What happened on your birthday?

more events on December 22

  • 2015

    The Republic of Ireland, long known as a conservative, predominantly Catholic country, becomes the first nation in the world to legalize gay marriage in a public referendum.

  • 2011

    An EF5 tornado kills at least 158 people in Joplin, Missouri, the largest death toll from a tornado since record-keeping began in 1950.

  • 2010

    US President Barack Obama signs a law officially repealing the 17-year-old policy known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell”; the new law permits homosexuals to serve openly in the US military.

  • Following a 200-year search for the tomb of Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus his remains are reburied in Frombork Cathedral

  • 2008

    Some 1.1 billion gallons of coal fly ash slurry flood part of Tennessee after an ash dike breaks at a solid waste containment area in Roane County, in the eastern part of the state.

  • Hamas and Israel begin a cease-fire following eight days of violence and 150 deaths.

  • 2007

    Most runs scored by any team in modern MLB history as the Texas Rangers thump the Baltimore Orioles 30-3.

  • 2005

    Angela Merkel becomes the first woman ever to be Chancellor of Germany; the former research scientist had previously been the first secretary-general of the Christian Democratic Union.

  • Tropical Storm Alpha forms, making 2005 the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record with 22 named storms.

  • Art heist: a version of The Scream and Madonna, two paintings by Edvard Munch, are stolen at gunpoint from a museum in Oslo, Norway.

  • 2004

    The Orange Revolution, protesting a primary election believed to have been rigged, begins in the Ukraine. On Dec 26 Ukraine’s Supreme Court orders a revote..

  • Fahrenheit 9-11, directed by Michael Moore, becomes the first documentary ever to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

  • An EF4 tornado with a record-setting width of 2.5 miles wipes out Hallam, Nebraska, killing 1 person.

  • 2003

    Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is suspended for refusing to comply with federal court order to remove the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building’s lobby.

  • 2001

    A passenger on American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris, Richard Reid, unsuccessfully attempts to destroy the plane in flight by igniting explosives he’d hidden in his shoes.

  • President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, takes over an interim government.

  • 1999

    Maurice Papon, formerly an official in the Vichy France government during World War II, is jailed for crimes against humanity for his role in deporting more than 1,600 Jews to concentration camps.

  • 1997

    Hussein Farrah Aidid relinquishes his disputed title of President of Somalia, an important step toward reconciliation in the country.

  • 1995

    The first feature-length film created entirely with computer generated imagery – Toy Story – premiers.

  • During 11-day siege at at Ruby Ridge, Id., FBI HRT sniper Lon Horiuchi kills Vicki Weaver while shooting at another target.

  • Nigeria’s former military ruler Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo and his chief deputy are charged with conspiracy to overthrow Gen. Sani Abacha’s military government.

  • In Africa, Rwandan troops kill thousands of Hutu refugees in Kibeho.

  • 1992

    What became known as the Archives of Terror are discovered in a police station near the capital of Paraguay. The records detail tens of thousands of Latin Americans who had been secretly imprisoned, tortured and / or killed by the security services of several South American governments.

  • Johnny Carson’s final appearance on The Tonight Show on NBC, after 30 years as the program’s host.

  • 1991

    Huntington Library makes the Dead Sea Scrolls available to the public for the first time.

  • 1990

    Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher confirms the end of her premiership by withdrawing from the leadership election of the Conservative Party.

  • In the Middle East, North and South Yemen merge to become a single state.

  • A jury in Anchorage, Alaska, finds Captain Hazelwood not guilty in the Valdez oil spill.

  • 1989

    The division of East and West Germany effectively ends when the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin reopens for the first time in nearly 30 years.

  • The Romanian government of Nicolae Ceausescu is overthrown, ending 42 years of communist rule.

  • Lebanese President Rene Moawad killed when a bomb explodes near his motorcade in West Beirut.

  • First complete ring around Neptune discovered.

  • 1988

    First prototype of B-2 Spirit strategic stealth bomber unveiled for public viewing.

  • 1986

    Justice Department finds memo in Lt. Col. Oliver North’s office on the transfer of $12 million to Contras of Nicaragua from Iranian arms sale.

  • Keiko Kitagawa, Japanese model and actress (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift).

  • 1985

    Baseball player Pete Rose passes Hank Aaron as National League run scoring leader with 2,108.

  • 1984

    Scarlett Johansson, actress, model (North, Lost in Translation).

  • Britain and the U.S. send warships to the Persian Gulf following an Iranian offensive against Iraq.

