What happened on your birthday?

more events on December 23

  • 2012

    The world’s oldest teletext service, BBC’s Ceefax, ceases operation.

  • 2011

    Yemeni President Ali Abullah Saleh signs a deal to to transfer power to the vice president, in exchange for legal immunity; the agreement came after 11 months of protests.

  • Libiyan National Transition Council declares the Libyan civil war is over.

  • A 5.8 earthquake centered at Mineral, Virginia, damages the Washington Monument, forcing the landmark to close for repairs.

  • Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi is overthrown after National Transitional Council forces take control of Bab al-Azizia compound during the 2011 Libyan Civil War.

  • 2006

    In the second-deadliest day of sectarian violence in Iraq since the beginning of the 2003 war, 215 people are killed and nearly 260 injured by bombs in Sadr City.

  • Natascha Kampusch,  abducted at the age of 10 in Austria, escapes from her captor, Wolfgang Priklopil, after 8 years of captivity.

  • 2005

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf elected president of Liberia; she is the first woman to lead an African nation.

  • 2004

    An earthquake in Japan kills 35, injures 2,200, and leaves 85,000 homeless or displaced.

  • Hurricane Jeanne causes severe flooding in Haiti; over 1,000 reported dead.

  • 2002

    An Iraqi MiG-25 shoots down a US MQ-1 Predator drone.

  • Chechen terrorists take 700 theater-goers hostage at the House of Culture theater in Moscow.

  • The first public version of Mozilla Firefox browser released; originally called Phoenix 0.1 its name was changed due to trademark issues with Phoenix Technologies.

  • 1998

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat reach a “land for peace” agreement.

  • 1996

    Osama bin Laden issues message entitled “A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places.”

  • 1995

    Two astronomers, Alan Hale in New Mexico and Thomas Bopp in Arizona, almost simultaneously discover a comet.

  • 1992

    The first Smartphone, IBM Simon, introduced at COMDEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  • Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) detonates 3,700-lb. bomb in Belfast, completely destroying the Northern Ireland forensic laboratory, injuring 20 people and damaging 700 houses.

  • 1991

    Princess Mako of Akishino, first-born granddaughter of Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

  • French forces unofficially start the Persian Gulf ground war by crossing the Saudi-Iraqi border.

  • 1990

    In a referendum on Slovenia’s independence from Yugoslovia, 88.5% vote in favor of independence.

  • The first all-woman expedition to South Pole sets off from Antarctica on the part of a 70-day trip; the group includes 12 Russians, 3 Americans and 1 Japanese.

  • East and West Germany announce they will unite on Oct 3.

  • Armenia declares independence from USSR.

  • 1989

    The Hungarian Republic replaces the communist Hungarian People’s Republic.

  • 1986

    The Voyager completes the first nonstop flight around the globe on one load of fuel. The experimental aircraft, piloted by Americans Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California after nine days and four minutes in the sky.

  • U.S. begins maneuvers off the Libyan coast.

  • 1983

    A truck filled with explosives, driven by a Moslem terrorist, crashes into the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The bomb kills 237 Marines and injures 80. Almost simultaneously, a similar incident occurs at French military headquarters, where 58 die and 15 are injured.

  • Gulf Air Flight 771 from Karachi, Pakistan, to Abu Dhabi, UAE, bombed; all 117 aboard die.

  • Gerrie Coetzee (Gerhardus Coetzee), boxer from South Africa; becomes the first boxer from the African continent to win a world heavyweight tittle (World Boxing Association).

  • 1981

    US Pres. Ronald Reagan signs top secret directive giving the CIA authority to recruit and support Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

  • U.S. Supreme Court upholds a law making statutory rape a crime for men but not women.

  • Under international pressure, opposition leader Kim Dae Jung’s death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment in Seoul.

  • 1980

    Ishmael Beah, authored A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, a memoir of his time as a Sierra Leonean child solider in that country’s civil war.

  • In Europe’s biggest earthquake since 1915, 3,000 people are killed in Italy.

  • 1979

    Bolshoi Ballet dancer Alexander Godunov defects in New York City.

  • Iranian army opens offensive against Kurds.

  • 1977

    Bryan Allen, piloting the Gossamer Condor, wins the Kremer prize for the first human-powered aircraft to fly a one-mile, figure-eight course.

