What happened on your birthday?

more events on December 19

  • 2012

    Park Geun-hye elected President of South Korea, the nation’s first female chief executive.

  • 2010

    New Zealand suffers its worst mining disaster since 1914 when the first of four explosions occurs at the Pike River Mine; 29 people are killed.

  • Operation Iraqi Freedom ends; the last US combat brigade, 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, leaves the country. Six brigades remain to train Iraqi troops.

  • 2006

    Military coup in Bangkok, revokes Thailand’s constitution and establishes martial law.

  • 2005

    Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s trail for crimes against humanity begins in Baghdad.

  • Toronto Supercell: A series of thunderstorms spawn several tornadoes and cause flash floods in Southern Ontario. Losses exceed $500 million Canadian dollars, the highest ever in the province.

  • 2004

    Google Inc. stock begins selling on the Nasdaq Stock Market, with an initial price of $85; the stock ended the day at $100.34 with more than 22 million shares traded.

  • 2003

    Mother Teresa is beatified by Pope John Paul II for her work among “the poorest of the poor” in India.

  • Shmuel Hanavi bus bombing: suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem kills 23 Israelis, some of them children, and wounds 130. Islamist militant group Hamas claims responsibility for the attack.

  • 2002

    A Russian Mi-26 helicopter carrying troops is hit by a Chechen missile outside of Grozny, killing 118 soldiers.

  • 2001

    Rioting begins in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the country’s economic crisis.

  • The highest barometric pressure ever recorded (1085.6 hPa, 32.06 inHg) occurs at Tosontsengel, Khovsgol, Mongolia.

  • 1998

    President Bill Clinton is impeached. The House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against President Clinton, charging him with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice. Clinton was the second president in American history to be impeached.

  • US House of Representatives begins impeachment hearings against President Bill Clinton.

  • 1996

    Canada’s Lt. Gen. Maurice Baril arrives in Africa to lead a multinational force policing Zaire.

  • 1995

    The Richmond Virginia Planning Commission approves plans to place a memorial statue of tennis professional Arthur Ashe.

  • A truck bomb explodes in front of the federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.

  • 1993

    The FBI ends a 51-day siege by storming the Branch Davidian religious cult headquarters in Waco, Texas.

  • 1991

    German hikers near the Austria-Italy border discover the naturally preserved mummy of a man from about 3,300 BC; Europe’s oldest natural human mummy, he is dubbed Otzi the Iceman because his lower half was encased in ice.

  • Communist hard-liners place President Mikhail Gorbachev under house arrest in an attempted coup that failed two days later.

  • 1990

    Pop duo Milli Vanilli are stripped of their Grammy Award after it is learned they did not sing on their award-winning Girl You Know Its True album.

  • 1989

    The 1975 conviction of the Guilford Four overturned by British courts; the 4 men had been convicted in the 1974 Guilford pub bombings.

  • The battleship USS Iowa‘s number 2 turret explodes, killing sailors.

  • 1988

    British government bans TV and radio interviews with members of Irish political group Sinn Fein and 11 paramilitary groups.

  • Cease fire begins in 8-year war between Iran and Iraq.

  • 1987

    In retaliation for Iranian attacks on ships in the Persian Gulf, the U. S. navy disables three of Iran’s offshore oil platforms.

  • Hungerford Massacre in the UK; armed with semi-automatic rifles and a handgun Michael Ryan kills 16 people before committing suicide. In response, Parliament passed the Firearms (Amendment) Act of 1988 banning ownership of certain classes of firearms.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court voids the Louisiana law requiring schools to teach creationism.

  • New York Governor Mario Cuomo declares that he will not run for president in the next election.

  • 1985

    In the largest civil verdict in US history, Pennzoil wins $10.53 billion judgement against Texaco.

  • US President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, meet for the first time.

  • Parents Music Resource Center formed by Tipper Gore (wife of then-Senator Al Gore) and other political wives lobby for Parental Advisory stickers on music packaging.

  • An earthquake kills thousands in Mexico City.

  • 1984

    British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang sign an agreement that committed Britain to return Hong Kong to China in 1997 in return for terms guaranteeing a 50-year extension of its capitalist system. Hong Kong was leased by China to Great Britain in 1898 for 99 years.

  • 1983

    The New Catholic code expands women’s rights in the Church.

  • 1982

    Four bombs explode at South Africa’s only nuclear power station in Johannesburg.