  • 1983

    Benigno Aquino, the only real opposition on Ferdinand Marcos’ reign as president of the Philippines, is gunned down at Manila Airport.

  • 1982

    President Ronald Reagan calls for defense-pact deployment of the MX missile.

  • President Ronald Reagan formally links progress in arms control to Soviet repression in Poland.

  • 1981

    The US Federal Labor Relations authority decertified the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) from representing federal air traffic controllers, as a result of a PATCO strike in August that was broken by the Reagan Administration.

  • Mark David Chapman pleads guilty to killing John Lennon.

  • 1980

    Eighteen Communist Party secretaries in 49 provinces are ousted from Poland.

  • The Iran-Iraq War begins as Iraq invades Iran; lasting until August 1988, it was the longest conventional war of the 20th century.

  • The Soviet Union announces a partial withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan.

  • 1979

    Abu Hassan, the alleged planner of the 1972 Munich raid, is killed by a bomb in Beirut.

  • 1978

    Papal inauguration of Pope John Paul II; born Karol Jozef Wojtyla. The Polish-born Wojtyla was the first non-Italian pope since Pope Adrian VI died in 1523; he would become the second-longest serving pope in the history of the Papacy and exercise considerable influence on events of the later portion of the 20th century.

  • 1976

    Barbara Walters becomes the first female nightly news anchor on network television.

  • 1975

    Sara Jane Moore attempts to assassinate US President Gerald Ford, the second attempt on his life in less than three weeks.

  • US President Gerald Ford survives second assassination attempt in 17 days, this one by Sarah Jane Moore in San Francisco, Cal.

  • 1974

    The Viet Cong propose a new truce with the United States and South Vietnam, which includes general elections.

  • 1973

    Great Britain announces a plan for moderate Protestants and Catholics to share power in Northern Ireland.

  • Skylab astronauts splash down safely in the Pacific after a record 28 days in space.

  • 1972

    Operation Linebacker I, the bombing of North Vietnam with B-52 bombers, ends.

  • International Olympic Committee votes 36–31 with 3 abstentions to ban Rhodesia from the games because of the country’s racist policies.

  • Ceylon becomes the Republic of Sri Lanka as its constitution is ratified.

  • The U.S. Senate passes the Equal Rights Amendment. The amendment fails to achieve ratification.

  • 1971

    Princess Martha Louise of Norway.

  • FBI arrests members of The Camden 28, an anti-war group, as the group is raiding a draft office in Camden, NJ.

  • Bolivian military coup: Col. Hugo Banzer Suarez ousts leftist president, Gen. Juan Jose Torres and assumes power.

  • Communist forces shell Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the first time.

  • 1970

    President Richard M. Nixon signs a bill giving the District of Columbia representation in the U.S. Congress.

  • Giada De Laurentiis, chef and television host.

  • President Richard Nixon signs the 26th amendment, lowering the voting age to 18.

  • 1969

    Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants becomes the first baseball player since Babe Ruth to hit 600 home runs.

  • Hurricane Camille hits US Gulf Coast, killing 256 and causing $1.421 billion in damages.

  • 1968

    Rich Lowry, editor of National Review.

  • First papal visit to Latin America; Pope Paul VI arrives in Bogota.

  • President Lyndon Johnson names General William Westmoreland as Army Chief of Staff.

  • 1967

    The children’s program Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood premiers.

  • Operation Junction City becomes the largest U.S. operation in Vietnam.

  • 1966

    The United States announces the allocation of 900,000 tons of grain to fight the famine in India.

  • The Soviet Union launches Luna 12 for orbit around the moon

  • B-52 bombers hit the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Vietnam for the first time.

  • 1965

    The EF-105F Wild Weasel makes its first kill over Vietnam.

  • 1964

    Almost 40,000 people pay tribute to John F. Kennedy at Arlington Cemetery on the first anniversary of his death.

  • Jean Paul Satre declines the Nobel Prize for Literature.

  • 1963

    Lee Harvey Oswald assassinates President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. Lyndon B. Johnson becomes president.

  • Moscow warns the U.S. that an attack on Cuba would mean war.

  • 1962

    U.S. reveals Soviet missile sites in Cuba. President Kennedy orders a naval and air blockade on further shipment of military equipment to Cuba. Following a confrontation that threatens nuclear war, Kennedy and Khrushchev agree on October 28 on a formula to end the crisis. On November 2 Kennedy reports that Soviet missile bases in Cuba are being dismantled.

  • The world’s first nuclear-powered passenger-cargo ship, NS Savannah, completes its maiden voyage from Yorktown, Va., to Savannah, Ga.

