What happened on your birthday?

more events on December 21

  • 2006

    Anti-Syrian Lebanese Minister and MP Pierre Gemayel assassinated in Beirut.

  • 2004

    A suicide bomber attacks the forward operating base next to the US military airfield at Mosul, Iraq, killing 22 people; it is the deadliest suicide attack on US soldiers during the Iraq War.

  • 2003

    Galileo space mission ends as the probe is sent into Jupiter’s atmosphere where it is crushed.

  • 2001

    NATO decides to send a peacekeeping force to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

  • 2000

    Tiger Woods wins golf’s PGA Championship, the first golfer to win 3 majors in a calendar year since Ben Hogan in 1953.

  • 1999

    Earthquake in Taiwan kills more than 2,400, injures over 11,305, and causes $300 billion New Taiwan dollars ($10 billion in US dollars).

  • 1996

    The new Globe theater opens in England.

  • 1995

    The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control.

  • The Dayton Peace Agreement is initialed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio; the agreement, formally ratified in Paris on Dec. 14, ends the three-and-a-half year war between Bosnia and Herzegovina.

  • The U.S. Senate votes against the nomination of Dr. Henry W. Foster for Surgeon General.

  • Federal authorities arrest Timothy McVeigh in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing.

  • 1994

    Popocatepetl, a volcano in Mexico spews forth gases and ash after nearly a half-century of dormancy.

  • North Korea and the US sign an agreement requiring North Korea to halts its nuclear weapons program and agree to international inspections.

  • Ernesto Zedillo wins Mexico’s presidential election.

  • 1993

    The Russian constitutional crisis of 1993 begins when Russian President Boris Yeltsin suspends parliament and invalidates the existing constitution.

  • Congressman Mike Espy of Mississippi is confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

  • 1991

    Armenia granted independence from USSR.

  • Communist hardliners’ coup is crushed in USSR after just 2 days; Latvia declares independence from USSR.

  • In Madras, India, a suicide bomber kills the former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi.

  • 1989

    General Colin Powell is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

  • Voyager 2 begins a flyby of planet Neptune.

  • 1988

    Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York explodes in midair over Lockerbie, Scotland, an hour after departure. All 259 passengers were killed in the explosion caused by a bomb– hidden inside an audio cassette player — that detonated inside the cargo area when the plane was at an altitude of 31,000 feet. A shower of airplane parts falling from the sky also killed 11 Lockerbie residents.

  • Ceasefire in the 8-year war between Iran and Iraq.

  • 1987

    Ashley and Courtney Paris, twins who played in the Women’s National Basketball Association, Ashley for the Los Angeles Sparks, Courtney for the Atlanta Dream.

  • 1986

    500,000 Chinese students gather in Shanghai’s People’s Square calling for democratic reforms, including freedom of the press.

  • The Justice Department begins an inquiry into the National Security Council into what will become known as the Iran-Contra scandal.

  • In Cameroon 2,000 die from poison gas from a volcanic eruption.

  • 1985

    US Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard arrested for spying and passing classified information to Israel; he received a life sentence on Nov. 1, 1987.

  • 1984

    A Soviet submarine crashes into the USS Kitty Hawk off the coast of Japan.

  • 1983

    The United States sends a ten-ship task force to Grenada.

  • 1982

    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

  • John Hinckley Jr. is found not guilty by reason of insanity for attempting to assassinate President Ronald Reagan.

  • 1981

    Belize granted full independence from the United Kingdom.

  • 1980

    President Jimmy Carter announces to the U.S. Olympic Team that they will not participate in the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow as a boycott against Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

  • 1979

    Israel’s Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan resigns over disagreements with Prime Minister Menachem Begin over policies related to the Palestinians.

  • 1978

    Two Soviet cosmonauts set a space endurance record after 96 days in space.

  • 1977

    President Carter urges 65 degrees as the maximum heat in homes to ease the energy crisis.

  • 1976

    Operation Paul Bunyan: after North Korean guards killed two American officers sent to trim a poplar tree along the DMZ on Aug. 18, US and ROK soldiers with heavy support chopped down the tree.

  • Mary Langdon in Battle, East Sussex, becomes Britain’s first firewoman.

  • Leonid Brezhnev and Henry Kissinger meet to discuss Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT).