  • The first documented emoticons, :-) and :-(, posted on Carnegie Mellon University Bulletin Board System by Scott Fahlman.

  • NASA names Sally Ride to be the first woman astronaut.

  • 1981

    U.S. Steel agrees to pay $6.3 million for Marathon Oil.

  • One technician is killed and two others are injured during a routine test on space shuttle Columbia.

  • The U.S. State Department calls El Salvador a “textbook case” of a Communist plot.

  • The United States and Iran sign an accord on a hostage release in Algiers.

  • 1977

    Alex Haley receives a special Pulitzer Prize for his book Roots.

  • 1976

    Jack Dorsey, businessman; co-founder of Twitter.

  • Patty Hearst is released from prison on $1.5 million bail.

  • Gerald R Ford, who had become President of the United States after Richard Nixon resigned, wins Republican Party’s presidential nomination at Kansas City convention.

  • Britain slashes welfare spending.

  • 1975

    Apollo and Soyuz spacecrafts dock in orbit.

  • 1974

    Nelson Rockefeller is sworn in as vice president of the United states after a House of Representatives vote.

  • Jimmy Fallon, actor, comedian, musician, TV host (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon; currently scheduled to replace Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show in 2014).

  • US Ambassador to Cyrus Rodger P. Davies assassinated by a sniper of Greek Cypriot paramilitary group EOKA-B during a demonstration outside the embassy in Nicosia.

  • 1973

    New York stock market takes sharpest drop in 19 years.

  • President Richard Nixon rejects an Appeals Court demand to turn over the Watergate tapes.

  • Carl XVI Gustaf invested as King of Sweden, following the death of his grandfather King Gustaf VI Adolf.

  • The Case-Church Amendment prevents further U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia.

  • 1971

    Russia launches its first Salyut space station.

  • 1970

    First Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts (originally called the Pilton Festival) is held near Pliton, Somerset, England.

  • 1969

    Apollo 12 touches down on the moon.

  • Trey Parker, actor, animator, screenwriter, director, musician; co-creator of animated TV series South Park; co-wrote, co-directed multiple–Tony Award winning musical The Book of Mormon.

  • 1968

    Over 50,000 people march on Washington, D.C. to support the Poor People’s Campaign.

  • Cambodia charges that the United States and South Vietnam have crossed the border and killed three Cambodians.

  • 1967

    Amy Carter, daughter of American president (1977-81) Jimmy Carter, she engaged in social activism in the 1980s.

  • U.S. planes bomb Hanoi for the first time.

  • 1966

    Gail Devers, three-time Olympic champion in track and field (US team); won gold in 1992 (100 m) and two gold medals in 1996 (100 m, 4x100m relay).

  • Lee Ann Womack, Grammy-winning singer, songwriter (“I Hope You Dance”).

  • Robert F. Kennedy suggests the United States offer the Vietcong a role in governing South Vietnam.

  • 1965

    US forces destroy a Viet Cong stronghold near Van Tuong, in South Vietnam.

  • Air Marshall Nguyen Cao Ky becomes South Vietnam’s youngest premier at age 34.

  • Fourteen Vietnam War protesters are arrested for blocking the United Nations’ doors in New York.

  • 1964

    Trisha Yearwood, Grammy and Country Music Association award-winning singer-songwriter (“How Do I Live”), actress (JAG TV series recurring role).

  • U.S. diplomats find at least 40 microphones planted in the American embassy in Moscow.

  • 1963

    Prince Laurent of Belgium.

  • Soviet cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova, becomes the first woman in space.

  • In Costa Rica, President John F. Kennedy and six Latin American presidents pledge to fight Communism.

  • 1962

    Jodie Foster, actress, director, producer; came to fame at age 13 in the 1976 film Taxi Driver; won Academy Award for Best Actress (1989) for The Accused.

  • Evander Holyfield, professional boxer; held Undisputed World Champion title in both cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions; known as “The Real Deal.” In a 1997 bout, challenger Mike Tyson bit off part of one of Holyfield’s ears.

  • 1961

    Kuwait regains complete independence from Britain.

  • 1960

    Canada and the United States agree to undertake a joint Columbia River project to provide hydroelectric power and flood control.

  • Baseball uniforms begin displaying player’s names on their backs.

  • 1959

    Reputed to be the last civil war veteran, Walter Williams, dies at 117 in Houston.

  • 1958

    Nine entertainers refuse to answer a congressional committee’s questions on communism.

  • 1957

    First underground nuclear test takes place in Nevada.