  • OAS (Secret Army Organization) gunmen unsuccessfully attempt to assassinate French president Charles de Gaulle; the incident inspires Frederick Forsyth’s novel, The Day of the Jackal.

  • A Soviet bid for new Geneva arms talks is turned down by the U.S.

  • 1961

    Mariel Hemingway, actress (Lipstick, Manhattan).

  • President John Kennedy signs a congressional act establishing the Peace Corps.

  • 1959

    Saul Perlmutter, astrophysicist; shared 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for providing evidence the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

  • 1958

    Jamie Lee Curtis, actress (Halloween, Trading Places, A Fish Called Wanda), author (Today I Feel Silly, and Other Moods That Make My Day).

  • Joan Jett, singer, songwriter, musician, producer, actress (“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”).

  • 1956

    Debby Boone, multiple Grammy Award–winning singer, author, actress; “You Light Up My Life” set a a record in 1977 with 10 weeks at the No. 1 spot on music charts.

  • Incumbent US President Dwight D. Eisenhower & Vice President Richard Nixon renominated by Republican convention in San Francisco.

  • The battle for Algiers begins as three buildings in The Casbah are blown up.

  • 1955

    The prototype of the F-105 Thunder Chief makes its maiden flight.

  • Congress orders all U.S. coins to bear the motto “In God We Trust.”

  • 1954

    As a result of the Geneva accords granting Communist control over North Vietnam, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorizes a crash program to train the South Vietnamese Army.

  • The Senate Army-McCarthy hearings begin. They are broadcast on television.

  • The London gold market reopens for the first time since 1939.

  • U.S. is to install 60 Thor nuclear missiles in Britain.

  • 1952

    Jeff Goldblum, actor (Jurassic Park; Independence Day).

  • Devil’s Island‘s penal colony is permanently closed.

  • French forces evacuate Hoa Binh in Indochina.

  • 1951

    Major-General Gerald Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster, owner of the property company Grosvenor Group.

  • Charles de Lint, author; helped popularize the urban fantasy genre; received World Fantasy Award (2000) for the collection Moonlight and Vines.

  • The Atomic Energy Commission discloses information about the first atom-powered airplane.

  • 1950

    Steven Van Zandt, singer, songwriter, musician, producer (E Street Band, Steel Mill, Southside Johnny & The Ashbury Jukes) and actor (The Sopranos).

  • I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney during the administration of Pres. George W. Bush; sentenced to 30 months for felony convictions, his sentence was commuted by Pres. Bush.

  • 1949

    Robin and Maurice Gibb, singers, songwriters; co-founders of the Bee Gees band.

  • David Pietrusza, historian, author (1920, 1960, 1948).

  • James “Hoss” Cartwright, US Marine Corps general; commander of US Strategic Command 2004-07.

  • 1948

    Ho Chi Minh’s Democratic Republic of Vietnam requests admittance to the UN.

  • Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate Pres. Gerald Ford on Sept. 5, 1975.

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber, British composer (The Phantom of the Opera, Cats)

  • The United States announces a land reform plan for Korea.

  • 1947

    A Douglas C-54 Skymaster makes the first automatic pilot flight over the Atlantic.

  • Donna Godchaux, singer with The Grateful Dead and Heart of Gold Band.

  • The Truman Doctrine brings aid to Turkey and Greece.

  • 1946

    Rick Nielsen, musician, vocalist, primary songwriter of the band Cheap Trick.

  • Paul Schrader, screenwriter and film director (Taxi Driver).

  • First U.S. built rocket to leave the Earth’s atmosphere reaches a 50-mile height.

  • 1945

    Diane Sawyer, journalist; anchor of ABC World News.

  • The United States recognizes Tito’s government in Yugoslavia.

  • President Harry Truman accepts U.S. Secretary of War Stimson’s recommendation to designate the war World War II.

  • Conflict in Vietnam begins when a group of Free French parachute into southern Indochina, in response to a successful coup by communist guerilla Ho Chi Minh.

  • Soviet troops land at Port Arthur and Dairen on the Kwantung Peninsula in China.

  • 1944

    During the Battle of the Bulge, General Anthony McAuliffe responds to a German surrender request with a one word answer: “Nuts!”

  • President Franklin Roosevelt signs the “GI Bill of Rights” to provide broad benefits for veterans of the war.

  • Allies launch major attack against the Japanese in Hollandia, New Guinea.

  • Jonathan Demme, film director (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia).

  • U.S. troops under Major General John P. Lucas make an amphibious landing behind German lines at Anzio, Italy, just south of Rome.