  • Alex Haley’s Roots begins a record-breaking eight-night broadcast on ABC.

  • 1975

    Pathet Lao communists occupy Vientiane, Laos.

  • 1974

    The B-1 bomber makes its first successful test flight.

  • 1973

    A U.N. sanctioned cease-fire officially ends the Yom Kippur war between Israel and Syria.

  • Juan Peron is re-elected president of Argentina after being overthrown in 1955.

  • President Richard Nixon claims that Vietnam peace has been reached in Paris and that the POWs would be home in 60 days.

  • 1972

    The United States calls a halt to the peace talks on Vietnam being held in Paris.

  • Black activist Angela Davis is released from jail where she was held for kidnapping , conspiracy and murder.

  • 1971

    The Soviet Union launches Soyuz 10, becoming the first mission to the Salyut 1 space station.

  • 1970

    Mafia boss Carlo Gambino is arrested for plotting to steal $3 million.

  • 1969

    Sirhan Sirhan is sentenced to death for killing Senator Robert Kennedy.

  • NASA unveils moon-landing craft.

  • 1968

    Four men hijack an American plane, with 87 passengers, from Miami to Cuba.

  • 1967

    U.S. Navy SEALs are ambushed during an operation southeast of Saigon.

  • Soviets sign a pact to send more aid to Hanoi.

  • Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. calls the Vietnam War the biggest obstacle to the civil rights movement.

  • American troops begin the largest offensive of the war, near the Cambodian border.

  • 1966

    Lunar Orbiter 1 takes first photograph of Earth from the moon.

  • Civil Rights marchers in Mississippi are dispersed by tear gas.

  • President Lyndon Johnson publicly appeals for more nations to come to the aid of South Vietnam.

  • 1965

    Roger Avary, screenwriter, director (Killing Zoe); shared Academy Award with co-writer Quentin Tarantino for best original screenplay (Pulp Fiction).

  • 1964

    Henry Cabot Lodge resigns as the U.S. envoy to Vietnam and is succeeded by Maxwell Taylor.

  • The U.S. and Britain recognize the new Zanzibar government.

  • 1962

    Doug Flutie, collegiate and pro football quarterback; won Heisman Trophy and Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award (1984).

  • The Geneva Conference on Laos forbids the United States to invade eastern Laos.

  • 1961

    John Schnatter, businessman; founded Papa John’s Pizza.

  • William “Willie” McCool, American astronaut; among those killed when Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates while reentering Earth’s atmosphere (2003).

  • Belgium sends troops to Rwanda-Urundi during bloody Tutsi-Hutu conflict.

  • 1960

    Israel announces the capture of Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Argentina.

  • Whites join Negro students in a sit-in at a Winston-Salem, N.C. Woolworth store.

  • 1959

    Alfred “Weird Al” Yankovic, singer, songwriter, satirist; known for his humorous rewrites of popular songs and parodies of pop culture.

  • 1958

    The Second Taiwan Strait crisis begins: People’s Liberation Army bombards island of Quemoy during Chinese Civil War.

  • 1957

    Princess Caroline of Monaco.

  • 1956

    Andreas Floer, mathematician, creator of the Floer homology.

  • Pakistan becomes the first Islamic republic, although it is still within the British Commonwealth.

  • 1955

    Eight nations meet in Bangkok for the first SEATO council.

  • 1954

    Ang Lee, Taiwanese-born American film director; won Academy Award for Best Director in 2005 (Brokeback Mountain) and 2012 (Life of Pi).

  • In Paris, an agreement is signed providing for West German sovereignty and permitting West Germany to rearm and enter NATO and the Western European Union.

  • East German police arrest 400 citizens as U.S. spies.

  • First flight of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

  • The Army-McCarthy hearings begin.

  • Mass innoculation begins as Salk’s polio vaccine is given to children for first time.

  • 1953

    Maria Vladimirovna, Grand Duchess of Russia.

  • North Korea signs 10-year aid pact with Peking.

  • Altug Taner Akcam, Turkish historian and sociologist; among the first Turkish historians to discuss the Armenian genocide; sued Turkish government before European Court of Human Rights for denying his rights, under a law that punishes incidents of insulting “Turkishness.”