  • The first balloon flight to exceed 100,000 feet takes off from Crosby, Minnesota.

  • 1956

    Ann Curry, journalist; co-anchor of Today, June 9, 2011–June 28, 2012; anchor of Dateline NBC 2005–2011.

  • Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform political group, which opposes all tax increases.

  • 1955

    Argentina’s President Juan Peron is overthrown by rebels.

  • 1954

    General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, commander in chief of Egypt’s armed forces and minister of defense (2012– ); played leading role in July 2013 coup ousting President Mohamed Morsi.

  • Egypt and Britain conclude a pact on the Suez Canal, ending 72 years of British military occupation. Britain agrees to withdraw its 80,000-man force within 20 months, and Egypt agrees to maintain freedom of canal navigation.

  • 1952

    Scandinavian Airlines opens a commercial route from Canada to Europe.

  • Jonathan Frakes, actor (Commander William T Riker, Star Trek: The Next Generation); character given same birth-date but in 2335.

  • Amy Tan, novelist (The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife).

  • 1951

    President Harry S. Truman signs the Universal Military Training and Service Act, which extends Selective Service until July 1, 1955 and lowers the draft age to 18.

  • 1950

    The North Atlantic Council names General Dwight D. Eisenhower as supreme commander of Western European defense forces.

  • The North Korean capital of Pyongyang is captured by U.N. troops.

  • Joan Lunden, journalist, author, co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America for 17 years (1980–1997).

  • Edith Sampson becomes the first African-American representative to the United Nations.

  • Communist Chinese leader Mao recognizes the Republic of Vietnam.

  • 1949

    Prince Ranier III is crowned 30th Monarch of Monaco.

  • The People’s Republic of China is formally proclaimed.

  • Barry Scheck, co-founder of Innocence Project dedicated to using DNA testing to exonerate wrongly convicted people.

  • Twiggy, model known for her thin build and androgynous look .

  • The Soviet People’s Council signs the constitution of the German Democratic Republic, and declares that the North Atlantic Treaty is merely a war weapon.

  • The Chiang Government moves the capital of China to Canton.

  • 1948

    Patrick Simmons, guitarist and vocalist for The Doobie Brothers band.

  • Jeremy Irons, actor; won Tony Award for Best Actor (The Real Thing, 1984) and Academy Award for Best Actor (Reversal of Fortune, 1990).

  • Moscow announces it will withdrawal soldiers from Korea by the end of the year.

  • Tipper Gore, wife of US Vice President Al Gore (1993-2001); co-founder, Parents Music Resource Center, which lobbied to have parental advisory labels placed on the packaging of music containing violent, sexual or drug-use lyrics.

  • 1947

    Tanith Lee, author, screenwriter; first woman to win British Fantasy best novel award (Death’s Master, 1980).

  • Salman Rushdie, British author (Midnight’s Children, The Satanic Verses).

  • Chiang Kai-Shek’s government forces take control of Yenan, the former headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party.

  • The French open a drive on Hue, Indochina.

  • 1945

    Congress confirms Eleanor Roosevelt as U.S. delegate to the United Nations.

  • Jeannie C. Riley, country and gospel singer, whose 1968 hit “Harper Valley PTA” (penned by Tom T. Hall) reached No. 1 on both the Pop and Country charts of Billboard magazine.

  • John Lithgow, actor (The World According to Garp; Terms of Endearment; 3rd Rock from the Sun TV sitcom).

  • William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton, 42nd President of the United States (1993-2001); first president from the Baby Boomer generation.

  • Tobias Wolff, American writer (This Boy’s Life: A Memoir, The Night in Question).

  • Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar human rights activist, Nobel Peace Prize recipient (1991).

  • Adolf Hitler orders a scorched-earth policy for his retreating German armies in the west and east.

  • The Red Army captures Lodz, Krakow, and Tarnow.

  • 1944

    During the Battle of the Bulge, American troops begin pulling back from the twin Belgian cities of Krinkelt and Rocherath in front of the advancing German Army.

  • Peter Tosh, reggae musician; member of The Wailers before establishing a successful solo career.

  • In an effort to prevent a communist uprising in Paris, Charles De Gualle begins attacking German forces all around the city.

  • U.S. Navy carrier-based planes shatter the remaining Japanese carrier forces in the Battle of the Marianas.

  • The German 352nd Infantry Division deploys along the coast of France.

  • The U.S. Eighth Air Force and Royal Air Force begin “Big Week,” a series of heavy bomber attacks against German aircraft production facilities.