  • 1975

    The last South Vietnam president, Nguyen Van Thieu, resigns.

  • As North Vietnamese forces advance, Hue and other northern towns in South Vietnam are evacuated.

  • 1974

    A report claims that the use of defoliants by the U.S. has scarred Vietnam for a century.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court decides that pregnant teachers can no longer be forced to take long leaves of absence.

  • 1973

    Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google.

  • 1972

    US orbiting astronomy observatory Copernicus launched.

  • Richard Nixon arrives in Beijing, China, becoming the first U.S. president to visit a country not diplomatically recognized by the U.S.

  • 1971

    Two U.S. platoons in Vietnam refuse their orders to advance.

  • 1970

    U.S. planes conduct widespread bombing raids in North Vietnam.

  • The U.S. National Guard mobilizes to quell disturbances at Ohio State University.

  • 1969

    American draft evaders gather for a holiday dinner in Montreal, Canada.

  • Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain; presently (2013) First Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Supreme Commander, he is heir apparent to the Bahrain kingdom.

  • 1968

    Ricki Lake, actress (China Beach TV series), producer, host of The Ricki Lake Show TV talk show for which she won a Daytime Emmy.

  • Faith Hill, Grammy Award-winning country pop singer (“Breathe”).

  • Soviet forces invade Czechoslovakia because of the country’s experiments with a more liberal government.

  • In Vietnam, the Siege of Khe Sanh begins as North Vietnamese units surround U.S. Marines based on the hilltop headquarters.

  • 1967

    President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the air quality act, allotting $428 million for the fight against pollution.

  • The “March on the Pentagon,” protesting American involvement in Vietnam , draws 50,000 protesters.

  • 1966

    Kiefer Sutherland, British-born Canadian actor, producer, director; best known as Jack Bauer on the 24 TV series, a role that garnered him several awards including an Emmy and Golden Globe.

  • Troy Aikman, pro football quarterback; led Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl victories; member of Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame.

  • Pfc. Milton Lee Olive is awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for bravery during the Vietnam War.

  • 1965

    Four pacifists are indicted in New York for burning draft cards — Thomas C. Cornell, 31, co-secretary of the Catholic Peace Fellowship; Roy Lisker, 27, a volunteer of the Catholic Worker Movement; James E. Wilson, 21, a volunteer at the Catholic Worker Movement and a member of the Fellowship for Reconciliation; and M P, Edelman, a full-time worker for the War Resisters League.

  • The United States launches Ranger 9, last in a series of unmanned lunar explorations.

  • El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcom X) is assassinated in front of 400 people.

  • 1964

    Great Britain’s House of Commons votes to ban the death penalty.

  • Three civil rights workers disappear in Meridian, Mississippi.

  • Carl T. Rowan is named the director of the United States Information Agency (USIA).

  • 1963

    The Turk minority riots in Cyprus to protest anti-Turkish revisions in the constitution.

  • The South Vietnamese Army arrests over 100 Buddhist monks in Saigon.

  • France announces it will withdraw from the NATO fleet in the North Atlantic.

  • Alcatraz Island, the federal penitentiary in San Francisco Bay, California, closes.

  • 1961

    Bob Dylan records his first album in a single day at a cost of $400.

  • Stephen Hillenburg, animator and cartoonist; created character of Spongebob Squarepants.

  • Governor John Patterson declares martial law in Montgomery, Alabama.

  • The French army revolts in Algeria.

  • 1960

    Sirimavo Bandaranaike becomes the first woman prime minister of Ceylon.

  • Brasilia becomes the capital of Brazil.

  • Havana places all Cuban industry under direct control of the government.

  • 1959

    Florence Griffith Joyner, track star, Olympic medalist. Died unexpectedly of heart failure at age thirty-eight on September 21, 1998.

  • The Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opens in Manhattan.

  • Hawaii is admitted into the Union.

  • 1958

    A federal judge allows Little Rock, Arkansas to delay school integration.

  • The Soviet Union calls for a ban on nuclear arms in Baghdad Pact countries.

  • 1957

    Mark Levin, attorney, author; host of syndicated radio program The Mark Levin Show.

  • 1956

    Carrie Fisher, actress, author, screenwriter; best known as Prince Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy and he bestselling novel Postcards from the Edge; daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds.