  • 1943

    Billie Jean King, U.S. tennis player and women’s rights pioneer.

  • Masatoshi Shima, Japanese computer scientist who helped develop the Intel 4004, the world’s first commercial microprocessor.

  • Palermo, Sicily surrenders to General George S. Patton‘s Seventh Army.

  • Betty Williams, Northern Irish political activist who won of the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Louise Gluck, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet.

  • Axis forces pull out of Tripoli for Tunisia, destroying bases as they leave.

  • 1942

    The Soviets drive German troops back 15 miles at the Don River.

  • Soviet troops complete the encirclement of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad.

  • Annette Funicello, actress, singer; one of the most popular Mouseketeers on the original Micky Mouse Club TV series.

  • Kathy Lennon, singer, member of the Lennon Sisters.

  • Brazil declares war on the Axis powers. She is the only South American country to send combat troops into Europe.

  • A Japanese submarine shells Fort Stevens at the mouth of the Columbia River.

  • Theodore “Ted” Kaczynski, infamous as Unabomber terrorist.

  • President Franklin Roosevelt orders Gen. Douglas MacArthur to leave the Philippines.

  • 1941

    Japanese troops make an amphibious landing on the coast of Lingayen Gulf on Luzon, the Philippines.

  • Ed Bradley, broadcast journalist.

  • Under the code-name Barbarossa, Germany invades the Soviet Union.

  • 1940

    Anthony Crosthwaite-Eyre, English publisher.

  • France and Germany sign an armistice at Compiegne, on terms dictated by the Nazis.

  • 1939

    Joaquim Chissano, second President of Mozambique (1986–2005); credited with transforming Mozambique into one of Africa’s most successful democracies.

  • Junko Tabei, Japanese mountain climber; first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

  • Valerie Harper, actress (Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda).

  • Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini sign a “Pact of Steel” forming the Axis powers.

  • A Nazi order erases the old officer caste, tying the army directly to the Party.

  • 1938

    Christopher Lloyd, actor; (Back to the Future Film series; Who Framed Roger Rabbit; won three Emmys, two of them for his role as Jim Ignatoski in Taxi TV series).

  • Chester Carlson invents the photocopier. He tries to sell the machine to IBM, RCA, Kodak and others, but they see no use for a gadget that makes nothing but copies.

  • Delmar Allen “Dale” Hawkins, pioneer rockabilly singer/songwriter (“Suzy Q”).

  • The Third Reich issues special identity cards for Jewish Germans.

  • Joe Louis floors Max Schmeling in the first round of the heavyweight bout at Yankee Stadium.

  • 1936

    1,200 soldiers are killed in a battle between the Japanese and Mongolians in China.

  • Bobby Seale, American political activist; co-founder of the Black Panther Party.

  • Tom Robbins, novelist (Another Roadside Attraction, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues).

  • 1935

    Pan Am inaugurates the first transpacific airmail service from San Francisco to Manila.

  • Ann Rule, true crime author (The Stranger Beside Me).

  • Annie Proulx, Pulitzer Prize–winning author (The Shipping News).

  • Persia is renamed Iran.

  • All plane flights over the White House are barred because they are disturbing President Roosevelt‘s sleep.

  • 1934

    H. Norman Schwarzkopf, American general and commander of the coalition forces during the Persian Gulf War.

  • American gangster John Dillinger is shot dead by FBI officers outside a Chicago cinema.

  • 1933

    Fay Weldon, author (The Life and Loves of a She-Devil).

  • Adolf Hitler bans political parties in Germany other than the Nazis.

  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill legalizing the sale and possession of beer and wine.

  • 1932

    Megan Terry, playwright (Calm Down Mother, Goona Goona).

  • Edward Kennedy, Massachusetts Senator, brother of John F. Kennedy.

  • Adolf Hitler is the Nazi Party candidate for the presidential elections in Germany.

  • Government troops crush a Communist uprising in Northern Spain.

  • 1931

    Egypt signs treaty of friendship with Iraq.

  • 1930

    A son is born to Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

  • Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay politicians to win public office in the United States, a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.

  • Stephen Sondheim, American composer and lyricist (A Little Night Music, Passion).

  • Admiral Richard Byrd charts a vast area of Antarctica.

  • 1929

    Soviet troops leave Manchuria after a truce is reached with the Chinese over the Eastern Railway dispute.

  • Communist and Nazi factions clash in Berlin.

  • 1928

    British King George is confined to bed with a congested lung; the queen is to take over duties.