  • 1943

    US Marine Corps four-star general James L. Jones Jr.; Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (2003–2006); Commandant of the Marine Corps (1999–2003); National Security Advisor (2009–2010).

  • More than 150 B-17 and 112 B-24 bombers attack Rome for the first time.

  • The Warsaw Ghetto uprising against Nazi rule begins.

  • 1942

    The British advance 40 miles into Burma in a drive to oust the Japanese from the colony.

  • Sharon Olds, poet (The Dead and The Living, The Gold Cell).

  • Calvin Klein, fashion designer; founder of Calvin Klein, Inc..

  • Soviet forces take the offensive at Stalingrad.

  • The Japanese submarine I-36 launches a floatplane for a reconnaissance flight over Pearl Harbor. The pilot and crew report on the ships in the harbor, after which the aircraft is lost at sea.

  • Fred Thompson, US Senator (R-Tenn); minority counsel on Senate Watergate Committee, lobbyist; actor (Law and Order)).

  • A raid on Dieppe, France by British and Canadian commandos is repulsed by the German Army.

  • German U-boats are withdrawn from positions off the U.S. Atlantic coast due to American anti-submarine countermeasures.

  • Port Darwin, on the northern coast of Australia, is bombed by the Japanese.

  • 1941

    Maurice White, singer, songwriter, musician, producer; founder of the band Earth, Wind & Fire; member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame and Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

  • Adolf Hitler assumes the position of commander in chief of the German army.

  • Japanese land on Hong Kong and clash with British troops.

  • Nora Ephron, screenwriter and director.

  • Jane Brody, food and health writer.

  • 1940

    Phil Ochs, singer, songwriter, producer; best known for his protest songs of the 1960s.

  • Paul Williams, composer, singer, songwriter, director, actor (“Evergreen,” “Rainy Days and Mondays”).

  • Jill St John, (Jill Arlyn Oppenheim), Los Angeles California, actress (Diamonds are Forever).

  • Smokey Robinson, American singer and songwriter.

  • 1939

    Connecticut finally approves the Bill of Rights.

  • 1938

    Ted Turner, businessman; founder of Turner Broadcasting System.

  • General Francisco Franco declares victory in the Spanish Civil War.

  • 1937

    Peter Max, illustrator and graphic artist whose use of psychedelic shapes and bright colors made him popular in the 1960s.

  • The town of Bilbao, Spain, falls to the Nationalist forces.

  • In the Soviet Union, the People’s Commissars Council is formed under Molotov.

  • Howard Hughes flies from Los Angeles to New York in seven hours and 22 minutes.

  • 1936

    Dick Cavett, host of TV talk shows The Tonight Show and The Dick Cavett Show.

  • Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca is shot by Franco’s troops after being forced to dig his own grave.

  • The Soviet Union signs a pact of assistance with Mongolia against Japan.

  • 1935

    The National Football League adopts an annual college draft to begin in 1936.

  • The British fire on 20,000 Muslims in India, killing 23.

  • 1934

    General Yakubu “Jack” Gowon, leader of Nigeria 1966-75; his government prevented Biafran secession during the Nigerian Civil War (1967-70).

  • Brian Epstein, music entrepreneur, manager of the The Beatles.

  • 38 million Germans vote to make Adolf Hitler the official successor to President von Hindenburg.

  • The National Archives and Records Administration is established.

  • James Lehrer, broadcast journalist.

  • Shirley Temple appears in her first movie.

  • 1933

    Cicely Tyson, actress, best remembered for her role in The Autobiography of Ms. Jane Pittman.

  • Larry King, journalist and long-time talk show host.

  • David McCallum, actor, musician (The Man from U.N.C.L.E, NCIS TV series).

  • France grants Leon Trotsky political asylum.

  • Etheridge Knight, poet.

  • Phillip Roth, American novelist and short-story writer (Portnoy’s Complaint).

  • 1932

    Robert Reed, actor; best known for his role as Mike Brady on the ABC sitcom The Brady Bunch, he received Emmy nominations for his appearances in Medical Center, Rich Man, Poor Man, and Roots.

  • Mike Royko, journalist, syndicated columnist; won Pulitzer Prize for commentary (1972).

  • 1931

    John Le Carré, English suspense and spy novelist.

  • Willie Shoemaker, record-setting jockey (won 8,833 of 40,350 starts); received Mike Venezia Memorial Award for “extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship” in 1990.