  • Kim Cattrall, actress (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Sex in the City TV series).

  • A grand jury in Montgomery, Alabama indicts 115 in a Negro bus boycott.

  • 1954

    Chris Evert (Chris Evert-Lloyd), No. 1 women’s pro tennis player in the world for 260 weeks in the 1970s; she reached 34 Grand Slam singles finals, a record unmatched by any other pro, female or male.

  • Archie Griffin, NFL running back; only college player to win two Heisman trophies (Ohio State) and first player to start in four Rose Bowls; member, College Football Hall of Fame.

  • The French sign an armistice with the Viet Minh that ends the war but divides Vietnam into two countries.

  • 1953

    Ivan Stang (Douglass St. Clair Smith), writer, Church of the SubGenius.

  • 1952

    Patti Davis, actress, author; daughter of former US Pres. Ronald Reagan.

  • Joe Strummer, lead singer of British punk band The Clash (“Rock the Casbah”).

  • Robin Williams, American comedian and actor.

  • 1951

    Aslan Aliyevich Maskhadov, rebel leader widely credited for the Chechen victory in First Chechen War (1994-96); President of Chechnya (1997-99).

  • Harry Smith, TV co-anchor (The Early Show and its predecessor CBS Morning Show, 1987–96, 2002–10).

  • The U.S. Eighth Army counterattacks to drive the Communist Chinese and North Koreans out of South Korea.

  • Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall reports that the U.S. military has doubled to 2.9 million since the start of the Korean War.

  • The U. S. Eighth Army launches Operation Killer, a counterattack to push Chinese forces north of the Han River in Korea.

  • Communist troops force the UN army out of Inchon, Korea after a 12-hour attack.

  • 1950

    Ronald McNair, astronaut; died when Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after launch on Jan. 2, 1986.

  • North Korean Premier Kim Il-Sung establishes a new capital at Sinuiju on the Yalu River opposite the Chinese City of Antung.

  • Bill Murray, actor; won Emmy for his work on Saturday Night Live TV series; movies include Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation.

  • Arthur Bremer, attempted assassin who shot segregationist Alabama governor George C. Wallace in May 1972.

  • 1949

    The United Nations grants Libya its independence by 1952.

  • Nicaragua and Costa Rica sign a friendship treaty ending hostilities over their borders.

  • 1948

    George Zimmer, businessman; founded Men’s Wearhouse.

  • Dr. Peter Goldmark demonstrates his “long-playing” record.

  • 1947

    Marsha Norman, playwright (Getting Out, ‘Night Mother).

  • Stephen King, author best known for supernatural and horror tales (The Stand, Salem’s Lot, Joyland).

  • 1946

    An earthquake and tidal wave kill hundreds in Japan.

  • 1945

    General George S. Patton dies at the age of 60 after being injured in a car accident.

  • Goldie Hawn, actress, director, producer; gained public attention as part of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In TV series in the 1960s; won Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Cactus Flower (1969).

  • President Harry S. Truman cancels all contracts under the Lend-Lease Act.

  • Japanese forces on Okinawa surrender to American troops.

  • 1944

    German troops surround the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne in Belgium.

  • Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, pro basketball player known for his flamboyant playing style.

  • Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, US Senate Majority Whip (2007 – ).

  • U.S. troops of the 7th Army, invading Southern France, cross the Meuse River.

  • Peter Weir, film director; among the leaders of Australian New Wave cinema (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Gallipoli); Academy Award nominee (Dead Poets Society, Master and Commander).

  • Jackie DeShannon (Sharon Lee Meyers), singer/songwriter (“Lonely Girl,” “What the World Needs Now”); toured as The Beatles opening act in 1964; inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame, 2010.

  • The Dumbarton Oaks conference, which lays the foundation for the establishment of the United Nations, is held in Washington, D.C.

  • U.S. Army and Marine forces land on Guam in the Marianas.

  • Mary Bourke Robinson, first woman president of Ireland (1990-1997).

  • Hideki Tojo becomes chief of staff of the Japanese army.

  • 1943

    Tess Gallagher, American writer.

  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces that several Doolittle pilots have been executed by Japanese.