  • 1952

    William Kristol, American politician, journalist; founded The Weekly Standard, an influential neoconservative opinion publication.

  • The Nobel Prize for Medicine is awarded to Ukranian-born microbiologist Selmart A. Waksman for his discovery of an effective treatment of tuberculosis.

  • Richard Nixon responds to charges of a secret slush fund during his ‘Checkers Speech.’

  • Arab League security pact linking seven Arab States in a military, political and economic alliance goes into effect.

  • The U.S. Air Force bombs power plants on the Yalu River, Korea.

  • 1951

    Fatmir Sejdiu, first President of the Republic of Kosovo (2006– ).

  • Akhmad Kadyrov, President of Chechnya (Oct 5, 2003–May 9, 2004).

  • Queen Noor of Jordan (Lisa Najeeb Halaby), queen consort 1978–99.

  • Soviet U.N. delegate Jacob Malik proposes cease-fire discussions in the Korean War.

  • U.S. paratroopers descend from flying boxcars in a surprise attack in Korea.

  • President Truman creates the Commission on Internal Security and Individual Rights, to monitor the anti-Communist campaign.

  • 1950

    General Walton H. Walker, the commander of the Eighth Army in Korea, is killed in a jeep accident. Lieutenant General Matthew B. Ridgeway is named his successor.

  • Up to 77,000 members of the U.S. Army Organized Reserve Corps are called involuntarily to active duty to fight the Korean War.

  • Chiang Kai-shek evacuates Hainan, leaving mainland China to Mao Zedong and the communists.

  • New York’s Metropolitan Museum exhibits a collection of Hapsburg art. The first showing of this collection in the U.S.

  • Jerusalem becomes the official capital of Israel.

  • 1949

    Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen, singer, songwriter, musician (“Born to Run,” “Born in the U.S.A”); his multiple awards include 20 Grammys, two Golden Globes, and an Oscar, the latter for “Streets of Philadelphia” (1994).

  • The Federal Republic of West Germany is proclaimed.

  • The Communist Chinese forces begin their advance on Nanking.

  • 1948

  • The Soviets refuse UN entry into North Korea to administer elections.

  • 1947

    President Harry S Truman grants a pardon to 1,523 who had evaded the World War II draft.

  • Mary Kay Place, Emmy-winning actress (Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman), singer.

  • Jane Kenyon, poet (Let Evening Come, Otherwise).

  • Several hundred Nazi organizers are arrested in Frankfurt by U.S. and British forces.

  • 1946

    Keith Moon, drummer in The Who.

  • Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita is hanged in Manila, the Philippines, for war crimes.

  • 1945

    Wartime meat and butter rationing ends in the United States.

  • The first American dies in Vietnam during the fall of Saigon to French forces.

  • Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Nazi Gestapo, commits suicide after being captured by Allied forces.

  • The Soviet Army fights its way into Berlin.

  • U.S. Marines plant an American flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.

  • Eisenhower opens a large offensive in the Rhineland.

  • 1944

    US Army General Wesley Clark; while serving as Supreme Allied Commander Europe in NATO (1997–2000) he commanded Operation Allied Force in the Kosovo War.

  • General Dwight D. Eisenhower confirms the death sentence of Private Eddie Slovik, the only American shot for desertion since the Civil War.

  • German SS engineers begin placing explosive charges around the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

  • Lisa Alther, novelist (Kinflicks).

  • Soviet troops take Lublin, Poland as the German army retreats.

  • In one of the largest air strikes of the war, the U.S. Fifteenth Air Force sends 761 bombers against the oil refineries at Ploiesti, Romania.

  • American bombers strike the Marianas Islands bases, only 1,300 miles from Tokyo.

  • 1943

    Queen Silvia of Sweden (born Silvia Renate Sommerlath); spouse of King Carl XVI Gustaf.

  • Andrew Goodman, civil rights activist; murdered by Ku Klux Klan in 1964 near Philadelphia, Miss.

  • U.S. Marines declare the island of Tarawa secure.

  • Julio Iglesia, singer, songwriter with more than 2,600 certified gold and platinum records (“To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” “Summer Wind”).

  • James Levine, pianist and conductor.