  • The state of Nevada legalizes gambling.

  • The Wickersham Committee issues a report asking for revisions in the dry law, but no repeal.

  • 1930

    Bettye Lane, photographer noted for documenting major events of the feminist, civil rights and gay rights movements in the US.

  • 1928

    Adam West, actor (Batman in campy Batman TV series).

  • 1927

    Helen Carter, singer, member of the pioneering all-female country group Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters.

  • In China, Hankow communists declare war on Chiang Kai-shek.

  • 1926

    Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Politburo in the Soviet Union.

  • Masatoshi Koshiba, Japanese physicist who jointly won the Nobel Prize in Physics (2002); his work focused on subatomic particles known as neutrinos.

  • Dr. Lane of Princeton estimates the earth’s age at one billion years.

  • 1925

    Malcolm X (Malcolm Little), African-American activist.

  • Brent Scrowcroft, Lt. Gen. (USAF), National Security Advisor to President George H.W. Bush.

  • President Calvin Coolidge proposes the phasing out of inheritance tax.

  • 1924

    U.S. troops are rushed to Tegucigalpa as rebel forces take the Honduran capital.

  • 1923

    The Oklahoma State Senate ousts Governor Walton for anti-Ku Klux Klan measures.

  • The French announce the invention of a new gun that has a firing range of 56 miles.

  • 1922

    George McGovern, U.S. senator and presidential candidate.

  • 1921

    Roy Campanella, Hall of Fame baseball star.

  • Gene Roddenberry, television writer and producer, best known for the series Star Trek.

  • Congress sharply curbs immigration, setting a national quota system.

  • 1920

    The U.S. Senate rejects the Versailles Treaty for the second time.

  • 1919

    Malcolm Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine.

  • Pauline Kael, American film critic, author.

  • Mustafa Kemal founds the Turkish National Congress at Ankara and denounces the Treaty of Versailles.

  • The First Pan African Congress meets in Paris, France.

  • John H. Johnson, editor and publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines.

  • 1918

    American troops of the Allied North Russia Expeditionary Force receive their baptism of fire near the town of Seltso against Soviet forces.

  • Congress authorizes Daylight Savings Time.

  • 1917

    Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India from 1967 to 1977 and 1978 to 1984 who was assassinated by her own guards.

  • The first doughnut is fried by Salvation Army volunteer women for American troops in France during World War I.

  • The Adamson Act, eight hour day for railroad workers, is ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Carson McCullers, writer (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter).

  • American troops are recalled from the Mexican border.

  • 1916

    The First Aero Squadron takes off from Columbus, NM to join Gen. John J. Pershing and his Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa in Mexico.

  • 1915

    Edith Piaf, internationally famous French cabaret singer, best remembered for her songs “La Vie en rose” and “Non, je ne regrette rein.”

  • Billy Strayhorn, composer, arranger and pianist who wrote “Take the A Train.”

  • The Allies ask China to join the entente against the Central Powers.

  • Elizabeth Stern, Canadian pathologist who first published a case report linking a specific virus to a specific cancer.

  • British and French warships begin their attacks on the Turkish forts at the mouth of the Dardenelles, in an abortive expedition to seize the straits of Gallipoli.

  • The first German air raids on Great Britain inflict minor casualties.

  • 1914

    The German cruiser Emden captures her thirteenth Allied merchant ship in 24 days.

  • The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) lands in France.

  • 1912

    Glenn T. Seaborg, physicist.

  • Adolf Galland, German Luftwaffe pilot.

  • 1911

    New York receives first Marconi wireless transmission from Italy.

  • William Golding, novelist best known for Lord of the Flies.

  • Merle Oberon, film actress.

  • 1909

    American socialist women denounce suffrage as a movement of the middle class.

  • 1906

    Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet General Secretary of the Communist party and President of the Supreme Soviet from 1964 until 1982.

  • Adolf Eichman, Nazi Gestapo officer.

  • 1905

    100 people drown in the English Channel as the steamer Hilda sinks.

  • Edgar Snow, journalist.

  • Tom Hopkinson, British writer.

  • 1904

    Bergen Evans, educator and author who wrote Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage.

  • John J. Sirica, U.S. Federal Judge who ruled on Watergate issues.

  • 1903

    Henry Louis Gehrig, professional baseball player.

  • The young school teacher, Benito Mussolini, is placed under investigation by police in Bern, Switzerland.

  • Eliot Ness, Treasury agent during Prohibition.

