

    English Prime Minister Lord Grenville resigns and is replaced by Lord Rockingham.

  • 1760

    Cherokee Indians held hostage at Fort St. George are killed in revenge for Indian attacks on frontier settlements.

  • 1758

    Noah Webster, U.S. teacher, lexicographer and publisher who wrote the American Dictionary of the English Language.

  • 1757

    Samuel McIntire, architect of Salem, Massachusetts.

  • 1751

    James Madison, fourth President of the United States (1809-17).

  • 1749

    Vittorio Alfieri, Italian tragic poet (Cleopatra, Parigi shastigliata).

  • 1747

    The French capture Bergen-op-Zoom, consolidating their occupation of Austrian Flanders in the Netherlands.

  • 1746

    Prince Charles is defeated at the Battle of Culloden, the last pitched battle fought in Britain.

  • 1728

    Joseph Black, Scottish chemist and physicist.

  • 1723

    Joshua Reynolds, British portrait painter.

  • 1705

    Queen Anne of England knights Isaac Newton.

  • 1701

    Yale University is founded as The Collegiate School of Kilingworth, Connecticut by Congregationalists who consider Harvard too liberal.

  • 1668

    King John Casimer V of Poland abdicates the throne.

  • 1660

    Hans Sloane, physician, naturalist, founder of the British Museum.

  • 1653

    Oliver Cromwell takes on dictatorial powers with the title of “Lord Protector.”

  • 1645

    Jean de la Bruyere, French writer and moralist famous for his work Characters of Theophratus.

  • 1621

    The first Indian appears to colonists in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

  • 1620

    The Pilgrims sail from England on the Mayflower.

  • Frederick William, founder of Brandenburg-Prussia.

  • 1555

    The Protestant martyrs Bishop Hugh Latimer and Bishop Nicholas Ridley are burned at the stake for heresy in England.

  • 1547

    Ivan IV crowns himself the new Czar of Russia in Assumption Cathedral in Moscow.

  • 1527

    The Emperor Babur defeats the Rajputs at the Battle of Khanwa, removing the main Hindu rivals in Northern India.

  • 1513

    Henry VIII of England and Emperor Maximilian defeat the French at Guinegatte, France, in the Battle of the Spurs.

  • 1485

    Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII, who bore him six children; only one, Mary I, survived to adulthood.

  • 1431

    Henry VI of England is crowned King of France.

  • 1190

    The Crusades begin the massacre of Jews in York, England.

  • 1065

    The Norman Robert Guiscard takes Bari, ending five centuries of Byzantine rule in southern Italy.

  • 556

    Pelagius I begins his reign as Catholic Pope.

  • 455

    Rome is sacked by the Vandal army.

  • 69

    Defeated by Vitellius’ troops at Bedriacum, Otho commits suicide.

  • 42

    Tiberius Claudius Nero, Roman Emperor.

  • 37

    On a trip to the Italian mainland from his home on Capreae, the emperor Tiberius dies on the Bay of Naples.