  • T Boone Pickens, oil magnate and financier who developed a reputation as a corporate raider in the 1980s.

  • 1927

    Tommy Lasorda, manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team from 1975 to 1996.

  • Peter Matthiessen, writer.

  • 1926

    Pope Pius rejects Mussolini‘s offer of aid to the Vatican.

  • 1925

    Gunther Schuller, composer and French Horn player.

  • Robert Rauschenberg, pop artist.

  • France and Spain agree to join forces against Abd el Krim in Morocco.

  • Edward Gorey, American writer and illustrator.

  • 1924

    Geraldine Page, actress well known for roles in Tennessee Williams’ plays.

  • Columbia University declares radio education a success.

  • 1923

    Robert Dole, U.S. Senator and presidential candidate.

  • Marcel Marceau, French mime.

  • 1922

    Michael Collins, Irish politician, is killed in an ambush.

  • Charles Mingus, jazz bassist.

  • 1921

    Hawkshaw Hawkins (Harold Hawkins), country singer; he died along with country stars Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas when the small plane that was carrying them crashed in 1963.

  • Joseph Papp, theater director and producer, founder of the New York Public Theatre and Shakespeare-in-the-Park.

  • 1920

    Timothy Leary, American psychologist who experimented with psychedelic drugs.

  • Ray Bradbury, science fiction writer whose works include Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles.

  • Thomas Gold, astronomer.

  • The American Relief Administration appeals to the public to pressure Congress to aid starving European cities.

  • 1919

    A Labor conference committee in the United States urges an eight-hour workday and a 48-hour week.

  • Doris Lessing, novelist (Children of Violence, The Golden Notebook).

  • President Woodrow Wilson abandons his national tour to support the League of Nations when he suffers a case of nervous exhaustion.

  • The first international airline service is inaugurated on a weekly schedule between Paris and Brussels.

  • 1918

    The last of the food restrictions, enforced because of the shortages during World War I, are lifted.

  • The cities of Baltimore and Washington run out of coffins during the “Spanish Inflenza” epidemic.

  • General Allenby leads the British army against the Turks, taking Haifa and Nazareth, Palestine.

  • Robert Wadlow, the world’s tallest man (8’11.1″).

  • British naval forces attempt to sink block-ships in the German U-boat bases at the Battle of Zeebrugge.

  • 1917

    John Lee Hooker, blues singer and guitarist.

  • 1916

    Yehudi Menuhin, violinist.

  • 1915

    The Anglo-Indian army, led by British General Sir Charles Townshend, attacks a larger Turkish force under General Nur-ud-Din at Ctesiphon, Iraq, but is repulsed.

  • Xavier University, the first African-American Catholic college, opens in New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • Austro-German forces occupy Lemberg on the Eastern Front as the Russians retreat.

  • At the Second Battle of Ypres, the Germans use poison gas for the first time.

  • A German Zepplin makes a night raid on Paris railway stations.

  • 1914

    U.S. places economic support behind Allies.

  • The German cruiser Emden shells Madras, India, destroying 346,000 gallons of fuel and killing only five civilians.

  • 1913

    Benjamin Britten, English composer, pianist and conductor.

  • Turkey consents to the Balkan peace terms and gives up Adrianople.

  • 1912

    Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson, wife of US President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

  • Second Monte Carlo auto race begins.

  • 1911

    The Mona Lisa, the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci, is stolen from the Louvre in Paris, where it had hung for more than 100 years. It is recovered in 1913.

  • King George V of England is crowned.

  • Canadian Parliament votes to preserve the union with the British Empire.

  • 1910

    German bacteriologist Paul Ehrlich announces a definitive cure for syphilis.

  • 1909

    David Riesman, sociologist, author of The Lonely Crowd.

  • The Great White Fleet returns to Norfolk, Virginia, from an around-the-world show of naval power.

  • 1908

    Henri Cartier-Bresson, photographer.

  • Amy Vanderbilt, American journalist, etiquette authority.

  • The Wright brothers register their flying machine for a U.S. patent.

  • Louis L’Amour, American Western novelist.

  • 1907

    Ringling Brothers buys Barnum & Bailey.

  • Sir Laurence Olivier, actor.

  • James Gavin, U.S. Army general of the 82nd Airborne Division in WWII.

  • Russians troops complete the evacuation of Manchuria in the face of advancing Japanese forces.

  • 1906

    Race riots in Atlanta, Georgia leave 21 people dead.

  • Billy Wilder, film director (Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment).

  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh, author, wife of Charles Lindbergh (Gifts from the Sea).

  • Willa Brown-Chappell, pioneer aviator.