  • The U.S. Senate ratifies the Cuban treaty, gaining naval bases in Guantanamo and Bahia Honda.

  • The Austria-Hungary government decrees a mandatory two year military service.

  • 1902

    Ogden Nash, humorist.

  • Kay Boyle, short story writer (“The White Horses of Vienna”).

  • Smallpox vaccination becomes obligatory in France.

  • The magazine “L’Auto” announces the new Tour de France.

  • 1900

    The French Parliament votes amnesty for everyone involved in the Dreyfus Affair.

  • President Emile Loubet of France pardons Jewish army captain Alfred Dreyfus, twice court-martialed and wrongly convicted of spying for Germany.

  • Laura Hobson, novelist (Gentleman’s Agreement).

  • Richard Hughes, English novelist and playwright (A High Wind in Jamaica).

  • 1899

    Allen Tate, Southern novelist, poet and critic.

  • 1897

    The Great “City Fire” in London.

  • Moe Howard, comic actor, one of the Three Stooges.

  • 1896

    A.J. Cronin, Scottish novelist (The Citadel, The Keys of the Kingdom).

  • 1895

    Lewis Mumford, American writer, urban planner and social critic (The City in History).

  • Johns Hopkins, merchant and philanthropist.

  • 1894

    Rachel Field, novelist and playwright who wrote All This and Heaven Too and And Now Tomorrow.

  • 1893

    New Zealand becomes the first nation to grant women the right to vote.

  • Vladimir Mayakovsky, Russian poet.

  • 1891

    Earl Warren, governor of California, later 14th Supreme Court Chief Justice.

  • 1890

    Ho Chi Minh (Nguyen That Thanh), Vietnamese nationalist and political leader.

  • 1889

    Sarah Gertrude Millina, South African writer (The Dark River, God’s Stepchildren).

  • 1885

    Bulgarians, led by Stefan Stambolov, repulse a larger Serbian invasion force at Slivinitza.

  • The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York City from France.

  • 1883

    Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, fashion designer.

  • 1880

    The Times war correspondent telephones a report of the Battle of Ahmed Khel, the first time news is sent from a field of battle in this manner.

  • 1879

    Lady Nancy Astor (Nancy Witcher Langhorne), the first woman to sit in the British House of Commons.

  • Jim Currie opens fire on the actors Maurice Barrymore and Ben Porter near Marshall, Texas. His shots wound Barrymore and kill Porter.

  • 1877

    Ole Evinrude, inventor of the first successful outboard motor.

  • 1873

    James Reed and two accomplices rob the Watt Grayson family of $30,000 in the Choctaw Nation.

  • Yale, Princeton, Columbia and Rutgers universities draft the first code of football rules.

  • 1871

    Orville Wright, aviation pioneer.

  • 1870

    Bernard Baruch, U.S. representative to the U.N. Atomic Energy Commission.

  • France declares war on Prussia.

  • 1867

    Mexican Emperor Maximilian is executed.

  • 1865

    Charles Mayo, American surgeon, co-founder of the Mayo Clinic.

  • 1864

    At the Battle of Cedar Creek, Va., a narrow victory helps the Union secure the Shenandoah Valley.

  • The USS Kearsarge sinks the CSS Alabama off of Cherbourg, France.

  • The Union and Confederate armies launch their last attacks against each other at Spotsylvania, Virginia.

  • 1863

    Lincoln delivers the “Gettysburg Address” at the dedication of the National Cemetery at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg.

  • In Georgia, the two-day Battle of Chickamauga begins as Union troops under George Thomas clash with Confederates under Nathan Bedford Forrest.

  • Union General Ulysses S. Grant‘s first attack on Vicksburg is repulsed.

  • 1862

    Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest begins tearing up the railroads in Union generals Grant and Rosecrans rear, causing considerable delays in the movement of Union supplies.

  • President Abraham Lincoln outlines his Emancipation Proclamation. News of the document reaches the South.

  • 1861

    Julia Ward Howe writes “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” while visiting Union troops near Washington.

  • Virginians, in what will soon be West Virginia, elect Francis Pierpont as their provisional governor.

  • President Abraham Lincoln orders a blockade of Confederate ports.

  • The Baltimore riots result in four Union soldiers and nine civilians killed.

  • Russian Tsar Alexander II abolishes serfdom.

  • Georgia secedes from the Union.

  • 1860

    Lizzie Borden, teacher, famous murder suspect.