  • 1942

    The film Casablanca premieres in New York City.

  • Michael Crichton, writer (Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain).

  • The Western Task Force, destined for North Africa, departs from Hampton Roads, Virginia.

  • Patricia McBride, ballerina; in 1961 became youngest principal in the New York City Ballet.

  • German forces begin an assault on the major Soviet industrial city of Stalingrad.

  • The Japanese occupy the Anadaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.

  • A Japanese submarine shells an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California, the first Axis bombs to hit American soil.

  • 1941

    Despite throwing back an earlier Japanese amphibious assault, the U.S. Marines and Navy defenders on Wake Island capitulate to a second Japanese invasion.

  • U.S. troops move into Dutch Guiana to guard the bauxite mines.

  • 1940

    Chiang Kai-shek dissolves all Communist associations in China.

  • Pele, legendary Brazilian soccer player who scored 1,281 goals in 22 years

  • John Nichols, novelist and essayist (The Milagro Beanfield War).

  • Wilma Rudolph, American athlete.

  • 1939

    The first Canadian troops arrive in Britain.

  • Joseph Stalin and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop sign a non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Germany, freeing Adolf Hitler to invade Poland and Stalin to invade Finland.

  • Nicholas Gage, journalist and author (Eleni).

  • 1938

    Bob Kahn, computer scientist and engineer; co-developed the Transmission Control Protocol that web browsers use to connect to servers on the World Wide Web.

  • Roger John Reginald Greenaway, songwriter (“I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,”), record producer. He and co-writer Roger Cook were first UK team to receive an Ivor Novello Award as Songwriters of the Year in two successive years.

  • Twelve Chinese fighter planes drop bombs on Japan.

  • 1937

    London warns Rome to stop anti-British propaganda in Palestine.

  • 1936

    The United States abandons the American embassy in Madrid, Spain, which is engulfed by civil war.

  • Valentin Corazao, Interim President of Peru (2000-01) after Pres. Alberto Fujimori was removed from office by Congress.

  • In Russia, an unmanned balloon rises to a record height of 25 miles.

  • 1935

    Paul Hornung, pro football player; member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

  • Sir Roy Colin Strong, the youngest director of both Britain’s National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; recipient of Shakespeare Prize.

  • 1934

    The United States and Great Britain agree on a 5-5-3 naval ratio, with both countries allowed to build five million tons of naval ships while Japan can only build three. Japan will denounce the treaty.

  • Ahmad Shah, Crown Prince of Afghanistan and heir apparent to the throne.

  • Barbara Eden, actress (I Dream of Jeannie TV series).

  • Sonny (Christian) Jurgensen, professional football player and sports announcer.

  • Italy gains the right to colonize Albania after defeating the country.

  • Robert A. Moog, electrical engineer, creator of the Moog synthesizer.

  • Gangsters Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are killed by Texas Rangers.

  • 1933

    Emperor Akihito, Emperor of Japan. Broke with tradition by marrying Michiko Shoda, the first non-aristocrat to join the royal family.

  • Pope Pius XI condemns the Nazi sterilization program.

  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt recalls the American ambassador from Havana, Cuba, and urges stability in the island nation.

  • The Reichstag gives Adolf Hitler the power to rule by decree.

  • 1932

    Jim Fixx, runner and writer who popularized running as a form of exercise in the 1970s.

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt enters the presidential race.

  • 1931

    H.O. Smith, molecular biologist credited with helping ‘open the door’ on genetic engineering.

  • 1930

    Ray Charles, rhythm ‘n’ blues piano player and singer.

  • 1929

    The first transcontinental air service begins from New York to Los Angeles.

  • Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run the mile in less than four minutes.

  • 1928

    Rosemary Clooney, singer.

  • Shirley Temple Black, child actress, later U.S. ambassador.

  • 1927

    Immigrant laborers Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are executed for a robbery they did not commit. Fifty years later, in 1977, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis establishes a memorial in the victims’ honor.

  • Bob Fosse, choreographer and director.

  • Captain Hawthorne Gray sets a new balloon record soaring to 28,510 feet.

  • 1926

    John Coltrane, influential jazz saxophonist.

  • Italian film star Rudolph Valentino dies, causing world-wide hysteria and a number of suicides.

  • Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Mercury and Gemini astronaut, died in an accident on Apollo 1.

  • J.P. Donleavy, American-born Irish writer (The Ginger Man).

  • President Calvin Coolidge opposes a large air force, believing it would be a menace to world peace.

  • 1925

    Johnny Carson, American television personality who hosted the Tonight Show.

  • 1924

    The U.S. Senate passes the Soldiers’ Bonus Bill.

  • Allan MacLeod Cormack, physicist, developed the CAT scan.

  • 1923

    Gloria Whelan, poet, author primarily known for children’s and young-adult fiction; her novel Homeless Bird won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2000.

  • 1921

    President Warren G. Harding frees Socialist Eugene Debs and 23 other political prisoners.

  • President Warren G. Harding signs the Willis Campell Act, better known as the anti-beer bill. It forbids doctors to prescribe beer or liquor for medicinal purposes.

  • Arthur G. Hamilton sets a new parachute record, safely jumping 24,400 feet.

  • An airmail plane sets a record of 33 hours and 20 minutes from San Francisco to New York.

  • 1920

    Helen O’Connell, big band vocalist.

  • The Turkish Grand National Assembly has first meeting in Ankara.

  • Great Britain denounces the United States because of its delay in joining the League of Nations.

  • 1919

    Great Britain institutes a new constitution for India.

  • Ernie Kovacs, U.S. comedian and television personality.

  • 1918

    President Wilson feels satisfied that the Germans are accepting his armistice terms and agrees to transmit their request for an armistice to the Allies. The Germans have agreed to suspend submarine warfare, cease inhumane practices such as the use of poison gas, and withdraw troops back into Germany.

  • 1917

    Austrian Emperor Charles I makes a peace proposal to French President Poincare.

  • 1916

    Secretary of State Lansing hints that the U.S. may have to abandon the policy of avoiding “entangling foreign alliances”.

  • 1915

    Clifford G. Shull, physicist, improved techniques for exploring the atomic structure of matter.

  • Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary.

  • The ACA becomes the National Advisory Council on Aeronautics (NACA), the forerunner of NASA.

  • 1914

    The Emperor of Japan declares war on Germany.

  • The Federals defeat Kansas City 9-1 in the first major league game to be played in Chicago’s Weeghman Park, later renamed Wrigley Field.

  • 1913

    The “Young Turks” revolt because they are angered by the concessions made at the London peace talks.

  • 1912

    Mack Sennett’s first “Keystone Cop” film debuts, Cohen Collects a Debt.

  • Gene Kelly, dancer, choreographer and actor.

  • Alan M. Turing, English mathematician and pioneer of computer theory.

  • Werner von Braun, German-born rocket pioneer.

  • 1911

    The Second International Aviation Meet opens in New York.

  • 1910

    Jean Anouilh, French playwright.

  • Artie Shaw, bandleader and clarinetist.

  • Akira Kurosawa, film director (Rashomon, The Seven Samurai).

  • 1909

    The Wright brothers form a million-dollar corporation for the commercial manufacture of their airplanes.

  • Theodore Roosevelt begins an African safari sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society.

  • British Lt. Ernest Shackleton finds the magnetic South Pole.

  • 1908

    John Bardeen, physicist, co-inventor of the transistor.

  • Joan Crawford, American actress.

  • 1907

    Daniel Bovet, Swiss-born Italian pharmacologist and Nobel Prize Winner.

  • 1906

    Marston Bates, American zoologist, author (The Nature of Natural History).

  • 1904

    Russo-German talks break down because of Russia’s insistence to consult France.

  • William Shirer, CBS broadcaster and author (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich).

  • Japan guarantees Korean sovereignty in exchange for military assistance.

  • 1903

    Italian tenor Enrico Caruso makes his American debut in a Metropolitan Opera production of Verdi’s Rigoletto.

  • The Ford Motor Company sells its first automobile, the Model A.

  • The Wright brothers obtain an airplane patent.

  • 1902

    Fanny Farmer, among the first to emphasize the relationship of diet to health, opens her School of Cookery in Boston.

  • Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy renew the Triple Alliance for a 12-year duration.

  • Halldór Laxness, Nobel Prize-winning Icelandic novelist (The Fish Can Sing, Paradise Reclaimed).