  • 1905

    Russian troops fire on civilians beginning Bloody Sunday in St. Petersburg.

  • 1904

    Deng Xiaoping, Chinese leader from 1977 to 1987, held nominal leadership position until his death in 1997.

  • J. Robert Oppenheimer, physicist, director of the Manhattan Project.

  • The first color photograph is published in the London Daily Illustrated Mirror.

  • 1903

    George Beadle, American geneticist.

  • 1902

    A fire causes considerable damage to the unfinished Williamsburg bridge in New York.

  • John Houseman, director, producer and actor.

  • A fistfight breaks out in the Senate. Senator Benjamin Tillman suffers a bloody nose for accusing Senator John McLaurin of bias on the Philippine tariff issue.

  • 1901

    Japan proclaims that it is determined to keep Russia from encroaching on Korea.

  • 1900

    Sean O’Faolain, Irish short story writer.

  • 1899

    Hoagy Carmichael, American composer, pianist and singer.

  • Vladimir Nabokov, Russian novelist (Lolita).

  • 1898

    Alexander Calder, sculptor.

  • Stephen Vincent Benet, poet and short-story writer (John Brown’s Body).

  • Erich Maria Remarque, German novelist (All Quiet on the Western Front).

  • In the first action of the Spanish-American War, the USS Nashville, takes on a Spanish ship.

  • 1894

    The first automobile race takes place between Paris and Rouen, France.

  • 1893

    Bicycle makers Charles and Frank Duryea show off the first American automobile produced for sale to the public by taking it on a maiden run through the streets of Springfield, Massachusetts.

  • Dorothy Parker, poet, satirist and founding member of the Algonquin Round Table.

  • Karl Menninger, American physician, founder of the Menninger Foundation.

  • 1892

    Edna St. Vincent Millay, poet.

  • 1891

    Jacque Lipchitz, sculptor.

  • 1890

    Charles de Gaulle, French general in exile during World War II and president of France from 1958 to 1969.

  • Fred Vinson, Thirteenth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • 1889

    The Oklahoma land rush officially starts at noon as thousands of Americans race for new, unclaimed land.

  • 1888

    Selman Abraham Waksman, biochemist.

  • 1887

    John Reed, American journalist, poet and revolutionary, (Ten Days That Shook the World).

  • Gustav Hertz, German physicist.

  • 1885

    Erich Von Stroheim, director, actor and screenwriter best known for Greed.

  • 1883

    Arthur Wergs Mitchell, first African-American to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • 1882

    N.C. Wyeth, painter famous for his illustrations of Treasure Island and Robin Hood.

  • Edward Hopper, painter (Nighthawks).

  • The United States formally recognizes Korea.

  • 1881

    Margery Williams Bianco, author (The Velveteen Rabbit).

  • The first volume of The War of the Rebellion: A compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, is published.

  • 1880

    George Herriman, cartoonist, creator of Krazy Kat.

  • 1879

    Frank Winfield Woolworth’s ‘nothing over five cents’ shop opens at Utica, New York. It is the first chain store.

  • Eighty-two British soldiers hold off attacks by 4,000 Zulu warriors at the Battle of Rorke’s Drift in South Africa.

  • 1876

    General Alfred Terry sends Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer to the Rosebud and Little Bighorn rivers to search for Indian villages.

  • Ole Edvart Rolvaag, novelist (Giants in the Earth).

  • 1874

    D.W. [David Wark] Griffith, influential U.S. film director (The Birth of A Nation, Intolerance).

  • 1873

    Ellen Glasgow, American novelist.

  • 1872

    The Amnesty Act restores civil rights to Southerners.

  • 1870

    Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov), leader of the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) and first head of the U.S.S.R.

  • 1869

    The Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team, arrive in San Francisco after a rollicking, barnstorming tour of the West.

  • 1868

    The “Great Train Robbery” takes place as seven members of the Reno Gang make off with $98,000 in cash from a train’s safe in Indiana.

  • 1865

    Federal troops capture Wilmington, N.C.

  • 1864

  • Confederate General A. P. Hill turns back a Federal flanking movement at the Weldon Railroad near Petersburg, Virginia.

  • Nathan Bedford Forrest‘s brother, Jeffrey, is killed at Okolona, Mississippi.

  • 1863

    Union General Ulysses S. Grant‘s second attack on Vicksburg fails and a siege begins.

  • In an attempt to out flank Robert E. Lee‘s Army of Northern Virginia, General Ambrose Burnside leads his army on a march to north Fredericksburg, but foul weather bogs his army down in what will become known as the “Mud March.”