  • A Nazi daylight air raid kills 34 in a London school. When the anticipated invasion of Britain failed to materialize in 1940, Londoners relaxed, but soon they faced a frightening new threat.

  • 1942

    Eight American and British officers land from a submarine on an Algerian beach to take measure of Vichy French to the Operation Torch landings.

  • British forces attack the Japanese in Burma.

  • U.S. Marines turn back the first major Japanese ground attack on Guadalcanal in the Battle of Tenaru.

  • German General Erwin Rommel captures the port city of Tobruk in North Africa.

  • In North Africa, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel launches a drive to push the British eastward. While the British benefited from radio-intercept-derived Ultra information, the Germans enjoyed an even speedier intelligence source.

  • 1941

    The German Army cuts off the Crimean Peninsula from the rest of the Soviet Union.

  • France accepts Japan’s demand for military control of Indochina.

  • The first U.S. ship, the S.S. Robin Moor, is sunk by a U-boat.

  • The last Italian post in East Libya, North Africa, falls to the British.

  • The United States lifts the ban on selling arms to the Soviet Union.

  • 1940

    Frank Zappa, bandleader, composer, guitarist, satirist, filmmaker and advocate of creative freedom.

  • Ernest Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls is published.

  • British forces attack German General Erwin Rommel‘s 7th Panzer Division at Arras, slowing his blitzkrieg of France.

  • The Germans begin construction of a concentration camp at Auschwitz.

  • 1939

    As war heats up with Germany, the British war cabinet holds its first meeting in the underground war room in London.

  • Baseball legend Lou Gehrig is forced to quit baseball because of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis–a disease which wastes muscles.

  • Singer Kate Smith records “God Bless America” for Victor Records.

  • 1938

    Carl Brewer, Canadian hockey player; won three Stanley Cups (1962-64) as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

  • Kenny Rogers, singer, actor; one of top-selling artists of all time; voted Favorite Singer of All Time in 1986 poll.

  • 1937

    Jane Fonda, actress, political activist, exercise guru; films include Klute and Coming Home.

  • J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel The Hobbit is published.

  • The women’s airspeed record is set at 292 mph by American pilot Jacqueline Cochran.

  • 1936

    Victor Chang, Chinese Australian cardiac surgeon who pioneered the development of an artificial heart valve.

  • The German army holds its largest maneuvers since 1914.

  • Wilt Chamberlin, four-time MVP for the National Basketball Association and only player to score 100 points in a professional basketball game.

  • 1934

    Cole Porter’s musical Anything Goes premieres at New York’s Alvin Theatre.

  • A New York court rules Gloria Vanderbilt unfit for custody of her daughter.

  • 1933

    John Gardner, poet and novelist (Grendel, October Light).

  • The League of Nations rejects Japanese terms for settlement with China.

  • 1932

    Elaine May, comedy writer.

  • 1930

    An international arms control meeting opens in London.

  • 1929

    Marilyn French, novelist and critic (The Women’s Room).

  • Ursula K. Le Guin, science fiction writer (The Left Hand of Darkness)

  • Fighting between China and the Soviet Union breaks out along the Manchurian border.

  • 1928

    President Calvin Coolidge signs the Boulder Dam bill.

  • Judith Raskin, soprano.

  • President Calvin Coolidge presents the Congressional Medal of Honor to Charles Lindbergh, a captain in the US Army Air Corps Reserve, for making the first solo trans-Atlantic flight. On June 11, 1927, Lindbergh had received the first Distinguished Flying Cross ever awarded.

  • 1927

    Police turn machine guns on striking Colorado mine workers, killing five and wounding 20.

  • Carl Stokes, the first black mayor of Cleveland, Ohio.

  • Charles Lindbergh lands in Paris completing the first solo air crossing of the Atlantic.

  • Erma Bombeck, author and humorist (The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank).

  • 1926

    Robert Creeley, poet.

  • Elizabeth II, queen of England.

  • 1925

    John Scopes is found guilty for teaching evolution in Dayton, Tenn., and is fined $100.

  • Benny Hill, British comedian.

  • 1923

    John Mortimer, British barrister and playwright (Rumpole of the Bailey).

  • 1922

    Judy Holliday, actress.

  • 1921

    Billy Taylor, jazz pianist.