  • 1901

    A group of U.S. Army soldiers, led by Brigadier General Frederick Funston, capture Emilio Aguinaldo, the leader of the Philippine Insurrection of 1899.

  • Britain and Germany agree on a boundary between German East Africa and Nyasaland.

  • A great fire ravages Montreal, resulting in $2.5 million in property lost.

  • 1900

    The Federal Party, which recognizes American sovereignty, is formed in the Philippines.

  • Booker T. Washington forms the National Negro Business League in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • Civil War hero Sgt. William H. Carney becomes the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor, thirty-seven years after the Battle of Fort Wagner.

  • Erich Fromm, German psychologist (The Sane Society).

  • 1899

    Erich Kastner, German poet, novelist and children’s author (Emil and the Detectives).

  • Humphrey Bogart, U.S. film actor (The African Queen, Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon).

  • 1898

    Albert Claude, biologist who won the 1974 Nobel for his work on the sub-structure of the cell. He never graduated from high school.

  • Writer Emile Zola is imprisoned in France for his letter J’accuse in which he accuses the French government of anti-semitism and the wrongful imprisonment of army captain Alfred Dreyfus.

  • 1897

    Willie “The Lion” Smith, jazz and ragtime pianist.

  • Lucius D. Clay, U.S. military governor of occupied Berlin.

  • 1896

    Motion pictures premiere in New York City.

  • 1895

    Russia, France, and Germany force Japan to return the Liaodong peninsula to China.

  • 1894

    Japanese troops take over the Korean imperial palace.

  • Alfred Kinsey, zoologist and sociologist.

  • Edward VIII, King of England [1936].

  • 1891

    Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia.

  • Par Lagerkvist, Swedish writer (The Dwarf, Barabbas).

  • 1889

    Louise Nevelson, sculptor.

  • Walter Lippmann, journalist, one of the founders of The New Republic Magazine in 1914.

  • 1888

    Adolph Arthur “Harpo” Marx, American comedian, one of the Marx brothers.

  • Raymond Chandler, detective writer, creator of Philip Marlow.

  • 1887

    Boris Karloff, film actor most famous for his role as the monster in the movie Frankenstein.

  • 1886

    Arthur Whitten Brown, British aviator.

  • 1885

    Ulysses S. Grant dies of throat cancer at the age of 63.

  • Former general and president Ulysses S. Grant dies at the age of 63.

  • John Lee survives three attempts to hang him in Exeter Prison, as the trap fails to open.

  • 1884

    A Chinese Army defeats the French at Bac Le, Indochina.

  • 1883

    Jonathan Wainwright, U.S. general who fought against the Japanese on Corregidor in the Philippines and was forced to surrender.

  • Victor Fleming, film director (The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind)

  • 1880

    John Stevens of Neenah, Wis., patents the grain crushing mill. This mill allows flour production to increase by 70 percent.

  • 1878

    Ernest King, commander-in-chief of the U.S. fleet who designed the United States’ winning strategy in World War II.

  • 1876

    Irvin S. Cobb, U.S. writer, actor, and editor.

  • 1875

    Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., president and chairman of the board for General Motors.

  • 1869

    John Heisman, American college football coach for whom the Heisman Trophy is named.

  • 1868

    The 14th Amendment is ratified, granting citizenship to African Americans.

  • W.E.B. [William Edward Burghardt] Du Bois, U.S. historian and civil rights leader, founder of what became the NAACP.

  • 1867

    Madame C. J. Walker, first female African American millionaire.

  • 1865

    Emmuska Orczy, baroness and author of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

  • William Booth founds the Salvation Army.

  • Confederate General Stand Watie surrenders his army at Fort Towson, in the Oklahoma Territory.

  • Union cavalry units continue to skirmish with Confederate forces in Henderson, North Carolina and Munford’s Station, Alabama.

  • 1864

    Confederate and Union forces clash at Mount Jackson, Front Royal and Woodstock in Virginia during the Valley campaign.

  • Union General Ulysses Grant attempts to outflank Confederate Robert E. Lee in the Battle of North Anna, Virginia.

  • 1863

    The Battle of Chattanooga, one of the most decisive battles of the American Civil War, begins (also in Tennessee).