  • William Jennings Bryan, orator, statesman, known as “The Great Communicator.”

  • 1859

    Svante Arrhenius, Swedish chemist, founder of physical chemistry.

  • 1858

    Alice Josephine McLellan Birney, child welfare worker whose ideas evolved into the PTA.

  • A pro-slavery band led by Charles Hamilton executes unarmed Free State men near Marais des Cygnes on the Kansas-Missouri border.

  • 1856

    Senator Charles Sumner speaks out against slavery.

  • 1849

    Alfred von Tirpitz, Prussian admiral who commanded the German fleet in early World War I.

  • 1848

    John “The Pathfinder” Fremont moves out from near Westport, Missouri, on his fourth Western expedition–a failed attempt to open a trail across the Rocky Mountains along the 38th parallel.

  • The first Women’s Rights Convention convenes in Seneca Falls, N.Y, organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

  • Wyatt Earp, U.S. marshal.

  • 1847

    Rescuers finally reach the ill-fated Donner Party in the Sierras.

  • New Mexico Governor Charles Bent is slain by Pueblo Indians in Taos.

  • 1846

    The New York Knickerbocker Club plays the New York Club in the first baseball game at Elysian Field, Hoboken, New Jersey.

  • 1841

    The first railway to span a frontier is completed between Strasbourg and Basel, in Europe.

  • 1839

    Paul Cézanne, French post-Impressionist painter (Card Players, L’Oeuvre).

  • 1834

    Edgar Degas, French impressionist painter.

  • 1833

    Adam Lindsay Gordon, Australian poet.

  • 1832

    Lucretia Rudolph, President James A. Garfield‘s first lady.

  • 1831

    James Garfield, 20th president of the United States.

  • 1828

    In Vienna, Composer Franz Schubert dies of syphilis at age 31.

  • 1824

    English poet Lord George Gordon Byron dies of malaria at age 36 while aiding Greek independence.

  • 1822

    Boston is incorporated as a city.

  • 1821

    The Ottomans defeat the Greeks at the Battle of Dragasani.

  • Sir Richard Burton, English explorer.

  • 1820

    Mary Ashton Livermore, a temperance worker, women’s rights activist, lecturer, and writer. Founded her own suffrage paper, the Agitator, in 1869.

  • 1817

    Tom Taylor, British playwright whose play Our American Cousin was being performed at Ford’s Theater when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.

  • William III, King of the Netherlands.

  • 1814

    Samuel Colt, gunmaker, inventor of the first practical revolver.

  • 1813

    David Livingston, explorer found by Henry Stanley in Africa.

  • 1812

    Napoleon Bonaparte begins his retreat from Moscow.

  • The USS Constitution earns the nickname “Old Ironsides” during the battle off Nova Scotia that saw her defeat the HMS Guerriere.

  • 1809

    Edgar Allan Poe, American author and poet (“Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Raven,” “Annabel Lee.”)

  • 1807

    Vice President Aaron Burr is arrested in Alabama for treason. He is later found innocent.

  • Robert E. Lee, Confederate general during the American Civil War.

  • 1802

    The Spanish reopen New Orleans port to American merchants.

  • 1799

    The Rosetta Stone, a tablet with hieroglyphic translations into Greek, is found in Egypt.

  • 1797

    Sojourner Truth, abolitionist and women’s rights advocate.

  • 1794

    Tadeusz Kosciuszko forces the Russians out of Warsaw.

  • 1793

    French troops recapture Toulon from the British.

  • 1788

    Charles de Barentin becomes lord chancellor of France.

  • Prices plunge on the Paris stock market.

  • 1784

    Leigh Hunt, English journalist, essayist, poet and political radical.

  • 1783

    The first hot-air balloon is sent aloft in Versailles, France with animal passengers including a sheep, rooster and a duck.

  • William Pitt becomes the youngest Prime Minister of England at age 24.

  • 1782

    The Netherlands recognizes the United States.

  • 1781

    Major General Lord Charles Cornwallis surrenders to George Washington and Count de Rochambeau at Yorktown, Va. Cornwallis surrenders 7,157 troops, including sick and wounded, and 840 sailors, along with 244 artillery pieces. Losses in this battle had been light on both sides. The Revolutionary War is effectively ended.

  • 1780

    Near total darkness descends on New England at noon. No explanation is found.

  • 1779

    Americans under Major Henry Lee take the British garrison at Paulus Hook, New Jersey.

  • 1778

    General George Washington‘s troops finally leave Valley Forge after a winter of training.