  • Andrei Sakharov, Russian physicist.

  • J.D. Rockefeller pledges $1 million for the relief of Europe’s destitute.

  • 1920

    Stan “The Man” Musial, Hall of Fame baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals.

  • Isaac Stern, Russian-born violinist.

  • Robert S. Johnson, American World War II fighter ace who shot down 27 German planes.

  • 1919

    The British House of Lords ratifies the Versailles Treaty.

  • Germans scuttle their own fleet at Scapa Flow, Scotland.

  • The German Krupp plant begins producing guns under the U.S. armistice terms.

  • 1918

    Kurt Waldheim, controversial fourth Secretary General of the United Nations.

  • The last German troops leave Alsace-Lorraine, France.

  • German fighter ace Baron von Richthofen, “The Red Baron,” is shot down and killed.

  • The Germans launch the ‘Michael’ offensive, better remembered as the First Battle of the Somme.

  • 1917

    German ace Rudolf von Eschwege is killed over Macedonia when he attacks a booby-trapped observation balloon packed with explosives.

  • Dizzy Gillespie, jazz trumpeter.

  • The first U.S. troops enter the front lines at Sommerviller under French command.

  • Raymond Burr, actor (Perry Mason).

  • 1916

    Bill Carlisle, the infamous ‘last train robber,’ robs a train in Hanna, Wyoming.

  • The Battle of Verdun begins with an unprecedented German artillery barrage of the French lines.

  • 1915

    Stonehenge is sold by auction for 6,600 pounds sterling ($11,500) to a Mr. Chubb, who buys it as a present for his wife. He presents it to the British nation three years later.

  • Italy declares war on Turkey.

  • Germany uses poison gas for the first time in warfare in the Argonne Forest.

  • 1914

    U.S. Marines occupy Vera Cruz, Mexico. They will stay six months.

  • 1912

    Chuck Jones, animator and director of Warner Brothers cartoons.

  • Mary McCarthy, American novelist (Memories of Catholic Girlhood, The Group).

  • Marcel Camus, French film director (Black Orpheus).

  • 1911

    Josh Gibson, baseball player for the Negro Leagues, Home-Run King.

  • Suffragettes storm Parliament in London. All are arrested and all choose prison terms.

  • Marshall McLuhan, communication theorist (The Medium is the Message).

  • Albert Hirschfeld, illustrator.

  • Porforio Diaz, the ex-president of Mexico, exiles himself to Paris.

  • 1910

    Over 2.5 million plague victims are reported in the An-Hul province of China.

  • Mark Twain dies at the age of 75.

  • The U.S. Senate grants ex-President Teddy Roosevelt an annual pension of $10,000.

  • Japan rejects the American proposal to neutralize ownership of the Manchurian Railway.

  • 1909

    Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, artist.

  • Rollo May, psychologist.

  • 1908

    Elizabeth G. Speare, writer of historical novels for children.

  • Mulai Hafid again proclaims himself the true sultan of Morocco.

  • Frenchman Henri Farman carries a passenger in a bi-plane for the first time.

  • 1907

    Cunard liner Mauritania sets a new speed record for steamship travel, 624 nautical miles in a one day run.

  • W.H. Auden, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (The Age of Anxiety).

  • 1906

    In San Juan, President Theodore Roosevelt pledges citizenship for Puerto Rican people.

  • French Captain Alfred Dreyfus is vindicated of his earlier court-martial for spying for Germany.

  • Ohio passes a law that prohibits hazing by fraternities.

  • 1905

    Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher and existentialist.

  • The Mukden campaign of the Russo-Japanese War, begins.

  • 1904

    Coleman Hawkins, jazz saxophonist.

  • Motorized omnibuses replace horse-drawn cars in Paris.

  • Panamanians clash with U.S. Marines in Panama in a brief uprising.

  • Exiled Nez Perce leader Chief Joseph dies of a “broken heart”.

  • William “Count” Basie, American band leader and composer.

  • 1902

    Allen Lake, founded Penguin Books in 1935.

  • Marcel Breuer, Hungarian-born architect.

  • 1900

    Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing offers amnesty to Filipinos rebelling against American rule.

  • 1899

    Ernest Hemingway, American novelist and short-story writer.

  • Hart Crane, poet (The Bridge).