  • Union forces win the Battle of Orchard Knob, Tennessee.

  • Mary Church Terrell, educator and civil rights advocate.

  • Union batteries cease their first bombardment of Fort Sumter, leaving it a mass of rubble but still unconquered by the Northern besiegers.

  • Bill Anderson and his Confederate Bushwhackers gut the railway station at Renick, Missouri.

  • Confederate forces overwhelm a Union garrison at the Battle of Brashear City in Louisiana.

  • 1862

    Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson takes Front Royal, Virginia.

  • 1861

    Lord Lyons, The British minister to America presents a formal complaint to secretary of state, William Seward, regarding the Trent affair.

  • President Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus in Washington, D.C. for all military-related cases.

  • Pro-Union and pro-Confederate forces clash in western Virginia.

  • Texas becomes the seventh state to secede from the Union.

  • 1858

    Eleazer A. Gardner of Philadelphia patents the cable street car, which runs on overhead cables.

  • 1857

    Elisha Otis installs the first modern passenger elevator in a public building, at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway in New York City.

  • 1856

    Free Stater J.N. Mace in Westport, Kansas shoots pro-slavery sheriff Samuel Jones in the back.

  • 1854

    Great Britain officially recognizes the independence of the Orange Free State.

  • 1849

    German rebels in Baden capitulate to the Prussians.

  • 1848

    A bloody insurrection of workers erupts in Paris.

  • Hungary proclaims its independence of Austria.

  • 1847

    Forces led by Zachary Taylor defeat the Mexicans at the Battle of Buena Vista.

  • 1846

    The Liberty Bell tolls for the last time, to mark George Washington’s birthday.

  • 1844

    Sarah Bernhardt, French actress.

  • 1838

    Victoria Claflin Woodhull, the first woman presidential candidate (1872) in the United States.

  • 1836

    The Alamo is besieged by Santa Anna.

  • 1834

    James Gibbons, American religious leader and founder of Catholic University.

  • 1832

    Édouard Manet, French impressionist painter best known for Luncheon in the Grass.

  • 1829

    William A. Burt patents his “typographer,” an early typewriter.

  • 1826

    Missolonghi falls to Egyptian forces.

  • 1821

    After 11 years of war, Spain grants Mexican independence as a constitutional monarchy.

  • Poet John Keats dies of tuberculosis at the age of 25.

  • 1820

    James Buchanan Eads, engineer of the Eads Bridge in St. Louis

  • 1813

    Stephen A. Douglas, American politician.

  • 1810

    Margaret Fuller, writer and critic.

  • 1806

    The Lewis and Clark Expedition arrives back in St. Louis just over three years after its departure.

  • 1805

    Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church.

  • John Bartlett, lexicographer best known for Bartlett’s Quotations.

  • Lieutenant Zebulon Pike pays $2,000 to buy from the Sioux a 9-square-mile tract at the mouth of the Minnesota River that will be used to establish a military post, Fort Snelling.

  • 1804

    Franklin Pierce, hero of the American war with Mexico and 14th president of the United States.

  • 1803

    British Major General Sir Arthur Wellesley defeats the Marathas at Assaye, India.

  • Irish patriots throughout the country rebel against Union with Great Britain.

  • 1800

    William Holmes McGuffey, educator famous for his book Eclectic Readers.

  • 1795

    A national plebiscite approves the new French constitution, but so many voters sustain that the results are suspect.

  • 1793

    The French garrison at Mainz, Germany, falls to the Prussians.

  • 1791

    James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States (1857-1861).

  • Etta Palm, a Dutch champion of woman’s rights, sets up a group of women’s clubs called the Confederation of the Friends of Truth.

  • 1790

    Jean François Champollion, French founder of Egyptology who deciphered the Rosetta Stone.

  • 1789

    President George Washington moves into Franklin House, New York.

  • 1788

    Louis XVI of France declares the Parliament restored.

  • South Carolina becomes the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

  • 1785

    John Hancock is elected president of the Continental Congress for the second time.

  • Benjamin Franklin announces his invention of bifocals.

  • 1783

    Virginia emancipates slaves who fought for independence during the Revolutionary War.

  • 1779

    The American navy under John Paul Jones, commanding from Bonhomme Richard, defeats and captures the British man-of-war Serapis.