  • 1862

    Union troops push 5,000 confederates out of Maysbille, Ark., at the Second Battle of Pea Ridge.

  • President Abraham Lincoln issues a proclamation calling for all slaves within the rebel states to be freed on January 1, a political move that helps keep the British from intervening on the side of the South.

  • Jefferson Davis is inaugurated president of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va. for the second time.

  • 1861

    Robert E. Lee is named commander of Virginia forces.

  • 1859

    Spain declares war on the Moors in Morocco.

  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author, creator of the Sherlock Holmes series.

  • 1858

    Giacomo Puccini, Italian operatic composer best known for Madam Butterfly.

  • 1857

    Heinrich Hertz, German physicist, the first person to broadcast and receive radio waves.

  • Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout Movement.

  • 1856

    Frank Kellogg, U.S. Secretary of State who tried to outlaw war with the Kellogg-Briand Pact.

  • U.S. Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina beats Senator Charles Sumner with a cane for Sumner’s earlier condemnation of slavery, which included an insult to Brooks’ cousin, Senator Andrew Butler.

  • 1849

    The Portuguese governor of Macao, China, is assassinated because of his anti-Chinese policies.

  • Emma Lazarus, American poet.

  • 1847

    In New York, the Astor Place Opera House, the city’s first operatic theater, is opened.

  • 1846

    Randolph Caldecott, illustrator.

  • 1844

    Mary Cassatt, impressionist painter.

  • 1836

    Sam Houston sworn in as the first president of the Republic of Texas.

  • 1834

    Horace Greeley publishes New Yorker, a weekly literary and news magazine and forerunner of Harold Ross’ more successful The New Yorker.

  • 1829

    The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad opens the first passenger railway line.

  • 1828

    Albrecht von Graefe, German eye surgeon, founder of modern opthamology.

  • 1825

    Russia and Britain establish the Alaska/Canada boundary.

  • 1824

    The Tennessee Legislature adjourns ending David “Davy” Crockett’s state political career.

  • A British force is wiped out by an Asante army under Osei Bonsu on the African Gold Coast. This is the first defeat for a colonial power.

  • 1822

    Gregor Johann Mendel, Austrian botanist, genetics pioneer.

  • 1819

    George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), English novelist (Silas Marner, Middlemarch).

  • Spain signs a treaty with the United States ceding eastern Florida.

  • 1814

    Five Indian tribes in Ohio make peace with the United States and declare war on Britain.

  • 1813

    Richard Wagner, German composer.

  • During the War of 1812, British forces under Henry Proctor defeat a U.S. contingent planning an attack on Fort Detroit.

  • 1812

    A British army under the Duke of Wellington defeats the French at Salamanca, Spain.

  • 1811

    Franz Liszt, piano virtuoso.

  • 1807

    Congress passes the Embargo Act, which halts all trading completely. It is hoped that the act will keep the United States out of the European Wars.

  • British seamen board the USS Chesapeake, a provocation leading to the War of 1812.

  • President Thomas Jefferson exposes a plot by Aaron Burr to form a new republic in the Southwest.

  • 1797

    The first successful parachute descent is made by Andre-Jacqes Garnerin, who jumps from a balloon at some 2,200 feet over Paris.

  • Wilhelm I, German emperor (1871-88)

  • The last invasion of Britain takes place when some 1,400 Frenchmen land at Fishguard in Wales.

  • 1794

    Congress passes laws prohibiting slave trade with foreign countries although slavery remains legal in the United States.

  • 1792

    President George Washington proclaims American neutrality in the war in Europe.

  • 1791

    Michael Faraday, English physicist, inventor of the dynamo, the transformer and the electric motor.

  • 1790

    Thomas Jefferson becomes the first U.S. Secretary of State.

  • 1789

    Russian forces under Aleksandr Suvorov drive the Turkish army under Yusuf Pasha from the Rymnik River, upsetting the Turkish invasion of Russia.

  • Thomas Jefferson becomes the first head of the U.S. Department of Foreign Affairs.

  • 1788

    Theodore Hook, English novelist best known for Impromptu at Fulham.

  • Lord George Byron, English romantic poet (“Lara,” “Don Juan.”)

  • 1778

    Rembrandt Peale, American painter known for portraits of U.S. founding fathers.

  • 1777

    With the approach of General Benedict Arnold‘s army, British Colonel Barry St. Ledger abandons Fort Stanwix and returns to Canada.