  • 1898

    Rene Magritte, surrealist painter (Golconda).

  • Armand Hammer, American entrepreneur and industrialist.

  • 1896

    Mary Church Terrell founds the National Association of Colored Women in Washington, D.C.

  • 1895

    Juan de la Cierva, aeronautical engineer who invented the autogyro.

  • 1893

    Andrés Segovia, Spanish classical guitarist.

  • 1892

    Reinhold Niebuhr, Protestant theologian.

  • 1887

    Britain celebrates the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria.

  • 1885

    Raoul Lufbery, French-born American fighter pilot of World War I.

  • The Washington Monument is dedicated in Washington, D.C.

  • 1882

    Rockwell Kent, artist, book illustrator.

  • 1881

    Frederick Dick, physician.

  • The American Red Cross is founded by Clara Barton.

  • 1880

    Arnold Lucius Gesell, psychologist and pediatrician.

  • 1879

    Joseph Stalin, Communist leader of the Soviet Union.

  • After 14 months of testing, Thomas Edison first demonstrates his electric lamp, hoping to one day compete with gaslight.

  • 1878

    Glenn Hammond Curtiss, aviation pioneer.

  • The world’s first telephone book is issued by the New Haven Connecticut Telephone Company containing the names of its 50 subscribers.

  • 1873

    The James Gang robs a train in Adair, Iowa.

  • 1872

    The U.S. Naval Academy admits John H. Conyers, the first African American to be accepted.

  • 1869

    Florenz Ziegfeld, producer, creator of Ziegfeld Follies.

  • Albert Kahn, architect who originated modern factory design.

  • 1867

    Many leaders of the Kiowa, Comanche and Kiowa-Apache sign a peace treaty at Medicine Lodge, Kan. Comanche Chief Quanah Parker refused to accept the treaty terms.

  • Frances Densmore, ethnomusicologist.

  • 1866

    Indians, led by Red Cloud and Crazy Horse, kill Captain William J. Fetterman and 79 other men who had ventured out from Fort Phil Kearny to cut wood.

  • H.G. Wells, science fiction writer whose works include The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds.

  • Charles Jean Henri Nicolle, bacteriologist, discovered that typhus fever is transmitted by body louse.

  • 1865

    Wild Bill Hickok kills gunman Dave Tutt in Springfield, Missouri, in what is regarded as the first formal quick-draw duel.

  • Abraham Lincoln‘s funeral train leaves Washington.

  • The Battle of Bentonville, N.C. ends, marking the last Confederate attempt to stop Union General William Sherman.

  • 1864

    From Georgia, Confederate General John B. Hood launches the Franklin-Nashville Campaign into Tennessee.

  • Confederate General A.P. Hill attacks Union troops south of Petersburg, Va., at the Weldon railroad. His attack is repulsed, resulting in heavy Confederate casualties.

  • Max Weber, German sociologist and political economist.

  • 1863

    Union troops defeated at Chickamauga seek refuge in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is then besieged by Confederate troops.

  • Confederate raiders under William Quantrill strike Lawrence, Kansas, leaving 150 civilians dead.

  • In the second day of fighting, Confederate troops fail to dislodge a Union force at the Battle of LaFourche Crossing.

  • The siege of the Confederate Port Hudson, Louisiana, begins.

  • 1862

    The U.S. Congress authorizes the Medal of Honor to be awarded to Navy personnel who have distinguished themselves by their gallantry in action.

  • Union and Confederate forces skirmish at the Chickahominy Creek.

  • Congress establishes the U.S. Mint.

  • The Texas Rangers win a Confederate victory in the Battle of Val Verde, New Mexico.

  • 1861

    The Battle of Ball’s Bluff, Va. begins, a disastrous Union defeat which sparks Congressional investigations.

  • In the first major battle of the Civil War, Confederate forces defeat the Union Army along Bull Run near Manassas Junction, Virginia. The battle becomes known as Manassas by the Confederates, while the Union calls it Bull Run.

  • 1860

    Willem Einthoven, physiologist, inventor of the electrocardiogram.

  • 1859

    Henry Ossawa Tanner, African-American painter.

  • 1858

    The first of a series of debates begins between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. Douglas goes on to win the Senate seat in November, but Lincoln gains national visibility for the first time.