  • 1778

    Baron von Steuben joins the Continental Army at Valley Forge.

  • 1777

    Alexander I, czar of Russia.

  • 1775

    King George III of England refuses the American colonies’ offer of peace and declares them in open rebellion.

  • American revolutionary hero Patrick Henry, while addressing the House of Burgesses, declares “give me liberty, or give me death!”

  • 1760

    Austrian forces defeat the Prussians at Landshut, Germany.

  • 1759

    British forces seize Basse-Terre and Guadeloupe from France.

  • 1758

    British and Hanoverian armies defeat the French at Krefeld in Germany.

  • 1755

    Jean Baptiste Lislet-Geoffroy, French geographer.

  • 1754

    Louis XVI, King of France during the French Revolution who met his fate at the guillotine.

  • 1750

    Nicolas Appert, the inventor of canning.

  • 1743

    Handel’s Messiah is performed for the first time in London.

  • Meyer Amschel Rothschild, banker and founder of the Rothschild dynasty in Europe.

  • 1739

    The Austrians sign the Treaty of Belgrade after having lost the city to the Turks.

  • 1734

    Friedrich Anton Mesmer, physician and hypnotist.

  • 1711

    A British attempt to invade Canada by sea fails.

  • 1707

    The first Parliament of Great Britain meets.

  • Carl Linnaeus [Carl von Linné], Swedish botanist.

  • 1701

    Captain William Kidd, the Scottish pirate, is hanged on the banks of the Thames.

  • 1700

    Russia gives up its Black Sea fleet as part of a truce with the Ottoman Empire.

  • 1694

    American colonial forces led by Sir William Phips, fail in their attempt to seize Quebec.

  • 1685

    George F. Handel, German composer.

  • 1683

    William Penn signs a friendship treaty with the Lenni Lenape Indians in Pennsylvania.

  • 1667

    Slaves in Virginia are banned from obtaining their freedom by converting to Christianity.

  • 1664

    Wealthy, non-church members in Massachusetts are given the right to vote.

  • 1661

    Charles II is formally crowned king, returning the monarchy to Britain, albeit with greatly reduced powers.

  • 1657

    France and England form an alliance against Spain.

  • 1641

    Rebellion in Ireland. Catholics, under Phelim O’Neil, rise against the Protestants and massacred men, women and children to the number of 40,000 (some say 100,000).

  • 1637

    King Charles of England hands over the American colony of Massachusetts to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, one of the founders of the Council of New England.

  • 1633

    Samuel Pepys, English diarist.

  • 1627

    Sir George Calvert arrives in Newfoundland to develop his land grant.

  • 1618

    The Thirty Years War begins.

  • 1615

    The Estates-General in Paris is dissolved, having been in session since October 1614.

  • 1577

    William of Orange makes his triumphant entry into Brussels, Belgium.

  • 1574

    The 5th War of Religion breaks out in France.

  • 1561

    Philip II of Spain gives orders to halt colonizing efforts in Florida.

  • 1553

    The Sadians defeat the last of their enemies and establish themselves as rulers of Morocco.

  • 1541

    Jacques Cartier lands near Quebec on his third voyage to North America.

  • 1540

    Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado begins his unsuccessful search for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold in the American Southwest.

  • 1533

    Henry VIII‘s marriage to Catherine of Aragon is declared null and void.

  • 1521

    The Comuneros are crushed by royalist troops in Spain.

  • 1516

    The Hapsburg Charles I succeeds Ferdinand in Spain.

  • 1500

    Pedro Cabral claims Brazil for Portugal.

  • 1430

    Burgundians capture Joan of Arc and sell her to the English.

  • 1348

    The first English order of knighthood is founded.

  • 1305

    Scottish patriot William Wallace is hanged, drawn, beheaded, and quartered in London.

  • 1248

    The city of Seville, Spain, surrenders to Ferdinand III of Castile after a two-year siege.

  • 1244

    Turks expel the crusaders under Frederick II from Jerusalem.

  • 303

    Emperor Diocletian orders the general persecution of Christians in Rome.

  • 63

    Augustus Caesar, first Roman Emperor, who introduced Pax Romana, the era of peace.