  • 1777

    American forces under Gen. Horatio Gates meet British troops led by Gen. John Burgoyne at Saratoga Springs, NY.

  • 1775

    The American Revolution begins as fighting breaks out at Lexington, Massachusetts.

  • 1772

    Gustavus III of Sweden eliminates the rule of parties and establishes an absolute monarchy.

  • 1764

    The English Parliament bans the American colonies from printing paper money.

  • 1762

    Johann Gottlieb Fichte, German philosopher.

  • 1739

    England declares war on Spain over borderlines in Florida. The War is known as the War of Jenkins’ Ear because the Spanish coast guards cut off the ear of British seaman Robert Jenkins.

  • 1736

    James Watt, Scottish inventor.

  • 1721

    Roger Sherman, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

  • Tobias George Smollett, satirical author and physician (Roderick Random, Humphrey Clinker).

  • 1702

    On the death of William III of Orange, Anne Stuart, sister of Mary, succeeds to the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland.

  • 1701

    Philip V of Spain makes his ceremonial entry into Madrid.

  • 1692

    Giles Corey is pressed to death for standing mute and refusing to answer charges of witchcraft brought against him. He is the only person in America to have suffered this punishment.

  • Five women are hanged in Salem, Massachusetts after being convicted of the crime of witchcraft. Fourteen more people are executed that year and 150 others are imprisoned.

  • 1689

    Residents of Boston oust their governor, Edmond Andros.

  • 1687

    The French explorer La Salle is murdered by his own men while searching for the mouth of the Mississippi, along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

  • 1683

    Philip V, the first Bourbon King of Spain.

  • Philip V, King of Spain.

  • 1666

    Sarah Kemble Knight, diarist.

  • 1643

    The French army defeats a Spanish army at Rocroi, France.

  • 1635

    Cardinal Richelieu of France intervenes in the great conflict in Europe by declaring war on the Hapsburgs in Spain.

  • 1623

    Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher.

  • 1620

    The Pilgrims sight Cape Cod.

  • 1608

    The Protestant states form the Evangelical Union of Lutherans and Calvinists.

  • 1600

    Charles I, King of England and Ireland.

  • 1589

    William Bradford, governor of Plymouth colony for 30 years.

  • 1588

    The Spanish Armada sets sail from Lisbon, Portugal.

  • 1587

    Sigismund III is chosen to be the king of Poland.

  • 1568

    Defeated by the Protestants, Mary, Queen of Scots, flees to England where Queen Elizabeth imprisons her.

  • 1566

    James I, King of England (1603-1625).

  • 1562

    The French Wars of Religion between the Huguenots and the Catholics begins with the Battle of Dreux.

  • 1545

    King Henry VIII of England watches his flagship, Mary Rose, capsize as it leaves to battle the French.

  • 1544

    Francis, the king of France, and Charles V of Austria sign a peace treaty in Crespy, France, ending a 20-year war.

  • 1539

    Emperor Charles V reaches a truce with German Protestants at Frankfurt, Germany.

  • 1536

    Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII‘s second wife, is beheaded on Tower Green.

  • 1535

    French explorer Jacques Cartier sets sail for North America.

  • 1525

    The Catholic princes of Germany form the Dessau League to fight against the Reformation.

  • 1523

    In Switzerland, Ulrich Zwingli publishes his 67 Articles, the first manifesto of the Zurich Reformation which attacks the authority of the Pope.

  • 1493

    Maximilian succeeds his father Frederick III as Holy Roman Emperor.

  • 1473

    Nicholas Copernicus, Polish astronomer who introduced the idea that the earth revolved around the sun.

  • 1466

    The peace of Torun ends the war between the Teutonic knights and their own disaffected subjects in Prussia.

  • 1448

    The Ottoman Sultan Murat II defeats Hungarian General Janos Hunyadi at Kosovo, Serbia.

  • 1408

    The revolt of Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, against King Henry IV, ends with his defeat and death at Bramham Moor.

  • 1356

    In a landmark battle of the Hundred Years’ War, English Prince Edward defeats the French at Poitiers.

  • 1216

    King John of England dies at Newark and is succeeded by his nine-year-old son Henry.

  • 1154

    Henry II is crowned king of England.

  • 715

    St. Gregory II begins his reign as Catholic Pope.

  • 439

    The Vandals, led by King Gaiseric, take Carthage in North Africa.

  • 240

    Eratosthenes estimates the circumference of Earth using two sticks.