  • British forces in India lift the siege of Lucknow, ending the Indian Mutiny.

  • 1856

    Grace Hoadley Dodge, philanthropist, helped organize the YWCA.

  • Lawrence, Kansas is captured and sacked by pro-slavery forces.

  • 1855

    Franklin Colman, a pro-slavery Missourian, guns down Charles Dow, a Free Stater from Ohio, near Lawrence, Kansas.

  • 1851

    Emperor Tu Duc orders that Christian priests are to put to death.

  • 1849

    Oscar Hertwig, embryologist.

  • In the Second Sikh War, Sir Hugh Gough’s well placed guns win a victory over a Sikh force twice the size of his at Gujerat on the Chenab River, assuring British control of the Punjab for years to come.

  • 1844

    Henri Rousseau, French painter.

  • 1838

    John Muir, naturalist.

  • 1837

    Under a flag of truce during peace talks, U.S. troops siege the Indian Seminole Chief Osceola in Florida.

  • 1836

    General Sam Houston defeats Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. Texas wins independence from Mexico.

  • 1834

    C. H. McCormick patents the first practical reaper.

  • 1833

    Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite and founder of the Nobel Prizes.

  • 1832

    The Democratic party holds its first national convention.

  • 1831

    Nat Turner leads a slave revolt in Southampton County, Virginia that kills close to 60 whites.

  • 1828

    The first issue of the Cherokee Phoenix is printed, both in English and in the newly invented Cherokee alphabet.

  • 1824

    Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Confederate General.

  • 1821

    Charles Scribner, founded the publishing firm which became Charles Scribner’s Sons and also founded Scribner’s magazine.

  • 1816

    Charlotte Bronte, novelist (Jane Eyre).

  • 1808

    Napoleon Bonaparte‘s General Junot is defeated by Wellington at the first Battle of the Peninsular War at Vimeiro, Portugal.

  • 1806

    Benito Juarez, President of Mexico.

  • Lewis and Clark begin their trip home after an 8,000 mile trek of the Mississippi basin and the Pacific Coast.

  • 1805

    Vice Admiral and Viscount Horatio Nelson wins his greatest victory over a Franco-Spanish fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar, fought off Cape Trafalgar, Spain. Nelson is fatally wounded in the battle, but lives long enough to see victory.

  • 1804

    Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of Great Britain.

  • 1801

    John Henry Newman, English theologian and writer.

  • 1798

    Jules Michelet, French historian who wrote the 24-volume Historie de France.

  • Napoleon Bonaparte defeats the Arab Mameluke warriors at the Battle of the Pyramids.

  • 1797

    Trinidad, West Indies surrenders to the British.

  • 1794

    France surrenders the island of Corsica to the British.

  • Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Mexican Revolutionary.

  • 1793

    The French King Louis XVI is guillotined for treason.

  • 1791

    The French royal family is arrested in Varennes.

  • 1790

    Samuel Slater opens the first cotton mill in the United States (in Rhode Island).

  • The Tricolor is chosen as the official flag of France.

  • Paris is divided into 48 zones.

  • Joseph Guillotine proposes a new, more humane method of execution: a machine designed to cut off the condemned person’s head as painlessly as possible.

  • 1789

    North Carolina ratifies the Constitution, becoming the 12th state to do it.

  • 1788

    Almost the entire city of New Orleans, Louisiana, is destroyed by fire.

  • 1785

    Chippewa, Delaware, Ottawa and Wyandot Indians sign the treaty of Fort McIntosh, ceding present-day Ohio to the United States.

  • 1783

    Jean de Rozier and the Marquis d’Arlandes make the first free-flight ascent in a balloon to over 500 feet in Paris.

  • 1782

    Friedrich Froebel, founder of kindergarten.

  • 1775

    As troubles with Great Britain increase, colonists in Massachusetts vote to buy military equipment for 15,000 men.

  • 1773

    Pope Clement XIV abolishes the Jesuit order.

  • 1772

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English poet (“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” “Kubla Khan”).

  • 1764

    William Sydney Smith, British seaman during the Napoleonic Wars.

  • 1760

    Katsushika Hokusai, Japanese printmaker.

  • 1756

    John Loudon McAdam, engineer who invented and gave his name to macadamized roads.