  • 1776

    American Captain Nathan Hale is hanged as a spy by the British in New York City; his last words are reputed to have been, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

  • 1775

    Esek Hopkins takes command of the Continental Navy — a total of seven ships.

  • British statesman Edmund Burke makes a speech in the House of Commons, urging the government to adopt a policy of reconciliation with America.

  • 1772

    Slavery is outlawed in England.

  • 1765

    The Stamp Act is passed, the first direct British tax on the American colonists.

  • 1757

    The Austrian army defeats the Prussians at Breslau in the Seven Years War.

  • George Vancouver, English navigator.

  • 1746

    Princeton University, in New Jersey, receives its charter.

  • 1745

    The Peace of Fussen is signed.

  • 1732

    George Washington, Commander-in-chief of Continental forces during the American Revolution and first U.S. President.

  • 1724

    Immanuel Kant, German philosopher.

  • 1719

    Frederick William abolishes serfdom on crown property in Prussia.

  • 1717

    The Austrian army forces the Turkish army out of Belgrade, ending the Turkish revival in the Balkans.

  • 1711

    The Tuscarora Indian War begins with a massacre of settlers in North Carolina, following white encroachment that included the enslaving of Indian children.

  • 1707

    Henry Fielding, English novelist (Tom Jones).

  • 1694

    Philip Dormer Stanhope, statesman of letters.

  • 1689

    England’s “Bloodless Revolution” reaches its climax when parliament invites William and Mary to become joint sovereigns.

  • 1664

    Charles II gives large tracts of land from west of the Connecticut River to the east of Delaware Bay in North America to his brother James, the Duke of York.

  • 1656

    The General Provincial Court in session at Patuxent, Maryland, impanels the first all-woman jury in the Colonies to hear evidence against Judith Catchpole, who is accused of murdering her child. The jury acquits her after hearing her defense of never having been pregnant.

  • 1652

    Prince Conde’s rebels narrowly defeat Chief Minister Mazarin’s loyalist forces at St. Martin, near Paris.

  • 1647

    Denis Papin, inventor of the pressure cooker.

  • 1642

    Civil war in England begins as Charles I declares war on Parliament at Nottingham.

  • 1630

    The first legislation prohibiting gambling is enacted in Boston.

  • 1622

    Indians attack a group of colonists in the James River area of Virginia, killing 350 residents.

  • 1613

    Mikhail Romanov is elected czar of Russia.

  • 1599

    Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Flemish artist, the namesake of the beard style.

  • 1561

    Sir Francis Bacon, English philosopher, statesman, essayist (The Advancement of Learning).

  • 1558

    The French take the French town of Thionville from the English.

  • 1542

    New laws are passed in Spain giving Indians in America protection against enslavement.

  • 1529

    Spain and Portugal divide the eastern hemisphere in the Treaty of Saragossa.

  • 1515

    Anne of Cleeves (born in Cleeves, Germany), fourth wife of Henry the VIII.

  • Emperor Maximilian and Vladislav of Bohemia forge an alliance between the Hapsburg and Jagiello dynasties in Vienna.

  • 1509

    Henry VIII ascends to the throne of England upon the death of his father, Henry VII.

  • 1500

    Pedro Alvarez Cabral discovers Brazil.

  • 1485

    Henry Tudor defeats Richard III at Bosworth. This victory establishes the Tudor dynasty in England and ends the War of the Roses.

  • 1455

    King Henry VI is taken prisoner by the Yorkists at the Battle of St. Albans, during the War of the Roses.

  • 1451

    Isabella I of Castile, Queen of Spain, patron of Christopher Columbus.

  • 1440

    Ivan III (the Great), grand prince of Russia.

  • 1403

    Charles VII, King of France.

  • 1377

    Richard II, who is still a child, begins his reign, following the death of his grandfather, Edward III. His coronation takes place July 16.

  • 1350

    John II, also known as John the Good, succeeds Philip VI as king of France.

  • 1349

    Jews are expelled from Zurich, Switzerland.

  • 1298

    King Edward I defeats the Scots under William Wallace at Falkirk.

  • 1246

    Henry Raspe is elected anti-king by the Rhenish prelates in France.

  • 1220

    After promising to go to the aid of the Fifth Crusade within nine months, Frederick II is crowned emperor by Pope Honorius III.

  • 1135

    Stephen of Blois is crowned the king of England.

  • 741

    Charles Martel of Gaul dies at Quiezy. His mayoral power is divided between his two sons, Pepin III and Carloman.

  • 536

    St. Agapitus I ends his reign as Catholic Pope.

  • 296

    St. Gaius ends his reign as Catholic Pope.