  • 1745

    A Scottish Jacobite army commanded by Lord George Murray routs the Royalist army of General Sir John Cope at Prestonpans.

  • 1744

    The British blockade of Toulon is broken by 27 French and Spanish warships attacking 29 British ships.

  • 1737

    Ethan Allen, American Revolutionary commander.

  • 1718

    The Treaty of Passarowitz is signed by Austria, Venice and the Ottoman Empire.

  • 1711

    Russia and Turkey sign the Treaty of Pruth, ending the year-long Russo-Turkish War.

  • 1708

    French forces seize control of the eastern shore of Newfoundland after winning a victory at St. John’s.

  • 1694

    Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet), French philosopher, historian, poet, dramatist and novelist.

  • 1689

    William III and Mary II are crowned joint king and queen of England, Scotland and Ireland.

  • 1685

    Johann Sebastian Bach, German composer.

  • 1675

    Christopher Wren begins work on rebuilding St. Paul’s Cathedral in London after the Great Fire.

  • 1673

    James Needham returns to Virginia after exploring the land to the west, which would become Tennessee.

  • 1667

    The Peace of Breda ends the Second Anglo-Dutch War and cedes Dutch New Amsterdam to the English.

  • The Peace of Breda ends the Second Anglo-Dutch War as the Dutch cede New Amsterdam to the English.

  • 1649

    The Maryland Toleration Act is passed, allowing all people freedom of worship.

  • 1648

    In Maryland, the first woman lawyer in the colonies, Margaret Brent, is denied a vote in the Maryland Assembly.

  • 1631

    Michael Romanov, son of the Patriarch of Moscow, is elected Russian Tsar.

  • 1620

    The Pilgrims land at or near Plymouth Rock.

  • Leaders of the Mayflower expedition frame the “Mayflower Compact,” designed to bolster unity among the settlers.

  • Present-day Martha’s Vineyard is first sighted by Captain Bartholomew Gosnold.

  • 1617

    Pocahontas (Rebecca Rolfe) dies of either small pox or pneumonia while in England with her husband, John Rolfe.

  • 1600

    Tokugawa Ieyasu defeats his enemies in battle and affirms his position as Japan’s most powerful warlord.

  • 1595

    The Jesuit poet Robert Southwell is hanged for “treason,” being a Catholic.

  • 1589

    The Duke of Mayenne of France is defeated by Henry IV at the Battle of Arques.

  • 1556

    Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is burned at the stake at Oxford after retracting the last of seven recantations that same day.

  • 1536

    The Reformation is officially adopted in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • 1529

    The Pope names Henry VIII of England Defender of the Faith after defending the seven sacraments against Luther.

  • 1527

    Philip II, king of Spain and Portugal.

  • 1526

    Mongol Emperor Babur annihilates the Indian Army of Ibrahim Lodi.

  • 1525

    Estevao Gomes returns to Portugal after failing to find a clear waterway to Asia.

  • 1520

    Suleiman (the Magnificent), son of Selim, becomes Ottoman sultan in Constantinople.

  • 1506

    Christopher Columbus dies.

  • 1471

    King Henry VI is killed in the Tower of London. Edward IV takes the throne.

  • 1403

    Henry IV defeats the Percys in the Battle of Shrewsbury in England.

  • 1327

    Edward II of England is murdered by order of his wife.

  • 1189

    Philip Augustus, Henry II of England and Frederick Barbarossa assemble the troops for the Third Crusade.

  • 1129

    The warrior Yoritomo is made Shogun without equal in Japan.

  • 1096

    Seljuk Turks at Chivitot slaughter thousands of German crusaders.

  • 996

    Sixteen year old Otto III is crowned the Roman Emperor.

  • 753

    Traditional date of the foundation of Rome.

  • 630

    Heraclius restores the True Cross, which he has recaptured from the Persians.

  • 454

    In Italy, Aetius, the supreme army commander, is murdered in Ravenna by Valentinian III, the emperor of the West.

  • 427

    Plato, Greek philosopher.

  • 68

    Vespian, a gruff-spoken general of humble origins, enters Rome and is named emperor by the Senate.

  • 43

    Marcus Antonius is defeated by Octavian near Modena, Italy.